(Sequel to " Reasons ")
Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al belong to Paramount. I am only playing with them and promise to put them back relatively unscathed.
Desperately clutching the thin sheet around himself, Tom tripped and stumbled down the corridor to his own quarters. It was still early enough on Sunday morning that no one except Harry saw his frantic near-naked escape from Chakotay's door.
Unfortunately, since Harry was the ship's biggest gossip it would not be many hours before the whole ship was buzzing with the news that the Commander had finally gotten lucky.
But Tom was unaware of having been seen, since Harry was himself attempting to creep furtively out of the Captain's quarters at the time and ducked quickly back out of sight until Tom passed by.
Chakotay stared in bewilderment at the closed door through which Tom had made his frantic exit. The effort of keeping himself from running after the terrified pilot made him tremble in agitation.
He had been SO close; he had seen Tom finally begin to shed his protective outer defenses. But, like a startled deer, Tom had then suddenly turned and fled.
As much as Chakotay wanted to chase after the younger man, he knew that his pursuit would only make Tom run faster, figuratively at least. No, he needed to back off a little and get his own head straight. Sunday was Alpha Shift's day off. He would take the opportunity to meditate and explore his own feelings of guilt and sorrow.
Until he understood his own feelings, he would be unable to help Tom deal with his problems. He had evidently hurt the younger man deeply with his interference this week, which had been the last thing that he intended.
His actions had chipped away at Tom's hard and cocky façade, had peeled away what had turned out to be only a thin veneer and had revealed a broken and tortured soul. His mask had been ripped so unexpectedly and violently away that Tom had been left vulnerable and terrified, unable to cope with facing Chakotay without his disguise in place. And so he had run.
Chakotay was unsure of what made him feel more guilty, the way he had mercilessly exposed the secret Tom to his scrutiny or the fact that his own long-standing dislike of Tom had allowed the whole situation to develop in the first place until it was so out-of-control.
Quite apart from his private regret, there was professional shame too. He was Voyager's First Officer. The crew was his responsibility. He had allowed one of them to bear the brunt of everyone elseís shameless lust.
To be honest, a lot of his own distaste for Tom had stemmed from his horror at how very much he had desired the blonde from the very first time he had lain eyes on him. Chakotay had struggled for years to refute his attraction to Tom Paris.
He was a proud and honorable man, for him sexual attraction had never been enough. Sex was only one facet of a relationship, without the love and respect of his partner it meant nothing to him.
Chakotay had never been so unrealistic as to believe that all relationships had to be forever. He had romanced and had himself been romanced on many an occasion. Sometimes his relationships had lasted only a few weeks before petering out in a mutual decision of non-compatibility; sometimes they had lasted for years.
Always Chakotay had yearned to find his true lifemate, but it had never happened and now possibly never would.
So he had never expected Tom to suddenly announce his undying love and move in with him. He wasn't insisting that Tom made a lasting commitment to him, although the thought of spending the rest of his life waking up in Tom's tight embrace was oddly appealing.
No, all he had wanted and to be honest, demanded, was for Tom to be exclusive for however short or long their association lasted.
And even if he and Tom NEVER had a relationship at all, and at the moment that was beginning to feel that to be the more likely outcome, he was still determined to get to the bottom of Tom's problem behavior.
Tom was reputed to unfailingly spend his 'day-off' with Harrison and then the evening in a menage a trois with Megan Delaney and Dalby.
Just the thought of any of them touching Tom was enough to make him shudder with a mix of anger, sorrow and jealousy. But another voice in his head was telling him that he had interfered enough. That he had knocked the first walls out of Tom's defenses and now it was time for Tom to continue the process in his own time.
If he kept pushing at the pilot, he might shatter beyond repair and yet if Tom managed to cement the cracks and continue his sluttish behavior then Chakotay had the feeling that Tom's new veneer would be thicker and perhaps impossible to break through this time.
Chakotay would leave Tom to his own devices for a while and seek some spiritual guidance. Perhaps in his meditations he would find the key to unlocking Tom's secrets and thus discover a way to more gently rescue Tom's tortured soul.
He could only hope that Tom would not make some terrible mistake in the meantime.
Then despite his decision not to interfere any more in Tomís life until he had a clearer grasp of what was going on, his last act before he collected his medicine bundle was to post a crew roster change that would cancel Harrisonís day off.
Tom spent hours vacillating between his fear of Chakotay and an overwhelming desire to run back to him.
He simply couldnít reconcile his mindless terror at Chakotayís declaration of love with the way that Chakotayís hug had made him feel safe for the first time in years.
The two diametrically opposed feelings were driving him mad.
But at 1100, Tom simply put aside his confusion and automatically began to prepare for the arrival of Crewman Harrison. Although he was actually dreading the thought of having to accommodate the big engineer, it never occurred to him that he had any other choice. After all, it was Sunday and on Sunday, Harrison always arrived at 1200 like clockwork.
It was not until 1230, when Harrison was already 30 minutes late that Tom thought to run a location check and discovered that the engineer was working all day.
Any relief he might have felt at his unexpected reprieve was cancelled by the fact that Harrison had not even bothered to let him know.
It was the complete lack of simple courtesy that hurt Tom the most. But then again, he was beginning to realise that unless the crew wanted his ass, he was the last person that they gave any consideration to.
Chakotay wouldnít do that to you, he thought sadly and was tempted yet again to return to the Commanderís quarters. Then he flinched with fear at his own weakness. He KNEW that Chakotay was dangerous to him, yet he so wanted to believe that the Commanderís caring act was real.
Besides, Chakotay had made it perfectly clear that the idea of sleeping with Tom was repellent to him. It was obviously beneath the Commanderís dignity to have sex with a slut like him.
Checking that a holodec was free, Tom quickly pulled on a T-shirt and jeans and half-stumbled to the empty room. For a moment he hesitated and then he started the Sandrineís program running. He deleted all of the characters and lining up a full bottle and a glass on the bar, he began to slowly drink himself into oblivion.
Ayala was pissed off. He had spent every shift since Wednesday on brig duty, and since there had been no one in the brig it had been a totally stupid, boring and pointless waste of time. He had no idea what he had done to piss Chakotay off, but since the Commander wasnít totally dumb; he would hardly have assigned him the bloody task if it hadnít been intended as some subtle punishment.
Only he couldnít for the life of him think what he had done to upset his former Captain.
Except for Tom. Sure, the Commander had been really strange on Tuesday night; he had practically hauled Tom off Ayalaís lap and had hit on the little slag then and there, right in front of him. But he had just walked away. He could have taken Tom with him, Ayala knew the little slut would have been happy to do it. After all, according to Harry, the Commander had apparently fucked Tom last night.
So it just didnít make sense. And to add insult to injury, he had wasted so many replicator points on Tom on Tuesday night just to get him "back in the mood" that he had none left to entertain himself on his only day off.
The holodecs were both being used, but he decided to saunter past in case either of them was running public programs. He grinned as he saw that Sandrines was running on holodec 2. He had just enough credits for a few beers and maybe there would be someone there to cheer him up.
"If you truly love him, why are you considering giving up?"
Chakotay looked sadly at the grey wolf
"I donít know how to help him. I thought that forcing him to confront his problems would help, but instead I have just terrified him. I knew that Tomís persona was just a way he was hiding from people, but I didnít realise how fragile he was underneath. Perhaps he needs the image he has constructed. Maybe he canít cope without it."
"You acted with his best interests at heart."
"I acted arrogantly. I assumed I knew best. Just because I could see how badly people were treating him I didnít have the right to rub his nose in it. He was happy with his illusions."
"Nevertheless, they WERE illusions. Eventually he would have had to face the truth by himself, alone. At least your love is something that he can cling on to as his carefully constructed fantasy collapses around him."
"I actually think that my declaration of love was what made him run." Chakotay confessed in bewilderment
"Then perhaps he sees you as just another person who would use him."
"But I LOVE him"
"Maybe he doesnít understand the concept" she replied
Sadness filled Chakotayís heart as he decided that Tom probably thought Chakotayís words were just a different way to get him into bed.
Slumped miserably on his barstool, Tom gazed morosely into his whiskey glass and contemplated the unfairness of life.
Why the hell couldnít Chakotay be satisfied with just taking him to bed?
Because youíre a slut, he answered himself. Because he doesnít want to touch your dirty little ass.
Ayala couldnít believe his luck. Sandrineís was completely empty except for Tom Paris who was sprawled in front of the bar like a piece of fruit ripe for picking.
He checked the time and realised that Tom had obviously been stood up. Quietly he engaged the privacy lock and then he swaggered up to the bar.
"Hiya honey, looking for a good time?" he gloated
Tom flinched at the sudden voice and turned his bleary eyes to focus with difficulty on Ayala.
"Jusí wanna drink" he slurred
"A pretty thing like you drinking alone is a crime, Tom" Ayala purred and then took a swig out of Tomís half-empty bottle,
"Shit, thatís good stuff" Ayala spluttered as his throat caught fire "I guess real alcohol is one of your perks, huh?" he sniggered nastily "Maybe I should start selling MY ass too."
The words barely penetrated Tomís befuddled brain and Ayala was disappointed by Tomís lack of response to his barb. He always preferred it when Tom showed a little temper before giving in.
It always made the victory sweeter.
But still, he was hardly going to turn down a free fuck even if Tom was too drunk to play first.
"Letís get out of here, Tom" Ayala said, grasping Tomís elbow to help him off the stool.
"Doní wanna" Tom replied, shaking off Ayalaís hand.
Ayala shrugged. It was fine if Tom just wanted to do it here instead of Ayalaís quarters, it sure would be less effort than dragging the drunken pilot home.
"So lets fuck here" Ayala agreed , spinning Tom around on the seat so that he could start unbuttoning the blondeís jeans.
Tom weakly pushed Ayalaís hands away from his waistband
"Doní wanna fuck you" he managed to articulate
Ayalaís temper, never particularly good anyway, snapped at the words.
"You cheeky fucking slag." He snarled and slapped Tom a ringing blow across the face
Tom whimpered in pain and surprise, cringing back in his seat as he gingerly felt his sore cheek. The bitter coppery taste of blood flooded his mouth.
"Now you are Chakotayís whore, you think you are too good to fuck me, is that it?" Ayala screamed in fury and he grabbed Tom by the front of his T-shirt and hauled him to his feet.
Tom swayed in drunken confusion as the words "Chakotayís whore" swirled around his brain.
"You had better think again you little bastard. Youíre just a slut. You donít pick and choose. You had better change your mind right now or Iíll bloody change it for you." Ayala spat.
Tom didnít even hear him. All his muddled brain could understand was that Ayala thought he had slept with Chakotay, and it filled him with horror that anyone would think that Chakotay would have stooped so low. Didnít they realise that Chakotay was too good for him? That Chakotay had refused to do so much as touch him?
That Chakotay KNEW he was just a slut.
"No" he murmured in denial
Ayala heard the "no" and went crazy. He punched Tom so hard in the side that he actually heard a rib snap. Tom howled and fell at his feet in agony. Ayala reached down and grabbed Tom by his hair and dragged him screaming towards the pool table.
Chakotay put away his medicine bundle and got dressed. He had hoped that the meditation would center him, give him a direction, but he was still assailed by doubts.
Glancing at the chronometer he realised that it was later than he had realised. It was time he checked on Tom.
He quickly realised that Tom had left his quarters and proceeded to track him down. He located Tom in holodec 2, where unfortunately there were no monitors for him to link into.
"What program is running on holodec 2" he asked the computer
"The Sandrines program"
"How many people are in the holodec"
"Two, privacy lock has been engaged"
"Who is with Lieutenant Paris?"
"Please rephrase your question"
"Override privacy lock. Engage site-to-site transfer of myself to Holodec 2"
"Unable to comply"
"Comply this you fucker" Chakotay hissed as he keyed in an override into the main computer and seconds later he materialised in Sandrines.