Title:  The Pool Game
Author:  JJ-
Pairing:  C/P, Voyager
Rating:  PG
Archive:  Please ask first
Feedback:  Welcomed.

Summary:  Tom and Chakotay's continue to get to know each other better.

Disclaimer:  I don't own them, I don't make any money from this.  I think
Paramount owns them.  I'm just taking them out for their monthly exercise.


"Tom, have you ever wondered about this?"  Chakotay asked as he lifted the
bundle.  Why not start where Tom had.

Chakotay and Tom had managed to talk for a while.  It was nothing
spectacular, nothing earth shattering, just a rapport.  They talked about a
few of Tom's reports that stuck out in Chakotay's mind.

"You know I do appreciate some of the humor in your reports Tom.  However,
when they reach the Captain's desk, she points out they are not

"She reprimands you for my reports?"  Tom asked somewhat shocked.

Chakotay shrugged.  "One of the prices for being the First Officer."

"Well, I never meant to get you in trouble with the Captain."

The Commander looked at Tom for a moment.  "Tom, you do know I am available
if you just want to talk."

"Ah, Commander, I am not one of those shrink type of people.  I deal with
my own problems."

"I was just letting you know."  Really, Chakotay wanted a chance to sit
down and talk with Tom some more.  He seemed so jumpy about anyone getting
near him, and this seemed like a opportunity to do it.

"Thanks for the offer, but I don't think so."

So they went on their own ways, but Chakotay started to watch Tom.  He soon
saw a pattern develop, Tom spent more time alone than with someone, except
Harry.  It almost appeared as if Tom was using Harry as a shield.  If he
ate in the mess, he ate with Harry.  If he was at Sandrine's, he was with
Harry. He rarely took part in the activities onboard, but he was always
there if you needed him.  Like writing Sandrine's - that was Tom's program.
The resort was another program Tom had written.

It almost surprised Chakotay to find out Tom had less of a social life than
he did.  Chakotay found out most of the nights he left Sandrine's with the
Delaney twins, Tom slept in his own quarters with the sisters happily in
their own quarters.  Maybe he wasn't the playboy he wanted everyone to
think he was.

Then came a fire fight with some hostile alien that they never even got the
name of.  They had disrupter type weapons and although Voyager won, she
limped away.  For days, all personnel worked hard shifts trying to repair
the damage.  Doubles, Chakotay was only averaging 3 hours of sleep a night.

Tension was running high among the crew.  Voyager was extremely vulnerable
in her present condition.  If another one of those aliens showed up, well,
it could be, they wouldn't win this time.

Chakotay sat in his office reviewing damage reports from B'Elanna and
injury reports from sickbay.  Voyager and her crew had taken a heavy
beating from that last fight.  He noticed the casualties were increasing
now from stupid accidents due to exhaustion.  He would have to talk to the
Captain about getting some down time, hide in a nebula or something until
Voyager could be repaired and the crew got a chance to rest.

He leaned back in his chair, stretching the aching muscles in his back.
Rest, that's what everyone needed.  He looked at the chronometer 23:08.  He
needed to rest too, but knew he was too keyed up.  He decided to go down to
the holodeck and see if there was anyone at Sandrine's.

As he entered the bar, he found only one occupant:  Tom Paris.  He was
surprised when Tom jumped at his entry.

"Commander, what are you doing here?"

Chakotay paused, and then continued to the bar.  "Same as you, Tom.  Trying
to unwind so I can get some sleep."  He ordered a beer from the
holo-bartender:  Sandrine.  She smiled a half smile at the Commander as she
filled his beer mug.

"Oh, you want to shoot a game?"  Chakotay turned his head, puzzled at the
slight tremble in Tom's voice.  Tom was actually nervous, Chakotay could
see it in the way he was standing.  Why would Tom be nervous about a pool

"Okay,"  Chakotay responded turning away from the wood bar.  Tom seemed
even more surprised than before.  He almost made a comment, but Tom beat
him to it.

"So, how are repairs going?"  Tom asked as he set up a new game.

"Well, if people will stop doing stupid things, like stacking storage
containers 5 high to get to a conduit and then falling and breaking their
arm, a whole lot quicker."  Chakotay had set down his beer and was getting
a pool cue.

"Harry?"  Tom asked.

"Yes,"  Chakotay confirmed.

"We're all tired, Commander."

"I know,"  Chakotay said lining his shot up for break.  He let loose with a
powerful shot that scattered balls all over the table.  "That's why I'm
going to suggest that we either find a place to stop and make repairs and
rest or at least come down out of warp so B'Elanna can finish with the warp

"But the aliens,"  Tom pointed out as Chakotay took his next shot.

"Either way, it's a gamble.  Life in the Delta Quadrant, Lieutenant,"
Chakotay said as he executed a beautiful combination shot.  He looked at
Tom and lifted his eyebrows.  "Ready for a little competition, Paris?"

"Oh, yeah,"  Tom said appreciating the complexity of that shot.

They played four games of pool, two a piece.  They talked, laughed and
drank beer.  No one else came in and it was a break for both of them.  They
talked about the ship, Tom's piloting during the firefight, Chakotay
thanked him for reducing the humor in his reports, the Delaney twins and
every other subject that came to mind.

As Tom sunk the eight ball on the fourth game, he looked at Chakotay.  Tom
smiled a calculating smile, "Tie breaker?"

"I'm game,"  Chakotay said.  He racked the balls and as he crouched down to
put the rack up in the slot on the side of the table, Tom broke, but he
skipped the ball off the table and narrowly missed the Commander's head.

"Oh, Shit!"  Tom cried as Chakotay ducked at the last second.  "I'm sorry,
Chak.  I don't usually do that.  I didn't hit you, did I?"  He dropped his
cue stick and circled the table.

Chakotay watched the young pilot approach him and then back at the ball on
the floor.  "Trying to kill a senior officer is a serious offense,

Tom froze, then a wise cracking smile crossed his face.  "I wasn't trying
to kill you.  I would have used something much bigger to kill you."

"What did you call me?"

Tom paused.  "I didn't call you anything?"

"Did you call me Chak?"

"Oh, yeah.  I did.  Sorry, if it bothers you, I won't do it again,

Chakotay stood up.  "Nah, I kinda like it.  Most people try to call me
Cha', which drives me nuts.  You okay, Tom?"  He had noticed how the pilot
had gone pale and was shaking.  Tom was shaken.

"Yeah, I just had these visions of pole-axing you with the cue ball and
trying to explain that to the Captain."  Tom laughed shortly.  "Considering
our track record, I think she may have thought I was trying to kill you."

Chakotay settled his hip on the pool table.  "Now, that's a fact."  He
smiled at the younger man.  "Three months ago, I would have thought it was
on purpose, too."  Chakotay wanted to calm him down but his jest was
received wrong.  Tom straightened up, for a flash there was a moment of
disbelief, then fear, then the classic Paris persona dropped into place.

"Well, it wasn't,"  Tom said firmly.  He tried to turn away, but the
Commander touched his arm.  Tom met Chakotay's gaze.

"I said - if it had been three months ago, I would have thought it was.  I
don't think that now."  Chakotay soothed and added a slight caress with his
fingers on the Lieutenant's arm.

There was a moment of silence, then Tom crossed his arms and asked,

"Why the change?"

The big man shrugged easily, and said, "Because I've seen something in you
I never saw before, Tom.  You aren't a drunk, you didn't throw your life
away, and after looking at your Star Fleet record a little closer, I don't
think your life was as easy as I thought it was."

"You've been digging around in my files?"  Tom asked.

"Yes, I have been.  Want to talk about it?"

"I told you Commander, I'm not a shrink type of person."

"So, I've read,"  Chakotay said with a smile.  "What was the count?"

"Fifteen,"  Tom said and then started laughing, so did Chakotay.  Tom was
as notorious for putting off Star Fleet psychiatrists and counselors as
much as Chakotay was known for being a hard-nosed Maquis Captain.

"Can I buy you a beer?"  Chakotay asked.

"Sounds like you are trying to pick me up, Commander."  Tom taunted.

"Could be."  Chakotay said with ease as he led Tom to the bar.

"This isn't because of the reputation I got in the Maquis, is it?"  Tom
asked pulling away and staring at Chakotay, wounded.

"No,"  Chakotay said firmly.  Tom had been just drummed out of Star Fleet
and on a binge of alcohol, drugs and sex.  "I don't think that Tom Paris
exists anymore do you?"  He once more turned Tom to the bar.

They stood there for a moment, and then Tom asked,

"Commander, are you saying you believe in me?"


Another moment of silence.  Chakotay took a sip of his beer fighting a
smile.  He could almost hear the accusations, questions and other thoughts
screaming through Tom's head.

"Are you saying you want to go out with me?"


Another moment of silence.  Now Tom was nervous, his fingers traced the
moisture running down the frosty mug of beer, finally with a slight turn of
his head, he said in pure disbelief.

"I don't believe this."

"Then believe this,"  Chakotay said as he leaned over and kissed the Tom
Paris on the lips.  It was a slow, gentle kiss.

"Are you sure I almost hit you with a cue ball, and that you didn't hit me
with one."

"Positive,"  Chakotay answered with a smile.  "Now about that date.  I want
you to know I'm an old fashioned type of guy.  No sex until we're sure this
is going to work."

"Oh,"  Tom groaned.  Then he smiled a wicked smile.  "Does this mean that
the Captain is going to be our chaperone?"

Chakotay's laughter could be heard in the hall outside Sandrine's.

The end (for now).´