The Shattering of the Mask 35
By Morticia

See part 1 for disclaimer

When Chakotay woke, he was alone.

The emptiness of the bed shocked him into instant alertness and he jerked upright, only to groan at the sharp ache that shot through his bowels. He reached down gingerly and touched himself. Tom had been right. He *was* sore as hell, but at least when he pulled his fingers away from his abraded ass, they came back spotted only with the faint trace of Tom's semen mixed with a little of the copious amounts of lube Tom had used.

"Tom?" he called out, only to mocked by the echoing silence of Tom's quarters.

He hauled himself to his feet and staggered towards the door of the bedroom. A quick glance at the empty living quarters and he hurried to the bathroom. He told himself he needed to use the head, and there was such a sudden pain in his kidneys that it might even have been true, but as he pushed the door open, his mind was swirling with panic at what he might find inside. 

The bathroom was empty. No blood. No sprawled corpse. Instead of feeling relieved, Chakotay's mind spiraled into a different avenue of panic. Perhaps Tom had fled to find a more secluded, private place to harm himself. Perhaps he had run in fear that Chakotay would exact some retribution for the ache in his ass. In the cold light of morning, perhaps Tom had conveniently forgotten that Chakotay had demanded to be fucked and now was terrified that he would be angry.

Deciding to just piss and then run after Tom, too panicked to even think of asking the computer for a location check on the pilot, Chakotay entered the bathroom and froze.

There was a data padd propped on top of the toilet lid.

Hesitantly, Chakotay reached forward and read the display. Then he released the breath he'd hardly been aware of holding.

'Sorry to run out on you, but I wanted to have breakfast with Harry and you looked so tired, I decided to let you sleep…love you, Tom.'

"Computer," Chakotay called out. "Location of Lieutenant Paris?"

"Lieutenant Paris is in the Mess Hall," the disembodied voice replied.

Chakotay grinned. He felt a little guilty that he had automatically checked Tom's story, but he'd needed to *know* that Tom hadn't run off and cut his wrists. 

It wasn't just personal relief that Tom hadn't reacted badly to their lovemaking that made Chakotay smile, though, or even the 'love you'. It was the fact that this was the first time since Tom's incarceration at his hands that Tom had gone to breakfast in the Mess Hall. Hell, maybe Tom was even actually eating something.

It was surely a sign that Tom was taking the first hesitant step towards some form of healing.


For the next week, they kept a form of holding pattern. Tom was noticeably more at ease at the helm, he joined Chakotay for most meals and they slept together each night, so that it was almost as though Chakotay had moved back into Tom's quarters. 

By an unspoken agreement, their bedroom roles reversed back to Tom being the recipient of Chakotay's attentions, but Chakotay took great pains to let Tom always call the shots. He always waited for Tom to initiate their lovemaking and was always carefully attuned to the slightest sound of discomfort that Tom might make.

He treated Tom as though he were the most precious and delicate treasure that he had ever found, never allowing his own urges and desires to dominate their coupling lest he shattered the fragile truce between them.

It was frustrating at times to have to always remember that the smallest loss of control might terrify Tom. The more time Chakotay spent with the pilot, the more he found him irresistible and the harder it became to keep his passion under check.

He over compensated by detaching himself completely from their love-making. It was agonising to touch Tom like that, to devote every part of his body to worshipping Tom's without ever allowing himself to feel the pleasure himself. It hurt, but Chakotay welcomed the pain as just another of the punishments he deserved to bear.

Chakotay's constant, unfailing gentleness was gradually breaking down Tom's fear. Tom no longer flinched when Chakotay reached for him, no longer trembled at the helm when Chakotay sat behind him.

Tom was beginning to smile again.

Only there was something wrong with the way the expression lay on Tom's face. Something false and forced about his attitude. Despite Tom's more relaxed air, Chakotay was becoming increasingly convinced that Tom's smiles were just a new mask for him to hide behind.

Assuming Tom's smiles were a defense mechanism intended to ensure the harmony of their relationship, Chakotay found himself responding by detaching himself even further from his emotions to ensure that he always remained placid and calm in Tom's presence.

He was determined that Tom would never have cause to fear him again.


"You are experiencing a natural fear of destroying this status quo," Tuvok said dispassionately, when he met with Chakotay to discuss Tom's progress during his counseling sessions. 

Chakotay flushed but nodded his agreement.

"I *know* Tom isn't happy," he admitted. "Not really. He makes all the right noises. He's truly affectionate and always insists that he wants me in his life and in his bed, but there's something wrong, something he wants from me that I'm obviously not giving him." 

"In his counseling sessions he is being far more open with you than he was with either myself or the Captain. He is now able to discuss his tendency to mutilate himself in times of particular stress. He also is acknowledging that you are the person who hurt him. He has found the courage to condemn your treatment of him to your face, without allowing it to affect his current perception of you."

"I know," Chakotay agreed. "The sessions are going better than I expected. Too well."

"Explain," Tuvok demanded.

"He is telling me what we all want to hear in the sessions, just as he is pretending to be happy when we are alone together. He knows you record the sessions, Tuvok. He's just playing the game of happy, well-adjusted ex-victim to ensure that he is allowed to keep seeing me."

Tuvok raised an eyebrow thoughtfully.

"Yes," he agreed. "That is my interpretation too. It does not invalidate the sessions however. It proves that his main motivation is still to maintain a sexual relationship with yourself, despite the concern of the Captain and myself. The question is why he is doing that if, as you suggest, the relationship between you is unsatisfactory."

"I didn't say it was," Chakotay protested. "It's just hard. Of course it's hard. I have to second-guess everything I do or say in case I frighten him."

"Do you?" Tuvok asked.

"What do you mean?"

"You are still deceiving him. You are still attempting to be the person you think he wants, rather than being honest."

"Damnit, Tuvok. I kidnapped him, beat him, raped him, tortured him. Nobody just forgets that kind of thing. I know he wants to forgive me and for some reason he thinks he loves me, but we both know his feelings aren't real."

"I did not realise that your opinion of Mr. Paris was so low," Tuvok replied coldly.


"You have just said that you believe his feelings for you are imaginary. That implies a certain degree of contempt. Perhaps he is unhappy because you show so little trust in *him*."

"What gives you the right to say that? You know nothing about our relationship," Chakotay replied defensively.

"In my opinion, your inability to be honest in your behaviour to him is as much an indictment of his judgment as it is of your own self-doubts," Tuvok replied. "You say that you love him, yet you do not trust him even to be able to make his own decisions about who he does or does not feel affection towards."

Chakotay was silent for a long time, chewing over Tuvok's words, trying his theory out for size.

"That's not it," Chakotay answered, eventually. "It's not that I don't trust his love. I simply don't trust his instincts, because the very fact he loves me proves that he doesn't understand who I really am."

"Then perhaps it is finally time to show Mr. Paris the real Chakotay," Tuvok suggested.


"I love you, Tom Paris," Chakotay murmured.

They had just made love. It had been sweet, gentle and Tom had come in his hands with a ragged cry and then had clung to him, pressing his head into Chakotay's chest as though burrowing for comfort.

To an observer, their union would have seemed the slow, tender touching of two long familiar lovers. Tom had responded eagerly at first to Chakotay's touch, had opened himself easily to Chakotay's entrance and had moaned in all the appropriate moments.

Chakotay, however, had once again soon received the distinct impression that Tom was merely going through the motions with him. No sooner had Chakotay come and withdrawn than Tom had given a definite sigh of relief, as though he was glad the ordeal was over. Yet, he had then clung to Chakotay as though he wanted to crawl under his skin.

"I love you too," Tom replied sleepily, but even his tiredness couldn't completely mask the faint sound of disappointment in his voice.

Chakotay twisted until Tom was in his arms and their faces were just inches apart. He ran his hands down Tom's back, feeling the damp hot flesh of Tom's muscles twitching eagerly under his touch, and he pushed forward so that their groins touched. He ground suggestively against Tom's hips, and felt Tom's spent cock spring back to life with dribbling eagerness.

Tom's expression remained remote, however, as though his body was responding of its own volition, while his mind remained separate and untouched.

Chakotay regarded him worriedly. What the hell is going on in Tom's head? he wondered. Tom didn't seem frightened of him. He wasn't agreeing to make love due to fear. It actually seemed as though Tom was almost bored by the whole experience, as though he was only accepting his participation in a distasteful sexual act as being the price of having Chakotay in his bed.

Horrified, Chakotay began to pull back. He wasn't going to allow Tom to whore himself just because he needed the comfort of a hug.

"You want me to leave?" Chakotay asked softly.

Tom's response, rather than the usual frenetic denial, was just to give a tired shrug as though it made no difference to him either way. His apathy both bewildered and alarmed Chakotay.

"What's wrong?" Chakotay asked, in his most gentle tone.

"Nothing," Tom replied dispiritedly, refusing to meet Chakotay's eyes.

"So shall I go or stay?" Chakotay said, although he was already deciding that he wasn't leaving Tom alone in this obvious state of depression. He decided that if Tom didn't want him here, he'd call Tuvok to come over instead. There was obviously something seriously wrong here and Tom couldn't be trusted in this state of mind.

"Whatever," Tom replied miserably. "Do what you want. You always do."

Chakotay reared back in astonishment, his concern now mingling with the first stirrings of anger. He'd done nothing tonight, or any other night for that matter, except touch Tom with gentle respect.

"What the hell do you mean by that?" he demanded.

Tom flinched a little at the tone of his voice. It had been a long time since Chakotay had spoken to him in anything except the placid, non-judgmental tone that Tom had privately begun to consider being Chakotay's counseling voice.

He could feel his stomach starting to tangle in knots at the faint aura of danger that he was inviting into his own bedroom by admitting his own unhappiness. The fear felt good though, in a strange way. It was a relief to finally see *any* real emotion on Chakotay's face. Even so, he kept his voice low and free of accusation as he replied.

"I'm too tired to play games with you, Chakotay," he said quietly. "I can't take this anymore."

"You can't take what anymore?" Chakotay asked, desperately trying to rein in his panicked anger.

"You pretending you want me," Tom whispered. "I know you're trying to be kind or something, but it's not helping, it's just making it worse."

"Pretending?" Chakotay asked, completely dumbfounded.

"It's like I'm not really here," Tom said sadly. "I want, I *need* more than your pity, Chak. I want you to love me. This isn't enough any more. I thought it would be. I thought I'd take you anyway I could have you. But I can't."

"Why do you think it's pity, Tom?" 

"Because you don't FUCK me," Tom spat. "There's no passion, no love, just - just this - this CRAP!"

"CRAP?" Chakotay roared.

Tom scooted back on the bed in terror, grabbing a pillow and hugging it as though it would shield him against Chakotay's outrage. Yet, although tears began to pour down his face, his cheeks were flushed and his eyes were flashing with the same anger that he had revealed when he had punched Chakotay the week before.

"I don't want to be your pity fuck," Tom choked, between bitter sobs. "You touch me like I'm not really here, like it's a chore, like you're not even in the same room as me."

Chakotay looked at Tom's frustrated tears in astonishment. Then Tuvok's words came back to him and the realisation of his terrible error made his heart ache with sorrow and guilt.

Tom was right. He hadn't been passionate, hadn't shown any lust or desire. He had touched Tom as though their love making was no more than a ritual to be observed. But it wasn't because he didn't feel the passion. It was because he was terrified of letting it loose, of releasing that darker side of his nature, of letting Tom see the real Chakotay without the safe veil of his iron self-control.

With a sinking feeling, Chakotay realised he'd run out of places to hide. Tom had recognised his behaviour as being an illusion and was no longer willing to accept the charade Chakotay had been offering him. Tom wanted to be loved, deserved to be loved, wholeheartedly and with passion. The problem was that Chakotay was pretty damn sure that when Tom discovered the price of Chakotay's passion he'd decide, naturally enough, that it was too high a price to pay.

Chakotay had entered his relationship with Tom as a mental virgin. He had no memories of sex with either Simon or Tom during the time of his illness, yet he instinctively knew that he wanted more than the current relationship they shared.

Whenever he entered Tom, despite his extreme care and gentleness, he had to fight constantly against an instinct that told him to simply ram himself inside the younger man and take possession of his body. As soon as he touched Tom, a fire raged inside him, a burning need to dominate and possess the body beneath him, and he was so terrified of that inner fire that he quenched it with a cold, almost clinical detachment.

He had thought his self-control had proved his love for Tom. Instead it was obviously convincing Tom that he had no love at all.

Tom was right in a way. Guilt would keep him at Tom's side for as long as the pilot needed him, but one day, eventually, Chakotay would have to move on and find someone who could satisfy the growing urge of the fire inside him. The fact that Tom's fragility was Chakotay's own fault, only made the acceptance that Tom was incapable of fulfilling his desires more bitter and guilt-ridden.

Despite his own horror of the dark voice that whispered in his head, Chakotay knew that what he wanted and needed out of a sexual relationship was more than Tom was likely to be ever prepared to offer. Mentally Chakotay was already preparing himself for Tom's eventual rejection.

Perhaps it was time to be honest, time for him to show Tom the *real* Chakotay, as Tuvok had suggested. He knew it would terrify Tom, would drive him away from him, and the pain of that knowledge was so terrible that it was like a knife twisting inside his guts, yet he owed Tom the chance to move on and get over him.

He was no good for Tom, and perhaps the sooner Tom understood that, the better it would be for both of them.

"You're right, Tom. I haven't been completely honest with you. I've tried to be what you wanted me to be. It hasn't satisfied me, and it seems that it obviously it hasn't satisfied you either," he confessed.

Tom gave a brittle smile. "So you want to leave?" he asked, cringing slightly, his face twisting as though he was fighting tears.

"No," Chakotay replied. "I want to fuck you, Tom." 

Tom just shrugged his compliance and closed his eyes as though he couldn't bear to watch his own body receiving Chakotay's dispassionate attention again.

"I SAID," Chakotay repeated, enunciating each word clearly. "I want to FUCK you. I don't want to 'make-love', I don't want to kiss you, and watch your face carefully for pain or fear, too terrified of making a wrong move and upsetting you to let go of my self-control. I want to take you on your hands and knees and fuck you 'til you howl."

To Chakotay's surprise, he saw Tom's cock jerk in response even before Tom's eyes flew open in shock. There was a momentary flash of fear deep within the blue, then Tom's eyes darkened perceptively. Chakotay decided his words hadn't truly sunk in, so he continued.

"See. You're right, Tom. I *have* been playing games. Not to hurt you, but to protect you. I didn't think I had the right to ask you to trust me after everything I did to you, so I've never been truly honest about what I want."

"What do you want?" Tom asked, chewing nervously on his lower lip.

"I told you. I want to fuck you through this mattress," Chakotay admitted, and waited for Tom to yell in outrage.

Tom's only answer was to lick his lips and then submissively open his legs in silent invitation. Chakotay's breath caught with the intense mingling of his desire with his  complete shock.  He'd expected Tom to go crazy, call security even. Instead, Tom actually seemed genuinely turned on for the first time in days.

"If we do this, if I let go and show you how I really feel about you, it's not going to be safe and gentle, Tom. It's going to be real and I might accidentally hurt you," Chakotay warned. 

Tom's eyes simply widened and dilated further. He groaned and whimpered, writhing in response to the dark promise of Chakotay's words.

"I swear I won't humiliate you, that you can trust me, that I would never deliberately cause you any pain" Chakotay clarified, as Tom's chest heaved with a mixture of excitement and fear. "But it's time for honesty between us, and it seems that I want, I *need* certain things."

"What things?" Tom gasped, his face twisting with the first signs of genuine fear, even as his erection engorged so much that it prodded Chakotay in the stomach.

"I love you Tom, and I would rather spend my whole life just making love to you as we have been, rather than risk losing you. But if you want my passion, I want, no I *need* to know it's okay if I'm a little rough. I don't want to hurt you or humiliate you, or beat you, but if this is going to work between us, and I want it to, you have to accept that I need to be able to show you how I feel without being constantly terrified that you'll over-react if I'm a little forceful."

Tom's face flushed with uncertainty and he tried to push himself off the bed. He wanted a little space to figure out the confusion in his own head, to separate the fear from the undeniable fact that Chakotay's sudden offer of a darker, wilder sex was making his own blood surge with excitement. 

Chakotay almost let him go. He changed his mind when he saw Tom's almost painfully aroused cock and realised that while Tom's mind might be rejecting Chakotay's offer, his body was unmistakably reacting favorably.  He reached out, snagged Tom around the waist and pulled him back onto the mattress. Tom snarled and struggled in his grasp, but his eyes were dark with more passion than terror, and his ragged breathing seemed due more to excitement than fear.

Chakotay pinned Tom easily, using his greater body weight to trap Tom in place, yet he kept his hands gentle around Tom's wrists and bent to kiss softly at Tom's nipples before continuing.

"Shuussh," he soothed, nibbling at Tom's chest, teasing Tom's flesh with just the edge of his teeth.

Tom groaned and arched helplessly, his body responding eagerly to Chakotay's mouth.

"You want this, don't you?" Chakotay asked softly, as he saw the truth of his words written in every heaving line of Tom's body. "This is what you really want. You want me to fuck you hard, don't you? You want me to make you mine." 

Tom shook his head in frantic denial, yet as Chakotay slid between Tom's legs, he felt Tom's hips shift and open wider, wantonly inviting Chakotay to continue his assault.

"Trust me," Chakotay whispered.

Tom whimpered, closing his eyes. Chakotay could see the damp trace of tears on Tom's eyelashes and he paused, suddenly uncertain. Just because Tom was obviously physically turned on by the idea of being taken a little more forcibly didn't mean he was mentally ready to accept his body's desire. Given his former treatment at Chakotay's hands, maybe he'd never be ready. Just because Tom seemed unable to say no, it was no reason to assume that he was saying yes.

"Do you want me to stop?" Chakotay asked sincerely. "Do you want me to leave? Have I gone too far? Am I taking advantage of you?"

For a heart-stopping moment, he waited for Tom to scream at him to leave. Instead, Tom's legs wrapped themselves hungrily around Chakotay's back and pulled him closer.

"Do it," Tom whispered, a flush of shame tingeing his cheeks.

Instead, Chakotay bent down and licked gently at the salt-tears that were trickling freely down Tom's face.

"I said fucking do it," Tom spat, his eyes flying open. "Just fuck me, you bastard."

Chakotay shook his head sadly and reared up, letting go of Tom's wrists and forcing Tom's legs to drop back to the bed..

"I'm sorry, Tom. This isn't going to work, is it? I really hoped you wanted it like this, that you finally understood me."

Tom's face filled with panic as Chakotay pulled away.

"I do. What do you want me to do? Fucking BEG you?"

Chakotay gave a rueful chuckle that ended in something suspiciously like a sob.

"Yeah, I suppose I do, in a way," he admitted. "I want you to beg me to fuck you hard, I need to know you want it, want me, the way that I am. What I can't handle is the fact that you are obviously ashamed of wanting me to do it."

Tom flushed and dropped his gaze to the bedcovers.

"It's hard," he whispered. "What you said before, about me just letting you hurt me when you were Mad Chak. It was kind of true. At the end, at least, when you thought I was Simon. If I'd known you were seeing *me* when you fucked me, everything would have been different."

"Different how?"

"I wanted to be Simon," Tom admitted. "I still do. I want you to love me like you loved him. I want you to want to own *me* the way you wanted to own *him*."

"I don't understand."

"I fucking know THAT!" Tom replied, his voice rising into a near scream. "I know you like rough sex, Chakotay. Mad or not, your body knows what it wants. So does mine. I knew exactly what I was asking for when I got into this relationship with *you*. I just hate myself for wanting it. Who's the crazy one now, huh?

"It's all I think about. The way you held me down and fucked me senseless. I hated the fear, the pain, the way you treated me like shit, but the sex, I fucking loved the sex. I don't want to fuck *you*, Chak and I don't want you to treat me like I'm going to break when you fuck *me*. I want you inside me, fucking my brains out until I can't walk. Only," and he paused and gave a heavy sob.

"Only what, Tom?"

"Only I want you to see ME when you do it, you bastard," Tom demanded, his voice ending in a wail of agony.

Chakotay's heart constricted at the agony in Tom's voice. He'd been so blind, so self-absorbed, so wrapped in his own guilt and shame that he hadn't seen what was right before his eyes. Tom's self-mutilation finally made sense to him. Tom didn't simply hate himself for falling in love with his captor, he loathed himself for enjoying the sex despite his captivity. In the midst of the terrible things he had done to Tom, Chakotay had also inadvertently pushed sexual buttons that Tom's body now craved.

No wonder Tom was confused and filled with self-loathing. He, Kathryn, Tuvok and the Doctor had been busily telling Tom that everything that had happened to him had been wrong, disgusting, a horrific abuse, and of course it had been. Yet, it didn't mean that Tom's feelings were invalid, or that the same physical pleasure couldn't be found within a loving relationship.

"It is you, Tom. It's you here in bed with me, your body driving me out of my mind with lust. You, Tom Paris. Why do you think I've been holding back? It's because I can't trust myself not to just go crazy if you let me touch you that way. I want you so much that I'm scared that if I start really fucking you, I won't be able to stop."

"Oh, God," Tom gasped. "Do it, Chak. Just do it, please. Show me I'm the one you really want. Call *my* name out when you take me. That's all I want. That's all I ever wanted. For you to want me the way you wanted Simon. I want you to love me with that kind of passion. You all said I was crazy. That I had Stockholm Syndrome. That wanting to feel you touching me like that was just proof I was as ill as you were. I thought all I needed was a proper relationship with you and I'd forget the bad stuff. Only...."


"Only it wasn't all bad. That makes me sick too, doesn't it? I dream about it, you know. Dream about the way you just threw me down and fucked me, and I miss it, I want to feel that again and at the same time, I hate myself for feeling that way. I hate myself for being so fucking pathetic that I miss Mad Chak."

"You don't," Chakotay replied gently. "You just discovered that you liked the feeling of being dominated sexually. There's nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with you. It doesn't mean you agreed with any of the rest of it. It doesn't mean you're any less a man. It doesn't change anything else in your life. It just means in the privacy of our bedroom you want me to do all the hard work."


Chakotay just grinned.

Tom looked at him in complete disbelief and then a slow, reluctant smile crept over his face.

"Bastard," he said, but it sounded more like an endearment than a curse.

"We okay?" Chakotay asked hesitantly.

"Yeah," Tom replied quietly.

"So, can I fuck you now?"

Tom gave a bark of laughter, his eyes dilating immediately.

"Yeah," he purred.

Chakotay reached down and squeezed Tom's fingers gently as he bent forward to capture his lips. They yielded immediately, allowing Chakotay's tongue to thrust between them and plunder hungrily. Tom began to wrap his legs around Chakotay's waist once more and Chakotay pulled back out of the kiss.

"No," he said.

"No?" Tom asked plaintively.

"I told you," Chakotay reminded him. "I want you on your hands and knees."

Tom swallowed convulsively, a little of his old fear flashing in his eyes, then he nodded slowly.

"Okay," he agreed.

Chakotay pulled back to let Tom turn over. He could see nervous tremors running down Tom's flanks, could see Tom's biceps trembling as they took his weight, and Chakotay was plagued by fresh doubts. Then Tom spread his legs, arched his back slightly and swayed invitingly on the bed. Chakotay slid his hand around Tom's waist and found his cock hard and wet. Tom whimpered at the touch and wriggled enticingly.

Chakotay moved behind Tom, using his knees to push Tom's legs wider apart. He groaned when he saw the dark glistening rose, still moist and soft from their earlier love-making. He leaned forward and licked at the tender flesh, making Tom squirm and gasp with shock as he felt himself breached by the jabbing trusts of Chakotay's hot tongue.

"Oh shit," Tom choked, as Chakotay's hands moved to pin his waist, preventing Tom's hips from gyrating in response to the unexpected sensations Chakotay's swirling tongue was generating in his ass.

Chakotay's only answer was to continue his strange, sensuous assault, battering the rim of Tom's anus into submission with nothing more than the punching muscle of his tongue.

Tom's moans of pleasure were increasingly interspersed with grunts of frustration as Chakotay kept him shuddering on the knife edge between arousal and denial. He could feel Chakotay's fingers biting into the sides of his hips like vices to prevent Tom's desperate attempts to push back and increase the sensation.

"Please," Tom wailed, when he finally realised that there would be no more than this maddening tease unless he literally *did* beg for it.

"What do you want, Tom?" Chakotay asked softly.

"I want you to fuck me through the mattress," Tom replied, with sob of defeat.

Chakotay's hands tightened even further on Tom's waist and then Tom felt himself being dragged backwards over the bedcovers, Chakotay hauling his body as though it had no more weight than a child's until Tom's knees were on the edge of the mattress and Chakotay was on his feet.

The hands around Tom's waist moved back and pushed Tom's thighs further apart until his ass was lowered to the perfect height for Chakotay to penetrate. Tom rested his head on the mattress and looked between his own splayed arms and legs, filling his vision with the bronzed flesh of Chakotay's muscular thighs. His heart was racing, perspiration was dripping down his flanks and thighs and his white-knuckled fingers were biting into the mattress. He heard the unmistakable sound of Chakotay slicking his cock with lube and a tight, constricting panic surged through Tom's chest, choking his breath, as memories of pain and humiliation swamped him like a bitter black wave.

Tom's cock was still slapping his stomach in eagerness, but that same stomach was beginning to twist and knot in terror. I've made a mistake. I can't do this. Don't want this. Can't bear this, he decided, as his realisation of his complete vulnerability made a sharp pain shoot through his bowels and bladder. If I say no now, will be stop or will he just hurt me more? he asked himself, so frozen with terror that he could barely breathe.

"I love you, Tom," Chakotay said, as he moved back into position.

Just four words, four tiny words, but they had the weight of such truth, such sincerity, that they swept away Tom's fear so suddenly that he was left gasping and gulping for air as though a huge wave had unexpectedly thrown him to safety out of the drowning sea of his own terror.

He loves me. He loves ME.

And as Chakotay's blunt cock began to press against his hole, demanding entrance, Tom shuddered, gasped and relaxed to invite the huge invader inside. 

Despite Chakotay's warning that he would be rough, his initial entrance was a slow, smooth glide, controlling the pace with his firm hold on Tom's hips. Tom sobbed, this time in relief, as Chakotay stretched and filled him in a way that no other man ever could, and then he gasped in surprise as Chakotay continued deeper into his bowels. Tom had forgotten how much more of Chakotay's huge cock could penetrate him in this position, how much deeper Chakotay could invade, and despite their regular, recent love-making, Tom felt himself breached in places he had forgotten existed inside himself.

The pain was exquisite, electrifying. It was as though he was just a hollow shell, as though his whole body was just a barely animate manikin until Chakotay filled him, brought him to life by entering him as though he was a hand sheathing itself in a glove puppet.

Then, no sooner had Tom adjusted to Chakotay's girth than he felt the older man begin to move within him. The first two strokes were slow, sensual, allowing Tom's muscles to accept and embrace their invader, and then the rhythm immediately changed tempo to a furious punching as Chakotay began to wield his cock like a battering ram into Tom's ass.

Tom howled in surprise, clutching desperately at the mattress as Chakotay's whole body weight powered each long, sharp, jabbing thrust. The power of Chakotay's assault was like a white-hot flame searing through Tom's ass, bruising, battering, ripping tiny tears in the fragile membranes of his tender flesh. Yet, hand in hand with the pain, there was ecstasy as each brutal thrust punched Tom's prostate and sent ripples of almost agonising pleasure throughout his whole body.

He was awash with sensation, the ebb and flow of the intense waves of pain and pleasure wracking his frame with shuddering spasms of sensory overload, and still Chakotay's assault continued, harder, faster, deeper until Tom was tossing his head in wild-eyed confusion.

"Please," Tom screamed, and he wasn't even sure himself whether he was begging Chakotay to stop or to continue.

Chakotay's answer was to increase his tempo even faster, while reaching around to grope at Tom's groin. Tom arched his back, his cock attempting to leap of its own accord to the promised friction of Chakotay's hand. Instead, Chakotay grabbed Tom's scrotum and closed his hand in a tight, almost painful grip.

"Come for me, Tom," he demanded, and gave Tom's balls a cruel twist. 

Tom screamed and bucked wildly as agony raced through his groin like wildfire only to be drowned by the lightning bolt of the orgasm that ripped from his cock at the sound of his own name on Chakotay's lips.

Tom was falling, his whole body overloading with sensation, lights flashing in his darkening vision as he tumbled from consciousness, barely aware of Chakotay's own eruption inside him or the way his own ass cramped and hungrily milked Chakotay's cock.

He fell, and Chakotay fell with him, both tumbling over the mattress, their minds as shattered as their abused bodies, their lips meeting, their tongues thrusting together as they desperately tried to regain the connection lost by the rude ripping of Chakotay's now flaccid cock from Tom's ass.

Tom was crying, his body shuddering with wracking sobs as he buried his face into Chakotay's neck and felt Chakotay's arms wrapping around him in a desperate bruising hug.

"Shuush," Chakotay whispered, his hands stroking Tom's trembling back. "You okay?"

"God," Tom finally gasped, when his shell-shocked body finally remembered how to breathe. "That was intense," he said, then the enormity of his understatement hit him and he laughed or maybe sobbed. He'd lost the ability to tell the difference. 

It was only when he finally regained control of himself that Tom realised that it wasn't only his own body that had been shaking. Chakotay was trembling in his arms and when Tom gathered enough courage to look up into Chakotay's face he saw that the older man's face was ravaged by tears, his damp eyes remote and introspective.

Terror struck Tom like a physical blow. 

"Chak? CHAK?"

His panicked tone was enough to break through Chakotay's haze. He gave a slow, tentative smile.

"Did I hurt you?" he asked worriedly.

"A little," Tom admitted, but before Chakotay's immediate expression of guilt had a chance to do more than flicker onto his face, Tom continued. "I loved it," he said softly, "and I love you."

Doubt chased over Chakotay's features, slowly followed by cautious hope.

"I didn't frighten you?"

"A little," Tom repeated. "It was so intense, so crazy. I didn't know if it hurt or felt good, and then I just found myself flying."


"Out of control, out of my body almost, there was nothing but you and me and then I couldn't even feel the difference. There was just us and so much pleasure that it hurt."

"Do you think you could, I mean we could, I mean can you handle this Tom? This intensity? Because it's what you do  to me Tom, how you make me feel, out of control and all I want to do is make you feel the same way."

"It's terrifying," Tom replied slowly, snuggling into Chakotay's embrace to show that he wasn't referring to Chakotay himself but rather the sex between them. "It's like you don't care what I want, you just force me to want what you want. That didn't make much sense, did it?"

Chakotay sighed sadly.

"It makes perfect sense, Tom. You're right. I know what I want and assume you want it too, as though I think I know you better than you know yourself. I'm sorry."

Tom's eyes flashed.

"Don't be sorry. You're right. You do know what I want, what I need. I want *you*."

"Are you sure?" Chakotay asked gently. "It's just the start, Tom. Like you said, it's intense, *I'm* intense and this was just the beginning. I'll push you to the edge, maybe further than you want to go."

"If you do, I'll say so," Tom replied steadily. "I'm not a victim here. I know you'll let me say no. I trust you."

Like a dam breaking, Chakotay's tears became a torrent as he sobbed helplessly, drowning in past regrets and the impossible dream of Tom offering a trust he didn't deserve. He clung to Tom as though he were a life-raft as the waves of conflicting emotions battered him.

"Why?" he gasped. "Why the hell do you trust me, Tom?"

"Because I have to, Chakotay. Because I love you and I can't live without you," Tom replied with heart-breaking honesty.

"What if...."

Tom hushed him with a kiss.

"It's forever, Chakotay. It's a forever feeling.  Whatever happens. It's not a choice. It's just the way it is, the way I feel. Forever."

Chakotay blinked back his tears, focusing on Tom's clear blue eyes, his chest constricting with the intensity of his feelings for this beautiful, brave and unbelievably forgiving man.

"Forever," Chakotay promised, his voice husky as he uttered the solemn vow.

Tom's smile of relief was so radiant that it's brightness stole Chakotay's soul.

"Marry me?" Chakotay asked.

"What?" Tom choked.

"Will you marry me, Tom, and let me spend forever proving how much I love you?"

To his surprise, Tom's radiant expression faltered, his eyes darkened not with passion but with obvious doubt. Chakotay's disappointment was like a heavy blow. It wasn't that he really wanted to marry Tom. He didn't need a ceremony to enforce his commitment. When he had said 'forever' it had been as binding as any formal vows. He'd made the offer because he thought Tom's trust deserved an official acknowledgement. Besides, it would make it harder for anyone to attempt to separate them in the future.

Even so, Tom's reluctance to commit himself, though completely understandable, was a bitter blow.

"Can I sleep on it?" Tom whispered.

Chakotay bent his head and kissed Tom on the forehead.

"Take as long as you want, Tom. The offer will say open. Forever."

Tom's smile of grateful relief was almost enough to ease Chakotay's feeling of hurt. He gathered Tom in his arms, then rolled him onto his side and spooned up behind him, so that their hot bare flesh was joined from shoulder to ankle, and he pulled the covers up.

"Sleep," he whispered into Tom's ear, then paused to kiss his neck thoroughly before continuing. "You're on helm duty in six hours."

Tom gave a dramatic groan. The idea of *sitting* anywhere soon was not a welcome image. Then his eyes snapped open.

"What do you mean, *I'm* on duty?" he asked, in mock outrage.

Chakotay chuckled. "I've got the day off," he smirked.

He fell asleep still listening to Tom muttering about the unfairness of First Officers who selfishly gave themselves days off while expecting the poor bastards they had buggered senseless to get up and go to work. 

Tom woke as soon as the lights in his cabin began their slow artificial change to daylight. He just lay there and watched the slow rise and fall of Chakotay's chest as he slept. Even in repose, Chakotay's presence dominated the room and the dull ache inside Tom was a constant reminder of the power of the man in action. Tom was torn between the urge to nuzzle suggestively against the bronze-hued skin to tempt Chakotay into a repeat performance and the knowledge that he really ought to go find himself a regenerator before even considering accommodating Chakotay again.

It wasn't because he was worried that his well-used ass would protest further abuse. It was simply because he knew Chakotay would see the inflamed skin and be rocked with fresh doubt and possible regret. Tom was determined to ensure that nothing went wrong between them this time. It had taken so much courage on both their parts to reach this mutual acceptance, and Tom couldn't deal with the idea of it all blowing back up in his face once again.

"I love you," he mumbled softly, gently running his fingers through Chakotay's thick dark hair.

Chakotay snuffled and shifted in his sleep. Tom snatched his hand back and gave a rueful smile. He didn't want to risk waking Chakotay since, unlike Tom, he had the day off. Of course, Tom hoped that Chakotay would wake anyway, but he knew that was a selfish wish. He also knew he should get up and deal with the slight tearing just in case Chakotay *did* wake up. He could feel tiny, tickling trickles of blood on his inner thighs, and knew Chakotay would over-react if he noticed them. Even so, it was hard to pull himself out of the warm comfort of Chakotay's presence and limp slowly to the bathroom, biting his lips to stop any involuntary gasps of pain emerging.

In the privacy of the bathroom, he used the tricorder to establish that the injuries were minor, then he washed and regenerated his skin until it was only slightly marked. He deliberately left a small trace of damage. Chakotay would expect to see *some* swelling, and the absence of any redness would alert the older man that Tom had needed to regenerate himself.

Tom carefully replaced everything where it belonged, his eyes sweeping carefully over the floor for any evidence. He noticed a tiny speckle of blood on the tiles and wiped it furtively. Then, satisfied he'd left no trace, he flushed the toilet for cover in case Chakotay had woken, then returned to the bedroom.

Chakotay was still sleeping, his face soft and unlined, his mouth twitching in a small smile as though his wanderings through the dreamplain were sweet and peaceful. Tom found his own mouth curling into a matching smile as he decided to believe that Chakotay's happy dream included himself.

He was too awake now to crawl into bed and sleep once more but too aware of Chakotay's undoubted exhaustion to selfishly wake him. So Tom wrapped a robe around himself and wandered out into the dimly lit living area. He curled up on the sofa with a mug of coffee and as he blew softly on the steam that rose comfortingly from the rim, he finally faced his feelings about Chakotay's proposal.

Tom knew Chakotay had only spoken in the heat of passion and might regret the offer today. It was one of the reasons he'd said he needed to think about his answer. The very fact that Chakotay had finally proven his passion, however, was far more meaningful than the words he had then uttered. The truth was that Tom didn't *want* to be Chakotay's husband. The word 'husband', even the institution of marriage itself, felt wrong to Tom. It smacked of the same safe and unreal relationship he and Chakotay had shared for the last week.

The idea of Chakotay marrying him didn't inspire the feeling of happiness that he would have expected. Tom couldn't quite put his finger on why it felt so wrong, but he knew that the permanence that marriage offered wasn't the kind of permanence he wanted. He didn't want to belong to Chakotay in that kind of staid, conventional way. He wanted Chakotay to own him body and soul and although marriage might mean that to Chakotay, even if Chakotay intended an old-fashioned marriage rather than the current trend of temporary, renewable contracts, Tom knew in his heart that it wasn't what he himself needed out of their relationship.

The bottom line was that he knew instinctively that Chakotay would never have married Simon if things had turned out differently. He would never have belittled the relationship to the extent of trying to fit it conveniently into a nice, safe conventional package simply to keep other people happy.

Tom reared back from that thought and reconsidered why Chakotay had made the proposal.
Of course, he finally decided. Chakotay wasn't rejecting his offer of a *real* relationship. He was just finding a way to ensure that the Captain and the rest of the crew had to accept their personal arrangements.

Tom grinned happily and took a deep slurp of his now cold coffee. Chakotay was just being careful, that was all. He was covering their backs. Tom had trusted Chakotay with his body, it was time he let that trust embrace all of Chakotay's decisions. This relationship wouldn't work if they constantly second-guessed each other. Chakotay had accepted his decision to submit sexually, and although Tom wasn't planning on letting Chakotay dominate the other aspects of their life together, there was room for a little more give and take on his side.

He jumped to his feet and raced back into the bedroom, deciding to tell Chakotay immediately that he had made his decision.

Chakotay was still fast asleep, his breathing low and steady, that same contended smile on his face.

Tom hovered for a moment, delighting in the warm feeling that infused his whole body at the realisation that he would wake to this same glorious sight every morning for the rest of his life.

"I love you," he whispered, " and I *will* marry you."

Then he gave a rueful shrug at Chakotay's failure to respond. He wasn't selfish enough to wake Chakotay just to say what he should have said hours earlier. He decided the best thing would be to leave both the subject and Chakotay until later. He checked the time and was surprised to see that a couple of hours had passed since he first woke and Harry would already be waiting for him in the mess hall. 

He dressed hurriedly, struggling to resist the urge to return to the bed to kiss Chakotay goodbye. He had an almost physical need to see those brown eyes open, still soft with sleep, and shine at him with the same unmistakable passion of the night before. Tom wanted to wallow in that hot gaze, warm himself a little on the flames of Chakotay's desire before he had to face the whole day of unbearable separation. He felt as though Chakotay had placed an invisible leash around his neck, one that tightened chokingly whenever he contemplated walking out of the door and leaving Chakotay behind.

Tom shook himself furiously. He was acting like a love-sick schoolboy who couldn't function without constant reassurance. He stiffened his shoulders and turned resolutely to leave. He reached the door before he broke and skipped back to the bed-side.

"Wha?" Chakotay mumbled incoherently as Tom nuzzled his forehead.

"Nothing," Tom whispered. "I'm off to work. Sorry I woke you."

Chakotay's eyes flew open, twin dark pools that swirled with emotion. Tom swallowed awkwardly, surprised and exhilarated to realise that the sleep had instantly fled Chakotay's eyes, chased away by an undeniable look of pure lust. His cock reared eagerly at the promise in Chakotay's gaze.

"You're not due on the bridge for an hour," Chakotay growled huskily.

Tom's knees weakened in response to the hunger in that voice, but he forced himself to shake his head sadly and reply that he'd already arranged to meet Harry.

Chakotay gave a rueful shrug, but there was a faint look of approval on his face, as though he was pleased that Tom was determined to fulfil his obligation to his friend, despite their mutual disappointment.

"I'll see you later then," he said softly. "There's things we need to talk about, decisions we need to make."

"Answers to be given," Tom added with a cheeky smile.

Hope flared on Chakotay's face.

"Well?" he demanded.

Tom gave a cheeky grin.

"I'll tell you later. Gotta go."

Chakotay's eyes crinkled with amusement. "Aren't you at least going to kiss me goodbye?"

Tom pretended to consider, slowly raking his eyes up and down Chakotay's body. Then he licked his lips. "How could I refuse an offer like that?" he drawled.

Chakotay raised his head, softening his lips in anticipation. Instead, Tom's head darted down to plant a wet caress directly on the head of Chakotay's cock. 

"You're not going to leave me like this?" Chakotay demanded teasingly, gesturing at his now rampant erection.

Tom just smirked.

"You'll have to punish me later," he quipped, with one last loving look at Chakotay's face, then he raced out of the room to the accompaniment of Chakotay's gentle laughter.

He was still buzzing as he strode down the corridor towards the turbolift. There was just the faintest taste of Chakotay's pre-cum on his lips, and he licked hungrily at the familiar flavor. Tom was tempted to turn around and return to his quarters, far more interested in the idea of breakfast a la Chakotay than anything Neelix might have on offer. Still, Harry was waiting for him and their renewed friendship was still too tenuous and fragile to risk.

He stepped out of the Turbolift and strode towards the Mess Hall, only to be almost bowled over by Harry coming in the opposite direction. Harry grabbed his arm, spun him around and pushed him back towards the lift.

Tom planted his feet, pulled his arm loose and stared at Harry with barely concealed anger.

"Where the hell are we going?"

Harry gave a sickly smile, his eyes dipping guiltily from Tom's face.

"The breakfast is seriously bad, Tom. I thought we'd replicate something instead."

Tom just shrugged.

"Breakfast is *always* bad, Harry. I'm used to it. Besides I want to save my rations. I've got something special planned for tonight."

Harry bit his lower lip.

"It's on me," he offered in a rush.

Tom's eyes narrowed in suspicion.

"Look, I don't know what you're playing at, Harry, but I'm hungry, I want to say hi to Neelix, and we're both due on the bridge soon."

He started towards the Mess Hall.

"Don't," Harry yelped. "Don't go in there."

"What the hell is wrong?" Tom asked, unsure whether to be amused or worried by Harry's odd behaviour.

A look of pain crossed Harry's face.

"Look, don't get upset, okay?"

"Upset about what?" Tom demanded sharply, beginning to err on the side of worry.

"Megan Delaney, she, um, she…."

"She what?"

"She's been helping the Doctor out since you've been ill."

"I know. So?"

"So she saw the records last night."

"What records?"

"Chakotay's medical files. The doc had them on screen for some reason, there was an emergency and he forgot to close them down before he left."

Tom's face drained of colour and he staggered slightly.

"She knows?" he asked plaintively. "She knows what happened, what he did to me?"

"Yeah," Harry admitted.

"Shit," Tom whispered.

"But that's not all, Tom. You know what Megan and Jenny are like. I, hell, I don't know how to tell you this nicely so I may as well just come right out and say it. Everyone knows."


"Look, it's okay. Just about everyone's on your side."

"My *side*? What the fuck do you mean by 'my side'?"

Harry flushed.

"Well some people are sticking up for Chakotay, but that's just because they don't understand what happened. I'm sure the Captain will put everyone right. At least everyone knows you didn't have a breakdown now."