Chakotay lay in the darkness listening to Tom's breathing as it finally
began to deepen and even out. He was pretty sure Tom was asleep. He
stared at the bunk over his head and memories of his childhood contented
him for a moment. The sounds of his brothers' breathing lulling him to
sleep as the crickets chirped outside. This, however was no quiet night
at home, he reminded himself sternly. No, he and Tom were in a serious
position. They were about to take on at least two-third's of the
command staff and they might not make it.
Chakotay pulled the blanket around his shoulders, and tried to sift
through options. However, his mind appeared to be stuck in a loop about
Harry, back doors and Tom. Chakotay sighed as he rolled onto his back.
He knew Tom thought he had been put off by the subject, and that was
probably just as well, because when Tom had started that little
conversation, the only thing Chakotay could see was Harry on his hands
and knees as Chakotay punished him for betraying them.
Chakotay smiled to himself and wondered what Tuvok would think if
Chakotay took his little play toy. He had no doubt that if it was just
Tuvok and Harry, Tuvok had played into Harry's sense of duty. He also
knew that Tuvok, despite his calm, Vulcan demeanor had a quirk or two
that he doubted the Captain knew about. Like the fact that although
Tuvok loved his wife, and would never betray her with another woman; he
did like men too. Tuvok also had a few darker fantasies that his doc on
the Crazy Horse had had to patch up.
Chakotay also stored the information away that Tom had itches he liked
men to scratch. He'd have to find out about those itches.
With a determined mind, and an exhausted body, Chakotay finally fell
The next morning, both men were more accustomed to the gravity, but work
was still exhausting. They moved to another area and began to gather
fruits and something similar to asparagus there. However, both men were
drawn to the pool that was there. Tom even scanned the water and then
took a step back.
"What's wrong, Tom?"
"There's something at the bottom of that lake. Tricorder says it's
Chakotay glanced over Tom's shoulder and saw the creature was probably
four feet long.
"Has it moved?"
"Yeah, towards us."
"You watch the lake, I'll gather."
"You got a deal," Tom said, checking his phaser.
Chakotay filled the container as quickly as possible, and they left the
Later, they moved to an area above the lake. The river had cut a deep
bed and it was treacherous walking along the edge. Chakotay looked over
the edge and could see the jagged rocks lining the river and the trees
jutting out of the sides of the bank. It wasn't a cliff, but it was
close. He didn't like it, but this was where there was a vegetable that
was almost as nutritious as leola root. They finally found it and were
delighted to find it had a better taste and texture than leola.
Chakotay smiled, and said, "Let's do it, Lieutenant."
Chakotay was slowly working his way up river, being sure not to decimate
the fauna, but gathering heavily. He was still planning and almost had
the entire idea working, when he heard Tom.
"Tom?" He called, standing up looking back down river, but he couldn't
see Tom for all the plants and trees. "TOM?"
Chakotay quickly moved towards where he had last seen Tom, but there was
no sign of the pilot. Glancing down, he saw Tom's footprints in the
"Tom, where are you?" He looked farther down river and still couldn't
"Here. Hurry Chak, I slipped."
Chakotay continued to follow Tom's steps farther down river.
"Keep talking, Tom."
That was when Chakotay saw where Tom had been. The dirt and plants were
torn up. Chakotay knelt and looked over the edge. He saw a very muddy
Tom Paris hanging from an outcropping of roots, but he could also see
the roots were pulling out of the moist dirt. Chakotay lay down, and
hooked his foot around the base of a nearby tree. Then he stretched out
and wrapped his hand around Tom's wrist.
"Gotcha, Tom," he said, as Tom wrapped his other hand around Chakotay's
wrist. "Easy. This mud is slicker than grease."
"Like I hadn't figured that out," Tom said.
Chakotay brought his other hand down to secure his hold on Tom's wrist.
Tom looked up to him and Chakotay could see the fear in Tom's eyes.
Chakotay almost smiled as he realized he had just paid the life debt.
"Dig your feet into the mud and climb up," he said, as he settled his
weight back to brace against Tom. Tom got his feet under him, and let
go of the branch and for a moment, Chakotay was pulled forward as he
took all of Tom's weight. "Don't lean back, Tom, unless you want both
of us going over."
When Tom got close to the edge, Chakotay scooted backwards, and came to
his knees, pulling Tom the rest of the way up. Tom lost his balance as
he came over the edge and just about landed on top of Chakotay, knocking
him over backwards.
"Get off, Paris." Tom rolled off to one side. Chakotay felt the damp
mud seep through his uniform back and realized he was just as muddy as
Tom was now.
Tom breathed deeply and then started laughing in a shaky tone. He
looked over at Chakotay. "Guess we both owe each other our lives."
Chakotay nodded taking in the very muddy Tom Paris. He reached over and
wiped a large clump of goo off Tom's cheek. "You need a bath, Paris."
"I'm not the only one, Chak," he said, pointing to the large smear down
"Thanks to you."
Sorry," Tom said, sitting up, looking down at his mud streaked uniform.
"And since we don't have the energy for getting our uniforms clean,
looks like we're stuck. Unless you want to take a dip in the pond
sounds really good, but I don't think the thing will like sharing his
space with us." He tried to scrape some of the muck off his chest.
"Well, we can gather some water from that pond, heat it up with a
"Put it in what?"
Chakotay thought for a moment. "A storage container."
Tom nodded. "Yeah, that would work."
"We'll do it tonight," Chakotay said, trying to quell the insistent
voice in his head that was pointing out that they didn't have any other
clothes on the shuttle.
The rest of the day went no better. It seemed that most of the fruits
grew at higher elevations, and they had both spent their time in the
mud. By the time they got back to the shuttle with the last two
containers of food, they were both messes. Sweaty, muddy, and so tired
they were getting punchy.
"Let's go get the water," Chakotay said, pulling his uniform away from
"Tell me about it. I haven't had this much mud in my pants since I was
a kid and my cousin and me started shoving it down each others pants."
Chakotay laughed remembering a heated mud battle between him and his
brothers. That was until his mother had stepped into the line of fire.
If he remembered correctly, he sat down gingerly for several hours after
she had dragged him home by his ear. "I bet the Admiral really
"Forget the Admiral. My Mother and Aunt sat there and laughed and
laughed at us. Especially when we both stood up. I will never forget
the feeling of the mud squishing around in my shorts for the rest of my
"You are sick, Paris."
Tom handed Chakotay a small container. "You're just figuring that
out?" Tom reached down and picked up one side of the container, and
Chakotay took the other.
They got down to the pond and Tom scanned the lake. "Uh, Chak."
"What?" Chakotay asked.
"Well, I got good news and bad news."
"Let's start with the bad news," Chakotay said, turning a suspicious eye
towards the pond.
"I haven't located the bad news yet," Tom said, as he started to swing
the tricorder in a circle.
"It isn't in the water?" Chakotay asked, watching the bushes
"No, it isn't. In fact, it's directly behind you, moving this way."
"The good news is?"
"It isn't in the pond," Tom said with a smile, as he snapped the
"Shit, hit the water, Paris. These uniforms are now officially wash and
wear," Chakotay ordered, as he took three running steps towards the pond
and cleaved the water with a powerful dive. He surfaced to see Tom
right beside him. They raced across it, and climbed out quickly as the
creature's tail slithered beneath the surface where they had been.
"Got any idea what it looks like yet?" Chakotay asked, as they both
started for the shuttle quickly.
"It has a lot of teeth, a forked tongue and a really long tail," Tom
said, pushing a large branch out of his way.
"I think I can recognize that," Chakotay said, thinking about how he
hated sloshy boots.
When they got back in the shuttle, they locked the doors and caught
their breath. Chakotay looked at Tom, who was stripping his boots off.
"Is there any such thing as a normal shore leave when you are involved."
Tom poured the water from his boot out onto the floor. "Oh, about the
same chance as a normal shuttle flight, when you're piloting."
"That was cheap," Chakotay pointed out, as he too removed his boots.
"Like I said, I learned from a pro." Then he laughed as he stripped his
socks off. "Chakotay, what are we gonna do? These are our only
uniforms. We aren't even sure Voyager is gonna get close enough for our
sensors to detect and then all we have to do, is take on the command
staff. I used to yearn to fly and for excitement when I was in
Auckland. Right now, I would settle for a nice safe, exercise yard with
lots and lots of force fields around it."
"I thought you said you weren't doing easy time," Chakotay said, as he
stripped his tunic off.
"Well, that was after sundown, or isolated places. I avoided isolated,"
Tom said. "Besides, I don't exactly have to worry about you pushing me
over a bunk and raping my ass, do I?" Tom was just snide enough in his
comments that Chakotay decided it was time to straighten the reins out.
Chakotay just smiled. True, it was an evil smile, and winked at Tom.
"You sure about that, Paris?"
Chakotay watched Tom's face intently. First, he froze for a second,
then he tried to play it off and laughed, but as Chakotay continued to
stare, Tom blinked and swallowed.
"But... you said..."
"I didn't say a word, Paris. You assumed." Chakotay watched as Tom
went pale and then his eyes darted around furtively for a moment.
"But...you acted like you were...put off by it."
"The concept of Harry and Tuvok? No, I've known since the Alpha that
Tuvok was into men as a side thing. Harry, up until all this started, a
little too green around the edges for my tastes, but who knows, maybe."
He walked up to Tom and pulled his undershirt off, exposing his chest to
the man sitting down. Chakotay leaned over and put his hands on the
panel behind Tom. "Now about those itches, Paris...."
"Shit!" Tom exclaimed as he stood up. The move forced Chakotay to step
back or get knocked down. "What are you doing, Chak? Four days ago,
you wanted me dead, now you're making a move on me."
"Four days ago, I didn't know you as well as I know you now, Tom. Oh,
come on. Back in the Maquis, you think I missed all those glances you
tossed in my direction. Or the shivers when I gave you direct orders."
He watched Tom move towards the front of the shuttle. He followed
"Well, you sure never let me know then."
"Couldn't, Tom, you were too messed up. I was gonna let you get your
feet back under you, but..."
"I got caught."
Tom turned around. "Are you messing with me, Commander?"
"Don't know, Tom. I don't play by most people's rules. Tell me about
your itches." Chakotay said, as he watched Tom cross his arms, but it
wasn't a defiant move, it was a protective one. Tom was off balance and
giving off a lot of signals.
"Uh uh," Tom said. "Too much information. Makes me too vulnerable. I
won't do it."
"But," Chakotay said, as he reached out and stroked Tom's arm. "I
already know, Tom." Tom tried to move away, and Chakotay let him go.
"Chakotay, is this some sick game to get even with me?"
"I don't play games here, Tom. This is for real, and the decision is
"Chak, this is.... I wanted this years ago. What in the fuck have you
been doing for the last couple of years?"
"When I bought the party line that you were a traitor, I could have
killed you, Tom. There was no room for my feelings, and I thought you
had betrayed those as well. Until I knew the truth, I never trusted
"What about Ocampa? If I had betrayed you, why didn't I let you fall?"
Chakotay shrugged. "I thought you were trying to con me again. I was
honor bound when you saved my life. If you aren't aware of it, that's
why you're still alive. There were several plans to kill that I
stopped." Chakotay moved closer to him. "Do you still shiver when I
give you orders, Paris? Do you still remember what it felt like when I
was your Captain and you were honor bound to obey me?"
Chakotay continued to move closer to Tom. "What do you think, Tom.
Tell me about your itch."
"You know my itch. You've always known it. I want you anyway I can get
you, but mainly I want someone who will keep me in line, that will take
control, that knows my demons and can help put them to rest."
Chakotay stood there, with only his pants on. Tom stood before him, his
eyes pleading for forgiveness and understanding.
"No questions, you obey," Chakotay stated.
Tom nodded. Chakotay let it slide, he knew Tom was on the edge and he
would guide him. To push now would destroy any trust. He slowly
started to walk towards Tom.
"Until this is over, you trust me, and that's it."
"Who else would I trust?" He looked up and met Chakotay's stern face.
"Yes. I'll trust you."
"No matter what?"
"No matter what." Chakotay could see the pain on Tom's face to blindly
place his trust again.
"I never betrayed you, Tom," Chakotay soothed.
"I...I know," Tom said quietly. "Chakotay, I feel like a kid facing my
"No," Chakotay said sternly. "I won't beat you. I won't disown you.
I'll stand beside you."
"Chak." It was a plea for understanding, for the suspense to stop, for
acceptance and completion.
Chakotay stepped into Tom's space and wrapped his hand around the back
of Tom's neck and pulled him to his body. He gently kissed Tom, until
he opened his mouth and then Chakotay plundered it. He pulled Tom
against his own body, wrapping his other arm around Tom's waist. He
rubbed his hard erection against Tom's, as he continued to explore Tom's
mouth. He heard and felt Tom groan. Chakotay pulled Tom even closer,
and when he broke the kiss, Tom dropped his head back and offered his
throat to Chakotay. With a control he didn't know he possessed,
Chakotay lowered his head and gently marked Tom's neck, although
everything in his body told him to strip his soon to be lover naked and
fuck him until he couldn't walk straight.
"Oh, Chakotay, please. I've waited so long for this."
"You're mine, Tom," Chakotay growled, as he bit at the juncture of Tom's
neck and shoulder. The bruised he raised would be visible for days.
Tom Paris was his.