Rose Garden

They‘re ba-ack! Tom and Chakotay just won‘t keep quiet. And neither will the C/P fen out there. So here‘s another installment
in the "Sweet Dreams" saga...

For those of you tuning in late, this story won‘t make a heck of a lot of sense unless you‘ve read "Sweet Dreams", "Jitterbug", and "Aftershocks".

I had a bad case of titler‘s block with this story. I just thought of one now, as I‘m finally finished with it. It‘s not referenced directly in the story—I challenge you to find the connection! (I don‘t know; maybe you‘ll think it‘s obvious.)

Here we go...

by Margaret Berger (
Copyright 1997

(Voyager, C/P, NC-17, ¼)
DISCLAIMER: Star Trek, Voyager, and all characters contained herein are owned by PARAMOUNT! I am borrowing them for a little while to play with them, but I promise to play nicely, and to put them back when I‘m done.

Feel free to archive or distribute, so long as you keep my name and this disclaimer attached.

WARNING...WARNING...WARNING! This story contains explicit consensual sex between two men. They‘re both over the age of 18, but if you‘re not, or if that offends you, you shouldn‘t be reading this! We‘re not kidding around here.


Chakotay was lost, floating dreamlessly in a gentle blackness. The annoying trill of an alarm brought him reluctantly to wakefulness. He groaned a protest, and rolled over, reaching for the warm body next to him ... who wasn‘t there. A frustrated sigh escaped his lips.

He didn‘t know why this still bothered him. Tom never stayed the night, the single exception being the time he‘d shown up at Chakotay‘s door at 2 in the morning. No matter how frantic and exhausting the lovemaking had been the night before, Tom was always gone by the time Chakotay woke up the next morning. It would have been an intolerable situation, except that on those occasions that they ended up in Tom‘s quarters, Tom didn‘t seem to care if Chakotay stayed the night, so long as nobody saw him leaving in the morning.

That in itself was irritating too. Tom had apparently meant it when he‘d said the relationship was going to be strictly for sex for three months; as such, he had no desire to advertise it. Chakotay had agreed to those terms, and he hadn‘t exactly lied when he said he‘d be o.k. with it—he‘d just been wrong. Oh hell. The past seven weeks had been the absolute best and worst of his life, at the same time. He threw the covers off the bed and sat up slowly. Ouch. He ached all over. It was his own fault; he‘d let Tom take him on the bed last night, and when they were in bed, actually in a bed, Tom had total control of the situation.

In the beginning, there had been a certain amount of awkwardness, as Tom explored the boundaries of making love with a man. That awkwardness—no, uncertainty, Chakotay amended to himself, had kept Tom a little bit tentative during their initial sexual encounters. Enthusiastic, certainly, but slightly hesitant to fully take the initiative. That hesitancy still surfaced when Chakotay introduced something that Tom considered outside the norm, but when they were in a bed, in the dark, there was no sign of it. At those times, Tom was the most attentive, most thorough, most enthusiastic lover Chakotay had ever had. He‘d never known someone who took such sheer delight in the physical pleasures one could derive from the act of loving. Still, Chakotay reflected a little ruefully as he painfully pulled himself out of bed, there was something to be said for a little less enthusiasm. Gods. He dragged himself into the shower, and let the warm water wash over him, soothe his aching muscles. Chakotay shut his eyes, dropped his head, and remembered the first time he‘d sneaked up on Tom in the shower, two weeks before. Chakotay had always found the experience of showering with a lover to be indescribably erotic; even before he‘d worked up the nerve to kiss Tom, he‘d been dreaming of the day he could make love to him in the shower.

Like everything else, the reality of it had been unutterably perfect, better than anything his fevered imagination could have come up with. The startled look in Tom‘s eyes when he realized he wasn‘t alone, the way he responded so eagerly to Chakotay‘s unexpected caresses and kisses, the way his moans echoed around the small shower stall. Chakotay had known exactly the way Tom would stand, the way his arms would reach out for support and grab onto the metal rods in the wall, the way his back muscles would move under the skin as Chakotay stroked him to hardness. He‘d pictured it countless times, but here he was, and there was that spot, the hollow between Tom‘s neck and shoulder, and Chakotay leaned forward to kiss it, expecting the short cry of pleasure that followed, and loving it.

One hand preparing Tom for entry, fingers gently stretching the tight muscle, the other hand teasing and stroking Tom‘s cock until the younger man was sobbing with the feel of it. Gods, and then to thrust together, all heat and slickness, with the water raining down on both of them, blinding them, washing them clean even as they strained together. The water running abruptly cold, Tom‘s strangled curse as he turned it off, and then no more sounds except for the two of them, gasping in unison as they raced towards climax. Then the explosion, blinding white fire ripping through his body, shooting stars behind his eyes and blood pounding in his ears, Tom‘s joyous cries surrounding him mere seconds later.

Too dazed to think, not really aware of his surroundings, coming back to himself only when he let go of Tom and the younger man slipped on the soap and banged his head against the shower wall. Chakotay remembered being frightened at all the blood, but then he saw Tom‘s eyes laughing at him, and heard Tom joke about hazard pay. Then the unbearable shock of it, when Tom turned the water back on to clean them up, and it was freezing cold ... ... speaking of which, it was getting pretty chilly in here, now.

Chakotay shook his head and brought himself back to the present. Gods. This was absurd. He felt like a teenager again, riding the crest of a perpetual hormone flood. He hadn‘t thought this much about sex since he was 16.

He got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around himself, shaving quickly. He was due on the bridge in a little while. He pulled his clean uniform out of the closet, and tossed the other one into the ‚fresher. He rummaged through his sock drawer, hoping he had at least one clean pair of black socks. Hmmm, didn‘t look like it. Uh oh. He searched farther back, and his fingers closed upon a small satchel, tucked away in the back of the drawer. Aha, he thought triumphantly! That‘s where I hid them! He‘d been searching for this bag for weeks, now, reluctant to spend the rations to replicate the contents when he knew he had a perfectly good set lying around somewhere... gods, how many times had he opened this drawer and looked inside? Stupid. You should have remembered where you hid them. You‘re getting old, Big Man. He put the bag down, and did manage to find one last pair of black socks. The rest of the day he spent in a pleasant haze of anticipation. He couldn‘t help the grin that spread across his face every time he looked at Tom. Tom noticed it immediately, and became increasingly fidgety at the conn as the day went on. Kathryn noticed too, and she pumped Chakotay for details at lunch, but for once, he didn‘t tell her what he was planning. Nope, this was going to be his little surprise... As their shift ended, he joined Tom on the turbolift just as the doors shut. Tom turned to him and said, without any preamble, "What‘s going on? You‘ve been staring at me all day." "Nothing," Chakotay said, as innocently as he could manage. "I think you‘re imagining things. Free tonight?" Tom eyed him suspiciously. "Yeah. I‘m meeting Harry for a game of pool, but he wants to turn in early, and catch up on some paperwork."

"You‘re not still letting him beat you at pool, are you?" "Only every once in a while, Commander. Just often enough to make it seem ... legitimate."

Chakotay sighed. "I can‘t believe you‘re scamming him. I wish I knew what you were planning."

"I could say the same thing to you. You‘ve got the oddest expression in your eyes."

Whatever expression was in his eyes, Chakotay tried valiantly to wipe it out. "So, I‘ll come by later tonight?" The lift stopped at his floor, and Tom held the door open.

"O.k.," Tom agreed, "but just-"

"I know, I know. I‘ll be careful. No one will see me." Hours later, at around 2300 hours, Chakotay rang the chime outside of Tom‘s quarters. It was fairly late, ship-time, but still early enough that he wouldn‘t attract any undue attention if he was seen, and the bag he was holding would seem to a casual observer to be packed with datapadds. An unnecessary ruse, as it happened, because no one came down the corridor in the short time Chakotay was waiting outside the door. "Come in," Tom‘s voice called, and the door swished open. Chakotay entered, waiting just over the threshold until the doors shut behind him. "Evenin‘," Tom said, appearing from the bedroom.

"Good evening," Chakotay said back, dropping the bag on the floor.

Tom looked at it suspiciously. "What‘s in the bag?"

"Nothing much. Some stuff I want to show you later."

Tom‘s eyebrows arched up, and a gleam appeared in his eye. "How much later?" he asked seductively, moving closer to the older man.

Chakotay backed off a little bit. "A little bit later. We don‘t have to jump right into bed all the time, you know." Tom pouted. "I thought you liked jumping into bed with me. What else do you want to do, play Scrabble?" He laughed. "No, I‘ve got a better idea. We could play strip poker." Chakotay had to laugh, too. "Last time we played that, you lost the first 8 hands deliberately."

"That‘s true," Tom said softly, "but I‘d say I won that game in the end." He was trailing his fingers up and down Chakotay‘s arm. Chakotay took a deep breath. "We could just talk." "O.k.," Tom said, affably, bringing his other hand to the back of Chakotay‘s head, running his fingers through the short hairs at the base of the neck. "What do you want to talk about?" It was suddenly getting very difficult to think straight, and, unless he was imagining things, the ambient temperature in the room had just increased a few degrees. "Ummm," Chakotay croaked, "we could talk about—about—uh, what was the question?" Tom had moved in even closer, and was nuzzling the spot just below Chakotay‘s right ear.

"You said you wanted to talk," Tom whispered, right in Chakotay‘s ear, "so I asked what you wanted to talk about." He flicked his tongue out, and traced the outline of the ear. Chakotay moaned. He couldn‘t help it, every time Tom touched him there, the sensation went straight to his groin. Tom, as always acutely aware of what was happening with Chakotay‘s body, rubbed his hips against Chakotay‘s. Their erections touched, through the cloth, and all pretense of conversation stopped. "Damn it all," Chakotay groaned, "you‘re doing it to me again." Tom chuckled, deep in his throat. "I‘d do it to you all the time if I could, Big Man." He wrapped his hands around Chakotay‘s head, and pulled him in for a deep, deep kiss. Chakotay loved the way Tom kissed. It was so intense, so overwhelming ... he moaned, and put his hands on Tom‘s ass to pull their bodies closer together. Their erections touched again, and Chakotay felt his knees begin to buckle.

"Bedroom," he gasped out, knowing that once they fell to the floor they‘d stay there, and for what he had planned, he needed a bed. Tom turned and fled for the bedroom, growling impatiently while Chakotay retrieved his bag.

"Strip," Chakotay said firmly. "Then lie down on your back." Tom complied swiftly, tossing his clothes haphazardly to the floor, trying to sneak a look into the bag. In less than a minute, Tom was naked and lying on the bed, shivering with a slight chill and fearful anticipation.

Chakotay approached him slowly. "You know I‘d never hurt you, Tom."

"Yes," Tom said, a little bit of confusion appearing in his eyes. "And I‘d never do anything to degrade you, or make you do anything you feel uncomfortable with."

"Yes," Tom said again. His eyes were wide.

"All right," Chakotay said. "So long as I know you trust me. What I want to do ... well, some people might say it‘s a little bit ... kinky." He reached into the bag. "Arms up over your head, if you please." Tom moved his arms up, slowly, watching Chakotay‘s every move. "Do you trust me, Tom?"

"Yes," Tom said, softly. "I trust you."

"Good," Chakotay said. Gods, he had to get this uniform off, his cock felt like it was going to burst through the fabric, but, first things first. He pulled a pair of restraints out from the bag, and showed them to Tom. "Do you know what these are?" "No," Tom said, squinting his eyes a little to get them into focus.

"They‘re restraints. I‘m going to tie you to the bed." He was moving as he spoke, slipping the padded cuffs over Tom‘s wrists, tightening them, then attaching the cords to the bed frame. "Are you all right?"

"Yes," Tom said, a little bit of confusion clouding his features, "but why do you want to tie me down?" He tested the restraints tentatively.

"I just do," Chakotay said. "If you don‘t like it, at any time, just tell me, and I‘ll take them off, o.k.?"

"O.k." Tom agreed. Chakotay had to hold himself back. Spirits, but the man was beautiful. To see him lying here, helpless, his to ravage ... his cock tightened and he thought, regretfully, that he‘d probably come before Tom ever touched him. He quickly discarded his uniform, and lay down on the bed, running his hands all over Tom‘s body. He suckled at a nipple, ran his fingers through Tom‘s chest hair, nuzzled at his neck, and placed long winding trails of soft tender kisses all over Tom‘s body. In no time at all, Tom was moaning and pulling against the restraints. The younger man cursed under his breath. "You o.k.?" Chakotay asked, seriously, stopping for a minute. "Fine," Tom gasped, "but I want to touch you, and these damn things won‘t let me."

"I know," Chakotay purred. "It‘s very frustrating, isn‘t it? You‘re just realizing it now, that I‘ve got you in my total control, that I can touch you wherever and however I want, and there‘s nothing you can do about it..."

Tom stared into his eyes, almost paralyzed with desire. A frustrated sob escaped his throat as Chakotay ran his fingers lightly over Tom‘s erection. "Please," Tom whimpered softly, "touch me."

Chakotay pounced, letting himself run riot over Tom‘s body with his hands and mouth, kissing and touching everywhere, rubbing up against Tom‘s cock just often enough to keep the younger man fully erect, but not often enough to make him come. Tom was moaning and sobbing, cursing out loud, and pleading for release. Chakotay was enjoying himself, damn, he was enjoying himself, but there was something not quite right ... he wasn‘t quite in complete control, he was too close to coming, himself, and he didn‘t want to just yet ... ... Tom moaned desperately and Chakotay‘s cock jerked of its own accord. That‘s the problem, Chakotay realized, with a sudden flash of insight. The way Tom was reacting, those cries he made, they always drove him crazy, and this time was no different.

He reached into the bag again, and pulled out a length of silk cloth. "This is supposed to be used as a blindfold," he said, conversationally, "but I don‘t want to cover up those beautiful blue eyes of yours. However, you‘re being too noisy for my taste, tonight." With no further warning, he tied the cord loosely around Tom‘s mouth, gagging him. "Can you breathe?" he asked, hoping the answer would be ‚yes‘.

Tom nodded affirmatively, no fear in his eyes at all, only trust and affection and desire. "Gods," Chakotay said with a sigh, looking down at Tom, "you are so beautiful, it‘s almost unnatural. Everything about you is just perfect." He reached out to caress Tom‘s cock lovingly, and Tom quivered under his gaze and his touch. His muffled moan sent Chakotay into a passionate frenzy. Chakotay needed this man, needed every bit of him, every square centimeter. He needed to taste him, love him, be one with him. He spent long, long minutes kissing every spot he could think of, biting softly along the neck, nipping gently at the collarbone, licking long wet trails up the sides of Tom‘s neck, occasionally placing a tender kiss on Tom‘s cock.

He dragged it out for what must have been, he figured, at least a half an hour. Tom was a shivering wreck, straining against the restraints, moaning frantically into the gag, twisting and turning as much as his trussed up arms would allow. Chakotay loved to see Tom like this, so desperately wild with pleasure that all traces of the teasing smartass were wiped clean away.

Finally, he allowed himself to ask the question, "Do you want me to fuck you, Tom?", knowing the answer already, but wanting to see Tom react. Tom didn‘t disappoint him—he never did; the younger man nodded his head shakily and pleaded with his eyes. Chakotay‘s fingers went of their own accord to Tom‘s ass; he‘d brought some lubricant with him, and he smoothed it gently into his lover, barely able to hear the muted groan of pleasure. He took his time, not wanting to be too rough with a man who couldn‘t really verbalize any displeasure, but oh, it was hard to wait. His cock had been so hard for so long it was starting to ache. He lifted Tom‘s legs up slowly, wrapping them around his neck, and eased himself in. He stopped for a minute, fighting for control—it wouldn‘t very well do to come too quickly now, after waiting all that time—then began to thrust gently into the perfect body beneath him. He could hear Tom moaning faintly, so constantly it was really more of a humming noise, and sped up the pace slightly.

Tom groaned, loudly, -- Chakotay could hear it clearly even through the gag—and angled his hips to take Chakotay in deeper. His legs were locked around the older man‘s neck, and he was using the restraints to brace himself as he forced his hips up to match Chakotay‘s every thrust.

Chakotay was groaning, too. Gods, unbelievably, incredibly perfect, so good, so right, so unbearably right ... oh spirits, help me, I can‘t take this ... Chaos reigned in his mind as the sensations in his cock built to almost intolerably pleasurable levels. He reached down to touch Tom‘s cock, he had to feel it in his hand, and that slightest of touches was enough to drive Tom immediately over the edge. He came, furiously, arching his back and screaming into the gag. His ass muscles clenched spasmodically around Chakotay‘s cock, and Chakotay barely had time to gasp, "Oh gods," before he was coming too, and oh, it was so wonderful, the silver sparks tearing through him, blanking out all noise and light and feeling...

He came awake slowly, aware that he‘d collapsed onto Tom‘s chest, and that he seemed to have two heartbeats, both racing furiously. No, that wasn‘t right, he only had one heart ... oh, that was Tom‘s heart, racing in tandem with his own. Shit, he‘d passed out again.

Chakotay pulled himself off of Tom, and looked into his eyes, unutterably relieved to find nothing there other than intense satisfaction. He quickly removed the gag and restraints, and fell back down on the bed, snuggling against Tom‘s chest, tracing patterns in the sticky semen he found.

"That," Tom whispered, "was the most unbelievable thing I‘ve ever experienced." He sighed happily. "Thank you." Chakotay chuckled. "No, thank you. That‘s been a favorite fantasy of mine for quite a while."

"Really?" Tom asked, laughing slightly. "Was it as good as you‘d dreamed?"

"Gods, Tom, it was better. Impossibly better. Probably the best sex I‘ve ever had."

Tom was quiet for a long time. Then, sleepily, he said, "Chakotay, you passed out again."

"I know, I‘m sorry. I couldn‘t help it. Were you nervous?"

"Not really. You were on top of me, so I could feel you breathing.

But this thought crossed my mind..."


Tom laughed very softly. "I was thinking, what if you didn‘t wake up, if it was so intense you were really out, and someone came looking for you tomorrow morning. They‘d find us here, me tied to the bed and gagged, you unconscious on my chest... " He tried to stifle a giggle. "I was just imagining trying to explain that to Tuvok!"

It was so ludicrous, Chakotay could almost see it: Tom speaking a mile a minute to Tuvok, the Vulcan‘s eyebrow arched up past his hairline, his own unconscious body on the bed, possibly even the Doctor fussing around, making clucking noises of general disapproval. Chakotay couldn‘t help it, he had to laugh, too. "Promise me one thing," he said, when the giggling had subsided somewhat, "if that ever happens, you‘ll make a vid recording of it for me, since I‘ll be too out of it to appreciate it..." Tom snorted a laugh, and settled in among the pillows, arms and legs tangled with Chakotay‘s. Within a few minutes, they were both asleep.


The next morning, Chakotay woke up slowly, comfortably wrapped around Tom. Mmm. He removed his arms, and propped himself up on an elbow, staring down at his lover. Tom noticed the movement, and stirred, cracking one eye open the tiniest bit. "Morning," he said, a contented smile making its way across his face.

"Morning," Chakotay agreed. "Sleep well?" "You know I did." Tom stretched, arms over his head, and Chakotay had to remember to breathe slowly. This particular sight never failed to arouse him, Tom stretching, unselfconsciously, graceful as a cat but twice as beautiful. "What time is it?"

"I don‘t know," Chakotay said, "Probably around 0600." Tom groaned. "Why are we awake? We‘re not on duty for another two hours."

Chakotay grinned. He loved Tom like this, slightly grumpy, hair mussed, face unshaven. Absolutely stunning. "Computer," he called out, "what‘s the time?"

"The time is 0710," the computer replied.

Chakotay raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Later than I thought.

We must have really exhausted ourselves last night." "What, you don‘t remember?" Tom teased. "I‘m insulted. At the time, you said it was the best fuck you‘ve ever... mmmph!" His words were cut off by Chakotay‘s mouth on his. Chakotay could feel him grinning, so he redoubled his efforts, and was rewarded with a slight moan.

Their tongues twisted and tangled around each other, and Chakotay only broke it off when he absolutely had to take a breath. Panting, he stared down at Tom, allowing himself to get lost in the blue of the younger man‘s eyes. "Gods," Tom said, helplessly staring back at him. "The way you look at me, what it does to me... I don‘t think I‘ll ever get used to it."

"I don‘t want you to get used to it," Chakotay said. "I like the way it makes you react." He reached down to gently stroke Tom‘s early morning erection, and leaned in for another kiss. Tom moaned into his mouth and pulled away, gasping. "Shit, Chakotay, you know we don‘t have time for this; we‘ve got to be on the bridge in 45 minutes ... oh gods." Chakotay was squeezing him, lightly. "It‘ll only take 15 to shower, shave, and get to the bridge. By my count, that gives us at least a half an hour. Of course, if you really want me to stop..." He squeezed again, a little more firmly. "No!" Tom gasped. Chakotay smiled and leaned down to kiss him yet again. He could never get enough of this early morning play. "Gods," Tom forced out, "I love this. You‘re so damn good at it..." He reached back up, kissing Chakotay aggressively and thoroughly, moaning now and then as Chakotay expertly stroked his erection.

The two men were so intent on each other they didn‘t hear the door to the outer room swish open.

"Tom?" A pause. "Hey, Tom, are you ready yet? We‘re supposed to meet B‘Elanna in the mess hall in 5 min—holy shit!" Chakotay brain took a few seconds to jump tracks. A voice.

Harry Kim? What was he doing here?

Harry was staring, blushing a furious red, backing out of the room, and stammering, all at the same time, "Uh, sorry, I didn‘t mean to interrupt, I‘ll leave you two alone..." Tom was instantly out of bed and pulling on his boxers. "Harry, wait a minute!" Chakotay could hear Harry moving hurriedly in the outer room, and Tom followed him out there. "Shit, Harry, wait a minute, sit down—sit down, damn it!" "Jesus, Paris, what the hell are you doing?" Harry‘s voice was utterly astonished. Chakotay wished he could see his face, but he thought, given Harry‘s reaction, he‘d do better to stay out of sight for a while. "You and ... ... was that really Commander Chakotay in there? What the hell is going on?"

"Relax, Harry, take a deep breath. You look like you‘re going to go into shock."

"Too late! Shit, you and Chako—Chakotay and you -- -- in bed together? This can‘t be happening; it has to be some sort of weird Freudian dream."

"No, if it were Freudian I‘d be fucking Captain Janeway." A short laugh. "Look, Harry, there‘s a perfectly rational explanation for this."

"Oh yeah?" A long pause. "I‘m waiting."

"Give me a minute and I‘ll think of one." A quick chuckle, then Tom was uncomfortably silent for a bit. "Harry, what are you doing here, anyway?"

"We had plans for breakfast with B‘Elanna, remember?" "Oh yeah. Shit. I‘m sorry, I forgot. I was kind of ... distracted."

"I can imagine. Jesus. What were you doing?"

"If you really want to know, he was jerking me off." A brief startled silence. Then, "Shit." Harry‘s voice was disgusted. "I didn‘t need to know that. I‘m leaving." "Relax, Harry. Sit down. I‘m sorry. I shouldn‘t have said that." Tom laughed, but when he spoke, his voice held a note of concern. "Gods, you should see the look on your face. You look like you‘re going to be sick. Don‘t tell me you have a problem with guys fucking guys."

"No. Don‘t be ridiculous. It‘s just that—you always seemed so so hetero, I never thought you‘d -- -- and with Chakotay, of all people. He hates you! How could you?" Chakotay, in the bedroom, winced. Spirits, that must be what the whole ship thought. He‘d made no secret of his dislike for Tom when he came on board, and even after his feelings had undergone such a complete turnaround, he‘d never done much to dispel that initial impression. Of course, Kathryn knew how he felt, but who else did? Well, Tom, for one. And now Harry. Tom was chuckling. "I hate to have to tell you you‘re wrong, Harry, but you‘re wrong. He used to hate me. Past tense." "I can‘t believe it. When did all this happen?"

"About two months ago."

"Two months?" Harry squeaked. A definite squeak. "This has been going on for two months? Why didn‘t you tell me?" "I didn‘t know how you‘d react." A small silence, in which Chakotay could almost feel Harry blushing. He thought this seemed like an opportune time to interrupt. He wrapped himself in a sheet and poked his head around the door. "Tom, I‘m going to take a quick shower, all right?"

"Sure, go ahead," Tom answered, distractedly. He was staring at Harry, who was looking out the window, shaking his head, and muttering, "I can‘t believe it. I can not believe it." Chakotay did some head shaking of his own on the way to the bathroom. What a disaster. It hadn‘t really occurred to him to worry about the crew‘s reaction to the affair, but if Harry‘s reaction was typical, they were in for trouble. Any lingering thoughts he‘d been harboring about making the relationship public had just been firmly banished from his mind.

Chakotay made it through his shower in a fuzzy mental state, hoping as he dried off that he had actually remembered to wash. As he stepped into the bedroom to gather up his uniform, he heard Tom and Harry talking in the outer room. Spirits, they‘re still going over this?

"What about her?" Tom was asking, his voice carefully neutral.

"All I‘m saying is that she‘s interested in you." "You‘re dreaming. She‘s made it perfectly clear that she‘s not interested in me. What am I supposed to do, sit around waiting for her to come to her senses? Sorry, Harry, that‘s not my style." Harry chuckled. "No, I guess it‘s not. But, Jesus, Paris, if you‘re going to experiment, does it have to be with Chakotay?" "Who else would you suggest? You?"

"Not in a million years." Harry‘s response was instantaneous.

"See, I knew you‘d say that. You‘re so conventional, Harry."

Tom was laughing. "Anyway, he‘s the one who started it, not me. And why not Chakotay?"

"He‘s not exactly your type."

"What do you mean, not my type? Gorgeous, great in bed..."

"...and not into casual flings."

"I already told you, we have an arrangement." "Uh huh." Harry‘s voice was clearly skeptical. "And at the end of the three months, what happens then?"

"I don‘t know. I haven‘t thought about it." "Well, you‘d better start thinking about it. No way he‘s in this just for sex. He doesn‘t do that. Don‘t shake your head at me, Paris! I know you have an arrangement‘, but still ... be careful, all right? He‘s not another Megan or Sue. He doesn‘t screw around just for fun."

"Harry, you‘re not telling me anything I don‘t already know," Tom sighed. "But I‘m willing to take the risk, all right? I can‘t explain it, but it‘s worth it to me."

"Hey, so long as you‘re happy, I‘m happy. But it‘s weird."

"Tell me about it."

Chakotay was finished dressing, so he stepped into the outer room, determined to pretend he hadn‘t heard the last few minutes of conversation. "Good morning, Harry."

"Good morning, Commander," Harry responded, eyeing Chakotay with some suspicion.

"Hey, Harry," Tom piped up, with a grin, "you know what? You‘re the only other person besides Chakotay and me who knows about this!"

Uh oh. Chakotay shook his head a little bit sheepishly. "Errr, Tom, I don‘t know exactly how to tell you this, but Harry‘s not the only one. Kathryn knows."

Tom looked at him in stupefied silence for a second, the bombshell seeming to pass him by completely. Then, suddenly, he started. "Kathryn? You mean Captain Janeway?" Chakotay nodded. "*What*? You told the Captain?" Chakotay nodded again. "*Jesus*. H-how ... how long has she known?" Tom was so flustered he was stuttering. Harry was taking this in with some amusement.

"Actually, Tom," Chakotay said, a flush working its way up his neck, "she knew before you did. I, uh, told her how I felt about you before I ever did anything about it. She was the one who encouraged me to talk to you in the first place." "Well, fuck," Tom said with exasperation. "How much, exactly, does she know?"

"What do you mean?"

"Is she current? Up-to-date on the ins and outs of our relationship?" He grinned as the unintentional pun hit him. "Does she know my favorite sexual position?" "No, of course not," Chakotay answered, running a hand through his hair. "I don‘t tell her the details. But, she‘s pretty current on our status, yes." Tom just stared at him, and Chakotay let out an exasperated sigh. "I have to talk to someone, Tom." "Does it have to be the Captain?"

"Quite frankly, yes it does. Who else am I going to talk to about it?"

"I don‘t see why you have to talk to anyone. I don‘t." That‘s because, Chakotay thought to himself with a sigh, this means a hell of a lot more to me than it does to you. "We‘re not all as self-confident as you are, Tom. Some of us need moral support and advice occasionally."

Tom threw him an inscrutable look, and a flash of absolutely unreadable emotion crossed his face. Whatever thoughts went through his mind were quickly dismissed, and he stood up. "If you gentlemen will excuse me, I‘m going to take a shower. No time left for breakfast, Harry. Sorry. I‘ll see you on the bridge in a little while."

"Sure," Harry said, getting up to leave. "I‘ll see you there."

"Oh, and, Harry?" Tom said, as Harry walked towards the door.

"You understand that I don‘t want you telling anyone about this?" "Yeah, yeah. Don‘t worry. My lips are sealed. Like anyone would believe me, anyway." He smiled at Tom, aimed a half- smile in Chakotay‘s direction, and walked out the door. Chakotay looked at the closed doors for a few seconds before turning back to Tom. "Somehow, I don‘t think he‘s happy about this."

Tom shrugged it off as he slipped off his shorts and rummaged through his closet, looking for a relatively clean towel. "Don‘t worry about it. He‘s just a little bit freaked out by the whole thing.
He‘ll get over it."

"I hope so," Chakotay answered, doubtfully. "He seemed pretty upset."

Tom straightened up, a bemused smile crossing his face. "Why, Big Man, are you afraid that my friends won‘t like you?" He flicked the towel playfully in Chakotay‘s direction.

Chakotay grabbed the towel, and had already opened his mouth to make a nasty reply when the ship shook violently. Seconds later, warning klaxons sounded and Janeway‘s voice came over the comm system, "Red alert. All hands to battle stations." "Shit," Tom swore, and hastily pulled on his uniform. Unwashed, unshaven, he followed Chakotay out of the room. The ship took a few more hits before they made it to the bridge, and they arrived to find consoles shorted out all over the place, including the conn.

"What‘s going on, Captain?" Chakotay asked as he hurried to his seat.

"We‘re under attack, Commander," Janeway said wryly, stating the blatantly obvious. "We don‘t know who they are and we don‘t know why they‘re attacking."

"Because they‘re nasty Delta Quadrant aliens who don‘t have anything better to do?" Tom suggested, grimacing as he surveyed the wreckage of the conn. "Captain, I can‘t do too much up here. The navigational control panels are completely destroyed." "I was afraid of that," Janeway said with a frown. "Why don‘t you go down to Sickbay, Lieutenant. We already have several injuries; I‘m sure the Doctor and Kes can use some extra hands." "Yes, Captain," Tom replied, and left the bridge, catching Chakotay‘s eyes with his own for a brief instant before the turbolift doors shut. Chakotay followed his progress off the bridge with relief, feeling guilty about it at the same time. Spirits, it was stupid, Tom was the Conn Officer, he belonged on the bridge, but, nonetheless, Chakotay was just as happy that Tom was going to be in the relatively well-protected confines of Sickbay for the duration of the battle.

Several hours later, after the nameless and nasty aliens had been dispatched, Janeway called a meeting of the senior staff, and asked for a damage report. Grimly, Harry went over the worst of it, citing severe damage to the warp nacelles and the internal power relays, as well as several minor hull breaches, and damaged consoles ship-wide. Worst of all, power was down on deck 5, so Sickbay was unusable, and one of the cargo bays had to be converted into a makeshift hospital. 45 of the crew were injured, with 15 requiring surgery.

"Well," Janeway said, trying to stay calm, "it looks like we‘re going to be busy for the next few days. I hate to do this to you, but I think it will be necessary for most of the uninjured crew to work double shifts until we get the ship flight-ready." Tom visibly stifled a groan, and Janeway quirked an eyebrow at him. "Do you have a problem with that, Mr. Paris?" "No, ma‘am," he said, insincerely.

"That‘s good," she said, grinning slightly, "because I‘m assigning you temporarily to the medical department, since the navigational systems won‘t be repaired for a few days." Tom began to protest, while the Doctor spluttered indignantly, "Captain, aren‘t there any other crew members you might assign to help me?"

"No," Janeway said, patiently, as if talking to a small child, "there aren‘t. Lieutenant Paris is the only member of the crew with field medic training, and since you and Kes will have your hands full dealing with the severe injuries, I‘d like Tom to handle the minor medical problems. It will be good practice for him." The Doctor gave a sigh worthy of a long-suffering martyr, while Tom threw dirty looks in his direction. Chakotay caught Tom‘s eye across the table and gave him a sympathetic smile. Gods knew he wouldn‘t want to be cooped up with the Holodoc for an indefinite period, working double shifts, no less. For a computer program, the Doctor could be very ... irritating. Chakotay was still counting his blessings when Janeway informed him that his temporary assignment would be repairing some of the damaged bioneural gel packs, a tedious and messy job that would surely involve him getting covered in goop. Damn. He wondered if he could find a way out of it. He couldn‘t. It proved to be very tedious and extraordinarily messy. Damn.

Several days later, Chakotay was whistling to himself as he walked down the corridor towards Tom‘s quarters. They‘d both been so busy the last few days, they hadn‘t had any time to spend together. Now that the repairs were completed, and they were on their way again, the pressure was off, and Chakotay thought he‘d see if Tom wanted to make plans for that evening. He rounded the corner, only half paying attention to where he was going, thinking of what new and interesting things he could teach Tom, when he saw Tom‘s doors opening. Good, he was already awake. You could never tell with Tom on his days off; sometimes, he‘d sleep until noon. Chakotay hurried his step, then halted, suddenly, and tried to flatten himself into the wall. Oh spirits. Shit!

A flounce of auburn hair, tied up prettily in a pony tail. A tall, shapely figure, filling out a blue science uniform. A high pitched voice, filled with laughter. "You are impossible, Tom. I told you, I don‘t have time for this. You may be off duty today, but I‘ve got to be down in Stellar Cartography in 20 minutes, and I‘d like to get some food first."

Tom‘s voice, coming from inside the cabin, whining playfully, cajoling, pleading.

Megan giggled. "Take a cold shower, flyboy; I‘m going to work." Tom stepped closer to the door. He placed his hands on Megan‘s hips, pulled her towards him, and nuzzled her neck. Megan allowed the caress for a few seconds, then pushed him away gently, with a smile. "You‘re making it very difficult to concentrate."

Tom grinned. "That‘s the idea."

Megan sighed. "I almost wish I had time to stay. But—I don‘t." She leaned in to give him a short peck on the lips. "Go back to bed, Paris. I know you didn‘t get a lot of sleep last night. You could use the rest."

Tom grumbled, but backed away. "Fine, be that way. I‘ll go back to bed, but it won‘t be as much fun without you in it." "I‘d almost believe you cared, Tom, if you hadn‘t virtually ignored me for the past month. Who‘s the lucky lady?" "What makes you think there‘s another woman?" Tom tried, and failed, to put indignation in his voice. Megan laughed outright. "Because you‘re a living, breathing hormone factory, Paris. You haven‘t slept with me, Jenny, or Sue for over a month, and I know you can‘t go without sex for more than a week. Therefore," her voice grew very formal and logical, "you are sleeping with someone else. QED." Tom laughed. "You‘re too smart for your own good, Megan." "Aha!" she said, triumphantly. "There is someone else. I knew it! Who is it?"

"I‘ll never tell," Tom said, and gently patted her on the butt. "Off with you, lovely lady. The stars await your arrival." "You‘re such a clown," Megan said, shaking her head. "See you later, Tom." She walked down the corridor, away from Chakotay, and the doors to Tom‘s cabin closed.

Oh gods. Chakotay leaned against the wall, shaking. He thought he might be sick. Stupid, stupid, stupid! He‘d known what Tom was like—the whole damn ship knew what Tom was like—why had he let himself think this time was going different? Worse, they hadn‘t even made any promises to each other; he couldn‘t even accuse Tom of breaking his word. It was his own damn fault for being stupid enough to believe that Tom would ever restrict himself to one lover at a time. No, they‘d never actually said their relationship was exclusive, but Chakotay hadn‘t so much as thought about anybody else, he‘d even been blindly optimistic enough to think Tom felt the same way, and yet, here was Tom ... with Megan Delaney... damn.

He skipped breakfast and reported early for his duty shift. He couldn‘t possibly stomach any food, anyway. Thank the gods Tom was off duty today. Chakotay didn‘t trust himself to see the man right now. He wasn‘t sure in exactly which way he‘d humiliate himself—either fall down on his knees begging Tom to stay away from Megan, or smash his fist into Tom‘s face—but he knew it would be one of the two.

Kathryn was watching him, concern clear in every line of her face. Chakotay used every ounce of control in his possession to wipe the emotions from his face. It wasn‘t enough. After a few hours of watching Chakotay fidget in his chair, Janeway called him into her Ready Room.

"Chakotay," she said, as soon as the doors had shut behind them, "what‘s wrong? You look awful."

"Nothing," he tried out experimentally, keeping his eyes on the floor.

"What, now you‘re keeping secrets from me? This is hardly the time to start being coy, Commander. It‘s Tom, isn‘t it." Her tone of voice made it a statement, rather than a question. He made an inarticulate noise of frustration. "Yes."

"What did he do?"

"Why do you assume he did anything?"

Janeway was taken aback. "I don‘t know; you looked so upset, I thought something must have gone wrong, he hurt you somehow..."

"He did. But it‘s not his fault. It‘s mine." Chakotay slumped down onto the couch, and Janeway sat down next to him, one leg curled beneath her.

"You‘re not making any sense." Her voice was warm and soothing.

"I know." He exhaled noisily. "He did something. Something I hoped he wouldn‘t do, but I never told him not to. It‘s not his fault that he didn‘t live up to my expectations. They were unrealistic in the first place."

Janeway was silent for a minute or two, digesting this. Sad comprehension dawned on her face. "Oh," she said, quietly, and paused, trying to be tactful, "he was with someone else?" "Yes," Chakotay said gloomily. "I saw Megan Delaney leaving his cabin this morning."

"But are you sure they-"

"I‘m sure. I overheard them talking. They spent the night together. They weren‘t sleeping." He sighed. "Dammit, Kathryn. I don‘t know what to do!"

"Talk to him," she suggested.

"You always say that."

A half-smile curved her lips. "It‘s generally good advice." "Not in this instance. I‘m afraid to see him. I think I might hit him."

"Really, Chakotay, I think that‘s highly unlikely." "No, it isn‘t. I‘m so angry at him. I‘ve been trying to calm down all morning, tell myself that he hasn‘t broken any promises to me, but still, I think if I see him, I‘ll probably hit him." Kathryn cocked her head to one side, studying him carefully, then made the careful pronouncement, "You‘ve really got it bad." "You think so?" Chakotay felt like he‘d just been diagnosed with a terminal disease.

"Definitely. The look on your face ... you‘re in love with him."

"Gods, I hope not," Chakotay prayed.


"Because he obviously doesn‘t feel the same way. If he did, he wouldn‘t have done this."

"Oh, I don‘t know about that," Janeway mused. "I really think you should talk to him. You might be surprised at what you find out." "Kathryn, you sound like you know something I don‘t." "No, not really," Janeway said with a smile. "But remember, I knew his father fairly well. Tom‘s a lot like him, even though neither one of them would ever admit it..." Her eyes lost focus as she remembered, then she snapped back to the present. "Talk to him, Chakotay. Don‘t wait too long."

Chakotay acknowledged the advice with a disconsolate shrug, and returned to the bridge for the rest of his shift. It passed by painfully slowly, and it was with relief that he trudged back to his room, hours later, to replicate a small dinner of vegetables and cheese. He couldn‘t face the mess hall; when he‘d left the bridge, he‘d told Kathryn that he would talk to Tom that night, in Sandrine‘s, and he didn‘t want to risk running into Tom before then, when he was unprepared.


At around 2230 hours, Chakotay nursed his drink at a table in a corner of the bar. His eyes flew around the room every few minutes, searching for the one person he wanted to see more than anything, and was desperately afraid of seeing. Janeway was finishing up her synthale. "I still think this is a bad idea."

"Why? You‘re the one who told me to talk to him." "But not here. It‘s too crowded. How will you be able to have a serious discussion in the midst of all this noise?" "I need to do this in a public place, Kathryn, where I know I won‘t make a scene. I don‘t want him to think I‘m just a jealous old man."

"I‘m sure he won‘t see it that way."

Chakotay shrugged. He looked around the room again. Still no Tom. He took another long, slow sip of his drink. At that minute, Harry and B‘Elanna walked into Sandrine‘s. They caught his eyes and waved, stopping off at the bar long enough to get some drinks, and then headed over to the table. "Hi, Captain," B‘Elanna said with a smile. "Chakotay. I haven‘t seen you all day. Mind if we sit down?" She and Harry were already pulling out two of the empty chairs. "Captain, did you get my report on the realignment of the tactical sensors? Lieutenant Carey thinks he might have found a way to do the modulations in two steps, so we‘d only need to take the arrays off-line one at a time..." B‘Elanna lapsed into engineering theory, her own special way of relaxing at the end of a long day. Janeway and Harry smiled tolerantly at each other, and settled back to listen. Chakotay let his mind wander. He prepared and discarded several approaches to take with Tom. Gods. He just hoped he‘d be able to keep his composure long enough to say whatever it was he was going to end up saying. His eyes automatically searched the room again.

There was Tom, by the bar, getting a drink. When did he come in? Chakotay took a deep breath. O.k., Big Man, let‘s get this over with. He was about to stand up when Megan Delaney breezed in and headed straight for the pilot. Chakotay‘s stomach muscles clenched and tightened. Megan threw one arm around Tom‘s neck, and whispered something in his ear. Tom smiled gently, and shook his head.

Chakotay couldn‘t stop himself from staring at the scene. Tom had disengaged himself from Megan, but still had one hand on her arm. They kept talking. Finally, pouting dramatically, Megan left, and went to join her sister, who was sitting at a table with Chell and Dalby. Tom scanned the room, smiling when his eyes lit on Chakotay. Bringing his drink with him, he headed over to the table. "Hi guys," he said, pulling out the last chair. "Mind if I join you?"

"The more the merrier," B‘Elanna said, stopping her lecture mid- stream. "How was your day off?"

"Great," Tom said with a smile. "I slept a lot."

"Didn‘t get a lot of sleep last night?" Chakotay asked, frostily. He‘d wanted to be calm, but there was no way, no way at all, not after seeing Tom and Megan together. Rage burned through him, made him forget all his carefully planned speeches. Tom was looking at him curiously. He teased, cautiously, "I never seem to get enough sleep, Commander. Guess I don‘t go to bed early enough."

"Oh, I doubt that‘s it," Chakotay sneered. "I don‘t think it‘s when you go to bed, Lieutenant."

"*What* is your problem?" Tom asked, leaning back in his chair and setting his jaw. "Did I do something to piss you off?" "I don‘t know, Tom. Did you? Maybe we‘d better ask Megan Delaney. How much sleep did she get last night?" Tom flushed angrily as comprehension dawned on him. "That‘s not really any of your business."

"Oh, I think it is." Chakotay could feel Janeway‘s warning hand on his arm, but he shrugged it off. This was the wrong approach, absolutely the wrong approach, but he was so damn mad, he couldn‘t stop himself. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see B‘Elanna‘s eyes flying back and forth between him and Tom. "How did you find out?" Tom asked quietly, tension in every syllable. His eyes were glued to the table. "Does it matter? I know. Were you going to tell me?" "I don‘t know. I hadn‘t thought about it." Tom‘s voice was becoming a little bit hostile in response to the harshness in Chakotay‘s tone. His eyes were still elsewhere. "That‘s your biggest problem, Paris. You never think about anything. You just go ahead and do it."

"What the hell, let the consequences be damned..." Tom whispered softly, staring into his drink. His eyes were flashing with anger when he looked back up. "I never promised you anything, Chakotay. You‘ve got no right to be so angry." "I guess not," Chakotay said furiously. "It‘s not like we had a real relationship." His voice was tight, filled with barely controlled anger. "Go ahead, sleep with whoever you want. It doesn‘t mean anything, right, Tom? It‘s just sex, isn‘t that what you said?" "That‘s what I said," Tom agreed angrily, pushing back his chair and standing up in one fluid motion. "I guess that‘s all it was." His voice was derisive. "I‘ll see you all tomorrow. Megan invited me over for a drink and I‘m suddenly feeling very thirsty." He stalked off, and headed directly for the table where Megan was sitting. He leaned down to talk to her. Megan laughed lightly in response, and stood up when he offered her his hand. Chakotay could hear Megan as they crossed the room towards the door. "What made you change your mind, Tom?" "I realized how stupid I‘d be to turn down an offer from the prettiest woman on the ship," Tom replied rotely. His eyes, blank and expressionless, flickered only briefly over to Chakotay. "Flattery will get you everywhere," Megan trilled. "That‘s what I‘m hoping," Tom answered back. He grinned suddenly, but it looked forced. "I‘m particularly hoping it‘ll get me to this one spot..."

"Pig," Megan said genially. "You‘re just lucky I‘m feeling frisky tonight." With that, she led Tom out of the bar. Chakotay turned his attention back to the table with an irate frown on his face. Janeway was looking at him, shaking her head. "That didn‘t go quite as well as I had hoped, " she said wryly. "Oh really?" Chakotay muttered. "You mean you weren‘t expecting me to throw him into Megan Delaney‘s bed for the evening?"

"No, I can‘t say that I was." Janeway took a sip of her drink. "At least you didn‘t hit him."

"I should have," Chakotay growled. "I‘d feel better." "What happened?" Harry chimed in. "I thought everything was fine with you two."

"He slept with Megan last night," Chakotay muttered. "He did?" Harry asked in surprise. An odd expression crossed his face. "I thought he wasn‘t going to-" "*Excuse* me," B‘Elanna interrupted. "Forgive me for appearing dense, but I seem to have missed out on a major news item." She turned to face Chakotay. "Are you and Tom sleeping together?" "Yes," Chakotay said tiredly. "At least, we were." B‘Elanna leaned back in her chair, stunned. "Shit! I can‘t believe it." She rounded on Harry. "You knew about this, and you didn‘t tell me?"

"Tom made me promise not to tell anyone," Harry said, cowering back a little bit from B‘Elanna‘s irate glare. "How long have you two been together, Chakotay?" B‘Elanna asked, still not quite sure if she should believe it. "About eight weeks," Chakotay said, closing his eyes briefly. He felt suddenly exhausted.

"So it‘s serious," B‘elanna said thoughtfully, then her face darkened. "And he cheated on you with that slut? I‘ll kill him." "That‘s not necessary, B‘Elanna," Chakotay said, with a weak smile, "but I appreciate the offer. Don‘t worry, I‘ll deal with this myself."

"All right," B‘Elanna agreed, although she still looked mad. She took a long drink of her beer to calm herself. A quirky expression crossed her face, and she asked lightly, "You mind if I ask you a question, Chakotay?"

"No," he answered cautiously.

"Given what I know about your preferences," she left the reference deliberately obscure, "and given the time frame of this relationship ... remember a few weeks ago when Tom showed up for the morning briefing with that cut on his forehead, that he hadn‘t had time to get healed?"


"He said he fell in the shower."

"Slipped on the soap, actually," Chakotay said. "Uh huh," B‘Elanna said with a grin. "So what really happened?"

Chakotay tried to look innocent. "He really slipped on the soap."

"Oh." B‘Elanna was disappointed. "That it? He just dropped the soap and stepped on it by accident?"

"Not exactly," Chakotay said, standing up to go, "but you‘re crazy if you think I‘m going to give you the details. Now, if you‘ll excuse me, I‘m going to go to my cabin and break some things." He didn‘t, of course. He tried to meditate, but was too riled up to contact his spirit guide. Instead, he spent the night lying sleeplessly in bed, going over it in his mind. By the morning, exhausted and grumpy, he‘d come to an unhappy conclusion. "You have to end it, Chakotay," he told himself, looking at his wan face in the mirror. "You know you‘ll never be happy if you have to share him." Gods. The only solution, but, spirits, it made him feel sick. He was lost in thought, depressed even, until he walked into the Mess Hall for breakfast and saw Tom and Megan eating together, laughing over some private joke. So that‘s how it goes, he thought. He‘s obviously not losing any sleep over this. Anger burned through him, but he promised himself he wouldn‘t show it. Don‘t let him know he‘s hurting you, or he wins.

B‘Elanna came in a few minutes later, and joined him. She took a glance at Tom and Megan in the corner, and said, conversationally, "He‘s a pig, Chakotay. I‘m just surprised it took so long for this to happen."

Chakotay swallowed his coffee and didn‘t answer. "The thing is," B‘Elanna continued, "he‘s not built for relationships. It‘s a genetic defect, or something. That‘s why I‘ve stayed away from him. I‘ll admit it, he‘s pleasant enough, and even amusing, in an adolescent kind of way, but, let‘s face it, his main attraction is his looks, and that‘s not enough to build a relationship on."

"B‘Elanna, if you‘re trying to warn me away from him, it‘s not necessary. I‘m ending it."

"Oh," she said, surprise clear in her voice. "I was afraid you were going to decide to fight for him. He‘s not worth it." "You‘re wrong," Chakotay whispered. "He is. It‘s just that, I don‘t think I have a chance of winning. He‘ll never want me the way I want him, and I‘d like to escape this with some of my self-respect still intact." He sighed. "I just have to try to get over him." "Uh oh," B‘Elanna said.


"He‘s coming over here."

Chakotay looked up and confirmed it. His stomach sank, and he stood up quickly. "I‘m leaving, B‘Elanna. I can‘t talk to him right now." He brushed past Tom, not looking at his face, not looking at him at all. Get over it, Big Man, he told himself forcefully. You can do it. You can.

Three days later, Chakotay was trying very hard to concentrate on some performance evaluations. He was not staring at the shirt Tom had left in his quarters a few weeks ago. He was not thinking jealous thoughts about Tom and Megan. Most of all, he was not remembering all they‘d shared, and how good it felt to hold Tom, how good it felt to kiss him, touch him, blend their bodies together ... no, he was NOT thinking about it, because only by not thinking about it was he going to get past it, and get on with his life.

He could do this. He really could. So what if he had to spend the rest of his life on the ship with Tom? He was a grown man. He‘d had other relationships end badly before. Seska, for one. That was much worse than this. Much much worse, right? She‘d betrayed him, tried to kill him ... at least Tom hadn‘t tried to kill him.

If only Tom would leave him alone for a few days. Spirits, everywhere he went, Tom was there, and he always wanted to talk. Well, Chakotay simply couldn‘t do that. He couldn‘t look at the man without feeling torn apart by conflicting emotions; the desire to hurt him and to love him ran equally strong through his veins. He‘d taken to hiding out in his quarters at night, so he wouldn‘t have to see Tom except when they were on duty together. He couldn‘t have it all, he now realized, not the way he wanted it.

He‘d never have Tom completely to himself. Tom just wasn‘t wired for commitment. If only they weren‘t so good together. It would be so much easier to move beyond this phase of his life if the slightest, most accidental contacts didn‘t make him want to throw Tom down on the floor and take him. If only he could get Tom out of his dreams...

His door chime rang. "Computer, who just rang my door chime?" He never opened the door automatically anymore; sometimes Tom came by to try and talk to him, and the last thing he wanted was to be cornered in his quarters by Tom Paris. "Captain Kathryn Janeway," the computer replied pleasantly. "Chakotay, are you all right?" Kathryn‘s voice, inquisitive and insistent, came through the door.

Chakotay walked to the door and released the locking mechanism.

"I‘m fine, Captain. Come in."

"Commander," she said, her voice serious but soft, "we need to have a talk. Your ... problem ... with Tom is affecting your performance. I had to repeat orders to you several times today." "I know, Captain. I‘m sorry. I‘m trying hard not to let it get to me, but sometimes ... "

"Look, Chakotay," Janeway said, taking a seat on the couch, "I know this relationship meant a lot to you. It still means a lot to you, obviously. Even if you decide that you can‘t continue with it, you owe it to yourself to finish it right. You owe it to Tom, too."

"I don‘t think I owe him anything, Kathryn. This is all his fault."

"All his fault?" Janeway‘s eyes flashed with irritation, and Chakotay shrank back from her glare. "Forgive me for being blunt, Chakotay, but you have got it completely wrong. This current situation is your fault, you and your damn pride." "My fault?" Chakotay spluttered, indignantly. "Yes, your fault. You agreed to a deal, then decided you couldn‘t live with it. That‘s not his problem, Chakotay, it‘s yours." "He slept with Megan Delaney. Not only once, but twice!" "Oh please." Janeway was exasperated. "You forced him into bed with her that second night, you practically dared him to do it, you can‘t blame him for that. As far as the first night goes, I don‘t know why he did it, but neither do you. You never sat down and talked with him, you just started yelling at him." She patted his arm softly. "He‘s miserable too, Chakotay." "I don‘t think so. He‘s being obnoxious, rude, and nasty. He‘s worse than when this mission began."

Janeway spoke very quietly, "If you can‘t tell that it‘s a mask he‘s using to hide his true feelings, you‘re more blind than I thought."

She took a deep breath to calm herself. "Look, Commander, I have no desire to interfere with your relationship, but when it begins to affect the operation of the bridge, I have to insist that you do something about it." She paused. "Computer, location of Lieutenant Thomas Paris."

"Lieutenant Paris is in Holodeck 1."

"Sandrine‘s," Janeway said, to herself and to Chakotay. "Go talk to him. Get this over with, one way or another." "Is that an order, Captain?"

"Maybe," Janeway said, with only a hint of humor in her eyes. "I‘ll tell you what, Kathryn. I‘ll go see him, but I can‘t promise I‘ll talk to him. I have to see how I feel, when I find him." "Fair enough," Janeway said. "But if you don‘t talk to him tonight, I want you to talk to him tomorrow. I‘m sorry; I really need to force the issue, Chakotay. I wish there was another way, but I must have this resolved, for the sake of the ship." "It‘s all right, Captain. I understand." He rose to leave. "You realize that this will delay the crew evaluations." "The crew evaluations aren‘t due for another month, Commander. You really are desperate for distractions." Janeway gave him a warm smile. "Good luck, Chakotay."


A few minutes later, Chakotay walked into Sandrine‘s. Automatically, as he entered, his eyes scanned the room, and found Tom sequestered in a corner with Megan Delaney. Shit. He stared at them angrily for a few seconds, and at that moment, Tom looked up and caught his gaze. For a brief instant, he thought he saw pain flare in Tom‘s eyes, but then the younger man‘s face turned deliberately unreadable, and he turned his attention back to Megan.

Chakotay growled under his breath. Oh no, he wasn‘t talking to the man tonight, not with this jealous rage flooding his system. He surveyed the rest of the room, and found Harry and B‘Elanna sitting at another table, chatting. Chakotay walked over to join them. "Hi," he said, flatly, and dropped gloomily into a chair. "Good evening, Commander," Harry said carefully. B‘Elanna took one look at Chakotay and snarled. "Will you just talk to him, already? The two of you are driving me crazy.
You‘re stomping around the ship, everyone‘s afraid to talk to you, for fear you‘ll bite their heads off, and he is back to acting like the biggest jerk in the quadrant."

Chakotay snorted. "It‘s not an act."
"Oh, please. You know better than that." B‘Elanna shook her head in disbelief and took a drink of her beer. "Men are such babies, sometimes."

"Seriously, Commander," Harry ventured, ignoring B‘Elanna‘s last comment, "he‘s really hurting. He says you won‘t even look at him now, much less talk to him."

"What does he want me to do?" Chakotay asked in frustration. "Pretend that it‘s all right, that I don‘t care if he sleeps around? I can‘t. I do care. It‘s driving me crazy." Harry took a careful sip of his drink. "I knew it. I knew this would happen. I warned him, but he didn‘t listen to me." "Harry-" Chakotay began, but Harry just shook his head. "No, don‘t say anything. I knew this would happen. I told him you wanted more than sex, and I knew he couldn‘t handle that, and so now you‘re both miserable." He looked up, suddenly. "The problem is, you‘re making the rest of us miserable too." A shadow fell over the table. Chakotay looked up to see Tom standing there, an inscrutable look on his face. Megan was nowhere in sight.

"Where‘s your little playmate, Paris?" Chakotay snarled nastily. Tom‘s eyes widened slightly, his mouth twitched, and a look of anger flashed across his face, but within seconds, the emotionless mask had fallen into place again. "If you‘re referring to Megan," he said warily, "I believe she went back to her quarters." "Going to meet up with her later, are you?" Chakotay‘s voice was cold.

"No." Tom looked at Harry and B‘Elanna, searching for something in their faces, sighing when he didn‘t find it. "Look, Chakotay, can we just talk for a minute?" "Nothing to talk about, Lieutenant. I‘m going to play a round of pool." Chakotay stood up abruptly and stalked over to the pool table, racking up the balls haphazardly, making a terrible first break. Gods, he couldn‘t believe how jealous he was. He couldn‘t even say two words to Tom without attacking him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tom talking intently with Harry and B‘Elanna, frustration written clearly in every feature of his face. Good, Chakotay thought uncharitably, I hope you‘re suffering. He took a few terrible shots, and was preparing to make another when a hand fell onto his shoulder. He straightened up. It was Tom, of course. "Chakotay, we need to talk. Now." His voice was firm.

"I already told you, there‘s nothing to talk about." "Gods!" Tom said, loud enough to attract some attention, "You are such an infant. Things don‘t go your way, that‘s it, it‘s over, write it off as a bad experience?"

"*I‘m* an infant?" Chakotay was incredulous. "I‘m not the one sleeping his way around the ship, Tom."

"For god‘s sake, it was two fucking nights. That‘s it. Two months with you, and two nights with Megan, and you‘re ready to end the whole relationship?"

"We don‘t have a ‚relationship‘, Tom. You said all along, it was just sex." Chakotay heard, dimly, a few shocked noises from around the room.

"That‘s right, I did." Tom was obviously exasperated. "In my book, that doesn‘t mean we have to be exclusive, but I guess you feel differently. I‘m sorry, all right? I didn‘t know." Chakotay mustered his most disbelieving look, and threw it at Tom, who glared back. He seemed not to realize he was in the middle of a crowded holodeck program, because his voice was getting louder and louder. "Jesus, Chakotay, I‘ve never done this before, you can‘t expect me to get it exactly right the first time!" Chakotay turned away angrily, and brought his cue stick up to the table. Tom snatched it out of his hand and threw it to the floor. "Will you just fucking look at me for a minute? Gods, what do you want me to do, get down on my hands and knees and beg? I‘m sorry, Chakotay, I fucked up. I panicked, all right? I panicked and I fucked up and I‘m sorry, but there‘s nothing I can do to change it. If it bothers you so much, I won‘t see her anymore, all right?"

"Not enough," Chakotay growled, still in the grip of his jealous anger.

"Not enough? Dammit," Tom cursed, his eyes blazing, "what the fuck do you want from me?"

"Everything, " Chakotay said, forcing it out from between

clenched teeth. "Your body. Your heart. Your soul." He stared at

Tom for long seconds, as if by reading his eyes he could read his

mind, only vaguely aware of the absolute silence in the bar. His

mind flew back to the beginning of it all, that first kiss shared


this very room, and the heat of it. A terrible longing gripped


  • spirits, what an idiot to think he could get over this—and he reached out without thinking, and thrust his mouth aggressively onto Tom‘s. Oh gods, how he‘d missed this. He forced his tongue into Tom‘s mouth, and captured Tom‘s tongue with his own. Finally, after an eternity, after no time at all, he pushed away, breathing hard. He opened his eyes to find Tom staring at him, blue eyes sparkling with surprise, arousal, and, yes, dammit, humor.

  • "And you say I‘m unpredictable?" Tom laughed, reaching up to stroke Chakotay‘s cheek gently. "There just may be hope for you yet, Big Man." He leaned in for another kiss, and as much as Chakotay had been kissing Tom a minute ago, now Tom was kissing Chakotay. Tom was totally in control, thrusting his tongue in and out of Chakotay‘s mouth, wrapping his arms around the older man and pulling them so close together Chakotay thought they might start to merge into one being. Finally, after Chakotay had lost all track of time, Tom gently pushed him away, steadying him as Chakotay swayed. Tom‘s eyes slid quickly around the crowded room, then landed back on Chakotay. "Well. Since there‘s no hope of keeping this quiet anymore, I say we go back to your quarters and fuck so hard and wild that neither of us can walk tomorrow." He captured Chakotay‘s eyes with his own, and Chakotay felt himself pinned to the wall by that gaze. He swallowed hard and forced himself to speak, "As if I could ever turn down an invitation like that."

    Tom‘s smile was warm and approving. "A good thing, or I‘d have had to take you right here. Come on." He grabbed Chakotay‘s hand, and pulled him towards the exit, ignoring all the astonished stares directed at them. A hubbub of excited commentary followed them out the door.

    They made it back to Chakotay‘s quarters in record time, practically falling through the doors. Tom was all over Chakotay in a second, dragging him towards the bedroom, pulling at his clothes.

    "Wait, Tom, wait a minute," Chakotay gasped, pushing ineffectively at Tom‘s groping hands. "I don‘t understand what‘s happening here."

    Tom grinned, a special bedroom grin that never failed to turn Chakotay‘s knees to jelly. "I‘ll try to explain it to you," he said slowly, in a voice he‘d use to talk to a child. "Right now, I‘m undressing you, then I‘m going to fuck you, and then you‘re going to scream and come for me."

    His hands were roaming all over Chakotay‘s naked body. Naked? Chakotay looked down at himself. When did that happen? He tried to get his mind to focus, but it was so hard, Tom was nipping at him, licking him, pushing him down gently onto the bed, wasting no time in getting to his cock.

    "Wait, Tom, stop, we need to talk," he said, without much conviction.

    Tom raised his head and gave an exasperated sigh. "No," he said firmly, "you think we need to talk. I know we need to fuck. We‘ll talk later, I promise, but I have to fuck you, now." "But-" Chakotay said, weakly. Gods, that look in Tom‘s eyes was devouring him.

    "Chakotay, shut up," Tom said with finality, and plunged his mouth down on Chakotay‘s cock.

    Chakotay moaned. O.k., he wasn‘t going to fight this. It had only been a week since they‘d been together, but, spirits, how he‘d missed it. Tom‘s mouth was doing impossible things to him, all warmth and wetness and suction, pulling firmly with his lips, tracing careful patterns with his tongue. Gods, he loved this, Tom knew exactly what he liked, and took exquisite care to coax every possible bit of pleasure out of him.

    Chakotay moaned some more as Tom‘s fingers feathered lightly over his balls. "Oh yes," he gasped, as Tom dipped one gentle finger into his ass. Chakotay could feel Tom grinning around him, then he felt Tom‘s lips push down on his cock, and go farther, and farther still, and then, oh gods, Tom had him entirely in his mouth. Spirits, when he‘d taught him this trick he‘d never have guessed Tom would turn out to be so damn good at it. "Please, Tom, please," he forced out, thrusting his hips helplessly upwards, and Tom generously sucked a little harder. "Gods, it‘s so good..."

    Tom had two fingers in his ass now, and they were coated with lubricant. Chakotay didn‘t know where Tom had gotten it from, unless he found a tube lying around by the bed, but, oh spirits, he didn‘t really care. One finger rubbed carefully across his prostate and he shuddered with pleasure. "Fuck me, Tom," he moaned, "please fuck me."

    Tom shifted position, arranged Chakotay‘s legs, and pushed gently inside. A look of sheer ecstasy crossed his face, and he moaned, "Oh I‘ve missed this, I‘ve missed this so much." He thrust in and out a few times, gasping, "Shit, you feel good, Chakotay. Gods, I need you."

    Chakotay didn‘t doubt him, couldn‘t doubt him; the look on Tom‘s face was pure want, rampant desire. Tom‘s eyes were closed and he was trembling. He was holding himself back—Chakotay could feel the suppressed tension in the younger man‘s body, and much as he enjoyed a slow, careful coupling, that wasn‘t what he wanted now. He shifted his hips and relaxed his ass muscles, allowing Tom in deeper. "Fuck me, Tom," he said, forcefully, "fuck me now. Don‘t hold back, I want it." Tom‘s eyes popped open, and he held Chakotay‘s gaze for a second. Chakotay tried to convey his urgency through his eyes, and was apparently successful, because a powerful shudder ran through Tom‘s body, and he began a slow, steady thrusting that quickly picked up in both speed and force, until he was pounding into Chakotay‘s body, and both men were gasping for air. "Gods, gods, gods, gods, " Tom murmured, wrapping his arms tighter around Chakotay‘s thighs. "You drive me so insane ... oh GODS how I need this."

    Chakotay couldn‘t stand it, his cock was screaming for attention, and he was so close ... he reached his hand down towards it, only to find that hand knocked away. Startled, he glanced up at Tom, who was shaking his head, "No, Chakotay, I want you to come inside me," which was almost enough to make Chakotay come right then. He held it back, barely, almost losing it anyway when Tom‘s face tightened and he threw his head back, screaming, "Gods yes!" and came like an erupting volcano deep, deep inside Chakotay.

    Tom collapsed, panting, onto Chakotay‘s chest. Chakotay wrapped his arms around him, and ran his fingers through the blonde hair he‘d been dreaming of for the last few nights. Tom sighed contentedly, then rolled off to the side and raised his head.

    "Fuck me, Chakotay,"

    Chakotay was surprised. "Tom, why don‘t you rest a minute. I‘ll be all right-" "No," Tom‘s voice was low and insistent. "Fuck me now. I don‘t want to wait. I need to feel you inside me. I need to hear you moaning, and know that I‘m the one causing it. Fuck me now." His eyes were sapphire laser beams, and Chakotay was helpless before them.

    Tom turned over, and got up on his hands and knees. Chakotay moved, a little slowly, around behind him, searching for the lubricant with one hand, caressing Tom‘s body with the other. "I don‘t understand you," he whispered, gently preparing Tom for entry.

    Tom laughed, but cut it short with a groan as Chakotay slipped a second finger inside him. When he could talk again, he said, "Don‘t try to analyze me, Chakotay. It‘s not worth the effort. Most of the time I don‘t know what the fuck I‘m doing; don‘t think you‘ll be able to figure it out." Chakotay rubbed a finger gently across Tom‘s prostate, and the younger man stopped speaking with a gasp.

    A third finger joined the first two, and Tom was starting to moan. "Gods, I love this, love this," he gasped out. "I can‘t believe I waited so long to try it ... gods." He was panting, and thrusting back against Chakotay‘s fingers in the desperate way he had that drove Chakotay crazy.

    Chakotay was restraining himself with a massive effort of will. Oh, spirits, he wanted to be inside Tom, more than anything, but first he wanted to hear the particular moan Tom made when Chakotay did ... this ... with his fingers. "Uhhh, gods, please."

    Perfect. Chakotay reached around to Tom‘s cock, unsurprised but nonetheless pleased to find that the younger man was getting hard again. With a low groan, he pushed gently into Tom, and couldn‘t help the growl that escaped his lips.

    "That‘s a good start, Chakotay," Tom gasped, "but I said you were going to scream for me, and I meant it." He pushed back, impaling himself further on Chakotay‘s erection. "Yes..." Chakotay moaned. Perfect. Just perfect. Tom pushed back against him again, and in an instant, it turned hot and fast and unbelievably wild. Chakotay felt delirious, like he was moving at warp speed within Tom, but it still wasn‘t fast enough. He grabbed on to Tom‘s hips—he was surely going to leave bruises there—and tried to force himself in deeper. Tom gasped, and Chakotay prayed he wasn‘t hurting him, because he wasn‘t in control of his body, and there was no way he could stop now. They were panting and cursing, sweating and sobbing. Chakotay felt lightheaded, floating just outside his body, but incredibly grounded by the overwhelming sensations building in his cock. He could hear Tom‘s cries get more frantic, knew that his lover was close to coming, again, and felt the silver lightning waiting just behind his eyes.
    "Need you, Chakotay," he heard Tom sobbing, "need you need you

    need you," and suddenly he was coming, they were both coming,

    loudly. Chakotay heard himself scream, damn, it was loud, but

    gods, it was so beautiful, so damn perfect, like the first time,



    Gods, how he loved this.
    They fell onto the bed together, Tom rolling over and gathering Chakotay into his arms. They lay together, intertwined, for a long time, feeling each other‘s heartbeat, hearing each other‘s breath, but saying nothing. A long time later, after his heart rate had come down out of the triple digits, Chakotay raised his head and looked at Tom. "Talk," he said simply.

    Tom tried out a jaunty grin, but failed to hold it. He sighed.

    "What do you want me to say?"

    Chakotay looked into his eyes. "Explain it to me. You said you panicked."

    "I did?"

    "You said, and I quote, ‚I panicked and I fucked up and I‘m sorry.‘" "Oh. Yeah. I guess I did say that." He was quiet for a minute, thinking, running his fingers absentmindedly up and down Chakotay‘s arm. Finally, he said, quietly, "It frightens me, sometimes."

    "What does?"

    "The way you look at me."

    Chakotay was confused. "I thought you liked the way I look at you."

    "I do!" Tom answered with frustration. "You look at me, it‘s like you‘re looking into my soul, and I can‘t ... I can‘t hide from you. It makes me go a little crazy—more than a little crazy—I‘m not thinking, my body‘s just reacting. It‘s so wild; it‘s totally out of control." He stopped speaking, and shut his eyes. Chakotay said, "Go on," encouragingly.

    Tom opened his eyes again, after a minute. "It‘s not like that with other people, Chakotay. Never. And ... it‘s so intense, sometimes it‘s too intense." He paused for a second, searching for the right words. "Sometimes, when we fuck—when we make love—I end up completely exhausted, not physically, but emotionally, you know? It‘s just ... too much." He stopped again, and waited for Chakotay‘s encouraging nod before he continued. "When we were repairing the ship, and couldn‘t be together for a couple of days, I knew that when I saw you again, you were going to look at me, and I‘d explode, or something, self-destruct, I guess. I was afraid of what would happen to me, afraid of what I‘d feel." Chakotay was beginning to understand. "So you slept with Megan because there weren‘t any emotions there, nothing too involved?" "Exactly," Tom said with relief. "It was just sex. Fucking and being fucked, nothing more complicated than that. I can‘t have that with you. When we‘re together, it‘s completely overwhelming, all the time, every time. It scares the shit out of me." "Love can be like that sometimes," Chakotay said softly.

    Tom‘s whole body tensed. "I never said anything about love." "Yes, you did. You just didn‘t realize it." He craned his neck to look into Tom‘s eyes. "Why does it make you so nervous?" Tom held his gaze for only a brief second before turning away. "Look, Chakotay, when I said we‘d talk to tonight, I meant it. But we‘re not having this talk, now. As far as this relationship goes, nothing‘s changed."

    Chakotay sighed. "Tom, everything‘s changed." "No." Tom was adamant. "Our arrangement still stands. We‘ll talk in a month."


    "I said no. Don‘t try to force me into anything, Chakotay. I don‘t react well to pressure."

    "I‘ve noticed," Chakotay said dryly. "Fine. The arrangement still stands. But if I catch you with Megan Delaney again, I‘m going to throw you into the warp core."

    Tom chuckled. "Fair enough." He settled back among the pillows, and was silent for a minute. "Chakotay, everyone on the ship is going to know about this by tomorrow morning." "I know," Chakotay said. "It can‘t be helped. Does it bother you?"

    "No, not really. I didn‘t care what people think about my sex life. I didn‘t want to spread it around because of you. I didn‘t want you to get hurt."

    "What are you talking about? I don‘t think people are all that interested in my sex life, Tom."

    "You have no idea, do you?" Tom snorted. "People have been gossiping about it ever since we got stuck in the quadrant. Everyone expected you to get together with Captain Janeway, or B‘Elanna, or someone more ... appropriate ... than me. People aren‘t going to be happy about it, Chakotay." "I think they‘ll be surprised, Tom, but I don‘t see why they‘d be unhappy."

    "Because everybody likes you, Big Man, and most people don‘t like me."

    Chakotay was startled, and he looked into Tom‘s eyes, and found them unusually serious. "You‘re not still getting that, are you?" Tom shrugged it off. "Some. It doesn‘t matter, I‘m used to it. I‘ll deal with whatever comes my way. I just think you should be prepared to deal with the repercussions of having this go public." "There had better not be any repercussions," Chakotay said, eyes darkening. "Tom, if you get any shit about this, just tell me.

    I‘ll take care of it."

    Tom laughed sarcastically. "Right. That‘ll really get me in the good graces of the crew. Tom the snitch, at it again, except now it will be worse, ‚cause they‘ll think I‘m using your position to get back at them. Forget about it. I said I‘ll deal with it, and I will.

    Privately." He paused. "I‘m not worried about the shit that comes my way, Chakotay, it‘s the shit that‘s going to come your way that worries me."

    "I‘ve been handling shit since before you were born," Chakotay said, dryly. "I think I can handle a little more, Lieutenant." "Pulling rank on me, Commander?" Tom said with a grin.

    "Yes," Chakotay said pleasantly. "Oh, and Tom? I meant it."

    "Meant what?"

    "I really will throw you in the warp core if I catch you with Megan again."

    "I never doubted it," Tom yawned. "Shit, I‘m exhausted." He yawned again. "Chakotay, would you mind if I slept here?" Chakotay smiled to himself. "Oh, I think I could tolerate having you in my bed, so long as you promise to be here when I wake up in the morning."

    "I think that could be arranged," Tom agreed, sleepily. Little tendrils of happiness crept around Chakotay‘s brain. He wrapped his arms a little bit tighter around Tom, and for the first time in a week, thought that maybe, just maybe, things were going to work out o.k. after all. He held that thought in his mind, and drifted off to sleep.


    The End, for now.