Child’s play P12
“I’m sorry Tom.”
“But I should be there with you.”
“Kotay.” Tom flipped onto his stomach on the bed, almost crushing Bugs on the way, “What are you going to do? Fly up to Voyager sans shuttle?”
Chakotay smiled, “If I have to.” Tom watched Chakotay turn around and talk to someone off-screen, “I have to go now, I’m wanted for a tour of the grounds.” He said in a tone that Tom recognised as carefully concealed boredom.
Tom grinned, “Sounds like fun.”
Chakotay returned Tom’s sympathetic smile with a laughing one, “You go instead of me then.” Chakotay looked back to the screen, “You know where you can contact me if you need to talk about anything don’t you?”
“Kotay, I’m not a little kid anymore, I’ll be okay. There’s not anything real bad that’s going to happen is there?”
Chakotay sighed and thought, “Nothing bad, I hope anyway. It’ll be strange though, Tom.” He took a deep breath, “I’ll be home tomorrow morning.”
“Okay.” Tom laughed softly, “Strange, huh? That makes a change from depressing. I’ll see you tomorrow Kotay.”
“See you. Take care Tom.”
“Will do.” Tom ended the transmission and closed his communicator. He rolled off the bed and headed to the lounge, looking around for something to do. Hmm, it did look strange without Chakotay being there. “Computer? Check availability of holodecks.”
“Next available slot is at 1100 tomorrow.”
Tom sighed, he really wanted to get some fly time in that night. Oh well, the next morning would do just as well, “Book it under my name.” He chewed his lip and hopped from one foot to the other, thinking. He touched his Comm. badge, “Paris to Kim.”
“Kim here. How’s things Tom?”
“Fine. Haz, you doing anything tonight?”
“Want to meet in Sandrine’s?”
“Sure. See you at 1800?”
“Yeah, I’ll see you then.”
Tom checked the clock. He had an hour to kill. Dinner in the Mess Hall. He could catch up with Neelix and, considering the state of his rations, he’d probably have to grab something to eat. Tom walked out of his quarters and headed towards the Mess.
Tom turned around to see Naomi catching up with him. Inwardly he cringed, he was not in the mood for talking about kid stuff. It had been fine when he was that age, but he had long since outgrown Naomi’s company- not that he ever particularly enjoyed it anyway. Tom put on his civil face and hoped that the girl was heading somewhere, anywhere, other than the Mess Hall. “Hi Naomi. What are you up to?”
“I’m heading home. I’m meeting Mom there.” She glanced up at Tom, “Jeez you’re growing even faster than I am. Where’s Commander Chakotay?”
“He’s gone on an away mission, should be back tomorrow. You need him for something?”
“No, just wondering.”
Tom reached the Mess Hall and turned to Naomi, “This is my stop. See you.”
Tom watched Naomi skip off down the corridor, shook his head and entered the Mess Hall. He immediately saw Neelix fiddling around the kitchen area, “Hey Neelix, how’s it going?”
“Oh, hello Tom. It’s going just fine thank you. How are you?
Tom frowned, “I’m good.”
“You’re just in time, I’ve made a chocolate cake.”
Tom smiled but raised a suspicious eyebrow, “No leola root?”
“No. I learnt that you didn’t like that a long time ago. Just regular chocolate cake I pulled from the ship’s recipe database, you do still like chocolate don’t you?”
Tom smiled at the Talaxian, “Love the stuff. Thanks Neelix.” He took the chocolate cake and looked around for someone to sit with. Kathryn waved to him and he sat down next to her, “Hi Kathy.”
She smiled, “Hi Tom. How are you?”
“I’m fine.” He paused and looked at Kathryn, “Do you have any idea why everyone seems to be asking me how I am?”
Kathryn looked up, met Tom’s eyes and eventually said, “No, no idea.”
Tom raised an eyebrow, “You took too long in answering. Come on, why?”
Kathryn sighed, “Well, Chakotay’s
gone away for the night and we all know it’s a Friday. I know I’M worried
Tom scooped up his cake, “Kotay’s assured me that nothing bad is going to happen. I should be okay.”
“What are you going to do?” Kathryn sipped at her coffee.”
“Well, I’m gonna finish this, then I’m heading over to Sandrine’s with Haz. Then I might turn in early and just see what happens.” Tom smiled, “You can tell Kotay you’ve done your duty and I’m fine.”
“What do you mean?”
“Please, it’s so obvious Kotay told you to check up on me.” He shook his head, “Where did you and he learn to lie? You really do suck at it.”
Kathryn raised an eyebrow and smiled, “You wait until you’re officially part of my crew Tom Paris, you’ll be scrubbing plasma conduits until you take that back.”
Tom laughed, “You know I can’t wait to start flying for real. Shuttles and Sims are boring. I also can’t wait to get back to normal, whatever that was. It’s definitely strange having people know stuff about me that I don’t.”
“I bet it is. You know Tom, I think this is certainly doing you some good.”
“In what way?”
Kathryn chose her words carefully, not wanting to reveal too much of Tom’s life, “You’re a lot happier now and a lot less bitter.”
“I was bitter?” Tom asked, frowning.
Tom shovelled up the last of his cake, licking the crumbs from around his mouth, deep in thought. “Do you think I’ll go back to whoever I was before? I mean, the old me doesn’t sound like much fun to be.”
“I think you’ll keep the best qualities of both.” She smiled at him and then looked down at his empty plate, “Where’d you get that cake?”
Tom smiled mischievously, “A Captain should stick to coffee and leave the cake, did I mention it was double chocolate fudge cake, to the abnormal pilot who’s living a second life.”
A few hours later Tom smiled to himself under the covers and frowned cheerfully. Chakotay had been right, it WAS strange. But it was also funny. Chakotay a Maquis ringleader? He laughed out loud. He couldn’t imagine Chakotay as a rebel, but it was all there. Chakotay had asked him to pilot his ship and he’d agreed.
Tom rolled over and sprawled across the pillow. Except only he knew why he’d agreed to Chakotay’s offer. Well, hopefully Chakotay didn’t know. This other Tom Paris did have a point however. Now he looked at it from his new point of view, the Commander-Pilot point of view, Chakotay WAS pretty darn cute.
But DAMN it!
Now he couldn’t even think of Chakotay without the memory of the very first Chakotay smile he’d seen. And now he lived with him and Chakotay was his closest friend and they told each other absolutely everything. But how could he tell Chakotay this?
He wouldn’t, he’d wait and see what happened. Tom sighed. Chakotay had said they weren’t particularly friends, so maybe his feelings would just fade.
Tom tried to shake the question bugging him out of his head. What if he didn’t want those feelings to fade?
But he had an instinctive resentment of all authority figures, or at least trepidation around them. So when I became his XO, he saw his chance. This wasn’t Starfleet, this was the Maquis and he could be as impertinent as he liked and no one would do anything except check him. Tom extended his knowledge of boundaries in the Maquis. As a child he would know where those boundaries were, know not to pass them. As a young adult he learnt how to stretch those boundaries, and my patience, to their very limits. He knew just what he could get away with, and knew I got frustrated when he didn’t cross the line.
So this was where I was uncertain: I knew Tom was grateful for his chance to fly, but he played me as much as he possibly could. So did he like me?
Well, I’d soon find out.
The next morning I rushed the goodbyes as much as I could without it seeming rude. Thanking the Ministers, thanking them for trade, thanking them for their good wishes on our journey home. Then jumping into the shuttle, still waving at the over-friendly Ministers through the window of the shuttle. Muttering through my smile, telling the Ensign to lift off quickly before the smile froze permanently.
I got back to Voyager at 0600 and I knew that Tom wouldn’t be awake. He wasn’t a morning person anymore, it seemed he was making up for lost time. I walked back to our quarters hoping he’d have caught at least SOME sleep. Only the Spirits knew what ridiculous time he’d been out to last night. Strangely I missed being dragged along on one of his wild nights. He’d always want me to come along and, for all my first officer pretence, I’d end up having the time of my life. Of course I’d pay for it the next day, hungover and trying not to fall asleep on the Bridge.
I entered our quarters and, sure enough, I found the lights out, the place quiet and Tom sleeping soundly in the bed. I yawned and went to curl up on the sofa, try to catch a few hours sleep before…
“Kotay! You’re back! How long have you been home? Why didn’t you wake me up? Was it good? Did you bring me anything?” Tom said with his old toddler eagerness that would still sometimes come to the fold.
I smiled, “Two hours, because I figured you hadn’t had much sleep anyway, it was pretty boring and yes, I brought you something.” I said tossing him a vid clip.
Tom caught it and smiled, “Thanks Kotay. What is it?”
“Their version of cartoons.”
Tom settled next to me, “I’ve grown out of cartoons.”
I raised an eyebrow, “Tom, the file’s still active.”
Tom turned to the paused vid screen just visible through the bedroom door and laughed softly, “How did that get there?”
“I wonder.” I swung my arm around Tom and waited until he leant his head on my shoulder, “So…are you okay with everything that happened last night?”
Tom looked up with a cheeky glint in his eyes, “You turned renegade Kotay! I thought you were the good stoic Commander, but you’re really a rebel.”
“You were a rebel too Tom, or have you conveniently forgotten that part?” Tom laughed and I glanced at him, “So are we okay?”
“We’re okay Kotay, why wouldn’t we be?”
“Where are you up to in your memories?”
“I’ve just joined the Maquis.”
“Just another few weeks to go.” I reassured him. “Are you hungry?” Tom nodded and I sighed, “I take it you spent all your rations last night?”
I laughed, stood up and headed towards the replicator.
Chakotay groaned and buried his head under a cushion, trying to avoid Tom’s chants. He felt a presence lie down by his side on the couch and the cushion was lifted from his head. Chakotay looked up to see Tom’s grinning face and mischievous sparkling eyes. Tom paused long enough for Chakotay to become curious as to what he was going to say, and then he leaned down and whispered in Chakotay’s ear, “Your life is mine.”
Chakotay groaned again, snatched the cushion off Tom and hit him playfully with it, “Shut UP Tom.”
Tom laughed, “You belong to me Kotay. I saved your life. It’s mine.”
Chakotay sat up and faced Tom, deciding to just play along, “So now you’ve got my life, what are you going to do with it?”
Tom looked into Chakotay’s gentle brown eyes and felt his heart stop. He snaked his tongue out a little and traced the outline of his lips, moistening them, wondering why they had suddenly dried up. Tom swallowed, making a decision. He leant over to Chakotay and lifted his right hand, caressing the older man’s cheek. Slowly, Tom leaned over to Chakotay and touched his lips against the soft, velvet ones of the Commander. He felt Chakotay’s lips part slowly and Tom hesitantly slid his tongue into the welcoming mouth. Tom lined the inside of Chakotay’s mouth, feeling the smoothness of each inside cheek. He ran his tongue over every strong white tooth and moved back to tango with Chakotay’s playful tongue. Their tongues wound around each other as Tom’s hand continued to caress Chakotay’s cheek.
Chakotay was overwhelmed with the sensations of Tom’s skilled mouth and wrapped his arms around the young pilot. Despite his wish that their locked embrace could last forever Chakotay was short of breath and he pulled away. Sense came flooding back to him and he looked up at Tom. Tom’s eyes were apprehensive and he seemed to be waiting for Chakotay to pronounce judgement. Chakotay sighed, “Tom?” he asked softly, “What was that?”
“I- Kotay, I’ve always wanted to do that. Ever since back in the Maquis.” He sighed, “I’m sorry. It must have been weird. Oh, shit. Can we just pretend it didn’t happen?”
Chakotay hugged Tom to him, “If you want, but I’d rather we didn’t.” Tom looked up at Chakotay, frowning, “Tom, I’ve wanted this too.”
“Really? You’re kidding! You mean…”
“I mean I’m infatuated by you. Clear enough?”
Tom laughed softly in disbelief, “Clear. Kotay, could I, I mean would you, can I buy you dinner someday?”
Chakotay chuckled, “I think you owe me about a hundred of them.”
“Well then, I can organise a mean date.”
Chakotay found Tom’s hand and held it gently, stroking the palm, “Tom, I don’t think we should do anything until you’re back to normal. I don’t think I could cope if you turned around and said you didn’t want me anymore.”
“I always will ‘Kotay. Me and you are forever, I’ve grown up with you.”
“Are you sure none of this is paternal?”
“Hell no. Both of me have been waiting to do that. Can’t we just start a relationship now? We’re already closer than anything.”
“I know we are, but I don’t want to take any risks.” Chakotay rubbed his cheek against Tom’s, “It’s only a few weeks now honey.”
“It’ll feel like forever though Kotay.” Tom turned around and snuggled into Chakotay’s chest.
“I know. But we’ll be together all the time yeah?”
“Yeah.” Tom paused, “Kotay? I, um, I think I love you.”
“I love you too Tom.”