Authors notes: You can all thank Ped that this didn't turn into a
NC-17 piece. I wasn't sure whether or not to write it, but Ped
said 'no', so I didn't

Dedicated to Ped because she interrupted her own writing to do
a quick beta on this so I could post it today.


Part Seven

Tom lay on the bed, following a pattern of light in different
colors that was moving around with his eyes. Suddenly there was
a bright flash of light and he heard a sound like thunder. Startled,
he looked at Chakotay, but the other man hadn't reacted. Tom
decided that it must have been in his head.

Tom frowned slightly, then decided that he was having a pseudo-
hallucination. Deciding that he didn't want to experience that
again, he shut his eyes. He kept them closed for what felt like a
long time, but when he suddenly felt someone sliding into the
bed beside him, his eyes flew open again. He barely stifled a
gasp when he recognized the woman next to him.

She caught his gaze and smiled seductively, then moved into his
arms and pressed her naked body close to his equally nude one.
"Sorry it took so long," she said huskily and moved back a little
to run a hand over his chest to his nipples.

Tom lay motionless as she gently caressed his nipples, but when
her hand moved down towards his groin, he grabbed it and held
it away from him. "What's going on?" he asked with a frown.

She laughed at his question. "Well, if you have to ask, I'm doing
something wrong." Then she noticed his expression and stopped
laughing. "What's wrong, Lover?" she asked in concern.

Tom blinked in shock at the nickname. *Lover?* he thought.
*But we were never lovers.* Returning his attention to his
bedmate, he asked, "When did we become lovers?"

For a moment she stared at him in silence. Then she sat up,
ignoring how the blanket slid down to her waist, revealing her
breasts. "Tom, you *know* when that happened," she said.

Tom shrugged. "Pretend I don't," he requested as he, too, sat up.

"Fine," she said with a sigh. She was silent for a moment longer,
deciding where to start. "You remember a month and a half ago
when I came to see you?" She waited for Tom's nod of
confirmation before she continued. "Well, I must admit that your
rejection angered me at first, but then I took some time to think
about it and realized that you were right. I should have known
better than to believe the rumors about you. And more
importantly, I *was* basically asking you to be my whore, which
I had no right to do. You're not a whore and never were. Asking
you to be mine was an insult to you," she admitted.

Tom stared at her speechless. He never thought he'd hear
Kathryn Janeway admitting that she was wrong about that
conversation. "So, you realized that you were mistaken," he
finally concluded. "What happened next?"

Kathryn sighed quietly, then continued her story. "I knew that I
owed you an apology for the way I had treated you. So I went
back to your quarters the next morning before you had a chance
to leave for the mess hall. Then I told you I was sorry about what
I'd said and asked if you thought we could try and be friends.
You accepted my apology and agreed to see if we could remain

Tom considered it for a moment, then refocused on Kathryn.
"Okay, so you apologized, I accepted it and we agreed to remain
friends if possible," he summarized. "That doesn't explain how
we became lovers."

"Well, at first we were a bit uncomfortable around each other off
duty, but we both did make an effort. Soon the awkwardness
disappeared, and we became better friends than before my
mistake," Kathryn explained. "We really got to know each other,
not as Captain and pilot, but as people. You told me about what
happened at Caldik Prime, and in return I told you about when
my father and fiancée died. Then, three weeks ago, you started
courting me." She smiled gently at the memory and met Tom's
eyes. "I played hard to get for about a week before I let you catch
me. We've been lovers ever since," she finished.

"What about Chakotay?"

Kathryn sighed deeply. "When you told me he's gay I wanted to
deny it, but I wasn't surprised. I think I always knew. I just
denied it to myself." She thought about it for a moment, then
said, "Or maybe I just thought I could change his mind. When
you told me that Seska had been a drunken one-night stand, I
realized that I wasn't in love with him and never had been. What
I told myself was love was, in truth, just the fascination with
what I couldn't have."

Tom was silent as he contemplated Kathryn's words. A niggling
feeling in the back of his mind told him that something was
wrong, but he couldn't figure out what it was. After a moment he
sighed internally and shrugged it off as his imagination. He
glanced at Kathryn and saw the gentle and patient look in her
eyes. With a tender smile, he leaned forward and captured her
lips in a passionate kiss.


Chakotay laid down on the bed and immediately closed his eyes.
He'd heard about some of the early effects of hallucinogenics
and had no desire to experience any of them if he could avoid it.
A moment later, he almost grimaced when he noticed that his
heart had apparently sped up. He remembered hearing that the
impression of one's heart beating faster was one of those effects.

Sighing quietly, he opened his eyes and was startled to find
himself lying on the ground in what appeared to be a cave. This
time he did frown as he wondered how he'd gotten there. Unable
to figure it out, he shrugged it off, and got up.

Once he was standing, Chakotay glanced around. It *was* a
cave, and he'd been lying close to the entrance. Seeing that there
wasn't anything interesting in the grotto, he exited it, then
stopped dead in his tracks. It looked like he was on Earth. He
frowned again. Something about that thought didn't sound right.
There was something important he had to remember, but no
matter how hard he thought, he couldn't recall what it was.

Finally, Chakotay pushed the feeling into the back of his mind,
knowing that if he didn't think about it consciously, the memory
might eventually come to him. In the meantime he decided to
take a walk.  Maybe he'd be able to find something that would
tell him where he was.

For a long time, he walked without seeing anything but trees,
bushes, flowers and the occasional animal. Finally, though, he
saw a person some distance away. Chakotay neared the person,
and when he was close enough to get a clear view, he stopped in
surprise. That tall, lean body and blond hair could only belong to
Tom Paris.

Slowly Chakotay moved forward until he was standing behind
Voyager's pilot. He cleared his throat, making Tom turn around
and face him. Chakotay noticed the startled expression in the
other man's eyes, and deduced that Tom was as surprised to see
him as he'd been when he first spotted the younger man. "Mr.
Paris," he said by way of greeting.

"Commander," Tom returned, then cocked his head slightly and
asked, "What are you doing here?"

Chakotay shrugged. "I have no idea. I don't even know where
'here' is," he admitted, then added, "Or how I *got* here in the
first place." When Tom sent him a quizzical look, he explained.
"The last thing I remember is lying down on a bed and closing
my eyes, waiting for something. The next time I opened my eyes,
I was lying on the ground of a cave."

Tom considered it for a moment, then asked an unexpected
question. "What were you waiting for?"

Chakotay frowned in thought, trying to remember. He had the
distinct feeling that it had been significant. Finally he refocused
on Tom. "I don't recall that either, but I think it was important."

"That's odd," Tom said in obvious surprise. "You don't usually
just forget things."

"No, I don't, and it worries me a bit that I did now," Chakotay
admitted. After a moment's contemplation from both men,
Chakotay dismissed it as something else that would come to him
if he didn't think to hard about it. "Do *you* know where we
are?" he asked.

"Hmm?" Tom shook off his thoughts and glanced at Chakotay.
"Oh. Yeah, we're in the Plains of Passage. My maternal
grandparents live here."

"The Plains of Passage?" Chakotay repeated questioningly.

Tom smiled slightly at the older man's confusion. "Eastern
Europe," he clarified.

"I see," Chakotay said thoughtfully. "So, what do we do now?"

Tom's smile widened. "Now I take you back to my grandparents'
place," he announced. "It's almost lunchtime."

Chakotay blinked, then looked up at the sun's position in the sky
and realized that Tom was right. He turned back to the other man
and asked, "Won't your grandparents mind that you are bringing
an unexpected visitor for lunch?"

Tom shook his head 'no'. "Nah, they're very hospitable and love
having guests," he replied.

Chakotay wasn't totally convinced, but decided to trust Tom on
this. It was his grandparents, so he should know. "Well, if you're
*sure* they won't mind, I'd like to meet them."

Tom sighed in exasperation. "I'm positive," he stated firmly.
"Let's go." With that, he turned and started walking in the
opposite direction of where Chakotay had arrived.

Chakotay hesitated for a brief instant, then followed the blond.
They walked in silence, both caught up in their own thoughts.
Suddenly Chakotay sensed a change in the atmosphere and
looked around. He was shocked to find himself standing on a tall
cliff. Tom was nowhere in sight.

Chakotay looked around, trying to determine where he was
*now*, and if Tom was still with him. Then he heard Tom's
voice call for help. It sounded like it was coming from the edge
of the cliff, and Chakotay hurried over.

Once he reached the edge, Chakotay stopped and glanced down,
gasping in horror when he saw Tom. The younger man had
obviously fallen over, and the only thing that stopped him from
landing on the ground below and breaking his neck was the bush
he was clinging to.

Chakotay quickly measured the distance and decided that he
should be able to reach Tom and pull him to safety. He carefully
lay down on his stomach, then stretched his arms down to the
younger man. "Tom. I'll get you up. Just grab my hands," he

Tom looked up into the soft brown eyes of his commanding
officer, then slowly released one hand from the bush he was
hanging onto. He very carefully lifted his arm and grabbed
Chakotay's wrist, figuring that there was less chance of sliding
out of the older man's grip that way.

When Chakotay felt Tom's hand close around his wrist, he
smiled in approval. In his worry, he hadn't thought about the risk
of Tom's hands slipping from his own, and he silently thanked
the spirits that Tom had.

A moment later, Chakotay felt Tom grab his other wrist and
frowned in concern. Tom was heavier than he'd thought, and he
just hoped that he didn't drop the other man. "Okay, Tom. Now,
just hold still while I get you up," he said, hiding his anxiety.

When Tom nodded, Chakotay took a deep breath, then started
pulling, while at the same time moving back. He wished he could
sit up, but with Tom clinging to him, it was impossible to change
his position. So, he stayed on his stomach and continued to drag
the other man to safety.

Tom had almost reached the edge of the cliff when the earth
suddenly shifted violently and the next thing Chakotay knew, the
younger man's grip on his wrists loosened. In a desperate attempt
to prevent Tom from falling, he tightened his own hold.

Just then, the ground Chakotay lay on shook again and he
watched helplessly as Tom slid out of his grasp and fell to his
death. "Tom!" He instinctively cried out the younger man's
name in horror. Then the world turned black, and he remembered
nothing more.