A Victorian Life
by Judy jlf@door.net

Summary: Tom and Chakotay enact a Victorian drama on the holodeck.

Disclaimer: They're Paramount's, damn it. Story's mine. Copyright, 1999, 2000. Inspired (?) by Britta and Kate. Mandragora spent a great deal of effort in educating me on the difference between Americanisms and Britishisms as well as customs and mores of England. Thanks to Britta's eagle eye and thanks to others who provided very helpful comments and observations. All mistakes that remain, however, are all mine.

Warning: R-rated. Nothing explicit. No one under 18. Sex, love between men. Bad words. Some violence. Tom torture. You've been warned! Descriptions of the Victorian characters' families are meant to reflect 19th C. families rather than the little we know of the canon families of Tom Paris and Chakotay.

Feedback: All is welcome

November 26, 1999 - Jan. 26, 2000



"I'm a little nervous about this," Tom confessed as he and Chakotay ate dinner in the mess hall.

"That's understandable."

"I mean, a whole week in a holonovel. And it's one I didn't even program."

"You can't do everything," Chakotay reminded him with a grin before he turned serious. "The whole point of this
experience is to work on your trust issues."

"Oh, thank you, great counselor. I needed that reminder."

Tom's sarcasm made Chakotay pull back a bit. "We don't have to do this, Tom."

The tall pilot wiped his hands together nervously, all but abandoning the food on his plate. "I know. But you spent all
this time putting it together. And the captain made an exception for us." Tom's humor surfaced, "Maybe there'll be a
red alert."

"It's a quiet part of space."

Tom took a deep breath. "Like I said, I'm just nervous. You haven't told me everything about what I can expect."

"Let's take care of that now. We're going back to Victorian England. Thanks to the holoprogram, we'll look about ten
years younger. And I made a minor adjustment to your body."

"Minor adjustment? What did you do? Make me shorter than you?" Tom asked, bemused by the idea.

"No. Our heights are the same. But your hair is a little blonder, longer..."

"And yours has no grey in it."

Chakotay's dimples flashed, "Got it in one."

"So, seriously, what did you do to me?"

"I gave you poor distance vision."

Tom gave him a look halfway between a grimace and a smirk. "But that's correctable with a little...."

"Not back then. Not without glasses."

"Right," Tom drawled as if inviting Chakotay to explain further.

"So that change in your body is to provide a justification for your presence in that setting."

A doubtful, "Yes," came from Tom.

There was a glint in Chakotay's eyes.

"So, I'm supposed to be this young, near-sighted virgin?" Tom almost choked. "And I'm going to enjoy this?"

Chakotay grinned at Tom's exaggerated disbelief. "I think you will love the process."

"I'd better," Tom muttered. "And I'll trust you so much when it's all over that we'll be able to...?" Tom's voice dropped
off, believing Chakotay could fill in the missing words. In his head, Tom supplied, 'do what I haven't allowed but
have wanted to do so much'. 

Ignoring Tom's immediate implied question, Chakotay tackled Tom's more general concerns. "Let me tell you more
about our characters and what you can expect."

Tom listened in circumspect fascination as Chakotay continued. "I think this is one holonovel character you might
find it a stretch to play." With a rueful look, Chakotay acknowledged, "And the same could be true for me. It's
something we might remain aware of as we act out this story." 

Chakotay reached for a PADD next to his plate. "Here's some of my research on Victorian speech, customs, culture,
and so forth. It should help in your role playing."

"Uh-huh." With a shrug, Tom accepted the PADD and made a face. "Homework."

"Research," Chakotay corrected with a grin.

Three days later, holding their Victorian outfits draped over their arms, Tom and Chakotay waited outside the
holodecks. Two teams of Parisees Squares players exited. When the room was empty, Chakotay ordered up his
holonovel and placed a hand to Tom's back. "Shall we?"

Muttering to himself, "Trust, Tommy, trust," Tom led the way inside, putting on a pair of wire-rimmed glasses.


A Victorian Life

Widower, Sir Charles Jackson looked up from the leather-bound book he'd been reading. Early afternoon sunlight
slanted through the high library windows brightly illuminating the darkly appointed room. As his secretary, Alec
Scott, introduced the tall youth who entered the room, Sir Charles rose. For a moment, the young man stood lighted
like a fire, his red-gold hair a halo around a fair face that announced northern ancestry. 

Sir Charles sized up the would-be prospect for the tutor to his two young sons. He saw a very tall, light-boned
youngster with wrists showing below jacket cuffs as if he had recently outgrown the still serviceable suit. There
were penetrating, clear blue eyes under wire-rimmed spectacles, narrow shoulders, and a slender torso atop lengthy
legs. Completing his inventory, Sir Charles smiled and shook the young man's hand. He found a good grip tempered
by a shy demeanor.

"So. Your name is Thomas Payne."

"Yes, sir, but no relation," the youth told him before he could ask about a possibly famous ancestor. 

Sir Charles motioned him to the brown leather chair at an angle to his own and the young man sat gracefully,
despite being obviously ill at ease. Picking up a heavy paper beside his chair, Sir Charles reviewed the handsomely
prepared resume. "Did you write this yourself?"

"Yes, sir."

Nodding, Sir Charles noted the error-free document. Although the resume confirmed that the young man was
twenty-two, he appeared barely eighteen to Sir Charles' thirty-four year old eyes. With a sigh, he checked that the
requisite university education had been attained. Excellent education. A few well-placed inquiries had told him this
prospective tutor was the youngest child of Admiral Owen Payne. The boy had had his heart set on a naval career,
but bad eyes had prevented his pursuit of such a dream. "So. What makes you think you can be a tutor?"

To his surprise, the boy blushed, yet regardless of his discomfort, he kept a steady gaze on Sir Charles himself.
"Well, sir. I like children. I like to explain how things work. A position on an estate such as Havenwood, quiet, away
from the city, would be highly desirable."

The softly spoken words added to Sir Charles' surprise. "Away from the city?" he checked.

"Yes, sir."

The other candidates he'd interviewed had seemed reluctant to be so far from the city's variety and noise. Indeed,
the previous tutor had resigned to return to London. "And why is that?"

"The...the quiet," Thomas stuttered slightly. "The sea. Your estate overlooks the sea."

Ah. So, there was a love of the sea in this young man, despite the misfortune that had led him away from a career
on its waters. 

"And what experience have you with young children?"

"My cousins, sir, and nephews and nieces. I do well with them I'm told."

Sir Charles tried not to smile in the face of the boy's modesty. His inquiries had indeed told of a young man who got
on well with children. "My boys will go to public school when each reaches the age of eight. I wish for them to be well
prepared before then." 

"I would do my best, sir."

Charles let a few moments pass while he gave the matter more thought. Presently, he rang a bell and the secretary
appeared in moments.


"Mr. Scott, please bring the children down to the library to meet their new tutor." He took delight in the muted cry
that Thomas gave on learning he had the job. While they waited for the children, he described his sons, and
ascertained that the working requirements as described in earlier correspondence between Mr. Scott and Mr.
Payne were satisfactory. All of the conditions were met with a dazzling grin and Sir Charles finally laughed himself.
"Now don't tell me you would have taken this employment for no recompense?"

"Um, no, sir. I would not. However, I am informed that you are highly regarded as a just and fair employer. I must
admit to surprise that you have accepted my service. I did not regard myself as having much likelihood of success."

"Oh? And why is that?" 

"I was concerned you would think my prior experience too limited."

"It is limited, but I see potential here. Let us see what the children think of my choice."

Two dark-haired boys, five and six, skidded to a stop just short of the library itself and arranged themselves to be
presentable at the doorway. The boys were nearly the same height, both dark-eyed, both stocky, healthy lads with
glossy brown hair worn in the style of the day. Each shared the deep dimples of their father when they smiled
hesitantly at the stranger introduced to them as Mr. Payne. 

Sir Charles watched quietly as Thomas immediately squatted down to the level of the boys, pushed his glasses up
his nose, and grinned at each. "If Sir Charles has no objections, I hope you will both call me Thomas."

A throat clearing from Sir Charles diverted their attention to their father standing by the library chair. "Mr. Thomas
would do."

"I'm 'Mr.' Thomas. And who are you?" he asked the smaller boy.

"I am John, sir."

"I am pleased to make your acquaintance, John."

Sir Charles smiled to himself at the solemnness with which Thomas repeated the question to his older boy. The six
year-old informed him, "I am Edward, sir."

Gracefully, with a smile for the children, Thomas rose to his feet. "I suspect we will start lessons tomorrow."

With a nod, Sir Charles dismissed the boys whose footsteps didn't begin running until they were at least ten feet
from the library. A muted whoop could be heard as they raced outdoors to the manicured lawns outside the library

"Fine boys," Thomas offered shyly.

"Yes, they are." Sir Charles couldn't help the pride that crept into his voice, nor could he help but notice the passing
sadness that sat briefly on the young man's countenance. "Mr. Scott will show you around Havenwood. He will
introduce you to the staff and to Mrs. Woodly, our head housekeeper. Let her know of your needs."

"Yes, sir, and thank you, sir."

Arms folded across his broad chest, Sir Charles' eyes followed the young man as he left with the secretary. Rarely
had he given thought to the beauty of youth, yet it hit him at a visceral level that the boy he'd just hired was of
extraordinary beauty. Before his marriage, in his schools and university he'd indulged in play with the other boys.
And he'd had his club. But nothing and no one had seriously disrupted his life's course. Now, here he was, two years
a widower with a coltish youth harbored within his estate's walls. 

It wasn't quite arousal that he felt, but it came close. Sir Charles shook his head. Taking a boy to his bed in his own
home was not in his current life's plans. Indeed, he'd recently begun to think it time to consider taking a new wife
even if the suitable prospects were not particularly to his taste. Perhaps it would be best to avoid Thomas lest
forbidden desires overwhelm his good sense, his ordered life, his dormant needs.


CHAKOTAY: I have to give Tom Paris credit. He cheerfully took on the role of Thomas Payne. Despite the misgivings outside
of the holodeck, he'd put himself into it with enthusiasm, even carrying off the somewhat stilted and formal speech of the
19th Century that had us both sounding like Vulcans. And Tom's blushes: Well, a 22-year old Tom who blushed was
irresistible. I think my own character's reactions to Thomas were understandable. That youthful beauty was breathtaking. I
was glad I'd made us ten years younger. And it didn't hurt to look in the mirror either. I have to confess to a bit of smugness
on that score. 


The tour of Havenwood took some time as Scott showed Thomas the stables, kennels, carriage house, the root
cellar, smoke shed, gardener's shed and other outbuildings on the grounds. He was introduced to the coachman,
groomsmen, and gardeners. 

The house itself was divided by a center hall into north and south wings. Upstairs in the south wing, Thomas was
shown the doors to the children's room, the nurse's quarters, the room where his tutoring would take place, Sir
Charles' rooms. As they encountered various servants, Thomas was introduced as Mr. Payne, the new tutor. Mr.
Scott sought out several important members of the staff, including the butler, footman, and valet, for personal

When they headed downstairs, Thomas asked about the north wing. Scott made a nervous reference to Sir Charles'
brother Arthur, as well as to the deceased parents of Arthur and Charles. Thomas knew not to inquire further into
the private business of his new employer. Scott did make it clear that the north wing's upstairs rooms had been
closed for years. 

Thomas found that his room in the downstairs south wing overlooked the rose garden. It was clean, yet functional,
and had a comfortable bed. The fireplace worked, the large window would let in the afternoon light. He had his own
desk and wardrobe. Best of all, he only shared the bath chamber with one other, Mr. Scott, whose room down the
hall formed an L with his own and the bath chamber. Ever since he began to go to school he'd shared rooms with at
least one other. 

He marveled a little at his good fortune. This room was private and it was his own. He had his first real
employment. He would have to send for his belongings, but Mr. Scott indicated that there were a few work clothes in
the dresser. For now, he would have another change of clothes until his own possessions arrived.

Thomas had brought a satchel that contained a few books, writing paper, his pen, and erasable slates along with a
few necessities. When he arrived for the interview, he hadn't been sure he would be offered employment, he simply
had hoped. Regardless, he was prepared to begin tutoring the young boys in the morning. Too excited to remain for
long in the room, he found his way along the corridor to the door to the rose garden. Fragrances from
end-of-the-season blooms caught his attention as Thomas walked carefully along the clipped pathways. 

As his wanderings took him beyond the rose garden, he realized he was gradually going up an incline. Before too
long, he stood on rocky cliffs overlooking the sea below him and heard the surf as it pounded against ragged boulders
far below. Black birds and seagulls circled overhead, occasionally darting into the waters off the west Devon coast.
He would be secure here. He *had* to be. He had to make up to his father the huge disappointments he'd caused the
elder Payne. 

The westerly breeze picked up as he stood there under the still warming rays of the soft sunlight. He shivered a bit,
then headed back to the estate he could now call home.


TOM PARIS: Chakotay did an unbelievable job with the holoprogram. I felt as if I'd actually gone back in time. But it
seemed really strange to play someone who was only 22 and so inexperienced. There sure wasn't much in my own life I
could draw upon to play this role. But maybe that was Chakotay's point. Start at the beginning. Start over. On the holodeck
a lot of things were possible, even a reinvented past.


In the weeks since the young tutor's arrival, Sir Charles noticed a change in his children. Edward expressed more
curiosity and frequently came to the library to borrow books that he was barely capable of carrying, much less
comprehending. And John, exuberant young John, seemed more focused, more intent. These were changes for the
better, Sir Charles decided. 

By his own design, he had barely crossed paths with the young tutor. He had a carefully planned life ahead of him,
no need for extraneous emotions to cloud that future. 

He was surprised when Mr. Scott informed him one morning that Mr. Thomas was ill and would not be able to tutor
that day. "Shall I send for the doctor?" Sir Charles asked.

"I cannot be certain, sir. Mr. Thomas indicated that his illness is not contagious. He said not to fetch the doctor, but
I don't know...." Scott equivocated. "Perhaps if you looked in on him yourself, sir?"

"Yes. Yes. I will." 

Sir Charles finished his cup of tea and then ventured to the tutor's room. He knocked. "It's Sir Charles. May I come

A muffled assent followed and Sir Charles entered the darkened room. He found the youth in bed, blankets wrapped
tightly about him, his golden curls now dark in the gloom. Crossing to the bed, Sir Charles noted that even though
the boy's belongings had arrived over a fortnight ago, the room seemed pristine and barren of personal effects. His
spectacles sat on the night stand next to a book. They were the only personal possessions Sir Charles noticed in the
dimly lit room. A neat young man or a lonely one, he surmised. 

"I understand you are unwell?"

"I'm sorry, sir," came the miserable reply. "I'm sorry to inconvenience you, sir."

"There, there. Should we send for the doctor?"

The flushed face darkened. "Please don't. I will be well again presently."

Sir Charles wasn't all that certain but said, "You will tell me if you need one? It's a three hour ride to fetch the
doctor. I would not want to be sending for him too late."

Thomas sat up, winced, ran a hand through tousled hair. When he shook his head, he winced again. One hand
remained under the blankets. "No, sir. If there is a need, I will say something to you, sir."

"Very well. Now am I to understand that you believe your illness cannot be caught by others?"

"Yes, sir. That is true."

"Would you like Mrs. Martin to bring you anything? Tea, perhaps?"

"Tea? Yes, tea. Thank you, sir. Oh, and, sir. Please tell the boys I'm sorry not to be with them today. I feel sure I will
improve by tomorrow."

With a smile, Sir Charles nodded, "I'll tell them." He was on the verge of turning to leave the room when he decided
to see for himself if the young man was running a fever. He placed the palm of his hand against a cool, pale
forehead. As he took his hand away, he saw a feeling like shame cross the boy's features. "What is it, Thomas?"

The youth looked up in surprise and Sir Charles wondered if he should have used his name before now. Thomas
seemed to struggle, as if wanting to say something and at the same time not wanting to say anything. At last he
appeared to resolve the struggle by apologizing once again. "I'm sorry, sir."

With a stern look that usually worked on his sons, Sir Charles waited. But he realized that this was a stubborn
young man who would not speak to an almost stranger easily. "Well, then. Mrs. Martin will bring you some tea,
perhaps some toast?"

Thomas nodded and slid back down onto the bed. At the door, it looked to Sir Charles as if the young man was
sleeping. He vowed to look in on him again and to put an end to the way he'd isolated himself. Perhaps Thomas
would have spoken up if he himself had not appeared as a stranger. Because he was a determined, orderly man, Sir
Charles knew he would not let some forgotten urges disturb him. He could become better acquainted with Thomas
without it upsetting his world. 

By nightfall the young man had not ventured from his room and Sir Charles paid a repeat visit to him after his own
solitary dinner. He carried a lamp set on low into the room when the voice within admitted him. Placing the lamp
on the dresser across from the bed, Sir Charles noted that the tutor looked little different from the morning. 

Using the palm of his hand to check for fever, Sir Charles once again detected none. Puzzled, he sat on the edge of
the bed and sighed. "It seems I should send for the doctor. Nurse Carter tells me you remain ill. She reported that
you vomited more than once."

Thomas seemed extraordinarily embarrassed, whether it concerned the children's nurse being privy to such
information or simply the facts of his situation, Charles was unable to determine. With one hand, Thomas reached
for his wire rims and adjusted them on his face. The other hand remained under the blankets. He repeated his
earlier regrets. "I am so sorry, sir. I know how much of an inconvenience this is to you."

"No. That is not what I want to hear. Tell me what seems to be the matter." At the guilty look on Thomas' face, he
surmised, "You do know, do you not?"

"Yes, sir. It seems...I took a fall last night. I was walking along the cliff, the sunset was quite striking. And I tripped
and fell backwards. It was so...clumsy of me." The boy looked as if he wished to sink under the blankets never to
emerge again.

Now Sir Charles began to understand the source of the embarrassment. But had the youth merely tripped and been
uninjured, he would be on his feet. "And you were hurt as a consequence."

"I am so sorry, sir."

"Never mind that. Where were you injured?" At Thomas' downcast eyes, Sir Charles persisted. "Come now, tell me."

"I hit the back of my head, my back, my arm." As Thomas spoke, his voice dropped lower and lower.

"Let me have a look now."

Sir Charles reached behind Thomas' head and lightly felt at the knot he found there. He had Thomas turn his head
so he could look the injury. "The skin is intact."

"Yes, sir." Thomas turned back to look at his employer. He wore an expression of pain, brow furrowed, eyes nearly
shut, mouth pinched. 

"Have you been dizzy?"

"Yes, sir. That's...that's why I remained in bed. Every time I thought to get up, I fell back feeling queasy."

"I see. And when you fell, what do you remember of that?"

Thomas frowned, paled. His eyes darted about almost wildly. Sir Charles noted the youth's distress. "What is it?"

"Feel sick," Thomas moaned.

"Here. Lie back down."

Sir Charles helped Thomas so that he lay his head back on the pillow. He took the wire rims and replaced them on
the table. The boy's eyes closed, not so much as if he was about to drift off to sleep, but as if he was trying to calm
the forces at work trying to make him sick. Finally, Thomas seemed to win the struggle and weary blue eyes
opened to face Sir Charles. 


"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

"Now about your arm. May I look?"

Hesitantly, the left arm appeared from its hiding place under the blankets. Even covered by the long-sleeved
nightshirt, Sir Charles could see that it was swollen. Very gently, he peeled back the cloth to find discolored, swollen
skin on the forearm. A hiss from Thomas told him the bruises were tender to the touch. The skin was broken and
scabbed over, but Sir Charles could detect none of the telltale signs of infection.

Although Charles located no obvious break in the bones, he had suspicions that one bone or the other had taken a
strong blow. There was little he could do for the bruise on the boy's head, however, this injury should be wrapped up
for better healing. As he conducted his inspection, Thomas' eyes followed him fearfully.

"You need not fear. With the only physician so far away, I have learned a fair amount in treating injuries and minor

"Yes, sir."

"We'll have to wrap your arm, keep you from using it for awhile. Now, let me see. Am I to understand your back was
injured as well?"

A distinct blush crept up the boy's neck to color his face a dark pink. "Yes, sir."

Crisply, in as detached a manner as possible, Sir Charles asked Thomas to turn on his side. Once the tutor
complied and there was no sign of sickness, Charles tugged down the blankets below his hips and then raised the
nightshirt. Bare skin from thigh to neck glowed in the lamp light. Charles told himself to concentrate only on the
injuries, not on the breathtakingly lovely, slender frame of the bruised youth. 

The bruises on the back were dark and swollen, also tender to the touch. Charles gave attention to each of the half
dozen injuries and found the boy flinched twice. When he touched one on the upper left buttock and the other over a
rib, Thomas' body involuntarily moved away from his fingers. Under the second bruise he detected the possible
shifting of bone signaling a fractured rib.

As much as Sir Charles might have liked to explore further, either with his fingers or his eyes, there was simply no
justification for such intimacies. With a last, longing look, he pulled the nightshirt down and the blanket up. Slowly,
Thomas rolled onto his back, wincing as he did so. Those troubled blue eyes seemed reluctant to look at him. 

"I shall have to bind up that rib lest it not heal properly."

"I am so sorry, sir. I had hoped a day of rest would prove sufficient."

The young man managed to put on a brave face and Sir Charles was relieved to see it. "I fully intend to take care of
you so you will heal soon. Trust me, Thomas. Just trust me."

A shudder of surrender seemed to go through the boy. Although the words were nearly whispered, he heard the
promise, "I shall, sir."

The young man lay on his side, curled up under the blankets. Charles touched Thomas' hair, careful not to jostle
the head and cause any upset. He ran a hand up and down along the uninjured right side of Thomas' back between
the covers and the boy's nightshirt.

"I have on hand the necessary equipment. There should be no need to call the doctor. Nurse...."

Thomas pulled away with a jerk. "No! Please, sir, please don't bring the children's nurse, please?"

By training, either he or the children's nurse was the right person for this job. However, this tutor, while young and
inexperienced, was not a child. To have the children's nurse come in to do the binding would be to imply that
Thomas was still a child. Thomas was right. "It will be just me and you, then." He found his hand brushing hair
away from the youth's eyes. Even in the dim light, he could see the fear there. "No need to be afraid."

"Sir? Have you done this before?"

"Yes." Sir Charles didn't elaborate. Almost without thinking, he brushed his lips against that pale forehead. With a
sigh, he told himself that it could have been worse. Although clearly embarrassed, Thomas would live through this. 

"I shall retrieve the necessary items."

Silently, the scared youngster nodded. 

The room returned to darkness with Sir Charles' departure. Tom shuddered at having divulged his appalling
clumsiness while on the cliff to his employer. It mortified him that Sir Charles had to examine his back when he
wore nothing but a nightshirt.

He was sure Sir Charles would let him go, would send him packing in the morning. He didn't want to leave those
lively children. And, truth, he didn't want to leave the fascinating, dark man who had hired him. 

The queasiness returned and Thomas lay still, waiting for the attack to pass. Without realizing how much time had
elapsed, he heard Sir Charles return and call his name. "Thomas."

Thomas began to struggle out from beneath the bedclothes. But before he could get up, Sir Charles motioned him to
remain in place, then set rolls of bandages on the night stand beside Thomas' book. 

"Now then, Mr. Payne, let us set to work." As a first step, he helped remove Thomas' nightshirt.

Thomas lay still as Sir Charles wrapped his arm from wrist to biceps. He tried not to think about the hand that
gripped his elbow, the fingers that brushed over his skin as the bandage was wrapped round and round. For some
reason the nearly pleasurable sensations of Sir Charles' careful actions overrode the throbbing pain in the arm. It
was puzzling, his arm hurt and yet he focused on the pleasure of Sir Charles' touch. These unusual, confused
feelings left him wondering what was wrong with him.

When Sir Charles finished with his arm, Thomas was asked to sit up. Face flaming, Thomas complied, upset by
both the dizziness he experienced and the knowledge that shortly his back would be exposed to view. To Thomas'
relief, Sir Charles acted as if he failed to notice the heat that suffused his fair skin.

Sir Charles wrapped the bandage around his ribs and, as with his arm, fingers brushed Thomas' skin heating it as
they traveled. This time, it wasn't the blow to the back of his head that had him lightheaded, rather it was the close
proximity of his benefactor. Unfortunately, he found himself wrong on at least one point. The blow to his head was
also a factor here. His stomach lurched. "Um. Sir."

Thomas felt a pause in the wrapping process. "Yes?"

"I'm feeling ill, sir."

"Are you able to make it to the water closet?"

"No. I...no." Thomas' gorge rose and to his deep shame, he began to vomit into the hastily placed chamber pot. Sir
Charles held it steady. Finally, Thomas finished, "Oh, dear God. I am sorry, sir."

Placing the lid on the pot and setting it aside, Sir Charles pulled up a blanket and wrapped it around Thomas'
shoulders. "Let me have this taken care of." Sir Charles rang and one of the maids knocked at the door. 

She took the closed pot away with her and promised to deliver a clean one shortly. If Thomas hadn't been so
consumed with his own misery, he might have noticed the slight wrinkle of her nose. In the meantime, Sir
Charles brought a glass of water to Thomas. He sipped it, allowing the water to rinse around his mouth. 

"Yes, go ahead and spit it out."

With that permission, Thomas did as instructed and spit the fouled water back into the glass. 

"Are you doing better now?"

"Yes, sir. I believe so, sir."

Sir Charles took a careful look at Thomas' face. The pale skin was still pink with the boy's embarrassment, the
eyes looked down at his lap, the shoulders slumped in defeat. "This happens with head injuries. If you rest, these
episodes should abate."

"Yes, sir."

"Shall I finish wrapping your ribs?"

"Yes, sir."

The cracking of the boy's voice told Sir Charles that Thomas was far from ready. However, Sir Charles remained
somewhat flustered as to what to do or say. Finally, he sat down on the bed, next to the quiet youth. "You're

"It was so unseemly of me to fall in the first place. And now...for you to see me...."

Sir Charles weighed some of his choices. He could act toward the tutor as he would one of his children, but Thomas
had demonstrated his sensitivity to such treatment. And, in truth, that would not reflect how he felt about the
young man. He recognized that his feelings were not at all paternal. Impulsively, he reached his arm around and
held Thomas' uninjured, still blanket-covered shoulder.

He choose once again to use the tutor's first name, "Thomas. I understand this has been upsetting for you. But I do
believe you will recover and I wish to assure you that I think no less of you for your unfortunate accident. I am
positive you had no intention of falling and hurting yourself. Nor could you control the needs of your body just now."


CHAKOTAY: I was becoming immersed in my character: This gentleman who harbored such strong, erotic feelings for the
tall blond I held was someone I could identify with. I felt the very basic level of this scene was right. There was something
so powerful in holding an unprotesting Tom Paris.


Thomas was surprised at the gentle, reassuring words. But he wondered if he was imagining the intense heat
building elsewhere in his body. As his confusion grew, he tensed. Could Sir Charles know what was going through
his mind, what was stirring in him? 

"Shh, Thomas, I understand." Sir Charles lightly kissed Thomas' forehead. 

Bewildered by this possible reciprocation of feeling, Thomas stared at Sir Charles as if he could divine the man's
intentions by the expression on his face. "Sir?"

"Let me finish helping you."

The words were softly spoken as if more than wrapping bandages about his ribs was under consideration. "Please,"
Thomas whispered.


TOM PARIS: It was difficult to play out the scene. I couldn't imagine a time when a hypospray wouldn't fix all this. Even the
20th Century wouldn't have been this backward, would it? I'll research that point when I get off the holodeck. The thing is,
it's so hard to play such a submissive role. No chance to make wise cracks, no rebelliousness. Not very Tom Paris at all.
But the comfort offered to my character by Sir Charles was somehow welcome. And that part of the scene reached me. 


When Sir Charles finished with his careful wrapping of the ribs, he sat back. "I do believe you would benefit from a
little sponging down. Would that help?"

"Yes, sir." 

Once again the man rang and this time requested a hot bowl of water be brought in. While waiting for it to arrive,
Sir Charles checked the bandages. He gave a thorough inspection to the arm and to the ribs. He also provided a
potion for Thomas' pain. He wasn't certain the boy would be able to keep it down, but he hoped that it would remain
long enough to ease the soreness. 

When the maid brought the basin and washing cloths, Sir Charles made sure to have the blankets up to Thomas'
chin. But once she left, he moved the blanket to Thomas' waist. 

Thomas was keenly aware of how he must appear to Sir Charles. Although tall, he knew he looked barely grown. He
feared that his appearance would put Sir Charles in mind of one of his children. Not the image he wished for Sir
Charles to have of him.

Despite the gentleness of the man's touch, he was convinced his employment would be terminated, his future
ruined again. After all, the man couldn't help but be upset with his taking up so much of his time. His father would
be disappointed again. Thomas could just imagine the two men meeting, Sir Charles having to explain why he had
to let the Admiral's son go. Dear God, why hadn't he just died?

But Sir Charles was running a damp, hot cloth over his face, down his neck and over his shoulders. The heat and
movement were welcome, eased his soreness and once again confused him with the sensations he was noticing in
a lower area of his body. Finished with his arms and chest, Sir Charles asked him to turn over. Carefully, he did so
and was pleased to find no dizziness accompanied the movement although his headache continued unabated. 

The soothing, hot cloth worked the backs of his shoulders, moved down his back, moved up and then down again.
Eventually, his whole back was covered. It was at this point, that Thomas assumed Sir Charles would be finished.
However, the man's hand fell on a blanket-covered buttock. Over the roaring in his ears, Thomas heard Sir Charles
ask if he should continue. Was it possible that Sir Charles wanted to uncover him the rest of the way and wash
down those now blanketed parts? 


"Yes. Please, sir."

"Let's put a nightshirt on first to keep you from catching a chill."

Sir Charles helped him put on a fresh one over his bandaged arm and pulled it down to his waist. Thomas turned on
his stomach and then the last barrier between himself and the other man's touch was removed. The soothing cloth
continued its journey over the lower half of his body. And he felt a stirring that surprised him even as it dismayed
him. Suppose Sir Charles discovered his reaction? And then Sir Charles was asking him to roll over onto his back.
How could he refuse this? 

Embarrassed by his body's reaction, Thomas did as asked holding his bandaged arm out of the way, but fully aware
that that would not be the focus of Sir Charles' gaze. He closed his eyes and tried to pretend that nothing was amiss.

As if reading his mind, Sir Charles methodically continued to wipe down his body, seemingly oblivious that anything
might be out of the ordinary. Part of him wished for this contact to continue forever while another part of him feared
Sir Charles would take offense at his inappropriate bodily responses. 

Presently, Sir Charles tugged down the clean nightshirt and Thomas lifted his hips up to facilitate matters. The
blankets were brought up. He felt those warm lips once again press against his forehead. 

Charles whispered, "Do not be embarrassed. I wanted you to feel good. And you should know that you are not alone,
Thomas." More briskly, moving back a step, Charles suggested, "Now, it's to sleep with you."

Thomas shrugged diffidently. If that's what Sir Charles wanted. He didn't understand any of the reactions he'd had
or felt tonight. He watched his employer, now nurse, and possibly more, lower himself on top of the bedclothes. A
gentle hand smoothed his hair and ran down his cheek. Huskily voiced words carried to him, "I felt it, too, Thomas.
When you've recovered from your injuries, I would like to lie here beside you and stroke your soft skin and feel your
beautiful body respond to me. For now, go to sleep. I'm going to stretch out here for a short time in case you need

Soft lips kissed the tip of his nose and Thomas didn't know what he wanted to say nor how to respond. "I've not been

The older man laughed. "No, no. Not at all."

This time the kiss landed on his lips. As Thomas drifted into sleep, the kiss insinuated itself into a short catalogue
of his adult ardors. 

Sir Charles pulled up a blanket over himself intending to remain in Thomas' bed until he felt sure he was no longer
needed. Feeling strangely keyed up and excited, Charles tried to unwind. Although he had put the boy through
something of an ordeal, he hoped he had made it as painless as possible. 

His mind turned to the responses of his own body to the sight of that pale, slender frame lying in the bed. Charles
remembered each detail. 

In the future, under circumstances involving a healed tutor, Charles acknowledged how much he wanted to revisit
that slender body. And he knew it would be possible. Thomas had surrendered to him, would do as he requested. He
felt certain that the young man would like the new sensations he hoped to bring to that willowy body. 

Cautious to avoid the taped ribs, he placed an arm across the boy's chest, felt a hand reach for him, felt the onset of
even breathing signaling sleep in the healing youngster. He remembered Thomas' last words. Terminate him,
indeed! There was no possible chance of that. He had lost his heart to this young man. Although he still felt the
guilt that reminded him he'd not been able to save his wife, he knew that he had benefitted Thomas.

Thoughts of helping the young tutor, of seducing the lovely body, of making love, stimulated his own body. Sir
Charles quietly attended to his own needs as he imagined a future of new possibilities.


Grey light outlined the heavy curtains covering the window and Sir Charles stirred, momentarily lost as to his
whereabouts. Then he felt the outline of the lanky body next to him and realized he had slept the night on the bed of
his children's tutor. All the surprising and difficult events of the previous evening came back to him. He fervently
hoped the bandages and rest had been the remedy for the young man's injuries. 

Nonetheless, he recognized that Thomas had spent a restless night, the pain potion not completely doing the work
he hoped it would. However, there had been no additional bouts of vomiting and Sir Charles took that as a positive

Thomas must have sensed his movements and turned to look at him. There was shyness, fear, and uncertainty in
those blue eyes. Perhaps gratitude as well. Then, the eyes dropped away as if memory had suddenly reinstated itself
in the tutor. 

"Thomas, how do you feel?"

Blue eyes darted back to Charles' face. Charles watched the fleeting emotions alight like hummingbirds on
Thomas' face, then leave. The final emotion was possibly relief, it was hard to read. "I feel better, sir."

Sir Charles smiled. "Good. I'm very pleased to hear that. This morning, I'd like to check on your bruises. Will you let
me do that?"

"Yes, sir," came the shyly spoken permission.

Those eyes were trusting, so trusting. How he longed to truly make that trust earned. He gave a pat to the boy's
shoulder and rose from the bed. 

There was an early morning chill in the room. In his search, he stopped for a moment to encourage the fire back to
life in the fireplace. This was not the time to have a servant perform such a task. Although he didn't look, Sir
Charles sensed thoughtful eyes tracking his moves. 



"I need to...to use the water closet."

It was almost as if the young man were questioning him for permission. "Thomas, please don't ask for my consent;
you know best what you need to do."

"Thank you, sir."

A flurry of activity that ranged from the bed to the door signaled the youth's rapid departure. Sir Charles shook his
head, a smile on his lips. He hoped the movements had not brought on a resumption of dizziness. Sir Charles
waited patiently, rubbing the bristles on his chin and cheeks. Courtesy of some Roman ancestors, his dark facial
hair gave him a forbidding look in the mornings before he shaved. 

He had the feeling that Thomas could go days without shaving, so light was his hair and so sparse did it seem on
his face. On the other hand, where he himself lacked chest hair, Thomas' was beginning to develop. Bemused by
the way his mind had begun to catalogue contrasts between himself and the fair-haired youth, he couldn't help but
smile at his conceits. 

When Thomas returned, Sir Charles cocked an eyebrow in question and received a hesitant shrug in response. "I
feel much improved, sir, although I remain a little weak."

"Any dizziness?" Charles went to the door and turned the key to lock it.

"No, sir," came the reply, even if the speaker still wouldn't look at him.

"Then let us check on those bruises."

Thomas stood near the edge of the bed and finally looked up. "How do you want me?"

"Sit first, hmm?"

Thomas did as instructed and Sir Charles sat beside him. Carefully, Charles inspected the back of Thomas' head.
The lump there seemed to have diminished in size. However, if Thomas' winces were any indication, then the area
was still sore and tender. But the touch did not bring on any new round of vomiting. For this, Sir Charles was
grateful and suspected this was true for Thomas as well. 

Next, he inspected the arm, noting the swelling that had gone down there. He rewrapped the arm and examined
Thomas' expression for signs of pain. Although Thomas looked drawn, there was no noticeable distress.

Charles pulled up the nightshirt high on Thomas' chest and asked him to hold it out of the way. As much as he
wished he had better control, Charles lost the brief struggle to keep his own eyes focused on only the chest area.
His eyes followed the dusting of red-gold curls down the long chest, descending to the middle where the white
bandages interrupted his view.

He noticed that Thomas had turned his head away, his eyes closed. With a nod to Thomas' sense of modesty,
Charles pulled the blanket up to his waist. 

With as light a touch as possible, he inspected the area of bruises on Thomas' back. Most seemed to have
diminished in terms of swelling, but remained exotically colored. He checked under the bandage and Thomas
winced. He touched the boy's shoulder. "Hmm. Yes. I'm finished now."

Eyes still cast to the side, Thomas asked, "Did you find anything amiss?"

"No. Everything seems to be healing." He hoped to lighten the boy's anxiety by commenting, "I dare say those
bruises are quite spectacular in color."

The answering smile told him he'd succeeded.

Charles helped to bring the nightshirt down to Thomas' waist and allowed his fingers to trail across the boy's soft
skin. Thomas' head turned towards him, the blue eyes open wide, a spark in them he had not seen before. 

"Do you wish to lie back now?"

"Yes, sir," Thomas' response came back husky-voiced, soft. 

He helped to place those long legs on the bed as Thomas shifted to lower his upper body to the bed. This motion
dislodged the blankets and once again Charles was treated to a breathtaking view of the lovely body stretched out
before him. 

There was no denying the pressure in his groin, the heat that flooded Charles at the picture of this young man
lying so still. Thomas possessed a body that demonstrated the full beauty of a boy coming into manhood. 

How much Charles wanted to stroke that body, give it pleasure, have it writhe beneath him in the throes of passion.
Given the boy's condition, it would be some time before any such dreams managed to become reality.

"Turn over."

Once the youth lay still, the nightshirt at his shoulders, Sir Charles attempted to relax him with light rubs across
his back and lower back, avoiding the bruises. He sensed Thomas' movement in response to his caresses. It gave
him hope that the future would hold more and more sensual contact between himself and the tutor. 

The feelings he had for this beautiful young man were not at all a part of his life's plans, but perhaps he had been
too careful in his planning. Nonetheless, there could be terrible consequences should he establish such an
acquaintanceship with a young man. One couldn't be too careful about preventing one's private behavior from
becoming public.


TOM PARIS: I don't know how Chakotay figured out that I'd respond to this scenario the way that I did. I felt like begging
him to replace that massage with something more, oh, I don't know, more intense? But my character wouldn't do that so all
I could manage was to signal with my body that I would really like a lot more action here.


At Charles' guiding touch, Thomas turned onto his back. The boy's situation was unmistakable, as was the burning
embarrassment that colored his face. Charles bent down and kissed the warm forehead. "Don't let your reaction
distress you. Would it be all right...if I helped you, touched you?"

The eyes were scared, but the youth nodded his head. Charles pressed his lips against Thomas', kissing him with
all the passion he could place in his lips. As Charles gave pleasure to Thomas' needy body, he maintained the kiss.

"Dear God," Thomas murmured in sweaty exhaustion when Charles completed his self-appointed task and then
broke off the kiss.

Charles knew his dimples were out in full bloom. Thomas' reaction had been all he could have hoped for. "Feel

"Ohh, yes." 

"Now, how about if you go clean up?"

"Will you...? Will you be here when I get back?" Thomas didn't look at Charles as he wrapped the dressing gown
around himself.


While Thomas was gone, Charles tidied up the bed, opened the curtains and the window. It would be best to air the
room. As he looked over the last of the rose blooms, he knew that he was about to take a large step in dismantling
the familiar routines of his life. Given the boy's physical condition, there was no question that there would be daily
contact between them, at least until he no longer needed the bandages. 


CHAKOTAY: Of course, Sir Charles should have kept his hands to himself. But I guess it's hard not to respond to Tom
Paris. There's no doubt that Charles has fallen head-over-heels. You could say that Tom has had that effect on my life, too.
I know a lot of people would say he's nothing more than a nice ass, but those people don't know Tom Paris. Sure, he has
the nice ass, I'd be blind not to notice it. But this is a man with a heart larger than the Alpha Quadrant. It's true, I love Tom


Thomas returned to the room, a shy smile on his face. He looked as if he wanted to kiss Charles but something
about Charles' expression must have given him pause. The smile faded. "Thomas, please sit down, I'd like to
discuss some things with you."

"I thought I was still employed?" Distress flooded Thomas' face as he voiced his uncertain question. 

"You are," Charles smiled at him. "This is not about your employment really. I...I didn't mean to upset you." Charles
motioned to the made-up bed. "Sit?"

When Thomas perched uneasily on the bed, Sir Charles sat next to him, not so close as to be touching, but close
enough to demonstrate intimacy or ownership. While Charles tried to organize his thoughts, the younger man
seemed to draw in on himself, became still and masked. 

Clearing his throat, Charles spoke at last. He tried to strike a balance between sounding too clinical or too vague.
"Thomas, the injuries will need to be looked after, rebandaged and so forth."

Neither looked at the other. Thomas spoke first, "I know, sir."

Charles broached a subject that warranted at least a discrete probing before matters progressed further between
them. "Young men your age are often involved in romantic relationships. What about yourself?"

"You mean, have I gone courting? Not with any serious intent."

To ask outright if Thomas was attracted to men would be too bold for this stage of their acquaintanceship, no matter
the physical intimacy of the previous events. Charles frowned as he considered how best to approach the subject.
"Perhaps you have as yet to meet someone who catches your fancy?"

A shrug. "I don't know."

The tone seemed evasive. "Is that the truth?"

"Well. Until now."

Thomas flashed a smile that seemed to light up his face at the same time that it reached Sir Charles' heart in a
way that would change him forever. It appeared possible that Thomas returned his affection and that revelation was
the final factor in displacing Charles from his planned life course. "Then...you won't mind moving to my rooms

"I...I would like that." Another dazzling smile, then Thomas appeared pensive. "What does this mean?"

"It means that I want you to share my bed and whatever that means will be something we work out together," Sir
Charles grinned. "But, I also want to help you. I'll be able to make sure your head injury is not serious, be there to
change those bandages. You see, I should like to continue to assist you."

"In your rooms?"

"Our rooms," he corrected. Charles wished he dared to say more about his own motives, but sensed that such
revelations were premature.

"Is there a good view?" Thomas asked with an impish expression on his face.

"The best. You can see the ocean."

"The ocean?" The young man paused. "I would not care to miss that."

Sir Charles tested him, "And what about the man who lives in those rooms?"

"I would not care to miss him either." 

The husky voice, flushed face, and serious look told Sir Charles all he needed to know. His unspoken affections for
the young man were indeed returned. "I'm glad. I will bring you up there tonight. I want you to rest today."


That night, as they toured the rooms upstairs that they would share, Thomas once again had called him sir. They
had been discussing Thomas' health, the fact that he'd had no repeats of the vomiting of the day before, and that
he'd rested easily most of the day. The pain potion worked well. And Thomas, as usual and in keeping with his
upbringing, had repeatedly called Charles 'sir'. 

"That is something I've been meaning to talk to you about." Thomas frowned at him. "I would like you to call me by
my nickname."

A blond head cocked in interest. "I'd...be honored. What is your nickname?"

"It's Chak."

"Chak?" For a moment Thomas was blank. Then he put it together. "Ah, I understand. Short for Charles and
Jackson. You simply leave out some of the letters in each."

Chak beamed, pleased with the tutor's quickness. "Not everyone comprehends that."

"It's good. I like it. Chak." He blushed as he tugged at the bandage on his arm. "Could you call me Tom?"

"Tom. Yes." Chak noticed a pensive look. "What is it?"

"How long will I need to wear these bandages?"

"I would guess a week or two on the arm if there are indeed no fractures. Perhaps longer for the ribs."

"Oh." Embarrassment made his words rush together. Abashed, he concluded, "I presume you would oversee the

"I intend to do that," Chak assured him with a smile. "And more if you are willing."

"I believe that I would be," he stated somberly, then grinned while lightening the mood. "I sense that there is a
great deal that you could show me."

"Is that a criticism that I have been lacking in introducing you to such experiences?" Chak voiced a mock protest.

"Well...I wouldn't want to criticize someone called 'Sir Charles', but a man named 'Chak', it's possible to tell *him*
some things." The grin finally faded, to be replaced by an abashed look, as if he realized his teasing might not be
welcome. "I fear I may have overstepped my place."

"No, Tom." Chak couldn't help but smile again as he sat on the bed. "Not at all."

When Chak had invited him to share his rooms, Tom hadn't had any grand expectations. But the main bedroom was
elegant in large mahogany furniture and velvet emerald fabrics. The private bath chamber was comfortably
arranged, the corner fireplace giving off a cheerful warmth. A separate room for the water closet contained indoor
plumbing, just as he had used downstairs. A dressing room completed the suite. Tom was impressed. 

Tom's eyes traveled around and scanned the huge bed where Chak sat leaning forward, staring intensely at him.
The four-poster bed, with dark columns, headboard, and footboard, was topped by a textured green fabric canopy. At
each post, curtains in a matching material were held back by tassled ties. He was certain that, when pulled, the
heavy curtains would insure privacy, would create a cloistered world within the estate itself. It was as inviting as
the dark man who so obviously desired him.

Chak took notice of Tom's open scrutiny of the room, the half-smile that played on his young face. He enjoyed the
way Tom teased him, liked the change from the too deferential young man to this more humorous one. But he
didn't want to lose that more pliable youth. 


CHAKOTAY: It was interesting to see Tom Paris' personality emerge even as he remained in character. That irreverent
sense of humor I love so much in Tom (when he isn't using it to frustrate me no end) started to appear in young Thomas. I
hadn't really given Thomas Payne much of the depth that Tom seemed to supply almost instinctively.


Time to try out his stern voice, Chak thought, to see if it could compel obedience. Somehow he didn't doubt that
Tom would obey him. "Take off the dressing gown. I want you on my lap. Now."

Tom shivered and stood up, then shrugged out of the dressing gown, leaving him clad in only the nightshirt. Then
he walked the few steps to stand by the side of the man to whom he had given himself, his body and his affections.
Audibly growling, Chak pulled him closer. He surprised Tom by settling him in a sitting position on his lap,
removing his wire rims, and then kissing his throat and lips. One arm went around Tom's back, the other went
under the nightshirt and rubbed along the inside of Tom's naked thighs. 

It might be a long time before Tom would be well enough to advance beyond this, but Chak was a patient man.
Moreover, he suspected that both of them would derive pleasure and knowledge from the long process ahead of
them. It certainly felt good to have Tom on his lap, those long arms around him, sweet kisses on his face, the legs

"Here, lift up a bit. I want to take off the nightshirt."

Tom cooperated as Chak removed the garment and tossed it across the bed. With the limitations presented by the
bandages, this was only the second time he had seen Tom completely nude and he drank in the sight of the tall,
slender youth so beautifully placed on his lap. He didn't think he'd ever tire of this sight. As he brushed his hands
over the handsome body, he felt Tom's response against his thigh. 

With strong movements, Chak gave pleasure to that young man to the accompaniment of muted sounds of passion.
Finished, he let the boy fall back onto the bed, careful to keep his bandaged arm out of the way. Eventually, Tom
stirred and looked over, a lazy grin on his face. "Your turn, Sir Charles."

Chak considered the situation. It had been a little one-sided, with Tom always the one partially or completely
undressed, Tom the one receiving his touch. If reciprocation was offered, and it had been, then perhaps this was
the time. "I'd like that, but," he touched Tom's shoulder, "I must remind you to call me Chak. And, I think you're
going to have to move a little."

When Tom got to his feet, sweaty and flushed, blue eyes sparkling and totally fixed on him, Chak felt almost
overcome by the sight. Tom reached out and wordlessly pulled Chak to his feet. 

The older man stood motionless, allowing slender fingers to unbutton his shirt, then his trousers. Those same
graceful hands tugged Chak's sleeves down, and the shirt came off, followed by the trousers and underwear. The
young man bent down and undid Chak's shoes for Chak to toe them off. The rest of his clothes followed and
disappeared somewhere behind Tom. 

Then Tom stood back and looked at Chak, bright eyes hungrily drinking in the dark-haired man's smooth chest and
powerful body. Tom thought how much he wanted to please this man, how much he hoped he could give him
pleasure, bring him to the same heights he'd just experienced. Shrugging helplessly, Tom wondered aloud, "What do
I do now?"

Chak smiled, the dimples appearing long enough to let Tom know that the man wasn't upset with his inexperience.
In fact, Chak was charmed by it. "What would you like to 



TOM PARIS: What an opening! "What would you like to do?" Gods, there were so many things *I* could have said, but none
that Tom Payne would say. Poor kid. There was Chak looking like some golden god and there was that boy too tongue-tied
to say anything intelligent at all. This was one of those times when playing an inexperienced virgin sucked.


"Um...." Tom found it difficult to put into words, much less say those words aloud. He gave Chak's chest a slight push
and Chak seemed to understand. The dark body found its way to the bed where Chak lay on his back. 

Hooded eyes followed Tom's every move as the younger man placed his longer, if slighter, body to the side, injured
arm out of harm's way. Hesitantly, Tom kissed those waiting lips. Gathering his courage, Tom reached between
them and touched Chak.

Chak groaned as if those fingers were made of warm embers. "That's it, keep doing that, Tom."

For his part, Tom didn't truly know what he was doing, but remembered those guilt-filled, solitary times spent
pleasuring himself and guessed at what might feel good. Moving his body a little more to the side of Chak's, he
followed those self-taught lessons. All the while, he kept his lips busy kissing the face and jaw and neck and lips of
the man beside him until the fervent cries from Chak filled his ears with a sexual music.

As they calmed, Tom played his little finger along the limp arm that lay next to them. He didn't care that he was
sweaty and tired, that his ribs ached. Instead, he treasured this sign of his own power, his ability to satisfy the
more practiced man.

"Thank you, Tom," came a soft whisper along with a light carding of his hair. A fingernail traced his eyebrow, a kiss
closed his eye, and Tom rested his head against the other's shoulder. At some point, a blanket covered him.

He wasn't sure when it was that Chak gently shook him awake. "Tom. Let's get ready for bed."

"Mmm. We're in bed."

"It might be good to clean up somewhat. And I'd like to put on my nightshirt."


There was movement beneath him, he felt the bed shift when Chak left it, but Tom's eyes didn't want to open to see
what was going on. 

Tom had no idea how long it was before Chak returned and lifted Tom's hand, a wet cloth wiping away the remnants
of their earlier activity. He gave no resistence when Chak sat him up and pulled Tom's nightshirt on over his head,
then pushed his arms through the sleeves, cautious with the bandaged arm. 

A somewhat bemused voice told him, "You'll need to do the rest."

And Tom realized in his groggy state that he didn't want to pull that shirt all the way down to his calves. "No."

"No?" Chak chuckled.

"I want...I want your hand on me, I want to feel you." The room was lit only by the glow from the fireplace, but Tom's
newly opened eyes saw Chak's dark ones gleam.

"You do?" Chak grinned.


Chak knelt on the bed and told him to move over. When Tom had done so, Chak lay down next to him and pulled the
covers up over them. "Show me. Put my hand where you want it to be."

Tom couldn't see the hand, but found it by reaching around until he had it firmly clasped in his own. He curled his
body on its side facing Chak who lay on his back. Without hesitation, he placed Chak's hand on his hip and slid it
around to the back avoiding the bruise. "There."

"Good place. I like this," Chak murmured. He found Tom's lips in the dark and kissed them lightly. "Is it to your
liking if I move my hand around a little? Like this?"

He rubbed beneath curving flesh, and Tom whispered, "Yes." Another light kiss pressed against Tom's lips.

Chak placed the palm on the lower back. "And this?"

"Yes." Kiss.

He moved his hand more until it was between the slender thighs that rested one on top of the other. "Here?"

"Yes." Kiss.

Back to the original position and Tom's posterior wriggled against his hand as if making sure it was all there. Tom
said, "Yes," before Chak could ask. This time Chak's kiss was as much tongue as it was lips. 

He heard Tom's muted gasp and quickly withdrew his tongue. "Too much?"


Chak could sense the embarrassment that no doubt turned Tom's face red. "No one's done that to you before?"
There was silence. "Tom?"

"Not...you know. I...I'm sorry, sir."

"It's just Chak, Tom, and you have nothing to be sorry for. If you don't let me know what makes you uncomfortable, I
could end up upsetting you or hurting you. I don't want to do that."

Chak received no answer but couldn't help but see the unhappiness on Tom's face. He gathered Tom into his arms,
careful to keep Tom's injured arm to the side. while he rubbed Tom's back with his hand. Tom's warm body
attempted to wrap itself tightly around him. Chak held him close and kissed Tom's forehead. "A lot has happened,
hmm? There now, Tom. Think of this as a new experience."

He heard a sigh and Tom fell asleep in his arms. Chak patted the warm back beneath his hand and settled into the


By day their routines changed to fit their new relationship. Tom was routinely invited to take his meals with Chak
and to share an after dinner drink in the library when Chak was free. Tom attended Sunday services in the village
with the rest of the household members.

Of necessity, Chak continued to spend his days on work involving the estate while Tom tutored the children.
However, the younger man was reluctant to intrude on Chak's time with his boys. During those times, he went for
walks along the seaside cliffs or disappeared to his old room to work at his desk on lessons for the children.

Sir Charles explained the new arrangements to Mr. Scott. He indicated that Mr. Payne required continuing medical
care. Scott didn't ask questions even though it wasn't clear that his secretary actually believed him, the bandaged
arm notwithstanding. 

Chak hadn't said anything to his sons, but when they were playing on the lawn together, Edward asked, "Father,
why does Mr. Thomas sleep in your room?"

Chak tried the same explanation that Mr. Scott had not questioned. "He was hurt in an accident and I needed to
stay with him. Now he needs a little medical care."

Edward's face struggled with uncertainty. "Mother needed care. She died."

Chak tried to reassure the little boy. "Mr. Thomas isn't going to die."

"Good," Edward declared and ran across the lawn. 

Chak didn't know whether to be relieved or worried.


Although intimate, physical contact continued to occupy much of their nighttimes, meals, walks, and quiet
evenings in the library gave them time to get to know each other better. Gradually, Tom learned that Charles'
brother Arthur was a ne'er do well. The younger brother had been barred from the estate by their father's edict.


TOM PARIS: Chak's history was interesting. The family obligations, the difficult younger brother. At first I thought Arthur
might have been modeled on me. Later, I learned there was no way Arthur and I had anything in common.


Two of Chak's brothers had died in infancy as had a sister. Chak's mother died of a mysterious illness when Chak
was at university. He'd cut short his education to return to the estate to help his grieving and aging father. Shortly
before his father's death, Chak had married Jane Delacorte, daughter of a West Yorkshire squire.

Sitting in the library, a heavy evening fog beyond the walls, Tom was prodded to talk about himself. He became
animated when he described his passion, yet his demeanor was shy, as if afraid of the other man's reaction. "I
always wanted to be at the helm of a ship, one of the big clipper ships. Go around the world."

"What about your family?"

"My father's an admiral, I realize you know that. The family and some of the servants did go by ship to India once. I
loved being on the sea. Um, Mother's a doting grandmother now. My sisters -- there are five older ones -- have
seven children among them."

"Any younger brothers or sisters?"

"None that lived. Father always wanted more than one son. I have somehow disappointed my father. Perhaps he saw
me as an unlikely prospect to carry on the Payne legacy. He was especially upset when my eyesight deteriorated to
the point where a career as an officer was precluded. It would not do for a Payne to go to sea as anything but an

"Are you bitter?"

The pinched expression on Tom's face transformed itself into a radiant smile. "No. I wouldn't be here otherwise,
would I?"

"Come here, Tom." Chak held his arms open as the younger man walked over, his eyes never leaving Chak's
smiling face. With ease that came with practice, Tom settled on his lover's lap, planted a light kiss on the man's
lips, and sighed into the comforting embrace of someone he cared about. "I hope you'll tell me more about the things
that matter to you."

Tom wanted to say 'you matter to me' but couldn't find the necessary courage. Instead of saying the words he longed
to say, he sighed into the man's ear.

"Bed?" Chak asked, touching the shoulder that had become so familiar to him.

As part of their new routines, mornings and evenings he physically inspected Tom's healing bruises and unwrapped
and rewrapped the bandages. He was also gratified to see Tom's acceptance of the questions, the checking, the
touches. Although Tom had not lost his blushing response to these additions to his daily life, he never protested. In
fact, being touched inevitably seemed to bring about pleasure in both men. When the youth no longer needed the
bandages and the bruises had faded, the touches continued and neither man commented on this situation.

Some weeks later, while waiting for Tom to finish cleaning up in the bath chamber after some mutual pleasuring,
Chak found his thoughts diverted briefly to business matters. Sighing to himself, he wondered if Lord Morton would
ever take no for an answer. However, he didn't like thinking of business just now and decided to devote his
attention to Thomas as the younger man returned.


CHAKOTAY: Maybe Tom's accident should have made us rethink using the holodeck without the safeties on. But Tom
wanted the experience to feel real. Truth? So did I. There shouldn't have been any real dangers in the program.


As had become his custom in Chak's bed, Tom slept in a short nightshirt. When Tom stood, the nightshirt barely
reached his thighs. Smiling shyly, Tom climbed into bed next to Chak. A kiss, a caress, then the younger man lay
on his side, his back to Chak's front, a strong arm holding him, a warm, broad hand on his hip. With Tom this way,
the shirt bunched to his waist, that lovely, smooth posterior was fully accessible for viewing, touching, exploring. 

Without analyzing why, Chak knew he was glad that Tom was such a heavy sleeper. Maybe it was the sense of
freedom that he felt because he needn't guard his expression at his pleasure in the things he fantasized doing to
Tom's unprotesting, seemingly willing body. Putting an end to his pining, Chak pulled up the blankets and gave
Tom's smooth hip one last stroke.

But there was so much he wanted to do with Tom, so much he wanted to show this young man about his own body.
He knew he had to go slowly and to respect the trust Tom had placed in him. While Tom had been recovering, Chak
had refrained from pressing him. Mutual gratification appeared to please the young man, but Chak thought it
prudent to wait for a full recovery before introducing new activities. They had successfully overcome the hurdle
about kissing with tongues, but other intrusions might prove too disturbing. Soon it would be time to introduce Tom
to the further delights that resided in his body. 


The warm body Tom expected to find in the bed with him had gone missing. He knew he shouldn't be feeling so
bereft. There was so much he wanted to learn from *his* tutor, however the man had gone missing at least for this
morning. Ruefully, Tom reflected that well bred young men did not allow the kinds of intimacies he'd permitted,
even welcomed, with his employer. 

Based on reading a note addressed to him and left on a table top, Tom learned that Sir Charles had been called away
for the day on urgent estate business. During his time at Havenwood, he had noticed such trips occurred fairly
frequently. Before they'd become close, the head of the household had been away often, sometimes for several days
or more. 

Wondering what had called Chak away, but too polite to ask Mr. Scott, Tom went about his daily activities as usual.
He conducted his lessons with John and Edward and played a game with them after dinner. Once Nurse Carter took
them off to bed, he found himself alone in his old room. He read for awhile but found it hard to concentrate. 

Chak hadn't returned yet and it was almost bedtime. He felt fairly sure that his benefactor must have found lodging
for the night, after all, it was late. But sitting at his desk, Tom felt uneasy. Was it possible that something had
happened to Chak? Or was it more likely that the man had decided to end whatever it was they had begun and
simply didn't want to tell him? As a consequence, was he removing himself until Tom left the estate? 

In Chak's absence it was easy to have doubts about what such an accomplished man saw in someone who was so
inexperienced. Tom worried over these threats to his growing attraction to the handsome, worldly man who had
taken him to his bed. He wondered if he should have been more careful to ask Chak whether he truly wanted him
to stay now that his injuries had healed. Why would such a fine man tie himself to someone who was so much
younger, so lacking in skills to provide pleasure, so hesitant in receiving it?

Nagging at Tom in ways he was reluctant to consider were the ramifications of sharing the bed chambers of
another man. Perhaps it had begun so that Sir Charles could care for him, but Tom knew that had been merely an
excuse for something else, something far more intimate.

He was not supposed to harbor such affections for another man. Nor was he supposed to have desires of the sort that
frequented him of late, desires for a kind of sensual haze to fog his days and nights. And longings for touches,
commands, and surrender to an inexpressible sexual tension came more and more to occupy his troubled thoughts.
He had been taught that men simply did not find such answers in the arms, or beds, of other men. 

Tom didn't know what to do about these haunting fears. Chak wasn't here. And he couldn't quite figure out the most
immediate of his concerns. He had a very practical question. Should he stay the night in his old room? Chak had
never said anything about whether Tom was welcome to spend the night in the upstairs rooms in his absence. He
struggled with what was expected of him. 

Finally, he put down the book he was reading and rang for tea. As he sat hunched over, still deeply lost in thought,
Mr. Scott knocked.

"Mr. Scott?" Tom was surprised to see the secretary carrying a tray of tea into the room. 

"I intercepted the girl and hoped you wouldn't mind?"

"No. Of course not. Please, sit down." Tom motioned to a chair beside his desk.

Mr. Scott poured two cups and offered one to Tom. The two men, one a grandfather, the other a youth, sipped in
companionable silence for a few moments. 

"It is good to see you in this part of the house again." Scott observed.

"I haven't been here much of late," Tom acknowledged, then lapsed into silence, taking sips from his teacup.
Finally, he asked, "Do you believe Sir Charles will return tonight?"

"I don't believe so. His business must have taken longer than he thought."

"That's what I surmised," Tom agreed. He bought some time by taking a sip of the tea. Its warmth and mild flavor
easily went down his throat.

"I dare say I'm gratified to see Sir Charles happy again."

Tom was totally startled by the comment. "You think he is?"

"Yes, I'm quite convinced of it."

Almost a dozen things to say went through Tom's mind but he couldn't voice them lest he forget his place as a
newcomer to Havenwood. He nodded and sipped his tea.

Mr. Scott finished up. "He will no doubt return tomorrow, Mr. Thomas. Don't fret."

Tom gave the man an uncertain smile. "Thank you, Mr. Scott."

Scott stopped at the doorway. "Sir Charles is concerned about you. I believe he'd want you to sleep upstairs in his

Once again Tom was caught without a suitable reply. Blinking in surprise, at length he said, "Perhaps you're right.
But I think I'll stay in my old room tonight."

"Night, Mr. Thomas."

"Night, Mr. Scott, and thank you for bringing round the tea."

Although very few words had been exchanged, Tom realized that Mr. Scott had signaled his approval of Tom's move
upstairs. That helped to ease the unaccustomed loneliness he'd felt all day. 

Tom saw no need to change the sleep routines he had recently adopted. Even if he did not have Chak beside him,
he could go to bed attired as if the man were simply in the bath chamber, about to join him momentarily. Tom
slipped into one of his new, short nightshirts that fell to just below his bottom. A strong ache in his heart made him
realize that he missed Chak. 


The harsh hand gripping his backside wasn't what woke him. Instead, it was the razor sharp knife to his throat and
the gruffly spoken words, "Don't move," that brought him to a terrified awareness. "Nod if you understand me."

He was too scared to move. The knife shifted just enough for him to give a short nod. He couldn't see the man who
pressed him stomach down into the bed, but it wasn't from lack of adequate light in the room. The stranger must
have turned up the lamp. He did have an impression of a large, heavy intruder. And there was a very cold breeze in
the room from what could only be an open window. He smelled the salt air of the sea even as he sniffed his own fear.

The knife returned its sharp edge to his throat. He could feel the blood seeping from his skin under the blade. The
man spoke again in a demanding growl. "Tell me your name. Be quick and be quiet about it."

"Thomas Payne." He wasn't sure how the words came out of his dry throat, how he managed to speak without having
the knife cut him further.

"So," the stranger mused, "you're the boy my brother's been buggering."

Tom tried to shake his head but the knife wouldn't let him move and his spoken, "No," came out strangled, maybe

Tom heard a snort as he realized the man had said 'his brother'. This must be Arthur. Why was this man here?

"I'm going to kill you."

How was he going to get out of this? The tight hand on his rear kneaded the muscle ruthlessly. He was going to die
with bruises on his bottom. If he couldn't move his head without risking a torn throat, he could at least try to shift
his body out from under that painful grip. 

He didn't get far when sharp slaps fell like hail, raining down blows that alternately pounded his bare buttocks into
the bed and lifted him off it. But the man seemed distracted enough by his actions that he momentarily moved the
knife away. Tom surged upward and tried to dive off the bed. Arthur's fist crashed into the side of his face, stunning
him and sending shock reeling through his body. He succeeded in falling to the floor where Arthur was immediately
upon him.

A threatened blow was halted by a knock to the door. "Mr. Thomas? Is everything all right?" 

Arthur's face promised damage as he warned sotto voce, "Tell him you are well."

Tom tried to think. This might be his only chance to save himself. Where was the knife? There. In Arthur's hand
nearing his throat once again. His first effort to speak brought only a pathetic squeak. Tom tried again, "Uh, all's
well here, Mr. Sean."

"I heard a thud."

"Just a...a nightmare, Mr. Sean."

"Very well."

Tom closed his eyes, praying Mr. Scott would understand that he'd deliberately misspoken the secretary's name
twice. When Tom opened his eyes, only one eye could see. The other had puffed shut. He saw Arthur standing over
him, the knife in his hand still close enough to kill.

"I better leave now, you bloody little catamite." Tom hoped the man meant he was going to leave without killing him
first. Then Arthur threatened, "But I'm going to take you away from Charles just like he took Havenwood away from
me. I'll bugger you until you die, you bloody slut."

After almost spitting the words in his face, the large man moved surprisingly easily through the open window and
vanished. That was when Tom began to shake so hard he couldn't answer the knock that came once again to his

Mr. Scott entered the room, a shotgun in one hand, a lamp in the other. He immediately took in the open window,
the disheveled boy shivering on the floor in his short nightgown, fear on the battered face, blood on his neck.

"What is it, Mr. Thomas? What happened here?"

Through shivers that had his teeth chattering, Tom managed to say, "Ar...Arthur. He said...he said he's going to kill


On his ride back home, Sir Charles noticed an unusual level of activity on the estate grounds. Groups composed of
his staff and their families stood about talking with each other. Dropping off his horse at the stables, Chak slung
heavy saddlebags over his shoulder and headed for the kitchen entrance of the main house. Before he reached the
door, his boys flew across the yard at him and he had no choice but to pick up each in his arms.

"Father!" chorused both children almost simultaneously.

"What is it?" Charles laughed, overwhelmed by their enthusiastic greeting.

The boys didn't seem to be able to tell him. But it looked as if Mr. Scott had a lot on his mind as the secretary
greeted him at the door and relieved him of the saddlebags. Setting down his boys, Charles lifted an inquiring
eyebrow at Scott. 

The man's bushy, grey eyebrows spoke waggling volumes in return. Chak sent the boys off and was relieved to see
Nurse Carter shooing them upstairs.

Accepting a cup of tea from Mrs. Martin, Chak sat down wearily. "What's going on? Why isn't Mr. Thomas with the
children?" Based on Mr. Scott's expression, he guessed something involved Tom. "Is Thomas ill?"

Mr. Scott held up a hand. "There was a disturbance last night, sir. Mr. Thomas was not seriously hurt, but he was

"What do you mean 'attacked'?"

"Arthur broke in, held a knife to Mr. Thomas, hit him, and threatened to kill him."

Chak surged to his feet. "No!"

"He will recover shortly, sir," Scott spoke in soothing tones. "And that tutor's a quick thinker. Clued me in. I almost
had a chance to use my shotgun on Arthur." Mr. Scott sounded regretful at the lost opportunity.

"Where is Tom?"

"Asleep in my room."


"He's on the trundle bed, you know, the one I have for my grandchildren's visits. He finally went to sleep after I gave
him nearly half a pint of brandy last night."

"That much?" Chak asked as they walked out of the kitchen and down the hall toward Scott's room. 

"He needed it, sir. Mr. Thomas couldn't stop shivering."

"I had better see to him." They stopped at the closed door. Chak ran his hand through thick, dark hair. "You said he
was hit. How?"

"The boy has a fair black eye. And bruises on his rump." Chak gave Scott a sharp look. "No. I don't think there was
more than bruising."

Chak took a deep breath. "Very well."

Patting the saddlebags, Mr. Scott asked, "Shall I have these taken these upstairs, sir?"

"Please." Chak opened the door and found Tom asleep just as Scott had described. The trundle bed was too short for
the tall tutor and his feet, free of blankets, hung out over the end of the bed. Long, curly hair framed Tom's face, one
arm crooked up towards his head. Charles was reminded of his first impression of Tom that he was still a boy in his
teens. He opened the shutters to let in more light. 

Sighing deeply, Chak crossed the room and took a seat on Mr. Scott's bed only two feet from where Tom lay sleeping.
He had to calm himself before he could talk to Tom. That Arthur would invade his home, harm this innocent tutor
made him livid. He took a few deep, calming breaths. 

Although Chak hated disturbing him, he had to know what had happened. Keeping his voice soft, Chak called, "Tom,

Despite the quietness of the words, Tom woke up startled. He frowned when he saw Chak and sat up, blinking and
groaning. A purple-black bruise had swelled shut his left eye.

"Tom? What's wrong?"

"My head. Dear God."

"Mr. Scott says you owe him half a pint of brandy." Charles tried to keep his tone light and his anxiety and anger
tamped down.

Tom held his head in his hands.

"What happened last night?" 

Tom gazed at him through one blood-shot eye. "He said you were his brother. He wanted to kill me." Tom repeated
the events of the night in a dull monotone. "He said he'd take me away from you like you took Havenwood from him.
He said he'd kill me."

"What did he do to you?"

Some emotion finally cracked the numb recitation. "He...he had a knife."

"Show me."

Tom lifted his chin and Chak could see the dried blood that dotted his throat. Tom explained, "It's just scratches."

Standing over Tom, Chak held the chin in one hand and touched the dots of blood with the other hand. Tom didn't
flinch and Chak could see nothing deeper than a scratch that he might have gotten from a thorny hedge. "What

"He pounded on my backside. I think he left bruises." Without being told, Tom lay down on his stomach and pulled
up the nightshirt enough to uncover the area in question.

Chak saw red-blue bruising in the shape of fingers, as if Arthur had gripped and squeezed tightly. A large pink area
bloomed, darker in color than the white of Tom's thighs and back. Clearly, Arthur had hit Tom hard and repeatedly.


CHAKOTAY: I felt Chak's anger as if it were my own. Those bruises. I hated seeing them on Tom's body. I'm Tom's lover,
and yes, I know, he's a grown-up, but somehow I feel as though I should protect him. And if I feel that here in the 24th C.
on a modern starship, I could imagine how upset Chak would feel when his own brother attacked Tom on his estate.
Neither Chak nor I like to feel helpless when it comes to protecting someone we love.


"Does it hurt?" Chak asked, touching the fingermarks.

"Not like my eye does."

Chak pulled down the shirt and brought up the blankets as Tom turned over onto his back. Chak returned to his
perch on Mr. Scott's bed, heaving a great sigh as he did so. 

Tom sat up, wincing, his shoulders slumping. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault, Tom."

"I didn't know where to sleep, so I slept in my old room. He came in the window. I didn't think to lock the shutters."

"You didn't do anything wrong."

The look on Tom's face said otherwise. Tom was the picture of dejection and fear. Chak knew he couldn't let Tom
remain convinced that any of this was his fault. He switched positions and sat next to Tom. 


It was as if the intimacy of the past several weeks had never occurred. Tom seemed so distant, so closed in on


TOM PARIS: I knew there was this loose cannon brother, but I didn't expect that attack. You'd think my Starfleet training
would have kicked into place and allowed me to send Arthur into the next county. Instead it was me who got my ass
kicked. Kind of literally, too. I think the surprise of my failure helped me to stay in character when I wanted to swear in
English, French, Federation Standard, Klingon, and the juicy words in Talaxian I'd learned from Neelix. But did I? Nope. I
just sat there like some kid who got beat up by the school-yard bully. I guess I was pretty damn disappointed with myself.


"How can I make this up to you?" Chak asked quietly.


"I left you alone, I didn't give you any indication that those rooms upstairs are not just my rooms anymore. They're
*our* rooms. Do you understand?"


Chak smiled, appreciating Tom's honesty. "Tom, I didn't invite you upstairs to *my* room. I wanted that space to
become ours, something we shared. If you want to change something there, the color of the curtains, the dresser
you use, whatever, just say so. I want you to think you belong there. Do you understand now?"

Tom frowned and then winced as his hurt eye registered its dislike of the movement. "So...that's my room, too?"

"It is if you let it be."

"He called me a 'bloody little catamite'," Tom blurted out.

"Arthur can be very crude. You know I don't think of you that way, Tom, not at all. Yes, I enjoy what we do. I think
you do, too. If you don't, I hope you'll tell me. But you in no way resemble Arthur's characterization."

Chak thought of other things he could say to nail down that point, something about where he had been last night
after his business was concluded, but he decided there would come a better time.

Uncertainty flitted across Tom's face. And then he nearly succumbed to the emotions he'd been holding in. All the
doubts and feelings of unworthiness overwhelmed him. He sat defeated, his face a portrait of terrible distress.

Chak pulled Tom to him, placed his arms around Tom's shoulders, patted Tom's hair. "It shall be all right. I promise
you, I will not let Arthur hurt you." 

"I am not a bloody catamite," Tom asserted finally, focusing on the aspect of the attack that had wounded him most,
his pride. 

"No, of course you aren't. You are a beautiful young man and I care about you very much."

Tom shuddered in his arms and Chak tightened his hold. They sat together, each absorbed in thoughts that
centered about Arthur, yet, at the same time, they drew comfort from the other's presence. Tom felt protected and
Chak felt needed. Eventually, Sir Charles rang and arranged for a warm bath to be drawn in their chambers.

After the bath, Tom looked and felt better. His head still hurt, but the hard soreness in his muscles had worked
down to a dull ache. Nonetheless, he wondered about what Chak had said to him. The sharing of the rooms, the
declarations of fondness. What did it mean?

He didn't have a chance to follow-up during the afternoon and early evening as Chak met with his retainers over
Arthur's trespass and assault. Tom read for awhile in the library, but couldn't tell what he'd read, the words were
meaningless to him. He put the book down and stood by one of the large windows, gazing out at the bleak autumn
evening, his head aching. 


CHAKOTAY: I'm still musing over the way his character's been attacked by Arthur who wants to rape and kill him. Tom had
no way of knowing this was going to happen. I didn't even know it. Hell, I didn't program this. I wondered if I should end
the program. But Tom wanted to continue. And, of course, so did I.


Wrapping his arms around his chest as if he could protect himself from the ugly words inside his head, Tom felt so
unclean he thought he could never rid himself of the filth of Arthur's assault. The accusations, the implications
that the whole world thought Sir Charles was buggering him rattled Tom thoroughly. He shuddered at the word
Arthur had used, its crudeness troubling him in a way he didn't understand. And he wasn't sure why he had
withheld this information. Tom knew only the searing shame that flamed his face whenever he thought about the
idea that Arthur and others thought Chak would use him in that fashion.

"Tom?" Chak's soft voice floated to him from a place just behind and to the side of him. 

He brought himself back to the here and now and gave the man a wan smile. 

"How are you doing?"

Tom shrugged and took a deep breath. "Fine."

"Let's go upstairs for awhile."

With just a quick touch to his back, Chak steered him out of the library. They walked in silence to the bedroom
upstairs, but once there, Tom stood at a loss. Chak poured them each a drink, took a seat on the bed, and motioned
to the place beside him. "Sit with me?"

Conflicting emotions came into play. Tom had such a strong need to be clean, yet knew at some level that no
amount of bathing would eliminate Arthur's hated residue. He also wanted the comfort he saw waiting for him.
Comfort won out and he sat down hip to hip with Chak and accepted the drink that was offered. 

Brushing his fingertips to Tom's uninjured cheek, Chak spoke earnestly. "Tom. In here, we can say and do
whatever we want, whatever we need to. It's private, it's just us."

Tom nodded but struggled against blurting out that the whole of England knew an untruth about them.

"What is it? I know you're troubled and I want to help." What could he say? "Did my brother...did he do more than
you've told me? Did he penetrate you?"

Tom recoiled in horror and took a gulp of the burning liquor. Whiskey, he identified as if a part of him lived and
acted normally while a different Tom had to deal with talking about what Arthur had done. "No. At least I don't think
so. I don't remember. And if he had, I should have felt it?"

"You're a deep sleeper. Perhaps there were things done to you while you were sleeping that you were not aware of,
but maybe you sensed these things?"

Shaking his head, Tom looked down at his hands nervously wrapped around the glass. White knuckles, like snow
covered mountains, played hide and seek under the skittering clouds of his fingers. With nowhere to run, Tom just
blurted it out. "He said I was the one you were buggering. How could he say that? How could he make it sound as if
everyone knew? It's not even true!"

Tom watched for revulsion and rejection from Chak but all he saw was sympathy and pain. "I'm so sorry, Tom."

"I feel so dirty! Like I have to clean myself inside and outside. Like...like I have to be punished."

"No, Tom. You haven't done anything wrong. I have."


"Here." Chak took their glasses and set them aside. He was pleased to see that Tom had almost finished his. The
alcohol should allow Tom to accept more easily the private world Chak needed to disclose to him. He knew the drink
helped him to be able to say the words. Chak lay down on the bed and pulled Tom beside him so they lay side by side.
"I have some secrets to confess."

Tom couldn't have been more surprised. He had half expected the other to agree with his own self-assessment.
After all, it was what he felt he deserved. Tom didn't expect Chak to express guilt. Tom did not think that Chak was
responsible for the actions of his brother. 

Encouraged by Chak's embrace of him, Tom snuggled his head against the other man's chest, feeling a little
lightheaded by the whiskey. He could hear the rhythmic thumping of the heart under his ear. 

After a short silence, Chak began to talk. "Tom, I would never put it as crudely as my brother did, but I hope that
someday we will be so close that we will share totally in giving pleasure to each other's bodies. There is so much I
want to show you, teach you, do with you, have you do with me. I want the closeness that comes with complete
intimacy. Do you understand, Tom?"

Tom understood but he was stunned. He knew such arrangements had existed in school and at university. But no
others had acted as if they were interested in him, other than one headmaster. For his part, he'd been too shy to
seek out another boy. When Charles asked again, he managed to tell him, "Yes."

Under his head, Charles' chest rose steeply and then fell. "And you are sickened by my desires?"

Tom sat up so that he could see better with his one good eye. "No. No. I...I'm...I want...."

Chak's next words held him as if pinned. "Do you want the same thing?"

Did he? He felt bewildered, more confused than he'd ever been. His body responded every time to Chak's touch, he
wanted more and more of it. He felt as if he would do anything for the other man, would allow any liberty. He had
never experienced himself this way before. 

Being with a man, sexual intimacy of the kind Chak was proposing, these were not even proper subjects for
discussion much less acting on such thoughts. He couldn't entertain desires of this sort. Yet...hadn't he? Every time
Chak treated him, caressed him, touched him, hadn't his body and his soul wanted so much more? Hesitantly, as if
unsure that he should speak out loud about his own yearnings, Tom said, "Yes."

"Good." Seeing the clear relief on Chak's face made Tom realize how much his answer had meant. 

"Now. I have to tell you more. Come back down here?" Tom obediently lay back in Chak's arms. "I belong to a club.
It's called the West Devon Astronomy Club, and we do have a telescope. Someday I'll show you the planets and stars.
I think you would like that. But we do a lot more than watch the stars."

Chak took a deep breath. He had to have this piece of the secret world he inhabited out in the open between them.
"We...the members such as myself...we go there to be satisfied. Sexually. By willing young men." 

Tom froze. His Chak? With someone else?

"I'm so sorry, Tom. I would rather be with you, but I find myself unable to take advantage of you."

Abruptly, Tom sat up again and stared at the man as if wondering if an imposter were in bed with them. 

"Tom. Please. Say something?"

The protests leaped out of Tom's throat even as heat rushed to his face. "I don't want you to be with anyone else."

He watched Chak swallow. "I have needs, Tom."

"So do I." He thought over the times he'd been with Chak. "Did I...did I do something wrong?"

"No." Chak brushed at Tom's devastated face. "No. I have. I should have waited until you were ready. I should have
told you how I felt about you."

Chak made sure that Tom was looking at him when he confided, "Tom, if you don't know, I love you."

Chak pushed himself up so that he sat facing Tom and waited for the other's reaction. He didn't know if he'd just
said the most stupid words he'd ever spoken or if he had finally learned to be honest about his feelings. This very
vulnerable, very brave young man seemed to bring out the strongest emotions in him, ones he had not felt in many

With all the considerable sincerity he felt, Chak told him, "Tom, I want you. Here. With me, in my bed, in my life. I
want you every way it is possible for a man to want another. I will go as slowly as you need. I will wait for whatever
you require to allow me to show you how much I love you."

Tom sat there stunned. Love? Chak loved him? 

"Tom. You need not say anything. I hope that you will return my affections, but you don't have to say that. I know
I'm older than you, have been married, have children. You have so many choices ahead of you. Being with me could
be difficult. For you, for your family. I...."

Throwing up his hands, Tom finally smiled and shook his head. "I thought you were staying away because you felt I
was too much trouble. That perhaps you wanted me to pack up and leave while you were gone. I stayed, but I just
didn't know."

Tom pointed out, "I have very little experience, none with men. In fact, I've had one adventure. My parents and hers
arranged supervised visits for us, you know, hoping there would be a courtship. And I liked her and she liked me.
So, we eluded the chaperone and found a private place and...."

"And you did what young people do?" Chak grinned at him.

"Yes," Tom laughed back. "How did you know?"

"I was your age once. But, Tom, if that was something you enjoyed, perhaps you should consider your available
choices and go courting." Chak spoke against his own self-interest, but felt he had to say something. If the young
man liked women, then that should be his destiny. Under such circumstances, a relationship between Tom and
himself would never work for very long. 

"That isn't what I want. It was...exciting to do what we did. It seemed like such a terrible risk. What if we had been
caught? But something felt missing for me." Although Tom stumbled in what he was trying to say, he hoped Chak

Chak knew he could avoid the question no longer. He could think of no euphemism to disguise his true interest.
Quietly, holding Tom to him, he asked, "Have you been attracted to men or other boys?"

"I'm not sure." Tom blushed remembering the longings he sometimes felt but had been too shy to act on. "I feel so
much for you. It is not like anything I've ever felt before. I want...I want to give you what I have, what I am. I...it's as
if every part of me should have some part of you next to me. I want everything you want to show me. I want to give
myself to you. I want to trust you and love you."

Tom paused. His next words were difficult to say. "I don't know if I know what love is. But if I give you all I am, then
maybe that is because I love you?"

Chak took Tom's cold hands in his own, ran his fingers across the smooth skin on the backs of the hands. He felt
overwhelmed by Tom's honesty. "Thank you, Tom. I hope you will find me worthy of your trust."

Tom colored. "Just refrain from returning to that Club. Can I ask that of you?"

"Yes, you can. If I ever go back, you will be with me."

With a grin, the young tutor asked, "And we'll look at the stars?"

"We'll look at the stars," Chak assured him. A wicked thought surfaced: And I will have my own telescope properly
situated. "Tom. Is there anything else?"

"You seem to like men. And you know that you do. Why did you get married?"

A sad look settled on Chak's features. "My family expected it of me, first born and all. Because of Arthur's behavior,
they knew he would be incapable of carrying on the family name. It was up to me."

"Arthur's behavior?"

The sad expression changed to anger. "Tom...I don't think you want to know."

Tom waited patiently. "Maybe I don't but perhaps I should."

"Growing up, there were dead animals, cats, dogs, lambs..." Chak shook his head. "Arthur tortured and killed them."

Tom sensed there was more. "He was younger than you by how much?"

"One year."

"He hurt you?"

"Sometimes." After a pensive moment, Chak grinned. "Fortunately, we were sent to different schools. I ended up
bigger than him and, one time when we were both home, I beat him up. I was fourteen."

"Your parents knew?"

"Eventually they understood that there was something wrong with Arthur. I said little, but they knew nonetheless."
Chak turned to the subject of his marriage. "My marriage was arranged. Yet I grew to love Jane and respected her. I
had the club to take care of my needs in private. It was as if I carried on two lives, a very conventional one with my
wife and family and a different life at the club."

"Different?" Tom asked, his curiosity piqued. Tom's heartbeat sped up as he waited for Chak's answer. It was hardly
possible that Chak could help him with his own barely understood needs. Nervously, he tugged at his wire rims as if
settling them more securely in place. 

"And I suppose you want to know about this, too?"

"Yes." Tom looked directly into the dark black eyes and hoped Chak could read the desires that lurked behind Tom's

"I like to exert my control over the young men at the club," Chak told him guardedly, watching Tom's reaction.

"How?" Tom wanted to hear words that would tell him if long held secret desires of his own might someday find a
way to be met.

"I use my voice to command compliance. And sometimes I use various devices. I give them pleasure even as I take
my own." 

Chak spoke matter-of-factly, wondering if he would have confessed to these activities if he hadn't had that drink.
And if he didn't desire to share these very same activities with Tom. The heated pressure that spread from his
groin throughout his body told him how much he wanted Tom.

For Tom, those words were both hypnotic and possessed of an erotic power that left him dry-mouthed and breathless.
But as Tom thought of his own less than exotic-seeming needs, he blushed furiously.


TOM PARIS: Before we went on the holodeck, the background Chakotay gave me on Sir Charles included membership in
some private club. But he sure surprised me. And I wondered: How much of this was Sir Charles and how much was
Chakotay? If Charles confessed all of this because he wanted to do them with Tom Payne, did Chakotay also want to do
them with me? It was as if something was being worked out in this holonovel that was a lot more than either of us had ever
revealed to the other. Hell, I went into this so I could trust him. But something way beyond that was going on here.


"Tom. Tell me what you need. There's no cause to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Remember we can do what we
want in this room." Tom seemed to struggle to make a response. "My dear Tom."

Perhaps it was the endearment spoken so tenderly that gave Tom the courage he needed to broach his own needs.
"I need to be clean."

Tom's plea took Chak by surprise. "I understand. Will you let me help you?"

"Well, I have no wish to do it myself."

Chak laughed. He closed the distance between himself and Tom and planted a firm kiss on those bow-shaped lips.
In a few minutes he would order a bath to be drawn. This was one bath where Thomas would have someone to soap
him, oil him, dry him, and put him to bed.

End Part I