Title: The Man Within
Pairing:  Chakotay/Paris   
Rating: R (to be on the safe side)
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Paramount, for if they belonged to us…would the show have been canceled or as narrow minded? 

“The Man Within”

 Personal log: 

 Six months! Six damn fucking, long months he’s been missing! I knew I cared for him, even though it took us forever to even become friends, but Shit! I know I’ve said all this before, but when I first heard that Commander Chakotay’s shuttle had disappeared, I felt a knot the size of the warp core in my stomach. Then as time passed and all I could think about was how I missed him and…shit! How I should have been honest with myself about how much I needed him around. It didn’t take long before B’Elanna noticed my serious distraction from ‘our’ relationship. What did surprise me was that she approached me and told me that she did love me, but she knew how much I loved Chakotay.  Damn, could that woman ever pull her punches? I didn’t even know at that moment that I loved Chakotay, so when she told me that I immediately started to deny it, but she was quick to set me straight. 

 Oh Damn! She was so right. I have been in love with the First Officer of Voyager, but lets face it; the stoic and extremely reserved man would sooner hit me than kiss me much less…well you know. I was sorry to end things with B’el, but she was right to do so. I couldn’t really have a good relationship with her when deep down I loved another more, for I did and still do love B’Elanna, just…not the same way.  

 Well, like everyone else on the ship, we’ve been working over time searching for him. It was around a month of his missing when the Captain was seriously considering leaving him behind as lost when…thank the heaven’s…Harry detected the shuttle warp signature. We also discovered that the shuttle had been caught up in an ion storm that flung the tiny craft into the nearest solar system. It has been this unmarked system that we’ve been searching for the past five months. The shuttle was confirmed to have entered the system, but like all things that occur on Voyager, there was too much interference from outside sources to simply scan the system…no it meant a planet by planet search. Several of them had to be done on the surface for the interference made sensors practically useless. 

 Well today we had the first break in six months, and I tell you I’m overjoyed and nervous as hell. We picked up a very faint signal from the shuttle emergency beacon from the next planet we’re heading to now. I just came from the mess hall where Harry just told me and I’m beside myself. I pray he’s all right, but…Shit! What do I do now? I can’t walk up to the man and say, welcome home, Chakotay…oh by the way I love you…can I? *Sigh*

 Oh, of course like anything else in this system the sensors are practically useless so it’ll be a land surface search…but I was told by Harry that this planet like some of the others are inhabited. Heavens! I should sleep…but I’ll only dream of those dark eyes and that sexy body…. Um…yes, a cold shower would do about now then perhaps sleep will be easier. Tomorrow we’ll be there and I’ll be damned it I’m not on the search party, even if it means bribing someone or throwing a world class temper tantrum…hehehe Oh, I could just picture the Captain’s face on that one. 

Paris personal log out:


 The sky was full of colors, bright oranges, pinks and blues as the sun rose to greet the land beneath it. The members of the large village that was nestled in the foothills began to stir, as did the sun’s rays. Far to the east a larger city could be seen as smaller villagers father to the other directions. This one however stirred early with anticipation of the day. 

 Men of all ages were bustling all through the town tending to needed duties that are required to keep a village running. The only odd thing that an outsider might see was there was no sign of woman anywhere. The men tended everything from decorations, to trade, to hard labor to tending the small boys that were lending a hand. They were all human in appearance except that they had more of a variety in skin and eye color, but any human male could fit right in. 

 By their activities they were preparing for a celebration. An older white haired man dressed in a dark green tunic and pants moved slowly through the center of the village and took in all the warmth he saw around him. Then he spotted a tall slim dark skinned and dark haired young man and called to him, “Baka!” He moved over and greeted the young man. “Good morning, Baka. I bet your Fathers are proud of you,” he smiled.

 “Thank you, Elder Hafar,” the young man replied and smiled as he gave a slight bow to the elder male. “I have worked hard to do so and of course I couldn’t have done it without the help of Jona,” he finished. 

 “Ah, yes. How is Jona doing?” The elder inquired. “Has he settled on anyone yet?”

 The young man blushed at the inquiry, “I do not believe so,” he said shyly. 
 The elder wasn’t blind, he could see that Baka had a huge crush on Jona, in fact many of the single men and young fellows did. But the man wasn’t about to settle for anyone, he held a deep belief that his true love was out there and they’d be together someday. //Ah, to hold true to such youthful beliefs, // the older man mused to himself. “Well, I’m sure he’ll come around soon enough. Are you ready for tomorrow?”

 “OH yes, Elder Hafar! I’m nervous about the hunt, but not because I think I’ll fail, I just don’t want to…”

 “Appear foolish?”  The Elder finished for the shy young man. He saw Baka nod the affirmative. “Don’t worry, you won’t. Beside, you yourself have said you trained with Jona as well as your Fathers and they all are accomplished hunters,” the Elder offered warmly. “I must see to the others and I will see you and the other young men at the shrine by sunset…and don’t worry,” he teased. “Next year you’ll be celebrating with the adults on this night of the passage.” With his warm word delivered and accepted he moved off to see how others were doing. 

 Baka waited till the Elder had left then ran inside to tell his Fathers that the Elder had given him good words, always a good sign. The two men were standing in the kitchen, both dark haired, dark eyed, but one taller and thinner to the other who was wider built. They were sipping a hot beverage and talking to another dark haired dark eyed man, who was medium to large build and very strong looking like the older of the two men that were the boys Fathers. “Jona, Fathers’ the Elder spoke good words to me today as you had said he would!” the young man shouted with joy. 

 The taller and thinner one moved to embrace the young man in a warm hug, “Ah, Baka, did you doubt us?” he teased lightly 

 “Well, not much Alson,” Baka replied shyly. 

 “Well you shouldn’t,” the other man replied and joined Alson in a group hug around their son. 

 “You’re right of course, Torren,” Baka replied again as he was being squished by his Fathers. 

 “So…how does it feel to know that by tomorrow night you’ll be a man?” Jona asked warmly from his position of sitting at the kitchen table also drinking something hot. 

 Baka moved from his Fathers embrace and hugged the other man at the table in a tight bear hug. “It feels exciting and scary,” he finally said as he released his hold. 

 “If you weren’t a bit scared, I’d be worried,” Jona replied warmly.

 “Why?” Baka asked

 “Because being scared means you are aware of the responsibilities that will befall you now, but by being excited I believe you are willing to accept them. I’m honored I had a small hand in helping you reach this moment,” Jona replied with a huge warm grin on his handsome dark face. Then he laughed as he saw a small blush come to the young man’s cheeks. 

 “Jona, I told you we’d have to talk dowry if you were going to make any moves on my son,” teased Torren, much to Baka’s displeasure that turned even redder from embarrassment. 

 Jona and Alson laughed and gave Baka reassuring looks that it was all in jest. “Don’t listen to your Father, Baka. Now, I believe you and the other young men have things to do today, don’t let us keep you,” Alson said as he shooed he son out the door. Then he turned a glare on his husband. “Why do you insist on embarrassing the boy?”

 “Oh, love, please. Everyone knows he has a crush on Jona here…by centurion’s might, who doesn’t?” Torren replied. “He has to learn to deal with his feelings, that’s all.”

 Jona shifted uncomfortably, “Well, far be it for me to be the center of any family issues, so I’m going to go to work so I can be done for this evening,” he grinned, as he got up and thanked the men for the drink and left. 
Alson looked at Torren then moved over and gave him a slight slap on the arm, “Who doesn’t have a crush on Jona?” he said irritated and moved passed the other man. 

 “Love, you know what I mean,” he said in a begging voice as he trailed after his husband.


 Personal log:

Well, we’ve arrived and we’ve discovered that the inhabitants do have a lot of technology in some areas, but are most definitely pre-warp and so our presence must be kept to a minimal. From observations we’ve learned that the society is divided by gender. Some villages are all women and others all men. Only the large cities are mixed but they still have a separate culture for each, so how they have children…well I don’t really want to know. What I do know is that we’re being split into several search parities, several male parities and one female. The Captain thinks it is a small possibility that there still may be news about Chakotay even in those villages and the city. 

 Oh, I do hope we find him…I don’t think I can last much longer without knowing he’s all right. Its gotten so bad that I’ve gone passed thinking about having sex with him…if one can get passed that, I have. Last night I had the most intense dream…*sigh* in the end we were married. Can you believe that? For all the time I was with B’Elanna I never once thought about marriage, and here I am in love and thinking about marrying a man I haven’t even kissed yet…if ever! Just how pathetic is that? No, don’t answer that. 

 We’re going to wait till this evening and beam down to the perspective villages that are near the shuttle…oh yeah! How can I forget to mention that? We found the shuttle…but no Chakotay, which by the condition of the shuttle is probably, a good thing…I hope. It was beyond repair, and on Voyager that’s saying a lot. There were blood traces but after a short distance the natural minerals in the mountains made the sensors even on the ground useless…Damn! Well, I know he’s here some where and if I have to searched under every rock that’s what I’m doing…no matter what anyone might say. Sorry, that even means if I have to stay behind if the Captain should decide to call off the search. I’m not leaving here till either I hold his dead body or we step back onto Voyager together…I swear it!

Paris personal log out:


 The air was warm even if the sun had gone down hours ago. Tom moved along the narrow streets of the tiny village and saw all the decorations and heard celebrating from the otherside of his location. He was dressed like any typical male from this land, and was glad no alterations were needed to fit in. 

 As he moved through the village he noticed a lot of activity by a large building at the center of town and quietly moved to a window and observed. Inside were many young men that were caring for young boys in a very ritualistic manner, but all seemed very happy about what they were doing. Several older men, whose age was distinguished by their grey and white hair, and dressed in distinguished white garments, oversaw them all. This was obviously a ceremony of some sort, so Tom decided to move away quietly and see where everyone else in the village was and hope to converse to them about a stranger in their midst…hopefully they would have one and it would be the commander. 

 Tom moved toward where he heard all the excited yelling and shouting coming from. As he drew closer he saw all the men that were of age but not one of the Elders celebrating around a huge bonfire. There was music, drink, and food, and much merriment. The sight of so many men having such a good time was warming to Tom’s heart that he had to move closer to observe and perhaps find someone to talk with. 

 Just then the music grew wild and some men jumped up on a makeshift stage and started to sing…and Tom was stunned.  There right before him was Chakotay dressed or he should say half undressed up on stage and singing…rock-n-roll style…and had a damn good voice too! Tom’s jaw dropped as he watched the First officer smile and moved his large body with a grace he never thought possible to the wild beat. This man was nothing like the stoic man who sat on the bride day after day for the last several years…//NO WAY! // 

 Tom was frozen to the spot as he watched the man he thought he knew bump and grind with some other sexy men while he sang out a very wild and raunchy song…one that Tom never heard before…. But deep down really liked. Then Tom noticed that Chakotay was drinking and by the smell of things it was definitely alcoholic…//Chakotay doesn’t drink? // Then as Tom stared as he watched Chakotay move and grove he suddenly had to do a double take for it hit him…Chakotay looked younger and he didn’t have the tattoo. //Could this just be a look alike? // He thought as he stared, not noticing that he had been spotted and was being approached. //Damn is he fucking gorgeous! Snap out of it Tom…something’s not right here! //
 “You’re new to our village, right?” A tall thin dark haired dark eyed man that could easily pass for a member of Chakotay’s family. 

 Tom was startled at the sound of someone speaking to him, “Huh? Oh, yes…just passing through to the city,” he replied as he was instructed to if he spoke with anyone.  Though he was trying to be nice his eyes were glued on Chakotay who then after declining to continue singing jumped down and was swallowed up by the dancing crowd as he joined in as the wild music continued. 

 “He is very handsome, isn’t he?”

 “What?” Tom responded at hearing the unusual question. 

 “Jona,” the taller man smiled. “The man you’ve been staring at,” he teased. “I’m Alson,” he said as he reached out to clasp Tom’s wrist in their custom.

 Tom followed in kind, “Tom,” he smiled warmly though puzzled. “Jona you say?” he asked, not bothering with the fact that he was noticed drooling, if they were to be more accurate, at the man on stage. 

 “Yes, his names Jona. Would you like to meet him?” Alson asked with a hint of mischief in his eyes. //Perhaps Jona will go for this beautiful blond and Torren will get his thoughts back in check. //

Tom didn’t see a problem with this, but he wasn’t sure as to how embarrassed the Commander would be to having Tom Paris of all people see him out of ‘Commander’ mode. “Um, sure, that would be great,” Tom replied eagerly and then followed Alson down to the crowd. 

 Tom was stunned again as he moved down into the crowd of dancing men for they were being wild and exotic with one another, some were kissing and touching in ways that Tom would like to do, but not in public…well perhaps in some public…he was an exhibitionist at heart; what stunned him more was seeing Chakotay of all people getting down with some of the men as they danced and drank.  Though unlike many of the others the Commander wasn’t kissing or over touching anyone, but the dirty dancing was still a huge surprise to Paris as he got closer. He felt a drink pressed into his hand and without thinking drank it all down. //I have a feeling I’m going to need this. // 

 As he got closer with Alson in front of him, he could feel his arousal at watching that large sexy body move and sway in ways he never imagined. //Oh, damn can he move that body! // Then Tom got a full look, Chakotay was younger, about his age, and was his full semi-long dark hair cupped his face and Tom lost any resolve as he walked right up passed Alson and didn’t even wait to be introduced or anything. Tom tapped on the man’s shoulder that had Chakotay around the waist and as that man had started to protest Tom’s blue eyes locked with Chakotay’s dark eyes and there was lighting…thunder…a powerful draw. Much to the others displeasure Chakotay let go and grabbed Tom around the waist and their two bodies started to sway and dance with each other, fitting together in a perfect union that they both felt. 

 Alson grinned and moved up behind Torren, “I think Jona has found an interest,” he teased and moved away with mirth laughter, knowing he’d pay for this later. 

 Tom felt strong hands move down to his hips and felt the heat of Chakotay’s shirtless body as they moved together. Tom felt an overwhelming need to touch the man who held him so intimately, and started running his hands over a strong back as his eyes never left the dark eyes that were baring into his soul. //Oh yes! // His mind cried as he felt Chakotay dip him back then pull him up to his chest and pull one of his legs up one of those strong thighs that were wrapped around him a few moments ago. Then before Tom knew up from down, his lips were covered by the warm sensuous mouth he had dreamed of for so long. He felt the desire of Chakotay’s tongue and opened his mouth to indicate he was more than willing to offer himself freely. The deep kiss drew forth a moan from both men, especially Tom as he felt a strong hand clasp his butt and pulled him closer. 

 What seemed like forever was only minutes as the kiss finally broke and the two men were no longer dancing but staring deeply into the other’s eyes. “What’s your name?”

 That question snapped Tom out of his revelry, “What? Don’t you know me?” he asked, with just enough teasing to keep things light. 

 “Believe me, if I knew you before this night, not only would I know your name, but I strongly suspect that I’d never let you go,” he smiled, a deep longing in his eyes along with a deep passion. “I’m Jona.”

 //Oh shit! He doesn’t remember or he isn’t Chakotay…but he looks so damn like him…but…oh shit! //  “Tom, I’m Tom,” he smiled warmly, still feeling the warmth of the man he desired so much surrounding him. “I just got here tonight.”

 “Then tonight truly is a blessing,” he replied. “Please tell me your not promise,” he said seriously. 

 “Ah, no,” Tom answered not understanding why he was asked such a question. 

 “Do you plan on staying…I don’t mean to be so forward, but I’ve never met anyone like you and call it instinct, I doubt I ever will again. I…I haven’t been promised and well, you know the law…It must be fate that brought you here to me tonight,” he replied, a bit of shyness mixed with a longing leer. 

 Tom didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, and half of him didn’t care. “Fate?” he smiled, then let out a small gasp as he felt strong hands pull him closer. If he was any closer to Chakotay he’d either be inside him or on his back, but Tom didn’t mind in the slightest. 

 “What else would you call it?” Jona/Chakotay said, flashing a deep wide smile that melted Tom even further into the big man’s arms. “Tell me you feel it too?” he purred as he placed small kisses on Tom’s cheek. “The power, the draw…the call of the bond between us,” he whispered into Tom’s ear, receiving small groans of pleasure as he did so. 

 “Oh, yes!” he cried softly, before he got a short break and made small attempts to gain his balance mentally, but the break was short lived as his mouth was once again plundered by Chakotay’s mouth and he was lost. 

 When another break due to the need to breath occurred, both men smiled and laughed for they were caught up into each other and everyone else was forgotten, that is till Jona was grabbed by some men and teased Tom that’s they’d bring the big man back, but he’d made a promise and it was time for him to keep it. Tom was first stunned but being damned if he was going to loose out on being with Chakotay he followed right behind. He was relieved to see that the men that dragged Chakotay off were friends for all of them, even the Commander was laughing and joking about it. 

They dragged him back on stage and ordered him to sing again as was promised. Chakotay/Jona smirked then reached out a hand and pulled Tom to the stage with him and sat him down on a stool. Then the big man moved and talked to the musician’s and the beat slowed down and couples started to sway slowly to the more romantic beat.  Tom was floored to be serenaded by Chakotay right there in front of everyone, but he grinned from ear to ear as he turned red. //He really has a beautiful voice, // he sighed like a man in love.  He watched as Chakotay sang and then got down on one knee and took his hand and kissed it as he continued. Tom couldn’t help but feel like he had been courted for years by this man…this man he didn’t know but felt he belonged with, so when at the end of the song when this man asked him if he’d be his promised one, Tom responded yes…his heart was lost to the man that knelt before him.  The crowd cheered, though some were a tad disappointed, most were happy for the young couple. 


 When Tom awoke it was to a soft beeping sound. It took a few moments before he got his bearings and remember where he was. He sat up and found he was in bed naked next to the man he loved and it all came back to him. The question, the celebration of the promise, and the love making, //Oh heavens! That was wonderful, // he started to muse to himself when he heard the soft beeping again and recognized it as his com badge that was hidden in his boot. 

 Tom slipped out of bed quietly and gathered his clothes and moved into the bathroom so not to disturb the man he loved that was sleeping. When he had the door closed, “Tom here,” he whispered. 

 “Tom, you missed your reporting time,” Janeway said, having the volume down for taking Tom’s whisper as a cue that they needed to be quiet. “I hope you have a good reason for this.’

 “Yes, Captain,” Tom returned with a smile. “I found him,” he said, letting his joy fill his voice and let the bridge take the news in, for there was going to be a but… “Um, but there is a small problem,” he followed. 

 “Is he alright?” Janeway asked with concern. 

 “Well, physically he couldn’t be better,” Tom teased, then tried to get more serious. “Ah, I don’t know how to explain this, but he looks my age and the tattoo is gone, but it’s him alright…but that’s not the big problem.”

 “Younger? What’s going on Lieutenant?” She inquired.

 “Well, I don’t know about the physical stuff, but…the big problem is…well, he doesn’t know who he is. He introduced himself last night as Jona, and a member of this village.”

 There was silence for the longest of time that Tom wondered for a moment if he’d lost the signal. “He doesn’t know who he is? Does it seem like amnesia?” she asked.

 “I’m not a doctor, but he doesn’t give off any distress of not having a memory gap and only accepting the present, but I haven’t had much chance to talk with him yet,” Tom replied. It wasn’t a lie, he didn’t talk much at all, or to be precise, what he was saying wouldn’t or shouldn’t be repeated in mixed company. 

 “See what you can find out, Tom. I’ll have Tuvok and Harry meet up with you later today to give you a hand and see if you can discover more information on the subject. I’d hate to just whisk him away in hopes all will be all right, but we have to get to the bottom of this. Keep me posted, lieutenant…and I mean it.” The com was closed. 

 Tom placed his badge back into its hiding place. //This is totally messed up. I just made love to the man I just promised myself too, who doesn’t know he can’t stand me because he doesn’t know himself. Oh, this really sucks! // He thought as he rubbed his eyes to relieve some of the stress he was feeling. As he tried to relax all he could in vision was watching the handsome dark man move, laugh, and be so alive last night. //His spirit was so free, it soared…we connected…so different than what I’ve come to know and love…but I do love what and who I was with last night too. Am I nuts? Is this side a part of him that I sensed? Will this all be for not if he does remember? Oh damn! If he remembers and doesn’t want me or worse goes back to hating me…I couldn’t’ bare it. Not after knowing his body, his heart and his soul as I have tonight. I just couldn’t!  Oh heavens…spirits…or fates! Who ever…what am I to do? //

 Tom quietly moved from the bathroom, still only holding his cloths as he neared the bed where the center of his world now slept. He gently put his cloths back down and sat on the edge of the bed staring at the beautiful wonder that lay there. He smiled as he saw dark lashes flutter and then was greeted by the loving warmth in Chakotay’s eyes as they opened up and saw him. 

 “Morning Beautiful,” he whispered with a deep loving smile, then lightly laughed seeing the redness flush creamy skin on Tom’s face. He stretched out his hand and caressed the face of the man he was promised to spend the rest of his life with. Feeling the soft skin and seeing Tom’s responsiveness to his touch encouraged him to reach out with his other hand and pull the other man into his arms and kiss those kissable lips.  “Oh, Tom,” he whispered in a low husky voice. “I know this seems like things are moving so fast, but I swear I know your soul better than I know my own,” he said as he continued to caress the delicate features of his promised. 

 Tom was torn between just being lost in this moment and doing his duty and bring back Commander Chakotay. //The ship needs him. But I need him too…oh so beautiful…// he thought as he was lulled into this man’s full embrace, feeling the strong body of Chakotay climb on top of him, pinning him to the bed, where Tom most definitely wanted to be. “Perhaps you do know me,” he said softly. 

 “Perhaps I do,” Jona teased. 

 “Tell me, how long have you lived here? I mean, I’ve never seen you before…I too believe if I had we’d been together much sooner,” Tom said, trying to keep his face from reacting to the twisting pangs of pain he was feeling. Still unsure which side of him would win out, the officer or the lover. 

 Jona laughed warmly. “I’ve only been in this village for five months, but what my life was before that is of no more concern. As the Sh’Arteth of the city has put it, the accident that brought me to their doorstep was my rebirth, and so I was and I’ve looked only forward ever since. They did a family search and found none, and so…after being healed and reborn as it were, I was given a new name and a new start, and time of course to find my promised.”  Then he shifted up his eyebrow in an all too familiar manner that Tom had seen many times on the bridge. "Why, do ‘you’ know me?” he asked suddenly serious. 

 Tom knew he was committed to the truth, even though in his heart he feared what may occur, “Yes,” he answered softly. “I know who you are and where you’re from, and in a way you do have family and they miss you,” he said.

 Jona/Chakotay took this bit of information in and seriously thought about things, then smiled. “If you know me, than we must have been courting for that would explain why I loved you so much when I only thought it was the first time of our meeting.”

 Tom didn’t know what to say to that, for what passed between the two man could be called many things, but courting wasn’t one of them. He only smiled, and hugged Chakotay tightly for he wanted to imprint on his own mind and body how the Commander felt, smelled, for it may be the last time. “We…we were friends…though I loved you then, I was not sure how you felt about me,” Tom replied. 

 “Well, I know how I feel now, and understanding we have a past together it couldn’t have just come from no where,” Jona replied lovingly.  Then he leaned back just enough to kiss Tom deeply. Then he looked deep into the blue eyes he knew he’d spend the rest of a happy life looking into. “I love you, Tom. I can think of no happier fate than being promised to you than actually being married to you.” Then Chakotay leaned back and reached into a nightstand next to his bed and pulled out a clothed item. He unwrapped it and it was a silver bracelet. He slowly and lovingly placed it around Tom’s wrist. “I know that you don’t have yours with you, but this is mine and it makes it official. By this time next year we’ll be married, and I look forward to reuniting with my old family and having them untied with my new family,” he smiled. 

 Once again Tom was unsure of what to do. Should he be total up front and tell this man that his idea of mixing the old family and the new one was impossible, or should he just wait for a while, he opted to wait for a while till help arrived. While he was thinking he saw a hint of disappointment in his lover’s eyes. “What?” he asked. 

 “Nothing serious,” Jona replied warmly. “It’s just that I don’t want to get out of bed for I want to make love to you again, but today is the day of passing and I have promised to attend, for young Baka is going to become an official adult today. So you might say I’m just a bit torn, but a promise is held dear to me, as you will find out,” he smiled lovingly. 

Tom responded in kind, “I believe I do know what you mean already,” he said then with a sigh of disappointment he released Chakotay/Jona to get up and he soon followed. 

 They both were very affectionate as they showered and got dressed and went hand in hand to the breakfast banquet in the young men’s honor. Word has passed very quickly that Jona had found someone to be his promised, and so Tom felt all eyes on him, some happy others envious, and others jealous. Inside Tom glowed at others reactions for he knew he did have the best man around at his side, but outside he maintained a quiet happy calm. 

 The ceremony was very joyous for all and then the ritual hunt in which the young men would participate began. Tom had been introduced to Baka, who he saw envy in his dark eyes, and wished him well. Though there may have been some hard feelings, no one treated Tom with any less then with a welcoming tone. He stood next to Chakotay and Baka’s fathers like most parents watching their son’s set forth to the task at hand. 

 Within the hours that passed, Tom was made to feel that he belonged to this village as if he’d lived his entire life here.  Tom discovered that Jona had a wicked sense of humor that he could very much appreciate, and was very quick witted. This was something he never saw displayed in Commander Chakotay, the always-serious Starfleet officer. Tom also discovered that Jona was very affectionate, which Tom didn’t mind one bit. He stood next to the man he loved and believed he saw a side of Chakotay that was never allowed to exist on Voyager, and for a few moments grieved his loss, in the past and possibly the future. 

 Then Baka returned. Though he wasn’t the first to bring forth his catch, he did by the end of the afternoon have the largest. He had tracked and taken down a huge wild boar using the techniques that Jona and his Fathers had taught him. The young adult was honored like everyone else and given the distinction of his skill among the new hunters of the village. 

 As the village started to move off to the area where the feast was to be prepared in celebration of the passing, Tom found himself being pulled in another location by Jona. Soon Tom found his back against a stone wall in a small semi-dark ally. Before Tom could even ask what was going on he felt strong hands caressing his body and Chakotay’s sensuous mouth covering his face and neck with kisses. The exhibitionist in Tom flourished and he allowed himself to respond to the touches. He pressed his hips against Chakotay’s and could feel the man’s erection rubbing along his own. Soft moans of pleasure escaped his lips, “Take me,” he whispered. 

 Tom felt his shirt being opened as hot kisses followed the cool air that he felt on his chest. Then he felt light nipping on his left nipple then his right and he moaned again in pleasure that his love was giving him. Then he felt that hot mouth move downward to his stomach as he also felt his pants being unfastened. “Oh yes,” he cried softly, though he really wanted to scream it, he didn’t want to bring any unwanted attention to what was happening. 

 He let out a soft pleasurable sigh as strong hands caressed his chest then his stomach then move down to his hips as kisses and nips made their way down to his groin. Accept for last night, he couldn’t remember being so hard at the anticipation of being touched, and it was all by the same man. “Please,” he softly begged, wanting so badly to be touched. He reached out and ran his fingers through Chakotay’s full soft hair and encouraged every touch that he was being given. Then unexpectantly Tom gasped as he felt his member being taken in the moist desirable mouth and started sucking passionately. “Yes!” he cried out, a bit louder than he may have wanted, but he didn’t care at the moment, for his world had just been reduced to his groin and what that magnificent man was doing with his mouth to him. Tom felt this knees weaken and was glad for the strong hands that had his around his waist and held him safe against the wall. What seemed like an eternity of pure pleasure was only long minutes when Tom cried out as his body exploded into his lover’s mouth, and then shuddered while he felt a warm tongue licking and cleaning up after its work. 

  It was a few more minutes before Tom realized that his pants and shirt had been placed back in place and he could focus on the Cheshire cat smile on his lover that was leaning his forehead on Tom’s. “Like that?” he asked in a husky low voice.

 “Loved that,” Tom replied, still panting a bit to calm his body from the intense orgasm he had just experienced. “Is there anything ‘I’ can do to return the favor?” he smiled mischievously back. 

 “Oh, I say tonight we’ll be able to think of something,” the big man said with a lustful leer at his lover. “But we can’t be too late to the banquet, I don’t think Baka would be that forgiving,” he teased. Then he kissed Tom then moved back and took the blond man’s hand and led him to the celebration. 


 The sun was soon to set and it finally occurred to Tom that he should check in and find out about Harry and Tuvok’s arrival to the tiny village. It was challenging to slip off for Chakotay kept a very vigil eye on his promised, though out of loving affection than mistrust…no there was pure love in those dark eyes that looked at Tom and Tom didn’t want to do anything to lose that…even follow orders…but. 

 Tom did manage to slip back to the small cottage that Chakotay had been living in. It was a one-bedroom house, and very well maintained by its current occupant. Tom moved just out of sight but still near enough to the window so he could see if anyone was coming. “Tom to Voyager.”

 “Voyager, it’s about time Lieutenant,” Janeway stated flatly. 

 “My apologizes, Captain, but it hasn’t been easy to slip away, since the entire village is celebrating a special time, everyone is expected to be present.”

 “Very well so noted. Any additional information on the Commander’s status?”

 “Well it does turn out that he does have a memory gap dating back to what we know is his arrival here, but he doesn’t seem concerned. He said something about some official in the city calling it fate that his accident was a sign that he be given rebirth or something along those lines, for he wasn’t too clear about it. He’s very happy with the way things are, though I did mention that he did have another family.”

 “And what did he say to that?” Janeway inquired.

 “Only that he looks forward to having the old and the new meet and get along. I didn’t push after that for I can tell he has no concept that he’s not from here, and he has managed to fit in quite nicely,” Tom added, not able to keep a smile off his face. 

 “Well, I glad that he’s managed to make friends, but that doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t belong down there and since we do know it is a memory issue, I’ll notify the Doctor. Tuvok and Harry are on the edge of town waiting for you to contact them. I suggest you do so. Tuvok has a tricorder and he can take readings of the Commanders condition secretly and send the information to the Doctor. Once we know if his medical condition can be treated and how soon, we’ll be able to formulate a plan.”
 “Aye, Captain,” Tom replied and let the com channel close. //Shit! I’m going to lose out on this…I know it! Then why the hell am I helping them? Simple, you know he’ll get his memory back sooner than later…better to lose it now instead of when it is beyond…. *Sigh* who am I kidding. It’s already beyond being bearable…but I know returning home is what he’ll want. // Tom wiped the water that was building in his eyes. //Get a move on Paris. It’s what he’d want. // Then Tom contacted Tuvok and Harry and agreed that he’d bring Chakotay out to the north wall were they could scan him quietly without anyone being the wiser for it. 

 Tom then moved from the small cottage and didn’t have to travel far for Joan/Chakotay was looking for him. Tom only stated that he needed to use the restroom, then suggested that they take a walk. He headed north as he said he would. 

 They walked hand in hand, but Jona could tell something was bothering the other man. “Tom…love, what’s wrong?” 

 Tom looked up at the man he loved so much and was torn between telling him and self preservation of the last bit of dignity he might be able to hold onto when things went back to normal. But as he stared into those dark inviting eyes he couldn’t keep anything from him. “Your name is Chakotay. You are not from here, and…well, we were barely friends when you were back were you belonged,” he said quickly. 

 Jona stopped in his tracks and stared at Tom taking in the new information. Then without a word kept walking still holding Tom’s hand till he reached the stone wall that made up the northern gate. He sat down and pulled Tom to him and held him gently. “Tell me more about how things ‘use’ to be,” he said softly. 

 “Well, you already know you’ve been in an accident and that you lost your memory about everything but the last five to six months,” Tom replied with a bit of nerves, since he knew he was being watched as Chakotay was rubbing a gentle hand up and down his back. “You’re a very respected man among our people, second in charge,” he added with a smile. “You have a lot of responsibilities that you take very seriously. In fact you take everything very seriously, so seeing you laugh, joke…dance, well…”

 “Must have been shocking,” Jona teased. “For you to discover that I’m capable of enjoying life,” he smiled. “Besides, sounds a lot like I was very ridged and boring.”

 “Oh, no,” Tom stated quickly. “Well, I mean…yeah you were ridged, distant and mysterious,” he smiled. “But you were never boring…I’d say intriguing” he grinned. 

 Jona looked deep into the sky blue eyes that held his soul intently. “Your afraid I’ll reject you if I remember my past, don’t you?” he asked quietly. 

 Tom was floored, //Can he read minds too? // Tom thought.

 Chakotay could read the facial expression on his lover’s face very well, “It’s written all over you face and in your eyes,” he said. “Let me ask you something.”


“Do you think its possible for me to love you as much and as strong as I do based solely on laying eyes on you yesterday?”

 Tom wasn’t sure how to answer that and so was silent. 

 “I mean. I think that deep down the memories of who I was and what I thought and felt are still with me. Do you suppose I did care for you before yesterday?”

 “I…I don’t know,” Tom replied. “I don’t see why thought. I’ve been nothing but a thorn in your side since the first day we met. Though we did finally become friends…I…I can’t imagine you loving me at all,” he finished in a defeatist tone. 

 “Well, there you must be wrong. For I do love you and know in my soul that we belong together. But as to what will happen in the future is unknown, Tom. Perhaps we can journey home and see what new changes can be made, since I have no idea if my old memories will return if ever, and frankly I don’t give a damn,” he smiled teasingly.  “And if not, then we just come back here and make a life for ourselves here.”

 Tom didn’t know how to take Chakotay’s comments. He could see that this man meant what he was saying, but noting was ever that easy, it wouldn’t be so now. He felt the heat of his lover coming closer, but remembered that they were being watched, so he gently pushed away. “Um, this is going a bit fast for me. Do you mind if I take a walk and meet you back at the house later?” 

 Jona looked deep into his lover’s troubled eyes and knew that he couldn’t’ force a conversation, “Of course. Just know I’m here for you if you need anything,” he said reassuringly then released his hold and moved slowly back to the village. 

 Tom waited till the man was far from view then started down the dirt path sure either Harry or Tuvok would contact him, and he didn’t have long to wait. He heard a noise to his right and stopped and sighed in relief when Harry stepped out. “Harry,” he replied with a bit of relief in his tone. 

 “Getting a bit cozy with the Commander are we?” Harry teased, but then judging by the pain and sorrow Tom was desperately trying to cover up he realized he had said the wrong thing. “Ah, sorry,” he replied. 

 “Where’s Tuvok?”

 “He’s discussing the results of the scan with the Doctor and the Captain. So, going to tell me what happened here, and why he looks so different?” Harry inquired. 

 “I don’t know about the physical changes other than he said he was healed. As for the memory, well you know about as much as I do, that’s why the scan. As for anything else…” Tom wanted to shove a sarcastic comment out to protect his aching heart, but this was Harry, his best friend, and he knew how much Tom loved Chakotay, even before B’Elanna told Tom he did. “Let’s just say I’ve seen a side of him I never knew existed, and I’m afraid I may never see again,” he finally said in a hushed voice. 

 “Ah, Tom,” Harry replied moving to his friends side and lending as much support as he could. He stopped only when he heard Tuvok approaching. 

 Both men looked up at the Vulcan who also was dressed like the locals but with a bandana to cover his ears. “I have just conferred with the Captain and the Doctor. The Commanders condition is easily treatable. We just have to arrange for his leaving to look natural so not to cause too many disturbances with his disappearance. 

 Tom was still. He realized this was what he feared most, that Chakotay would go back to being…Chakotay. “He’s mentioned about going to visit his past. I can let him know that it’s a very long journey and so when he never comes back, they’ll just think he decided to stay there.”

 “Excellent plan Lieutenant,” Tuvok replied. “How soon do you think you can have the Commander ready to go on his trip?”

 Tom thought about it, torn between being selfish, at least for a few days and just getting it over with. “I can talk with him tonight and let you know tomorrow, though as I said. He’s expressed interest tonight.”

 “Very well, Mr. Paris. Mr. Kim and I shall return to Voyager and I’ll inform the Captain of the plan. I’m sure we will be expecting to here from you first thing in the morning?”

 “Ayes sir,” Tom replied as neutral as he could. He could tell that Harry understood this wasn’t going to be easy for Tom but said nothing. He stood quietly as Tuvok had himself and Harry beamed up, then he continued his walk before heading back to the village. 

 When Tom got back the celebration had ended and only a few people were out and about to say goodnight to the younger man. When he got to the small house where Chakotay a.k.a. Jona lived, he saw there was a light on, he was waiting up for him. //What do I tell him? How do I prepare him or should I? // He thought. Tom resided to just go with the flow of things as he moved in, his mask firmly in place. To his surprise the table was set for one and on the table was what looked like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk, one of his comfort foods. //How? // Was all he could respond. 

 “I hope you don’t mind,” Jona said as he emerged from the bedroom dressed in a pair of black shorts and nothing else. “You didn’t eat much at the festival and some how I just thought this might make you feel better.”

 Tom couldn’t help but smile. Somehow Chakotay was in there and knew this small detail about him. His eyes started to mist over. “It’s perfect thank you,” he said, but his voice betrayed his emotions and croaked. 

 In a heartbeat Jona was by Tom holding him tightly. “I didn’t mean to upset you, Tom” he soothed.

 “You didn’t. It’s…well, hardly anyone knows about the sandwich and the milk being something I like to eat when I’m upset. To think…to think you knew…” he couldn’t hold back the pain anymore. He wrapped his arms around his lover and cried, and was relieved to hear that Chakotay wasn’t disgusted at him for it. 

 After Tom had calmed down and ate the sandwich, the two men curled up to each other on the small couch near the small fireplace. “Tom, will you tell me what’s wrong? It has something to do with my past…our past?”

 “Yes,” Tom replied softly. “You have to go back and you won’t be allowed to return, neither of us.”

 Jona sat up and looked concerned at Tom. “Why?”

 Tom didn’t have the energy to play games with Chakotay, “Your name is Chakotay and you are the First Officer on board the Federation Starship Voyager. You crashed landed in one of our shuttles six months ago. Your not from here at all, and our laws don’t allow for us to interfere in what we consider technically primitive cultures…I’m sorry. I’m to let everyone know that we were going to travel back to your home some outrageous distance so when you never came back they’d just accept that you settled back home. To a degree it’s the truth for when we get you back to the ship they can fix your memory loss.  Oh, and for some reason you’ve lost a few years off your maturity,” he teased trying to lighten the mood, but failed miserably. 

 Jona stared in a bit of disbelief at what he was hearing but only stared at Tom, but never moved his arm. Then his face eased a bit. “You weren’t suppose to tell me that were you?”

 “Well, I wasn’t ordered not too, but I don’t think that’s what they had in mind, but you were always one for the truth, I doubt that has changed now.”

 Joan smiled, “Your right that hasn’t, and I’m glad you told me. How long do I have?”

 Tom was a bit relieved that Chakotay was taking this much better than he had anticipated. “I’m to contact them in the morning and give them a time, but I doubt they’ll be too patient since you’ve been gone for a long time and people want you home.”

 “You can contact them? From here?”

 Tom flushed, “Well, yes. They are in a ship in orbit of this planet. Like I said, you’re not from here.”

 Jona sat for a moment longer staring at Tom then sat back taking in all this information. He let out a sigh indicating the information was a bit overwhelming. “Up there?” he asked pointing upward. 

 “Yes,” Tom replied. He couldn’t help but smile at the astonished look on Chakotay’s face. “You’re the First Officer and I’m the chief pilot, which means I fly the ship.”

 “If you fly the…ship, then how is it still up there and your down here?” he asked innocently. 

 Tom couldn’t help but laugh at the naïve question. “There are more than one person who can fly the ship…its very large and lots of people live on it. But you’ll see soon enough and you’ll remember soon enough.” 

 Jona looked at Tom’s smiling face and eased his concerns. “Am I happy there?”

 Tom’s smile eased a bit. “Like I said before, we were barely friends so…I don’t know. You had a lot of responsibilities and…well, I don’t know. You didn’t smile much if ever, and you didn’t do any of the things you’ve done yesterday or today, so…I don’t know.”

 “Oh,” was all Jona said. “I sound like a boring stick in the mud. Sheesh, I wonder why? Or worse, once I remember will I go back to being that way?” there was silence for a while. “Tom, I’m happy here…I…I don’t want to go back if I’m going to be as miserable as you’ve made my life sound.”

 Tom moved his arms around Chakotay. “Like you said, neither of us know what things are going to be like when we get back. Perhaps…perhaps you may still…” Tom’s voice trailed off the aspect of hope fading inside. 

 Jona looked at Tom and saw that spark of hope, “Perhaps,” he said. “But I have a feeling I don’t have a choice in this matter do I?”

 “I’m sorry Chakotay.”

 “Jona, if you don’t mind. That other name doesn’t feel right, at least not yet.” Then there was more silence. “Tom?”


 “Can I make love to you again?”

 “Oh I was hoping you would,” Tom replied and kissed the man in his arms with all the passion in the universe. When they finally broke the kiss, Tom could see the slightly swollen and bruised lips and a very flushed and panting Chakotay lusting after him. “Bed?”

 “Yes,” Jona said, then was up off his feet and pulled Tom into his arms, then swept him up into his arms and kissed him all the way to the bedroom where they made love all night long. 


 Tom and Jona had two wonderful days together while Jona said his good-byes, much to the sadness of everyone of the small village. Then when Jona had packed what he though he wanted to keep and what he thought he should to make it look good, he left with Tom.

 They traveled for twenty minutes till they were sure no one was around. Then Tom got his com badge out. Tom had been up front with the Captain in that he told Jona a bit about himself and that he was willing to cooperate. “Paris to Voyager. Two to beam up to sickbay.” Then he looked at Chakotay. “It’ll feel strange, just don’t move…” he didn’t finished it till he was standing in sickbay looking at a very shocked Jona. “Till I tell you. Um…sorry.”

 “Ah, Commander, good to have you back. I see from your medical scans that you are suffering with a bout of memory loss. If you’d be so kind to put that stuff down and sit on the biobed, I’ll have you back to normal, memory wise anyway, in no time.”

 Tom noticed that Chakotay wasn’t moving, only staring. “Chakotay? Jona?” he asked, and waved his hand in front of the other man till he saw him blink. “Ah good. It’s okay. Just put your stuff down here and sit here. The Doctor won’t hurt you,” he said as he moved the Commander to the bed, internally dreading each step, as if it was Tom’s death march, which in some way Tom thought it was. “Just sit here, and let the Doctor help you.” Tom then moved to gather the stuff and moved to exit.

 “Don’t go!” Jona shouted. 

 Tom didn’t want to stay and witness the death of the sweet loving Jona to be replaced by the cold commanding Commander Chakotay. //Since when did I start separating them? // As he turned he saw the need of his presence and moved back to stand quietly next to Jona. “Okay, I’ll be here as long as I can,” he said, so he had an out if he needed it. 

 “Thank you,” Jona said, then braced himself as the man called the Doctor had him lay down and placed some metal thing on his head. In seconds he was out cold. 

 “Thank you Lieutenant, but I have it from here,” the Doctor had said as he went to work repairing the damage done to the Commander in the shuttle accident. 

 Tom picked up the bags and left silently. He saw Tuvok and the Captain in the hall. “The Doctor is working on him now, so I don’t think you’ll be warmly met,” he quipped, trying to mask his heartache. “Oh, Captain. Some of these bags belong to the Commander. Would it be alright if I left them in his quarters?”

 “That would be find, Tom. Tuvok will override the code for you. Glad to have you both back,” Janeway said as she moved on to the infirmary regardless if the Doctor wanted her there or not. 

 “Signal me when you are at the Commanders quarters and I’ll open them for you,” Tuvok stated then he too moved to follow the Captain. 


 His head hurt, as he became aware that he was lying down, and started opening his eyes. He saw faces, familiar faces. “Captain?” he asked.

 “Welcome back, Commander,” Janeway smiled warmly. 

 “It is good to see that you are well, Commander,” Tuvok stated. 

 “Take it easy, Commander. The damage done in the accident was fully repaired and you should have full memory, just give yourself a bit to process it all. Oh, and I’d say your one lucky man,” the Doctor quipped.

 “Well, I don’t feel very lucky,” Chakotay said as he lifted his hand to his head, then was puzzled by the large amount of hair he had. “What happened?”

 “It’ll all come back soon enough,” The Doctor stated as he looked at the Captain and Tuvok. He should rest. I’ll keep him here for a few hours then he can go back to his quarters. I’d recommend at least a weeks rest to adjust.” Then he looked back down at Chakotay. “And what I meant by lucky is that what ever regenerative process this planet used to heal your internal injuries had a beneficial side affect. You once again have the body of a twenty-five to thirty year old in excellent health. Captain, if you don’t need me, I have other patients to tend too,” he stated then moved off. 

 “Did someone program humor into him?” Chakotay asked as he looked up at Kathryn and Tuvok. 

 Janeway smiled, “No, Commander. What he said is correct. You’ve been…youthed,” she almost laughed. 

 Tuvok had retrieved a mirror knowing that the Commander would need to see it to believe it. “This should help,” he said. 

 Chakotay moved to sit up regardless of the slight protests of the Captain. He looked into the mirror and was stunned to see a face he hadn’t seen in years. Then noticed the tattoo was gone. He sat silently letting things process through his mind, and was relieved that he had all his experiences and skills still in tact. He wasn’t too happy that the marking that honored his father was gone, but he couldn’t quibble over looking and feeling in his twenties and having all the memories and experiences of being really in his early fifties.  “Well, I guess I can’t complain, too much,” he said, a small smile crossed his face. 

 “I’d sure hope not,” Janeway teased, not able to keep the hint of lust in her eyes at bay.  “Well, I’ll let you rest and I’ll check on you later, Commander. Welcome back, Chakotay.”

 “Thanks, Kathryn,” he smiled then looked at Tuvok that managed to look astonished even in full Vulcan mode. “Thank you too, Tuvok.” Then he watched as the chief of security walked out of sickbay with the Captain. Seconds later B’Elanna walked in and had to do a double take and then wiped her eyes at what she was seeing. 

 “Damn, were you really that sexy when you were that age?” she asked astonished by the young version of the Commander that sat before her. “How the hell did you ever stay single?” 

Chakotay blushed, “Lieutenant,” he said softly through a smile. 

“Sorry, Commander, but…damn!” she exclaimed. It took her a few minutes to calm down. “How you feeling?”

“Like I survived a shuttle accident,” he replied easily and saw B’Elanna raise and eyebrow, even though a small smile came to her face.

 “The esteemed Commander making joke? You must have hit your head really hard. And how did…well, how did you get back to looking like that?” she inquired. 

 “The Doctor said it has something to do with the regenerative process the people had on the planet. But since their technology in most things are no where close to ours, I doubt we’ll find out more about it, though I’m sure someone is thinking about it,” he grinned. 

 “Lieutenant, you shouldn’t be in here, the Commander needs his rest,” The Doctor stated as he entered the room and saw B’Elanna chatting with Chakotay. 

 “Alright,” she replied then turned back to Chakotay. “I’ll let you get some rest. I’m sure Tom will be by later to check on you too,” she said, having had Harry fill her in over the last few days of Tom’s revelation during his time on the planet with the Commander, after Tom had filled him in on things. 

 “Why?” he asked innocently. 

 B’Elanna looked at Chakotay and realized that Tom’s fear about the Commander had come true and this bothered her deeply.  “Don’t you remember?” she asked softly. 

 “Lieutenant, he’s recovering from a difficult operation. His memory will return in full, ‘if’ he’s allowed to get the rest I’ve ordered. Now, if you’d please,” the Doctor said as he gestured for the woman to leave. After she said she’d see Chakotay later and left the Doctor made sure Chakotay lay down and rested. 

 //Tom coming to check on me? Remember what? // Chakotay thought to himself, but his body was tired and those were his last thoughts before sleep over took him. 


 The next day Tom did his best to pretend it was another day in the Delta quadrant as the Captain gave orders to head back toward the Alpha quadrant after a long debate on approaching the inhabitants about their healing techniques. In the end the Captain said as temping as it was, she wasn’t going to open a Pandora’s box for they had enough problems as it was. 

 Word on Chakotay had spread all over the ship and many of the women and some of the men were doing their best to get a glimpse of the now irresistible Commander, but he kept to his quarters and wasn’t due back to the bridge for a another day or so, and Tom was glad. Tom felt like he was grieving, the loss was heavy on his soul. He hoped with the couple days apart he could get some sense of his former mask back in place, but at the moment he wasn’t sure. //A game of pool and getting drunk with Harry should help here, // he thought as he put extra effort to keep up on his duty. 

 When his shift ended he asked Harry if he’d be interested, but his best friend had a date with B’Elanna. Tom was glad for them so not to be a burden on anyone he resided to lay low in his quarters. That lasted till about 21:30 when Tom needed some consoling. He went to bar where his holo-characters sometimes could provide him with some sense of comfort. Tonight the failed to do so as he sat in a dark corner and drank alone. He was so self absorbed he didn’t see anyone come in. But when soft familiar music started to play he looked up and saw that all the holo-characters were gone. Then he heard a loving familiar voice singing one of his favorite ballads of the twenty-century called “Nobody wants to be lonely” by a guy called Ricky Martin. It took him a few minutes to see it was Chakotay and he was dressed in casual clothes and slowly made his way over to were Tom was sitting. 

 Tom could only stare as he once again felt the heat of the flush fill his face as this handsome man was once again serenading him. He was shocked, stunned and overjoyed. //Please let this not be a hallucination, // he begged inside.  Then when Chakotay was up on him he knelt like he did that night on the planet and took Tom’s hand in his own and slipped the bracelet that Tom had left in his room back on his wrist, then kissed his hand then continued singing till the song was done. 

 “I told you I don’t make such promises lightly,” he whispered softly to Tom. “I may not have remembered all the small details, but I was right. I have loved you for so long, and now that I have a sense of your soul, I don’t tend on letting it go…ever,” he vowed. 

 Tom felt tears fall down his face, //is this real? // He asked himself. “I…I never thought,” he stammered. Then he felt Chakotay’s strong hand on his face wiping his tears away. “I do love you, Chakotay. But…I love the man on the planet more, I…” he didn’t know what to say. 

 “Good, for you saw the man inside that I’ve kept closed for far too long, Tom. I’ve allowed myself to become what I think others expected of me, and not what I’ve wanted to become. Though, I still won’t drink, but that’s a personal issue, I ‘am’ that man that you met, and I am also the man you’ve known over the years. Could you love us both?” he asked, hoping beyond hope that Tom understood what he was asking. 

 Tom could see now what the Commander was saying. People did expect him to behave in a certain way, and so he did. But Tom saw his soul, pure and free of the burdens of leadership and loved it, though he loved the Commander as well. If they were one in the same, of course he could. “Yes, easily,” he responded with glee. 

 “Then keep you word and continue to be my promised one,” Chakotay said as he rubbed his cheek against Tom’s hand he was still holding. 

 Tom once again was astonished at how things were happening, and again he didn’t hesitate, “Yes…oh yes!” he shouted and moved from the booth and drooped to his knees hugging Chakotay with all his might. “Oh, my love, yes!”  Then they kissed deeply. 

 “Good, for I’m far too in love with the man I’ve come to know that is inside you Tom to have accepted a no,” Chakotay teased lovingly after they broke the kiss. “I would have continued to pursue you till we were old and grey, and now I’m more up to the task,” he grinned. 

 “You never stop amazing me,” Tom replied dreamy. 

 “I can say the same thing about you, love. The very same thing.” Chakotay chuckled. 

 “I love you…my promised one.”

 “And I love you, my ‘only’ promised one.”

<The End>