Title: Things Change 7/?
Author: Maxine
Rating: R
Pairing C/P
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, I am just letting them out for some 
Feedback: But of course plainedge77@yahoo.com

Things Change 7

Tuvok made his way to the holodeck, when he arrived he was 
greeted by an angry crowd. Ken Dalby right in the front of the pack. 
He was yelling at Greg to let him back in so he could finish the job.

"Lieutenant Ayala, what seems to be the problem?" Tuvok 
decided to ignore Dalby for the moment.

"Ensign Kim and Crewmember Dalby got into an argument. When I 
tried to step between them Ensign Kim became extremely irate and 
began screaming at me also. I cleared the holodeck as quickly as I 
could. Ensign Kim demanded that you be summoned. He said he wouldn't 
leave unless you told him to, he said that you were the only real 
authority on the ship, other then the captain. I should add that he 
is quite drunk."

"Thank you Lieutenant." Turning to Dalby. "Mr. Dalby I would 
like you to report to the security office at 0900 hours tomorrow 
morning. I believe I will need a statement from you. And we will also 
be discussing a few other things." He turned to the crowd in the 

"As for the rest of you, please go to your quarters, it's 
time to call it a night."

Tuvok then entered the holodeck, Sandrine's was running, scanning the 
bar he found Harry sitting in a corner facing him.

"Ensign Kim you wanted to see me?"

Yeah Tuvok, you want a drink?"

"No Ensign and I believe you have had enough. What did you 
want to see me about?"

"I want to make a formal complain against Ken Dalby, he 
threatened me for the third time tonight and I don't think I am 
safe." Harry's words were slow in coming, he was drunk. 

"Ensign Kim did you remove the safety protocols from this 

"Not me, it was sorry ass Paris, he made it so if you ordered 
a certain drink from Sandrine the safeties would be turn off."

"I see and knowing this you ordered the drink necessary to 
disable them."


"I see, well Ensign Kim, I believe it's time for you to 
return to your quarters and as Mr. Paris would say sleep it off."  
Harry jumped up

"Don't say that ungrateful bastard's name in my presence 
again!" Harry came at Tuvok, as if to hit him.

"Ensign Kim, I would strongly suggest that you stop and think 
before you persue this matter any further. Return to your quarters 
and report to the security office at 0930 hours tomorrow morning. I 
have cleared the corridor and I will walk with you to ensure you are 
not bothered. But I must warn you, if you raise your voice or attempt 
you strike me, I will restrain you." Tuvok took hold of Harry's arm 
and walked him out of the holodeck and to his quarters.


After that initial bath, both men reined their thoughts, each 
not knowing what had gone on with the other. Chakotay knew he 
couldn't tell Tom, the guy would freak for sure. Tom knew he couldn't 
tell Chakotay, although he had caught the offhanded comment about him 
and Greg, he didn't think Chakotay would be interested.

Tom didn't ask what happened with Harry, he didn't want to 
know. Although he figured he would hear about it eventually any way. 
A week later he was proven right, he and Chakotay were in sickbay. 
While the doctor was running tests Tom sat in the doctor's office. He 
heard the doors swish open, looking up he saw Harry escorted by 
Tuvok. Tom felt a lump in his throat when he saw the shape his former 
friend was in. 

"Gods, he looks like he got the crap kicked out of him." He 
whispered, fighting the urge to go and make sure Harry was all right, 
he listened as best he could without appearing to be eavesdropping. 
He could only hear pieces and bits of the conversation, but it didn't 
take much for him to figure out part of what happened.
"..Again.." The doctor groaned.
"...Third time..." He heard Tuvok.
".Disable the program." doc again.
"Lieutenant Paris.. Delete." Tuvok once again.

'Oh shit! Harry had disabled the Sandrine's safeties and been 
drinking. Tuvok walked into the office.

"Lieutenant Paris." Tuvok started to speak but Tom raised his 
hand to stop him.

"Harry ordered the right drink to have the safeties turn 
off." Tom finished the statement for him. "I will fix it now." 

"May I ask why you felt it necessary to program a trigger?"

"Tuvok, I wrote Sandrine's when we first got stranded out 
here. At the time I thought I might need it. I used the trigger once 
maybe twice, Harry was there the second time. I haven't even thought 
about it in years, I honestly forgot all about it."

"I see. I should have brought it to your attention after the 
first time Ensign Kim used it. The night I was called to the holodeck 
from Commander Chakotay's quarters. This incident is my fault." Tuvok 
believed the younger man when he said he forgot about it. He 
remembered the "Old Tom Paris" and the man standing before him were 
not the same.

"When I spoke to Ensign Kim the next morning he told me he 
had disabled the cgi-bin coding. I was unaware of the second incident 
he was alone. This time he ended up in an altercation with Crewman 

"Jesus, is he nuts? Paul Johnson is at least three times 
bigger then he is." Tom was horrified at the thought of Harry in a 
fight with that man.


"I'm sorry Tuvok, I will delete the cgi-bin right now." Tom 
went to the computer in the office and after a few seconds he was in 
the program for Sandrine's, he deleted the necessary coding and 
recoded the program so no one could change anything.  Once satisfied 
that everything was done he closed the program.

"It's done Tuvok and now no one but I can change anything. 
Also safety protocols can not be turned off without two 
authorizations from senior officers."

"Thank you Lieutenant."

         "I will accept whatever reprimand you and the captain deem 
necessary Tuvok. Again I do apologize for not deleting it long ago."
                                     Tuvok moved into 
the office more so Tom realized that whoever had been in sickbay 
would have heard Tuvok talking to him. Harry knew he was in there, 
even if he hadn't figured it out by seeing Chakotay. 'Oh Shit! Harry 
in the same room with Chakotay.' Tom turned around wildly to look out 
the office window to see Harry glaring at Chakotay's back. Evidently 
when Tuvok had come in with Harry, Chakotay choose to just ignore the 

"Tom, you are not to blame for Ensign Kim's obvious disregard 
for his own welfare. Because you wrote the program, although it was a 
violation of regulations, it was Harry who chose to utilize the 
subroutine. I believed you when you said that you had forgotten about 
it. You have done all that I would have expected you to. However, 
what Captain Janeway or Commander Chakotay will do or say I can not 
venture to guess. "

Tom flinched when he heard the captain's name but groaned 
when Tuvok included Chakotay. Then it hit him like a bolt of 
lighting. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what and why Harry had 
done. Standing up and squaring his shoulders Tom looked at Tuvok.

"Excuse me Commander Tuvok, I must speak to Commander 
Chakotay immediately." He turned in military style, marched out of 
the office, ignoring Harry, and went straight to Chakotay. When 
Chakotay saw Tom in military parade he was confused.

"Commander Chakotay, I wish to report a violation of 
Starfleet regulations." Chakotay realized this had something to do 
with Harry and what had happened. He also knew that Tom was making a 
point of "reporting" this in front of Harry. He decided to play 
along, hoping whatever Tom was about to do would get through to Harry.

"What violation is that Lieutenant Paris and who is 
responsible?" Chakotay asked in full commander mode.

"The violation of Starfleet regulation eight two three 
section Pee subsection Cee article four alpha. 'No Starfleet personal 
may program a holodeck simulation with cgi-bin coding where by voice 
command the safety protocols of any part or the whole of said program 
will be terminated. The person responsible for this violation is me, 

"I see and the program involved?' 

"Sandrine's, Sir."

"And the cgi-bin coding you did effected this program in what 
way Lieutenant?"

"When a certain alcoholic beverage is ordered, one of MY 
favorites, the safeties are turned off and that drink contains real 
alcohol, Sir." Although he was still in full military mode, Tom was 
shaking inside, he knew he was putting himself on the line but he 
also hoped that by doing this Harry Kim would be proven wrong, that 
Chakotay wouldn't nail him for being a screw up. 

"I see Lieutenant, have you since disabled the coding?"

"Yes Sir, the moment it was brought to my attention that the 
trigger had been used on at least three occasions in the past week."

"Very well Lieutenant Paris, we will discuss what type 
reprimand of this violation, if any, with the Captain and Commander 
Tuvok when I have finished up here."

"Yes Sir, Thank you Sir."

Chakotay could not have felt more pride in his friend then at 
that moment. He knew that once they got back to his quarters Tom 
would tell him exactly what had happened. All he could do was smile 
and wink at Tom.

"Dismissed Lieutenant."   

When Tom saw the smile and wink he knew that Chakotay had 
some understanding as to why he had just done what he did. Letting 
out a breath he didn't realize he was holding he nodded and walked 
back to the doctor's office, once again not looking at Harry.

Tuvok and the doctor watched Harry Kim and not the two 
officers. They watched as Harry's expressions changed during the 
exchange between Tom and Chakotay.  First there was the look of 
anticipated joy, believing that his plan had worked. He just knew 
that as soon as the commander heard what Paris had done, he would 
prove Harry right and tell him he was a screw up and to leave him 
alone. The commander would order Paris to pack his bags and get out 
of his cabin, he would find someone else to take care of him.

Then that expression changed to one of confusion as the 
commander didn't blow up instead he allowed Paris to explain the 
violation. There were no angry words or even a look of disgust coming 
from the commander. The next emotion that ran over Harry's face was 
one of complete disbelief the commander accepted Paris' word that the 
program had been fixed, something Harry wasn't completely convinced 
of Paris' lied a lot. Then he said there might not be any 
repercussions from his actions, that it would be discussed between 
the three most senior officers WITH Paris. 
'What the hell kind of game is the commander playing?' He thought. Oh 
he knew what was going on, no one else would stay with the commander 
twenty-four hours a day, he was using Paris for now, and when he 
returned to full duty he would nail Paris good. Then Harry would be 
the victor. 

Harry smiled to himself, he just knew victory would be his 
soon, and then Tom Paris would come crawling back to him begging him 
to forgive him. Harry would of course forgive him, but he would know 
that Harry would never again tolerate that Tom felt he needed anyone 
other then him as his true friend.

"You are done Ensign Kim, you can go back to your quarters, 
you are off for the day." The doctor dismissed him, if the hologram 
could be annoyed he would have been.

"One minute Ensign Kim, there is the matter of you once again 
lying to a superior officer that needs to be addressed. For your 
deception the reprimand is two days confined to your quarters, 
excluding today, and your replicator rations suspended for two weeks. 
Know this ensign, if you lie to me again you will be brought before a 
board of your peers and punishment will be much harsher."

"Yes Sir. It that it?" Harry's tone made everyone stop, he 
was disrespectful and rude to Tuvok.

"That is all ensign. You are dismissed." Tuvok turned on his 
heels and left sickbay. Harry followed suit.

Tom just sat in the office shaking his head, he wondered if 
it was his fault after all that Harry was so bitter. The doctor came 
into the office interrupting Tom's thoughts.

"Mr. Paris, you are doing a fine job of taking care of the 
commander. He tells me that you have found several different sources 
of protein for him to supplement his diet. I have to tell you that I 
am extremely proud of you for all you have done."

"Thanks Doc, just doing my job, you know." 

"You are doing more than that Tom, I have never seen the 
commander this relaxed. He tells me that he is still a bit shaky at 

"Yeah, if he sits for long periods of time he seems to be 
more shaky than when he has laid down for the same amount of time. 
But it passes quickly, we just talk through it and he is fine within 
a minute or two."

"Very well. I also wanted to tell you that again my 
admiration for you has risen. What you did earlier took a lot of guts 
and I for one am impressed."

"Thanks Doc, let's just hope Chakotay and the captain are 
just as impressed."

"I am sure he is and she will be. You can take the commander 
home now. See you in two days, unless you need me for something 
before then."

"Okay Doc." Tom said as he left the office. He went over to 
Chakotay who was still half sitting half lying on the biobed.

"You ready Chief?"

"Sure am, Tom." Tom nodded and called for the transport. 

When they rematerialized in Chakotay's quarters, as usual he 
found himself in his bed. He couldn't help but smile, everything Tom 
did for his friends was done with such care.

"Tom I have to tell you I was really proud of you in sickbay. 
Owning up to the violation, but I am not sure why you did it, care to 
tell me?" he motioned to Tom to take his normal seat at the end of 
his bed, Tom sat in the offered space.

"Simple Chief, I figured out that Harry was using 
the "glitch" in the program hoping he would get caught just like he 
had. Then he could point the finger at me, without me being around, 
because it is my program and my subroutine." Tom stopped and took a 
deep breath.

"It's even my favorite drink, Mi Ti, then I would confess, 
you would freak and call me a screw up just like Harry says you will 
someday. I will have to go back to him and beg him to forgive me for 
not believing him when he told me you would turn on me the next time 
I screwed up." Again he paused almost waiting for Chakotay to say 
something, when he didn't Tom continued.

"Thing is Chief, that even if that all happened, if you did 
call me a screw up and boot me out of here, I meant what I said about 
rotting in my cabin before I would ever beg him for his forgiveness 
or friendship." Stopping for a second to calm himself, he didn't 
realize how angry he was until just then.

"Yes, I screwed up, I admit that, but I wrote that program a 
long time ago. Hell, I forgot that the trigger was even there. 
Obviously Harry hadn't, it's almost like he filed it away for later 
use. I have done a lot of thinking the past two weeks Chief, since 
you first got sick and Harry started acting like a lunatic. I don't 
think he really ever was a friend to me, he remembered everything I 
ever told him I did and then looked for the chance to use it against 
me. He used it to keep me inline so to speak. That isn't a friend, 
not in my book."

"Tom you know I'd never do that, don't you? Not after 
everything you have done for the others and me. I can't say for sure 
how I would have reacted as your commanding officer but as your 
friend, I would never hold something like that against you. You have 
changed so much in the past five years. You are a good man Tom, don't 
ever doubt that." Chakotay smiled at him, reached out and rubbed 
Tom's arm as if to reassure him of what was being said.

"Thanks Chief, I do know it but I guess it's just nice to 
hear sometimes." Tom said softly.

"Anytime Tom." Chakotay stifled a yawn.

"Oh looks like naptime for the bear." Tom stated when he saw 
the yawn, getting off the bed he helped Chakotay lay back.

"Night Chakotay, sleep well dream sweet." Tom going with an 
urge leaned down and gave the older man a kiss on his forehead.

"Night Tom. Thanks." Chakotay yawned and fell asleep.


Over the next three weeks Tom and Chakotay talked about 
everything and anything. Different experiences they had during their 
lives. Tom told Chakotay about his mom and the guilt that he felt 
over not being around to help. Chakotay then understood why Tom was 
so adamant about him following the doctor's order exactly. 

Chakotay spoke about feeling like the "Token Indian" at the 
Academy. How thrilled he was when he finally got his first commission 
and the devastation he felt when he learned of his father's death. 
The devastation was increased when because of his decision to leave 
Starfleet he lost a lover. The person he was sure he would spend the 
rest of his life with the person.

        This particular night found them once again sitting on 
Chakotay's bed talking about various things. Among them the choices 
and chances they both lost because they were in the Delta Quadrant. 
Chakotay spoke about the loneliness he sometimes felt since coming on 
Voyager. He admitted he didn't want to spend the rest of his life 
alone, but it looked like that just might be the case.

"Why do you think you will be alone forever? None of the 
women on Voyager fit your idea of the perfect wife?" There was no 
sarcasm in Tom's tone just some bewilderment and maybe a little 

"Tom, honestly, I never saw myself with a wife. I always saw 
my life being fulfilled with a man by my side." Tom was surprised by 
the admission.

"You seemed surprised." Chakotay wondered if Tom had trouble 
with thinking of two men dedicating themselves to each other. There 
was a bit of dread underlying that thought. Over the past few weeks, 
getting to know Tom even more. Chakotay already knowing, from his 
first sponge bath, that he was attracted to Tom on many levels. He 
was intelligent, witty, sensitive, caring, challenging. All qualities 
Chakotay looked for in a partner, not to mention a body that seemed 
to beg to be caressed and a great ass.

"I am actually but I don't know why. If you find someone, 
regardless of gender, that fulfills all your needs and wants, that is 
what matters. I know that but I guess I always saw you in that light 
with a woman not a man." Over the past couple of weeks Tom had found 
himself thinking that Chakotay the type of person he wanted in his 
life on a permanent basis and not just as a friend. Which of course 
surprised him given his only experience with a man was not a pleasant 
one. Though giving Chakotay sponge baths proved to him that 
experience really didn't turn him off to the idea of being with a 
man. Having this conversation made he come to the realization that he 
hoped he was wrong in his thinking Chakotay would only be happy with 
a woman. 

"Tom, don't get me wrong, I love being in the company of 
women. I enjoy having a sexual relationship with a woman. But when it 
comes to thinking long term I know that, for me, my happiness would 
be in sharing my life with a man. You know the day to day things, 
just living life." Lowering his voice just a bit.

       "Sort of like the way we have been doing for the past few 
weeks, and the sex would be great too." Chakotay figured he would try 
a backhanded way to find out if Tom felt the way he did about 
perusing a relationship between them.

Tom couldn't help but blushed at Chakotay's words. Almost 
afraid to voice what he was thinking he whispered.

"Chakotay, are you saying you want to have sex with me?"  
Once he said it, Tom realized he wanted that even if it did scare him 
a bit. 

"If I was, would it offend you?' Going for broke, Chakotay 
leaned a bit closer to Tom, invading his personal space just a 
little. He noticed Tom's chest hike as if he had gasped for air as 
what Chakotay said registered.

"No, I would not be offended." Tom said in a hushed voice 
looking down at his hand instead of the older man. 

"But it scares me, Chief. I mean you know about my only 
experience.." Chakotay placed his hand on Tom's chin and lifted it so 
he was looking into his eyes.

"Tom, what you experienced, whether you like the word or not, 
was rape. When sex is consensual, just as with a woman, it can be and 
is wonderful with a man."  He slid his hand to Tom's cheek and gently 
stroked it.

"Cha, sex between us could not be compared to sex with a 
woman." Tom shivered as the caress continued and Chakotay leaned in 

"It can be so much better than sex with a woman." Chakotay 
whispered as he kissed the cheek he had been caressing. This time Tom 
did gasp and swallowed hard.

"Would you like to find out, Tom, just how good it could be?" 
The next kiss was placed closer to his mouth.

"Would you like to find out how good I could make you feel? 
How good you could make me feel?" Once more a kiss was gently placed, 
this time on his lips.

Tom shivered from the touch of Chakotay's lips on his, he 
leaned in kissed Chakotay back. 

"Yes." Was all he could say, and as soon as the word crossed 
his lips he felt Chakotay's hand on the back of his neck gently 
pulling him in to deepen the kiss. 

Tom moaned when he felt a tongue slid over his suddenly over 
sensitized lips and opened his mouth to allow the entrance it was 
asking for. Sensing Tom's surrender Chakotay pulled him closer and 
kissed him with all the passion he felt. Tom went willing and wrapped 
his arms around Chakotay and allowed the passion to take over.  Both 
men giving into the other, quenching a thirst neither realized they 
had, the kiss become more passionate, more desperate.

Finally breaking the kiss because self-preservation and air 
was required, Tom laid his forehead on Chakotay's.

"Damn!" He panted. "If that was an indication of how good you 
are going to make me feel, then not only is the answer yes but please 
and now." Chakotay smiled inwardly and resumed the kissed, but only 

"I promise." Chakotay whispered as he held Tom tighter

Tom rested his head on Chakotay's shoulder, loosing himself 
in the moment. He snapped back into reality when he felt Chakotay's 
broad chest rise and fall with a heavy sigh. Lifting his head off the 
older man's shoulder he looked into his eyes

"Tom?" Not sure what the younger man was thinking.

"Chief, as much as I want to have you fulfill your promise 
here and now. I can't, not yet, you are still recovering and I think 
what you have in mind would fall under the category as strenuous 
exercise. The doc did say that was out of the question for a couple 
of more weeks."  Chakotay groaned when he realized Tom was right.

"Shit!" was all he could say

"I know Cha, I know. But I would rather die than get so 
caught up in the moment and the wonderful feelings you are stirring 
in me then have you end up back in sickbay." Tom hugged Chakotay and 
gently kissed him on the side of his neck.

"We will wait, as much as I want to say to hell with it, I 
don't want to cause you any distress so we will wait." Chakotay 
loosened his hold on Tom and sat back. 

"Please don't be disappointed Cha, don't think that I don't 
want to be with you because I do. I just want to be sure that 
physically you are okay. Because you have to admit if that kiss was 
even a tenth of what it's going to feel like when we actually do have 
sex, I could be the one who has a heart attack." Tom smiled shyly 

"Well we can't have that can we? I'm not disappointed Tom, 
how could I be? You have told me you want me as much as I want you. 
We will wait until the doctor says it's okay, then I am going to take 
you to places you'd never dreamed you'd go." Chakotay promised and 
then sealed that promise with a kiss that allowed showed Tom he meant 
that promise.

Ending the kiss reluctantly, releasing Tom from his embrace he laid 
down, suddenly feeling very tired.

"Tom, lay down with me for a while. I think all this pent up 
frustration has made me tire." 

"Damn Chief, I am sorry. I wasn't thinking." Tom moved to get 
off the bed angry with himself that he allowed things to get so 
tense. Chakotay stopped him from leaving.

"Tom it's not your fault, it's neither of our fault, it just 
happened. I just want to hold you, fall asleep with you in my arms. 
Come lay down with me until I fall asleep." Chakotay took Tom's arm 
and pulled him towards him. Tom went willingly and they laid 
together. Chakotay wrapping Tom up in his arms holding him as close 
as he could. Tom snuggled into the embrace. He sighed enjoying the 
wonderful feeling of being exactly where he was. Tom heard Chakotay's 
breathing slow and deepen, knowing that he was now asleep, Tom 
decided he would stay a bit longer not wanted to disturb him. Soon 
Tom was asleep also.


  The six weeks was up, Chakotay was in sickbay, Tom close by. 
In the two weeks since they discovered they both wanted a deeper 
relationship, they explored each other as much as they could without 
getting too carried away. It was really difficult for both men but 
they had done it. Tom thought that they should just keep everything 
to themselves for the moment.

 When someone would stop by to visit, it appeared that they were just 
friends maybe a little closer but why wouldn't they be? They spent 
all their time together. Tom very rarely left Chakotay's quarters he 
admitted to Chakotay that he was a bit afraid that if he left and 
something happened he would never forgive himself. Chakotay tried to 
reason with him that there was always someone there, someone always 
came to visit and Tom was suppose to use that time to get out a bit. 
Tom finally admitted that he didn't want to run into Harry, he didn't 
want to fight with the guy anymore and he didn't want to have to 
justify himself to the jerk. 

Chakotay understood completely and had vowed to himself that once he 
was completely recovered he would pay the young ensign a visit. He 
was determined to find out exactly what Harry Kim's problem was. 
Chakotay hated to see Tom upset and if Harry's name came up for any 
reason Chakotay could see his younger lover's face sag into sadness 
just briefly but it was there.

The doctor came over to the biobed bringing Chakotay back to the 

(Author's note: I apologize in advance for this next part. My muse 
demanded that I write it this way.) 

"Commander, I am sorry to have kept you waiting. How are you 

"That's alright doctor I understand. I am feeling really good 
actually. Ready to go on with the next phase of my recovery."  As 
Chakotay spoke the doctor ran a few scans, when he was done he gave a 
satisfied "hmm"

"The artery has healed nicely and the blood flow appears to 
be as it should. I still want you to take it slow. You can now 
increase your exercise, but nothing too strenuous."

'Damn, no hot money sex' Chakotay thought as he nodded his 
understanding at the doctor.

"You will still need to rest often and avoid stress as much 
as possible."

'There go the whips and chains. Tom thought as he stood by 
and listened.

"As for your diet, because you are a vegetarian your sources 
of protein are limited."

'I got your protein right here.' Tom's thought as he felt 
himself getting hard just thinking about what was going to happen 
once he and Chakotay left sickbay.

"I would still suggest one nutritional supplement drink a 
day." Chakotay shivered 

"Doc, I can't drink that stuff, it's too slimy." 

'And cum isn't' Tom's thoughts now running wild.

"Whether it is slimy or not Commander it will provide the 
necessary protein you need to help your body continue its recovery."

'I said, I got your protein right here, he won't need 
anything else.'  Tom screamed mentally. Clearly his throat Tom spoke 

"Doc, I am sure we can find some sort of protein supplement 
that will satisfy Chakotay's need." He smiled innocently, Chakotay 
snorted as if he knew what was on Tom's mind.

(Author note: I think she is done now, again I apologize for the 

"Well, Mr. Paris, The Commander will be taking care of 
himself now. You can move back to your quarters and get on with your 

"Doc, my life is just fine the way it is. I think that 
Chakotay still needs to have someone there at night just in case, 
don't you?" Tom prayed the doctor didn't see through the medic mask 
he was wearing. He had no intention of moving back to his own 
quarters even, if he had any say in the matter.

"Mr. Paris, I am the physician here, I think I can better 
assess what The Commander needs and doesn't need." The doctor spoke 
with all his arrogance firmly in place.

"Excuse me, don't I have a say in whether I am alone or not?" 
Chakotay broke in. He looked at Tom and could see in his eyes that 
Tom thought he was going to say 'I don't need you anymore'. That was 
the furthest thing from the truth.

"Of course, Commander."  "Sorry Chief." The two others said 
at the same time.

"Thank you. Now I agree with that doctor that I am capable of 
being on my own" He saw Tom's face drop even more.

"But to be honest, I am not sure if I am comfortable with 
being alone all the time. I admit that I am worried that if something 
should happen to me while I am, no one will know until the morning 
and it could be too late. So, Tom, if you are willing, I would like 
it if you were to stay a bit longer, just to be on the safe side." 
Chakotay smiled at the younger man and hoped that he understood 
everything he was saying.

"I don't mind at all, Chakotay." Tom smiled back, though 
Chakotay wasn't sure if that smile completely reached his eyes.

"Very well, Commander, it is your call, as for you going back 
on duty. I am going to recommend half shifts starting in one week. 
After two weeks, depending on how you feel, you may resume your full 
duty shift. But YOU must listen to your body. When you feel tired, 
sleep, when you feel hungry, eat. I also think you should talk to 
someone about things you are feeling. Emotional stress can by just as 
hard, if not harder on your system."

"Tom and I have been doing that a lot lately. I think he can 
continue to help me in that respect." Again Chakotay was looking at 
Tom trying to convey to him that he wasn't letting him go.

"I was thinking along the lines of a counselor Commander."

"Tom is a fine counselor, Doctor, he listens, knows when to 
say something and when not to. He has offered me good advice and a 
great ear over these past six weeks. I don't think I need to find 
someone else to rehash everything I have with him already."

"Commander Mr. Paris is not a trained therapist."

"Neither am I, but I am expected to do it. A therapist, is 
just someone who is willing to listen and not pass judgement. That is 
one of Tom's most enduring qualities."
Chakotay was not looking at the doctor at all. He was focused on Tom, 
telling him in not so many words, that he was all he would ever need. 
As he watched Tom's face he saw the light of understanding dawn in 
his eyes. 

Tom heard the words that were said, it took a minute for it 
all to sink in, but when it did the joy he felt made him weep. He 
moved closer, slid his hands up Chakotay's neck and held his face. 
Leaning in Tom kissed Chakotay deeply and passionate, letting the 
older man know he understood completely.

The doctor cleared his throat "Excuse me." Tom broke the kiss 
and moved back.

"Sorry." Was all he could say. Chakotay shook his head raised 
his hand to Tom's cheek and stroked it gently.

"There is nothing to be sorry for Tom. You said exactly what 
I wanted you to say." Chakotay said in a hushed tone and smiled.

"I take it that the relationship between the two of you has 
changed over the past six weeks gentlemen." Stating the obvious was 
always one of the doctor's annoying habits.

"Things change, Doc, things always change."  Tom answered 
simply not taking his eyes off Chakotay.

"I see, well, then because of the obvious changes I suppose I 
should tell you that sex is okay, as long as it isn't too wild."

"Thanks Doc, are we through here?" Chakotay asked, he really 
wanted to get Tom alone and touch his soul.

"Yes, we are through. Good Day gentlemen." 

Tom called for the beam out as he put his arms around 
Chakotay and they disappeared from sickbay.