Warning: the following story contains semi-explicit m/m sexual encounters. If you are offended by it, you are welcome to stop reading the story. If you are above 18 and is open-minded, you are free to read it.

Disclaimer: the characters in the story, though owned by Paramount, are products of my imagination and creativity. The story is not created for profit, only the satisfaction of my readers. (yada yada yada)

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: C/P

A/U

Summary: basically a short story with Paris getting a tattoo and Chakotay getting a tad worried. Angst. Short. Angsty.
 
 

"Tattooed Skin"
 

The Marketplace was a hub of frenetic activity and excitement. Characters from every part of the Delta Quadrant seemed to be concentrated in this intergalactic meeting point. There were hoots, squawks, barks and indecipherable babble.

Tom Paris walked among the bartering merchants who cried at the top of their lungs, feeling quite at home. The Marketplace reminded him somewhat of the shady parts of Marseilles: dark, grotty, untrustworthy. Or Patpong in 20th century Thailand. He strode along, smiling and shaking his head to touts who showed him bizarre wares. 

Next to him, Chakotay looked around for trouble. He felt a distinct sense of unease in his bones, creeping into his nerves in spurts of adrenaline rush. The pools of darkness and the lack of honest-to-God lighting alerted his Maquis training. Danger lurked in those patches of non-light. He rubbed his temples. Maybe he was worrying too much. 

Everyone needed a break. Even the captain was aware of that. So when Voyager found this space-station, she decided to negotiate for supplies. Fortunately, the stationmaster seemed to see Voyager and her inhabitants worthy sources of fresh cash. He got what he negotiated for and the crew got their shore leave. 

At least he, Chakotay, could spend some quality time with his lover.

"Whatís this?" Tom said with a lifted eyebrow.

Chakotay looked at the bright pink neon sign above his head. His tricorder translated quickly. 

"Tattoos Ö" Tom grinned. "They got them here too, even in the Delta Quad."

"You thinking of getting one?" Chakotay found his voice a tad too stern. "Do you think itís a little dangerous? Think about the infection Ö"

Tom snorted, his blue eyes flashing. "Worry wort!" He retorted back and fished for something in his pocket. " Tell you what, Chak. Letís have a bet."

"A bet?" Chakotay groaned to himself. "Címon, Tom Ö"

"Donít argue with me, big man." Tomís smile was incredibly naughty. "The conditions are: I go in, get my tattoo done and I win or you go in and get your tattoo done."

Chakotay frowned and shook his head. "Getting a tattoo isnít a joke, Tom. Itís a conscious choice. " His own tattoo seemed to throb sympathetically.

Tom leaned over and gave the Native American a deeply passionate kiss. When Chakotay pulled back, breathless and slightly aroused, Tom had already slipped into the shop.

Cheeky bastard, Chakotay cursed inwardly and once again thought admiringly of his blonde-haired blue-eyed love, feeling constantly infuriated and intrigued by this man.

He ducked into the tattoo shop, stifling a nascent fear.

~*~

When Tom stepped into the dimly-lit interior of the shop, he immediately inhaled a strong fragrance in the air. It was sweet but not cloying to the nose. He looked around, taking in everything. A brief stint as a Maqui and a pilot- for- hire touting for work in the backwaters of Federation space taught him the necessary skills for survival and he ainít taking any chances.

"Greetings, " a soft fluting voice startled Tom. He wheeled around to face the source of the voice and he encountered a petite-looking nude female. At least she looked female. She had large expressive eyes and a small lovable mouth. But she was covered with fine white fur.

"Err Ö Hello Ö" Tom swallowed. 

"Are you looking for a tattoo from the heart?" She said, cocking her head to look at him, appearing remarkably bird-like with the gesture. 

"Yes Ö" Tom nodded, realizing that the beautiful alien had an impressively large penis. Or what looked like one for her ...er ..his ...particular species. He blinked.

"I see, " he/she nodded. Something rustled and the both of them looked around, seeing Chakotay enter the darkened room. The Native Americanís eyes glimmered when he saw the alien tattooist. "Let me explain. I am an empathic tattooist, meaning I tattoo what I feel from you. The emotions, the feelings ÖI will transfer them to your skin. Images, pictures, memories."

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Chakotay said urgently.

Tom nodded.

"You must leave, " the alien told Chakotay crisply. "The creation of the tattoo will be an intensely personal experience for your friend here."

Chakotay wanted to argue but the brightness of the alienís eyes warned him. He backed away, retreating outside.

"Strip," the alien tattooist said in his/her soft voice.

~*~

The alien tattooist worked silently.

Tom lay on his front, feeling a little chilled without his civvies. He also felt pain. Awful stabbing skin-piercing pain. He ground his teeth. He could feel the needles (or whatever implements they were using in this Godforsaken place of a dump Ö) biting into his skin. He closed his eyes, knowing that tears were seeping through the shut lids.

He knew he shouldnít cry. He was a grown man, for fuckís sake. But whatever he/she was doing, it was hurting a great deal.

"Stop crying, you wimp!" The bullies in junior school used to taunt him."Cry baby, cry baby!" They hooted at him as he cowered in the corner, battered by the heartless cruel jokes. "Admiralís boy! Címon, girly boy!"

God, it hurt!

"Pretty boy!" The mean sophomore from high school hissed. He had blonde hair, blue eyes and pale pale skin. And he got insults from his male peer group.

The needle jabs continued to nick his skin like knife edges.

"B minus? He gave me a B minus?" That was his own voice, filled with disbelief and shock. 

He could smell the slight metallic scent of blood and the sweetness of dyes. But his eyes were still closed.

"Dishonorably discharged. Thomas Eugene Paris kicked out of Starfleet."

More terrible pain, down his back, near his buttocks. 

He blacked out.

~*~

When Tom staggered out from the tattoo shop, looking like death, Chakotayís heart did a somersault and plunged down to the bottom of his boots. He felt a cold wash of fear cascading down his back. He gathered the limp younger man into his arms.

There was a weak grin on Tomís pallid face. He lisped, "It Öwas Ögreat fun, Chak Ö"

"Nonsense!" Chakotay snapped, tapping his commbadge. Tom leaned against his shoulder groggily.

They beamed immediately back to Voyager.

~*~

Tom recovered. The Doctor reported that he lost a fair bit of blood but Tom was essentially fine. He looked deathly pale for a few days, slightly weaker than his usual robust nature. Chakotay and Neelix plied him with a lot of tonics and recuperative soups.

He steadfastedly refused to show Chakotay the tattoo he had on his back.

Until one day, he finally plucked up the courage.

Chakotay was invited for a private evening in Tomís own quarters. The big man was curious and worried. Tom was elusive eversince the "Tattoo" incident. He didnít agree to go out for dates. He didnít want to have sex either. It was bizarre, totally out of Tomís character. 

He sat on the sofa, waiting for Tom to come out from the bedroom. 

Then with rustling steps, Tom emerged, wearing his favorite blue wrap-around.

"Are you ready, Chak?" The pilot said in a quiet voice.

He could only nod, drawn in by the surreality of the entire scene. Tom in his blue wrap-around, about to disrobe.

Tom did, removing the sash and letting it slip onto the floor. Then he slowly parted the front of the garment, revealing nothing. He was naked beneath the wrap-around. Chakotay found himself getting a hard-on and tried to stop it. 

The wrap-around soon ended up on the floor and Tom was completely nude. Chakotay took in the sight of his lover, relishing the smooth pale arms, the lightly-muscled torso and the sparse dusting of blonde chest hair. The soft fur-like hair trailed down to his midriff, flowering in a lush cushion between his legs. His organ rested nestled among the soft hairs.

Tom was beautifully made.

Chakotay swallowed hard, noticing how solid the bulge in his pants was. 

Tom slowly turned around and Chakotay gaped.

Tomís back had literally become a canvas, covered with iridescent colors that rippled as Tom shifted slightly, moving the muscles. There were wings, tipped with brown, stretching from the shoulders to the small of the back. The wings were so realistic, each feather individually etched with its own color. As the sinews undulated, the feathers seemed to flutter in some unseen wind. As Chakotay squinted closer, licking his sudden dry lips, he could see something marring the beauty of the wings.

He could see chains. Ash-grey chains that threaded their way across the wings, creeping up like poison ivy. He discovered that the wings were bound by these insidious-looking chains. Like the wings of some delicate butterfly constricted by spider webs.

With a sigh, Tom knelt down and retrieved his wrap-around. Silently, he wore it, covering the tattoo.

"You like it?"

The voice was expectant, anxious.

Chakotay found his own vocal chords in a state of rebellion. He nodded.

"No, I want to hear you say it."

The big man cleared his throat. "It is Ö beautiful."

Tom laughed drily and retied the sash around his slim waist. "Well, I won my bet."

Chakotay shook his head slowly. "Tom, have you ever realized you are beautiful?" He whispered, standing up and taking Tomís hands with his own. 

"You always say that."

"Because you are."

Chakotay kissed the lips of Tom who then eeled away playfully. With a laugh, the big man pulled Tom against him, cleverly maneuvering the unprotesting man to the bedroom. They proceeded to kiss each other feverishly, peeling off their clothes as they moved towards the bed. Chakotay nibbled Tomís earlobes, hearing the intake of air from the younger man. Suddenly, Tom stopped him, grasping his wrist tightly.

"Whatís wrong?" Chakotay asked, continuing to nip at Tomís fingers.

"You really donít mind the tattoo, right?"

Chakotay looked straight into Tomís blue eyes. "I donít. I really donít."

"Good."

They tumbled onto the bed.

~**~

Chakotay woke up in the middle of the night. He quickly leaned over and brushed Tomís hair tenderly. Tom slept on, like a child. He snored a little, with his back to Chakotay.

Something on the tattooed back moved.

The big man gazed closer. It must be a trick of the light. Or his own fertile imagination acting up.

Yet, the chains binding the wings seemed to be breaking.
 

~finis~