Title: Who You Want Me to Be: Tom's Masks
Authors: Leone and Chuckles
Archive: Cha_Club, TPD, Paris Nights, CPSG, cp_eternal. Anywhere else,
Feedback: <email@example.com> and <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Disclaimer: The author owns nothing here except the ideas behind the story.
Chakotay and Tom would be happier people if she *did* own them, but
that's a story for another time...
Summary: This is the sequel to The Faces of Chakotay
When the alarm awakens me, I'm startled to feel myself spooned up behind
a slender and obviously male form. The surprise only lasts for a moment,
then I remember. I couldn't sleep last night, so I went to the holodeck. I
discovered that Sandrine's was running, and suspected that Tom Paris was
also suffering from a bout of insomnia. I was right. Not only couldn't he
sleep either, but judging from his conversation with Sandrine, I was the
At first he didn't notice me, so I eavesdropped. I know that I shouldn't
have, but as I entered, I heard him mentioning my name and I was
curious. He was wondering about my recent behavior toward him. When
he told Sandrine that he didn't know what it meant, I couldn't help it. I
had to tell him.
The sound of my voice made him stiffen for a moment. Then he turned
around to look at me, his face a mask of polite interest. He pretended that
he hadn't heard my words, or maybe he just thought he heard wrong. In
any case, he asked me to repeat what I'd said, which I did.
Despite the expressionless mask he wore when I revealed that I was aware
of his feelings for me, I knew that he was panicking. However, that only
lasted for a moment, then my words sank in. I could tell the instant he
realized that I returned his feelings. That was when all masks dropped to
show uncertainty and an amazing vulnerability.
A slight movement from Tom interrupts my recollection and I glance down
at him. He's still sleeping, and his face seems younger in repose. I sigh
softly and bend down to brush a kiss across his forehead. Then I gently
disengage from his embrace, slide out of bed and walk into the bathroom.
I turn on the shower and step into the stall. I stand under the spray of
water for a moment, then move back, pick up the shampoo and wash my
hair. After I've let the water rinse the shampoo out, I step back again and
pick up the soap. Working up a lather, I wash quickly, then move under the
spray of water one last time to rinse the soap away.
While I towel off my hair, I consider whether or not to get dressed. Looking
at my still-sleeping lover, I decide not to. I throw the towel into the
refresher, pick up my robe and slide it on, then walk into the living room.
"Computer, what time is it?" I call as I move across the room to the
"The time is 0700 hours," the computer informs me.
My eyebrow rise at this. I spent longer in the shower than I thought. It's
time to wake Tom. I sigh softly and order a cup of my morning tea and a
cup of coffee for Tom. When the beverages materialize a moment later, I
pick up the cups and carry them into the bedroom where I put them on the
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, I reach out a hand and stroke Tom's
soft hair, trying to awaken him. He sighs gently and rolls to his side,
facing me. I feel a smile tugging at my lips. He's a sound sleeper. Moving
my hand down to lie against his cheek, I call his name, hoping this will
wake him. "Tom."
It doesn't work. He just sighs again and nuzzles my hand. My smile widens
and I try again. "Tom. Wake up. Your coffee's getting cold."
He murmurs something too low for me to hear, then his eyes flutter a few
times before they open. He blinks a couple of times, then focus. Something
like relief crosses his face when he sees me. "Chakotay," he breathes and
smiles. "I thought last night was another dream."
"It wasn't," I assure him gently. I don't comment on the 'another dream'
remark. Not because I'm not curious, but because we don't have time for
"I'm glad," he says and sits up. "Did you say something about coffee?"
I grin at him, then reach over and pick up his cup, handing it to him. "Yes.
I said that it's getting cold," I tell him, then take a sip my tea.
"Thanks for waking me, then," he says. "I *hate* cold coffee."
"I think most people do," I comment, then watch in silence as he quickly
drains his cup and put it on the nightstand. I take another sip of my tea
before placing my cup beside his. Then I lean forward and capture his lips
in a gentle kiss, which he promptly returns.
The taste of my lover makes me forget everything, and only the need for air
breaks us apart. Breathing heavily, we just sit, gazing at each other for
awhile. Then Tom sighs and asks, "What time is it?"
"The time is 0715 hours," the computer answers blandly.
Tom curses and moves to get out of bed. "Do you mind if I borrow your
shower?" he asks. "I promised to meet Harry for breakfast in fifteen
"Go ahead," I tell him. "I'll just finish my tea and get dressed while you
"Thanks, Chakotay." Tom flashes me a quick smile as he heads for the
"You're welcome, Tom," I say and watch his lovely ass until the bathroom
door closes behind it. Then I finish my tea before picking up Tom's empty
cup and carry both to the recycler. As soon as I've gotten rid of the cups,
I walk over to the replicator and order a fresh uniform for Tom. When it
materializes, I pick it up and return to the bedroom. I put it on the bed,
then get one of my own.
I'm almost finished getting dressed when Tom comes out of the bathroom, a
towel around his waist. He stops and watches me for a moment, then glances
at the bed and notices the uniform. "Thanks, Chakotay," he says with a soft
smile, "But you didn't have to use your rations to replicate me a fresh
"Well, if you're meeting Harry for breakfast at 0730, you don't have time to
go to your quarters to get one," I point out.
"I know, but I meant that I could've used my own rations."
I shrug. "I know, but I wanted to," I tell him softly.
He smiles at me, then removes the towel and gets dressed. When he's done,
we move into the living area of my quarters. Walking to the door, we stop
just before triggering the sensors that opens it. Tom leans in and kisses me
gently, but with great passion.
When we break apart, he gives me another smile, before stepping closer to
the door, opening it. In the doorway, he turns to look at me and says, "See
you on the bridge." He waits until I've nodded my agreement, then leaves
for the mess hall.
The doors slide closed behind Tom, and suddenly my cabin seems very
empty. It's too quiet without him. After spending just one night together, I
already miss him.
Now that he's left, my assurance to him that last night was real and not a
dream seems less convincing. I look around my quiet living area and it's as
though he has never been here. There doesn't seem to be a trace of my
Except. What's that down by the couch?
I walk over to look, bending down to pick up the tiny object. It's a button.
One of those that went flying when Tom became impatient and ripped open
I smile brightly. Last night was real, after all.
I wander into the bedroom to look for my shoes, and my smile widens
further at the scene that greets me. Any remaining doubts about the previous
evening's reality are dispelled immediately.
The bed is a delightfully rumpled mess, the towel that Tom used to dry that
gorgeous body of his still lying where he left it. I walk over and pick the
towel up, gently rubbing my face with it just once, before taking it to the
refresher and putting it in.
I suppose I should tidy the bed, but I think I'll leave it until later. I
can't quite bring myself to remove the evidence of what Tom and I did last
night. Not yet, anyway. I want to come back to this sight later, after my shift.
I want to relive that first time in my mind, surrounded by all the wonderful
reminders that I see here.
I sigh happily, and bend down to check under the bed, still hunting for my
shoes. My stomach growls as I move though, and I decide I really ought to
have some breakfast. I stand back up, not having found my footwear, and
return to my living area.
As I enter, I spot my shoes. One is lying beneath my table and the other has
somehow found its way onto the chair beside it. When I took them off, I
obviously had more important things on my mind than where I was leaving
Smiling, I cross to the replicator to check my account. My balance appears,
and I realize that I don't have enough to order breakfast. I'm not bothered,
though. Using my rations to replicate Tom's uniform was something that I
wanted to do.
I want to take care of him, show him how much I love him. I know he
doesn't expect me to shower him with material goods, try to 'buy' his love,
but I relish being in a position now where I can do things for him. I want
to share everything I am with him, and everything I own, too.
Most of alpha shift is in the mess hall when I arrive, including the
Captain. I move to the counter, greeting Neelix as I select my breakfast.
"Good morning, Neelix."
"Good morning, Commander," Neelix replies with a smile. "Do you want
some coffee?" When I nod, he pours me a cup and hands it to me. "Here you
go, Commander. Enjoy your breakfast."
"I will," I reply, then turn and walk over to sit with the Captain, like I
usually do. I'd prefer to sit with Tom this morning, but I don't want to
intrude on his time with Harry. Fortunately, I have a clear view of my lover
from where I'm sitting.
Tearing my eyes away from Tom, I turn my attention to the woman across
from me. As expected, she's practically wrapped around her cup of coffee,
and I smile slightly at the sight. "Good morning, Captain. Awake yet?"
Kathryn looks at me. "Barely," she answers, keeping her voice low enough
that no one else hears. For a moment, she studies me in silence, undoubtedly
taking in my extremely good mood. "You're in a very good mood this
morning," she finally remarks.
I know Kathryn well enough to hear her unvoiced question, but I just smile
at her. "I am," I tell her without answering, or even acknowledging, the
She looks at me quizzically for a moment, then realizes that I'm not going
to say anything else. "You're not going to tell me the reason, are you?"
I pretend to consider it, then shake my head 'no'. "Not right now, and
definitely *not* here."
Kathryn shrugs. "Oh, well, perhaps I'll wheedle it out of you later," she
sighs before taking another drink of her coffee.
I'm grateful that she doesn't pursue the matter. I want to enjoy the secrecy
awhile longer. Besides, when we reveal our relationship, we're going to
agree about it. *And* it's not going to happen in the mess hall. Sandrine's,
maybe, but *not* the mess hall.
I lift my cup and just as I'm about to take a sip of my coffee, the
expression on Tom's face catches my eye. Anyone else looking at him would
only see the calm, pleasant expression on his face, but someone who knows
him can see that he's upset. I glance at Harry to see if he's noticed. From the
apologetic expression on his face, he obviously has.
I suppress my urge to go to Tom to find out what's wrong. Maybe I'll ask
him later, when we're alone. Or perhaps I shouldn't pry. I'm sure if it's
something he wants me to know, then he'll tell me. Yes, I think that would
be best. I mustn't control him. He's always been a free spirit and I would
like him to remain that way.
I shake off my thought and realize that Tom is looking at me. I meet his
eyes and am surprised to see the warmth and softness in the blue orbs. I
saw it last night, and again this morning, but this is the first time I've ever
seen it in public. The fact that it's directed at me makes it almost impossible
not to go over and kiss him senseless.
Before I can give in to my desire to go and kiss my lover, reality, in the
form of Kathryn's voice, intrudes. "Well, Chakotay, if you've finished your
breakfast, I think we're due on the bridge."
I turn my attention back to her and nod. "You're right," I say, then finish
my coffee and rise from my chair.
We pick up our trays and take them to the recycler. On the way out, we stop
at Tom and Harry's table for a moment. "We'll see you on the bridge,
gentlemen," Kathryn says. "Don't be late."
The Captain's ready room, three hours later
I've barely sat down when Kathryn verbally pounces on me. "All right,
Chakotay. What's going on with you and Tom?" she asks.
I sigh mentally, but am not really surprised. Despite my best intentions, I
haven't really been able to keep away from Tom all morning. I think I've
been out of my chair and standing beside him more in the last three hours
than I have since we were stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Not to mention
the fact that I've barely been able to keep my hands off of him. It's no
wonder Kathryn noticed.
Shaking off my thoughts, I meet her eyes. I know that there's no way she'll
let me get out of telling her. That doesn't mean, however, that I want
anyone else to know until Tom and I agree to go public. "You can't tell anyone
else, Kathryn," I say seriously. "I don't want this all over the ship."
Kathryn frowns slightly. "This sounds serious."
I shrug. "It is. Tom and I are involved in a relationship," I say, then sit
back and wait for her reaction.
"I see," she says slowly, then sits in silence for a moment, obviously
digesting this. "When did this happen?" she finally asks.
"Last night," I answer. "Which is why I don't want everyone to know just
yet." At her quizzical look, I elaborate. "It's not that we've decided to
keep it a secret, but we haven't had time to discuss *anything*. And I,
for one, would like to keep our relationship to ourselves for awhile."
Kathryn smiles in understanding. "You want to get used to being in a
relationship with Tom, without the crew commenting and making bets about
how long it'll last."
I smile in relief at her understanding. "Exactly."
"All right, I'll keep it to myself," Kathryn says, then grins. "But you
won't be able to keep it secret for long if you continue to act the way you've
been doing on the bridge all morning."
I grimace, knowing that she's right. "I know, and I'm sorry about that," I
apologize. "It's just harder to keep my hands off of Tom than I thought it
Kathryn shrugs off my apology. "No real harm done," she reassures me. "At
least you kept your touches platonic, and you didn't break any major
regulations. A minor one, maybe, but then, I've been known to do that too
I decide not to comment on that. "Still, I'll try not to again," I promise.
Kathryn smiles again. "As long as you keep it platonic, and don't touch him
constantly, I don't mind," she tells me, no doubt realizing how difficult
it'll be for me to keep my promise, especially at the moment. Then she smiles
mischievously. "But I think there's one other person who's going to know."
I lift an eyebrow quizzically. "Oh? Who?"
"Harry Kim," Kathryn answers. "I'm not the only one who noticed your
behavior. Ensign Kim did too, and he's been sending Tom, and you, puzzled
looks all morning. I'm sure he'll ask Tom about it at the first opportunity
Truthfully, I've noticed Harry's glances as well, but I'm not so sure that
Tom will be answering his questions any time soon. Unlike Kathryn, I also
noticed how Tom deliberately ignored every single one of Harry's looks.
Obviously my lover is still upset about whatever Harry said to him at
Kathryn's voice intrudes on my thoughts. She must've picked up on my
doubt, because she asks, "Don't you agree, Chakotay?"
I think about it for a moment longer, then decide that she's probably right.
After all, Harry *is* Tom's best friend. Besides, I can't recall ever seeing
the two of them at odds for long. The two of them will be fine by dinner
time, if not earlier. "I guess you're right, Kathryn," I tell her with a
Having obviously gotten the information she wanted, Kathryn changes the
subject. Crew evaluation is coming up in less than two weeks, and we need
to decide how to split them up.
Well, my shift is finally over. I thought it would never end. Kathryn and I
had to spend an extra hour on the bridge after the rest of alpha shift left,
negotiating our passage through a part of space that we didn't realize was
claimed by any one species. It seems we were wrong.
Just before lunchtime, a large warship suddenly appeared right in front of
us, demanding we turn around and leave the area. It took a lot of diplomacy
and our continual assurance that we would not deviate from the flight path
they gave us, before we were allowed to proceed.
Now our 'friends' have gone, I can relax again and look forward to my
evening with Tom. I step into the turbolift, my stomach growling loudly. I
realize then, that I haven't eaten since breakfast. Instead of going
straight to my quarters, I decide to go to the Mess hall first so instruct the
'lift to take me there.
The 'lift stops a few moments later, and I step out. The corridor outside is
empty, but as I walk further on I can hear voices ahead. I stop as I realize
the voices belong to Tom and Harry.
I debate whether to continue and let my presence be known. I'm still
wondering what to do when I hear Tom raise his voice slightly.
"It wasn't so much *what* you said, Harry, rather than the *way* you said
it," I hear Tom say. "You sounded like you were really disgusted by the
I can't leave now, even if I want to. I have to hear Harry's response.
Perhaps I'll find out the reason for the strange looks he's been giving
Tom and me all day.
"I'm sorry. Tom," Harry mumbles. "I didn't know what to think. We'd been
discussing who would be a suitable date for *me* when you suddenly
started talking about same-sex relationships. I thought you were coming on
to me. I didn't realize you were trying to talk to me about you and
Chakotay. Not until I saw the way he kept hovering around you on the bridge.
That's when it sunk in that you two are a couple. I wish you'd just come straight
out and told me, Tom."
So Harry's worked it out. He doesn't sound too upset by the idea, he was
obviously just a little confused. I can tell that Tom understands now as his
voice returns to its normal level when he replies. "It's okay, Harry. It
seems we had our wires crossed."
I decide to continue on to the Mess hall now, although I won't let Tom or
Harry know that I've heard anything. It was just a misunderstanding between
friends, nothing for me to become involved in. I walk forward and Tom
looks up as I approach. He gives me such a bright smile that I again feel
like rushing to him and kissing him senseless. I wonder how long he'll affect
me this way?
Will I feel this sudden rush of desire *every* time I see him?
"Hi, Chakotay," he says, stepping forward to meet me. He puts his hand on
my shoulder and a tingle runs right through my body. I look into his eyes,
and smile. It seems I'm not the only one affected by the touch.
"Hi, Tom," I reply, trying hard to control the impulse to just grab him and
run my hands over his beautiful body. "Still free this evening?" I ask,
positive that the answer is 'yes'.
"Of course," he replies with another smile. "In fact, I'm free right now.
Want to come back to my place for a snack?"
His eyes are sparkling, I think he has more on his mind than just food. I
know *I* do. "I'd love to, Tom," I answer.
He turns to Harry then. "I'll see you tomorrow, Harry. We'll meet for
Harry nods. "Yeah, sure, Tom," he replies. "I'll see you then. And sorry
Tom smiles. "That's okay. It was just as much my fault as yours. Let's just
Harry looks relieved as he smiles. "Thanks, Tom. Bye, Commander," he
says, then walks away, leaving Tom and me on our own in the corridor.
Before Harry has left completely, however, Tom calls out to him. "Harry,
wait up a minute." Then he turn to me. "Don't go anywhere. I'll be right
"All right," I say, wondering what's on Tom's mind. I watch my lover hurry
over to his best friend and say something. Unfortunately, they are too far
away for me to hear what's being said. Whatever it is, it makes Harry nod in
agreement before he resumes walking.
Tom turns around and returns to me with a smile. When he reaches me, he
looks around, checking to see if we're alone. Seeing that we are, he leans
in and gives me a soft kiss. "Sorry about that," he says. "But I had to ask
Harry not to tell anyone about us yet."
I smile, pleased that even though we haven't had time to discuss it, Tom and
I agree about keeping our relationship to ourselves for now. "I told the
Captain the same thing when I spoke to her this morning," I tell him.
Tom doesn't seem surprised that I told Kathryn. When he speaks, his words
confirm this. "I figured that you told the Captain about us. It's almost
impossible to keep anything on this ship secret from her." He gives me a
questioning look. "And since she didn't haul me into her ready room, I take
it that she has no objections."
"No, she doesn't."
"Good. Now," Tom's smile widens. "Let's go to my quarters." With that, he
starts towards the turbolift.
I stop him with a hand on his arm. When he turns to look at me, I tell him,
"Actually, Tom, I haven't eaten since breakfast."
"Well then, I guess I'll just have to feed you before I drag you to bed and
ravish you," Tom says, then resume walking.
I grin at my lover's back as I follow him to the turbolift. So, Tom's in the
mood to ravish me. That's fine with me. I'm in the mood to let him. We can