A while back as story series titled "The Judgment of Paris" by Raku was posted on the alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated newsgroup. It was the first story I had read that treated a Tuvok/Paris pairing seriously. Suddenly I couldn‘t shake the concept and a story popped up demanding to be written, and here it is.
(Hmmmm, if C/P is ceepee and P/K is peekay and P/T is peetee, does that make this a teepee? or would Tu/P be a twopee? or, worse yet, a toupee?)
Mild spoilers for: Ex Post Facto, Blood Fever, Worst Case Scenario, Day of Honor, Investigation, and others.
Red Sands and Blue Skies
by Lianne Burwell
No one realized how close Tuvok‘s Pon Farr was. The date of a Vulcan‘s last Pon Farr is not something that goes into his (or her) Starfleet records, and, even if it did, the chief medical officer would be the only one able to access it, and would need permission to let anyone else know.
Pon Farr is heavily protected by personal privacy rules.
Anyway, about four years after we were thrown into the Delta Quadrant it was Tuvok‘s time.
Okay, so he was a little more quiet than usual, but then he always was quiet. He was a little tense, but then it‘s hard to distinguish tense from control in a Vulcan unless you really know what you were looking for, and very few people on board Voyager knew Vulcans that well. I really started to notice it, though, when Tuvok stopped having his meals in the messhall.
Ever since he had helped prove me innocent of a murder charge nearly four years ago, I had made a point of eating a meal with him every so often. I had told him, then, that, like it or not, he had made a friend, and no matter what the rumors might say, I take my friends seriously. Just ask Harry. Besides, I found - much to my surprise - that I enjoyed eating with Tuvok. We would discuss a variety of subjects, many of which had nothing to do with the ship, its crew, or our situation. Tuvok was widely read, and had interesting views on many topics. Okay, so he‘s a Vulcan and a lot older than me, so it shouldn‘t have surprised me, but it did. Quite pleasantly. And he has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. Most people think that Vulcans wouldn‘t recognize a joke if it bit them, but I can tell you that there are Vulcans who have great senses of humor. They just don‘t go for the blatant, in-your-face, slapstick type of humor. They are far more subtle than that. Sometimes we didn‘t even talk at all. It‘s interesting how you can sit down to dinner with someone, eat, then get up and leave without saying a word and still feel like you‘ve spent a very companionable period. But we did. Even after I got involved with B‘Elanna, I still made sure we shared meals as often as we had before.
You‘d be surprised how nice it was to be able to talk to someone freely without being afraid of bruising their feelings. I even told him once about my experiences in prison - something I doubt I would ever be able to talk to Harry about. Prison wasn‘t so bad - it is the 24th century, after all - but the loss of freedom can be devastating, no matter how pleasant the environment. I think Tuvok actually understands my need to fly. For most people on board, what they do is a job. For me flying is my life. Without the chance to fly, I would wither away. That‘s why I jumped at the Captain‘s offer, no matter what the cost might have been. And as for B‘Elanna... well, there are just certain subjects you don‘t bring up if you want to stay in one piece. Flying, on its own, wasn‘t a touchy subject, But sometimes, conversations with her can be like navigating through an asteroid belt. Or a minefield. You never know what might set her off.
Then suddenly, Tuvok was never in the messhall when I went by. For awhile, I just assumed that he was working on projects and having his meals at unusual times, but it continued for a couple of weeks. I thought about asking him, but Tuvok is a very private person and does not react well to being pushed about personal matters.
Then I noticed that he was losing weight. That puzzled me, since Tuvok is usually so careful about nutrition and caloric intake. Sometimes, I think he spends hours calculating the precise amount he needs to eat in order to maintain required energy levels without gaining an ounce. I also noticed that both the Captain and Vorik were watching him with concerned expressions. That really worried me, but I still couldn‘t figure out what was going on. Even after what happened with Vorik and B‘Elanna, even being able to do math (hey, you have to learn something in Starfleet academy!) I still didn‘t twig. I might never have figured it out until it was too late if circumstances hadn‘t interfered. But they did.
* * * * *
It was supposed to be a straight-forward mission. Pilot a shuttlecraft through an asteroid field, mining for various ores as we went along, then rendezvous with Voyager. Over the years we have lost a fair number of shuttlecraft, and even though the replicators could make the parts necessary to build new ones, you still needed the right elements to feed the damn things.
So, Voyager would drop off a shuttle on the edge of the asteroid belt and then proceed to one of the inner planets to forage for foodstuffs. Assuming no problems, the shuttle would rendezvous with Voyager in ten days.
It was no surprise that I was assigned to pilot the shuttle. After all, I was the best pilot on board (even if that does sound like bragging) and the belt was going to require some tricky maneuvering, especially towing a large container of ore, using just the shuttle‘s low-level tractor beams. This was necessary, since there was no way an appropriate amount of ore would fit into a shuttle‘s cargo space. Instead, that area would be converted into a sleeping area for the duration of the mission. What was surprising was the fact that Tuvok was assigned to work with me. You would think that a security and tactical officer would be better used on Voyager when they were going to have landing parties beaming down to a supposedly uninhabited planet. B‘Elanna tried to convince the Captain that an engineer going with the mining mission would be a better idea, but the Captain just made a wry comment about making sure that the job actually got done. I‘d almost swear she was leering when she said that. Besides, if the Captain says he comes with me, he comes with me.
Not that I was terribly upset with the idea. I had found over the last few weeks that I really missed our mealtime conversations. And I wanted to find out what was wrong. He can‘t hide from me on a shuttle, after all. Right?
He did a damn good job of hiding from me. Even sitting next to me in the co-pilot‘s seat, he was hiding. He never spoke to me, unless answering a direct question, relaying information, or giving an order. Any attempts to start a conversation were met with dead silence. I was really starting to get frustrated.
And he was definitely agitated. Once, I could have sworn that I saw his hand shake on the control panel. This went on for four days, getting worse as time went by. Finally, while Tuvok was asleep or meditating or something, I scanned him with a tricorder and fed the results into the medical program. The results were unmistakable.
After Vorik attacked B‘Elanna while under the influence of his own Pon Farr, I ended up doing some research into the matter. Every seven years Vulcans, male and female, go through a brief period in which all control is lost. Emotional and physical. And during that period, well... To put it crudely, they gotta have some, or fight for it, or they die. I don‘t know... maybe it‘s a form of catharsis to make up for the fact that they control all their emotions the rest of the time. Mature Vulcans can use meditation to control the urges, but the best way to survive is to be with their bondmate, and meditation obviously wasn‘t working for Tuvok. And, unlike Vorik and B‘Elanna, fighting wasn‘t an option either. First of all, no one was trying to take his mate away from him. Secondly, I was the only person in range and there was no way I‘d be able to fight an out-of-control Vulcan and even hope to stay alive, let alone in one piece.
So that just left sex. And again, I was the only person in range.
Because of interference from the high metal content in the asteroid belt, communication with Voyager was not possible. The tractor beam and transporter worked fine over short distances, but the communications gear couldn‘t punch through the amount of interference between us and the edge of the belt. We didn‘t have a stasis pod on board either. I could always try getting out of the belt‘s interference and then calling the ship, but from our current position, it could take several days to work our way out and I doubted that Tuvok would last that long. And, even if he did, what could be done? Doc‘s little holo-program hadn‘t worked for Vorik in his first Pon Farr, so I really doubted it would work for Tuvok. For that matter, he had told me afterwards that he found the whole concept highly distasteful - the only time he ever discussed the matter with me or anyone else, so far as I could tell and I was really surprised that he mentioned it even to me. So he would still have to find someone willing, or else die, but I didn‘t really think he would want to let his condition be widely known. The only time I had ever actually wondered what he would do I had figured it was probable that he would go to the Captain, or maybe Kes before she left. It would have been a logical choice, but it was no longer possible.
Sex with Tuvok...
I haven‘t had much experience - sexually, that is - with men, but it wasn‘t something that bothered me. Besides, Tuvok was a friend in need. Did the idea of sex with Tuvok bother me? Not really, I think. He was reasonably attractive. He didn‘t smell bad. I had never actually considered him as a bed-partner, but there was nothing there to turn me off.
And he needed me.
So... I was going to do it. Now all I would have to do is convince Tuvok that it was the right choice.
Needless to say, it was like talking to a brick wall. If I thought he had been uncommunicative before...
After he woke up, I confronted him with the evidence. He didn‘t try to deny it, but when I suggested my solution he immediately rejected the idea, then refused to discuss it. I tried every argument I could think of, from how necessary he was to the ship, to how upset people (especially myself and the Captain) would be if he were to die. He just ignored it, sitting in the co-pilot‘s seat, starting out the viewport.
Finally, I decided to go for a more direct approach. In a way it was funny. This was probably the first time in my life that I had ever needed to put this much effort into seducing someone. Usually they were all over me at even the hint I might be interested, not to mention sometimes when I wasn‘t. I was rarely ever in the role of the pursuer. But here I was.
So I reached over and took his hand. His skin temperature was even higher than what I knew was normal for a Vulcan. It felt like he was almost on fire. I slowly raised his hand to my lips and kissed the inside of the wrist, then the palm. He was trembling, but not responding. Obviously I was going to have to use every trick in my book. I had just placed a gentle lick on the center of the palm when the hand was wrenched out of my grasp and Tuvok practically flew into the cargo hold, slamming the door behind him.
When I tried to open the door, I found that he had put a series of security lockouts on it. He had also disabled the shuttle‘s little transporter pad, so I couldn‘t use it for a short site-to-site transport. He was refusing to answer my hails.
Now what the hell was I supposed to do?
* * * * *
It took me several hours to get the door to the shuttle‘s cargo area open. If Tuvok had been in full possession of his faculties I doubt I would have, but even a somewhat crazed Vulcan was able to slap enough security locks on to keep me busy.
The hold was dark, but the light from the doorway was enough for me to see Tuvok huddled in a corner. His eyes were glittering with heat. A grimace pulled at his face and a fine tremor was running through his body, as if he were forcing himself to remain still. I moved over and knelt down in front of him.
"Please, Tuvok, let me help you."
He hid his face. A harsh voice whispered "There is nothing that can be done. I recommend that you return to your station and leave me be."
"Don‘t be stupid Tuvok! I‘m not about to let you die! I‘m not going to tell the Captain that I lost her Security Officer and oldest friend while there is anything I can do about it. And, damnit, I am not going to lose my friend!"
I reached out and pulled one of his hands from where it was wrapped around his knees. His skin was even hotter than it had been before. There was no time left for arguments. With my other hand I lifted his chin so that I could look him in the eye. In the back of my mind, part of me was still reeling, mildly shocked that I was actually going to do this. When B‘Elanna had been in this position, I had continually pulled away, trying to find alternatives, even though I thought I was in love with her. But, with Tuvok, there were no second thoughts. No reservations. This was right.
I leaned forward and pressed my lips to his, shivering slightly at the heat rising off of him. At first, there was no response. I moved gently against his mouth, praying for a response. If he didn‘t participate there might still be nothing I could do. Then his mouth opened and his tongue moved against mine.
The taste of him was different, not like a human (because he‘s not human, idiot). I could feel his tongue exploring my mouth with great care and deliberation. I was shivering again, but this time it was with arousal, which almost surprised me. Encouraged by his response, I started to use my hands. First I coaxed him into a prone position on the pallet we had been using for sleep. Then I started to tug at the fasteners on his uniform, stroking each bit of flesh as it was revealed, while still not releasing his lips. The tremors running through his body were growing in strength and frequency.
Suddenly he erupted from beneath me. Vulcans are much stronger than humans, and I had felt Tuvok‘s strength before (that damned mutiny simulation came to mind), but it had always been in a tightly controlled way.
Not now. This was full force.
Before I knew what was happening, I had been flipped onto my back. Tuvok‘s legs held mine down and one of his hands held both of mine pinned above my head. I could already feel the bruises forming on my wrists. Meanwhile, his other hand was pulling at my own uniform, ripping the clasps and tearing the fabric. His lips fastened almost painfully on my neck, sucking and biting, and when they returned to my mouth I could taste the slight tang of my own blood there. I could feel his erection burning into my groin through the layers of what remained of both our uniforms. At that point my brain shut down completely and my body took over. I writhed desperately in his steely grip, desperate for more, wanting him to touch me, use me. "Please, Tuvok," I could barely hear myself through the roar in my ears, "Pleasepleaseplease...."
Then his hands released me to move up to grip the sides of my face, and my world exploded. Oh gods! Tuvok had mind-melded with me before, but it was nothing like this!
Heat. Longing. Loneliness. Emotions more intense than I had ever experienced before. They raged. They overwhelmed. Images flashed by almost too fast to interpret: Vulcan‘s red deserts, Earth‘s blue skies, Tuvok‘s family, mine. They talk about having your life pass before your eyes - well mine did. And so did Tuvok‘s. Suddenly I knew Tuvok better than I had known anyone in my life. Then flesh was moving against flesh and the last shreds of thought fled. I was possessed. I possessed. We were one.
* * * * *
I woke the next morning, lying on the pallet on the floor of the cargo hold. I was clean and dressed in a new uniform. The bruises and scrapes that I vaguely remembered were gone, probably treated with a dermal regenerator. But the residual soreness said that it really had happened, and I couldn‘t manage to find any regret, for any of it.
Tuvok was at the shuttle‘s controls. We resumed the ore mining as though it had not been interrupted, then returned to Voyager only a little later than planned, but not late enough to have worried anyone.
Tuvok was back to his old self when he made his report, leaving out any mention of what had happened outside of the time spent mining. The Captain must have had her suspicions, though, from the penetrating looks she gave both of us, but she said nothing, asked nothing. Then we went back to separate quarters to get some sleep.
Since then, I‘ve seen the Captain look at me strangely a few times. Once, when we ended up in a turbolift alone together, she looked like she was going to say something, then changed her mind. After all, what could she say? "Mr. Paris, did you have sex with Tuvok?" For that matter, what could I say? "Yes Captain. I fucked him to save his life."? Besides, I don‘t really remember what we did. Just flashes. Disjointed images. Feelings.
And Vorik. He looked puzzled, almost confused, and his respect for Tuvok seemed to increase. I guess he figured that Tuvok had "defeated" the Pon Farr with meditation, where he had failed, himself. I don‘t think he even considered the alternative, and maybe that was just as well.
As for Tuvok, he never mentioned what had happened, and I... Well, I didn‘t want to push. I did what was necessary to save a friend and a much needed officer. He had a wife and children back in the Alpha Quadrant. I had a romance with B‘Elanna. What was done was done, and Tuvok was safe for another seven years, by which time we might be home again.
But still.... I couldn‘t help remembering, and wishing.
And the dreams....
* * * * *
Gentle fingers caress the contours of his face. A husky voice whispers "Beautiful. You are so beautiful. Like gold made flesh." Starlight streams through the window, making chocolate colored skin glow from within. Lips descend on his, making him moan, while hands move over his body, until he arches up against the strong body holding him. As he explodes he calls out his lover‘s name, ecstatically.
* * * * *
It was not long after that when B‘Elanna and I decided to end our relationship. Sometimes I think starting it may have been a mistake. The whole ship seems to think we were going at it hot and heavy, even before we were publicly a couple. Fact is, we were barely into the "have dinner together and then make out on the couch" stage. We certainly hadn‘t been to bed together yet. In fact, despite what people may think, I hadn‘t slept with many people since we ended up in the Delta Quadrant. Sure, I love to flirt, and making out is great fun, but sex implies a commitment to me. Even if the relationship ends up not going anywhere, I need to be fully committed to that person first.
So why wasn‘t I already sleeping with B‘Elanna? I‘m not sure. In part, it was because she wanted to move slowly. She‘d never been in a serious relationship before, and was a little hesitant. And maybe it just didn‘t feel right. I don‘t know. Our relationship had started after the time we lost a shuttlecraft while trying to recover the warp-core. The shuttle had been badly damaged, and we had to get into space suits and beam out into space, connected to each other by a tether, before it exploded. During the hours we spent floating, each of us having the other as the only real thing to cling to, we had talked. I don‘t even remember half the things we talked about. And as our air ran out, B‘Elanna told me she loved me. I‘m still not sure what my response would have been, since Voyager arrived then, just in the nick of time.
Sometimes I think that B‘Elanna had really just been scared of dying without having ever been in love. The circumstances had just arranged that it was me she fixed on. And me? Well, I was lonely. I really like B‘Elanna, and I enjoyed flirting with her, but I‘m not sure I was ever truly in love with her. But we dived in head first, not stopping to think things through, and it was very intense for a while.
But since what happened with Tuvok, things definitely didn‘t feel right. When I closed my eyes, it was Tuvok‘s face I saw. When I kissed her, it was the taste and scent of Tuvok that filled my senses. And, when I held her, it just didn‘t feel right. She was too short, too soft (if one can say that of a Klingon) and too curved.
And she could tell, too. In the end, she was the one to suggest ending our fledgling relationship. She said that something had been ‚off‘ between us for a while and maybe it would be better if we ended things while we were still friends. To be honest I was a little relieved. I had been wanting to end it too, but was uncertain how to do so without hurting her. Since it was her choice, she can go on to something - or someone - else without worrying so much that it was her fault.
And we did remain good friends.
Now, if only the dreams would stop.
* * * * *
His lover moves sensuously against the dark sheets, his flesh shining palely in the light from the window. He runs his hands down the lean flanks and moves lips and tongue against the back of the other‘s neck. Slowly he sinks himself into the cool and inviting body. For a moment, he holds still, savoring the feel of the flesh gripping him. Then he moves. First slowly, then thrusting with greater speed and power and urgency. His lover is crying his name as he explodes all over the hand that grips him. Finally he thrusts one last time, following his beloved into oblivion, calling his name.
* * * * *
Tuvok and I started to eat together again. On the surface, things had gone back to the way they were. We still discussed everything under the sun at mealtimes, or nothing at all.
Actually, we gradually started eating together more often. Whenever we were on the same shift we would end up eating mid-shift meal together. I think that Harry was beginning to feel a little neglected. It used to be that I ate most meals with him, but now, we almost never saw each other during the day. We still played pool at Sandrine‘s in the evenings, maybe even more often now that I wasn‘t spending them with B‘Elanna anymore, but we hardly ever ate together. A couple of times, he started to ask about me and Tuvok, and then backed off. Just as well. I‘m not sure what I could tell him. I already knew that I enjoyed Tuvok‘s company, but I was quickly developing an obsession with being around him. On the bridge I could always tell exactly where he was standing, even if I couldn‘t see him. If we were in the messhall at the same time, I wanted to be sitting as close to him as I could. In fact, our lunches were becoming more and more quiet, as though words were getting in the way of things that needed to be said. Who needs words anyway?
We had also started up our holo-novel project again. After we had "finished" the mutiny holo-program it had been jokingly suggested that we should do more together, although I doubt that anyone had really expected us to take the suggestion seriously. Needless to say, though, we didn‘t take Neelix‘s plot suggestion. Actually, we got a little subversive with our programs. I‘m a damn good programmer (if I do say so myself) and Tuvok has a good touch with plots, so we started writing training programs under the guise of holo-novels, and they were quite popular. Our latest one was a "you are the only crew-member still loose after hostile aliens take over the ship, and you must defeat the enemy and rescue the rest of the crew" scenario. Needless to say, it was loosely based on the Kazon incident where the crew had been marooned and the only persons left behind on Voyager were the Doc, confined to sickbay, and Suder. We had also done a variety of other plots, from first contact scenarios to space war games. The Captain says she‘s a big fan of our little "entertainments", and that she can‘t wait for us to finish the new one.
In a way, this was a relief for me. When Tuvok suggested going back to work on the new program, it seemed to indicate to me that our relationship had finally gone back to normal.
But the dreams were starting to disturb me. I hadn‘t had this many wet dreams since I was a teenager! And there was a new twist. I was still dreaming about me and Tuvok, in bed having sex, but sometimes I was dreaming that I was Tuvok, making love to Tom Paris. I really wasn‘t sure what to make of it. Briefly, I thought of going to the Doc and asking for something that would give me a few nights of dreamless sleep, then changed my mind. The dreams were quickly becoming something I looked forward to each night. I didn‘t want to give them up, at least not yet.
* * * * *
His lover lies sprawled beneath him, chest heaving with need. He carefully licks and nibbles his way across the dark skin, laving the hard nipples, moaning at the fiery heat that rises from the dry flesh. Slowly, he moves further down until his face is pressed against the other‘s groin, deeply inhaling the musky scent there. Tentatively at first, then with greater confidence, he licks at the dark shaft. Then, finally, he moves to take the turgid flesh fully into his mouth, drinking in the cries of his lover. The flesh swells further in his mouth, then begins to spurt. He swallows greedily before moving back up to share a deep kiss.
"Oh Tuvok, love..."
* * * * *
It was almost the end of shift when the other ship attacked. We didn‘t know who they were, or why they were attacking us, since they refused to answer our hails. Maybe we were passing through territory that they claimed. Maybe they wanted our technology - a common refrain since we were thrown here.
Or maybe they were just spoiling for a fight. Whatever their reasons were, they appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, diving out of a nearby nebula, and opened fire. Shields were raised, but we had already taken two hits. The hull was intact, but the controls were responding sluggishly. I could hear the Captain giving orders in the background, but all of my attention was focused on keeping the ship flying evasive maneuvers while we fired back. Even though our shields were better than theirs, we were still taking a pounding. We may have been more powerful than our attacker, but he was smaller and slightly faster. It was taking all my skill to keep us out of his range while waiting for someone to give me something to aim for.
Then something caught my eye. Just a small area of the other ship. Don‘t ask me why, but I became fixated on that spot. I immediately began maneuvering towards it, without even stopping to think why. Then, just as we came within range, phasers flashed out to hit that oh-so-fascinating spot, and the other ship disintegrated in a shimmer. I could almost feel Tuvok hit the controls. Feel his satisfaction at a perfect shot.
The Captain was congratulating everyone on our excellent response. I wasn‘t really listening, though. I was too busy looking at Tuvok, a slight frown on my face. Then, when he looked back at me, my heart felt like it had skipped a beat. Warm brown eyes filled my universe, and I couldn‘t look away...
Then my relief arrived, and the spell was broken. I headed back to my quarters to think.
* * * * *
He lies on his stomach, eyes closed, concentrating everything on his sense of touch. Cool hands run over his back, soothing tired muscles. Warm breath blows over the sensitive tip of his ear, as his lover whispers gentle words of devotion. The fingers move to the curve of his ass, this time covered with something warm and slick and liquid. Carefully, they tease him open, as he writhes in need. Finally the fingers withdraw and are replaced. He thrusts back to deepen the penetration, moaning his need. His love moves inside him, first slowly, then faster, then slowly again, teasing him. He clenches his muscles rhythmically, until the golden man behind him starts to buck uncontrollably. At last, warm fluid fills him, he bursts into orgasm without having been touched. He cries out.
* * * * *
The Captain complimented me on my quick thinking during the attack. Tuvok had just barely determined the attacker‘s weak point when I started moving towards it, and she suggested that my skills were improving, for me to have also picked up on that flaw in their design.
But did I? Even now, I‘m not sure why I went after that one spot. There was nothing unusual to my eyes. I even replayed the sensor logs in slow motion, and could not see anything about it that would have attracted my notice.
Tuvok had found a weak spot, and I had maneuvered into perfect position for him to exploit it. He hadn‘t said a word, but I had still known. Had we been communicating on a different level than the verbal? I vaguely remembered him initiating a mind-meld during his Pon Farr. Was that still affecting me? Was that why I was dreaming from both our points of view? All I knew was that I was confused.
I thought about going to talk with someone, but rejected the idea. Harry wouldn‘t understand. In fact, he would probably be shocked at some of the things I thought about Tuvok. Sometimes, being near him was torture. Wanting, but not being able to touch, yet unable to stay away. I looked forward to the dreams each night so that I could have, in dreams at least, what I wanted so much. Poor Harry. He‘s my best friend, and has been since we arrived here, but sometimes he can be such an innocent. He‘d never understand.
Then there was Chakotay, unofficial counselor to the crew. When we had first been pulled here by the Caretaker, he had hated my guts, and the things I put him through when trying to uncover Seska‘s spy didn‘t help matters much, either. Since then, we have established first an uneasy truce, then gradually a friendship, but this was not something I could really feel comfortable talking to him about. He had forgiven me for my part in deceiving him when I brought back Voyager, after it was stolen by Seska and the Kazon, and he had forgiven the Captain, especially after spending those weeks alone on that planet with her, but he was still a little angry about being left out of the plan. Since he couldn‘t be angry at either of us, anymore, that just left Tuvok. Even though he hides it well, Chakotay is still slightly hostile towards him. I think he sometimes views Tuvok as a rival for his position. Anyway, I didn‘t want to test the relationship we had built so carefully by admitting to a desperate lust for his rival. And there was a lot of lust, make no mistake about that.
B‘Elanna was out, too. It wasn‘t just because of our attempt at a romance, though she might be upset if she thought that it fell apart because of Tuvok. It was because of the Pon Farr factor. When Vorik had entered his Pon Farr, he had targeted B‘Elanna as his mate, regardless of her own wishes, and tried to force that choice on her. Even though what had happened between Tuvok and myself was quite different, I doubt she would be able to fully separate the two in her own mind.
And then there was the Captain. Kathryn Janeway. Personal savior. Without her, I would still be in prison, slowly becoming more and more convinced of my own worthlessness. Instead, here I am, trapped almost sixty thousand light-years from home, but piloting a wonderful ship, and I now have more true friends than I have ever had in my life. Everything I have become, I owe to her. But Tuvok is one of her oldest friends. Worse, she is close a friend to his wife and children. Even though she would probably be grateful for my saving Tuvok, I don‘t know how she would react to my growing obsession with him. Would she be supportive? Tell me to forget about it? Be angry at me for trying to break up Tuvok‘s family? I just don‘t know, and I don‘t really want to take the chance.
This is one of those times when I wish Kes was still here. Kind, empathic Kes. She would have understood. She would have been able to give me advice on what to do.
* * * * *
He lies on his back, reveling in the hands that move over him as he shiveres from the mind-shattering orgasm he had just experienced. Nothing in the world was better than this: lying in his beloved‘s arms, his heart still racing, his muscles still twitching. He rolls over on his side and props himself up on an elbow to stare into his lover‘s eyes. A dark hand moves to stroke his cheek and he closes his eyes and leans into the gentle touch.
"Tuvok... Is this real?"
"As real as you want it to be, T‘hy‘la."
"Why is this happening?"
"Because you are my bondmate. And I cherish thee."
He sighs happily, and cuddles up to the warm flesh to sleep.
* * * * *
Tuvok was almost killed on an away mission.
The away party beamed back during a shift where I was working as the Doc‘s nurse. When they materialized, Tuvok covered in blood and barely breathing, I froze. The doctor had to shake me out of my panicked state before I could assist him. Between the two of us, we got him stabilized, and then coaxed him into a Vulcan healing trance.
I didn‘t even notice when my shift ended. An hour later, I was still sitting next to his bed when the Captain arrived to check on Tuvok. She looked at me in surprise, then gently ordered me to go to bed.
When I was back in my quarters I had the chance to see my reflection, finally. The area around my eyes looked bruised, and I looked like I was in borderline shock. I stared at myself in the mirror for a moment, then washed my face and climbed into bed.
Tonight I wanted the dreams, more than anything. I wanted to forget the sight of Tuvok lying in a biobed, so still you could barely tell that he was still alive.
* * * * *
"Shhh, love. I will be fine."
"I thought you were going to die! What would I do if you died?"
"You would go on, remembering that I loved you."
He leans forward to kiss his lover, communicating reassurance with the touch. His lover clutches at him, desperately, and pulls him down. They move together, hard and fast, needing to reaffirm that they are both there and alive. Orgasm is intense and they fall asleep, still tightly entwined in each other‘s arms.
* * * * *
The dreams were really starting to bug me. When they were just sex, I could tell myself that I was just trying to fill in what I couldn‘t remember from the shuttle. Curiosity. Maybe even regret that I didn‘t remember more.
But now, the dream-Tuvok and I were having conversations. He was telling me that we were bonded, mind-linked. Was that why we had worked so well as a team, even without words, during the attack several weeks ago? Were the dreams more than just dreams? Or was I just reading too much into them? I still hadn‘t talked to anyone about this, yet.
I‘ve been watching Tuvok a lot more than I used to. He moves gracefully, like some exotic form of feline. When he sits, he is perfectly still, not tense, but perfectly relaxed... perfectly confident. His skin is the color of a rich chocolate beverage. There have been times, standing next to him in the turbolift, when I have had to restrain myself from leaning over and licking him to find out if it tastes as sweet as it looks. His eyes are calm, dark and unreadable. Sometimes I turn to find him watching me and I shiver. Does he watch me more than he used to? I can‘t tell. Maybe it‘s just wishful thinking.
Tom, you are a lovesick fool.
Harry surprised me last night. In the middle of a pool game, he came right out and asked me what was going on with me and Tuvok. I was so surprised that I scratched my shot..
"What do you mean?" I asked him.
He went on to describe my behavior around Tuvok. The way I look to Tuvok when I‘m deciding on a course change. The way I lean towards him, unconsciously, when I‘m standing or sitting near him. And, of course, he mentioned the whole business during the attack, almost a month ago. He even listed reactions that I was completely unaware of. I was quieter than I used to be, he said, and calmer. People were commenting on the change, and I hadn‘t even noticed. And, since my break-up with B‘Elanna, I wasn‘t even flirting anymore. The Delaney sisters had even asked Harry if he knew what was wrong with me, because I hadn‘t responded to even their most blatant suggestions. That one really surprised me, because I should have noticed. Usually I picked up on these things - even when they weren‘t there at all.
Then, as if that wasn‘t enough, he went on the explain how Tuvok had changed too. Apparantly he was... worrying people. He was more easy-going, more accessible. His people in Security were walking on eggshells, certain that he was planning something. And he was showing a sense of humor.
"Give me a break." I told him. "Tuvok has always had a sense of humor.
People just didn‘t understand it."
"Maybe so, but it‘s certainly become more... obvious. Anyway, both of you started changing about the same time, a few months ago. So what gives?"
I stood there with my mouth open for a few moments, not sure quite what to say, then suggested that he was doing this deliberately to throw off my game. Then, I made similar comments about him and Seven, just to see him blush. I‘m not sure that I managed to deflect him completely, but at least he dropped the subject. He still won the game, though. I was just too distracted to concentrate on what I was doing.
Was Tuvok watching me? I shivered at the thought. Things were suddenly more complicated. If people were noticing changes in both of us, then maybe it wasn‘t just my imagination. I wanted to go talk to him about it, but I was still too unsure. I didn‘t want to face the risk.
Maybe I would try asking my dream-Tuvok....
* * * * *
They are tightly spooned together, in the bed, neither wanting to sleep, both enjoying the closeness.
He feels the curiosity in his love‘s mind.
"What about your wife? What happens when we get home?"
"On the shuttle, when we melded, it broke the last of my link. It was already weakened by the distance and duration of our separation, and the Pon Farr had stretched it further. At that moment, our bond formed, replacing it."
"Oh gods, Tuvok. I‘m sorry. I never meant..."
"Hush, Tom, it is well. T‘Pel will have felt the final break, and will be free to choose a new bondmate when her Pon Farr comes next year. I... hope she will find someone as right for her as you are for me."
"Are... are you sure?"
"While, I confess, I would not have considered you an... appropriate bondmate... before, I cannot deny that we are a good match. Each completes what is lacking in the other. If I could choose, I would not change what has happened. Thee are what was missing from my life."
He sighs, content with what he hears, and closes his eyes to sleep.
* * * * *
Nearly six months after Tuvok‘s Pon Farr, I had reached the end of my rope. If it hadn‘t been for the dreams, I probably could have handled it, but what I experienced in the dreams seemed so real that sometimes I couldn‘t help almost acting as though they were real. In briefings, I was inattentive, too busy watching Tuvok to hear what was going on half the time. On the bridge, I had to keep myself from looking to him for guidance. After an attack, I wanted him to touch me, to calm me. Once, I went to the observation deck during my "night" and found it empty except for Tuvok staring pensively out at the stars. I was barely able to restrain myself from going over and wrapping my arms around him, from asking what was bothering him.
Maybe I should have.
Except for the occasional pool game with Harry, or B‘Elanna, or Chakotay, I didn‘t go out much anymore. I certainly hadn‘t even tried dating since B‘Elanna and I broke up. I had to reassure her that it wasn‘t because of her. Apparently the current rumor among the ship‘s female population was that I had decided to take religious vows that involved celibacy. Several people, including Harry, Chakotay and the Captain, had asked me if there was something wrong. Could they help me with anything?
But, finally, I decided that enough was enough... This needed to be resolved. And, in order to resolve this, I would have to talk to Tuvok.
But what did I want from that talk? Part of me wanted this gone. The dreams. The obsession. Wanted things to go back to the way they were. But that was only a small part of me.
The rest wanted the dreams to be real. Wanted him to look into my eyes, and then touch me. Oh Gods. If anyone had told me even a year ago that I would want a lifetime commitment from a Vulcan - especially Tuvok - I would have suggested that they be committed. But I couldn‘t lie to myself anymore. That was what I wanted, more than anything I had ever wanted before.
"Computer, locate Commander Tuvok."
"Commander Tuvok is in his quarters."
Before I could think twice about it, I was out of my quarters and heading for Tuvok‘s door.
* * * * *
When I was finally standing outside of Tuvok‘s quarters, I almost chickened out. But, no matter what was happening, we still needed to talk about this before it could start to interfere with our - or maybe that should be my -- work. I rang the buzzer.
Tuvok‘s quarters were dimly lit, with most of the light coming from the stars outside the port. It was larger than my quarters, but that was appropriate for his higher rank, and the temperature controls were set higher than I was used to. Now I had an excuse to be sweating.
Tuvok was standing next to the port with his back to me. I was a little surprised to find him not wearing his uniform. Instead, he was wearing a russet colored, kimono-style robe that perfectly enhanced his skin color. I caught my breath, startled again by an intense need to hold him. To be held by him.
"Tuvok..." I stopped, suddenly unable to think of anything to say.
He turned then to look at me. His eyes seemed to glow in the dim light, looking at me as though they could see right through me, into my heart and soul. I held my breath, waiting for him to make the next move.
Just one word, spoken calmly in that beautiful, deep, resonant voice, but it said everything that needed to be said. With one word he had laid all my doubts to rest. I made a sound that might almost have been a sob, and then I was in his arms. He immediately claimed my mouth with a feverish intensity that robbed me of thought.
When I surfaced again, we had somehow moved to Tuvok‘s bed. Both my uniform and his robe had melted away somewhere in the interim, and he was pressing me down onto the mattress, while his lips made a thorough exploration of my neck and jaw. I moaned, and tilted my head back to give him better access. The heat of his lips burned right through me and I yearned for more.
Now that I was thinking again - if only hazily - I started to make my own explorations. I was delighted to discover that all of the touches that worked on my dream-Tuvok worked on the real one, as well. Slowly, gently, we touched each other, each bringing the other to the edge, then pulling back down, neither of us seeming to want to let it end. Finally, when neither of us could stand it any more, Tuvok placed his hands on the sides of my face and I did the same to him. Our minds touched and our bodies exploded. Not even the dreams that had haunted me for so long could match this.
When I came back to my senses, Tuvok had pulled the covers up over us both, and I was curled on my side with him tightly spooned up behind me, a heat that warmed me through to my soul. In my mind, I could still feel his touch, and I poured the love and contentment I felt through that link. He responded with a depth of emotion that I never could have imagined possible, bringing tears to my eyes. Feeling protected in his arms, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, secure in the knowledge that I was home at last.
* * * * *
Fifteen years after the Caretaker had reached out and changed our lives forever, Voyager returned home to the Alpha Quadrant.
While traveling through a rather desolate area of space, still more than forty thousand light-years from home, we had come across a wormhole. Probes showed that the other end of the wormhole linked into the heart of the badlands, ironically very close to the location where our journey started from, but the passage was difficult and our end was unstable and about to shift.
The Captain decided that this was a critical decision, important enough to merit a vote similar to when she offered the choice to stay on the planet with the descendants of the 39ers. After a hasty ship-wide vote was held, the decision was made to take the chance, and I guided us into the opening.
I still have nightmares about the flight. The wormhole was barely large enough for Voyager to pass through. All non-essential personnel clustered at the center of the ship for protection. Sometimes, I think that every difficult course I had ever flown in my life, including Caldik Prime, had been intended to prepare me for that one flight and, even then, it was a close call. The only thing that kept me focused, at times, was the solid warmth, strength and confidence of Tuvok standing behind me.
And so we were home to a world that had believed us all dead for more than a decade and a half. Reunions ran the whole gamut of emotions. Carey was relieved to find that his wife hadn‘t waited for him. He and B‘Elanna have two children, with a third on the way, and are now going to make things official. I look forward to dancing at their wedding. Libby had waited for Harry, much to his surprise. They are planning to take a long vacation together to see if they could still have a relationship. I‘m rooting for them.
And Wildman... Poor Samantha found out that her husband had died two years after we were tossed into the Delta Quadrant. He never got the chance to meet his daughter. I think she plans on resigning from Starfleet and moving with her daughter to a colony world to start over again.
As for Starfleet, they aren‘t quite sure what to do with us. After fifteen years operating less like a crew and more like a family, there would be problems trying to split us up and assign us to different ships. But it would also be difficult to put us on one ship and try to integrate new crew members into the family. Nothing has been decided yet.
In the time that we were gone a lot had changed. The conflict with Cardassia and the Dominion had flared into full war, then subsided into an uneasy truce much like the one with the Romulans decades earlier. And the Romulans were now close allies! Wonders never cease.
The Maquis on board had been horrified to find out that their organization had been essentially destroyed more than a decade earlier. That horror was only partly countered by the fact that their colonies in the old DMZ were now on the Federation side of the new Neutral Zone. Starfleet immediately issued pardons for all Maquis crew on Voyager and offered them positions in the fleet, at the ranks they had held on Voyager.
And me? I received a full pardon, as the hero pilot who had brought the ship home, and was reinstated to Starfleet. They even promoted me from my shipboard rank to full commander. Tuvok has been offered a ship of his own, and promotion to Captain, with me as his first officer. We haven‘t decided yet.
My dad was still alive, although long retired now. He was thrilled to find out that I was "finally living up to the Paris standards," so I really enjoyed the shock on his face when I introduced Tuvok to him as my husband. He still hasn‘t figured out how to respond to that yet. Of course our crewmates on Voyager had also been shocked when we had finally decided to go public with our bonding, but after more than ten years it was completely accepted. Harry says he sometimes has trouble remembering what the old, sometimes bitter, often sarcastic Tom Paris was like. Actually, I was surprised at how fast naive little Harry accepted it.
His only comment was along the lines of ‚what took you so long?‘
And T‘Pel... Tuvok was relieved to find that she had bonded again and was content to leave things as they were. I got to meet her and their children at a reception in honor of our return. They were... surprised to find that Tuvok had bonded with a human male, but their welcome was genuine. I now have a large family and a home on Vulcan that I am quickly learning to prefer to the Paris compound and dynasty on Earth. I‘m certainly exercising all of the Vulcan language skills that Tuvok has taught me over the years.
So the voyagers returned to the place they started from. The future suddenly seems so vast without that simple goal before us. Soon we will have to decide what to do next, but in the meantime, I am reveling in the chance to walk over Vulcan‘s red sands and beneath Earth‘s blue skies for real again. Finally.
NOTE: Most people seem to assume that only Vulcan males actually go through Pon Farr. Being all for equal opportunity, myself, I have always figured that both sexes go through it. After all, why should the guys have all the fun?