Title: Talk 3/?
Author: Maxine
Pairings: C/P (later) K/7 & Tu/T (implied)
Rating PG-13 
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them part and parcel, I
just wanted them to have a bit of fun.
Feedback: If you would like sure plainedge77@yahoo.com
Summary: Tom is feeling down, Chakotay gets him to

Two days later Chakotay found himself outside Tom's
cabin, keeping their appointment for the exercise. He
rang once, but there was no answer. He rang again,
this time the door swished open. He froze in his
tracks, finding Tom was dressed in only a pair of thin
running shorts, and sporting a bad case of bed head.

"Morning, Chakotay. Sorry, I overslept." Tom ran his
hand over his face, trying to wake himself up a bit

"That's okay. I should have commed you first."
Chakotay prayed his voice did not betray his arousal. 

"I should have set my alarm. Make yourself at home.
Breakfast is on me."

"Thanks. I ate already."

"Okay. Could you order me scramble eggs, toast and
coffee? Sure you don't want tea or something?"

"Tea would be fine, thanks."

"I'm going to grab a quick shower and get dressed.
I'll be back in ten minutes at the most."

Chakotay nodded, forcing his lustful thoughts from
his mind.

In the shower, Tom prayed he wouldn't make an ass out
of himself in front of Chakotay. As it was, his
imagination was getting the better of him. He could
have sworn he saw arousal in Chakotay's eyes when he
first came in. No, that wasn't possible. Chakotay
never gave any indication he was interested in him, or
any other man for that matter.

After he finished his shower, he was dried, dressed,
and back in the lounge area in the promised ten
minutes. Settling down to eat his breakfast, he
continued his silent chant 'Just friends. We are just

"Tom, I want to try something a bit out of the
ordinary this morning."


"After going through the papers you gave me last
night, I think one of your problems is you've stopped
trusting yourself, your instincts. I want to see if we
can get that back."

"Okay. How do we do that?"

"In order to trust yourself, sometimes you need to
trust another completely. So, I want to blindfold you
and take you through a series of exercises. Each one
should help you regain your trust."

"You want to blindfold me and then do whatever to

"No, not whatever. I would never do anything to harm
or humiliate you. At any point we can stop. This is
about you, trusting yourself and your instincts."

"And trusting you."

"Yes, and trusting me. But that trust will increase
when you listen to your gut and know whether or not to

"I understand. Nothing weird or kinky, right?"

"Right. And you can stop me at any time."

"Okay. I know I can trust you. If you say this will
help, then I'll do it."

"Finish your breakfast before it gets cold."

"Yes sir!"

Once he was done and everything was cleared away,
Chakotay stood behind him and put the blindfold on.

"Can you see anything?"

"Nope, blind as a bat here."

"Okay. First I'm going to lead you around the room."

"Okay." Tom swallowed his nervousness.

Taking Tom's hand and allowing him to stand, Chakotay
then walked around the perimeter of the room. When
they came close to a chair or a table, Tom seemed to
fight him, unsure in his steps.

"Trust me, Tom. Trust yourself to believe I won't
hurt you."

Tom knew he was speaking low but it sounded so loud.
His other senses were heightened because of the loss
of sight. He tried to relax, but he was afraid he'd
get hurt. Not that Chakotay would purposely hurt him,
but that he would misstep and fall over something.
Taking a deep breath, and nodding that he was ready to
begin again. Not that Chakotay would purposely hurt
him, but Tom was terrified he would misstep and fall
over something. Taking a deep breath, he nodded that
he was ready to begin again. Chakotay once again began
walking around, and Tom bumped into a chair.

"Sorry," Chakotay whispered rather lamely. Here he
was expecting Tom to let him guide him and he walks
him into a chair.

"No, it was my fault. I wasn't paying attention to
your direction."

"You did good, Tom. Sit for a minute."

"Okay. Now what?"

"Now, we are going to venture out into the corridor.
Don't worry, I plan on telling anyone who sees us
there is a surprise waiting for you."

"Oh, you knew I would protest being led around like a

"Something like that. I think I know you pretty
well." Chakotay smiled.

A jolt ran up Tom's spine as a thought went through
his mind. 'Not as well as I'd like you to.'

"You think so, commander?"

"Maybe not."

"Okay, so we're going out and I'm going to trust you
not to walk me into walls or crewmen."

"Yes. I do have a destination in mind."

"Want to tell me what it is?"

"Nope, that will take all the fun out of this."

"Oh, we're having fun are we?"

"I know I am."

"You like your partners blind and helpless?"

"No to both. You ready?"

"Yes. Lead on, oh commander of mine."


"You called me that already. Think of a new name."

"I will." Chakotay grinned, even though Tom couldn't
see him. "Okay, put your hand on my shoulder."

"What, you embarrassed to hold my hand in public
commander?" Tom cringed inwardly. 'Stop flirting with
him, stupid.'

"I wouldn't want to tarnish your reputation,
Lieutenant." Chakotay wondered to himself, 'Is he
flirting with me?'

"You mean the loser in love reputation?"

"No. The ladies man one."

"Well then hold my hand. That's *one* reputation I
should lose, and quick."

"Put your hand on my shoulder, Tom." Chakotay said,
not wanting to go further into that statement at the
moment. He released Tom's hand so guided it to his

Tom did as instructed, "Ready whenever you are."

"Let's go."

Leaving Tom's quarters, they worked their way through
the corridors of the ship. Passing crewmembers now and
then, most of them had a puzzled look on their face at
the sight of the first officer leading a blindfolded
pilot. Only Ken Dalby had the courage to ask just what
the hell they were doing.

"Chakotay? Is this a new form a punishment or

"Morning, Ken. No punishment; just an exercise."

"Hey Tom, you really trust him not to walk you into a
wall or the warp core?"

"I would trust anyone not to walk me into the warp
core, Ken. B'Elanna would have their head. Yeah, I
trust Chakotay. Why? Do you think I shouldn't? Did he
put a sticker on my back that says 'Kick Me'?"

"Let me check. Nope, not on your back, but the one on
your chest says, 'Anyone seen the other two blind

"Chak? You didn't!"

"No, I didn't. Don't listen to Mr. Dalby. I think he
took wise-ass lessons from a certain pilot."

"Sorry, Chakotay. I cornered that market long before
I met Tommy here."

"I hate that name, Ken, and you know it."

"Yeah, that's why I used it. You can't see me to hit
me. Later guys." Ken laughed as he walked away.

"I don't know why I like that guy so much. He can be
really irritating at times," Tom stated with a trace
of mocked irritation in his voice. 

"Tell me about it. Remind me sometime to tell you the
wonderful little pranks he use to pull in my cell."

"Forget it. I know about most of them. Either he told
me or I helped once or twice." Tom grinned.

"Oh?  Maybe you should tell me about them then."
Chakotay raised an eyebrow at the thought of Tom Paris
and Ken Dalby conspiring together. Not that he
couldn't see it, it just seemed a bit odd.

"Nope. Not in this lifetime or the next. Are we there

"Almost. You okay?"

"Yeah. Actually this hasn't been too hard." 

"Well, the exercise isn't over yet. It's going to get

Tom really hadn't thought about the walk, he had just
allowed Chakotay the freedom to lead him wherever. He
actually had a bit more confidence in his judgement at
this moment. 

"We're here. Ready for part three?"

"Ready as I'll ever be."

"Okay. For the next part you will need to use your
other senses also."

"Okay." Tom heard the swish of doors and when he
walked through them, he was hit with sounds and scents
he couldn't remember ever dealing with before. But
instinctively he knew that he was in a forest or
woods. The scent of mahogany and orchids, the sounds
of birds singing off in the distance floated towards
him. Tom turned his head when he heard the sound of
leaves crunching. 

He wasn't afraid, but a bit unsure. He knew it was an
animal, but he couldn't place the scent that was now
added to the others.


"Yes?" Chakotay had been standing by watching Tom
take in the sounds and smells, but he was also taking
in the sights himself. Whenever he ran this program,
he always felt this sense of peacefulness. Being in
the forest of his home planet always did that for him.

"Are we in a forest?" There was a hint of awe in
Tom's voice

"Yes, it's the forest near my home on Dorvan."

"It smells wonderful, but there is an animal
approaching, I hope you didn't create anything that
would attack us."

"And here I thought you said you trusted me,"
Chakotay laughed.

"I do, but.."

"Tom, there's no animal that would attack us. They
stay away."

"Okay. What now?"

"Now we walk. You'll use your senses and your
instincts to get to a certain place. I'll be right
here with you, but I'll only guide you so far. The
rest is up to you."

"Okay. Let's do it."

For the next hour and a half, Chakotay guided Tom
through the forest. Tom used his hearing and sense of
smell to avoid several small animals. The goal was to
find a waterfall. By the time Tom could hear the rush
of the water, he had removed his hand from Chakotay's
shoulder and confidently walked towards it.

Chakotay walked up behind him and removed the
blindfold. Tom looked around, taking in the program.
Then he turned to Chakotay. 

"Chak, it's absolutely beautiful," he breathed in awe"

"It is, isn't it?"

"The detail is amazing."


"You're welcome."

"You did real well, Tom. I could feel you becoming
more confident, more assured of yourself."

"You know. I did feel it. I heard that little voice
inside telling me which way to go, and I listened. At
one point I could 'see' where I was going."

"Excellent. That is what was supposed to happen. I
think you are well on your way."

"Does that mean no more picking my brain?" Tom
couldn't hide the disappointment in his voice.

"I thought you didn't like me picking your brain."

"Maybe not, but I do like spending time with you
Chak. I feel at ease when you're around."

"I like spending time with you too, Tom. We don't
have to stop that. I'll just stop prying."

"Actually, I have to be honest with you. I don't mind
you prying. When I talk about things that are
bothering me with you, it kind of helps me work
through them."

"Good. That's what it's supposed to do."

"So we can still play pool and hang out together?"
Tom groaned inwardly, 'Gods, I sound needy.'

"Of course we can. We've been doing that often for a
while now. It's not going to stop because you're
feeling better."

"Thanks for all your help, Chakotay."

"You're welcome, although I'm not sure we're actually
done just yet. I think there are one or two more
things you need to work through."


"One is the apparent need for Harry's approval. The
other is your idea that you have lost your appeal."

"I thought about Harry quite a bit the last couple of
days. I decided that if he doesn't approve of a
relationship I'm in, be it with a woman or a man, it
would be his problem not mine."

"That's good. What helped you make that decision?"

"All my life, I've tried to get the approval of one
person or another. First my father, of course, then my
teachers. After that it was you, both in the Maquis
and here. Finally Harry. Each time I didn't get that
approval, the disappointment weighed on me."

"You were looking for *my* approval? Why?"

"Geez Chakotay, I can't believe you didn't know that.
I've always wanted you to like me. I hated it when all
I got was indifference. It always seemed like if I got
your approval, then the rest was a piece of cake." Tom
wasn't sure why he was telling the other man this. It
just felt right.

"Tom, I didn't know, honestly. I thought back in the
Maquis you were just showing off. When I found out
that Seska set you up, I was pissed because by then I
realized that you weren't all show and no sustenance.
I've been proud to call you a friend for almost three
years now."

"Thanks, Chak. I like that you're willing to call me
your friend."

"You're welcome."

"Anyway, once I realized that needing someone else's
approval would hurt only me, I decided it was time to
grow up and accept that I can't please everyone all
the time. It's me that has to approval of me, not
anyone else." Tom felt a certain amount of pride in
himself for coming to this conclusion on his own: for
being able to push down all the negative feedback he
ever got from his father.

"That's right. If you can go to sleep every night
with a clear conscience, that's what matters. No
amount of approval from anyone else is going to keep
you warm at night."

"I know that now, and after this exercise, I am sure
that if it comes down to it and Harry has a problem
with whomever I date, it's his problem not mine.
Although I don't believe he would begrudge me

"So does that mean you're going to put aside your
disappointment from the relationship with B'Elanna and
start dating women again?"

"I don't know. Not because of that mess, but because
I'm not attracted to any of the *women* on the ship."
Tom wanted to say that he was attracted to a man. but
thought Chakotay would be put off. Then he changed his
mind. "Actually that is not entirely true. It's not
that I'm not attracted to any of the women, but that
I'm attracted to one of the men on board."


"Does that bother you?"

"No, it doesn't, but it shouldn't matter if it does.
We just got finished discussing that. You have to be
happy with you."

"I know. Aren't you curious to know who it is?"

"A little. But it's up to you as to whether you want
to tell me or not." Chakotay groaned to himself. He
really didn't want to know if it wasn't him. 

"I want to tell you, but I don't want to shock you."

"Tom, I have no problems with same-sex relationships.
I wouldn't have friends like Greg or Ken for that
matter, if I did. They are both involved with other

"You're right, but that isn't what I meant by
shocking you. It's the *who* I'm attracted to."

"I promise I won't be shocked." Chakotay hoped he
wouldn't show disappointed when he learned who the
person was.

"Okay. If you're sure." Tom was nervous, because he
didn't want to be rejected by this man.

"I'm sure."

"The person I'm attracted to is you," He said in a
hushed voice.

Chakotay sat with his mouth hanging up. He couldn't
believe his ears. For a minute he thought he was
hearing what he wanted, not what Tom actually had

"Want to run that by me, again?"

"I said, I'm attracted to you. Chakotay. the First
Officer of Voyager."

"When. when did you decide this?" Still in shock,
Chakotay sat down on the ground. hard.

"A few nights ago, after that whole thing with
Harry." Tom sat next to the older man. "I realized why
I got so upset when he seemed to be mortified by the
idea of you and me together. You told me to sit and
write what I was feeling, and why."

"I remember."

"Well, that's when I figured it out." Believing that
he had made Chakotay uncomfortable, he hastened to
add, "I'll understand if you don't want to hang out
with me anymore. I realize that you don't feel the
same for me." Completely dejected at the thought of
not being able to be around him anymore, Tom was all
set to get up and leave. 

Chakotay stopped him. "Tom, I'm attracted to you too.
I'm not going to stop hanging out with you. As a
matter of fact, I'd like to spend more time with you."

"You are? You do?" Tom was the one in shock now. He
had no idea what to say or do.

"Yes. I've been attracted to you for a while. It's
been a bit more then a few days for me, I must

"I didn't know."

"I didn't want you to know."


"Tom, you've been known as the ladies man of the
Delta Quadrant for quite some time. I had no idea you
were interested in men."

"Oh. well yeah. I mean, I like both. But I have never
actually had more then a couple of one nighters with
guys before."

"Is that what you want with me?"

"NO! I'm not into one-night stands anymore, Chak. I
want a relationship with someone. With *you*."

"I want that too, Tom. But first we have to end our
counseling sessions. While I'm not an 'official'
counselor, that job has fallen to me, and as such, I
cannot pursue a relationship with someone who's a
patient. Whether it's actually ethical or not, doesn't
matter. To me, it's the principle of the thing."

"I understand, Chak. I do. So when can we end these
sessions?" He asked, with a bit of mischief dancing in
his eyes.

"Well, you're off duty for another five days. I'm
supposed to be counseling you, but in light of this
new development, I don't think I should continue.
Although I don't think I should tell the captain it's
because we want to pursue a relationship. She might
think I've done something to make you want that."

"You couldn't make me do anything like that

"I didn't say I could, Tom. I don't know what the
captain will think."


"Until I figure something out, we'll have to continue
as she suggested. We'll wait the five days, and once
you're back on duty, then we'll see what happens."

"So, our first official date has to be put on hold
for a few days?"

"Something like that. I'll talk to the captain, too.
I really think with just a couple of more session you
could go back on duty before the five days are up.
You've worked through a lot of what was bothering you

"Okay. So, I guess kissing you is out of the question
right now, huh?"

"As much as I would love to kiss you, yes, right now
is not a good time."


"I agree. Okay, this exercise is over and our time
here is almost up. Let's gather up the food we should
have eaten, and go have some lunch."

"Sounds good to me, counselor."


"Thank you. I try." Tom grinned.

They left the holodeck, both feeling lighthearted,
carrying their lunch to the nearest Observation
lounge. They ate and talked quietly about a few other
things Tom had on his mind. To anyone whom passed the
lounge and looked in, they would have seen two friends
enjoying each other's company. But to the two men
inside, it was the prequel to their relationship.