Cliffs, pizza and rock and roll (part one)
Molly Jordan-
mollyj@faberoonie.co.uk

C/P Part one in a new series Iím doing. Tom and Chakotay discover the finer things in life (eventually). Comments/suggestions appreciated. Rated R for language and implied m/m.

Tom Paris strolled along the narrow cliff-path as if he were on the beach. Truth was he was stranded in the Delta Quadrant, stuck on a planet with their first officer, Chakotay- about whom heíd make no comment, looking for food. Voyager had found an M- class planet and he and Chakotay were drafted onto a shuttle craft to search for food. There was way too much interference for transports. They had wandered out into the forests, full of bugs and snakes and the kind. Not particularly pleasant when you have food. So half an hour ago Chakotay had come up with the bright idea of going back over a cliff path to the shuttle. Not such a bright idea when you consider the wind, the crumbling path beneath their feet, the painful- if not fatal drop inches away and the fact that they had to be back to Voyager in little over ten minutes. ĎWell,í Tom thought ĎIím not the one in command of this mission.í He watched Chakotay make his way along the path in front of him and toyed with the idea of pulling faces at his back like you did when you were a kid. He decided against it, he was a Starfleet Lieutenant, and Chakotay had something weird about him which allowed him to have eyes in the back of his head or so it seemed. Tom started to plan what he would do when he got back, shower, dinner- big one, he was hungry, and then to Sandrineís to win more replicator rations. Pretty good evening. Tom was so into deciding who he would beat at pool for rations he almost didnít hear the crumbling of rock in front of him. But he definitely noticed the body of his commander slipping down the cliff face. And he definitely heard the thud as his body hit the bottom. Cursing under his breath Tom carefully made his way down to Chakotay. It was a painstaking process, not just because it was a long and hard journey, not just because Ėannoyingly- Chakotay had made the same journey in a couple of seconds, but because Chakotay was lying at the bottom and it was up to Tom to save his life, again.

Tom landed at the bottom after having jumped the last three meters. He took the med-kit off his back and scanned the unconscious Chakotay with his tricorder. "Slow heart rate, but steady. Couple broken ribs, sprained wrist, broken arm." Tomís eyes drifted to Chakotayís leg which was bent in a very un-natural position, "Ouch, broken leg too. Internal bleedingÖlots of. Jeez Chakotay how do you survive these things? I mean if it were me Iíd be a goner. Now how the hell am I gonna get you out of here?" Tom heard a rumbling above and prayed it wasnít what he thought it was. He pointed his tricorder at the cliff face, avalanche imminent. "Brilliant. Well Chakotay much as I would love to stay here, we gotta move." Tom tapped his Com badge, "Paris to Voyager. Come in. Medical emergency." He tapped it off. "Still too much interference. Why is nothing ever easy?" He pulled out a hypo-spray and injected the contents into the commander. "Just a little pain-killer Commander. Itís going to be hard to move you without causing any further damage, itís better without the pain too." Tom paused, surprised at the fact that he meant that. He dismissed the thought and looked left and right. "Well, weíve either got a long valley, or a long valley. Feeling lucky?" Tom picked Chakotay up and, with a lot of effort, shifted him into a position which was the most comfortable for both of them. Tom staggered to the right and set off walking. "Yíknow Commander, I think this is all a fake. Just because youíre sick of walking. Well, Iím telling you, itís your turn in a bit." Tom paused, "Youíre going crazy Paris, talking to yourself." Tom walked in silence for a while before being hit on the arm by a loose rock. "Oh boy, looks like this avalanche is a full spread. Bet you triggered it Chakotay. Next time we are going through the forest, next time you listen to me, next time Iím staying on the helm, next timeÖ fuck it I just hope there is a next time." Tom noticed bigger rocks were coming down now, it wouldnít be long before the whole cliff- face went. Judging by the rough map on his tricorder Tom estimated it was going to be at least another 10km to the end of the valley and he was going slower and slower. He wasnít going to make it. "Well commander, at least youíre out for the count, Iíve gotta think of a way out of this." Tom put the commander down and made more detailed readings with his tricorder, "Got it!" he practically yelled and caused the cliff-face to dangerously tremor. "Come on commander, weíre out of here." Tom pulled the man onto his shoulders and, with more difficulty started to stagger towards a cave he had located.

Tom reached the cave just as the big rocks were starting to fall. He put Chakotay down carefully on the floor, and then went to look out of the Ďdoorí. He picked up a few loose rocks from inside the cave and built a small square up against the wall. He supported it with a few other rocks eventually making a sturdy hole, lengthening out into the valley. He copied his actions on the other side. "There, at least if we get blocked in weíll have air. Maybe I can even get a small fire going. Not yet though, if we have to hang around until night-fall. I donít want to risk losing anymore air." Tom smiled, he was obviously going crazy. He moved over to Chakotay, and ran his tricorder over him. "This thing isnít very good." Tom put his tricorder down and routed in his pack for a medical tricorder. "Aha!" Tom pulled one out and looked outside to where their entrance was blocked by a large stone already. "Great." He said flatly. Scanning Chakotay, Tom noticed his vitals had declined 14% in the last half an hour. He estimated Chakotay had about five or six hours left without proper treatment. "But youíre not gonna die Chakotay, hear me? Thereís no way Iím having this on my back." Tom pulled a few more hypos and worked out which ones he could mix and when he would have to give them to the commander. He figured he could give Chakotay an additional three hours with the medicine he had, "I just hope thatís long enough." Tom had now started speaking all his thoughts. "Youíll wake up any time now, Iíll give you water, I give you painkillers and some of this other crap, then youíll probably go back to sleep." Tom told Chakotay. He was just rolling up his blanket into a pillow and covering Chakotay up with another when another big rock fell in front of the cave. Bits of dust fell off the ceiling and Tom prayed it wouldnít collapse.

Chakotay began to stir and he opened his eyes. "Paris?" he said weakly.

"Good to see you commander. How are you feeling?" Tom was busy trying to find water.

"Numb. I canít move my right leg or arm. Whatís going on?" Chakotay tried to get up.

"Stay down commander, itíll be the painkillers making you feel numb. You fell off the path, suffered a few injuries and caused an avalanche." Tom motioned to the falling rocks outside. "The brunt of it hasnít fallen yet, I give it another ten minutes. Then we have to get out of here."

"How long have I got?" Chakotay asked.

"Youíre not going anywhere" Tom just about ordered, "Shut up and drink this." Off Chakotayís questioning look he said "Water, you canít get dehydrated. But I canít give you much more because of your internal injuries and youíve probably got concussion." Tom held the container to Chakotayís mouth and supervised the drinking. "Right now letís get your hypos." Tom injected the hypo-sprays into Chakotay and picked up the pain killer. "Tell me when it starts hurting and you can have this. Itíll make you drowsy though."

"Tom, I think itís stopped." Chakotay said, his voice now a hoarse whisper.

Tom looked at the entrance, it was weird for Chakotay to call him Tom, it was usually Lieutenant, or Paris. Oh well, Tom wasnít going to object, there was enough tension between them already. Tom walked over to the entrance and shifted a few rocks. He cautiously looked outside. Chakotay was right, it had stopped. He could make his way quickly through the valley, and then the shuttle wasnít far away. He turned back to get the commander. "Iím injecting the pain killer now."

"No, Tom donít. I want to be awake in caseÖ" Chakotayís voice choked off.

"Incase what commander? You canít do anything in your condition, and I am not having you moaning all the way." Tom prepared the hypo.

"Itís an order Paris." Chakotay rasped.

"So shove me in the brig when we get back." Tom sighed, "Look Chakotay this is going in no matter what. Itís easier for both of us." Before Chakotay could protest any further, Tom had injected the hypo. Tom began to pack up.

"You just disobeyed an order Paris." Chakotay was drifting off.

"Get over it Chakotay." Tom muttered under his breath, not really offering the commander an audible response.

Five minutes later Tom was making his way up the valley with Chakotay on his back again. He dodged through the rocks and thanked the Gods that he had found the cave. He came to the end of the valley and looked around. He recognized the dense forest they had originally walked through. "Maybe we can walk around the edge. Weíll still find our way back, but avoid being attacked by bugs." Tom followed the track around the edge of the forest telling Chakotay about his childhood to keep himself going, because Chakotay couldnít hear him. Tom moved on to his time in the Academy, all the stuff he had done, pranks he had pulled, things like that. After a few hours Tom came to the clearing where he had landed the shuttle. He put Chakotay down and punched in the security code to open up the back hatch. Tom was just going back to get Chakotay when he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg. "Shit!" he yelled, spinning around to see a large, brightly colored snake slithering away. Cursing more to himself Tom got Chakotay onto the ship and then bent down to look at the bite. It had gone through his uniform and had formed a bite mark on his leg. Tom tore off a patch on his uniform and pinched the bite wincing in pain. Nothing came out. Hoping it wasnít a poisonous snake Tom injected himself with adrenaline and turned to the helm. "Hold on Chakotay, only about half an hour to go." Tom started up the shuttle and lifted off. He entered Voyagerís position, they had gone to explore another planet in the system, and switched onto auto-pilot. Turning back to Chakotay, who was waking up, Tom ordered the computer to tell him when they were out of the planetís atmosphere.

"You disobeyed an order Paris." Said Chakotay coming round and flinching in pain.

"Good day to you too commander." Tom sat down next to him on the floor.

"How long until we get back?"

"Half an hour ish. How do you feel? Hurting anywhere?" Tom asked.

"Hurting everywhere." Chakotay said lying down and closing his eyes. Tom scanned him and felt his head drop, almost passing out. "Tom? You okay?" Chakotay noticed the lieutenantís sudden paleness.

"Fine. Just a little dizzy. Might just be shock." Tom read the tricorder.

"Shock from what?"

"A snake bit me, back on the planet." Tom rubbed at the back of his leg.

"It could be poisonous. Why donít you rest for a while? I could take care of the ship." Chakotay said, not really believing it.

"Chakotay, you can hardly stay conscious, let alone run the ship. Which reminds me Ė painkillers." Tom pulled out another hypo.

"No. Tom, I have to stay conscious this time, incase anything happens to you." Chakotay tried to inch away from the hypo, not really getting very far.

Tom smiled, "Chill commander. Iíve run out of the drowsy kind, this is just a normal one." Tom emptied it into the commanderís arm, suddenly feeling very hot.

"Leaving planet atmosphere in ten seconds." The computer stated.

Tom stood up, wiping his forehead on his sleeve. "Computer, open a visual channel to Voyager."

"Captain weíre being hailed." Harry Kim said.

"From the away team?" asked Captain Janeway from her command seat.

Harry checked his screen, "Yes, maíam."

"Better late than never, on screen." Tomís head appeared on the view screen in front of them. "Lieutenant, what took you so long?" asked the captain, mildly surprised to see Paris and not Chakotay.

"Captain, itís Chakotay, heís been injured. Pretty badly." Tom was gasping now. "Heís going to need urgent medical attention. Have the Doc stand by."

"Will do Lieutenant. Are you okay?"

"Just a little snake bite captain, nothing I canít handle."

"Weíll meet you half way Tom, Janeway out. Helm, set a course for Mr. Parisí co-ordinates, warp seven, engage."

"Yes maíam."

Janeway sat back in her chair and willed the ship to go faster. If Tom was the healthier of the two, how bad was Chakotay? She pushed a button on her screen, "Captain to sickbay."

The EMHís head appeared on her screen, "Doctor, stand by for emergency transport in ten minutes. Expect one severe casualty and one snake bite, possibly poisonous." The Doctor nodded and terminated the link.

"Weíll rendezvous with Voyager in about ten Chakotay." Tom sat back down, leaning his head against the shuttle wall and grabbing the tricorder. Tom pointed it at himself and looked at the reading. He groaned.

"Well?" asked Chakotay.

Tom looked at him, "Well, the little bugger was definitely poisonous, and Iím almost definitely going to pass out before we reach Voyager. Possibly go into a coma."

"Youíre going to be okay Tom." Chakotay told him.

"How can you be so sure?"

"You always are." Chakotay said simply.

Tom frowned, "What?"

"Youíre always okay. You always go on dangerous missions. Maybe get attacked by some sort of alien or another. You always pull through though. I kind of envy it." Chakotay admitted.

"Envy me? Why would you envy me?"

"Well, I canít even walk along a path without almost dying."

Tom smiled, "Chakotay, look at me. According to most of the ship Iím a Marquis traitor. Iím the smart-ass, big-headed idiot that wonít let anyone near him afterÖ" Tom trailed off into unconsciousness leaving Chakotay puzzled. What had the kid just opened up on? After what? Chakotay sighed and shifted himself over to Tom, who was laid at a funny angle. Chakotay put the kidís head on his lap, maybe it would stop the poison flowing as fast to have it elevated. Chakotay had no clue on medicine. "You should return to normal pretty soon commander. I just want you to stay in for a few days while I monitor you." The Doctor stated, bringing Chakotay around from unconsciousness.

"Sure." Chakotay tested all his limbs gently, still feeling some pain in his once broken leg and arm. He noticed the Captain standing over him and smiled at her.

"How do you feel?" She asked.

"Okay. A bit stiff and achy but a lot better."

Chakotay watched her transform from his commanding officer into his friend, his confidante. "He saved your life again you know."

"Tom!" Chakotay remembered, "Is he going to be okay? He passed out before we got back."

Kathryn wondered whether to tell him for a second, but then decided to, she always told him everything, "You both passed out." She paused, "Tomís in a bad state. Seizures, nausea, hot/cold jumps. Heís in a lot of pain Chakotay. The Doctor doesnít know what it is, thereís a chance he mightÖ" Kathryn couldnít finish the rest of the sentence, a rarity. She could usually face up to these things, but Tom Paris. Owenís son, she brought him here- he didnít ask to come, she should have looked after him.

Chakotay looked at her, not really seeing her, not needing the last word. "What are the odds?"

"He could go either way at the moment. The Doctor hasnít had much chance to get at the poison, Tomís on so many painkillerís it does ease the pain, but makes the virus hard to distinguish."

Chakotay took all of this in, swallowing hard. "C-can I see him?"

"Thatís another thing Chakotay. The Doctor has identified something about the virus. It has an incubation period of three to four hours, and itís highly contagious. He thinks the drugs you were on stopped you from getting it, but everyone else who comes into contact with Tom will be infected immediately. Fortunately Tom was beamed straight here, and heís only had contact with the Doctor. But thatís also a bad thing. He could use a friend." Off Chakotayís look Kathryn continued, "I know you and Tom arenít exactly the best of friends, but Chakotay heís helped you out of so many scrapes in the pastÖ"

Chakotay cut her off, "Kathy, itís okay. I want to see him."

"You do?"

"Yes. I donít know what it is, but I think I can make my peace with Tom now." Chakotay sat up, which caused another visit from the Doctor.

"Commander I thought we agreed you were to stay here for a few days." The Doctor said in his usual Ďfed upí voice.

"We did and I am Doctor, I just want to see Tom."

The Doctor wore the same surprised expression as the Captain, "Oh. Well come this way then, and take it easy. If you damage your insides again, and the stitching will come loose if you exert yourself and I had to stitch you because human organs are so close together and delicate I couldnít afford to re-generate, youíll have to stay in here another week and believe me I do not want another patient to contend with after Mr. Paris and Iím going to be working around the clock on this poison and do not particularly want to have to do another operation."

While Chakotay was trying to digest the long sentence Kathryn whispered in his ear, "Consider yourself told." Chakotay followed the Doctor around to Tomís isolated bed, seeing him in the blue hospital clothes lying still on the bio-bed.

"Put this on, itíll allow you through the force-field." The Doctor attached a triangular device, rather like his own holo-emitter, to Chakotayís arm.

"Iíll come by later." Kathryn said and walked out of sick-bay.

"Go through commander, Iíll be in my office."

Chakotay walked through the force-field and round to the left of Tomís bed, Tom was facing away from him. Maybe he was asleep, Chakotay thought.

Tom rolled over and looked at Chakotay. He looked worse than death warmed up, "Youíre okay."

Chakotay couldnít stop a smile, "Yeah, Iím okay. TomÖ" Chakotay couldnít think of anything to say.

Tom looked sad, his normally bright and playful eyes somber and his mischievous smile nowhere to be found. "I guess he told you." Tom looked at Chakotayís puzzled face, "The Doc. Iím gonna die."

"No youíre not. Youíre gonna pull through. Donít you remember what I told you? You always pull through Tom, always. This is just so you can pull some time off."

"Are you kidding me? I would love to be flying right now, and not feeling like this." He sighed, "Maybe ChakotayÖwhat ifÖwhat if Iíve cheated death too many times. Maybe itís just deathís ironic little joke, Tom Paris- conqueror of the most powerful alien species in the galaxy, defeated when he stepped on a snake."

Chakotay smiled, "You want that on your tomb-stone?"

"Why what were you thinking of?"

"Tom Paris- great aid in getting the almighty star ship Voyager home sixty years earlier than expected. It was discovered his ego was weighing the ship down."

Tom laughed a little, then went quiet again and screwed his eyes up, "Oh, Chakotay. Itís coming again, seizure." Tom groaned in pain and Chakotay just about flew to the Doctor. He watched as the Doctor tried to calm Tom down. Tom was begging for pain killers, tranquilizers, anything that would ease the pain and knock him out. The Doctor was running high speed tests, and scans. By now Kes was there and helping out, outside the force-field. Chakotay felt himself willing the Doctor to stop the pain and tried his best to restrain himself from injecting the bloody things himself.

"Shit! Kaítah! Putain!" Tom was swearing in every language he knew while tossing and trying to stop the pain. Eventually, after what seemed like forever the Doctor loaded a hypo-spray and injected it into Tom, who immediately stopped thrashing and dozed off.

Chakotay was in shock, "Is it that bad every time?" he asked.

"We havenít kept him conscious that long before, heís in an incredible amount of distress. But this may help us." The Doctor held up various tri-corders and medical scanners.

Chakotay looked at the sleeping man and said to himself, "Youíll be fine Tom, I know you will. I hope."

"Get AWAY from me!" Tom yelled his voice hoarse and his stomach clenching in fear.

"Or what Paris? Youíll tell daddy? Well, I donít think daddy gives a shit about his fuck-up of a son."

"Please," Tom resorted to begging, "Iíll get you anythingÖ"

Tom was punched in the stomach and flung to another guy who grabbed his jump-suit. "Like what Ďfleet. No-one will help you. Nobody gives fuck about you Ďfleet."

Tom was sent to the floor with a punch in the eye. He momentarily wondered what the other two guys were doing watching? Keeping guard? Participating soon? That thought was crushed when Tom felt a foot on his chest. Guy number one looked down at him, "Weíre gonna do this Tommy."

Tom felt a surge of power and jumped up, knocking the other guy down, he drove his fists into him "Donít call me that you shitty, perverted, son of a bitch fuck-wit!" Tom felt himself being lifted and pushed against the wall by the two spectators and guy number two. Fuck-wit got up, "Youíll pay for that Ďfleet." Fuck-wit came so close Tom could feel his breath against his face, and his hard-on. "Youíre gonna pay," he paused and a sick smile spread over his face, "Tommy."

"No! Get the fuck OFF me!" Tom yelled, except his voice was so ragged it came out as a whisper.

However it was loud enough to alert Chakotay who was checking over some reports. He put the Padds down, grabbed his force-field thing, stuck it onto his arm and walked towards Tom. "Tom?" he saw Tom asleep, obviously having a nightmare. "Leave me alone, please. Donít." Tom was sweating, and his voice was a whisper. Chakotay sat down next to him and grabbed hold of his hand, "Tom wake up. Itís okay, youíre asleep. Come on Tom. Tom!"

Tom came around and Chakotay dropped his hand to grab a tri-corder. Scanning him, Chakotay could find no change for the worse, or the better. Tom opened his blue eyes, "Chakotay?"

"Are you okay? That dream was pretty rough."

Tom remembered, "Oh no, not again."

"What?"

"These dreams, Iíve been having them a while now, theyíre getting worse, wait- Chakotay what are you doing here?"

"The Doctor says Iíve got to stay in anyway. Then I heard you and, here I am."

Tom laughed. His Ďwhateverí laugh, a smile and a puff of breath- barely a noise. "Why do you give a fuck about me all of a sudden?" It wasnít threatening, not even accusing, just questioning.

"I just realized it was easier to stay friends with the guy that kept on saving my life." This time Tom laughed, "Seriously Tom, I guess this tension between us is stupid. We work so closely together and the Maquis is in the past now, plus youíre not such a bad guy, I suppose." Chakotay laughed at his own words, but looked up to see that Tom wasnít laughing.

"Thanks Chakotay. Thatís the nicest thing anyoneís ever said about me."

"Get out of here! You must have had loads of hot-shot pilot comments over the years."

"Yeah, but they were about my flying, and not about me." Tom said.

"Donít go getting too smug, I still think youíre a smart-ass git." Chakotay broke the ice, and was relieved to see Tom smile.

"Yeah, youíre just jealous coz youíreÖshit." Tom grabbed the trash-can next to his bed and threw up in it.

"Want me to get the Doctor?" Chakotay asked, unsure of what to do.

"No. Heís seen enough of me, just give me a sec." Tom held his stomach in pain.

"Iím getting the Doctor."

"Shit, Chakotay donít, please." They stared into each others eyes, Chakotay into those tell-tale blue ones, full of pain and pleading. "Please Cha, just leave it."

Chakotay didnít notice the ĎChaí he just sat down next to Tom and rubbed his back as he got over the spasm. Tom lay back and closed his eyes after it was over, "Thanks Cha, these things are getting worse."

"That wasnít as bad as the last one." Chakotay said puzzled.

"This is just a build up, the big one will come soon." Tom said downheartedly.

"Why didnít you want to see the Doctor?" asked Chakotay.

"Because itís annoying having someone running scanners up and down you when youíre having a seizure. Not the best way to recover."

"Tom youíre not gonna recover this way. Maybe I should get some pain killers, itíll stop the next one hurting as much."

"Iím already on the highest dose the Doc has Chakotay."

"And it still hurts that much?"

"Yep." Tom lay back, "Yíknow Iíd kill for a Chinese right now."

"I could replicate you some."

"Iíd just throw it up again. Iím hungry, but whatever I eat I canít keep down, so it kind of defeats the purpose of actually eating."

"How long is it since youíve kept a meal down?"

"Um, rations in the cave while you were dead to the world." Tom smiled, "Just think, my last meal- rations."

"TomÖ"

"I know, I know. You think Iím not gonna die, and maybe I wonít Chakotay. But I gotta be ready if I do. Everyone has." Tom hesitated and changed the subject, "Had anyone been to see me while Iíve been unconscious?"

"Uh-huh. Harry and ĎLana dropped by. Kathryn dropped by too, but she wanted to see me." Chakotay smiled.

"Youíre pretty tight with the Captain huh?"

"I guess. Sheís really good at advice, and gossip."

"Really? I wouldnít think sheíd be the nosey type."

"Sleep with one eye open Paris."

"Nah, no-one can keep tabs on the famous Tom Paris."

"Really? Susan Nicoletti, Jeffries Tube 37 alpha, four months ago. Half an hour late for your shift."

"Jeez Chakotay, you remember?"

"How could I not? You commed the Captain in her ready room and told her youíd be lateÖ"

"This is me, that happens every shift."

"Yeah, but you left your Comm channel open. Didnít take Kathryn long to manually close it from her end, but she heard enough." Chakotay smiled at Tomís slight blush. "Still with Susan?"

"Nah. I donít get close to anyone really, bit of a loner I guess." Tom seemed sad.

"What about Harry and ĎLana? Youíre close with them."

"Thatís only because they canít get any closer. Harry- straight as an arrow, in both respects. And ĎLana, well if you count warp conduits as deep soul-talking then thatís all we do."

"Why wonít you let anyone get close to you Tom?"

The Doctor walked through the force-field with two hypos in his hand. "Commander, could you step aside for a minute, please?"

Chakotay noticed the Doctor was looking cheerier than usual, "Sure." He stepped to the side and let the Doctor in.

"Okay Mr. Paris how are we?"

"Just great, in fact I was thinking of going on a little 10km run in the holo-deck followed by a ten course meal and then partying all night."

"Good to see your ability to annoy hasnít dissipated. Now Iím going to induce a seizure."

"Right, turning crazy are we Doc? Commander could you call security?"

"Mr. Paris, I need you to understand what Iím going to do. Iím going to induce a seizure which will get the virus active again. Then Iím going to inject this drug which should stop the virus and eventually kill it."

"Iím guessing thereís some sort of crazy side effect here yeah?"

"After the seizure youíll be unconscious for twenty-four hours. After that you will be incredibly weak, possibly in a lot of pain, but thereís a 98% chance youíll pull through fine, with no relapses. Youíll need to have someone with you at all time in your quarters so you can be monitored."

Tom thought and then looked up, "Chakotay?"

"The Commander will be working Tom. I was thinking one of the crewmen, with less responsibilitiesÖ"

"No, Iíll do it Doctor. Besides you said I gotta take it easy for a while right?"

"If youíre sure Commander."

"I am, Iíll just Comm the Captain and let her know the situation."

"Feel free to use my office Commander."

"Thanks."

Chakotay pulled up the Doctorís chair and Commed the Captain on the Visio-link. After he explained the situation she said, "Of course Chakotay. Take as much time as you need, just try not to pick up too many of Tomís traits."

"What do you mean?"

"Well youíre already skipping shifts." Kathryn smiled.

"I could say the same for you. Why are you in your ready room at this time?" Chakotay smiled.

"Coffee break."

"I better get up to the bridge soon, Iím losing my workaholic." Kathryn laughed, "Seriously Captain, you donít mind?"

"No I donít Chakotay. To be honest, itís nice to see you and Tom getting along. Weíll have to catch up later, I need gossip."

"Actually Iíve got twenty-four hours nowÖ"

"Iím there"

"Youíre addicted Captain. Maybe unfit for duty."

"You want to know whatís going on?"

"See you in five?"

"Yep, Janeway out."

Chakotay laughed and terminated the link, he stopped laughing when he heard Tom cry out in pain. The Doctor was injecting the drug into him, Tom settled down to sleep within seconds. ĎWith any luckí, Chakotay thought, Ďthe kid wonít have to go through that again.í

"Kathy, I donít think youíve taken this long a break since Iíve known you."

"Iíve only been here two hours."

"Whatís your point?"

Tom groaned in his sleep across the room and Chakotay snapped his head around to see if he was okay. "Chakotay?" Kathryn said suspiciously.

"Sorry. You were saying?"

"I wasnít."

"Oh."

"You and Tom have got close havenít you?"

"Heís good company, when heís conscious."

"Really? You always say his jokes bug you."

"They do, occasionally. But he has some good points to make sometimes, and definitely a unique way of looking at things. He always manages to see the good things, but he isnít afraid to face up to the bad ones."

"AndÖ"

"And what?"

"Chakotay I know thereís more to this. Iíve known you long enough."

"I donít know, maybe there could be, possibly."

"Youíre feeling more than friendship right?"

"I think so."

"Take it slow Chakotay."

"What?"

"Tom isnít ready for commitment."

"Kathy, youíre missing the point that weíre both guys."

"So what? Tom obviously likes you, maybe he feels more too. Tom isnít as strong emotionally as you Chakotay, he will need time."

"Heís stronger than most people. Bad words just seem to filter through him."

"Thatís because heís had to deal with something bigger, the small things are so insignificant to him."

"Do you know something I donít? Has something happened to Tom?"

"I honestly donít know anything. It just seems so, textbook."

"Whoíd have thought Tom Paris to be textbook?" Chakotay paused "How do you know he likes me?"

"Call it womenís intuition. He respects you, but keeps his distance. He would do anything you asked of him, maybe with smart-ass comments to re-assure himself, but heíd do it. Plus the ĎChaí incident. I havenít met anyone who calls you Cha."

"No-one does" Chakotay admitted "But what does a nick-name mean?"

"What does Harry call me, off-duty?"

"Captain."

"What does Tom call me, off-duty?"
"Kathryn, mostly."

"What do you call me?"

"Kath or Kathy."

"Whoís closest to me out of those three?"

"Me."

"You see Chakotay, Tom feels close to you sub-consciously. Before yesterday it was ĎCommanderí. But now heís got it down to ĎChaí. The man definitely feels something."

"And you get all that without doing serious damage to your brain by working it out?"

"Iím a married, female Captain, you donít get much more clued up on relationships Chakotay." She smiled, "Anyway, Iíd better go, Tuvok will be wondering where I am."

"Canít let him get too comfy in that command seat, Iíll be out of a job."

"Remember to take it easy wonít you Chakotay. Tom wonít accept it at first."

"Sure. And Kath" she turned, "Thanks." She smiled and walked out with a Ďsee you laterí.

Chakotay checked his watch, only twenty one and a half hours to go.

TBC