Title: A Mere Nine and Half Inches (Now part of Ruler of the Soul
Author: Kim Riley a.k.a. MYSTIC
Note: Haggis (Challenge)
Pairing: C/P
Rating: R language and m/m
Summary: Just how far is Tom willing to go for his man?
Archive: Please, just let me know where.
Feedback: Yes please!

He lay there panting hard. //Nine and a half inches! // He thought. Tom
gulped for air; the very fact that his life was just determined by such a
measurement was.overwhelming. He laid there remembering how close to the
edge he was, semi-aware of the danger he was in. His mind was a total whirl,
a frenzy of how quickly he could of lost everything if not for.

Tom closed his eyes and started to let his mind calm down, recalling the
turn of events that led to his current predicament. The day started like
most days. Another away mission to gather some food, and some minerals for
B'Elanna to make repairs to Voyager. The planet was like so many, looking
totally safe then wham! All hell would break lose. Today had been no
exception to the rule.

They were all there, the typical disaster crew, Chakotay, Harry, Tuvok,
B'Elanna and himself of course. They were snooping around a cavern that was
giving off high signals of the dilithium that was desperately needed, when
Tom recalled being his usual reckless self and headed into the cave before
anyone had check it out. Like usual, Tom found the only unscanable hostile
life form on the planet, and it took hot pursuit and Tom was on the run.

He just got out of the cave when the flurry like mite size creatures ganged
up on him and he was suddenly covered head to toe in these things, then his
brain got fuzzy on the rest of the turn of event. He was aware that B'Elanna
quickly figured out that a high pitched frequency would drive them away, but
he knew he wasn't left unscathed. He stood there looking, staring, his eyes
wide trying to think. Then he remembers growling, snarling like some beast
and setting chase after B'Elanna, though if it was because she was a woman
or just because she was the one to approach him first, he wasn't sure.

Tom felt his heart beat slow down as he continued to recall what had him
laying on his back and his heart pumping wildly. He did chase B'Elanna, and
could almost recall that phaser fire had no effect on him in
his...condition. Then Tom closed his eyes, but this made the next vision
even more vivid. He remembered catching her, than started to claw at her,
but she got a good kick in and he went flying toward the edge of the cliff,
but he managed to tumble and stop himself from going over the edge.

He remembered voices, strong harsh voices, but he couldn't think, he could
only react, but his initial target was no longer in site, in fact no one was
around and he screamed in pain. Then another came into view and he charged
with out thought, knocking them down, taking what he wanted but found no
release in it and soon abandoned this one.it wasn't the right one. He howled
and cried out in pain when another one entered his view, again he charged,
but this one put up a struggle, but in the end he was able to take what he
wanted, but it wasn't what he needed either.it wasn't the one.

He was in more pain and agony than he could remember and though he knew
what his body demanded, he couldn't find it with the ones that had presented
themselves and he was once again reduced to this state of massive agony and
need. Then he looked up and there she was.the first one he chased. Going for
instinct he charged her, struggled with her, then took what he wanted.. He
howled in anger.she didn't have what he needed either.

Tom's body began to tremble as he recalled the anguish that over took him at
that moment, not being able to rationalize anything, only act out of some
bizarre need. In the back of his mind he could recall he had attacked Harry,
Tuvok, then B'Elanna. Each time filled with a disappointment he couldn't
explain, and not care what futile attempts they made to control him, stop
him. Tom remembered how he struggled to regain some sense of humanity, only
a fraction returned and his mind reregistered B'Elanna under him, cut, and
bleeding. He pushed away and ran, fast and uncaring. All he could remember
was he needed to get as far away as possible as fast as possible before he
couldn't control himself anymore.he was a monster.

He wasn't aware of where he was going or who was in pursuit of him, he just
knew he had to run. Then he stopped at the edge of a high cliff. He couldn't
think clearly, but he couldn't keep harming people, friends.he took another
step toward the cliff when a metallic sound caught his ear and a strong
desirable smell reached his nose and he had to turn around. There before him
was another one, but he tried to fight his desire to charge, but the one was
walking closer and the smell became stronger, overwhelming, and he did

He growled as he ripped off the fabric that was in his way and took what he
wanted.Yes! This was it.this was what he was looking for, what he wanted,
needed! He howled in delight for all the pain and anguish was being replaced
with pleasure and ecstasy. He took more and more of what he wanted till his
body couldn't take anymore and exploded into wave of fire that vibrated
through out his body, then collapsed.

Just recalling all this, had Tom frightened, but the madness had passed and
he was able to recall, think, and take in his surroundings. He knew he had
attacked his friends and was about to jump off the cliff to end his
suffering if not for the Commander.Chakotay, of all people, it had to be
Chakotay. The irony of the situation filled him with an uneasy laugh that
echoed through his soul. That the man he couldn't get an once of respect
from, much less a kind word, was willing to offer.no it was more than that.
Others had offered too, but only Chakotay had what he needed. Tom let the
cold shiver of reality remind him of the situation. His body was in need, in
demand and only Chakotay could fill that need.

Tom slowly sat up, still shaky after the ordeal. He was glad no one else
was around to witness his humiliation or that of Chakotay's. He looked down
at his dirt-covered body then over, again to look at the closed-eyed form of
the Native American. Tom still couldn't believe it, and he didn't say a
word. He wasn't sure if Chakotay was out or just not acknowledging the
moment, but his chest was rising up and down and there for still alive. His
eyes widened and his mind whirled again at the site before him.// Nine and a
half inches save my life? // He thought again.

The only thing Tom could think of doing was try and save what shreds of
dignity he and the Commander had left and started to clean up, using the
remnants of his shirt to clean himself and place his pants back on. He saw
Chakotay was awake and silently now doing the same. They were both semi
dressed with the others finally showed up. Tom looked around but he couldn't
find a rock big enough to crawl under, so he turned his face down and shrank
back. But to his amazement Harry and B'Elanna only offered words of
encouragement as Tuvok explained the he wasn't at fault for what the alien
creatures had done to him. The only thing that bothered Tom more than the
fussing from his friends was the fact that neither of them was able to fix
the problem. That only the now, very silent, First Officer brought the
madness to an end.

On their way back to the shuttle, Tom dropped back to where Chakotay had
been silently bringing up the end. "Thank you," he whispered sincerely.

"Your welcome," Chakotay replied, no anger, no sarcasm.just a sincere

"You saved my life," Tom continued, feeling thank you wasn't enough. "I
would have jumped."

Chakotay stopped and looked at Tom for the first, really letting Tom see
what was going on in his mind. "What if I failed you too?" he asked with
such deep concern that it was almost scary.

"But you didn't." Tom started to say.

"But I could have," Chakotay insisted. "Hell, Tom. The others didn't cut it
for you.I." He couldn't finish, he wasn't ready to deal with this new
emotion inside him.

"But you did," Tom said, this time with some levity to ease the Commander,
"hell, you most definitely had what it took," He grinned. Then immediately
regretted his words for the dark eyes he was starting to like turned cold.

"Is that all it was.a genetic fluke, that I happen to be able to save your
life?" He asked, searching Tom's face for the answers he really didn't want
to find.

Tom was suddenly beside himself. "I.I thought so."

"What do you mean you thought so?" Chakotay snapped.

"Sheesh man!" Tom exclaimed "Nine and half inches! I'm surprised I'm
walking," Tom retorted in astonishment and admiration.

"Well, if that's all it take to make you happy, good luck finding somewhere
else!" he growled and then was about to stomp off when he came up short with
Tuvok standing before him. "Yes!" he snapped.

"I apologize in my overhearing of your conversation, but since there seems
to be some error in this communication that my information could easily
remedy, I thought I should present it," the cool collect Vulcan stated.

"And what is that," Chakotay growled, not able to center himself or pull
his raw emotions back from the abyss they seemed to be in.

"The aliens did not trigger Mr. Paris's to desire a particular size of."
Tuvok reconsidered how to put this, not wanting to upset the Commander
already. "As impressive as it may be, Commander. The size of your anatomy
is not what Mr. Paris was searching for," he stated.

"Then what?" Tom asked as he subconsciously walked up next to Chakotay
almost in front of the man.

"I am of not threat to you or the commander, Mr. Paris," Tuvok stated.

Tom looked puzzled, then looked at himself and saw that his body was in a
protective stance between Chakotay and Tuvok, as if he was ready to go at it
if he had too. He quickly gathered himself. "I'm sorry," he mumbled.

"Then what was it he was looking for?" Chakotay asked, now just as puzzled
as Tom.

"A mate," Tuvok stated flatly. "Though the residue of the alien creature
made Tom resistant to our phasers, the chemical that was secreted into him,
triggered a deep primal mating frenzy, thought I guess in this case it was
more than a matter of procreation, for he didn't mate with Ms. Torres. As to
the exact nature of this.mating, I am not sure, but I though I should inform
you before I make out my official report," he said then turned to go to the

Chakotay stood there stunned for a moment then sat down on a large rock to
take all what happened in. He looked up to see Tom looking at him with true
concern. "I'm sorry," he said, a bit ashamed at his behavior.

"For what? For being human, angry.you?" Tom asked easily, no sign of hurt
in his tone. "Chakotay.you save my life. Whether it was more than your
impressive, and I do mean impressive, build, or not, I don't know. But I do
know I wouldn't be standing here if it weren't for you. All I'm asking is
that when we get back, we talk about it.things, no more no less.okay?"

Chakotay gave a small smile, "Your right, Tom. We need to talk about this.
Like you said, when we get back to Voyager," he replied and got up and
headed to the shuttle.

It was twenty minutes later when they were on their way back, Tom at the
controls and Harry in the co-pilot seat. They had all had their say and Tom
felt better that all accepted his apology. He then heard a gasp from be hind
him and turned to see B'Elanna's face as she was looking over Tuvok's
shoulder. "What?" he asked in concern.

She smirked at looked at Chakotay, "Damn, big man!" she teased. She was
going to say more but a deep growl from the front of the shuttle startled
everyone. She looked to see it was Tom, his eyes narrowed. "I was only."

"Tom!" Chakotay said then was relieved that his tone brought the helmsmen
back to a calm.

"I'm sorry, Chakotay. But She.your.uh!" he said then turned around to face
the controls and forget the whole stupid thing. Thus missing the small smile
from Chakotay at seeing Tom protective and possessive over him and
B'Elanna's nervous movement toward Harry or Tuvok's raised eyebrow.

//I don't care what anyone says. My life was saved by Nine half inches, and
it's all mine! // Tom thought possessively. //All mine! For it wasn't a mere
nine and half inches, no. it was all nine and half inches of pure Chakotay
loven! // He thought as his eyes twinkled and mind danced at how he'd have
it all to himself again soon enough.no matter who'd he have to take out to
make sure.

TBC in "Inch by Inch"