Tides of the Heart- Part Twelve: Quiddity
The dawn has broken. Warm beads of sunlight bathe the room in a glow of pale yellow as fiery tendrils of light play over the duvet from the wide windows of the balcony. High in the sky I can still see the pale silver shadow of the second moon as it lazily creeps to its rest and small wispy clouds trail across its face, hastening its departure.
Through the open windows I can hear the faint crashing of waves on the beach and the occassional hawking cry of a lone, spiraling sea gull. These sounds are drowned though by the steady musical rhythm of Tom's breath as he dreams behind me. I can feel his lips against the nape of my neck. With each breath they flutter slightly and then a tiny draft of warm air caresses my skin, causing me to tremble with excitement.
His right arm is still draped around my waist, pulling me closely against his chest as though I am a comforter. At some point in the night our legs have tangled and entwined so that I can feel his leg between my thighs and his right knee is raised and resting on my hip so that his unconscious erection is pressing with innocent cruelty against my ass.
Guiltily I listen to check that the steady constancy of his breathing has not changed and when I am sure that he is sleeping still I let my right hand creep down to answer the hungry demand of my own groin. My cock is lying hard and insistent against my stomach and as I stroke it furtively, I tell myself that I merely wish to save Tom the embarrassment of waking to my obvious hard-on.
I am, of course, lying to myself. I merely wish to fantasize that I am here in his bed because we are lovers once more, that the erection that pokes so hungrily against my ass cheeks is really for me, not for whatever dream lover has caused Tom so sleep so soundly and well. I do not fool myself that he will wake and wish to gift me with his interest, so I am stealing what little happiness I can.
My fingers trail with delicious slowness up and down my shaft. I torture myself with just the briefest, faintest strokes so that I can elongate this moment into an eternity of memories lest I never again lie in the protective cocoon of Tom's embrace. I find myself shuddering a little, trembling with both excitement and deep sorrow. I am so lost in my blissful despair that I do not hear Tom's breath catch and change.
My first realisation that he has awoken is when his right hand releases its tight embrace of my waist. I freeze and close my eyes in horror, waiting for him to scramble away from me in disgust. The air is heavy with the musky scent of my arousal and it is obvious what I have been doing. I am too filled with shame to even apologise.
Instead, his hand snakes down to displace my own and his fingers begin to trace a slow, swirling dance down my cock. As his thumb hesitates over my glans and then rubs against the tears of pre-cum that are weeping from my slit, I find myself gasping in a fervent prayer that he is not toying with me.
Perhaps he is still half-asleep. Perhaps I should turn so that I can check that he is fully cognizant, that he knows what and *who* he is doing.
Spirits forgive me, I cannot.
I cannot do anything that might break this spell.
His hand releases my cock, and before I can groan in misery he brings his arm upwards and thrusts his thumb against my slack lips so that I can taste my own arousal on his digit. I find myself sucking hungrily on his thumb, tasting the delicious merging of my cum and his own salt-sweet taste.
Then he is untangling his legs from mine, pushing me insistently on my right shoulder so that I turn onto my stomach, wincing a little as my cock protests the way it is pressed into the mattress. He rewards my compliance by leaning down over me and fastening his teeth into the flesh of my shoulder. He bites down hard and I buck as the sharp pain sends quivers of excitement down my torso.
He sucks hard, marking me, claiming me, and then his mouth moves in a slow arc of tiny kisses until he reaches my opposite shoulder and I tremble in expectation as he pauses before gnawing deeply into my skin once more.
There is nothing vicious about his bites. They are as natural and passionate as a wild animal's. When he moves to pin my neck now between his teeth I am reminded of the mating of big cats, and despite the pain I find myself purring complacently under his demand that I submit to him.
I draw my knees under my body so that I can raise my hips and without releasing the tender skin of my neck he slides between my open legs. Before I can change my mind and fight his dominance, he slides a hand around my hips and begins to stroke my cock, his rhythm fast and furious so that I am writhing beneath him, bucking and gasping as my senses overload, and I cannot hold myself.
"Tom, stop. I'm going to come," I warn him.
His only answer is to bite harder and increase the speed of his strokes so that I erupt into his fingers.
I almost black out with the intensity of my orgasm. Only his strong left arm around my waist keeps me on my knees. Then, as my senses slowly return, I can feel a slick finger pressing gently against my anus, and I laugh in sudden delight as I understand why he made me come first.
I will myself to relax. It is on the tip of my tongue to tell him to wait a little, give me a chance to douche myself and prepare myself properly. I am not frightened that he will hurt me, I simply want to prove my willingness to be breached. I bite my words back into my throat. Last night I ruined things by trying to take control. I will not make that mistake again.
It has been so many years that my ass resists his entrance despite my best attempts to relax. He does not lose patience with me though. He removes his finger, releases his hold on my neck and slides back to begin a slow, thorough exploration of my ass with his tongue and teeth.
As he trails a slow progression of kisses and nips over my ass cheeks, I can feel my cock stiffening in excitement once more and I am quivering with excitement as my fear of penetration is washed away in a frantic need to feel him inside me.
"Fuck me," I beg him.
"Not yet, Tay," he whispers, and I groan in frustration even as his first words since he has awoken at least prove that he *does* truly know what he is doing and with whom.
I feel his tongue flickering at my pucker and I moan as twenty years of abstention from this pleasure makes me jerk and writhe in reaction to the wet heat of his eager flesh.
"Spirits, Tom. Please. You're torturing me here," I gasp.
He freezes so suddenly that I have the realisation that I have said something terribly wrong, something hurtful, and I fear that he will leave me now, run away, and an image flashes unwelcomingly into my head of the night that I left *him*. For a moment, I am terrified that his intention is only to remind me of how despicably I treated him that night by driving me to the same point of need and then leaving me frustrated.
Then I feel his finger pressing against my pucker once more, sliding in easily this time now that my ass is crying out for his presence and I sob in a combination of relief and shame that I should have thought such a thing of him.
The finger is swiftly joined by a second and I yelp as he finds that long forgotten place inside me where a single touch sends shivers of delight through my body. How could I have forgotten how wonderful this felt?
He is taking his time, stretching me, gently easing me for his entrance, refusing my increasingly frantic urges for him to simply get on with it. Even in this, when my own lust is uncaring of my own comfort, his love for me is evident. He is refusing to hurt me, to tear me, he has what he wants, my compliance, and so he no longer feels the need to take me viciously, although at this point, I don't care how he takes me, I just need him inside me, where he belongs.
"Please, poocuh," I beg.
He freezes once more, and I curse myself for my stupidity. I lost the right to call him that twenty years ago.
Yet, somehow, he manages to forgive me.
He withdraws his fingers and replaces them with his cock. I tense a little as I feel the blunt flesh against my ass. It feels too thick, too large, and then I remind myself that this is my Tom, my poocuh and I relax and invite him in.
Slick and hard his flesh glides into me in a smooth flow of liquid metal. There is pain, the sharp burn of molten steel, and then as he fills me, as he breaks down my resistance with the silken pressure of his relentless shaft, sharp tendrils of pleasure shoot through to my groin and my cock rears and slaps against my stomach in a greedy demand for attention.
He pauses, until my breathing steadies, and then he begins to move within me, flesh in flesh, caressing, possessing, his deep strokes dragging hoarse gasps from my throat with every maddening movement of his hips.
Andante he slides within me, then his quick talented fingers play an arpeggio on my cock as he throws his hips against me, building to a wild crescendo as he wrests the sounds of ecstasy from my throat, until we reach a fever pitch of emotion and he slams repeatedly into me as though each plunge is a heavy chord that he must force my voice to scream.
Then with his last thrust, his own voice ululates a howl of abandon as his essence gushes into my depths, and my own cock arches in duet so that we both thrash together in the throes of our orgasms. I crash down onto the bed and he falls with me, both of us so overcome with our release that we sink into unconsciousness together.
The sun is bright now, so high in the sky that it is noon perhaps. I am sprawled on top of Chakotay still, our bodies entangled and smeared with slicks of dried sweat. His shoulders are deeply bruised with my teeth marks and the skin at the nape of his neck is a deep purple where my sucking has caused the blood vessels to burst.
I am a little sorrowful that I hurt him, yet oddly pleased that he bears my mark like this. It is somehow more real than the stale smell of sex in the air or the crumpled pajama bottoms that I don't even remember ripping off him.
He is still sleeping, his face turned sideways on the pillow so that I can bend forwards and lick softly at the lines of his tattoo. The tentative touch of my tongue wakes him and he opens soft, sleepy brown eyes to look at me and a smile of such happiness crosses his face that I almost regret the words that we must speak today.
He turns on his side, wincing a little as he detaches his stomach from the dried cum that has adhered his skin to the bed, and he gathers me in his arms for a hug.
I resist for a moment, but the look of fearful sorrow that clouds his face at my hesitation is unbearable, so I snuggle down into his arms, allowing him to tuck my head under his chin so that my cheek is resting on the slow, happy rhythm of his chest.
"Thank you," he whispers.
And I begin to cry.
It is too much. Being here with him like this and wondering whether we will ever be like this again. I want to mold with him, slide under his skin and become part of him, attach myself like a Siamese twin so that we can never be parted.
Why can't I just take this moment and enjoy it? Why can't I forget tomorrow and tomorrow and the thousand other tomorrows and simply, as Tuvok suggested take one day at a time?
Why do I need to say the words that might end everything forever?
"You called me poocuh," Tom says softly.
I stiffen a little and tighten my arms around him. My heart begins to thud in my chest as I realise that it is now time for "the talk". It is obvious that Tom can no longer play our game of strangers. Our lovemaking this morning was a re-affirmation of our real love, our real relationship. Now, I suspect, Tom wants to know whether that relationship is enough for him, whether *I* am enough for him.
I decide, whatever the cost, I will be honest with him. I will tell no lies. I will not try to make myself look better in his eyes. I will not hide behind the pale and inadequate excuses that I have given for all these years. He deserves my honesty, and I, perhaps, deserve that he should leave me, but if he does, he will do so in full knowledge of the truth. That it is I who was weak. That I am the one who proved unworthy of his love, not he that proved unworthy of mine.
"You have always been my poocuh, in my heart," I reply gently.
He is silent for a time, digesting this.
"Is that a 'tribal' thing?" he finally asks. His voice is bitter, and mocking, but I know the pain that his words hide so I will answer the question.
"In a way, I suppose. For my people, marriage is for life. We married according to Dorvanian traditions. Both our divorce and my marriage to Seven were civil ceremonies. They had no validity in my heart or in tribal law. Should we ever return home, my people would see you still as my one and only husband," I tell him quietly.
He reacts with the fury that I expect, wrenching himself out of my arms and scrambling out of the bed. He angrily paces up and down the room, his mouth moving silently as though he cannot find words sufficiently ugly to tell me what he thinks about my confession. Then his rage flushed face blushes with a new heat as he suddenly remembers he is unclothed and he grabs a robe to cover his nakedness.
It is only when he has the barrier of clothing between us that he finds the composure to speak.
"You're saying we are still married?" he demands.
I drop my head from his accusing glare but I cannot lie.
"In my beliefs, yes. Our marriage was sacred, Tom. Only the spirits can separate us. You are and always will be my poocuh."
Tom sits down abruptly as though the strength has drained from his legs.
"You don't believe in divorce?" he demands.
"No," I reply.
"Do you believe in polygamy then?" he spits.
"It is not against my beliefs," I admit. "Had I married Seven according to the laws of my people, my marriage to her would have been acceptable, but it would not have dissolved our own. I didn't though. My marriage to Seven was a legal nicety according to Federation laws. It allowed my children to bear my name and ensured my legal rights and also theirs in the event of my death."
Tom gives a bitter, slightly hysterical laugh.
"So, let me get this right. You only 'pretended' to divorce me and only 'legally' married Seven but only for the sake of the children?"
"Did she know?"
"Of course she knew. She accepted that my beliefs were sacrosanct and that it made no difference to her own situation," I tell him.
"So, Mr. High and Mighty I don't believe in divorce, why the fuck DID you pretend to divorce me?" Tom roars.
"Because you asked me to," I reply.
"What?" Tom asks, his face turning so pale that I fear he might faint.
"I didn't expect you to follow my own beliefs, Tom. I knew that you found my relationship with Seven unbearable. I knew I had been acting abominably towards you. I was so wrapped up in my worry about Charis that I cut you out of my life instead of putting you first. It was no wonder you got tired of the way I was neglecting you. You deserved better. You deserved to be loved better than I loved you. When you asked for the divorce I didn't feel that I had the right to refuse you. I didn't deserve you any more and I wanted you to be free to find someone new.
"I thought it was what you wanted. It was only when I saw the way that you fell apart after I had signed the form that I realised you had only been testing me. I understood then that you only asked me for the divorce because you thought it would shock me to my senses."
I pause because Tom is hunched in misery. He has pulled his legs up into his chair so that he can hug his knees and rock as he did in the lift. The sight is so pitiful, so heartbreaking that I am shocked speechless. It is he who finally breaks the silence.
"So why didn't you come back to me?"
So many reasons, the greatest of which is a secret that I can never share with anyone, not even my poocuh.
"At first, you wouldn't see me, which I understood completely. I thought it best to leave it for a little time until the pain dulled a little and we could talk without bitterness and recrimination taking over. Cowardice, I suppose. Then Charis was constantly ill. For the first five years of his life he spent more time in the sickbay than out of it, and somehow, every time I finally gathered the courage to meet with you, I would be called to sickbay."
"Why did you marry her if you always wanted to come back to me?" Tom challenges me.
I hesitate. It is the first truth that could lead me to an admission too terrible to confess. Yet, I have no ability to lie to him as he sits there so vulnerable and wounded.
"She said that if I did not marry her, she would take Charis and leave the ship," I tell him quietly.
"But she couldn't," Tom gasps. "She didn't have the right. You could have stopped her."
I close my eyes and struggle for a little calm. I have to be so careful now. I must not lie, yet I cannot tell the whole truth.
"She had the legal right to take him, Tom. I couldn't have stopped her," I say quietly.
I see a guilty look flash over his face.
"It was my fault, wasn't it?" he demands, his face now impossibly whiter than before.
"No, Tom, of course it wasn't," I assure him but he is not listening. He is years away, remembering no doubt that he had signed the document that stated he abdicated all his rights in his son to Seven.
Then he shakes his head furiously.
"It doesn't matter," he hisses in self-defense. "You're Charis's father too."
And here it is, time for the first confession, the fact that has haunted me for years, the reality that Charis once unwittingly struck me with when he was just fourteen.
"No I'm not," I admit, and with the vocalization of the words a dam inside me breaks.
I don't know what shocks me more, Chakotay's words or the fact that he utters them and then visibly shrinks as though the weight of the truth is crushing him. His body is starting to rack with dry, heavy sobs. I find myself hurtling out of my chair and back onto the bed, pulling him into my arms so that he can bury his face into my chest and hide his tears in the deep pile of my toweling robe.
The way things are going, it's going to be soaked before we both finish this conversation.
"I know Seven messed with him, Tay," I whisper, as Chakotay shakes in my arms. "I know your genetic markers were suppressed. That's why he looks like me. It doesn't mean he isn't your son. The doc confirmed he has your DNA," I tell him quietly.
"No he doesn't, not in any real sense," Chakotay says, pulling back a little and rubbing his eyes in an attempt to regain control of his emotions. "She deliberately infused a pattern to suggest my DNA was present and suppressed but it was a red-herring. Just a dormant string of DNA that is floating in his cells for no other reason than to fool me into thinking he is my son. She admitted it to me when Charis was two and you had finally stopped treating him like he was a mini-Borg.
"I finally thought we could work things out, that I could come back to you without you minding about Charis. I told her I was going to see you and so she told me that if I did, she would leave. That's when she admitted that I had no legal right to stop her taking Charis away. I didn't want to believe her. I took him to sickbay myself and checked for myself. He's your son, Tom. Yours and Seven's only. Biologically at least."
"I don't understand. If you knew that, why did you stay with her?" I demand.
"Because I love Charis. I loved all of them. They *were* my children, Tom. Besides, how could I let her take *your* son away from you, even if you didn't want him? He was the child of my heart *and* the son of my poocuh. I couldn't let him go."
"So you married her, knowing what a witch she was, I buy that. How the fuck did you fall in love with her?" I demand.
"I never fell in love with her, Tom. I grew comfortable with her over the years though, I admit that. I was civilized with her at first simply because I didn't want Charis to witness my anger towards her, and in time my anger died. I admit that I didn't really blame her for what she did. It was how she was, Tom. It didn't matter how many implants the Doc removed, she was still Borg in her soul. She always did what she needed to do without conscience or remorse because that was how she thought. She wasn't evil, Tom. She did some evil things but she never did them to hurt us. She didn't know any better."
"Shit, Tay. You are so fucking reasonable sometimes that I could kick you," I hiss. "Anyone else would have kicked her butt, but not you, oh no, you preferred to kick mine."
I'm only going through the motions of anger though. I am still too shocked by his confession that Charis is *my* son. It changes things, doesn't it? That he didn't leave me over *his* son, he left me over mine. Wasn't that, somehow, a proof that he *did* always love me? I don't know. I'm too confused to think now. There's something more important at the moment than my own feelings though, something that I have to say.
"You *are* Charis's father, Tay," I assure him. "He adores you."
Chakotay gives me a shaky smile of gratitude.
"Thank you, Tom. I have never *not* felt that I am his father and once I married Seven I was 'legally' his father too, and that was important to me, but it never made any difference to my heart. He is the son of my heart, Tom, because *you* are my heart."
And now it is I who is crying once more as we hug each other on the bed and I am suddenly sure that I never want to be anywhere except in his arms, yet, somewhere inside me, I know I have barely scraped the surface of the secrets that Chakotay has protected me from over these long lonely years.