Fun at the Fair
by Molly Jordan
Tom slunk down against the corridors walls, frowned and tapped his foot absently. If he’d been even a minute late to any of his shifts, the Commander would have killed him. But it was apparently okay for Chakotay to be over half an hour late for their appointment. Tom wished for the millionth time he had someone to moan to, but Alpha shift were all on duty and gamma were sleeping. He and Chakotay had the weekend off, to be spent assessing his new holodeck program.
Tom looked up to see Chakotay prowling down the corridors at high speed with a scowl on his face. Hmm, mustn’t be happy about spending his whole weekend having fun. The Commander stopped in front of Tom, still looking intimidating despite his casual dress. Tom jumped to his feet and offered Chakotay a sunny smile, which was not reciprocated, “Ready to go Commander?”
In response Chakotay swung his duffle bag over his shoulder and marched into the holodeck. Why had the Captain suddenly gone all recreational? He had a suspicion this weekend wasn’t just about Paris’ latest holodeck offering, Kathryn had been getting pretty pissed at his and Tom’s constant bickering. They were supposed to ‘bond’. Just what he needed, he thought bitterly.
Tom followed Chakotay in, sensing the big man’s annoyance and proceeding carefully. Tom took a deep breath, “Commander?” he asked cautiously.
Chakotay spun around, “What?” he snapped.
Tom raised his eyebrows, but quickly lowered them, “Um, it’s just, Sir I’m not overly pleased about you reviewing this either, but couldn’t we at least try to get on? Even if it has to be a façade, it would be easier.”
Chakotay sighed, “Fine.” He paused and watched Paris heading over to the control desk, “So where are we visiting?” he asked, praying it wouldn’t be anywhere too, well, Paris-like.
Tom smiled mischievously, “Somewhere relaxing, somewhere fun, somewhere exotic, somewhere…”
“Paris.” Chakotay stopped his chattering, “Where?”
“Wait and see.” Tom smirked, “Computer activate Paris Beta-7.”
Chakotay sighed and watched the holodeck around him flicker into a program. He looked around; he was in a huge room with a reception desk in one corner. He looked to Tom who was hoisting his own bag onto his back and heading towards the desk. Chakotay watched Tom head over to the reception and talk briefly to the pretty woman there, flashing her the Paris smirk. Hell, he was flirting with a holodeck receptionist. Tom turned around towards Chakotay and hollered, “You coming?”
Chakotay headed over to Tom and joined him in an old fashioned lift, “THIS is your program? A hotel?”
Tom shook his head, “No, but we need somewhere to stay don’t we? Unless you want to sleep outside.” They reached the floor and Tom dangled a key in front of Chakotay, “Meet you here in ten?”
Chakotay took the key, “Fine.”
Chakotay walked into the room and gasped in awe. If nothing else, it was fair to say Tom Paris had style. The room was huge and lightly decorated to make it look even bigger. There was a lounge area with two three-seater couches and a small coffee table. The lounge led out onto a balcony with a wonderful sea view. Adjacent to the lounge there was a small kitchen with a replicator hidden inside the old time fridge and a ‘fresher concealed in what Chakotay thought was a dishwasher.
Chakotay let his curiosity get the better of him and he ventured into the bedroom, dropping his bag on the floor. There was the biggest bed Chakotay had ever seen in the middle of the room. The bed was made in black sheets, a brilliant contrast to the whiteness of the rest of the room and Chakotay couldn’t help flopping down onto it, almost sinking into the soft mattress. He’d thought the view out of the lounge was amazing, but the scenery he could see out of the long French windows took the biscuit. Chakotay sighed, Paris couldn’t have made this more perfect. Now he didn’t want to leave.
But he had to. Chakotay heaved himself up and headed out of the door to find Paris waiting outside for him. Tom looked at him hopefully, “So, do you like it?”
Chakotay gave him a small smile, “It’s unbelievably perfect Tom. I wouldn’t have thought you’d have that much panache in you.”
“I’ll take that as the compliment I assume it was meant to be, Commander.” He said with a smirk and then looked up at Chakotay, “So you like it so far?”
“I suppose. But you’ve still got two days left to keep on impressing me.”
Tom flashed him the Paris grin, “I live to serve, Commander.”
“What do you mean ‘even from me’? I’ll be fun Chakotay. Who knows, I may even get you to laugh!”
Chakotay ignored Paris’ little dig and looked around, the rides were already in full swing and lights were flashing at him from all around. The holodeck characters, young and old, were hovering around him and Tom was blending in perfectly. Chakotay, however, was feeling decidedly uncomfortable, “Fun? I’m not sure this is such a good idea. Maybe I just commission the program without having to explore?”
Tom raised an eyebrow and waggled a finger teasingly, “I don’t think so Commander. One, you can’t submit a full report without experiencing this. Two, I don’t trust you when you say you’ll do nice things for me, somehow it’ll backfire.” Tom yanked his white T-shirt out of his jeans and grinned at Chakotay, “Alright, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll take you on one ride and then we have dinner. If you don’t want to stay the rest of the night, we’ll go back to the hotel. Deal?”
“Deal.” Chakotay said, glad for a chance to pull out with a shred of dignity left, “So, what’s this ride?”
Tom grinned, “The tallest, fastest, scariest ride in the whole of the park.” He grinned and pointed upwards.
Chakotay looked over Tom’s head, past his finger and saw a structure emanating high into the night sky. He swallowed, “That, Tom- you can’t be serious.”
Tom grinned, “Deadly serious.”
Chakotay caught up with Tom, who was heading in the direction of the ride, “Don’t use the word ‘deadly’ when you’re leading me to THAT.”
“The safeties are on.” Tom said, laughing, “You’re not SCARED are you Commander?”
“No. I just don’t want to hear you screaming in my ears all the way round.” Chakotay followed Tom to the start of the queue, which stretched back for what Chakotay thought were miles. “We don’t have to queue do we?”
“Hell no.” Tom ducked under the bars and Chakotay followed him down an empty line, getting jealous glances from the holodeck characters in the queue. Chakotay listened to Tom chatting with the attendants and they were let onto the next ride. Chakotay leant forward and murmured to Tom, “Trust you to get sweet with the staff, Paris.”
“Hey, it got us into the ride didn’t it?” Tom said hopping up into the front carriage and sitting down. “Come on.”
Chakotay stepped up and sat next to Tom, “You do know there’s no front to this carriage don’t you Tom?”
“Uh-huh.” Tom said pulling the restraint down over his neck and helping Chakotay to do the same. “Makes it more fun.
“I’m gonna kill Kathryn for this.” Chakotay muttered as the ride jerked into its upward climb, “Just how high is this?”
“One hundred and thirty metres.”
“High, huh?” Tom laughed “Remember Commander, you’re not scared.”
“I know I’m not. You’re not?”
Tom laughed, “No. I’ve done this millions of times.”
“Right.” Chakotay saw the top of the roller coaster in range and looked over the side, “Oh shit.”
Tom’s attempt to control his laughter backfired and he erupted into hysterics. Chakotay shot him an evil look and Tom shrugged helplessly, “I’m sorry Commander. Ooh, look.”
Chakotay looked forward and noticed that the carriage had come to a stop, dangling over the drop. He found himself suspended over a two hundred and thirty metre high almost vertical drop and turned to Tom, “If I survive, I swear I’m going to demote you Paris.”
Tom’s only response was a high pitched laugh as they plunged down into their roller coaster ride. He hadn’t imagined he would ever hear the Commander curse, never mind the language he yelled on their way around the various ups, downs, corkscrews and loops. Tom, on the other hand, enjoyed the ride in a way he had never been able to do as a child- fully aware of his huge grin and wide eyes. He almost- almost- forgot he was with the Commander, and imagined he was with one of his closest, craziest friends.
Chakotay staggered out of the ride, closely followed by Tom who jumped in front of him, the adrenaline obviously still pumping, “So? Did you like it?”
Chakotay grinned happily properly for what felt the first time in ages, “Loved it. Can we go again?”
Tom laughed, not believing this was his stoic Commander, “Well, if you’re still up for rides, let’s explore the rest of the park.”
Chakotay frowned, “I said I was going to demote you.”
“If you do, you don’t get anymore rides.”
“Fine. Let’s go.”
Tom led the way around to another ride and eyed Chakotay suspiciously, “Can I tell you something?”
“I’d never imagined you to be like this. You’re so different. I mean, when the Captain told me you would be reviewing my program I thought it was definitely a goner. But, you seem to be having an okay time.” Tom said as more of a question than a statement.
“I am. You know Paris, maybe we’ve got each other wrong. I thought you were a sarcastic, insensitive big kid. But now I know you’re just a big kid.”
Tom laughed, “YOU’RE the one who was smiling wider than I don’t know what on that ride.”
“I couldn’t help it, the air resistance was forcing my mouth into a curved shape.”
Tom nodded in mock sombreness, “Of course. It wouldn’t do Voyager any good if the first officer actually started to enjoy himself. Smiling may cause the ship to explode.”
“Well your ego’s getting so huge we’re going to have to enlarge the bridge to accommodate it.”
Tom turned and looked Chakotay in the eyes, “You’re playing with me Chakotay, are you feeling okay?”
“I’m feeling fine Lieutenant. Now are we doing this or what?”
Tom smiled, saluted sarcastically and led his Commander around the park.
Tom laughed and swung his car around, “It’s the dodgems Commander. The whole point is to crash into other people.”
“Really?” Chakotay said, raising an eyebrow at the seemingly pointless game.
Tom was prevented from answering when a holocharacter slammed into the back of his car and he was sent gliding across the track. However, Chakotay seemed to catch on as he chased Tom around the whole course.
Tom groaned, “That could present a problem Commander. Amusement parks weren’t made for you guys.” Tom took a bite of his foot-long hotdog and thought for a second. “Okay. How about a veggie burrito? It’s not exactly my ideal choice, but it’s not from an animal. Unless, you want to stock up on candy floss?”
“Candy FLOSS? I’m not even going to ask, Paris. Burrito sounds good.”
“Okay.” Tom bought a burrito from the vendor and handed it to Chakotay, “Eat up.”
They walked down the boulevard, which was decorated in the style of a suburban street, buildings towering above the wide street. Chakotay kicked through the autumn leaves, which formed a randomly distributed blanket on the pavement. He turned to Tom, who was now sucking on the straw in his drink, “One more ride Tom. Then I need sleep, I’m tired.”
“So, go on, one last ride.”
Tom looked at his Commander, the guy looked incredibly tired. Tom decided that the older man probably didn’t spend as many nights on the town as he did, “Chakotay? You don’t have to do this. Why don’t you catch some sleep?”
Chakotay eyed Tom suspiciously. He hadn’t labelled Tom with anything remotely close to caring and, as much as he knew it was wrong, he couldn’t help wondering what Paris’ ulterior motive was. “Why do you want me to go and sleep?”
“Sir,” Tom sighed, “You look absolutely exhausted.” He grinned, “And I want you to be wide awake for tomorrow. We can always, correction- we WILL get some more fun in tomorrow.”
Chakotay smiled and they began walking back towards their hotel, “Fun?”
“Uh-huh. F-U-N. Fun. Just wait and see, you’ll have the time of your life.”
“I don’t doubt it Paris.” Chakotay laughed.
The two men walked in silence for a while down the main street of the amusement park, watching the holodeck characters go by. Chakotay watched Tom who appeared deep in thought, contemplating what was flying through the pilot’s mind. Eventually Tom turned to his Commander and smirked, “Hey Chakotay.”
“What?” Chakotay asked walking up the steps next to Tom, wondering if he was going to be let in on the thoughts that had flashed through the man’s mind.
Tom stopped in the lobby and flashed him a huge flyboy grin, “I made you laugh Chakotay.”
“I guess you did.” Chakotay stood in the lift again and looked at Tom for a while before speaking, “Tom, it’s been ages since I’ve had so much fun. Thank you.” Chakotay headed down the corridor, followed by Tom. He took a deep breath and turned again to him, “Look, maybe we can forget our old differences. Maybe we can be friends?”
Tom half-smiled, his eyes lighting up, “I’d like that.” He stuck out his hand, offering it to the Commander, “Friends?”
Chakotay shook the offered hand, “Friends.”
Tom laughed slightly, “Goodnight Commander. See you bright and early tomorrow.”
Chakotay was distracted from imagining the possibilities by a knock at the door, “Come in!” he shouted across the room, knowing full well who it would be.
Tom walked in, dressed in black surfer shorts and a loose white T-shirt, “Hi Chakotay.” He said brightly.
Chakotay smiled politely and beckoned Tom out onto the balcony, “Coffee?” he offered.
“Thanks.” Tom poured himself a cup and sat next to Chakotay, “It’s great view isn’t it?”
Chakotay looked, surprised, towards the pilot, “Yes, it is. Did you make the landscape up yourself?”
“I wish.” Tom smiled and shook his head, “No, it’s made from a picture I’ve always kept with me since, well since I can remember.”
“Really? What picture?” Chakotay asked, suddenly interested in the pilot’s life.
“You really want to know?” Tom watched Chakotay nod and stood up, “Back in a sec.”
Tom walked out of the room, leaving Chakotay to ponder over what the pilot was going to bring back. He didn’t have very much time to ponder, however, as Tom came back in a few seconds later clutching a small old-fashioned photograph. He handed it to Chakotay and sunk back down, picking up his cup and blowing gently on it.
Chakotay studied the picture. The backdrop was exactly the same as the simulated view in front of him, down to the finest detail. On the photograph, where the river was below him, three people stood happily. There was one small blonde boy, Tom- Chakotay thought. “This you?” he asked.
Tom nodded, “Yeah. I’m five there.”
“Five, huh?” Chakotay smiled. Tom must have always had always had those mischievous blue eyes. He pointed to the guy whose shoulders Tom was sitting on, and then woman who had her arm around the guy. Every one of them was laughing and Tom held one of each person’s hands in his own. “Who are these other people?”
“The guy’s my dad, before he got depressed. He was actually a lot of fun back then.” Tom sighed and swallowed a lump in his throat he thought he had long got rid of. “The lady’s my mom. S-she died not long after this. Nothing was the same without her. Not me, not my father, nothing.” Tom waltzed his fingers in his lap, “That’s the significance of the picture. It was the last time I was ever truly happy with my life. I-it was the last time… the last time I ever felt like anyone appreciated, o-or, or loved me.” Tom blinked and turned to the side to hide his tears, which were threatening, from Chakotay, shocked at how much he had revealed.
Chakotay was also shocked at the pilot’s confession; shocked and touched. He hadn’t expected Tom to open up like that to anyone, especially him. He swallowed, not knowing what to say. Tracing his finger over the laughing blonde and his equally happy parents, he wondered what it was like growing up never feeling loved. His own childhood had been full of love, he had never felt unwanted. Maybe his early adult life had been tragic, but Tom’s hadn’t been a picnic either.
Chakotay met the pilot’s eyes with new vision. Tom wasn’t unfeeling, deliberately insubordinate or insulting. He just didn’t expect it was possible for anyone to hold a high opinion of him. Chakotay offered him a small smile, “I’m sorry Tom.”
Chakotay meant that in lots of ways. He was sorry for Tom’s pain. Sorry for misunderstanding him. Sorry for not doing anything to stop the abuse Tom had been through on board. Sorry for bringing the subject up when the pilot clearly wanted to forget the whole thing. Sorry for never seeing past his two-dimensional prejudices.
Tom rubbed at his eyes and attempted a Paris smirk and began to joke, “You know, it’s-”
“Don’t, Tom.” Chakotay cut him off. “You don’t have to turn it into a joke. It’s okay to feel sad.”
Tom sighed, “You’re right. It’s just been so long. It shouldn’t bother me anymore.”
“You don’t have to answer me if you don’t want, but” Chakotay met his eyes, “have you ever grieved properly?”
“Properly? You mean cry? No. No, it wasn’t something a Paris did according to my father. So… I never did.” Tom sniffed quietly.
Chakotay took a deep breath, “Maybe the attitude’s a cover up for that.”
“No!” Tom stood up and rested his arms on the balcony, “It’s not! I’m fine. My mom’s been dead for ages, my father’s hasn’t given a fuck about me, ever. There’s nothing that’s changed.”
Chakotay stood up and moved next to the pilot, his presence alone offering comfort, “You’re father looks like he cares here.” He said softly, handing Tom the picture.
Tom’s defences finally gave way and silent tears fell down his face, “He did not.” he snuffled his final weak attempt at a protest.
Chakotay looked at the pilot who was now staring at the picture, crying gently. Chakotay felt bad for making Tom go through this. If it wasn’t for him, Tom would be still bouncing along in his merry way, without a care in the world. * But wait, * a voice inside him said, *maybe Tom does have some cares, they’ve just been suppressed so much he doesn’t know they’re there.*
Chakotay moved so he was holding Tom in his arms comfortingly. Tom gave a small gasp of surprise but then sank gratefully into the older man’s reassuring embrace. “I’m sorry Tom.” he whispered again.
Tom’s voice floated up to him, so soft that Chakotay barely heard it, “What are YOU sorry for?”
“For upsetting you. I didn’t mean to.”
“It’s okay.” Tom sniffled, “I think I’ve put it off long enough. It’s just- I miss her. I miss feeling special.”
Chakotay didn’t know what to say and, luckily, Tom didn’t seem to expect him to say anything. Eventually Tom pulled away from him, “We’re wasting time, Chakotay. We’ve got a whole day of fun ahead.”
“You don’t have to-“
“I WANT to.” Tom said softly. “Change into the stuff I’ve programmed into the replicator. I’ll be back in ten minutes.”
Tom clutched his picture and walked off the balcony, heading for the door. Tom froze just before he got to the door. Turning around slowly, Tom met Chakotay’s gentle brown eyes. “Thank you.” he said sincerely.
“No problem Tom.” Chakotay smiled.
Tom headed out of his room, forcefully beating all thoughts of the Commander to the back of his mind. He knocked on the door and waited until Chakotay answered looking decidedly unimpressed with his clothing. Tom gestured to the Commander, who walked down the corridor in front of him, heading for the lift. Tom grinned wickedly, so that size of shorts he’d picked for Chakotay WAS a little too tight. Never mind.
Tom caught up with Chakotay and grinned at him, “You up for this Chakotay?”
“I don’t know what I’m letting myself in for yet Tom. Are we going to the fair again?”
Tom shook his head and they walked out into the lobby. He smiled and gestured through the doors. Chakotay walked out and saw that the place had totally changed. From the top of the high steps leading up to the hotel he had a great view of what was now a huge water park. He could make out several different turquoise pools, surrounded by tropical palm trees and overhanging vines. More holo-people walked around in swim gear along the sandy paths between pools and rivers.
Tom led the way down the steps, motioning for Chakotay to follow, “You like it then?”
“Looks good Paris.”
The men headed down to the beach where Tom perched on a deck chair, “So, what do you want to do first?”
Chakotay sat opposite Tom and kicked
his shoes off, “I don’t know. What is there to do?”
Chakotay sighed, smiled and shook his head, “How about you decide?”
Tom grinned happily, “’Kay, rapids.”
Rapids. Chakotay followed Tom, seriously regretting letting him make the decision. Tom reached the top of gentle, flowing rapids and pulled off his T-shirt, and Chakotay followed suit. Chakotay slipped into the still pool at the top of the rapids and swallowed, “Tom, are you sure this isn’t going to kill me?”
Tom laughed and got in the top, narrowly avoiding being bowled over by two overexcited children who dove into the waterway. He floated a little in the water and then turned to Chakotay, “Safeties are on Commander. Besides, it’s not dangerous.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
Tom shrugged, “See ya at the bottom.” He dived into the rapids, his head surfacing a few seconds later. Grinning like a hyperactive toddler he shook his hair out of his eyes and turned around. Chakotay had followed him in and was being pulled along by the lukewarm water just as he was.
Tom was dragged around a corner and then down for a few exhilarating minutes. He tumbled and was thrown underwater a few times, coming up spitting water like a playful dolphin. Tom barely noticed the greenery he had placed around the edge in an attempt to make the rapids look like a real forest getaway, he simply enjoyed the thrill of the flow. Before he knew it Tom was at the bottom of the rapids and turned around to watch Chakotay round the last bend.
Tom saw Chakotay round the corner with the same wide dimpled smile on his face as he’d seen at the fair yesterday. At the same time he noticed a little girl running for the water and frowned, he hadn’t programmed the damn kids to be suicidal. Tom shook his head and shrugged, the photons could be replaced.
Apparently Chakotay didn’t share the same feeling.
The Commander looked up at the same time as the little girl jumped for the water. Tom followed Chakotay’s leap with his eyes. Chakotay flew out of the water reaching, Tom thought, as impressive height. Chakotay stretched out his arms and caught the girl in his arms, preventing her from slamming straight into the rock.
Unfortunately Chakotay’s leap didn’t prevent him from slamming straight into the rock.
“Chakotay!” Tom started for the Commander who had sunk back into the water. He pulled Chakotay up out of the water and dragged him onto the beach, resting Chakotay’s head in his lap. “Chakotay? Hey, come on, if you don’t open your eyes right now I’m sending you to sickbay.”
Chakotay opened his eyes and looked straight up into Tom’s concerned blue ones, “Don’t call the Doc, I’ll be okay.” He closed his eyes again trying to ignore his aching head.
“She’s just a hologram you know Chakotay. I could’ve fixed her up in a flash.” Tom paused, trying to shake off the urge to stroke the Commander’s hair. He frowned and shoved those thoughts out of his head, “Come on, lie down on here.” Tom helped Chakotay onto a receding deck chair and lay him down. He called up the replicator, “You want a pain killer?”
Tom requested a medical tricorder and a painkiller and walked back over to Chakotay. He sat down on the chair next to Chakotay’s head and scanned him. Chakotay opened his eyes again, “I thought you had the safeties on.”
“I do, just not in that part. It enhances the thrill of that part if you feel a little once you get the bottom. It’s safe if you don’t start leaping through the air.” He finished his scan, “Well, Commander, you are one hell of a lucky guy- no concussion. As the only actually living medic onboard I suggest you take it easy for a few days. I’m pretty sure the photonic medic would agree.” Tom snapped his tricorder closed, “You’ll survive.”
Chakotay smiled, “I guess that means no more slides and rides huh?”
“’fraid not. But there’s still loads we can do, if you feel up to it.”
“Sure.” Chakotay relaxed as he heard the hiss of the hypo-spray and felt the painkiller flowing throughout his body, “Thanks Tom.”
“It’s okay. Hey, do you feel up to heading to a Jacuzzi? Might relax you a little.” Tom offered his arm.
Chakotay took Tom’s hand and stood up, leaning on the pilot for support. They made their way slowly across the short distance of the beach, and Tom helped Chakotay into the empty hot tub. Chakotay lay back and let the bubbles massage his back, while Tom slipped in next to him and began to scan him again. “Tom, do you really need to keep on scanning me? I’m feeling better now.”
“That’s because of the pain killers. I don’t want you dropping into unconsciousness Chakotay, believe it or not I do care about whether you pass out or not.”
“Why do you care about that?” Chakotay asked curiously. “Is it just to save your ass?” Chakotay nodded, that must be it, it made sense, “You’d get a talking to if you had a dangerous program.”
“Shit, Chakotay, I thought I’d earned more of your respect than that!” Tom growled angrily, “I care about you and your health more than I care about being yelled at.” Tom began to pull himself out of the Jacuzzi before he felt Chakotay’s hand on his shoulder.
Chakotay guiltily watched Tom turn around with a scowl on his face, “I’m sorry Tom. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m flattered that you care about me, a-and I’d do the same for you.”
Tom sat on the edge of the tub with his legs dangling in the water at Chakotay’s side, a small frown still on his face, “Really?”
“Yes.” Chakotay sighed and pulled Tom back into the Jacuzzi, “Look, I’ll admit that when I first met you, well- I think you know what I thought of you. But over the years I’ve known you, you’ve changed to a man I respect, admire and care about a hell of a lot. You’ve changed into someone I-I feel I could be close to.”
Tom looked Chakotay in the eye seriously, “How close?”
“W-what?” Chakotay said, taken aback.
“How close do you feel you could be to me?”
Chakotay swallowed and looked back into Tom’s searching gaze, “Tom, where are you going with this?”
“Ultimately?” Chakotay nodded, “Well, ultimately for today I, um, Chakotay- c-could I kiss you?” Tom asked shyly.
Chakotay let out a deep breath, “Yes.”
Tom leaned over and placed a trembling hand on Chakotay’s cheek before brushing his lips softly against Chakotay’s. Tom shivered in bliss before covering Chakotay’s lips with his and gently pushing his tongue into the older man’s welcoming mouth. He felt Chakotay’s hand come and rest on the back of his neck, gently stroking it. Tom felt a warm, so right, feeling in the pit of his stomach and smiled slightly as he played with Chakotay’s skilled tongue.
Tom pulled away for air, looking nervously, askance, into Chakotay’s eyes. Chakotay smiled and drew Tom into his arms, stroking the young pilot’s back tenderly.
Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said. They had both discovered something new, something neither of them could have possibly predicted, that gave them a feeling they had never felt before. A feeling of immense happiness that they wanted to embrace and keep with them forever.
Tom looked up and kissed Chakotay gently on the cheek, making the older man smile and draw him in towards his lips. Tom rubbed his nose along Chakotay’s cheekbone and whispered happily, “Well, this is new.”
Chakotay laughed, “It is.” He stroked Tom’s wet hair fondly, “Do you have anything planned for tonight?”
“Well the places changes back into a funfair in three hours, how about I take you out on the town?” Tom smiled and kissed Chakotay’s nose.
“Sounds good. How about lunch first?”
“Oh sure. Stay here and try not to hurt yourself.” Tom grinned and stepped out of the Jacuzzi. “You want anything in particular?”
“I’m not bothered, your choice.”
Tom nodded and headed towards the café situated in the centre of the park, while Chakotay settled back and relaxed. Chakotay thought that, at this point, thoughts would be flying through his mind at light speed. But they weren’t. The sudden change of events brought a peace of mind to him that didn’t seem to want to be analysed or even addressed. Being with Tom seemed to being a lightness to his spirit that hadn’t been around in a long time.
Tom, on the other hand, was almost lost in his own thoughts. He was confused, elated, scared and in love all at the same time. Deciding to address each feeling in turn, he took the long way around to the small open air café.
Confusion. Well that was an easy one. He was baffled as to how these feelings had reared up from nowhere and become so strong all of a sudden. Yes, he admitted to himself, he had always had a soft spot for the mystic commander, but those feelings had never been focused into more than the occasional right-hand fantasy. So, why? Maybe it was because he’d seen a side of Chakotay that he never knew existed, and one that he more than liked. Or maybe his feelings just had weird ideas of timing, and decided to jump up and surprise him. He sighed and shook his head, drawing a blank on figuring out why he’d suddenly begun to feel so much.
Tom hiked up a semi-steep path which ran alongside a serene waterfall, exercise always helped him to think more clearly.
His absolute joy was another easy one to deal with. Who wouldn’t be happy having discovered this incredible feeling? Having discovered this incredible guy? Tom smiled to himself as he stopped on a rickety rope bridge and could make out Chakotay lying in the water below him.
But he was petrified. And in love. Those two came hand in hand for him. Tom had never loved anyone or anything, and had never had that feeling reciprocated, since his mother. He laughed a little. He wasn’t comparing Chakotay to his mother in any other than the fact that he knew he was at his happiest with them. This made him as scared as Hell for two reasons. One, he knew he could get so lost in the Commander that he would never be able to live without him. And if Chakotay left, for whatever reason, he couldn’t take the pain that losing someone he loved brought again. Secondly, he was venturing into unknown territory as far as deep, meaningful relationships were concerned and that brought a natural fear along with a great deal of excitement.
Tom sighed at the man below him, “Well Cha, I honestly don’t know if I’ve sorted my head out or screwed it up even more.” He laughed, “You’re gonna have the hardest job you know, all I’ve got to do is express my feelings, you’ve gotta live with them. See, I’m already talking to myself. I don’t know how you’ll cope.”
Then, as if Chakotay had heard him, the Commander turned and looked upwards, shielding his eyes from the sun. A dimpled smile spread across his face and he mouthed ‘I love you’ up at Tom.
Tom raised an eyebrow, “You’re fast Cha, I’ll give you that. Oh well, some things you just don’t question, love you too Cha.” He shook his head, grinned and walked on.
“Here you go.” Chakotay took the offered polystyrene cup off Tom and frowned a question. Tom shrugged, “Soup in a cup.”
Chakotay laughed slightly, “Okay that’s… different.”
“Well think about it Cha.” Tom came to rest on the edge of the Jacuzzi and sipped at his soup (hot, plain, tomato) “If you had anything that could break in here it could get in the water and hurt someone. And you don’t need breakables in the water, you can hurt yourself all by yourself can’t you Chak?”
Chakotay laughed and leant his head on Tom’s leg, “Are you ever gonna let that go?”
“No.” Tom smiled and slid in next to Chakotay, leaning over and kissing him softly. “How is your head by the way?” He stroked Chakotay’s hair and traced his thumb around the older man’s tattoo.
Chakotay smiled, took Tom’s hand and rubbed the back of it against his cheek, “Better now you’re here.”
“Honey tongue.” Tom laughed, but rewarded Chakotay’s effort with a brief loving, kiss, “Seriously, Chak.”
“Seriously?” Chakotay sighed, “Seriously my head’s killing.”
Tom’s face fell, “Aw, Cha. The pain killers weren’t strong enough. I’ll give you some more, but they’ll knock you out for an hour. C’mon, let’s get you back to the hotel.” Tom stood up and offered the Commander an arm.
Chakotay stood up and took the arm, “I want to go out with you tonight.” He said as they made their way across the beach, all twenty toes wriggling through the grainy sand.
“You can. Just make sure you catch some rest first.”
“Yes Doctor Paris.” Chakotay mumbled, earning himself a gentle, playful shove from Tom. They made their way up the steps of the hotel, stopping to retrieve their discarded shirts and shoes. Chakotay was silent all the way up to their rooms, Tom leading him inside and to the bedroom.
“I’ll go get the drugs.” Tom said, heading towards the replicator.
Chakotay quickly pulled his clothes off and jumped into the bed, pulling the covers over himself.
Tom came back into the room, and smiled lazily at Chakotay. He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, tucking Chakotay in tightly. He trailed his finger around Chakotay’s face, cocking his head at it, watching attentively.
“Tom.” Chakotay whispered, hooking his arm around Tom’s neck and bringing him down for a loving, suggestive kiss.
Tom closed his eyes and pulled away gently, kissing Chakotay’s forehead in regret, “Later Chak.” Tom injected the painkiller, “You’ve got to get some sleep now. I’ll come pick you up in two hours, okay?”
“Okay.” Chakotay smiled sleepily, “Wear something sexy for me, hmm?”
Tom smiled and blushed slightly, “Sure Chak, if you do the same.” He said, his eyes sparkling.
Chakotay laughed and felt himself dropping off to sleep. He felt Tom leaning down and kissing him gently and slipped off into a happy slumber.
The door opened and Tom opened his mouth to greet Chakotay, but it froze open and his eyes bulged. He watched a shy smile creep across his Commander’s face and gulped at the man’s outfit. Chakotay wore a red shirt which clung to every muscle and black pants which Tom itched to rip off.
Chakotay might have noticed Tom’s gaping mouth if he weren’t practically drooling himself. He wasn’t quite sure the colour of Tom’s shirt as it changed depending on the angle of light, or how he looked at it, but Chakotay was sure it would look better on the floor. Swallowing his urge to devour the pilot standing before him, Chakotay spread his arms wide and looked up into Tom’s eyes, “I’m ready to go.”
‘I’ll have one Chakotay, to go’. Tom had to physically shake himself and concentrate on paying attention to the man standing in front of him, “Right, um, okay.” He laughed and jumped out of his trance, “C’mon, the quicker we get this over, the quicker I can get you back up here.”
Chakotay smiled and took Tom’s offered hand, squeezing it gently.
Chakotay watched Tom sipping at his wine, his eyes dancing with small flames reflected from the candlelight. A mischievous smile spread across Tom’s face as he reached across with one hand and covered Chakotay’s with it, massaging tenderly. The other hand, holding a fork, darted across and stole a bite of Chakotay’s pasta transferring it to his mouth and chewing, shaking with laughter. Chakotay smiled, thinking ‘two can play at that game’, and refilled Tom’s glass pinching a slice of the pilot’s oh-so-classy pizza on the way back. Tom squeezed Chakotay’s hand a little too hard in mock-annoyance, apparently he was possessive when it came to pizza, and Chakotay said so.
“Not as possessive as I am about my dates.” Tom said with a slight questioning edge to it.
Chakotay understood. Tom was looking for an assurance of commitment after many of his relationships being confined to one night stands. He smiled as reassuringly as possible, “I’m not going anywhere sweetheart.”
Tom beamed, lighting the whole room up with his radiance, “Good, coz I’ve got a hell of a lot planned.”
“For tonight, and other nights if you’d like?”
“I’d love to.” Chakotay smiled widely, stroking Tom’s palm with his thumb softly. “Hey, you done? What do you want for desert?” Tom’s wicked grin made Chakotay rephrase his sentence, “Would you like something that I can order from the waiter right here, right now, to eat?”
“Sure, hot fudge please.”
“You want it over anything?”
Tom’s smile widened and grew impossibly more wicked.
Chakotay shook his head and tugged Tom outside, the pilot in fits of giggles, “You are impossible Tom Paris.” He wrapped Tom in a hug and left an arm around Tom’s shoulders, “Come on babe, show me what this place has got.”
“I bet I can.”
“What? If you can’t do it I can’t do it?”
“No. No, it’s just… Cha? Chakotay…”
Tom followed Chakotay over to the booth, the encouraging shouts of the attendee already meeting his ears, “Chak?”
“Knock them over right?” Chakotay asked.
Tom smiled, “Yeah.”
“Yes sir. All you’ve got to go is knock six bottles over with two balls and win a fabulous prize. Just one chip a go.” The attendee beamed at Chakotay and Tom.
“Chip?” Chakotay asked
“Oh.” Tom fished in his pocket and pulled out a small red circle, “Here. Um, I thought I’d use a form of currency in here, more authentic. And these are the cheapest things I could replicate.” He grinned, “Here, waste one. Nobody wins at these sort of things.”
“Really?” Chakotay flipped the chip at the attendee and picked up the balls. He aimed and threw the first one, managing to knock the first bottle off the top of the pyramid. Frowning he hurled the second ball, this time adding a little spin, and knocked the remaining five bottles flying.
Tom’s eyes widened, “Wow.” He said, impressed.
Chakotay beamed and turned around to Tom, “You mean YOU couldn’t do that?”
Tom shook his head, while Chakotay was presented with his ‘fabulous prize’- an overly large, fluffy black monkey. He handed it to Tom, who looked at him incredulously, “For me?”
“Sure. It kinda looks like you, cute like you.” Chakotay smiled lovingly and stroked Tom’s cheek.
Tom grinned, looked at the monkey and then frowned, “Nah, it looks more like you Cha. In fact, I think I’ll call it Kotay.” He hoisted the toy up onto his shoulders and felt Chakotay’s arm come around his waist.
The two men walked down the street, Chakotay’s hand sliding into Tom’s jeans pocket and Tom’s head leaning on Chakotay’s shoulder. Suddenly Tom lifted his head up and dragged Chakotay over towards a building.
“Tom? What are you doing?” Chakotay asked, following him towards the building.
Tom turned around and flashed him a dazzling smile, “Secret. But I think you’ll like it.”
Chakotay followed Tom in slowly and found himself being led into a carriage, which began to move slowly upwards, “What’s this?”
“Just a transport system.” Tom smiled and pulled Chakotay over so he was sitting next to him. Tom put his arm around Chakotay, “Look.”
Chakotay looked out of the window, and smiled at what he saw. They were travelling up along the side of an easy cliff face and he had a brilliant view of the fair. It was lit up prettily in multi-coloured lights and Chakotay could see some of the larger rides moving around their tracks. “It’s beautiful.” He sighed.
“Oh, it gets better.” Tom said softly.
Chakotay kissed Tom softly on the cheek and nuzzled his neck, “I love you.” He whispered.
Tom smiled and kissed Chakotay back, “So, how are you feeling now Cha?”
“I’m feeling better thanks to you, honey.” Chakotay said just as the carriage stopped.
“Good.” Tom kissed Chakotay’s head softly and climbed out of the carriage followed by Chakotay. “Come on.”
Tom led Chakotay over a grassy hill and around towards a flat patch on the top of the hill. He sat down on the verge, and Chakotay spooned up behind him, kissing his neck gently. “Is there anything you haven’t thought of?”
Tom smiled and leant back into Chakotay’s arms, holding Kotay the monkey in his arms. He pointed at the skyline, “I think we’re just in time.”
Chakotay frowned and followed Tom’s hand towards the skyline, where he saw the sky lighting up with multi-coloured explosions. “Fireworks?”
“Yep.” Tom smiled and snuggled into Chakotay’s arms, watching the various star bursts of light in the sky. He reached for Chakotay’s hand and held it in his own, sighing softly at the perfect situation.
After a while Tom turned around, straddling Chakotay’s legs, and looked into Chakotay’s gentle brown eyes, “Cha?”
“Are you gonna commission my program?”
Chakotay laughed softly, “Of course. This place is amazing, hell we’re together aren’t we? And I guess it’s all down to this place. Tom, this is a great program, the crew will have a good time here.”
“What?” Chakotay asked, concerned, “What’s wrong? I thought you wanted me to commission your program. That’s the whole reason I’m here isn’t it? Or have you always had other agendas?”
“No.” Tom laughed a little, “No, ‘us’ came completely out of the blue. I didn’t plan it, b-but I like it Cha. I mean, I LOVE it. But you know that wasn’t the reason…”
Chakotay put a finger to Tom’s lips, “I know what you mean honey. It was unexpected, I get it. Go on.”
Tom smiled and kissed Chakotay’s finger away, “That IS the whole reason you came here. But, Cha- maybe I don’t want you to commission the program. Maybe this can be OUR special place, you know?”
Chakotay took Tom’s hand in his own and kissed it gently, rubbing it against his cheek, “Don’t you want to show it to the rest of the crew?”
Tom shrugged, “I’d rather keep it between you and me, this can be a special place where just me and you come.”
Chakotay smiled, “I’d like that Tom.” He wrapped his hands around Tom and rested them on his back, “Honey, can I tell you something? It may get a little mushy.”
“Ooh. Mushy?” Tom shrugged, “I can cope with mushy.”
“Okay. Tom? You know how you said you never feel special, or like anyone appreciated you? Well, you’re special to me, and I appreciate, and love you. This has started so quickly, I mean I’ve always thought you were cute, and now I know your soul’s beautiful, I-I think this could actually go somewhere. Maybe,” he took a deep breath, “Maybe you’re The One.”
Tom paused for a second, but then a slow, happy smile spread across his face, “Maybe I could be.” He sighed, watching the reflection of the fireworks causing small explosions in Chakotay’s eyes. A half smile crept across his face and he brushed his lips against Chakotay’s, “I think I could love you.” He whispered, “Is it too soon to say that?” he laughed, “Too soon. We haven’t even been together for 24 hours- of course it’s too fucking soon.”
Chakotay kissed Tom, “It’s never too soon to say that Tom.”
“I love you Chakotay.”
“Love you too.”
Tom sighed and sat back in Chakotay’s arms, looking out into the night sky, out into their future.
As Chakotay smiled and moved into
capture Tom’s lips he thought this was the best holoprogram Tom had ever