Title: Changes: The Crew's Reaction
Author: Leone
Part: 10/11
Rating: PG-13
Codes: C/P
Feedback: tarrashenna@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: Paramount's, not mine. No infringement intended.
No money being made.
Archive: Fine, just tell me where so I can brag about it

Changes: The Crew's Reaction
By Leone

In the early afternoon, Tom and Chakotay sat in the shuttle,
preparing to return to Voyager, since they had finished collecting
everything the ship needed.

After the pre-flight check of all systems, they took off and flew
through the planet's atmosphere. It was a slightly bumpy ride,
but nothing difficult, and they were soon back in space.

As soon as they were free of the planet, Chakotay contacted
Voyager to inform them that he and Tom had finished their
mission and were on their way back. That done, Tom engaged
the autopilot and the two men headed to the back of the shuttle
to get lunch. It would be about an hour before they were back
with Voyager.


An hour later, Tom docked the shuttle in Voyager's shuttle bay.
As soon as Tom and Chakotay exited the shuttle, Neelix,
B'Elanna and a few other crewmembers started unloading it,
while the two men walked to the nearest turbolift.

"Bridge," Chakotay ordered when they were inside. Then he
turned towards Tom. "We better tell the Captain about us as
soon as we've given her the mission report."

"Get it over with immediately, you mean," Tom half-teased,
then turned serious. "You're right, of course. Wouldn't do to
have her hear it through the grapevine."

"My thoughts exactly," Chakotay agreed.

They were silent for a moment, then Tom turned to look at
Chakotay. "I'm nervous," he confessed quietly.

Chakotay met his eyes. "About the Captain's reaction?" he

Tom sighed. "Yeah. Not to mention the rest of the crew," he
answered. When he saw Chakotay's questioning look, Tom
elaborated. "They all respect you very much, and I'm not exactly
the most popular person around. *And* I have a lousy
track record in the relationship department. There's bound to
be some problems when word gets out that we're together."

Before Chakotay could answer, the turbolift halted and the
doors opened to the bridge. With a brief look at Tom, indicating
that they would talk about this later, Chakotay walked out
onto the bridge. He headed toward the Captain's ready room,
followed closely by Tom.

Chakotay sounded the door chime, and when the Captain answered,
the two men entered the ready room. They walked over
and stood at attention in front of her desk, waiting for her to
look up from her PADD.

After a moment, Janeway put the PADD down and looked up
at her First Officer and Senior Pilot. "Gentlemen, please have a
seat," she said with a slight smile. When they were seated, she
noted, "You're back early. Did you get everything we needed?"

"Yes, Captain," Chakotay answered. "And since it didn't take
as long as we predicted, we decided to return to the ship. We
figured that you could use our help with the repairs," he explained.

Janeway smiled. "You're right, we could use an additional pair
of hands with the repairs." She looked at Tom. "You didn't experience
any problems on the planet?"

"No, Captain," Tom answered, then, anticipating her next question,
he added, "And we didn't have any problems getting
along either. I didn't annoy Commander Chakotay... Much."
The last was said with a wry smile, making Janeway chuckle
and Chakotay snort.

"He's right, Captain," Chakotay said. "Lt. Paris didn't annoy
me. On the contrary, he managed to worry me with his silence
and the lack of smart-ass remarks the second day."

At Captain Janeway's lifted eyebrow, Tom explained. "I was
thinking. I can't think seriously and make smart-ass remarks at
the same time. I've tried. It just doesn't work."

The Captain nodded in understanding. "Very well, gentlemen.
If that's all, you're dismissed," she said.

Tom and Chakotay exchanged a look, then turned back to
Janeway. "Actually, Captain," Chakotay started. "There is
something else we wish to tell you."

Janeway cocked her head slightly. "Yes?"

When Chakotay hesitated, not sure what to say, Tom jumped
in. "Captain, the Commander and I have become lovers," he
said bluntly.

Captain Janeway was quiet for a long time. Remembering back
over the years, she realised that it shouldn't have surprised her.
The attraction between Tom Paris and Chakotay had always
been there. The signs had been subtle, but obvious, if you knew
what to look for.

Finally, Janeway looked back at the two officers who were
seated across from her. "Well, there isn't much I can say. Just,
keep it off the bridge, no PDAs. You know the drill," she said.

"Yes, Captain," the two men chorused.

Janeway nodded. "All right, gentlemen. Dismissed."

Tom and Chakotay rose and moved toward the office door
when the Captain's voice halted them. "Oh, and it's about
time," she said with a smile. When the two officers stared at
her in confusion, Janeway elaborated. "I don't know why I
didn't realise it sooner, but the attraction between the two of
you has always been very strong," she explained. Then she
shooed them out and returned to her reports.


A few hours after Alpha shift ended, Tom, Chakotay, Harry
and B'Elanna were in Chakotay's quarters. B'Elanna and
Harry had been invited to a "let's tell our friends about us"
dinner. It had been Tom's idea to do this, and he'd volunteered
Chakotay's quarters for the event because, as he said, "Your
quarters are bigger. I don't think I have enough room to seat
four people at my dinner table."

Faced with this piece of logic, Chakotay had sighed and invited
their two friends to dinner. Now, as it neared 2000 hours, dinner
was over and the four people sat around Chakotay's coffee
table. They were making small talk, mostly shop, while Tom
and Chakotay tried to decide how to broach the subject of their
new relationship.

Before they could make up their minds, Harry spoke. "So, you
two finally got together," he said, shocking Tom and Chakotay.
They looked at each other. A brief glance at B'Elanna revealed
that the Chief Engineer was sitting there with a smug smile on
her face.

The two men looked back at Harry. "How did you know?"
Tom asked.

Harry snorted. "Oh, come *on*, Tom. I'm not blind."

Before Tom could say anything else, B'Elanna spoke. "You're
both very subtle about it, but it *is* quite obvious that you're a
couple." At Tom and Chakotay's questioning looks, she elaborated,
"The way you look at each other, the shared smiles, the
'accidental' touches. All a dead giveaway."

"I just have one thing to say," Harry told them. With a slightly
devilish smile, he said, "It's about time." B'Elanna nodded in

For a moment Tom and Chakotay were speechless. First the
Captain, and now these two. Had they really been that obvious?

Harry and B'Elanna laughed at the men's stunned expressions.
It was clear that they had both been blind to the other's attraction.
Interpreting the question in Tom's eyes correctly, Harry
smiled gently at his best friend. "I've known from the beginning
of this voyage that you were attracted to Chakotay. The
signs were subtle, but clear. It took me a bit longer to notice
Chakotay's attraction to you," he said.

This time it was B'Elanna who snorted. "You two have
*always* been attracted to each other. It was obvious from the
day you met," she said, much to Tom and Chakotay's shock.
B'Elanna sighed and decided to get all the surprises over with
while they were at it. "Kahless, even Seska knew. Why do you
think she betrayed Tom?" B'Elanna asked, then answered her
own question. "She was jealous as all hell, and wanted to get
Tom out of the way."

Tom and Chakotay sat in silence for a moment, digesting this
news. Finally, Chakotay nodded. "That explains it," he said.

Tom cocked his head slightly. "Explains what?"

Chakotay sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Seska always
had something bad to say about you, even after we got
stuck out here," he explained. "I admit that I was angry when I
first saw you on the bridge after the Caretaker brought us here.
But, after a while I started to let go of my anger and began to
wonder what had made you agree to Janeway's offer." Chakotay
paused and took a sip of his tea before he continued. "Seska
noticed, and started reminding me how you had betrayed the
Maquis, and how you couldn't be trusted. That it was only a
matter of time before you did it again," he finished.

Tom studied his lover intensely. His instinct told him there was
more. "What else did she say?" he asked quietly.

Chakotay frowned and met Tom's eyes. "It doesn't matter.
Let's just say it wasn't pleasant, and leave it at that," he answered,
equally as quiet.

Sensing that Chakotay didn't want to repeat what Seska had
said, Tom nodded. Then he turned back to Harry and B'Elanna.
"Well, the Captain knew about our attraction to each other.
You two knew about it. Does anyone *else* know?" he asked
in a slightly sarcastic tone.

Harry and B'Elanna looked at each other. They had kept quiet
while Chakotay spoke about Seska. They didn't want to interfere.
Besides, it wasn't any of their business. Now they considered
whether or not to tell the two men about the betting pool.

Tom noticed the glance Harry and B'Elanna exchanged, and
rightfully assumed that there *were* other people who knew.
"Okay, you two. Who else knows?" he asked.

Sighing in defeat, Harry told him, "Most of the ship knows, or
suspects, that you two are attracted to each other." He hesitated,
but knew he better tell them. Tom would get it out of him
later anyway. "There's a pool on when you two are going to
admit it and get together," he informed the two men.

Chakotay choked, and Tom gasped. "A pool," Tom repeated in
a strangled voice. "Harry, please tell me that you aren't the one
running it."

Harry shook his head. "Nope. That would be Ken Dalby," he

Tom choked on his coffee. "Ken Dalby?" he asked, incredulously.
"The president of the "We hate Tom Paris" club? Ken
'I'll Harass Tom Paris Every Chance I Get' Dalby? *That*
Ken Dalby?"

Harry winced and B'Elanna snickered at the nicknames Tom
had given Dalby. "Do you know any other Ken Dalby's?" she

"No," Tom answered, looking slightly shell-shocked. Then he
shook his head. "Maybe I fell into an alternate universe," he
muttered quietly, unable to believe that *Ken Dalby* of all
people would run a betting pool on when he and Chakotay
would get together. The man had never made a secret of his
dislike for Tom.

B'Elanna struggled to contain her laughter at Tom's dazed
look. When she was sure she had it under control, she decided
to take pity on the poor man. "There's a perfectly logical explanation
for this," she told Tom. When Tom turned a sceptical
look at her, she continued. "When he finally noticed the attraction
between you two, he was not pleased, to say the least. I
heard him whine about it to someone. I don't remember who.
After listening to his whining for awhile, I dragged him aside
and told him that if he didn't shut up and leave you alone about
this, I'd rip out his intestines, and then throw him into the warp
core." B'Elanna smiled wickedly. It was obvious that it hadn't
been an empty threat.

Tom grinned at the mental image of B'Elanna threatening
Dalby. "So, what happened?" he asked, clearly intrigued.

B'Elanna's smile widened. "He stuttered a bit and then left engineering.
About a week later, he came to me and told me that
he'd started a betting pool on when the two of you would get
together, and asked if I wanted in. I agreed," she finished.

Tom grinned again. He knew that B'Elanna had a hell of a
temper, but found the idea of Ken Dalby cowering before her
amusing all the same. Before the pilot could say anything,
however, Chakotay spoke. "I didn't know that you had problems
with Dalby," he said, looking at Tom.

Tom shrugged indifferently. "It was nothing I couldn't handle,"
he told his lover. "Besides, he stopped awhile back." Tom
looked back at B'Elanna when a thought popped into his mind.

Before he could ask, B'Elanna smiled ferally and answered his
unasked question. "Yeah, that's probably because of my
threat," she said. She took a sip of her coffee, then she continued.
"I noticed that he started to leave you alone for the most
part after that."

Tom nodded. That's what he'd thought. "Well, in that case.
Thank you, B'Elanna," he said with a smile.

B'Elanna returned his smile. "You're welcome, Flyboy," she
said and finished her coffee. Setting the cup down on the table,
B'Elanna called out, "Computer, what time is it?"

"The time is 2215 hours," the computer replied blandly.

B'Elanna sighed and rose from her chair. "Well, guys. It's been
fun, but I have a few things to do in engineering before I turn
in, so I'll leave now," she said. Turning to look at Harry, she
asked, "Are you coming, Starfleet?"

Harry nodded and finished his own coffee. Setting his cup back
on the table, he stood up. "I'm right behind you, Maquis," he

Tom and Chakotay rose as well, and followed Harry and
B'Elanna to the door. Just before they reached the sensors that
would trigger the door open, the foursome stopped. "By the
way," Harry said, looking from Tom to Chakotay. "Do you two
want to keep your relationship a secret?" he asked.

Tom and Chakotay exchanged a glance, then turned back to
look at Harry. Tom smiled. "Nah, Harry. You can tell anyone
you want," he said, knowing how much his best friend liked to

"Thanks," Harry said, and moved forward to hug Tom. "I want
details," he whispered in the pilot's ear, causing Tom to sigh

When Harry pulled back, Tom looked him dead in the eye and
said, "I know you do, Harry, but you aren't getting them from
me." Tom's voice brooked no arguments.

Harry pouted for a moment. Then he sighed, knowing that
when Tom used that tone, it was a waste of time to get the pilot
to change his mind. "All right. I won't ask any embarrassing
questions," he promised. Then he narrowed his eyes at his best
friend. "But, I *do* want to know what happened on the
planet," he added firmly.

Tom sighed. "I know," he said, already realizing that Harry had
figured out that something had happened. With that settled,
Tom turned to B'Elanna. "Good night, B'Ela. Don't stay in
engineering too late, or Harry might start to feel neglected," he
said with a smile.

B'Elanna smiled back. "I won't," she promised with a quick
glance at her lover. Looking back at Tom, she continued. "I
just have to check one or two things, then I'll turn in."

Harry looked at his lover and his best friend and shook his
head. Addressing Tom, he said, "One of these days you'll have
to tell me how you do that." When Tom looked puzzled, Harry
elaborated. "I always have the Devil's own time convincing her
to leave engineering and turn in early."

Tom and B'Elanna exchanged a smile. "It's a trade-secret,
Harry," Tom informed his best friend, making B'Elanna

Harry sighed in exasperation. "You two are impossible," he
said, and looked at Chakotay for support.

Chakotay smiled. "Completely impossible," he agreed, making
Tom and B'Elanna laugh out loud.

Harry just shook his head at them. "All right. Enough, you
two," he mock-scolded. They were so much like little kids
sometimes. He and Chakotay watched the pilot and the Chief
Engineer as they tried to control their laughter. When they succeeded,
Harry turned to the Commander. "Good night, Chakotay.
Tom. I'll see you tomorrow," he said.

"Bright and early," Chakotay agreed. "Good night, Harry.
'Night B'Elanna."

"Good night, Chakotay," B'Elanna said and hugged him. Then
she went over to Tom and whispered something in his ear.
Pulling back, she smiled when she saw the blush her words had
caused. "Good night, Tom," she said.

"Good night, Harry. B'Ela," Tom said. "Don't stay up too late,
and don't do anything I wouldn't do," he added with a teasing

B'Elanna lifted an eyebrow. "There's actually something you
wouldn't do?" she asked in mock-astonishment, causing all
four to laugh. Then she and Harry left.

As soon as the door closed behind the couple, Tom and Chakotay
moved over to the coffee table and tidied up. Chakotay took
the cups to the recycler, and Tom straightened the pillows on
the couch.

When they were done, the two men went into Chakotay's bedroom,
undressed and got into bed. It had been a long day, and
they were both tired. Snuggling up in each other's arms, they
soon fell asleep.


A week later, the rumour mill was running amok. The crew had
heard that Commander Chakotay and Tom Paris were the newest
couple onboard, but no one was sure if it was true. Everyone
watched the two senior officers for any sign of intimacy
between them. There were none.

One day, on his way to the Mess Hall, Tom overheard the Delaney
sisters and Sue Nicoletti discussing the subject.

"... you, Harry told me. And he had it from Tom and the
Commander," Megan Delaney said.

Jenny nodded in agreement. "He told us both," she added when
she saw Sue's sceptical look.

Sue frowned. "But I've been watching them, and they don't act
any different," she said. She cocked her head slightly. "If they
*were* lovers, there would be *some* sign. Looks, little
touches. That kind of thing. I mean, I know from experience
that Tom is very affectionate," she finished.

Megan and Jenny nodded. It was true. Tom was a very physical
person. He always touched his lovers in some way, showing
affection. However....

"Commander Chakotay is a very private man," Megan said
quietly. "I'm sure he would frown upon any kind of PDAs."

"And, if they told Captain Janeway, she would probably also
have warned them about it," Jenny added.

Sue thought about it. It made sense, but... "I still think..."

Tom decided that he'd heard enough and quietly left the corridor
the three women were standing in. They never knew he'd
been there.


Ten minutes later, Tom got his lunch, walked over to a table
and sat down. He looked at his meal suspiciously, but it was
the only thing that had seemed even remotely edible. With a
sigh, he gathered some of the bright blue concoction and tasted
it. *It isn't half-bad,* Tom thought, when he'd eaten some
more of the food. *As long as you don't chew it.*

Ken Dalby's voice interrupted his thoughts. "Do you mind if I
sit here?" he asked.

Tom glanced at the other man wearily. Then he shook his head.
"Go ahead."

Dalby nodded his thanks and put his tray on the table before he
sat down. Once he was seated, he looked suspiciously at his
own meal. He had also chosen the bright blue thing. After a
moment, he looked at Tom. "Is it edible?" he asked.

Tom nodded. "Yeah. Just don't chew."

Dalby started to eat. He followed Tom's advice and didn't
chew. The pilot had been right. It *was* edible. Whatever it

When the two men had finished their meals, they leaned back
in their chairs and looked at each other. Tom was wondering
what Dalby wanted, and Dalby was thinking about whether or
not Tom would mind being asked a question about his personal

After a moment of continued silence, Dalby finally spoke.
"Paris, would you answer a question for me?"

Tom lifted an eyebrow. "That depends on the question."

"I've heard a rumour about you, and wondered if you could tell
me if it's true," Dalby started slowly.

Although he didn't show it, Tom was secretly amused. He had
a pretty good idea what rumour Dalby was referring to. The
crew hardly spoke about anything else these days. "What rumour
would that be?" he asked.

Dalby hesitated for a moment longer, then said, "It's about you
and Commander Chakotay."

Tom bit the inside of his lip to keep from laughing out loud.
"What about us?" he asked blandly.

Dalby took a deep breath, then blurted out, "Well, rumour has
it that you're a couple."

"Oh?" Tom was really amused now.

"Yeah," Dalby said. "And I was wondering... Is it true?"

Tom pursed his lips for a moment. Then he smiled. "Yes, it is."

Dalby nodded. "Okay," was all he said.

Tom studied the other man for a moment, then remarked, "That
doesn't seem to bother you."

Ken Dalby looked straight into Tom's eyes as he answered the
implied question. "It doesn't. Actually, I think it's about time
you two got together." He gave the pilot a small smile.

Tom stared at him in silence for a long moment. "Tell me
something," he finally said. "Is there *anyone* on this ship
who *doesn't* know about the attraction between Chakotay
and me?"

Dalby chuckled at the slightly annoyed tone in the pilot's
voice. "I don't think so," he answered after considering it carefully.

Tom thought about this for a minute. "So, what you're telling
me is, the only ones who *didn't* know, were Chakotay and

"Pretty much," Dalby answered.

"Oh." Tom was speechless for awhile. Then he thought of
something. Harry had told him that Dalby was the one running
the betting pool on him and Chakotay. Which meant that the
other man would have a pretty good idea about what the rest of
the crew thought about them being lovers. "So, what does everyone
else think about this?" he asked.

"About you and the Commander being a couple?" Dalby asked.
When Tom nodded, Ken smiled. "Well, we've all had plenty of
time to get used to the idea. I think the general opinion will be
that it's about time. I know that most people are wondering
what's taking you so long," he informed the pilot.

For the second time in less than ten minutes, Tom was speechless.
Before he could think of anything to say, he noticed Chakotay
enter the Mess Hall. The pilot made an excuse, rose and
picked up his tray. He carried it to the nearest recycler, and
then went over to his lover. "Commander, can I talk to you for
a moment? In private," he added, letting Chakotay know that it
was personal.

Chakotay looked at Tom and saw the slightly dazed look on his
lover's face. "Certainly, Lieutenant," Chakotay answered. "My

Tom nodded in agreement, and the two men left the Mess Hall
and went to Chakotay's office.


While Tom relayed his conversation with Ken Dalby to Chakotay,
Dalby was busy telling his friends the same thing. Within
hours the whole ship knew that the First Officer and the Senior
Pilot were indeed the newest couple onboard.