Title: Two Steps Back - P8
Author: Cheryl Forbes
Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Pairing: Chakotay/Tom Paris
Rating: NC 17
Series: 8 of 8
Email for feedback:
Disclaimer: Voyager and her crew are the property of Paramount and
not me. Whatever.

Summary: Harry ponders Tom's haircut.

For what felt like an eternity, Harry had stood in the corridor
waiting for his dinner date to emerge. When he had, any
recriminations died on his lips when he saw Tom's head.

While the rest of him came off pretty dapper in tight black jeans and
a white denim shirt, his hair looked as if it been cut by a drunken
Klingon with a dull Bat'leth. It was shorn close to his head except
for the top, which was a shag of uneven blond curls. On anyone else
the cut would look ridiculous but on Tom it enhanced his boyish
features creating a playful effect.

Harry still hadn't made up his mind whether he liked it or not and
refrained from commenting on the 'do' during their uneventful dinner
in the messhall. But now that they were alone sitting in the dimly
lit Observation Lounge on a big overstuffed couch watching the stars
whoosh by, Harry broached the subject.

"What's with the hair?"

The glow from the viewport illuminated Tom's face as he re-directed
his attention, making him appear ethereal. When he smiled the
angelic image was complete.

"Don't you like it Harry?"

Reaching across he touched Tom's nape where the long locks Harry had
fantasized about wrapping his dick in and matting with come, used to

"I'm not sure." He kneaded his friend's neck with his fingers and
being the sensualist that he was, Tom closed his eyes into the
touch. "It's a change."

"It's a start." The pilot murmured as he laid his head back along the
top of the couch, exposing his tender throat.

Seeing it as an offering, Harry moved closer. He had intended to use
words tonight to convince Tom to break away from Chakotay's
destructive influence but maybe that was the wrong approach. If
Harry could show the mellow man beside him what it felt like to
really be loved, maybe Tom would leave of his own accord. He liked
that idea a whole lot better than the pilot regaining his rank and
having to vacate the commander's quarters on a technicality.

Bending over the white expanse of flesh, Harry inhaled deeply. The
clean scent of soap mixed with an earthy unidentifiable odour
permeated the lieutenant's sinuses. Cupping his free hand into the
vee of the black jeans, Harry pressed his lips to the well between
the beautiful pilot's collarbones.

"Harry!" Tom bolted upright.

Now that they were eye to eye, Harry answered the blond man's summons
with a crushing kiss. Feeling those long delicate hands rove over
his shoulders to find a place on his chest excited Harry and he
pushed harder with his mouth. He was about to slip in his tongue
when the palms on his chest found purchase and shoved. The
lieutenant fell backwards into the other end of the sofa.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing Harry!"

"Kissing you."

"Yeah well stop it OK."

Tom was so flustered, Harry expected him to jump right over the back
of the couch and fly out the room. When he didn't, he was
surprised. The pilot took a few deep breaths, then spoke in a calm

"I thought we talked about this, Har." He ran the fingers of both
hands through his curls. "You're my friend and Chak's my lover."

Harry's passion turned to bitterness. "Your owner you mean."

"He's not."

"What are you talking about, it says right in your service record
that you're his concubine."

"You read my personnel file? Harry that's supposed to be restricted."

Embarrassed for letting the violation slip, Harry glossed over
it. "Whatever. However that doesn't change the fact that the
commander owns your ass."

"He doesn't anymore Har. Chak released me this morning."

Released? Harry could barely believe his ears. If it was true that
meant Tom could leave the bastard now.

"That's great Tom." The need to touch the beautiful blond rose again
in him and he moved closer. "You can come stay with me." Harry
dipped his head in deference remembering how the pilot shot him
backward on the lounge. "On the couch of course." Well at least for

"I'm not leaving him Harry."

"But you're free now."

"Yeah free to stay. I'm in love him Har."

The pilot had to be confused. It was inconceivable that someone as
kind and gentle as Tom would choose to stay with a maniac like the
first officer. An idea came to Harry.

"No Tom you don't. You're suffering from what used to be called
Stockholm Syndrome. It's an unnatural bond that develops between
captor and captive. But don't worry, if we remove you from that
degenerative environment and get you some counseling you'll be fine."

Incredibly Tom laughed.

"Well if that's true, it guess it will be Chak moving in with you
because I'm the one that kidnapped him. The concubine thing was my

Now Harry was confused. "You wanted to be that bastard's whore?"

"I thought it was the only way he'd take me Har. I gave him the role
and for awhile he played it. It's only when his innate goodness
refused to let him carry out the charade any longer did I realize
that he really loved me." Tom leaned forward and placed a hand on
his knee.

"Chakotay's not a bastard but he's also not a saint Harry. He made
mistakes, we both did."

"He doesn't hurt you?"

"No Har just the opposite. Like no else I've ever met, Chak has the
ability to make me feel whole and sane. I was lost before he wanted

"But I want you too."

"No Harry, you want the pirate with the heart of gold. You're a
hopeless romantic my friend and that's what I've always loved about

Tom moved forward and closed the gap between them completely.
Wrapping his arms around him, Tom whispered in his ear.

"He'll come one day for you Harry. All you have to do is wait."

Melting into his friend's arms, Harry thought about what he'd done
and what he'd almost done in the name of love. All the evil
attributes he placed on Chakotay had really been his own. He was the
bad guy in this story and not the first officer. Harry moved back a
little so he look into Tom's eyes.

"I'm sorry."

"Ah forget it, shit happens." The bright smile was back and Harry
found it infectious.

"Does the commander hate me?"

"Naw he's just jealous of you."

"Of me?"

"Yeah but he's working on it. It almost killed him to let me go
tonight but he respected the fact that were friends and wouldn't
allow me to break our date." Tom pulled him back, until they were
reclining on the couch watching the stars again. "Anyway were even.
He went to visit the captain in her quarters tonight and she makes me
a little green eyed."

Oh hell the captain! In the emotional upheaval of the past few
minutes, Harry had forgotten about the deal he'd struck with her.
For some ungodly reason she resented the first officer's relationship
with Tom. Harry didn't know the reason the commander was going to
see her tonight but he did know it would probably end with the proud
man begging for something he had no need to. After all the hateful
transgressions he had wrongfully laid at the commander's doorstep,
Harry couldn't be responsible for yet another one happening. He
sprung from the couch and pulled at Tom's hand.

"We have to go."


"And why the hell would I want to that?"

"Because he deserves it. Your beef is with me not him, Kathryn."

Oh how true. She carried her cup to the lounge and sat comfortably
while the commander stood straight as a board in the middle of her
quarters. He was out of uniform, clothed handsomely in black
drawstring silk pants and matching tunic. Chakotay had dressed
casually hoping to set the tenor of their meeting and not to sway her
with his good looks. Pity.

"So you want to have your cake and eat him too. Well you can't have
it both ways. Starfleet doesn't make lieutenants out whores

"He's not a.-" The commander clenched and unclenched his
fists. "Don't call him that."

Oh he had to be kidding.

"You bought him, you fucked him. Tell me commander what else should
I call him."

"That's not how it was." His dark gaze burned into her.

When she saw the fury in his eyes something in her brain clicked. Oh
this was just too good to be true.

"Oh don't tell me you're in love with that sweet piece of meat. Tell
me Chakotay," She got up from the couch and walked up to him. "Do
you fuck Tom up the ass or does he fuck you? The latter I'm

Through gritted teeth the commander answered. "Not that it's any of
your business but I haven't as yet been granted the honour."

"The honour!" She spat. "Do you know how many have had
that 'honour' before you! Before asking him aboard Voyager, I did my
research. In Marseilles he sold his body to anyone with credits to
spare. Sometimes they were ambassadors or some other high ranking
official who got off on fucking Admiral Paris' son but mostly they
were low life scums who were looking for an easy lay. It didn't
matter to Tom, he did them all."

"I've known all that for longer than you have Kathryn." Confidence
was building in the commander's voice and she didn't like it, not one

"He's done a lot of things you or I probably wouldn't have had the
guts to do and one of them is prostituting himself." Chakotay's face
beamed with pride as he spoke. "The others are expressing his true
his feelings when he lived with a father that discouraged the
practice, telling the truth when he had everything to lose and
nothing to gain, giving when it was beyond his means and last but not
least relinquishing his rank to his best friend."

"His rank? Tom told you that?"

"No but it's the only explanation that makes sense. Tom knew how
important it was for Kim to advance in the ranks and knowing it was
within his power to grant his wish, Tom acted impulsively and quit.
He loved being a lieutenant Kathryn, but he loves Harry more."

Except for the last part, Kathryn did know Tom's true nature. It had
been his unforgiving honesty and his ability to sacrifice himself for
others that had impelled her to ignore the advice of her peers and to
ask the man to join her crew anyway. Could she really blame Chakotay
for doing essentially the same thing? She wanted to.

Upon their return from New Earth she had reconsidered the big
handsome man's advances planetside but he had refused her. It had
wounded her deeply that once they were shipboard that Chakotay no
longer had any use for her romantically.

So it had particularly galling when he'd asked her to list Tom
officially in the ship's log as his concubine. Chakotay was willing
to pay the pilot for what she had offered free.

Before his request, their personal relationship was strained but on a
professional level they'd still worked as a successful team playing
off each other's strengths. Afterwards she'd had trouble discerning
the two. Perhaps they should have talked the situation out but
neither of had been very approachable these last few months. She had
been battling her demons and he had been battling his. This
explosive conversation was the first time the subject of Tom's status
had been discussed since its change and having the opportunity to
finally vent her anger restored her perspective. This type of
situation was the reason she had declined a romantic relationship
with her first officer originally. They could be friends but never
lovers. Kathryn decided it was time she showed Chakotay she could be
the former.

"I can't make him a lieutenant."

"Why not?" Flecks of ice began forming in the commander's ebony eyes
again. She warmed her voice to melt them.

"For the same reasons we couldn't make Harry one. You know as well
as I do, there's no room in Voyager's tight chain of command for
another senior officer."

"Yes I know but I owed it to him to ask." Chakotay's shoulders
slumped and it hurt to watch but this time it was a kind of hurt she
could reasonably deal with.

"I could make him an ensign." It wasn't a very strong olive branch
but it was the only one she had. Chakotay understood and took it.

"Thank you but that may not be enough. Tom doesn't see his self-
worth too clearly at the best of times and I am afraid that he would
have a hard time being a junior officer again."

"He didn't have a problem being an ensign before."

"True but that's because he was busted down for doing something he
believed in." A smile she thought she'd never see again in her
presence broke out across his face. "Tom likes the rules just about
as much as he likes breaking them."

"Tell me about it." Kathryn moved back to the lounge and gestured to
the commander to take a seat beside her. When he did she knew she
was forgiven.

"You could still talk to him about it."

"I will. Can I ask you something?" Relishing the easy way he asked,
she nodded. "When I asked you to give Tom back his rank why didn't
you bring up the Fleet regs as an argument?"

"Mmmm the whole concubine thing. Believe me Chakotay I was so angry
that if I could have I wouldn't have hesitated but you took that
option away from me this morning. The change was automatically added
to my morning report."

"Clever girl."

"You're too kind. Tea?"

As the commander acceded to her offer, Lieutenant Harry Kim and
Thomas Paris burst into her security controlled quarters.


"Hurry Harry."

"I am."

"Oh come on. If you can break into Tuvok's crew manifest, surely
disabling the captain's door lock should be a piece of cake."

A frustrated Lieutenant, Tom still liked thinking that, Kim turn away
from the partially dissected door pad. "Do you want to do this Paris?"

"No." He bowed. "I defer to the master."

Harry gave him a disgruntled look, then returned to his task of
breaking into the captain's quarters.

In the turbolift his friend had explain the reason for their sudden
flight. Chakotay was about to make a fool of himself on his behalf
and that was unacceptable. It wasn't that he wasn't worth it. Oh
no, in fact Tom was pretty sure he was, it was just if the big man
was going to do something silly, Tom preferred he'd do it in the
privacy of their bedroom.

"Got it."

The chime went off and the doors opened. In a rushed both he and
Harry entered the captain's cabin.

Sitting companionably on the lounge was the love of his life and his
misguided guardian angel. Nobody was begging anybody for anything.
He looked at Harry who shrugged his shoulders in response.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" The captain asked with her lips pursed
in a half smile. She looked nothing like the spurned harridan Harry
had described her to be. For rescue he turned to his lover.


OK that wasn't much help. Chakotay wore the same complacent half
smile the captain did. Not knowing what else to do, he threw the
ball into Harry's court.

"Uh Har?"

The lieutenant shot bullets at him with his eyes before turning to
his commanding officers.

"Tom and I thought there might be a problem. Right Tom." Harry
deftly threw the ball back at him. Fuck.

Thinking that maybe they should have discussed what they were going
to do once they got here, Tom reluctantly carried the ball. He said
the first thing that came to mind.

"I don't want to be a lieutenant."

After the words left his mouth, Tom realized how true they were. He
wanted to fly Voyager, he wanted to be friends with Harry and above
all else he wanted to be with Chakotay. He didn't need rank for any
of those things.

"Captain am I still chief pilot?"

Her smiled broadened and she nodded. "I don't think Voyager would
have it any other way. Her helm belongs to you Tom."

"Fine. Harry," He turned to his friend next. "Am I still your best
friend even though I can be a real shit sometimes?"

Harry punched his arm affectionately. "Yeah in fact I'm kinda of used
to it."

Tom gave the lieutenant a quick hug and then turned to the reason he
was here and he didn't just mean in this room.

"Chak I love you and I would be anything you wanted me to be if it
made you happy but," Tom walked over to the commander who stood at
his approach. "If it's all the same to you I'd rather just be the
captain of your heart than a lieutenant on Voyager."

"Take two steps back."


"So I have room to get down on one knee and propose to the captain of
my heart."

Tom moved.