The Shattering of the Mask 32
By Morticia

See part 1 for disclaimer

Although it was Sunday, Sandrine's didn't begin to get crowded until a little after 1900, by which time Tom owned not only the
entire balance of Chakotay's ration account but his wardrobe and a part-share in Chakotay's home on Dorvan V.

It had been like taking candy from a baby. Chakotay's hand-eye co-ordination simply didn't seem to extend to the wielding of a
cue stick, and since no-one else would play with Tom, Chakotay had been forced to suffer the humiliation of repeated defeat all

Tom would have been happy to forget the bets altogether and just enjoy the game. Only, to be perfectly honest, there wasn't
much fun to be had in playing someone so bad at Pool and, besides, he decided that it was Chakotay's fault that no-one else
wanted to play. If Tom's supposed 'nervous breakdown' wasn't sufficient reason for most of the crew to avoid him, his dark
protective shadow inadvertently warned people away.

Harry had made it perfectly clear that he wouldn't play with Tom if Chakotay was there and Tom's anger with Harry over that
ultimatum had translated into anger at Chakotay so he had comforted himself by stripping the First Officer of his entire worldly

When Tom's irritation had finally died away, replaced by guilt at having won everything that Chakotay owned, Chakotay
pointing out that since *he* belonged to Tom, his things did anyway, only served to fan the flames of Tom's misery.

He didn't want this, he realised. He didn't want to be torn between fear and desire, between his friends and his lover, between
the past and the present.  He wanted people to start treating him like he was human again, yet he was terrified of adding to the
few people who already hated Chakotay for what he had done.

Tom couldn't see a way of breaking through everyone's reserve unless they realised he wasn't 'ill', yet he couldn't tell the truth
without destroying the man he loved and thereby alienating himself from everyone anyway.

"I hate this," he snarled, throwing his cue down on the baize in disgust.

"Pool? Winning at Pool? Getting rich? Getting drunk?" Chakotay asked lightly.

"I am not fucking drunk, and I am not 'winning' either, you just are playing for shit. Naomi could play a better game than you,"
Tom complained.

Dark eyes flamed with embarrassed shame, making Tom feel a complete bastard.

"I'm sorry. Do you want me to leave so you can play with Harry?" Chakotay asked mildly.

"NO," Tom shouted, then flinched as a couple of dozen interested faces swung around in response to his cry.  "Let's both
leave," he suggested in a quieter voice. "I can think of a ball game that you are definitely more talented at."

To his delight, Tom saw Chakotay flush a dark crimson and shyly duck his head. The thought that Chakotay had been a real,
honest-to-god virgin until that lunchtime completely blew Tom away.

Sure Mad Chak had fucked like a proverbial rabbit, but Chakotay was a virgin. It was awe-inspiring to realise that he was the
only person in the universe who had ever seen that gorgeous bronze face light up in the ecstasy of an orgasm. Humbling to know
that his was the only ass that Chakotay remembered sheathing his cock.

And what a fucking, inimitable cock.

Tom hadn't really been joking when he said no-one else fit anymore. The idea of being fucked by anything less than Chakotay's
cock was like settling for flying a shuttle after having been graced with the control of a starship.

It wasn't just sex though. If it was, he could have just written an amendment to one of the holocharacters to satisfy his urge. It
would have been a hell of a lot safer that way. A holographic fuck-toy was the ultimate in safe-sex. Even the Captain preferred
a hologram for her pleasure.

One that Tom had made for her, after all, so she could hardly say it was a set-back to his counseling if he chose to do the same.

Maybe he should make a couple of adjustments to Michael and let her know what she was missing.

Or maybe not. She still hadn't mentioned the fact that he had crippled the ship when he set off to rescue Chakotay and he didn't
want to tempt fate. He preferred her in her "counselor" persona, even if she sucked at it.

He wasn't stupid. He *knew* that the handcuff idea must have come from Chakotay. Janeway just didn't have enough
understanding of his relationship with Chakotay to have suggested that herself.

Which begged the real question of what the fuck was Chakotay playing at?

Whatever game it was, he played it better than pool for sure.

He loved Chakotay. That was the bottom line. He knew he did because he felt as sick at the thought of Chakotay not coming
home on an evening as he felt terrified if he did.

But this wasn't Chakotay.

This was a shell of the man whom he had wanted to be loved by. A guilt-ridden man who hesitated before he spoke, whose
confidence on the bridge fled him as soon as he entered Tom's quarters.

Tom had hoped that by mounting Chakotay himself he had proven that he wasn't as fragile as Chakotay thought, yet Tom had
seen him from the corner of his eye as he had fought with Harry, had seen Chakotay shuffling on the spot, desperate to interfere,
too frightened of upsetting Tom to even move.

As the First Officer he *should* have stepped in. A couple of Officers fighting in public was something that Chakotay should
have felt able to break up. Instead he had been crippled by his terror of frightening Tom.

Tom didn't know whether he could face being vulnerable before Chakotay without his body taking over and forcing him to flee,
but he couldn't spend the rest of his life with a lover who thought he was made of glass.

Even if he was.

No fear. That's what Tom wanted. He wanted to trust Chakotay. He didn't know if he could, if he ever would, but he couldn't
keep playing these games, no matter how well meaning they were because it was destroying him to see the sorrow in
Chakotay's eyes whenever he flinched.

The look of complete abject misery in Chakotay's eyes as he had voluntarily put the cuffs on his wrists was haunting Tom.

He knew it was different from his own imprisonment at Chakotay's hands and he knew that Chakotay *wanted* the humiliation
of being tied up as much as he himself needed to feel safe. Even so, if didn't stop him knowing that it was wrong.

The thought of the handcuffs made Tom feel sick.

Not as sick as the thought of Chakotay killing himself though.

What if he refused to play the game any more and Chakotay saw it as the breaking of their bargain? What if he killed himself
after all?

Maybe Chakotay *needed* the restraints. Maybe Chakotay had really meant it when he said that his persona as Mad Chak
was just a way for him to release all the subconscious resentment about his sex-deprived existence.

Masks within masks, wheels within wheels. So many layers of disguises that Tom wasn't sure that he would ever see the real
Chakotay. He had peeled away the mask of Mad Chak and found someone that he could love, yet what if it was just another
mask? What if Tom ripped it away and found something even darker underneath?

And there was a tiny voice in the back of Tom's head that insisted that even if it was true, it wouldn't change the way he felt.

Unconditional love.

It sounded so fucking romantic until you thought about it and realised what it really meant. It meant that you would tolerate

Would he stay with Chakotay if it was true?

Maybe, and even that realisation was enough to make Tom's stomach churn.

"Are you alright?" Chakotay asked as all the color drained from Tom's face.

For a moment Chakotay's face floated in front of Tom's eyes, the image blurring so that he could see both the features of Mad
Chak and Sad Chakotay as though each image was a translucent film resting over Chakotay's face.

"Let's go," Tom blurted and pushed his way out of the bar, letting a worried Chakotay trail in his wake. They were half-way
back to Tom's quarters before Chakotay realised that Tom was walking with his back to him. Yet something in the set of the
stiff shoulders told him that it was less an act of trust than Tom's need to keep Chakotay out of his line of vision at all. It was
only when they reached Tom's door that Chakotay found himself back in front.

Chakotay paused a little way inside Tom’s quarters and pointedly waited for Tom to enter. Tom’s eyes flared with a little alarm
at Chakotay’s failure to walk through to the bedroom and his attempt at a smile was more of a grimace.

It was only when the door closed behind him, and he found himself sandwiched between Chakotay’s solid frame and the door
that Tom panicked. His breath shortened as his heart began to jump in his chest. He half-turned, the door sensors caught his
movement and as Chakotay pressed his lips gently upon Tom’s mouth, the door opened so that they both staggered out into the
hallway. Tom tripped, his flailing arms grabbing Chakotay and causing them both to collapse into an ungainly sprawl on the floor
of the corridor.

“Good evening Commander, Lieutenant,”  Johansen chirped happily as he side stepped them.

Scrambling quickly off Tom, lest the pilot imagined that Chakotay had deliberately orchestrated their fall, Chakotay looked
down in concern. Tom was choking, gasping for breath, tears pouring down his cheeks.

Tears of hysterical laughter.

“Did you see that?” Tom demanded, before another gale of laughter rocked his whole body.  “It’ll be all over the ship by

“And that’s funny?” Chakotay asked cautiously.

“It will be.  By the time you return to Alpha shift tomorrow it will be general ship’s knowledge that you fucked me in the middle
of a public corridor.”

“But I didn’t,” Chakotay said helplessly.

“What’s the difference? You’re going to fuck me in my bed anyway.”

“I am?”

“Don’t you want to?”

“Are you sure you want me to want to?

Tom rolled his eyes.

“That is just about the stupidest conversation I ever had sober, Chak, and I refuse to say anything else except get your ass
naked and in bed, now.”

“Aren’t you sore?”

“A bit. Gonna get sorer though,” Tom replied happily.

Chakotay, who mentally at least had only lost his virginity 5 hours earlier, was less certain it was a good idea but his cock
definitely was standing at attention and ready to disregard the cautious whispers in his head.

He didn’t let Tom’s carefree attitude fool him. He obediently walked into the bedroom, stripped, climbed into bed and without
waiting for Tom to mention it, he fastened one of the handcuffs to his left wrist. He leant back to fix it to the head board, only to
be stopped by Tom’s voice.

“On your front, Chak.,”  Tom said quietly. “Please.”

Chakotay’s cock deflated a little, but he made no protest as he fastened himself  face towards the headboard. He stretched his
right arm above his head so that Tom could cuff it.

He didn’t.

“You need one arm free, Chak,” Tom drawled, only to ruin his projected aura of calm by suddenly bolting into the bathroom
and hiding for several minutes, until he pulled himself back together.

Tom emerged from the bathroom  naked, one hand clutching a towel, the other holding a  bottle of oil.

“You want a massage?” Chakotay asked innocently.

Tom snorted.

“Hold that thought, big guy. But that’s *not* what I had in mind.  The oil’s for lube and the towel is so I don’t end up sleeping in
my own cum.”

“You want me to make love to you?” Chakotay asked hesitantly.

Tom’s  beaming smile faltered.

“Don’t say that,” he whispered. “I want you to fuck me, that’s all. Nothing mushy. No romantic shit. I just want a fuck.”

“What if I say I can’t do it, Tom? What if it has to be making love to you?”

“You fucking cheeky bastard.  You’re several dozen rapes too late to tell me you have a problem with the idea of being a quick
fuck,” Tom yelled, his face twisting with fury.

“Tom. Before we went out, you said you loved me. Now you are saying I’m just a fuck toy? Which is it?” Chakotay asked

“You’re not supposed to do this," Tom snapped. “You’re supposed to do as you’re told. I don’t want you to kiss me. I just
want you to fuck me hard. Like you used to.”

“You mean when I was sick?” Chakotay asked cautiously.

“Yeah,” Tom nodded, his eyes blank.

“But I’m not sick anymore, Tom and I can’t do that anymore.”

“You’ve still got a fucking dick, haven’t you? Just fucking use it,” Tom growled.

“Tom, what’s wrong? What’s really going on here? You aren’t like this.”

“How the fuck do you know how I am? You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me.”

“Yes I do. You want me to make love to you, properly, but you’re scared because I’ll have some control, so you’re asking me
to just fuck you hard so that if I hurt you, you’ll be able to tell yourself that it was your own choice.”

“Who died and made you God? You don’t know shit.”

“Don’t I?” Chakotay asked.

“I HATE YOU,” Tom screamed.

“That’s okay, Tom. You’ve got the right. What do you really want?”

Tom was silent for so long that Chakotay started to look nervously around for his comm badge. There was something seriously
wrong with Tom, he knew that much. The sudden mood swings, the blank dead look in his eyes. Something had really upset
and frightened Tom but Chakotay hadn't the faintest idea what. He tugged helplessly at the handcuff, cursing himself for not
realising something was wrong before he had shackled himself so stupidly to the headboard.

"Talk to me, Tom. Please," he begged.

“I want us to be normal,” Tom whispered eventually.


“No games. No chains. No cuffs. No fucking retribution. I lied, okay? I fucking lied.”

“Lied about what?” Chakotay asked gently.

“When I said I wanted to punish you, make you suffer.  I lied. I just wanted to stop you killing yourself. I can’t live like this any
more. I want you to leave. “

“You want me to go back to my quarters?”

“Yes,” Tom said. “I don’t want you living here anymore.”

“I don’t understand,” Chakotay admitted. "Have I done something? Have I frightened you somehow?"

“I’m going to take the cuff off and then I want you to get the fuck out of my quarters. If you hurt me, then you had better make
sure you kill me 'cos if you ever raise your hand to me again I’ll ask the Captain to space you myself," Tom snarled.

"Talk to me Tom. What's really happening here?" Chakotay asked in his gentlest voice.

"Don't fucking play counselor with me, Chakotay," Tom spat.

"Then tell me what's going on. You said you loved me. Then you asked me to fuck you. Now you are throwing me out? What
did I do?"

"What didn't you do, you bastard? Oh, of course, you don't fucking remember anything do you?  Well I do. I remember for
both of us. So just fuck off out of my life."

"I'm not going anywhere Tom until I know what's wrong. I'll call the Doctor and Tuvok if you don't feel safe and you can tell us
*all* what is going on in your head, but I'm not leaving you alone in this state."

Tom smirked nastily and dropped to his knees to rummage in a drawer. He gave a cry of triumph and pulled out Chakotay's
own sacrificial knife.

"Remember this, Chak?" he asked, crossing his legs and running the blade experimentally along the thin white scars that still
marred his left arm.

"Put the knife down, Tom. Let's stay calm, okay?" Chakotay said, pulling frantically against the handcuff.

Tom lifted the blade so that it glinted wickedly, its razor sharp edges sparkling even in the dimly lit bedroom.

"Tom, please honey, put the knife down."

Tom's eyes were glazed, opaque and dull as he lifted his head and smiled. Then he took the point of the blade and inserted it
into the crook of his left elbow.

"Computer, Medical Emergency," Chakotay screamed as the knife sliced down Tom's forearm.

There was no response.

"What the fuck's wrong with the computer?" Chakotay howled as Tom began a parallel line.

"I turned it off," Tom replied dreamily. "This is our time, Chak. Just us. We don't want anyone coming in, do we?"

Chakotay went cold as he saw that Tom's face was completely blank.

"So what is this, honey? A suicide pact?" he asked softly.

Tom frowned in confusion, then began to laugh, only to abruptly silence himself, a look of outrage replacing his odd smile.

"I love you. I'd never hurt you. Never, ever hurt you. I don't hurt you. I don't want to hurt you. You can't make me hurt you. I
won't do it. I won't. I don't want to play this game with you any more."

"Tom, it's okay. I'm sorry. You're right. This has been about me, about what I want. Put the knife down. Let me go. We can
work this out."

"No, I figured it out, Chak. I finally figured *you* out," Tom replied.

"What did you figure out, Tom?"

"Mad Chak and Sad Chak," Tom chanted, his mouth twisting with a strange smile under eyes that remained frighteningly blank.


"You aren't Chakotay," Tom said as he examined his arm for the best place for the next incision. "See, I have my own tattoo
now." he exclaimed, gesturing at the precision of the cuts. "It's a mask, like your masks. "

"What masks, Tom?"

"I'm not Tom. I'm  Mad Tom tonight," Tom announced with a sly grin. "I'm playing *your* game. Mad's good isn't it? Mad's

"It looks like mad hurts, Tom."

Tom blinked and looked down at the blood welling on his arm, then shrugged.  "I like the pain. It's MY pain. I did it. I made it.
It's mine."

"What the hell have I done to you?" Chakotay whispered. "Tell me about Mad Chak and Sad Chak," he said aloud. As he
hoped, Tom lost interest in the blade temporarily as he thought about Chak's question.

Tom gave another sly grin.

"You tried to fool me. I nearly fell for it, but I figured it out."

"What did you figure out, Tom?"

"The real Chakotay. It's not you," Tom accused.

"So who is the real Chakotay?" Chakotay asked. A puddle of blood was spreading around Tom's crossed legs. Chakotay tried
to convince himself that a small amount of blood always looked like liters when it was smeared on thighs and floor, but Tom's
face was beginning to look frighteningly pale as the blood continued to trickle down his arm from three deep gashes.

"Before I was in the academy. Before I got thrown out, I mean," Tom laughed, "My dad said I was going to be a Captain, like
Kirk himself, and then an admiral of course, but that didn't mean shit to me. Being like Kirk though, that was cool. He wouldn't
even pass the current psyche tests. Did you know that? Some fucking progress."

"He was a maverick," Chakotay agreed, "but a hero, a great man."

Tom nodded. "Yeah, a hero."

"So what about Kirk?" Chakotay asked desperately as Tom started to look longingly at the blade again.

Tom looked up in surprise, his face twisting uncertainly as though he had lost his train of thought.

"He had a transporter accident," Tom finally remembered. "He got split in two. Bad Kirk and Good Kirk. Remember?"

Chakotay's heart sank. He understood. Spirits he understood. No wonder the realisation had pushed Tom back over the edge
once more.

"You're right, Tom," he admitted. Hell, what else could he do. He didn't want to face it either. He could feel the same pit of
despair threatening to swallow him that had already swallowed Tom. "Kirk was split into two. All of his potential evil on one
side, all of his goodness on the other. They had to merge the two together again to make him whole. He needed both sides of
his personality to be a complete person."

Tom nodded sadly.

"You're broken Chakotay. I saw it today when I fought with Harry. You're like the good Kirk. You can't fight. You've got no
confidence. You're just a shell. You're so busy being sad Chak that you aren't Chakotay any more."

"I can change, Tom. I can get my confidence back. If you're here. If you help me," Chakotay promised desperately.

Tom's eyes flared with alarm.

"You won't love me then though. You'll hurt me," Tom said sadly, "and I'll let you. That's why. It's not you, Chakotay. It's me.
That's why."

"I don't understand."

"It's like you were wearing a mask, Chakotay. When you were Mad Chak, I mean. I kept seeing through it, kept seeing what I
thought was the real Chakotay underneath, but it was just a different mask, wasn't it? "

"You think I'm wearing a mask now? Tricking you? Trying to lull you into trusting me?" Chakotay asked, unable to keep the
hurt from his voice.

"Maybe. I don't know. I don't think so. It doesn't matter though, does it?"

"What do you mean?"

"I told you. This isn't about you. It's about me."

"I don't understand, Tom."

"I love you, Chakotay. I need you. Really need you. I want to believe that if you hurt me I'd leave you. I want to be the kind of
person who would have you arrested if you turned on me again. But I wouldn't. I realised that tonight. If you hit me, I'd make
excuses for you. I'd say I walked into a fucking door or something. I'd never let anyone hurt you. See? You're safe with me.
You know that really, don't you? You know I need you?"

"I swear I'd rather die than hurt you again, Tom," Chakotay assured him.

"I don't fucking care! Admit it. You know don't you?" Tom demanded.

"I know you're shit scared of me, Tom. I know you love me, and yes, I know I could hurt you and you'd never tell anyone,"
Chakotay admitted.

"That tempts you, doesn't it?" Tom accused.

"A little," Chakotay admitted, finally facing the demons in his own soul. "I've been so lonely, Tom. So fucking lonely. There *is*
a part of me that could take without asking, demand without giving back. But it's in everyone. It was in Kirk too. It's in you,
Tom. For Kirk it took a transporter malfunction to bring out that buried evil. For me it took a Cardassian viral weapon. Look at
yourself, do you think cutting yourself is okay? Do you think it's less wrong to abuse your own body than someone else's? We
all carry these bad things inside us. But we can chose NOT to let our bad sides win."

"Harry's right. Mad Chak *was* you," Tom mumbled.

"I know he was. Everyone knows he was. It's only you who wanted or needed to believe something else. *I* hurt you Tom, but
I won't do it again."

"I'd let you," Tom admitted. "But I'd rather die than let you."

"So what have you got to lose, Tom?" Chakotay asked quietly. "You've made it clear to me that if I ever hurt you again, you'll
kill yourself. Even if you can't trust me, do you think I'm stupid?"


"If I hurt you, I lose you. Do you think I want to lose you?"

"No," Tom mumbled.

"Then let me go, Tom. Let me help you. Trust my intelligence if you don't trust *me*."

Tom looked dully at his arm.

"They'll take you away from me. They'll blame you. For this," he said, gesturing at his arm.

"Then we'll just have to make sure no one ever finds out, won't we?" Chakotay said.

"You won't tell?" Tom asked worriedly.

"I won't tell," Chakotay lied.


"Well, I guess that means I flunk as a counselor too, " Kathryn stated miserably. "I thought he was getting better. I didn't even
have a clue that he was feeling this down."

"How is he?" Chakotay asked the Doctor.

"Still sleeping. He didn't wake up. He doesn't know you called me. I just checked that his vitals were steady and gave him
something to replace the fluids he lost. He *should* be in sickbay."

"No," Tuvok stated firmly. "Releasing Chakotay and allowing him to regenerate the wounds was a major leap of faith for Tom.
We cannot allow him to feel betrayed. He is too fragile mentally to understand that we all have his best interests at heart."

"It wasn't a suicide attempt," Chakotay stated.

"I agree, " the Doctor said. "He simply reacted to the stress of the situation. Once a behaviour pattern such as self-mutilation has
been established, the probability is high that the patient will revert to the behaviour in times of stress."

"So he just had a relapse, you mean?"  Kathryn asked.

"I disagree," Tuvok interrupted. "This was, in fact, a step forward for Mr. Paris. It is unfortunate that it was accompanied by
such a dramatic demonstration of his psychological distress. It was, however, a breakthrough overall."

"How the hell do you figure that?" Chakotay demanded.

"He has finally reconciled his memory of 'Mad Chak' with his relationship with you. He no longer sees you as two different

"No, he sees me as three," Chakotay snapped.

"Your conclusion is flawed Commander. He now acknowledges that neither of the two personas that he is familiar with are the
'real' you. You are not the monster of his nightmares, yet neither are you the person that you are currently pretending to be."

"I'm not pretending," Chakotay objected.

"Yes you are," Kathryn said quietly. "Tuvok's right. You're over-compensating, being too nice, being too submissive. Tom
instinctively knows it isn't real and is waiting for the bomb to drop. He's subconsciously expecting you to suddenly revert to the
behaviour of "Mad Chak" as he calls him. You have to show him the 'real' Chakotay, flaws and all. Everyone has a temper.
Everyone loses it sometimes."

"You want me to lose my temper with him?"  Chakotay asked incredulously.

"I want you to at least feel able to break up a fight in the holodec between two officers, " Kathryn said.

"Is that what this was all about?" Chakotay demanded helplessly.

"It is a logical assumption, Commander. Tom knew you were angry and concerned, As First Officer you *should* have
intervened. Your failure to do so indicated to him that you were concerned that your reaction would be inappropriately violent
so you restrained yourself," Tuvok replied.

"Tom has also faced an unpleasant truth about himself," the Doctor added. "He has acknowledged that his emotional attachment
to you is so great that he would accept you treating him badly. Yet the idea of being abused by you is something that terrifies

"It isn't true," Chakotay stated firmly. "He is still confused about his reaction to being my prisoner. He's trying to find ways to
forgive me, that's all. He's still trying to vindicate me. Now he's faced the fact that I *am* Mad Chak, he's telling himself that the
abuse was something he would have allowed anyway. It's bullshit. He's stronger than that."

"What are you going to do?" Kathryn asked.

"I'm going to move back to my own quarters and start over with him," Chakotay said. "It's time to leave the past behind us. I
tried it his way and it didn't work. Now I'm going to do it properly."


"As equals. There's no other way. I'm going to be Tom's senior officer on the bridge and his lover, if he'll have me, off the
bridge. I'm going to be the real me. If he pisses me off, I'm going to say so. If I piss him off, I want him to be able to tell me that
too. He needs his own quarters back so that he can escape me if he needs to. And, with respect Captain, I think it's time he had
a new counselor."

"I agree," Kathryn chuckled ruefully. "Any suggestions?"

"Me," Chakotay said bluntly.

"You can't," Kathryn protested.

"Think about it. It's a way for him to tell me things face to face that he can't manage in any other scenario."

"You think he can sit in your office and tell you about his problems with his lover, who just happens to be you?" Kathryn

"He's used to the idea of me wearing masks, Kathryn. I know him. It will work. Hell, it can't do any more harm, can it?"

"There is a logic to it. I will require all sessions to be recorded however so that I can monitor the situation," Tuvok stated.

Chakotay nodded. "I agree. I am too close to the problem to be impartial. That way you are the counselor Tuvok. I am simply
the face that Tom can talk to."

Kathryn rubbed her face tiredly. "We never covered situations like this in the Academy," she complained. "I agree to give it a try
as long as Tom agrees."

"He already has," Chakotay said quietly. "We discussed it when I was regenerating his arm."

"He agreed?" The Doctor asked in obvious surprise.

Chakotay shrugged.

"It's his idea. There's a lot of things we have to talk about and he needs to feel safe as we do it. This way we separate our
discussions of the past from our relationship," he explained.

"He knows you are moving out?"


"So what about your relationship?"

"He's invited me for dinner tomorrow night," Chakotay explained with a bashful shrug. "He won all my rations off me this
afternoon so dinner is on him."