TITLE: Vis a Vis Alt. Ending -Three
PART: NEW 1/6
CODES: C/P; J; Tu; T
SUMMARY: Following the events of the first two stories in this trilogy "is a
Vis Alt. Ending" and "Vis a Vis Alt. Ending - Sequel", Tom and Chakotay
confront a life where they've lost 25 years! Janeway attempts to bring her
crew back with Tuvok the only logical choice to go after them. Angst all
around. Some mush. A love story with adult C/P explicit sex.
DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns 'em. The story beyond Vis a Vis is mine. The
idea of time portals in Star Trek has a long history from Harlan Ellison's
poignant City on the Edge of Forever to a recent DS-9 involving O'Brien's
daughter. Here's another view. Thanks go to Jacki for pressing me to
explain just how this time portal works. Copyright 1998.
RATING: NC-17 for explicit sex between adult Tom and Chakotay. If this
description is not for you, please read elsewhere. An R rated version
(reneged on the explicit sex) is on my web site. R rated versions of the
first two stories in the series are on my web site. The NC-17 versions are
in the ASC archive waiting room, I think. Please email me with a statement
that you are over 18 if you wish to receive these versions by email.
Comments are welcome! firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARCHIVE: Please archive to ASC/ASCEM. BLTS, R'rain's. Just ask. Please
leave all disclaimers and warnings intact as well as author attribution.
Vis a Vis Alt. Ending - Three
Chakotay's Log Day 1
I'm recording this on our only PADD. We went through some kind of time
portal. I remember something of my other life on Voyager even though here
I'm only eighteen years old. Tommy doesn't remember being a grown-up. Here
he's just a little boy. How this all happened, I'm not really sure. Tom was
following some multicolored bird and I was right behind him. Thank the
spirits Harry did not follow us. I saw Tom disappear and I went after him.
After all, I was leading our team and was responsible for him. On the other
side of whatever made Tom disappear, I found a little kid wrapped in a huge
turtleneck. He had his thumb in his mouth, big blue eyes gazed up at me, and
tears spilled out on to his cheeks.
I stood stock still, feeling as if I was missing something important. After
a few moments of this blank confusion, I realized that I was no longer the
Chakotay who was first officer on Voyager, instead, I was an eighteen year
old wearing a Starfleet uniform many sizes too big for me, one I hadn't
earned. But my comm badge was in place and I hit it wondering if it would
connect me to Voyager. Of course, it didn't.
I approached the boy, noting the blond hair, the fine boned features and
again, those blue, blue eyes. From the look on his face, I was sure he
didn't know me. I was very afraid that I knew who he was. I crouched down
to his level and smiled at him.
"Hi," I said, "My name is Chakotay. What's yours?"
He couldn't look me in the eyes, instead he stared down at the heap of
clothes on the forest floor. "Um. Tommy. I'm five."
I grinned and tried to think of what I could say to a five year old. "So,
Tommy. You look kind of big for a five year old. I thought you were six."
"I fly shuttles," he told me.
"No kidding?" I said. I'm not sure I believed him, but it struck me as
something a very young Tom Paris would say to someone he had just met.
"Okay, Tommy. You fly shuttles. Do you know where we are?"
He shook his head. "That's a funny un'form."
I looked down at myself, at the loosely hanging top and the sagging pants,
weighed down by my tricorder, phaser, and PADD. "Yes, I guess it is."
The boy nodded solemnly. "My Daddy's in Starfleet."
"Admiral Paris." The name popped out of nowhere.
The boy looked at me strangely and corrected me. "Captain Paris."
"Ah," I said now suitably enlightened.
"Where's my mommy?"
"I don't know, Tommy. I wish I did." Although I had emerged from the time
portal, or whatever it was, 25 years younger, memories seemed to come to me
as I looked at things like my uniform and away team equipment. I thought of
the me who had been an adult, a Commander on Voyager. And I remembered her
pilot. He was a young man with sandy hair and blue eyes and, spirits help
me, I suddenly had the thought that he was six months pregnant. But did this
child remember anything? "Tommy. Does the name 'Voyager' mean anything to
"No," he told me, shaking his head for emphasis. He obviously did not even
have to think about it.
"Kathryn Janeway?" Once again I spoke a name that seemed to jump out at me
without my knowing why. But as soon as it did I knew she was Voyager's
A series of questions later, I realized he had no memories at all of being a
grown- up named Tom Paris. He was five and he remembered his home outside of
San Francisco on Earth and his mother and father and his sisters as well as
playmates and teachers from his early school. I gave up on the questions,
there was no point and he seemed to become distressed by the realization that
he was far from home.
"Can we go home now?" he asked me.
I turned around to see if I could tell where we had come from and to try to
get back. I didn't see anything, but Tommy did. "It's there," he said
When I followed his small pointing finger I saw a slight displacement in the
air only a few feet from us. I picked up a small branch and threw it toward
the displacement. Greatly relieved, I watched it disappear.
"Wow!" Tommy said. "Let's go."
I stepped closer to the child and took his hand. At the time I didn't think
much about the way he almost seemed to flinch away from me. I thought about
picking him up and holding him in my arms since he didn't have shoes on, but
then I thought about what would happen when I emerged on the other side
carrying what I assumed would be a fully grown, pregnant, Starfleet
Lieutenant. I figured the few steps we needed to take to get to the other
side wouldn't hurt his bare feet that badly. But when we tried to follow the
branch through to our rightful place, I found that the displacement had
disappeared. Only normal air existed. I pushed and pushed at the air but no
I picked up the boy and carried him as I searched for the entrance back to
our world and our lives, but it was gone for good. The area around us
consisted of mountain foothills, tree covered with what appeared to be mostly
evergreen type trees mixed with some deciduous type trees at the lower
altitudes. The height of the forest made the ground underneath generally
free of underbrush although it was carpeted with multicolored fallen leaves
and needles. A large number of granite type boulders and rocks interrupted
the forest and provided lookout points. But as far as I could see there were
hills, rocky terrain, and endless trees. As my eyes followed the slope of
the hills downward, I hoped to see a river. Perhaps there was one down there
but I neither saw it nor heard it. I saw no signs of habitation. We might
as well have been on a deserted planet. The sky was overcast with grey, low
hanging clouds and the air smelled of rain, perhaps not far away.
We couldn't look too far afield because I didn't want to leave Tom's clothes
and instruments untended and I promised the boy that I wouldn't leave him
alone. So far we hadn't encountered any hostile plant or animal life, nor
any humanoid life, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be responsible for leaving a
little boy alone in an unknown forest. I also harbored some hope that our
time portal would reopen and we could go home. I did move our things a few
feet into the protection of a large boulder.
Eventually it grew dark, although it didn't get very cold. Tommy began to
cry and when I asked him what was wrong he told me he was really hungry. I
tried to tell him it would be okay and that I'd find us something to eat. In
our immediate vicinity, I found some berries, checked them with my tricorder
and told Tommy we could eat them. The little guy was pretty tired out and
just a little cold, his bare legs goose bumped under the turtleneck wrap.
Time to start a fire, I told myself and gathered some twigs and branches
together from our immediate vicinity. Tommy's eyes grew pretty big when I
pointed my phaser at the pile and started a fire with a short burst from the
phaser. Tommy clapped his hands and grinned with delight. Not bad for an
Indian, I thought to myself. Not for the first time, I regretted my
adolescent rebellion against the ways of my people. That ancient knowledge
would come in handy about now.
I sorted through the clothes that Tom had worn through the portal. Apart
from the turtleneck the child had wrapped around himself, all of his clothes
were there as was his tricorder, phaser, and medical regenerator. Good, I
thought to myself. As his pregnancy began to show, Tom had taken to wearing
a smock over his uniform, much like the one B'Elanna wore in Engineering.
B'Elanna Torres, another name jolted from my unconscious. Using Tom's
clothes, I made a bed for the boy, intending to use the smock as a blanket.
I don't think the child liked being without underwear or shoes but he didn't
I take it back. He did cry. A lot. "What's wrong?" I asked him stupidly.
"I want to go home," he cried into my chest as I held him to me. I could
almost hear the lilting echo of the adult Tom, the man I thought of somehow
as my Tom, in his voice.
I wanted to go home, too, to Voyager and to my Tom and our developing baby.
I felt a little hazy about the details concerning this baby. Regardless,
we'd each lost twenty-five years of our lives and, I feared, even if we
regained our years, our baby was gone. I felt such a desolate sense of loss
at that thought. This child in my arms was not Tom. Even if we stayed here
twenty-five years (and actually somehow survived the experience) he would not
grow up into my Tom. Nor would I be his Chakotay. Scared for our future, I
patted the boy's back and murmured to him.
The fire felt good, even comforting, but outside of its light, it was as dark
as a blacked out Jeffries tube and I yawned, growing sleepy. Snuggled
against my chest, as if he could read my thoughts through our close
proximity, Tommy seemed to choke a little and told me, "It's not 'kay."
I hugged him tightly. "I know, little one. I know. But we're going to make
it all right. I promise you."
My promise seemed to quiet him down and he soon fell asleep. I waited until
I felt sure I wouldn't wake him up and then lay him down on his makeshift
bed, covering him with the smock. After making sure I'd properly banked the
fire, and that my phaser was close to hand, I lay down beside him on the
ground. He squirmed a little, his little body curling against mine. I
placed an arm over him like him a shield and drifted off into an uneasy
During the night, I kept awakening, alert to my surroundings, wondering if
I'd heard anything that required action. Finding nothing, I'd fall back
asleep again only to reawaken shortly. All night long, my mind made mental
lists of the things I needed to do. Clothes and shoes for the boy,
determining a safe source of water, a supply of nutritious and varied food, a
shelter. These lists went revolving around and around in my mind. As an
eighteen year old I hadn't yet had Starfleet survival training, but I
remembered some of it from *my* own past. If it were just me, I knew I could
survive. But what did I know of taking care of a five year old, a five year
old who didn't remember ever being 30?
I prayed during that night, and every night we were there, that Voyager would
rescue us soon.
Captain's Log Day 1
Harry immediately reported the disappearance of Tom and Chakotay. None of
our sensors on Voyager, none of our hails over the comm link, detected the
missing men. On the ground, Tuvok reached the ensign as soon as possible and
reported much as Harry had: Tom and Chakotay had disappeared into thin air.
However, Tuvok didn't express it quite that way and told us he detected
traces of tachyon particles in the location where Kim reported the
disappearance. We didn't know what to make of this situation. I contacted
the Mulxmultoans, hoping that they would have an explanation for the
disappearance of my crew.
Their official, the same one who had given us permission to use the planet
for shore leave, expressed surprise at our ignorance. It took a period of
frustrating mutual bafflement, but it turned out there were temporal portals
winking on and off all over the planet. Didn't we know that? Wasn't that
why we wanted shore leave? When I gave the Mulxmultoan the coordinates of
Chakotay and Tom's last known location, he consulted a computer and murmured
"But that's only to be used by the elders," he told me with what appeared to
be dismay in both his face and voice.
"What do you mean?"
"Those who go through that portal lose twenty-five years."
"They go back in time 25 years?"
"Yes. They lose 25 years."
A few more back and forths such as these finally produced the clarifying and
terrifying information that they had had 25 years taken off their lives.
Chakotay would be only 18, and Tom, poor Tom would be just a baby of five. I
shuddered to think what would have happened to Harry had he gone through the
portal. He'd have been an infant. I told the official that one of my crew
was now only five, but that, as a 30 year old, he'd been pregnant.
True horror filled the man's features. On his planet, he informed me, men
did not become pregnant, on his planet, people under 70 did not go through a
'-25' portal as he called it, and on his planet, under no circumstances would
a pregnant person be even allowed to step foot on the planet.
"It would have helped had you acquainted us with the nature of this planet
before we sent down an away team."
"I never thought anyone would ask to go to the planet without knowing these
things," he gasped in defense.
"All right. That's behind us now," I grated out. "How do we get them back?"
"Well, they have to come out one of the 'plus' portals. Don't you understand
that if they returned through the -25 portal they would remain 25 years
Oh, dear. "How do they find one of these plus portals?"
"They know them," he explained as if talking to an idiot, "of course, they
have their computer chip with all the portal schedules and coordinates."
"Your people know them, my people do not."
"Well, perhaps they'll meet some of our people? But I doubt it," he added
with an infuriating reneging. "Our people use the portals but do not linger
on the planet."
"So they should be on the lookout for people who look 45 or over and who will
know how to find a plus portal, but who probably aren't there. If they do
find anyone, will your people there know how to find a '+25' portal?"
He frowned. "Most do not go there to find a +25 portal, that's why they went
through the -25 portal."
I almost ground my teeth in frustration. "Could one of your people direct us
to a +25 portal through which we could send a signal to our people down
He truly didn't know. His scientists would get on the problem and let me
know. I didn't want him to go away. "Could you give us the coordinates of a
+25 portal and we could try it ourselves?"
"But I think you'd have to send your signal through the -25 portal because
that's where your people are." He was confused and so was I.
I took a moment to think it through. "Suppose I sent someone through the -25
portal with the coordinates for the +25 portal and that person could guide
them to that location?"
"I will have to ask my scientists. I am sorry, Captain. Your people's ways
are so different from our own. These portals change location; they're open
at particular coordinates for a short period of time, and then they move to
"I see," I said although I wasn't sure that I did see. Perhaps it truly did
take a computer to thoroughly complicate what should have been a simple
situation. However, I suspected that it took a bureaucrat to ensure that
there would be no easy solution. In mutual relief we cut communications for
the time being.
I met with the remaining senior staff after Tuvok, Harry, and the away team
returned in the shuttle. It was difficult to read Tuvok, but Harry was
clearly distraught, as was B'Elanna. Her reaction surprised me a little, she
and Tom hadn't been close since Tom became pregnant. He'd spent almost all
of his free time with Chakotay, a turn of events that didn't really surprise
me, but which I did sometimes find awkward.
"We can't leave them there!" Harry proclaimed. In disbelief, he repeated
some of the information I'd given them, "Tom's only five years old!"
"We are not leaving them," I stated firmly. "We'll get the information we
need and find a way to get it to Chakotay and Tom so they can come out a +25
"I believe I am the logical choice to go through one of those -25 portals,"
Tuvok volunteered. "At my age, 25 years will not unduly change me or render
me unsuitable for the task."
He was right. At something over a hundred years old, Tuvok could regress 25
years and it wouldn't show. Unfortunately, most of the rest of us would be
no better off than Tom or Chakotay. And some, here I thought of B'Elanna and
Harry and Seven, would be mere infants. I was very pleased by Tuvok's
comments. "Thank you, Tuvok, I know you're right. As soon as we get the
coordinates and schedule from the Mulxmultoans, we'll send you back down
"Captain, what do we really know about these portals?" B'Elanna asked. "I
mean, what assurance do we have these Mulxmultoans count time the same way we
do? Or haven't got some additional surprises for us?"
"Like what?" I asked.
"They told you these portals open and close and move around. According to
Harry, they're virtually invisible. Suppose Tom and Chakotay stepped through
some portal, say a + 10 portal. We would never know it, in fact, they might
never know it, and Tuvok could search in the -25 area forever and not find
Her point was well taken. "I'll take that up with their official. That
certainly lends some urgency to our search."
"Captain," it was Harry again. "What about Tom's baby?"
I looked at him directly. This part was very difficult for me as well,
"According to their official, it no longer exists."
Harry looked very upset. "I'm sorry," he told me.
B'Elanna shook her head in disbelief. "I think he . . . I think Tom was
beginning to look forward to the baby."
"He was," I confirmed. I remembered how bright and how blue his eyes were
when he and I and Chakotay had tried to pick out the baby's names, how much
he'd laughed and joked over our choices. And how much Chakotay would look at
him with love in his dark eyes. I pulled myself away from those memories,
from the emotional pain that was mixed in with the fondness I felt for them
both. Even though our baby was gone, Tom and Chakotay would still be with
us. We just had to reach them soon.
Chakotay's Log Day 2
Last night I finally fell asleep dreaming of my Tom, remembering a recent
time when I felt I had truly encountered his restless, inventive spirit.
Although a number of my memories of my adult life were hazy, memories of
having sex with Tom were vivid. Perhaps these clear memories had as much to
do with my being eighteen, where even the sudden flash of a fish could arouse
me, as anything else.
However much Voyager's Tom seemed to love my backrubs and follow-up
activities, he also wanted to invest our activities with his own stamp.
Strenuous athletics were out of the question, but he found little ways of
throwing me off balance. One night - was it only two nights ago? - he'd
handed me a straight- edged razor and a cup of sweet smelling lather.
"What's this for?" I asked him and gazed at those innocent blue eyes with
"For shaving," he explained as if I should have understood that without his
having to answer stupid questions.
"Shaving what? You're no longer growing a beard . . ." he grinned widely ".
. . and I don't use this . . .this thing."
"I can't see well enough," he pouted, "or I would have done it myself. I
wanted to surprise you." Then his face brightened, "But this'll be better.
He grabbed my free hand and pulled me over to the couch where a towel covered
the fabric of the seat. Tom had on his smock and uniform, just as I had on
my uniform since we'd both gotten off shift, eaten, and returned to his room.
He kissed me lightly and giggled. I'm not kidding, he really did giggle.
Then he began to take off his clothes and I suggested that we might be more
comfortable in the bedroom, but he said the couch was necessary. Baffled, I
sat down and put the blade and cup on the table by the couch. I wanted both
my hands to help him remove his clothes. A naked Tom Paris was a sight to be
seen often and appreciated always. Once undressed he lay with his head on
the armrest and then flung one of those long legs up on top of the back of
the couch. Grinning wantonly, he said, "Shave me?"
I finally got it with the help of his pointing finger. He wanted me to shave
his pubic hair! Spirits, the man was a constant source of surprise. "You .
. . you want me to . . . . "
His grin widened and he nodded eagerly. "It'll be fun! I'll be so smooth,
Well, there he was, sprawled on the couch, totally open to me, one leg
hanging off the couch, the other far away on the back of it. He wasn't hard
yet, but I could see excitement beginning to create a slight thickening and
put a little bob in that very male part of his anatomy. What could I do? He
made himself an irresistible present to me. I leaned over his chest and
kissed him gently. "Are you sure?"
At the thought that I might not go along with his game, his eyes clouded over
and I hastily told him okay before he could further unnerve us both with a
mood swing into depression.
Sitting below his hips on the couch, I slathered some of the foamy cream on
his red-gold curling hairs as he twitched beneath my hands. I carefully
gripped the razor. With one hand I held his skin firm and with the other I
applied the razor. I held my breath at my first stroke along his tender skin.
I wiped the blade on the towel and eyed my work. I let out the breath I'd
been holding, gazed again at those eyes that held me, now glazing over with
lust, and bent back over his groin to continue my work. When I held the
blade to him, scraping as gently as I could, he kept perfectly still. But in
between times, he wiggled, his erection grew, soft moans escaped his lips. I
knew these were all signs of a Tom Paris moving from play to arousal. Based
on the stretching of the fabric of my pants, I was moving right along with
Finished, I used the edge of the towel to wipe the residue of the foam off
him and sat back to admire my work. Now that he was hairless, I could see
how his cock rose from his balls, how his balls lay against pink skin, how
his anus was just a small apricot-hued pucker, and I gasped from the intense
shockwave that this new sight set up in me. I trailed my index finger over
and around these moist areas, then placed the palms of both hands against the
insides of his thighs, my fingers lightly playing with his balls, the base of
his cock, my palms working his soft skin in a new rhythm of desire. Spirits,
this man's body was a continuing source of excitement. Gradually, I lowered
my face and began to lick and suck and taste the newly smoothed skin while
Tom groaned beneath me. His hips tried to buck and thrash about so I gripped
his thighs more firmly, holding him down for my slow, thorough licking. His
foot began to thump on the floor, his other leg seemed to grasp the back of
the couch more firmly and he tossed his head from side to side, exclamations
of pleasure emerging from his mouth.
When I moved up and pulled his cock into my mouth, feasting on the musky
smell and the pear-like taste that was Tom when aroused, he lost it, moaning
loudly and breaking free of my hands. His own hands came down to my head,
clasping my temples, pushing me down on his cock. I moved my hands up to his
nipples, now tender and slightly swollen and brushed them slightly back and
forth. I couldn't get enough of that body and of the sounds he made. Not
expecting it, I was stunned when he pulled away, scrabbling upwards.
Breathlessly, he told me I had too many clothes on. I told him that couches
were for young kids, not old men like me and pulled him to his feet.
Stumbling to the bedroom, he managed to pull off many of my clothes leaving a
trail of destruction as we went.
Abruptly, my fantasy ended. A little hand patted me on the shoulder.
"Ch'otay? Are you okay?"
I startled out of my dream with a groan and returned to the reality of a dark
night in a black forest with a small child behind me. I rolled onto my back
and saw two eyes wide with fear in a barely seen face. Finding my voice, I
told him, "It's okay, Tommy, I was just dreaming."
"Was it a bad dream?"
"No, no, not at all."
"Oh," he said, his voice plainly confused.
There was no way I could explain my dream to a five year old and I didn't
try. "You should be asleep, not worrying about me."
He burrowed under the cover of Tom's smock and molded his tiny body against
mine. I sighed. Although I wasn't sure I could get to sleep without jerking
off, and in the process keeping Tommy awake, somehow I managed.
By dawn, however, nothing could stop an eighteen year old responding to the
urgent morning call of his hormones, not an uneven dirt ground, not a damp
drizzle, not the nightmarish events of the day before. I was in the midst of
a dream, another memory, this time of the last encounter between us. It was
only yesterday evening, when we were both adults. Tom complained to me that
he looked ugly and it took kisses and nips and nipple play and tickles to let
him know that I found him beautiful, that I thought the way he carried our
baby was a picture of such awesomeness that I had not adequate words to
capture it. His abdomen swelled upwards in the smooth curve of a seashell.
As with a seashell, I loved to place my ear to his silky skin and listen for
sounds of the baby.
Once I'd been able to reassure Tom of his singular place in my universe, he
was all over me. In the few weeks since we'd become lovers, he demonstrated
an abandoned responsiveness to lovemaking. That and his touches, his kisses,
his fathomless blue eyes, his sadness and his sweet nature, had all won my
heart. Perhaps that's what I'd responded to that first time when Kathryn's
body looked like his and the pheromones had driven us both beyond
I wanted him to know how much I loved him whenever it was possible, such as
last night in my cabin. My rough beard scraped along the inside of his
thigh, my tongue stroked the distance from his balls to his anus, still
smooth and hairless, and he wiggled and moaned and drove me on. I wanted to
fill him with tongue, fingers, cock, whatever his body could take that would
allow as much of me inside as much of him as was humanly possible, maybe
beyond that to what was inhumanly possible. I couldn't get enough of him,
not his taste and smell when aroused, not his body that moved responsively to
my every touch, not his moans that tumbled from his lips.
As my tongue snuggled inside him, my mouth kissed and whispered over his
vibrating anus, making love to it as he writhed below me. I turned him on
his side and pressed one hand against his uppermost thigh, pushing it away
and opening him more to my hungry mouth. I let my hand slide over his thigh
toward his sentinel cock and played my fingers along its ridged length as my
mouth and tongue and exploring fingers played with the slowly loosening
entrance to his internal furnace.
When I began to retract my tongue, thinking that he was loosening up nicely,
he wickedly contracted his muscles so that he held my tongue captive in a
tight clinch. It made a moist thwump as I was finally able to withdraw it
and I heard him giggle. At that sound, I realized I had much more work to do
and I lavished a tongue bath all around his hole until he began to move in
synch with my ministrations. Satisfied that he was getting with the program,
my free hand worked to coat my fingers with the lubricant positioned at the
side of the bed.
Success with the lube allowed me to insert my hand between his cheeks,
transferring the now warmed gel to his ass, smearing it in patterned circles,
bringing my fingertips closer and closer to his entryway. Then I plunged
them through the already loosened fissure in a rapid succession of drilling,
stretching, and rubbing, with one, two, three fingers. He was never still,
his legs scissoring on the bed, his ass pumping against my fingers, his hands
clutching at the sheets. I pulled my face away enough to gaze at those long
legs, the muscled buttocks, and the heady sight of my fingers fucking in and
out of him. He almost screamed at me when I pulled each finger out and began
slicking my cock.
Somewhat out of breath, I told him what I wanted to do, that I wanted to be
inside him. He sounded almost cranky, telling me to do it, do it. He rolled
over, face down, and pushed up on all fours on the bed, then kneeled his head
down onto crossed arms on the bed, his ass exposed in the air. For emphasis,
he spread his legs widely displaying more of his bare bottom and then slowly
moved his ass in a tight circle. I could see his eyes closed tightly as
though he now dwelled on a different plane of existence, one that was pure
sensation. He was driving me to a heat fueled lust that would only be
satisfied in physical penetration. I placed my cock to his entrance inside
the V formed by my fingers that breached him open for me. I pressed firmly
as he thrust back hungrily. Between his muscles pulling me in and my surging
need to sink inside him as far as I could, it took only seconds and all
resistence from his sphincter was gone. In moments, I was fully engulfed in
that throbbing channel. I knew he must burn inside from the pressure. His
muscles tightened on me. "Harder," he begged. "Please, yes."
I repeatedly pulled back and launched forward until my balls slapped against
his ass in a staccato rhythm as I pounded into him over and over and over.
He gasped out, "More, gods, more," until he was almost continuously sobbing.
I wrapped one arm around his chest from behind and pulled him closer to me on
each ingress into his hot body. I lost myself in taking him harder and
harder even as I pumped his cock with my hand in counterpoint to our wildly
pulsating coupling. I slammed into his ass with a punishing strength that
rocked his body forward. He pressed back for more and I slapped his bottom
with my balls as if I wanted brutal entry for them along with my driving
The smacks of sweat slicked bodies colliding against each other drove my
frenzied need away from actions involving conscious will. With a cry, I
injected every heated milliliter of cum from my cock inside him. If I could
have followed with my body, I would have, so much did I want to possess him
thoroughly. Another pull by my hand on his cock and he came, screaming my
name, his interior muscles drawing my softening cock into his ruptured melody
of release. I collapsed against his back and clasped him against me with one
arm in a bear hug of love as the other arm supported us.
When I could talk again, I murmured, "Spirits, Tom, I love you."
He pulled away onto his back and let his head loll to the side, his body
still in that plane of existence that extends beyond the barriers of our
known universe. His half-mast eyes locked with mine in sated bliss and I
managed to rouse myself enough to move over to kiss him on the lips. His
soft smile almost ignited another explosion inside me. I told him how
beautiful he was and stroked his smooth, beardless face, enjoying the feel of
his sweat, the look of climax fueled surrender in his eyes. And I loved
every inch of him.
As I said, nothing stopped my eighteen year old body from responding to my
memory of yesterday evening. Laying on my side, my hand inside my pants, I
stroked myself to climax and not the damp earth, not the unyielding forest
floor, not the memory of waking the child up during the night, nothing
stopped me. Then a small hand pushed at my shoulder and a child's voice
said, "Ch'otay? Ch'otay? I gotta' go to the baf'room."
Even at the hormonally driven age of eighteen, jerking myself off to a lost
fantasy, I couldn't ignore that little boy. Thank the spirits I had already
cum and at the time was only playing with myself when he called for me. I
pulled my hand out, wiped the stickiness of my hand onto my pants as my cock
died completely. I rolled onto my back to find Tommy peering at me with
serious round eyes. "Okay, little one. Let's find a spot."
We found a spot and simultaneously peed on it as a fine, thin drizzle chilled
us both. It dampened our clothes and when we took the few steps back to our
camp, I found it had also put out our fire. I found some drier wood under
some fallen logs and phasered the fire back to life. I gathered Tommy to me
and covered him with as many layers of his old clothes as I could in an
effort to keep him as warm as possible. He cried against me, telling me over
and over that he wanted to go home. There was nothing I could say to help
him. Truth be told, I wanted to go home, too.
Finally, the drizzle let up and a weak sun broke through low hanging clouds.
I stretched out our damp clothes on tree limbs and hoped that the sun would
dry them. It seemed almost too humid to think they would dry soon. In
separating my sticky pants from my body, I realized how much I needed to
bathe and clean up. In addition, I was thirsty and I was sure that Tommy was
too. I was ravenously hungry. I knew that it took a lot to keep a
teenager's body going. We'd have to do something about food and water and
soon. I checked the hollows in the boulder for rainwater and the tricorder
indicated it was drinkable. I made a scoop with my hands and gave some to
Tommy and drank some myself. It didn't taste very good, but slacked the
thirst a little.
Tommy continued to wear Tom's turtleneck and I found a way to fold back the
arms and tie them off so he could wear it over his head and shoulders. It
hung down to the ground, but I think it worked better than the way he had it
wrapped around himself yesterday. I put my soggy uniform on the tree limbs
and wore my damp shorts and t-shirt, the comm badge in place on my t-shirt.
Tommy wanted one too and I found his and pinned it on the turtleneck for him.
Although when I checked the comm badges I found they didn't work. But we
wore them anyway. As I sat on a rock and tried to figure out how to make
Tom's huge shoes fit the little boy, Tommy stood by me. His solemn gaze at
the shoes made me wonder if the answer was in there.
"I used to be big?" he asked. I had asked him a lot of questions trying to
figure out if there was any of Tom left in this child.
"Yes, you were very big. Taller than me," I smiled at him.
For the first time since he'd become a child, I saw him grin. I saw my Tom
in that grin, mischievous, funny, sweet. Oh, spirits, it was then I felt
Tom's loss as a physical blow to my chest, knocking the air right out of me.
I wanted to clutch his smock to me as if somehow holding it would fill it
with Tom. But I couldn't, I didn't want to alarm Tommy. Seeing the obvious
pain on my face, the boy's expression turned fearful. His little shoulders
hunched up as if expecting something bad.
"I'm sorry," I told him. His face held a mix of fear and confusion. "What
"Are you mad at me?"
"No. Not at all. You know how . . . how since we've been here you've wanted
to go home?" He nodded, able to relate my question to his experience.
"Well, I've felt that way, too. For a moment there, I was reminded of how
much I miss someone."
Once again I marveled at the perceptiveness of this child. "Yes."
"How come I used to be big and now I'm not?"
"We came through an invisible place in the forest and it changed us. It made
us lots younger than we used to be. And it took us away from where we live."
"Why did we live on a starship?"
Oh, my, I thought. This boy was going to ask me questions all day. I
appreciated his curiosity but I felt some urgency about getting him into
clothes and shoes he could walk in. I was getting very hungry. I tried not
to sound impatient with him, after all, he was just a little kid. "You know,
it's a long story. When we've had something to eat and done some exploring,
I can tell you all about it. Kind of a bed time story. Would that be okay?"
"I'm hungry," he replied by way of agreement.
I figured out that I could use different settings of the phaser to cut the
shoes down to size and then use heat as a glue to keep the resulting shoe
together. That was the theory and I wasn't going to have another chance to
make a pair of shoes if my theory was wrong or if I tested it ineptly. So I
got to work and the first one looked a little rough, but it also looked as if
it would hold up. When the second one turned out okay, I decided to try the
same principle on his clothes. Cutting down his uniform top didn't go very
well, one arm was longer than the other, but he could wear it. Similarly, I
crafted him a pair of shorts, pants, and socks, none of which would win me
any ribbons in the Native Peoples craft shows, but which were serviceable.
When he had some clothes on, I also cut down the turtleneck to fit about as
well as the rest of his outfit.
I phasered most of the remaining fabrics together hoping to fashion a blanket
or ground covering for him. I left the tunic alone since it had worked
pretty well as a blanket, and truth be told, I needed it as a reminder of
Tom. With the remaining scraps I made a belt for myself with pockets for
Tom's phaser, tricorder and medical regenerator.
With my own phaser, PADD, and tricorder, I had a lot of hardware hanging off
my hips. That regenerator could come in handy and I was very grateful Tom
had brought it, particularly as I recalled how much ambivalence Tom had about
his sickbay assignment. Suited up with my instruments, I tried not to think
about how long these and our clothes would have to last. For all I knew, we
wouldn't be able to get out of here until we'd regained all of our lost
I suppose I could have tightened up my own uniform, but it really wasn't
necessary and I didn't know how long two phasers would have to last. I used
the phaser to dry my own clothes and put them on me. Taking a surreptitious
whiff of Tom's tunic as a reminder of other days, I threw it over my shoulder
for ease of carrying. "Let's go find some breakfast, what do you say?"
He actually didn't say anything, he'd been trying on his clothes and shoes,
walking around our small campsite. I checked once again to make sure the
fire was completely out and buried. It was. So, I reached for Tommy's hand
and we began to walk away from the site that had brought us to this strange
state of affairs. I hated to leave it but we needed water and food.
Along the way, we found some of the same berries we'd had last night and
munched on them. They didn't do much for my hunger, but did help with my
thirst a little bit. We traveled through the trees with my stopping every so
often to make a tricorder reading to make sure I could go back to the camp
site if I ever needed to. The path that we took through the trees showed
evidence of the passage of animals, and, tuning inward to mostly forgotten
lessons from my father, I kept us to the path as much as possible. It should
lead us to water.
And it did.
So two of my big concerns were dealt with. The kid had shoes and clothes he
could wear, although when I saw him limping, he confided that his feet hurt.
I picked him up and carried him for awhile. And we had a reliable source of
water. With any luck, the reliable source of water would attract animals we
could eat. Perhaps we would find fish in the water. I didn't like eating
meat, but our survival was at stake. Until I could find edible roots,
tubers, vegetables, grains that didn't take a complex processing procedure to
use, and fruits other than berries, I wasn't sure that I could allow my
preferences to hold sway.
As we sat on rocks watching the creek bubble through the rocks and trees, the
sky clouded over again. While we were seated, I fixed the blister on Tommy's
foot with the regenerator. As I did, I noticed sunburn on his face and neck
and applied the regenerator there as well. I checked my own skin, but I
didn't sunburn and nothing really needed fixing. By the time I was done and
Tommy had his socks and shoes back on, the clouds seemed to have gotten even
lower. I looked up and wondered if we were in for more rain. I guessed we
would need to find or construct some kind of shelter.
Lost in these thoughts of survival, I almost jumped when Tommy tugged at my
sleeve. Coming back to the here and now, I looked where he pointed. Under
the water, a fish swam slowly in a clear side pool of water.
"Good job," I whispered to him. I improvised a line with a long thread from
the "blanket" and wondered what I could use for a hook. Tommy pointed to a
small hook shaped rock. This boy had terrific eyesight. The rock was too
big to use as a hook but a few zaps with the phaser and I had what I needed.
For bait, I used a small piece of the remnants from Tom's red uniform top.
We fished rather successfully, catching three in fairly short order and I
showed Tommy how to get the fish off the hook once each had been caught. He
tried it on the last fish and I praised him again for doing such a good job.
He smiled shyly at me as if he didn't smile very often, or perhaps he wasn't
praised very often. By then the low clouds had really dropped and a drizzle
I looked around for shelter and found a deep hollow under a cliff not far
away. The texture of the rock and the depth of the cliff overhang reminded
me of the ruins of the Anasazi Indians of North America that I had seen on a
side trip during my academy days.
I carried the fish and Tommy managed to walk all right by my side to the
place where we set up our new camp. If the fishing continued to be this
good, maybe we would not be forced to try to capture the animals for meat.
By the end of the day we had completed all on my mental list of things to do
except for a reliable shelter. That was something I planned to work on
beginning in the morning. For the time being, the overhang of the cliff
provided a place that was protected from the almost constant drizzle. If a
driving rain started, I wasn't sure we would be able to stay dry, but there
was no sense worrying over something that I could do nothing about.
That night after dinner I began telling Tommy the story of how we came to
live on a starship. When I began, I wasn't really sure I remembered
everything, but as I told the story, it came back to me. I started with my
Maquis ship being tossed into the Delta Quadrant and how the Federation ship
Voyager came after us. I greatly edited my first reaction upon seeing Tom
Paris on the bridge of Voyager. This little boy was not Tom and didn't need
to know all the problems his older self had had. By the time I got around to
the part where the array was destroyed, Tommy was falling asleep. I placed
him on the blanket and covered him with the smock, then leaned back against
the wall of the cliff allowing the dancing fire to hypnotize me. Finally,
unable to keep my eyes open any longer, I lay down wondering if I would dream
of my Tom.
Captain's Log Day 4
The Mulxmultoans have tried my patience. Chakotay and Tom have been gone for
four days and still there's been absolutely no concrete help from them in
determining the coordinates of the portals. As far as we can tell, no other
ships are orbiting the planet and no others have gone down to the surface.
We don't dare go down there ourselves for fear of losing more of the crew. I
find my worries about both Chakotay and Tom are interfering with my
concentration on my other duties. How can a teenager and a child survive for
long down there?
Chakotay's Log Day 7
The cabin, such as it is, is finished. I almost drained one phaser in
cutting down trees and stripping and fitting them to construct the log cabin.
The "roof" consists of logs slanting from back to front, the back "wall" is
the cliff itself, where I left space in the "ceiling" for smoke to vent, and
the floor is dirt. I couldn't expect Tommy to cut down or haul logs so his
jobs were to clear the floor of all rocks and debris, and to catch fish. In
addition, I asked him to gather the many kinds of foods I pointed out to him
that were edible. When he had time, he was to create a wood stack for use as
firewood and to sort the logs and twigs by size. I knew these were not easy
tasks for someone so young and small but I couldn't babysit him or have him
nearby as trees toppled. Nor could I leave him with nothing to do. He
seemed pleased to be able to help, but I warned him over and over not to go
too far and if he saw a place in the air like the portal we'd come through he
was not to touch it but to come find me as soon as possible. I always came
back for a lunch break and insisted that he take a nap after lunch. Truth be
told, I used the time to rest as well.
This afternoon as I worked, he came running up to me, shouting my name
I wiped my brow and put down the phaser I'd been using to cut logs for the
outhouse I was constructing. Tiredly, I asked, "What is it?"
He stopped running toward me as if he'd heard something in my tone, something
that made him believe that his interruption was unwelcome.
"It's okay," I reassured him. "I'm glad for the break."
A wooden container with water from the creek was set near a log. Tired and
thirsty, I sat on the log and dipped a wooden ladle in the water, taking a
long drink. "What's up, Tommy? You can come'er."
He'd been standing a few feet away as if afraid to come any nearer until the
situation was clearer to him. Tommy seemed to reach a decision and
approached me. I reached out my free arm and drew him closer, his face level
with my own. "Thirsty?"
He nodded, accepted some water from the ladle. After a drink and the
reassurance of my arm around him, he said, "I saw something."
"On the other side of the creek. I was just watching, honest, the little
animals." He'd been told to stay clear of any large animals, not that we
ever saw any during the day.
"Two . . . animals . . . They dis'peared."
"You watched as two animals disappeared?" I repeated and he nodded. "What
did you do?" I was worried that he might have tried to go after them.
"I come here. To tell you?"
"You did the right thing, little one."
Where did all his self-doubt come from? "Yes, you sure did."
He took me to the place but the portal was gone. So, at least there were
other portals like the one we'd come through. And this one took things away
from here. I wondered if it went back to our own time? And if it did, how
would we know? Should we go through one if we found one? I remembered a
lesson from my father, if lost, stay where you are so others can find you.
Tommy interrupted my thoughts, but that was okay, they weren't going to lead
anywhere productive. "Yes?"
His brow furrowed as he tried to work through a problem. "If I followed the
animals . . . would I go home?"
"I don't know, Tommy. We could. But we might not. Why do you ask?" I
wondered if he was still as homesick as he'd been the first few days.
"I don't want to go home."
Oh. The declaration, so firmly stated in his child's voice, surprised me.
"No. I want you to be my Daddy and we live here."
I was a bit overcome by his sentiment, but also a little uncomfortable. "How
about if I'm your friend? I'll be your friend and you be my friend? How
would that be?"
"'kay." He gave me one of his shy smiles and I gave him a hug, sealing our
Chakotay's Log Day 16
When I came back to the cabin for a lunch break, Tommy was no where in sight.
I called for him but didn't get any response. Scared that he might have
gotten lost, I began a search for him. With all of our comings and goings in
this area, there was no way to track him even if I had any skills for such a
task. So, I worked my way out from the creek, calling him over and over.
After an hour of searching I was frantic. We'd never had any native animals
come near us although at night I'd seen some drinking from the creek, just
shadows in the darkness. But I wondered if an animal had gotten to him, or
if he'd inadvertently stepped through a portal, or fallen, or . . . my head
was full of possible disasters.
Finally, I turned back, sick at losing him. I kept calling for Tommy, but I
was very afraid, sure that he was gone. When I reached the cabin, I found
him inside putting away fruit as if nothing had happened. "Tommy!" I yelled
at him. "Where were you!?"
His smile on seeing me faded and fear set in. He backed up away from me as
if afraid that I might hurt him. When I saw how he looked at me, I calmed
down. I stopped yelling and spoke more softly, "Tommy, Tommy, I was so
worried about you."
Even my gentler voice didn't take the fear away from his eyes and I
apologized to him, anything to see that fear leave him. "I'm sorry, I
shouldn't have yelled at you."
As I approached him, he pulled away from me, still scared of me. His bottom
lip was trembling and he said, "Please . . . don't . . . "
I hunched down to his level and asked, "What is it? What are you afraid of?"
His eyes filled with tears. "You yelled at me."
"I know and I'm sorry. I couldn't find you when I came back for lunch. I've
been searching everywhere, I was so afraid something bad had happened to
you." I tried to touch his arms, but he flinched. "Tommy, what is it?"
"Are you going to hit me?"
"No. Of course not. Why? I mean, why would you think I would hit you?"
Hitting him was the farthest thing from my mind. I wanted to hug him I was
so relieved that I'd found him. "I would never hurt you like that."
He cocked his head at me as if trying to figure out if I was telling the
truth. It finally dawned on me, all the pieces I'd seen, that someone in
this child's life had been hurting him. "Tommy? Who hurts you? Who hits
He cast his brimming eyes to the floor and tears began to spill down those
fair cheeks. His voice was just a whisper, "Daddy."
"Your Daddy hits you?" I repeated, shocked that anyone would hurt a little
child. In our village, an adult who did that to a child would find out
pretty quickly how wrong that was. "I'm so sorry, Tommy. I really am. But
I won't hurt you. Please believe me. I may get worried about you, but I
wouldn't hit you. Honest."
The tear stained face looked up at me. "Honest? Never?"
"Never," I vowed and hugged him to me. At first he was reluctant, as if I
might be only bringing him closer to me to hurt him, but then he relaxed into
my arms and began to sob. I thought my heart would break hearing Tommy cry
like that, so I patted him and told him over and over that no one would hurt
him ever again.
Captain's Log Day 21
Three weeks and we're finally getting information from these people. I do
believe Tuvok wondered if he was going to have to restrain me from ripping
them from limb to limb, diplomatic limbs, of course. They seem to believe
that giving us a few coordinates so that we can retrieve our people is
tantamount to handing over the planet to off-worlders. It didn't matter that
others had been able to come to this planet and had coordinates to guide
them. Somehow we were different because we didn't have the coordinates,
therefore they couldn't give them to us!
Tuvok is prepared with the coordinates to the nearest -25 portal to Chakotay
and Tom's position and has four sets of coordinates of supposedly nearby +25
portals through which they may emerge. Tuvok estimates that, depending on
where the men had gone, it will take him two days to find them and another
day, perhaps two, to reach the +25 portal. We agreed that his trip could
take longer and that we would wait up to two weeks. He has two weeks' worth
of supplies, medicine, camping gear, all the things we could think of that
might be needed for what he would find down there.
If Tuvok can't locate them, I don't know what we'll do. The thought of
abandoning Chakotay and Tom is intolerable. So many of us are depressed,
Harry, B'Elanna, myself. But I realize that we can't remain in orbit here
for much longer. The two weeks I'd given Tuvok was our upper limit. If
Tuvok hadn't found them and led them out by then, he was to return to us and
we would have to depart the system for home.
Chakotay's Log Day 22
Neither Tommy nor I feel well today. We have enough tubers and fruits in the
cabin so that we didn't need to go out except to our outhouse. I wondered if
we were feeling sick because we'd eaten something that didn't agree with us
or if we were responding to some bug on the planet. I wish now that we had a
medical tricorder and a hypospray among the two tricorders we did have. The
regenerator wasn't going to help us with this sickness. I felt achy and
feverish and my stomach was churning. Although I hadn't yet gotten sick to
my stomach, I wasn't sure that I would be able to hold out much longer.
Tommy was even sicker, with vomiting and diarrhea. The smells made me gag,
but I realized I had to help him so I did. Fortunately, he slept most of the
time between bouts of upset. I lay down to rest as well, I just had no
energy to move. I longed for the home community I had as a child. Here
there were no wise villagers to counsel us, no shaman to bring us healing
prayer and herbs.
I'm beginning to believe that we're going to remain on this planet. We still
have seen no sentient inhabitants of this world, only the occasional small
animal and the shadows of the larger ones at night. I worry about what this
means for our future. Day after day, we've worked hard to get by, to make
sure we survive to another day. This valley, with our cabin, our stream
nearby, and the almost constant drizzle, seems to be our home now. But Tommy
needs to be schooled and he needs friends his own age. Although that's the
future, right now we need a change of clothes. Tommy is laying on his
mattress of grasses with no clean clothes to wear. The blanket was soiled
earlier. I have the smock around him, but it is vomit marked and in
desperate need of washing. I don't know what I'm going to do if he gets
He rallied a little after some soup I spooned into his mouth and he kept it
down. In a sleepy voice, he asked me to tell him a story. Anymore, it's
hard to remember stories to tell Tommy about Voyager. My memories from
there seem to be fading more and more with each day that we spend here. So I
held him to me and hummed a song to a tune whose melody I remembered from my
own childhood but whose words I could not retrieve.
I realize as I record this day's log that last night I didn't dream about
Tom. Not even once. I fear that he, and Voyager, are dimming as memories.
Soon, they will be gone forever.
Security Officer's Log Journey Day 1
When I emerged from the -25 portal that was located at some distance from the
one used by Paris and Chakotay, I did not discern any noticeable changes in
myself although my mind and body told me that I was, indeed, twenty-five
years younger. I hit my comm badge and tried to raise Chakotay or Tom.
After several tries with no response I considered how best to locate them.
In case there was no reply from the away team, Seven had modified my
tricorder to detect human life signs over longer distances than would
normally be possible. I scanned the area and located two lifesigns three
degrees south of my position and at least forty-five miles away. The
lifesigns appeared to remain in place and not move any appreciable distance.
Shouldering my pack, I headed across the wooded and rocky ground.
At appropriate intervals I consulted my tricorder to keep my destination in
focus. I realized that the mountainous terrain would slow me down
considerably and prevent me from reaching them anytime soon. At dusk I made
camp and retired for the evening.
Security Officer's Log Journey Day 4
Close to midday, my tricorder gave me good news. According to the reading,
they should be close. I stood on a boulder and looked around. Down the hill
there was a stream and I detected what appeared to be a thin column of smoke
against the backdrop of the low hanging clouds. Narrowing my focus, I
realized I could detect a small shelter made of logs.
I called out for Chakotay and Tom outside of the cabin. Although I knew that
Chakotay had regressed some twenty-five years in age, I was unprepared for
the sight of the lean, sickly looking teenager who came to the opening in the
cabin. His stance was one of distrust and he used surprisingly muscled arms
spread from one side of the doorway to the other to physically block my
entrance into the cabin.
As he stared at me, I realized he did not recognize me. "Chakotay. It is
Tuvok. From Voyager."
I watched his face as his expression changed from distrust to disbelief. He
blinked at me a few times. "Tu. . . Tuvok?"
"Yes. I've come to bring you and Tom back to Voyager."
"Home to Voyager. Do you remember Voyager?"
He nodded and I detected moisture forming in his eyes. He looked exhausted
but pulled himself together. In an adolescent's voice, he told me, "Tommy's
sick. He's in here."
Chakotay retreated into the interior of the small room and allowed me to
enter. I followed him over to a small child, noting as I did the reek of
illness in the room. However, I could not fault the young man who bent down
over the child. He looked just as ill. I asked a few questions as I ran a
medical tricorder over the child first and then over Chakotay. They both
seemed to have been infected with an intestinal parasite and I dialed up the
appropriate antidote and palliative on the hypospray and administered the
correct dosages to each. "You should feel better soon."
He lay down on what was his bed, mostly a collection of grasses softening an
indentation in the dirt floor, and rolled onto his side so that he faced the
boy. The child had Tom's hair coloring and blue eyes. His fair skin was
sprinkled with freckles that stood out against an unhealthy pallor. He
regarded with me with considerable fear, obviously not recognizing me at all.
Chakotay placed a hand on the boy's arm and reassured him that I was here to
help them. The boy nodded as he seemed to search Chakotay's face for
comfort. Chakotay smiled tiredly at him and told him everything was going to
be all right now. Unselfconsciously, the child moved into the security of
I have never had much of an imagination, so when I learned back on Voyager
that Tom had become a boy of five, I had a difficult time picturing it, let
alone this sick child with only a hint of Tom Paris in his demeanor. I told
them both, "I have brought food and clothes. What would you like first?"
The boy Chakotay called Tommy said nothing, he merely looked at Chakotay and
then back at me as if whatever Chakotay decided was okay with him. The
teenager told me, "We need whatever you've brought." With an apparent tired
sigh, he asked, "How soon can we go home?"
I considered how much to tell him and realized now was not the time for a
complete explanation. "It will take us two days to reach our destination,
perhaps more, depending upon on how soon you are both well enough to travel."
The little boy frowned at me and I could detect some of Tom Paris'
impertinence in him. "You can beam us up."
"Not from here, I am afraid."
"Why do we have to travel?" Chakotay asked.
"We need to go through a portal and it is not here." That simple explanation
sufficed for now but I expected to answer many more questions before we moved
Tommy looked at Chakotay with what appeared to be fear on his face.
"Ch'otay? Where are we going? I don't want to go home."
What a fascinating declaration for a five year old child to make. I could
only wonder at what brought on such a statement. Chakotay, however, seemed
to understand and told him, "Commander Tuvok is taking us to Voyager, to the
starship where we used to live."
The boy looked at me for confirmation and I told him, "That is true. We are
going to Voyager."
I declined to tell him that our ultimate destination, in some sixty
years, was Earth. He was too young to understand all of that. So I
merely told him, "No. We are going to Voyager. The ship is very far
My words and those of Chakotay's must have satisfied him for the next
thing he said had nothing to do with Earth or Voyager. "Can I have
some ice cream?" Tommy asked.
"I did not bring any."
Chakotay smiled and in his facial expression I recognized the
commander. Apparently he had to answer many such questions in their
time together. His smile told me that now it was my turn. His words
confirmed it, when he said, "I'm glad you're here."
"I have brought other foods."
A few moments later I was pulling food out of my pack and handing it
over to the two young people.
By the time they were recovered, cleaned up, wearing fresh clothes,
it was too late to venture out in the dark. The child was still
somewhat dehydrated and I determined that he would need another day
of rest before he would be ready to travel. Considering his small
size, I revised upward my estimate of how long it would take to reach
the nearest +25 portal. Nonetheless, I believed we were well within
the Captain's timetable of two weeks. Moreover, the portal's opening
would occur very near to our projected arrival to its proximity.
Lightening the mood, Chakotay kidded Tommy about his new clothes.
Apparently the doctor's calculations about the boy's size was right
on target as the replicated pants and shirt fit him well. He
appeared especially pleased by the shoes, socks, and underwear.
Chakotay blushed, the first time I have ever detected such an
emotion on his face, when he held up clean underwear for himself.
Nonetheless, he dressed in them in the privacy of their outhouse.
When he returned, he seemed pleased to be wearing a new pair of soft
knit pants and shirt.
I was impressed by what an adolescent with only a phaser and
tricorder had accomplished. The log outhouse had a lime like
substance in the pit, it was dug away from the stream and even
ventilated. The cabin had a rudimentary table and bench, wooden
utensils phasered from logs, a stone hearth, and a stone lined
storage area. I provided them with inflatable sleeping bags and they
gave me a sweet supplement to our meal that they called candy gum.
It was rubbery in texture and, when chewed, gave off a sweet taste.
They seemed pleased that they had been able to offer me something.
Before going to sleep, I checked them both with the tricorder.
Tommy's dehydration had cleared up and both were now free of the
parasite, albeit weak and fatigued. My original estimate of the need
for a day's rest appeared to be accurate.
We were all stretched out ready to sleep, so I was surprised when
Tommy asked me to tell him a story about Voyager. The boy assured me
that Chakotay used to tell him stories every night but couldn't
remember any more stories to tell. By the faint firelight, I
detected a chagrined look on Chakotay's face. I was not sure what
would constitute a suitable story for a five year old and I asked
Chakotay for advice. He grinned at me and shrugged.
I determined that the story of how Tom Paris had flown a shuttle at
Warp 10 would be acceptable so long as I edited out the parts about
his transformation into a lizard, his kidnaping of the captain and
her similar transformation, and their subsequent reproductive
activities. It did not leave much of a story to tell, but the child
seemed satisfied. By the time I finished, he clutched a blanket to
his face, Chakotay pulled Tom Paris's smock over him, and he subsided
I watched how gently and respectfully Chakotay treated the child. As
the boy had smiled shyly, Chakotay had pointed out to me how much the
stored food and supply of wood were due to Tommy's efforts. In turn,
it was easy to discern the unguarded love the boy returned to the
teenager. It gave me pause to consider the consequences of taking
these two from this environment, having them gain 25 years through
the +25 portal and return so abruptly to Voyager. In view of Tommy's
inability to remember anything at all about Voyager, and Chakotay's
fading memories, I worried about what would happen if these memories
were unrecoverable even as their bodies returned to their appropriate
Chakotay's Log Day 28
Today we left our home behind. Tommy would not leave his blanket and
I would not leave Tom's smock. Other than those mementoes and our
equipment, the remaining working phaser, the regenerator, my PADD,
the tricorders and the nonworking comm badges, we left almost all the
rest behind. However, Tommy did fill his pockets with the candy gum,
enough for all of us, he assured me. I shouldered a spare pack that
Tuvok had brought and carried some of his supplies as well as some
roots and tubers from our storage area. And so, we set out with
Commander Tuvok leading the way.
Tommy's small legs were no match for our greater strides and Tuvok
and I alternated carrying him toward the end of the morning. After
lunch, I explained to Tuvok that we usually took a nap and, although
the Commander clearly did not need one, he agreed to let us continue
our routine. I had tired easily, I guess from being sick, and I was
glad we had nap time. In addition, I think I was tired from letting
go of all the responsibility I had carried since we'd been here. It
had been really hard to act the part of a grown up when I wasn't one
By the end of the afternoon the ever present drizzle began in earnest
and Tuvok agreed to stop for the day. He and I put up a tent large
enough to hold us and our packs. Tommy was plainly exhausted and
fell asleep as soon as he'd eaten his supper. Inside the tent, we
had a small heatless lamp to see by until we put it out to go to
sleep ourselves. I asked Tuvok questions that I hadn't wanted to ask
in front of Tommy. But I started off slowly, asking about crew
members whose names I remembered. Tuvok assured me they were fine,
so I moved on to the more troubling matters.
"I remember that I'm First Officer on Voyager, but everything is
vague, as though it's some story like those I've told Tommy. Some
things have been coming back to me since you came, but nothing seems
very real to me."
Tuvok looked thoughtful, hard to tell from his other expressions of
concern, satisfaction, or whatever he was willing to acknowledge.
"Are you asking if you were indeed First Officer?"
"No. Just . . . I don't know . . . what was I like?"
Definitely surprise in that impassive face. He took a moment to
answer. "Fair. Able to weigh all sides. Warm. Others confided in
"What about . . . what about my relationships with others? The
Captain, Tom . . .?" Clearly he did not want to comment so I pushed
him a little. "Wasn't Tom pregnant?"
"Yes. That is true."
"I don't remember how that happened," I confessed. Did I really have
sex with Tom Paris? I had my PADD entries and vague memories of it,
but I didn't want to ask Tuvok.
"Perhaps it is just as well," Tuvok replied.
"Were Tom . . . were he and I . . . together?"
"Did you have a relationship? Yes. Did you live together? No. Not
that I am aware of." Did we have sex together, I wanted to know but
couldn't ask. "I do believe that in the two weeks before you came
here your relationship with him underwent a change and that you and
he at times remained overnight together."
Behind his carefully worded statement, the answer to my unspoken
question was yes and with those words he validated those vague
fragments of memories. I was beginning to think that they had been
the imaginings of a very sexually frustrated 18 year old. I felt
better knowing for sure.
"Commander, do you think I will know what to do when I go back to Voyager?"
"I am not certain. I have given this problem a good deal of thought.
If your memories are retained but just not accessible because you
are here, then you should be fine when you have returned to Voyager.
On the other hand, if you no longer have these memories, I am afraid
that they will not return to you simply because you have stepped
through the portal."
"And Tommy? He hasn't remembered anything about Voyager at all."
"It may be then that his memories are gone and will not be retrievable."
"How does the portal work? I mean, it doesn't fit my idea of a time
"True. We have only begun to speculate on the nature of the portals
on this world. The Mulxmultoans are imprecise, at best, in
describing these matters. The portals appear to transport the person
not only through time, or perhaps to another dimension, but to
accelerate or devolve a person's growth using the person's DNA, to
take the person forward or backward in development."
"Oh." I had trouble picturing it in my mind. "When I went through,
I devolved . . ." I stumbled over the unfamiliar word but I thought I
knew what it meant, "to what my body was like at an earlier time in
"That would appear to be correct. Now that I have seen you, the
physical changes were quite predictable. But the mental changes
appear to be more difficult to predict. If brain cells and their
connections have been lost, then these may not be regained the way
bone length or weight would be regained. But at this stage of our
knowledge, the answers to your questions are empirical matters still
to be understood. We hope to know more when we go through the +25
"But if Tommy . . . Tom doesn't remember on the other side . . . he
won't remember the baby that's lost."
"If, indeed, it is lost."
And he won't remember us, our relationship, in the few weeks before
we ended up on this planet, I thought bleakly. But, I had to remind
myself, I had begun to doubt it myself. "We might be restored as we
"Possibly, but unlikely," Tuvok predicted.
"If he doesn't remember . . . "
"He also won't know how to pilot the ship."
"He told me he flew shuttles," I said defending Tommy.
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. "He is only five years old. If he returns
to the ship with the memories and abilities of a five year old, it
won't matter that he is actually 30. Even though his skills would
probably develop rapidly, it could take time for the neural
connections to become reestablished."
I looked down at the sleeping child, a boy I'd come to almost think
of as my own. Tommy twitched in his sleep, as if he'd been disturbed
by our conversation. Perhaps he would not even like me once he'd
regained his lost years.
"You appear troubled," Tuvok observed.
"I guess that I am," I admitted.
"There are many changes in store for you and Tommy. I will do all
that I can to help both of you with those changes."
I smiled only because it was nice of him to offer, but I didn't know
what he could really do. I guess the future would sort itself out.
It always did.
Security Officer's Log Journey Day 8
Chakotay was very quiet today as we traveled overland in the
direction of the +25 portal coordinates. Our conversation of the
previous evening appeared to weigh heavily on him. It was very clear
to me that he was attached to the young child as was the child to
him. Going through the portal would change all that in ways that I
had been compelled to admit I could not predict. For his part,
little Tommy seemed to absorb some of the discontent of the teenager.
He was restless, fussy, and demanding.
I carried him for a part of the morning as he squirmed often in my
arms and asked me endless questions that began with the word 'why'.
Every bit of patience that I could summon was required to make it
through the morning. Chakotay gave me a commiserating grin as I put
the child down for our lunch break. It was with great relief that I
watched Chakotay tuck him into his blanket for the afternoon nap.
With even greater relief I saw the child's eyes close and his
breathing even out in sleep.
Smiling, Chakotay asked quietly, "Tough morning?"
"He is a very curious child."
"Yes, he is," Chakotay said, the pride evident in his tone. "But I
know why he was so difficult this morning. He doesn't really want to
The child had said that and I pondered what obligation I had to this
boy and to the teenager across from me. There were adult versions of
these two that deserved their lives back. Going through the portal
was the only way that adult development would be accomplished. It
would be unconscionable to leave these two behind on this planet with
no other humans, with the possibility of portals opening up that
could take one away from the other without warning or a trace. It
would not be possible to leave them here. Presumably, had we had the
coordinates, we could return through a -25 portal such as the one
that had brought me here. In that event we would all emerge on the
other side at the age we now were. However, that solution robbed the
existing adults of their lives. I concluded that they must go
through the +25 portal. At the same time, I realized that a heavy
price would be exacted, one whose value would remain unknown until we
went through it.
Chakotay's Log Day 30
We've reached the +25 portal. Tuvok tells us that it should open in
less than an hour. Although it's not lunch time yet, we're here, so
we've sat down on rocks and downed tree trunks to eat our meal.
Tommy is very unhappy. After throwing his food into the forest, he
began to cry. I tried to hold him but he pushed me away. He kept
telling us over and over, "I don't want to go. Don't make me go.
I appealed to Tuvok with my eyes. Wasn't there some other solution?
His implacable expression told me that there wasn't. We had to go
through the portal. I explained to Tommy again that we would be
going to Voyager, that he was Voyager's chief pilot. At that, his
small fists pounded on my chest. "No, no! I heard him. I'll just
look big but I'll still be little. They won't let me fly."
"Spirits, Tommy," he let me hug him, the fists momentarily stilled,
"it may be like that. We don't know. We have to try it. We do."
His face screwed up in a kind of fury and turned a purple red. At
the top of his lungs, he screamed, "No!" He hit me again with all
his might, all the fear and pain of things he didn't understand and
couldn't control coming out in his pounding fists. I just let him,
understanding too well what he was feeling. Finally, he sobbed in my
arms until exhaustion overtook him. Spent, he seemed to give up.
Tuvok touched my shoulder. "It is time."
He pointed to the place where the air seemed to waver. Although I
had prayed for a month for this day to come, now that the moment was
here, I almost lost my nerve. I stood up and grasped Tommy's hand.
His tear stained face looked up at me and I saw that he trusted me
even if he didn't trust the portal or what lay behind it. I sighed
and told him, "I'll take care of you, little one, no matter what.
You know that, don't you?"
For a moment I thought he was going to tell me no, but with tears in
his eyes, he nodded.
We stepped through it together, hand in hand. Tuvok followed.
Captain's Log Day 30
The doctor has informed us that the away team is in sickbay. Thirty
days. It has seemed like a year. I hurried from the bridge, letting
Harry and B'Elanna know that I would send them word when I knew
As I entered sickbay I wondered what I would find. Tuvok stood off
to one side, apparently having been quickly vetted by the doctor.
Tom and Chakotay sat on biobeds. Chakotay watched the doctor as he
carefully scanned Tom and asked questions of the pilot. When I
approached the biobed I felt relieved that Tom looked very much like
the young man who had left us a month ago. I checked right away that
he no longer looked pregnant and the faint hope I nurtured that he
would still carry the baby finally evaporated. The regret hit me
with a force that I didn't expect. I took a moment to regroup.
"How is he?" When I was ready, I asked my question briskly, quelling
the disappointment I felt. Both the doctor and Tom turned to look at
"Physically, he is a completely healthy thirty year old."
I was pleased to hear that, but the doctor's next words were not what
I wanted to hear.
"Captain, he does not remember being on Voyager. His mental
abilities are those of a five year old."
I smiled at Tom, not the full smile I wanted to display, but
uncertainty kept it at bay. "Tom? I'm Captain Janeway."
"Hi," he said after a quick glance at Chakotay who nodded encouragement.
Oh, my, I thought to myself. There were some complicated dynamics
going on here.
"Can I go home now?" Tom asked plaintively.
Chakotay stepped in, "Tommy, this is our home now. It'll be okay,
"Doctor, can I speak with you and Tuvok?"
We stepped into the doctor's office. "What's his prognosis?"
"As nearly as I can tell, he has fully mature brain capacity, the
problem is that the neural connections have not been consolidated.
Neural pathways are reinforced from experience and he has had no
experiences since he was five years old. As he lives day to day, is
educated and trained, these connections will stabilize very quickly
since the substrate is already laid down."
"Captain, I believe I may be able to help," Tuvok interjected. "I
retain Tom Paris' memories of his life up until four years ago."
I frowned until I remembered. "Of course. The mind meld you used to
demonstrate that Tom did not kill that scientist."
"There would still be a crucial gap of four years."
The last four years were very important for Tom. He'd grown from a
youth with a chip on his shoulder and almost no friends to a popular
and capable young man, someone who was a valued member of Voyager's
family. For him to have lost these past four years would be a
tragedy, but perhaps not as much of a tragedy as his remaining a five
year old. "What do you think, doctor? Should we try this?"
The doctor sighed. "I remember the Tom Paris of four years ago, an
extremely trying young man." The doctor looked back at his sickbay
where Chakotay had an arm across Tom's shoulders, apparently trying
to reassure him of something. "But Tom should not remain as he is
any longer than necessary."
I looked at Tuvok. "Are you volunteering?"
"Yes. I believe this is of the utmost importance. However, we
should consult with Commander Chakotay."
Tuvok explained the deep bond that he had observed between the
teenaged Chakotay and the five year old Tommy. In addition, there
was the relationship that had begun before the visit to the planet.
In effect, Chakotay was Tom's guardian and should be the one to make
decisions while Tom was unable to do so.
"What about Chakotay?" I asked the doctor. "Does he remember Voyager?"
"When he first arrived, he appeared disoriented, but within a few
minutes he seemed to gain confidence. However, I have not performed
any diagnostics yet to determine his mental age."
"Perhaps we'd better do that."
We returned to Tom and Chakotay and the doctor ran his diagnostic instrument
over the commander while Tom looked on apprehensively. Humming to himself
tunelessly, the doctor finally completed his scan and then asked Chakotay
some questions, "Commander, who is Seven of Nine?"
A frown pinched his face, "A former Borg who is on our ship. She often works
in Astrometrics. And just as often irritates the hell out of us."
Good, he remembered someone who had only joined us within the past year. Not
only that, he remembered Seven's personality as well.
"How do you remember this now?" Apparently he hadn't been able to answer the
"I . . . I just . . .since I've been here . . . I've been looking around and
things . . . memories have been coming back to me. I can't explain it very
well. But I know who I am and where I am."
The doctor addressed both Chakotay and myself, "Although the commander lost
many of his neural connections, those lost connections were previously
integrated and interconnected with earlier memories, hence they were not lost
in the same way that Paris' memories were lost. Familiar surroundings were
all that were needed to reintegrate his memories once the brain cells with
their neurons and neurotransmitters were restored."
"Couldn't Tom . . .?" I looked at that waiting, unhappy face. Very blue
eyes gazed back at me but I really couldn't detect Tom's intelligence in
them. These were the eyes of a lost child.
The doctor escorted all of us out of Tom's earshot. Chakotay joined us,
palming a gesture at Tom to remain where he was. The doctor told us, "Here
is what I believe happened. When he went back through the -25 portal and
lost 25 years, he lost brain cells and the connections that had been forged
among them. The time period of 25 years for someone who was only 30 was too
great to retain those connections, basically, he lost most of his original
neural pathways. Almost no Voyager memories would have been integrated with
the memories of a five year old. Although he now hosts an adult number of
brain cells, the connections cannot be formed without appropriate
experiences. It is in these connections and their biochemical actions that
memories are located.
"Without Tuvok's solution, it could take as many as two to three years to
bring him to the level of expertise he had as a pilot before the portal.
Actually, I'm not sure he will ever gain the true abilities he had before
because so much of Tom's piloting skill was contained in his memories of
previous experiences flying."
"What about as a medic?"
The doctor did not look pleased. "I think not. If you will remember, his
assignment here came about because of his academy training. This is a sick
bay, not a day care center."
Chakotay's expression told me he was offended by the doctor's flippancy.
Ignoring the hologram, he asked, "What is Tuvok's solution?"
We filled in the first officer who stole glances back at Tom as he realized
the full import of the plan. "So Tom will remember all those painful
experiences that he brought with him to Voyager, but he won't remember the
good experiences he has had here these past four years."
"Correct," Tuvok intoned.
"He will have his personal logs for the last four years that he can review.
Perhaps those will stimulate him to form memories of these events," I
"Will he remember our time down there on the planet?"
"I believe he will," Tuvok explained, "because these are very fresh memories.
He may, in fact, be fairly confused as he simultaneously holds both the
recent memory of himself as a child and the more distant memories of his life
before four years ago."
I turned to Chakotay, "What do you think?"
He sighed. "I don't think there are happy endings here, Kathryn. We have to
do what we can. If we end up spending the next several years with the Tom
Paris of four years ago, then that's what we'll do. But I can't help but
think it will be a different experience this time around. The crew will
respond to him with the warmth and friendship that he has earned over these
years not with the hostility he found back then."
I knew Chakotay was speaking of himself when he said that. I turned to
Tuvok. "Very well. Let's do it."
We returned to Tom and Chakotay explained to him what would happen. "Tommy,
you know how you're very big now?" The connection between these two that
Tuvok had mentioned was so evident as Tommy nodded and worried over his lip.
He was fearful but he also trusted Chakotay. "Well, we want you to remember
things from when you were big before. So, Commander Tuvok is going to hold
your head in a special way and, when he's finished, you'll be able to
remember lots more than you do now. How does that sound?"
The boy in Tom's adult body was confused and reached out to Chakotay. The
big man held the younger one to him and patted his back. Tom whispered in
his ear and Chakotay broke away looking for something. A raggedy,
patchworked blanket seemed to be the object of his search and he placed it
against Tom's chest where Tom's hands held it to him. A very scared voice
Tuvok sat on the biobed near Tom and began the Vulcan mind meld. As we
watched, we saw the sweetness, innocence, and openness of emotions leave
Tom's face to be replaced by suspicion and hostility. By the time Tuvok was
finished, the long abandoned Paris smirk once again masked his true feelings.
Chakotay looked as if he wanted to cry as he watched the transformation. I
realized how much the commander was losing even as Tom gained back most of
Tuvok removed himself from the biobed and Tom looked at us with narrowed
eyes. The blanket in his hands was discarded as if it meant little to this
older Tom. "Okay, I'll bite. Why am I in sickbay?"
Paris' Log Day 1
I wanted to tell that group, 'what the fuck am I doing here?' The doctor
looked as if he was gloating over something, the captain seemed to have her
'Mother Janeway' face on, and Tuvok just had that 'I can see right through
you, lieutenant,' expression in his eyes. Yeah, I know, Tuvok and I had been
bound together there so I guess he really did see right through me.
Why was Chakotay standing there with tears in his eyes? Shit, I didn't need
this. I knew he hated me but at the same time there was some crazy sense
that he was here to take care of me, like some kind of big brother.
"Well? Why am I here?" I guess my tone was sort of demanding, but this was
"Tom, what do you remember of the past month or so?"
My head hurt trying to figure that one out. "Prison. Delta Quadrant.
Kazons." At the same time, maybe even stronger, was another memory. "Uh . .
. I spent a lot of time with Chakotay? But he was a kid . . . "
"What do you remember of yourself?" the holodoc asked me.
Fuck. No, I didn't say that out loud. No need to get sent to my room
without dinner. But I saw a kid version of myself in my mind and I didn't
like it. "I was some little kid, like five?"
"How old are you now?" the doctor asked as if he was actually curious about
"Twenty-six?" I asked, wondering if it had been a trick question. Turns out
"Tom. This may surprise you, but there's four years of your life missing.
You're now 30, not 26, or five," the captain told me. "Voyager has been in
the Delta Quadrant for four years."
"Thirty?" I put a lot of disbelief in my voice. *Thirty?* I was beginning to
get a little unnerved. But I made sure my face was a total blank, okay,
maybe I smirked a bit. "So how come I don't remember? If this was one of my
movie vids from the 20th century, you'd tell me I was hit on the head and
They didn't laugh. Instead, they suggested that the doctor should finish
checking me out and then we could meet in the conference room and all would
be explained. I don't know if I really wanted to hear that explanation. But
they seemed to want to tell me. The captain and Tuvok left and Chakotay
stayed behind. I wasn't sure how I felt about that. He kept giving me these
funny looks, like he liked me?
So, after another hour of the doctor's tests, questions, probes, whatever, I
was free to go to the conference room. I was really surprised when the
doctor walked with me and Chakotay. How'd he get out? Maybe I had missed a
In the conference room were the captain, Tuvok, Harry, Torres, and some
exotic blond creature in a brown form- , very form-, fitting body suit.
Neelix was there but Kes wasn't. I was starting to get nervous so I made
sure I made my face a total blank, then fixed a phony smile on top. Never
let them see you vulnerable. Never. The captain pointed to a chair. I sat
down, Chakotay sat on one side of me and the doctor on another. I guess they
volunteered to catch me if I passed out or threw a fit or something.
The next two hours were one shock after another. My mind was reeling and
they'd only brought me up to date on the past two years. As if he knew what
I was going through, Chakotay brought me a glass of water as we took a break.
I put my head close to his to whisper to him, "Is this all true? This stuff
about me saving the ship and all that?"
He smiled at me and I could hear affection in his voice when he answered,
"Yes, it is and you did."
How was I going to live this stuff down?
"How are you doing, Tom? I know this is a lot to absorb all at once."
Why the hell was he so nice to me? I gave him a smartass, "What's it to
you?" and immediately regretted it. Chakotay looked as if I'd kicked him in
the balls. I can't begin to describe the sadness in his face.
"Shit, I'm sorry," I apologized.
"It's okay, Tom."
He went over to the captain and suggested that maybe I'd had enough for
today. As he and the captain talked about me, I tried to listen with one ear
and listen for my friend Harry with the other. He seemed to be deep in
conversation with the new woman, Seven, and I got the sense that I didn't
exist as long as he was near her. Oh, well. There went my only friend.
And then there were the vibes I was picking up from Lt. Torres. Whew. My
body was impressed by her, I felt a sort of a tingle in it when I looked at
her. Her looks back at me were confusing. One minute I picked up something
like passion and the next, more like revulsion. The revulsion I was used to,
the passion I didn't have a clue about that. Yeah, maybe, this day should
end here before I actually figured out who was friend and who was enemy.
Janeway came over and asked me if I wanted to call it day. "Your friends"
interesting . . . my friends. . . since when did I have friends? "will be
around if you have any questions for them. In your room are all your
personal logs. You may want to try to skim over them."
"Okay." That sounded reasonable. "Uh, Captain, um, am I seeing anyone? You
know, uh, off duty-like?"
She looked distressed. Uh-oh. Who'd I antagonize most recently?
"Tom, come over here with me a minute." She took me to a quiet corner.
"There's something you should know. When you went down to the planet, you
were six months pregnant. The baby was lost when you went through the -25
portal. People who see you, they may say something to you about it."
Fuck this. I thought I'd faint. But Chakotay was there to guide me to a
chair. He looked at her, she nodded as if confirming that she had told me.
I couldn't find my voice to ask how it happened or who the father or mother
was or what the hell I'd been thinking to agree to something like that.
Mercifully, she gave me a very brief version, hitting the high or low spots.
I guess it all depended on your point of view. I was pretty sure I was going
to be sick but the doctor used his doctor sensitivity to find me with a
hypospray in his hand. Instant wellness. Or whatever. I was too dazed to
The captain decided I didn't need to parade myself through the decks just yet
and had me and Chakotay beamed to my quarters. He led me to my bed and made
sure I lay down. He asked if I needed anything. How about a head full of
memories? Well, I had a head and it was swimming. I asked him, "What are
"How do you mean?"
"You've been hovering around me since I got back. What's the big deal?"
Okay, so once again I'd put my foot in it. Geez, the guy was sensitive.
"Tom. Get some rest, I know you could use some. When you're hungry, we'll
have something to eat. Maybe we'll talk then, if you feel better."
"You're staying here?"
"I won't leave you alone, Tom." Somehow the way he said it, it was like a
promise to keep me safe. And maybe his concern, or whatever it was, started
to get through to me. I just bet he didn't hate me anymore.
I closed my eyes and felt him kiss my forehead very lightly. Nope, he didn't
hate me anymore.
Paris' Log Day 2
If I thought my head was swimming yesterday, by the end of today, I was
drowning in information. I followed the Captain's advice and skimmed most of
the first two years I'd been on Voyager. There was a lot of pain there, a
lot of loneliness. As I skimmed through the PADDS, I could see a change
emerging. I started to think of myself as someone who had friends, real
As I moved into the year before last, there was one log entry that I didn't
skim. Harry Kim and I were thrown into a brutal prison, made all the worse
by implants in our brains that stimulated aggression. I started out as the
big guy, relying on my prior prison experience, looking after the new guy.
Some big guy. All that changed when I was knifed and damn near killed. I
was scared and, for once, not too full of myself to admit it. Harry Kim
stood by me, implant or no, and declared that he was my friend and no one
touches me. No kidding, I owed him big time. I realized then that Harry was
still my friend and I felt relieved that at least that hadn't changed.
As I moved into the last year of logs before Mulxmulto 3, I learned about my
intense affair with B'Elanna Torres and I saw that I hadn't done as much
changing as I needed to if I wanted to be in a relationship. I withdrew from
her after I found out she had retrieved a letter, a damaging letter, from my
father, and had lied to me about it. When she tried to ask me about my
emotional and physical disappearances I blew up at her. This was the Tom
Paris I knew, a complete fuck- up when it came to relationships. Matters
weren't helped when an alien took over my body and seduced her. She must
have felt like she'd been raped or something. Hell, no wonder she dumped me.
I felt pretty sick learning about it.
There in my logs was all the stuff about Tom Paris being pregnant. The alien
had something to do with it, and, oh, this was interesting, so did Janeway
and Chakotay. She hadn't mentioned that yesterday. Sounded interesting.
So, I didn't want to be pregnant, threatened to get rid of it, then wanted it
for all the wrong reasons. As I went through this most recent period of my
life before becoming a five year old, the tone of the logs changed.
Un-fucking-believable: I was in love in Chakotay! And he was in love with
me. I couldn't get over the intimate details I'd recorded in my personal
logs. It was as if I'd never been in love before, never discovered sex
Wow. No wonder the big guy's been hovering over me. Ears burning with
embarrassment, I snuck a glance at him over on my couch, engrossed in his own
logs, reconnecting with his own memories. But I knew that he hadn't needed a
log to tell him what our relationship was all about. He knew.
I sat back, allowing my *real* memories of being five year old Tommy to
replay in my mind in light of this new information. I couldn't help it,
tears just started pouring out of my eyes. I turned away from Chakotay so he
wouldn't see me, but he noticed something and got up to sit in a chair near
my own. His hand fell on my arm and his soft voice asked, "What is it, Tom?"
Through my crying I asked him to call me Tommy. I felt much closer to him
than to this 30 year old guy called Tom. His hand moved to my shoulder,
I turned to Chakotay and flung my arms around him and sobbed onto his
shoulder. For a long time I was too upset to say anything and he didn't
press me, just murmured soothing sounds in my ear and rubbed my back and held
my head to him. "It'll take time, Tommy. Give it time. We'll work it out."
B'Elanna Torres' Log Four Weeks After Paris and Chakotay's Return
I suppose you could say that I was feeling selfish. But this past month,
I've gone around thinking how glad I was that it was Chakotay who was stuck
with Tom rather than me. I don't see too much of Tom, but when I do, I am
reminded all over again of all the reasons I didn't like him for so long.
Chip on his shoulder, smirk on his face, masks for every occasion, the old
Tom Paris in all his repugnant glory.
When Tom and I had begun to see each other, it had been Chakotay who had come
around to see if I knew what I was getting into. He hadn't wanted me to get
hurt. Now it was my turn. I braced him one day when we were both alone in a
"Chakotay, I'm worried about you," I told him, not one to engage in small
"Tom Paris. You know he's going to break your heart."
Chakotay just smiled. "I appreciate that you care about me, B'Elanna. I
know what I'm doing. Tom and I have a bond that . . . that goes back a long
"Chakotay, you're playing with dynamite if you think that this Tom Paris is
that little five year old you took care of on Mulxmulto 3."
"No. I know he's not and he does, too. I see a little progress every day in
his journey back to the Tom Paris you and I both love."
He said that in the present tense. I bristled a little, but I was also
curious. "What makes you think I still love him?"
"I know you do. You two have an attraction for each other that isn't going
to disappear over the fact that he acted like a jerk and that an alien took
control of his body."
"That's . . ." I struggled to find words to say, ". . . very interesting. If
you think that's true . . . "
"Then what am I doing with him?"
I nodded, wondering what he was going to say next.
Chakotay grinned at first (if it were anyone else, I would have described him
as leering), then he turned a serious face on me, saying emphatically, "I
love him more than my own life. When you broke up with Tom, you called me
and told me he could use a friend. I volunteered. I know you were terribly
angry with him, some of it with good reason, but I held off for months on an
intimate relationship, thinking you would want to patch things up with him.
When you didn't . . . "
When I didn't, they began a relationship. I stood there in the halted
turbolift more than a little stunned. He wasn't finished.
"I hope," he began, then paused and started over, "I hope you and Tom can be
true friends, friends who love each other."
A million thoughts whirled around in my head. "Why?"
"You're good for each other. I know, I know, you both used to drive each
other crazy, but you also see through each other's masks." He leaned down,
his expression completely earnest. "You know Tom is going through a really
tough time right now. You can help."
"How? He's hardly said three words to me since he came back."
"Invite him to the holodeck for a Klingon bat'leth session. He's spending so
much time on flying simulations, he needs to let off steam."
"And you think I can help?"
He grinned, those damned dimples emphasizing his words, "I know you can. And
I think you have some unresolved issues with him. Bat'leths. That should
The man was infuriating. I hated to admit that he was right about unresolved
issues. Well, we'd just have to see. I followed up a day or so later with a
casual invitation to Tom to meet me on the holodeck and to bring his
bat'leth. I wasn't sure he'd accept but he did.
He showed up in a suit that was as form fitting on him as any of Seven's
outfits were on her. He looked good. Damned good. But Chakotay was right.
If Tom and I were to regain any kind of a relationship, it would be
Tom seemed a little uncertain as to why he was on the holodeck, so I whipped
his butt in the ritualized battle. An hour later, somewhere between being
angry with himself and vexed with me, he called it quits and halted the
program. He slid down the wall of the bare holodeck, sweaty and flushed from
the exertion. I sat down close enough that the odors of our bodies mingled
in the air between us.
"So, Tom, how you been?"
He laughed and wiped at the sweat on his forehead. "Oh, you know, flying
daring raids in Voyager, escaping enemies with fancy helm control. Fuck, I'm
flying simulations on the holodeck and I can say I'm only marginally better
than I was a month ago."
"A month ago you were a damn good pilot."
He laughed shortly and looked at me. "Yeah. Right. So, why am I here?
Besides giving you a chance to wipe me out?"
"That's the only reason. I wanted to see you grovel, Paris." We both
laughed. Okay, this looked as if it would be a good time to change the
subject and I turned serious. "We broke up. I know, it's more accurate to
say that I broke us up, and I think I made a big mistake."
I had his attention but I had also created some anxiety as he polished the
side of his bat'leth with his fingers over and over. "I drove you to it.
I'm really sorry."
I didn't expect him to say that. "I should have been more patient." I
didn't expect to say that. When I got over being surprised, I reflected,
"But maybe it's for the best, Tom."
Puzzled blue eyes held my gaze. "How do you mean?"
"You have Chakotay and I think, in the long run, he's going to be better for
you than I ever could have been. Not as exciting, maybe, but . . . " I
stopped when I saw Tom blush. "Tom Paris, you're blushing!"
"Yeah, well," he tapped the bat'leth against the floor a few times. "I've
read my logs from . . . before. . . "
"Details, Paris, details," I demanded and he just roared with laughter.
"Those go with me to my grave, Torres." He looked down at his feet, twitched
them a few times and his tone turned serious. "We . . . not yet . . . You
"You're saying you're still too much the Tom Paris from four years ago for
him to want to touch you," I speculated with as much bluntness as I could
"No!" Well, that got a reaction. "No, that's not it." He sighed. "I mean,
it's me . . . ."
I quoted him back at himself, "'It's me' what?" He got all embarrassed again.
"Come on, Paris, you opened the door, don't leave it hanging."
"But why am I talking to you about my lack of sex life?"
"Because we're friends." I didn't hesitate to say the words and they came
out as a self-evident statement of fact. I saw a smile form on the edges of
his lips. "Oh, let it out, Paris. It's not like you're protecting your
virginity here." His smile widened.
"Hmm. I don't know if I know. But it's like he . . . I think. . . I'm
afraid that Chakotay loves me. And I don't think I'm good enough for him.
So, if nothing starts, then he can't have any regrets when he realizes I'm
not worth it."
Whew. I asked for it. I never expected such honesty from this Tom Paris.
It took my breath away and I wondered at and recognized the lousy view he had
of himself. Never one to rely on diplomacy, I plunged right in. "That's
crap, Tom." Another startled expression tossed my way. "You're worth a lot.
I know. I've seen it. Chakotay told me . . ." I paused, wondering if the
big man had spoken to me in confidence. Oh, well, I'd asked for Tom's
confidence, might as well give him one in return. "Chakotay told me that he
loved you more than his own life. He wouldn't throw his life away on someone
who wasn't good enough."
Tom blinked as if totally undone. Not a single one of his masks was in
place. His eyes filled with tears. "He said that?"
"Yes. He did and he meant it. So. What about you? How do you feel about
The bat'leth clattered to the floor and Tom hugged his drawn up legs with his
arms. "I love him so much . . . I'm afraid I'll take him down with me."
I placed a hand on top of Tom's arm. "Tom. Listen to me. You are not
taking him down. Do you hear me?"
Give him a moment and whatever he'd allowed me to see was safely behind a
bland expression. Heart to heart was over. But it was okay. Tom and I
never did need a lot of words to get along. He picked up his bat'leth and
stood up, ready to leave. "Thanks, Torres. Enjoyed the match."
Out the doors he went, and as the doors slid shut I managed to say, "Anytime,
Chakotay's Log Six Weeks After Return
Although Tom's still not back on the bridge flying the ship - that'll take a
few more weeks - Tommy's moved a long way from that embarrassed kid in his
quarters who cried his heart out on my shoulder. It took weeks before he
felt comfortable enough to allow me to kiss him on the cheek or forehead
without flinching. I didn't press him or put any moves on him. If our
physical relationship returned I'd be grateful, but the delicate balance of
memories in his mind gave me pause. An inappropriate touch while he was
dominated by memories of being Tommy would be wrong. I couldn't risk it. So
I let him set the pace and accepted whatever he was comfortable with. To
begin with, that wasn't much, a peck on the check, a lingering hand on my
arm. It could mean anything or nothing.
That first night back, six weeks ago, I slept on his couch until he got up in
the middle of the night. With a petulant whine in his voice, he told me he
couldn't get to sleep and that he wanted us to sleep together, that he was
used to having me next to him from our time down on the planet. He literally
meant sleeping together, not having sex together and I understood that.
Sometimes we slept in his bed, sometimes mine. Sometimes he had a bad night,
with memories of prison, that seemed like yesterday to him, intruding on his
dreams. There was nothing I could do to banish those memories, they were a
part of his past. But I held him and told him that was all over now and
gradually the bad nights became less and less frequent. Kathryn understood
when I was sometimes late on the bridge after one of the bad nights. In
fact, she couldn't have been more supportive.
I saw Tom change, sometimes from one moment to the next. He managed to move
from the hostile, juvenile Tom Paris of four years ago, to someone a lot more
comfortable with himself. Sudden emotional switches to five year old Tommy
became infrequent. He began to see more of B'Elanna, Harry, even Seven. He
also spent a lot of time on the holodecks, flying sims, revisiting old
programs, and I'm not sure what all.
I saw him smile more, his genuine smile, the one that could light a starship
for a million years. The changes he'd made were emotional as well as
physical. I asked Tuvok to check him out for a return to the bridge.
Chakotay's Log Eight Weeks After Return
Perhaps it was being back on the bridge, perhaps it had more to do with the
simple passage of time, but Tom's physical desires had somehow been
rekindled. He'd had a great day at the helm, outwitting asteroids, joking
about the slow reaction times of the asteroid pilots in ways that made us all
laugh. I felt blessed to have him back.
That night in my quarters, his hard-on pressed against my thigh through his
shorts and he rolled over on top of me, kissing me passionately. For a
moment I wasn't sure about this and I pushed his head back so I could see his
face. I saw *my* Tom, the loving, responsive adult who set my body on fire.
I pulled him back down to me and returned his kisses trying to show him with
my lips and tongue how much I loved him, how much I wanted him.
He told me rather shyly that he needed me to help him out. So I pulled off
his shorts and shirt, shucked mine as quickly as I could, and slicked up my
hand with lube. As I kissed him until we were both breathless, I brought him
off with strokes that sent us both into a frenzy. He came, gasping and
shouting my name. As I kissed his forehead and cheeks and lips I found
moisture coming from his eyes. But when I looked at him, his head flung back
on the pillow, I saw a young man with a huge smile on his face.
When he could speak, he said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"My pleasure," I beamed back at him.
His hand found my erection and he murmured, "Hmm, what about this fellow?
What does he want?"
I knew what I wanted, I wanted to be buried inside his ass up to my balls.
However, when I said I was afraid it was too soon, Tom turned on his stomach
and wriggled his ass. All the while he gave new meaning to the phrase
'shit-eating grin'. There was so much mischief in his eyes, I almost cried.
"Do it," he told me, his voice husky with desire. My eyes asked him if he
was sure and he grinned again, saying, "I want you so badly. Do I have to
When I hesitated, I was treated to a Tom Paris pout. All right, then, I
didn't need an engraved invitation here. I worked slowly and used a lot of
lube so I wouldn't hurt him. At some point, he became impatient and pushed
back against me and I knew it was time. My fingers slid out of him and my
cock pushed inside of him. As I pulled it back, I paused for a moment and
just drank in the sight of that thick connection between us. My cock
disappeared in between his firm mounds, muscles that I bunched and released
with my hands as he tensed and relaxed under me. I saw his eyes squeeze shut
and I paused, letting that suspension rest between us. Huskily, I asked,
"Are you all right?"
Eyes still closed, he told me, "Burns, so move, dammit, move."
With a sigh, I pushed in, watching enthralled as each increment of my cock
slid home. Then I closed my eyes and gave in to the urges to make love to
Tom in ways that we both craved. Initially, I held back some, then I managed
to angle myself inside of him. In this way, I stroked him with each thrust
in ways that had his ass leveraging off the bed and his throat making loud
gasps of pleasure. I became one with my overheated, slick cock that had no
other reason to exit than to fill Tom, drilling him open, exploding inside
him, taking us both beyond the brink, destination unknown.
When I collapsed on his slick back, my hand around his freshly spent cock, I
felt as if I had reclaimed my place in the universe.
That was last night. The first time. Had I known how much time we needed to
explore, to rediscover and reclaim the physical side of our relationship,
maybe I would have scheduled us for a late shift the next day. Hindsight
sure is helpful.
It was hours, many kisses, and much love making later, that he spun into
sleep. Tired, needing to sleep myself, my thoughts wouldn't let me go right
away. The memory of my conversation with Kathryn when she told me she wanted
to be just friends surfaced.
She'd said, "Something happened to you when we made love when I was in Tom's
I grinned, "Yes. I came so hard I could hardly function when Tuvok called us
to the bridge."
But she was serious. "I don't mean that exactly. You wanted to possess
Tom's body, maybe even punish it, in a way I'd never seen before."
Her words had me worried. "What are you saying?"
"I think you know. I see the way you look at Tom, touch him when you can.
Chakotay, you *want* him."
I couldn't admit to her then that she was right. At that point, I was sure
she was wrong. I believed that she was simply seeing what she wanted to,
that her sexual response to me in Tom's body, her insistence that turn about
was fair play, scared her.
I don't know if I was correct about her motivations for breaking things off
with me. But she proved to be right about me. I would have to tell her that
someday. In my lovemaking, I wanted to possess Tom, punish him, dominate
him, cherish him. I think Tom just wanted to be loved. Whatever it took,
he'd do it if it meant that I would love him.
As I lay there with him sleeping beside me on his stomach, his arm across my
chest, I caressed that arm idly with my fingertips. I realized I should talk
more with him about what he wanted. My experiences on the planet had changed
me, too. Some of that hard need to master Tom no longer permeated my being.
I realized that I could give him more, more of a chance to be the sexual
partner that he wanted to be. Since I didn't think Tom knew what he wanted,
other than to be loved, it might take some work on both of our parts. I
don't think he realized that I loved him as just Tom. Maybe it was time I
told him. Midnight thoughts, post- coital depression, Chakotay, I told
myself. Time to go to sleep.
This morning, Tom was at first all serious and sweet. Anxiously, I checked
for signs that last night had been too much for him. Despite the lack of
sleep, he looked very happy, even waking us up before the alarm.
"There's something I want to ask you," he said as we lay in bed waiting for
the computer alarm to remind us to get up.
His eyes were wide awake and very blue, drawing me in and I groped a little
at his morning erection.
"No. Now this is serious," he laughed as he batted my hand away. "Maybe
later, if there's time."
"Spirits, Tom, you've got more energy than this old man. Aren't you . . .
aren't you a little sore?"
He blushed. "Yeah. But . . ." His voice trailed off and he looked as if he
wanted to return to the topic that was on his mind more than sex.
"Okay, it's serious. I'm listening."
"You know, about the baby. . . "
"Uh-huh." This was serious.
"I've been thinking about him. He would be just about ready to join this
I did the mental calculations. Tom was right. Nine months. I felt our loss
all over again as a sharp pain in my chest. When I could speak, I worried
about how this was affecting Tom and asked him, "How does that make you
"Sad. Really, really sad. And I've been bothered about . . . about losing
him. It was my fault, Chakotay. From what I've learned, I walked right into
that portal without thinking about what I was doing."
"And. . . ?" I wasn't sure yet what he needed from me: comfort, reassurance,
"I . . . I've been thinking about him a lot. I mean, given what happened,
maybe it's for the best that I'm not still . . . you know, pregnant with him.
I still don't have a clear idea of who I am. All that stuff."
I kissed his forehead. "It's okay."
"I know, I know. But, it's also not okay. I lost our baby. I want to make
it up to you."
"I don't understand, Tom. What are you saying?"
"Someday, not right away, but when I'm . . . ready . . . Chakotay, I want us
to try again. I want a baby. With you."
Spirits, I didn't expect that. "Oh, Tom." I reached over and hugged him
tightly. "You don't owe me a baby, Tom. Don't let guilt and loss make you
say things you don't mean." I tried to put into words some of what I'd been
thinking last night. "Tom, you mean everything to me. Just you. No baby,
no incredible sex . . ." off his look I interjected, ". . .yes, incredible
sex. Nothing more is needed from you because I can't love you anymore than I
He sat up and looked down at me, completely surprised. He gave me a smile
that uncovered his innermost soul. Whispering, with a finger to my lips, he
told me, "I love you, too," he told me softly, "It's not guilt. It's love.
We can talk about it; it's okay. After our shift, meet me on the holodeck?"
The alarm told us time was up and I agreed to meet him there later that day.
All through my shift, I wondered what he had in mind on the holodeck. A
romantic dinner? A pool game at Sandrine's? In the few moments that we had
to talk alone, he was totally tight lipped on the subject of tonight.
When I stepped onto the holodeck it was none of those. He had recreated our
valley on Mulxmulto 3, complete with our cabin and outhouse. Anxiously, he
watched my face as I took in the surprise he had created. "Tom. This is
I must have said the right thing for he stood a little straighter and a light
danced in those blue eyes. "Is it okay? I wondered if you'd be mad."
"Mad? Whatever for?"
"I was afraid you'd think that I couldn't let go of the past and you'd think
. . .I don't know, that you'd think I wasn't making progress. All that . . .
" his voice trailed off. "So, it's okay?"
"It's something we both need, Tom. This was a part of us, of our
experiences. We shouldn't let it go completely."
He grabbed my hand and took me to the rock where we often spent time fishing
for our dinner. Companionably, we sat on the rock, side by side, arms around
each other, bigger by far than we had been the last time we'd been here.
Listening to the creek, seeing the fish under the clear waters of the side
pool, I felt a sense of contentment and peace. No, I wasn't the same
Chakotay I'd been before the time portal and neither was Tom the same Tom
Paris, but it was okay. We didn't have to be the same people. We had each
Softly, he said, "As I was working on this program . . . This is where I
realized that I wanted to have our baby. You know, like we talked about,
some time in the future. I asked the doctor today. He said he can take our
sperm and make it so our genes are mixed randomly on the chromosomes. Then,
he'd use that to fertilize a donor egg." He turned his face toward mine.
"Do you think the captain would agree?"
A strong, unmistakable voice behind us said, "The captain agrees."
Tom jumped up. "Captain! You made it."
"You invited me. I had to see what's taken up so much of your time recently.
I take it this is where you and Chakotay spent that month on Mulxmulto 3."
I stood up beside Tom, perhaps a little protectively. "Chakotay, am I to
understand that you made that cabin?"
I relaxed. "Yes, I did. Or my eighteen year old self made it."
She looked impressed. "I'll have to be sure to send you on all the away
missions to unknown planets."
We laughed at her remarks, knowing she was easing the atmosphere.
"So, Tom," she asked, "what's this about a baby?"
He explained it to her, much as he had to me in the morning. He was so
earnest, so caught between knowing he wasn't ready and knowing he needed to
set some course for our future. "Tom, I'm truly sorry about what happened
before. And I'm sorry that once you wanted the baby, it was lost to you, to
us. Of course, I'll help you and Chakotay when the time comes." She
emphasized the last four words, letting Tom know that she understood he
wasn't ready yet. "But this time, I think the doctor better preside over the
He grinned, as if a huge load had been taken off his shoulders. "Thanks,
Captain. That means a lot to me. This place, my memories of it, this is
where I found out that Chakotay would make a great father." He smiled back
at me, and I remembered when he'd asked me to be his father. Then he told
her about it and how I had finessed the issue by declaring that we would be
She gave us both a kiss on the cheek, and I realized that was her way of
approving our deal and giving us her endorsement, all at the same time. Then
she asked Tom for a tour of our lost world. As I followed them, Tom playing
tour guide, I thought I might feel sadness at all this place represented. It
surprised me to realize that I was happy. That first time, I had been
unwillingly brought here as just a kid with few skills and fewer instruments
or tools to help us survive. I tried not to look at the cabin with the
critical eye of an adult, but when I couldn't help it, I realized I felt
pride and a sense of accomplishment.
A damp drizzle began, just like we'd gotten used to on the planet, and Tom
escorted us inside the cabin. I almost came undone once we were inside.
There was Tommy's blanket and Tom's smock, just pieces of ragged cloth now,
but items that had meant so much to us both back then. I had trouble
breathing for the weight of tears that seemed to settle on my chest. I felt
Tommy's eyes on me and when I looked at him, he was grinning hugely. The
captain cleared her throat and indicated that she'd be going now. Lost in
Tom's lakeside eyes, I hardly noticed her leave. He leaned into me, I put my
arms around him, and kissed him hard.
He pulled away after a few minutes of intense exploration. There was a
question in his eyes. I placed my hands behind his head and told him, "You
did a good job, Tommy. Very good."
He beamed and cried at the same time, finally able to accept the praise he
deserved. I hugged him tightly to me. He whispered, "I want to go back to
our quarters now, to our home."
He's back. And my heart floats above us for a moment, then hurtles back
inside as if in a hurry to share itself fully with the young man in my arms.