Pairings: C/P (later) K/7 &
Rating PG-13 right now.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them
part and parcel, I
just wanted them to have a bit of
Feedback: If you would like sure
Special Thanks to Sammi Jo for betaing
for me. Your
help and patience was greatly appreciated.
Summary: Tom is feeling down, Chakotay
gets him to
Tom Paris rang the door chime of
office, unable to figure out why
he had been called
there. He hadn't been in trouble
in a long time, and
knew it wasn't because he had done
particular wrong. Chakotay probably
noticed that he
was a bit distracted today. Tom
heard the call to
enter and the doors swished open.
"Come on in, Lieutenant."
"Have I done something wrong, Commander?"
Tom knew he
sounded apprehensive but couldn't
"No, not at all, Lieutenant. Have
a seat. Can I get
you something to drink?"
"No thanks. I'll stand." Tom stood
"Lieutenant, relax. This is not the
Inquisition. I just wanted to talk
to you about the
fact that you seemed distracted
the last week or so.
It's nothing that anyone has noticed
"You noticed." Tom stated matter
"It's my job to notice things like
"I know, Commander. I didn't mean
to be rude." Tom
looked at his feet, unable to meet
the older man's
"Apology accepted, although you didn't
Tell me what's going on. Something
They both stood there looking at
each other for a few
minutes, an uncomfortable silence
fell between them,
Tom shifted his feet, and Chakotay
Finally Tom looked him in the eye.
He saw something
other than disdain and knew he had
to answer but
didn't know how.
"What do you want
me to say, Commander?"
"At this point,
Tom stood silently, looking past
Chakotay out the
viewport, at the stars rushing by.
How could he
explain to the older man what was
going on, when he
barely understood it himself?
"Tom, just talk to *me*. Chakotay.
Not your first
officer or your former captain.
Just me, your friend.
I want to help if I can I'm concerned
"Off the record?"
"Yes, this is just between us." Chakotay
the chair opposite him. "Sit? Please?"
"I don't know where to begin." Tom
sighed as he took
"Anywhere. Just talk." Chakotay sat
back behind his
"First, there's Harry."
"What about him?"
"I don't know. It's like. well.
like he's decided
that I am not good enough anymore.
friends. He just seems to be more
getting to know Seven, then hanging
out with me these
"If I remember correctly, you encouraged
him to do
"I know. Geez. I sound jealous, don't
squirmed in his chair, not liking
the idea that
Chakotay might think he was jealous.
"I'm not sure if jealous is the correct
envious of the closeness they seem
to be sharing."
"I don't know. Maybe. I feel like
a jilted lover."
"NO! I never looked at Harry that
way," he stated
"What about Seven?"
"No, never. She's not my type."
"Intelligent and strong?"
"No. Tall, blonde and stacked. I
had intelligent and
strong with B'Elanna remember?"
Sadness filled his
"Is that another part of the problem?
Something to do
"Yeah it is." Tom spoke so softly
that Chakotay had
to strain to hear the admission.
"I thought you were the one who broke
"I did, but no one knows the reason
"Do you want to tell me? Or would
you prefer not to
talk about it?"
"It's not that I don't want to. Not
wrung his hands together, trying
to think of a way to
say what came next without sounding
hurt. "It's just.
B'Elanna wanted someone else to
notice her; to see
that she wasn't all Engineer and
Klingon. That's why
she went out with me."
"She used you?" Chakotay couldn't
keep the anger out
of his voice.
"No, she didn't use me. I knew from
the start that
she really cared about this other
person. We were, and
*are*, still friends. I was helping
her. The problem
was that I started to hope for more.
I hoped I could
help her forget about him. I think
she was sort of
hoping for the same thing." Tom
hoped that this
explanation would calm Chakotay
down. He didn't want
the older man to believe his friend
had been callous
"Only it didn't work out that way,
did it?" Although
a bit calmer now, Chakotay was still
He could see that Tom had been hurt,
even if the
younger man had agreed to the arrangement.
"No, it didn't. What happened was
that I started to
feel more for her, and she still
thought of me as a
"Yeah. Someone to fill a gap; a gap
that was meant
for someone else. I decided that
no matter how lonely
I would feel once she was gone,
it couldn't be as
lonely as I already felt."
"I am sorry, Tom. I had no idea."
"No one did. Although from what B'Elanna
he's finally noticed her, now that
"Can you tell me who it is, or would
that be breaking
"I'm sure she wouldn't mind you knowing,
might not believe me."
"Honestly, Tom, when you two starting
dating, I was
surprised." Not to mention upset,
he thought. He saw
Tom's eyebrow do a wonderful imitation
of Tuvok's, and
laughed. "For no other reason than
I thought she had
changed her preferences. In the
past B'Elanna had
always been attracted to dark haired,
thicker build men."
"Like you and Ayala."
"Well, that *is* still her preference."
"Yeah. I guess I really was off the
beaten track for
"I don't think that's true either."
"Sure it is. You, Ayala and this
other guy. besides
the looks you are all strong, intelligent,
and in control. I'm none of those."
"Tom, don't be ridiculous. Other
than the physical
differences between you and me,
and *Greg* for that
matter, there is no difference."
"Chakotay, please. you're the one
who is being
ridiculous. I'm so off center, the
Leaning Tower of
Pisa looks straight. I act before
I think. Doesn't
sounds like control to me. Intelligent.
And strong? Not likely."
"Tom, don't say that about yourself.
It's not true.
Okay, so you don't react to things
the same way I do.
You shouldn't. You're not me. But
you are very
intelligent, and I know I would
want you on my side in
a fight, if you're talking physical
strength. As for
strength of character, you have
"Thanks for the vote of confidence
"You're welcome. So who is it?" he
really couldn't think of who B'Elanna
interested in that she would turn
"Geez, Chakotay you are a nosy one
Both men laughed.
"I guess I am. I'm just curious,
is all." Chakotay
said, thinking to himself, 'Why
anyone would not want
you blows my mind.'
"Promise not to laugh or freak, okay?"
"Tuvok." Tom said with a straight
face, although he
really wanted to laugh when he saw
the startled look
on Chakotay's face.
"Tuvok? Our Tuvok? The resident unemotional,
"One and the same." Tom grinned.
"She thought dating you would get
a rise out of him?"
Chakotay was confused. Why B'Elanna
would think that
dating Tom would bother Tuvok was
"Yeah, and it seemed to work," Tom
said with a hint
"Spirits! Will wonders never cease."
"Yeah, kinda makes you think that
possible, doesn't it?"
"If only.." Chakotay sighed.
"If only what?"
"Nothing. Are you feeling any better?"
"Yeah, actually I am. Thanks, Chakotay.
talking about it does help."
"I have an idea. Why don't we go
and have some
dinner, and then play some pool.
We can have a couple
of drinks, and if you feel like
it, we can continue
"Why, Commander. are you asking me
for a date?" Tom
batted his eyes.
"Spirits, Tom! I'm asking a friend
to join me for a
"I know. I just like teasing you."
"Yes, I know. So what do you say?"
"Sure. Why not? Food, a couple of
beers and some pool
sounds like a good idea."
"Okay. How about we meet in the mess
forty-five minutes? I have a report
I need to finish
"Sounds good to me. Oh, and I promise
not to take too
many rations from you in the pool
"Thank you. See you later, Tom."
"See ya Chakotay." As Tom left Chakotay's
Chakotay let out the breath he had
been holding. 'What
the hell did I do that for? How
the hell am I going to
spend the entire evening with him
and not want to kiss
him? Spirits, he looked so lost
Pacing his office, running his hands
through his hair,
Chakotay wanted to kick himself.
Usually he kept his
distance from Tom. It was easier
to maintain his
composure that way. Although, he
had just spent the
better part of a half-hour with
him, and got through
it, so a couple of hours should
be fine. They would
just eat, talk, and play pool. "It'll
Chakotay told himself. He quickly
reviewed the report
he needed to and left his office.
Tom found himself whistling as he
Chakotay's office to his quarters.
He did feel a bit
better. Chakotay was right. talking
helped a lot.
Although he was still a bit sad
about B'Elanna, he
knew he had done the right thing.
He then realized
that while he thought Harry was
the reason for his
feeling down, it was actually B'Elanna.
He felt like
he had failed once again. He *hadn't*
failed. The goal
she had set seemed to be reached.
She *was* spending
more time with Tuvok. Okay, so it
work-related, but she was hopeful.
His mood swung back again.
Suddenly going out didn't
sound so appealing. Maybe he should
just call Chakotay
and beg off. The possibility of
running into Harry and
Seven, or worse, B'Elanna and Tuvok,
didn't sit well
all of a sudden. No... he wouldn't
do that to
Chakotay. He had been a good friend
to him whine about his lack of companionship.
least he could do was show his thanks
by having dinner
with him. Maybe he could convince
Chakotay to just
come back to his quarters, and they
could watch a vid,
or play cards and talk. He would
ask him while they
Forty-five minutes later, Tom walked
into the mess
hall, looking around for Chakotay.
He shrugged when he
didn't see him, and went to the
"Hi, Tom," Neelix greeted him with
"Hi, Neelix." Tom smiled at his friend.
"Good to see you Tom. You haven't
been in much
lately." Truly concerned about the
pilot, Neelix knew
that Tom stayed away from the mess
hall whenever he
was feeling down.
"Yeah, I know. I've been eating in
"Are you feeling alright?" He hoped
just by asking
that Tom would tell him what was
wrong, although in
the back of his mind, Neelix knew
it would take a bit
more the just asking once.
"Sure Neelix. Just needed some time
alone, you know?"
Tom didn't want to be rude to the
Talaxian, but he
also didn't want to spill his guts
to anyone else
"I understand, Tom. Enjoy your dinner,"
then looked up and smiled. "Hello
"Hi Neelix. Hi Tom. Sorry I'm late."
"You aren't. I just got here myself."
"Okay, so what looks good?"
"Nothing here," Tom whispered, not
wanting to hurt
Neelix's feelings. Tom wasn't hungry,
having lost his
appetite once he got back to his
quarters. He knew he
had to eat something, though. He
hadn't eaten yet
today, and he didn't want to cause
Chakotay any more
"Well, how about we just fake it
for now. We can get
something later at Sandrine's, if
"Okay." They both decided on the
purple and green
stuff, having overheard Neelix tell
someone that the
Delaney sisters claimed it tasted
like sweet potato
They made their way to a table in
the corner, a table
that Chakotay had noticed Tom frequently
past couple of weeks. Off in the
corner, away from
everyone, he would see Tom staring
out into space, not
really eating or paying attention
to what was going on
"So, Chakotay... tell me honestly.
Why would you want
to spend your evening with me, when
you could probably
do something far more exciting,
"Maybe I wanted to find an excuse
to get you out of
your quarters. Or maybe I just enjoy
"Yeah, right." If there was a hint
of sarcasm in
Tom's voice, Chakotay seemed to
"Seriously, Tom. I meant it when
I said I was
concerned. You are not one who usually
hides out in
his quarters. Plus, it will give
us some more time to
talk. I have a feeling that there's
more to what is
going on than what you've told me."
"So our counseling session isn't
"It wasn't a counseling session,
Tom. I told you it
was, and still is, just two friends
talking. I said I
wanted to help."
Tom let out a heavy sigh. He knew
ungrateful, and he didn't mean to.
He really did
appreciate Chakotay's willingness
to hear him whine.
"Again, I'm sorry for sounding rude.
I know you're
just trying to help me work through
guess I'm just feeling sorry for
"That's why I thought we could keep
"Thanks, but would you mind if we
didn't go to the
holodeck? Maybe we can just go back
to my quarters and
watch a vid, or play cards and talk.
I'm really not up
Chakotay froze at the invitation.
He knew he could
handle being at Sandrine's with
other people around,
but being with Tom alone in his
quarters? Now *that*
could be a problem. When he looked
in Tom's face, his
resolve disappeared. He could see
that Tom really
didn't want to go out in public.
"Whatever you want, Tom, is fine
with me. Just as
long as you keep talking." To himself,
"That's it. if he keeps talking,
I'll be okay. As long
as we stay on safe subjects, I can
"Great! Thanks! So. are you done?
I know I am. Who
said this tasted like sweet potato
"Jenny and Megan."
"Yeah, well, when I see them I'm
going to find out
where the hell they got their sweet
Because that tasted like dirty socks,
not any sweet
potato pie I ever had."
"Well, if I wasn't done before, I
am now. Thanks for
that comparison." Chakotay looked
down at his plate in
disgust and dropped his fork.
Neither Tom nor Chakotay had noticed
Harry coming into
the mess hall, much less over to
them. What Chakotay
*did* notice was that Tom stiffened
a bit when he
heard his friend's voice.
"Hey, Harry. How are you?" Tom asked,
didn't hear the slight bit of stress
"Good, thanks. I haven't seen you
around much lately.
I was wondering if you'd like to
come with Seven and
me to shoot some pool."
"Thanks, Harry, but Chakotay and
I are going to watch
a vid tonight."
Chakotay wondered if it was just
him, or did that
sound like he and Tom actually did
have a date. From
the look on Harry's face, he didn't
think he imagined
"Oh. Okay. Well, maybe some other
time than." Harry
"Sure, Harry. Just let me know when.
If we don't have
anything planned, I'll come and
shoot some pool with
Again, Chakotay and Harry were surprised,
Harry showed it. Chakotay realized
that Tom was trying
to let Harry know that he wasn't
waiting for Harry to throw him a
"friend" bone. Harry
just nodded and walked away.
"Sorry, Chakotay," Tom said quietly.
"For using you as an excuse not to
hang out with
Harry and Seven."
"No problem. I figured you didn't
want to just say
no. That would have probably caused
Harry to ask why."
"Yeah, and I don't want to come across
jealous or anything."
"I understand. And you know, anytime
you want, you
can just give me a call and we can
together." Inwardly, he thought,
'I have a list of
things a mile long I would love
to share with you.'
"Thanks, Chakotay. How about that
"Sure. Just nothing too cheesy, okay?"
"Nah! I'm sure I have something that
won't upset your
sensibility." Tom smiled at him.
When Chakotay got back to his quarters
evening, he congratulated himself
on getting through
the night in Tom's cabin without
trying to kiss him.
He really had a good time. They
laughed at, and joked
about, the movie Tom had chosen.
When it was over,
they sat and talked a bit, Tom opening
telling him about what was going
on in his head when
he was with B'Elanna. He admitted
that they had only
slept together twice in the four
months they dated.
Not that the sex wasn't good, but
B'Elanna felt like
she was cheating on Tuvok, and Tom,
well he wasn't
comfortable with the amount of "force"
All in all, Chakotay thought it really
was a good
evening. They ended it with Chakotay
offering his company if Tom needed
someone to talk to,
and Tom accepting that offer. They
plans for another "guys night",
with Tom promising
that they would go and shoot some