Child’s play P13
The next few weeks were the slowest of Chakotay’s life. He found it hard enough to ignore his own feelings, but Tom seemed to find it harder to ignore his. Chakotay constantly found Tom cuddling up to him and he would find it incredibly difficult to limit his actions.
Tom, meanwhile, didn’t care for his former feelings for Chakotay. As he remembered their fights, he also remembered his increasing lust for the Commander and decided to stay with that feeling. He was accepted back into his position as helmsman and he loved it. Not only did flying liberate him, he could also sit on the Bridge all day and grin at the feel of Chakotay’s eyes on his back. Now Tom was counting down the days until he regained his last memory and he could be with Chakotay. What he wasn’t counting on was Chakotay’s conversation with him the night before.
“Hey Kotay.” Tom said, pulling his tray back so Chakotay could sit down.
“Hi. How’s things?”
“Okay. I’ve been working on a new holodeck program with Haz and Lana. We’re creating an improved resort, something way more tropical.”
“Tom, I’ve just come from talking to Captain Janeway, she wants to throw a party in the Mess tomorrow night. Well she phrased it as ‘a gathering of special friends’.”
“She has a way with words doesn’t she?” Tom said downheartedly, “I wanted tomorrow to be just me and you.”
Tom smiled to reassure Chakotay it wasn’t his fault, “So, who’s coming?”
“It’ll be me, you, Harry, B’Elanna, and, of course, the Captain.”
“Not a very big party. Why, exactly, are we having this again?”
Chakotay shrugged, “You know Kathryn, any excuse for a gossip. Are you okay with this? I can always cancel if you’re really not alright with it.”
“No, I’ll be fine, don’t worry. I owe them all this anyway. You’ve all been there for me, the least I can do is show you all a good time.”
Chakotay laughed, “I love you.”
“Their shift finishes at 2200.” Tom paused, “Look Haz, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”
“No problem Tom.”
“Can I ask you one more favor?”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tonight, I may not remember any of this- I don’t know. But, if I do forget everything Haz, remind me what happened between me and Kotay.”
Harry sighed, “You really do love him don’t you?”
“More than anything Haz. And it’s damned scary. B-but he means everything to me Haz, we’ve grown closer than I could ever imagine. Don’t let me forget him. I know HE won’t say anything to me, he’s too moralistic. I’m counting on you Haz.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell you Tom.”
“Harry, it’s not New Years.” Tom laughed.
Harry nodded, “It’s more like one of those old movies you’ve got me into.”
“Mmm. I’m about to transform into some sort of morphed, insane, evil monster.” Tom laughed happily.
B’Elanna looked between them incredulously, “You’re both crazy.”
Kathryn moved her gaze from the three to Chakotay, “You’re paling Chakotay, what’s wrong?”
Chakotay looked up, chewing his lower lip nervously, “What if he doesn’t remember everything that’s happened? I couldn’t cope Kathryn. Not after all this.”
She leant forward, keeping their conversation private, “Chakotay I know you’ve been watching him as much as I have. From all those glances he’s been giving you I’d say it’d be pretty hard for Tom to forget you. Besides there’d be no sense in the punishment if he forgot everything, he’s supposed to learn from this.”
“Somehow I doubt he’s learnt much.” Chakotay said miserably.
Kathryn frowned, “Will you cheer up? You of all people KNOW full well Tom’s a different man. I admit it’s hard to put a finger on what’s changed in him, but he’s definitely learnt something. Heavens Chakotay, don’t you realise? That man worships the ground you walk on, he’s in love. And I think you are too, you’d do anything for my helmsman.”
Chakotay sighed and nodded, “You’re right, about everything.”
“And YOU’RE supposed to be the ship’s counsellor, Chakotay.”
Chakotay smiled, “I think you missed your calling Kathryn.”
“Captain? Commander?” came Harry’s voice from across the room, “I think something’s happening.”
Chakotay turned around to see Tom sitting on a chair with his eyes closed and his head in his hands. “Tom?” he asked nervously.
Tom looked up and straight into Chakotay’s eyes for a few seconds. Then he switched his gaze to a wider one and looked at everybody, “Oh God, all this because I LAUGHED? A little harsh don’t you think?” Tom looked down. He glanced back up and smiled cautiously, “Thanks so much guys. You’ve all been fantastic.”
Tom stood up and was immediately hugged by B’Elanna, “So what do you remember?”
“Everything.” He let go of B’Elanna and faced them all, “But it’s different. Before, my old life was just a memory that was coming back to me- it didn’t seem real. But now it’s the other way around. My second life doesn’t seem real.”
“Oh, it was real Tom.” Kathryn smiled, “We heard the screaming from Sick Bay.”
Tom laughed, “What are you talking about? I was a complete angel! Or at least I was after Chakotay… where is Chakotay?”
Harry turned and searched the room, “He’s gone. He was here a second ago.”
“Oh great. Now I’ve turned back into the old me, he couldn’t give a damn.” Tom said sadly.
Kathryn put a hand on Tom’s shoulder, “I don’t know where Chakotay’s gone or why he’s gone there, but I do know that he loves you. He won’t have given up on you, go find up.”
Tom raised his eyebrows hopefully, “You think he still likes me?”
B’Elanna rolled her eyes, “We could power the warp core for fifty years with the heat in Chakotay’s eyes when he looks at you.”
“Really? You think-“
Tom came through the observation lounge doors after having easily guessed where Chakotay would have headed. He saw Chakotay sitting with his back to him on a couch and he hovered in the door for a second. “Kotay?” he asked softly and hesitantly.
“Tom.” Chakotay said flatly without even turning around, not wanting to have this discussion. Couldn’t they just forget it ever happened?
Tom sighed and his shoulders sagged. “Don’t be like that Kotay.” He said scrambling over to stand in front of Chakotay. His heart was pounding with the sudden realisation that Chakotay might not want this. “Kotay, why’d you go?”
Chakotay shrugged, “Just did.”
Tom frowned and subconsciously folded his arms, “That’s not good enough.”
Chakotay looked up and couldn’t help but let a small smile spread across his face, “Did you get that off me or your father?”
Tom glanced at his intimidating posture and looked back up at Chakotay, deciding to slip into the semi-consciously created role, “Don’t change the subject. Why’d you leave me?”
Chakotay sighed, he’d always been honest with Tom and he wasn’t going to change that, “Um, Tom- the look in your eyes when you remembered tonight- I thought you didn’t like me anymore. I figured it would be easier it if I just left “
“Oh Kotay.” Tom sat down next to Chakotay, “I wasn’t embarrassed, far from it. It was relief. I was so scared that I’d remember something terrible that would stop us being together. And then I didn’t and I was so happy and then… you left.” Tom wrung his hands in his lap “and now I’m scared because I think for some unknown reason you don’t want to be with me.” Tom looked up with pure hope in his eyes, “Care to prove me wrong?”
Chakotay took Tom’s hands and held them gently in his own, “You’re very wrong honey. I do want to be with you. But you should know me by now- I don’t do flings. Tom, if we did this, I want a relationship. I love you and I don’t think I could let you go.”
Tom smiled and clambered into Chakotay’s arms, “I love you too Kotay and, um, if you want commitment- hell I already live with you don’t I?” Tom sighed and kissed Chakotay’s hands, “Thanks for everything by the way. You didn’t have to do any of it and I kinda wonder why you did.”
Chakotay grinned, “Because you were just as damned irresistible as a kid as you are now.”
“So, you’ll stay with me?”
Chakotay leaned in and touched his lips to Tom’s, teasing the pilot into opening up for him. He broke away for a second, leaning their foreheads together “This answer enough for you?”
Tom flashed his flyboy smirk, “I don’t know. Do it again and I’ll tell you.”
I smiled and snuggled into Chakotay’s chest, his arm coming around me. Kotay leant his mouth down to me, I felt his tongue map out the edge of my ear and I shuddered happily. He kissed the lobe and whispered, “I love you.”
I grinned to myself, feeling so lucky that this had finally happened. Who’d have thought that I’d end up with anyone, let alone Chakotay? Shit, I’m in love. I’ve got my very own guardian angel. I kissed his chest, “Love you too Kotay.”
He massaged my lower back gently, “Are you okay? Your ass sore?”
I nodded a little, “Kinda. But I’m okay, it’s a good hurt.”
Chakotay kissed my forehead and we snuggled for a while. I managed to latch onto Chakotay’s neck and loved his moans of pleasure. Chakotay suddenly froze and I looked up in question as he pulled out something from under the pillow.
I laughed and grabbed Bugs off Kotay, sitting him on Kotay’s chest, “I forgot all about him.”
“Poor Bugs. That’s not very nice Tom.” Chakotay mock-scolded.
I laughed, “I’m not eight years old anymore Kotay.”
“I remember Bugs making an appearance when you were eleven.”
I tucked Bugs under Kotay’s arm that wasn’t wrapped around me, “If you’re so obsessed with teddies you can look after him.”
“Fine, I will.” Chakotay said, grinning and stroking Bugs’ head, “Won’t you miss him?”
This is probably the strangest conversation I’ve ever had with a grown man as a grown man. “No. I’ve got a new teddy bear to snuggle up to now.” I cuddle up to Kotay again and close my eyes, “Night Kotay.”
Tom looks up at me and smiles uncertainly, “It’s scary Kotay. I’ve never, ever felt like this. I feel so loved.”
“You ARE loved honey. I love you.”
“I know, and I can tell with you. And it’s totally different than anything else. People before, like my dad, they’d tell me they loved me and I just took it at face value. But now I understand it means a hell of a lot more and it’s so much deeper and I know that my father sure as hell didn’t love me, and neither has any of my partners. But YOU do, and I love you too.”
I can feel my smile stretching widely across my face and I let my fingers run over his features, “You’re so wonderful Tom Paris.”
Tom grins and lets me bring him down into my arms, I feel complete like this- like Tom is some missing part of me. I look down after a while and see that the Lieutenant has drifted off to sleep. I notice that one of his hands is clutching Bugs and smile gratefully at his innocence still being there. It’s a welcome exchange for his bitterness.
I sigh and allow sleep to overtake me too. That night I only find myself dreaming of the rest of my life spent with Tom.