Harry was jerked awake by the sensation of his mattress depressing as
Tom crawled into bed behind him, wrapped his arms around his chest
and nuzzled into the back of his neck.
For a moment he contemplated pretending he was still asleep, but his
conscience pricked him. It was only just gone midnight and the fact
that Tom was here so early, and had come to his quarters rather than
gone home, clearly indicated that his date with Chakotay hadn't gone
as well as he had expected.
"What's wrong, Tom?" he asked quietly.
"Shit," Tom cursed. "I'm sorry Haz, I didn't mean to wake you up."
"It's okay, Tom," Harry lied, "I wasn't asleep yet
"Oh, okay," Tom replied happily. "I remembered that I still owed you
a hug. Didn't expect you to be in bed this early."
Since Harry hadn't gotten *out* of bed since Tom had left him just
before 2030, he refrained from comment. At least his pillow had dried
off now so Tom wouldn't guess he had spent most of the evening crying
his eyes out like a baby.
"I didn't expect you to be leaving Chakotay's so early, either,"
Harry said quietly. He regretted the comment as soon as Tom released
him abruptly and turned on his back to gaze at the ceiling.
Harry turned over and snuggled into Tom's chest apologetically.
"Shit I've got the worst case of ball-ache ever, Haz," Tom griped.
"You mean he didn't?" Harry asked in complete disbelief.
He had assumed Tom's presence in his bed had meant the sex had
sucked, not that it hadn't even happened.
"No, he fucking didn't," Tom snarled. "We ate, we talked and then ,
then, you just ain't gonna believe this Haz, he asked me if I wanted
to play chess! Chess! Fucking Chess, Haz."
"Shit, Tom. He must have ice in his veins," Harry replied loyally.
Tom laughed bitterly.
"He's a fucking walking refrigerator unit, Haz."
"He's unnatural," Harry agreed.
"I mean, I'm sitting there, all over him, my tongue practically
hanging out, my ass for the taking, and he wants to play a fucking
board game with me?" Tom demanded in outrage.
"Well maybe he just wants to take things slow, Tom," Harry offered
"Slow? If he moved any slower I'd have called a medical emergency.
There's slow, Harry, and there's dead. I swear, it was like spending
the evening with Tuvok. He was so unresponsive, I nearly checked to
see if rigor mortis had set in."
"So you're going to give up on your plan?" Harry asked hopefully.
"I know his game, Harry. He thinks he's being cool. Well, by the time
I'm finished with him, he won't remember what cool is. He wants me
Harry, I can see it in his eyes. By the time I'm finished with him
his whole world is gonna revolve around me. You just wait and see."
Harry closed his eyes in despair. *Was* Chakotay deliberately playing
with Tom? It seemed so, because Harry couldn't imagine a better way
to keep Tom interested than to give him the cold shoulder. That was
why he had always believed B'Elanna had the pilot just where she
Her continual refusal of his advances had been like a red rag to a
bull for Tom. Now Chakotay was playing the same game, it seemed.
Tom was certainly agitated. Not only was he being
uncharacteristically bitter, but Harry could see that his cock was
lying hard and angry on his stomach, and he wasn't so foolish as to
think that Tom's interest was in him at the moment.
"He really upset you, didn't he?" Harry said sympathetically.
Had it been daylight, had they been face to face rather than sharing
a bed, no doubt Tom would have simply shrugged and lied. As it was,
Tom gave a stifled sob of agreement.
Warmth flooded Harry's heart. *This* was why he put up with Tom, he
suddenly realised. It was in moments like this, when Tom's defences
were down and he finally revealed himself in all his vulnerability,
that Harry knew why he loved Tom enough to put up with the rest of
Because he knew, beyond doubt, whatever anyone else would think of
their relationship if they knew about it, that Tom trusted him.
And the trust of Tom Paris was more valuable to Harry than any riches
and was perhaps even a more precious gift than Tom's love.
So he moved lower down Tom's body, pausing to kiss his stomach and
then he stroked the angry hardness of Tom's erection with his tongue.
"That look's painful, Tom," he murmured. "Let me take care of it, let
me take the pain away."
And as Harry swallowed him into his generous mouth and began to
soothe his shaft with an eager tongue, Tom's eyes filled with tears
and he wished, not for the first time, that he could love Harry back.
Yet, as Harry bobbed up and down, his hot mouth draining the tension
and hurt out of Tom's body until he erupted with a scream of relief,
it was another black-haired man that filled his mind.
After Harry had licked him clean and had climbed back up to cuddle in
his arms, Tom spent a long time petting and caressing him in
gratitude. Harry was the best friend a guy could have, in his
With Harry there were no messy emotional scenes, no senseless
jealousy, no need to play games. Harry simply accepted him as he was
and asked for no more than he was willing to give.
Unfortunately, there was no passion either. No danger, no thrill, no
feeling of walking on the edge like he felt whenever he crossed
glances with Chakotay.
Chakotay was dangerous, of that he was certain. Fire smouldered in
*those* brown eyes. Chakotay was obviously going to be a worthy
adversary, who would fight tooth and nail not to be defeated.
Yet, it would happen. It always did. The fire would quench, the
danger would be averted, and eventually Chakotay's eyes would cloud
with that all too familiar look of obsession. That would be the point
at which Tom would be able to get away with anything and still be
forgiven. That would be when he would get his lieutenant's pip back,
and anything else he demanded as the price of his continued interest.
Oh yeah, he knew the game well. He was a Grand Master at it and
Chakotay was going to lose. It was a done deal.
"Who is she?" Kathryn asked finally, as she saw Chakotay's eyes glaze
over again as he grinned inanely into his coffee, as they shared
their usual peaceful Sunday breakfast in her ready room.
"Huh? What?" he said as her voice pulled him back into reality.
"I know that look, Chakotay. It's the "all's right in the world
because I'm in love" look. I admit I've never seen it on *your* face
before, but it's unmistakable nevertheless."
Chakotay blushed. It was a good look for him, she decided.
"So, spill the beans, Chakotay. We're friends aren't we? Who is she?"
"I'd rather not say, at the moment, and it's not a she," Chakotay
Kathryn gave a bellowing laugh.
"So *that's* why all your smouldering glances came to absolutely
nothing when we finally had the opportunity to do something about
Chakotay gave her an apologetic nod.
"I never anticipated "New Earth", Kathryn. I thought that as long as
everyone thought I was holding a torch for you they wouldn't question
the fact that I avoided other relationships."
Kathryn took a thoughtful sip of her coffee.
"Hmmmn, so that means you have been interested in someone else all
along, and you thought that person was out of your reach but you've
changed your mind?"
Chakotay's mouth dropped open in surprise.
"Okay, fess up Kathryn. Your bond with Tuvok has given you telepathic
powers, hasn't it?"
She laughed delightedly.
"Unfortunately not, it's only Tuvok's thoughts that I can read. My
relationship has, however, opened my eyes to a few things I was too
blind to see before. Like the importance of love and companionship.
I guess the truth is that now I am so happy, I want everyone else to
be happy too."
Chakotay gave a self-depreciating smile.
"Well it's early days, Kathryn. We've only had one date and I was a
perfect gentleman all night. This is too important to me to rush,
Kathryn. This person is special, so special that I don't care how
long it takes for our relationship to develop."
"So he's shy? Physically I mean?" Kathryn asked, intrigued.
Chakotay bit his lip uncertainly.
"No, quite the opposite, only it's not his body I'm in love with,
Kathryn. Well, it is, of course, but there's more to him than that, a
lot more. I don't think he even realises that himself."
"So, you hope that by taking things slowly, you can prove to him that
it's a real relationship that you are after, rather than just sex?"
"Something like that, yeah," Chakotay confirmed.
"But you *do* fancy him too?"
"Oh Spirits, yes," Chakotay replied fervently.
"Then I bet you had a serious case of ball-ache last night," Kathryn
Chakotay choked on his coffee.
"I see married life is definitely not improving your language,
Kathryn," he complained,
"I'm a Starfleet brat, Chakotay. We aren't known for delicacy over
sexual matters. If you don't believe me, ask Tom Paris."
Chakotay blushed an even deeper shade of purple.
"Oh no, tell me it's not true. You're in love with Tom?"
"And if I am?" Chakotay snapped so defensively that she knew she had
hit the nail on the head.
"Then you've got excellent taste, Chakotay, and I don't just mean
physically," she said sincerely. "However, I don't think he's the
settling down type. He tried it with B'Elanna and it ended in tears.
"Like I said, we're taking it slow. We only had our first date last
night, and I didn't even kiss him," Chakotay replied.
"You mean to tell me you spent a date with Tom Paris without even
managing to get your tongue down his throat? Hell, Chakotay, I've
gone further than that with him myself," Kathryn choked.
"Which is *exactly* my point, Kathryn," Chakotay replied in a tone of
injured pride. "I intend to treat Tom with the respect he deserves."
Kathryn contemplated his words solemnly.
"So you love him?"
"Yes," Chakotay confessed.
"And so you want to take it slow?"
"Despite the fact that he will sashay his ass in your face like a cat
on heat until he gets what he wants?"
"Then all I can say, Chakotay, is that you'd better go see the Doctor
and see if he can prescribe anything to relieve the symptoms."
"Chronic ball-ache," Kathryn sniggered.