Title: The Measure of my Love
Author: Kim Riley aka MYSTIC
Note: Sequel to Mere Nine inches. (Challenge) and Inch by inch.
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!
Mysticmcknight@hotmail.com

The Measure of my Love

Tom sat in his quarters attempting to go over flight
simulation reports of the other pilots, but his mind kept drifting
back and replaying that irritating giggle and smirk. //How dare she!
// He thought in anger, but he then would school his thoughts and try
to convince himself that she was only teasing his mate.//mate.//

Tom placed down the PADD and moved to pour himself some water
as his mind whirled over the word.//mate. // Before any doubt or real
question entered in his mind it slammed shut, //MATE! Chakotay's 'my'
mate and everyone better keep their damn hands off! // He found
himself fuming.

After downing another glass of water Tom found he was much
more calmer, //perhaps it wasn't clear to everyone just 'what' had
happened and just 'who' Chakotay now was? // "Well, I can take care
of that!" Tom stated smugly as he moved to the computer and sat down
with a mischievous grin on his face. "Something simple, yet subtle,
but that any lame brain can figure out?" he said to himself, then with
a wicked smile he went to work.



*************

Chakotay entered the mess hall as always to join Kathryn for
breakfast before the morning briefing. After grabbing a tray of what
seemed palatable he joined her at the 'Captain's' table. "Morning,
Kathryn," he smiled.

"Morning," she smiled back then waited till her friend and
First Officer was seated. "Oh, I never asked you, how did you handle
the indiscretion with Paris?"

Chakotay almost choked on his coffee, //Does she know? // Was
his first thought but seconds later he realized she meant his actions
in the mess hall yesterday.

"Are you all right?" she asked torn between laughing and
concern.

"Yes, fine," he replied easily. "One month no rations and no
privileges," he added.

"Ah," She responded. "Did he say why he did it?"

Janeway watched, as her friend seemed to struggle with
something before answering here. "He was taking a lot of razzing and
it got carried away, and.he lost his temper."

Kathryn couldn't help but just then get the feeling there was
more to this but wasn't going to be getting to that truth now if ever,
so decided to let her First Officer do his job and handle it. "Very
well," she replied easily. Then deciding to change the subject, "Oh,"
she smiled. "Did you see what came across the general email?"

Chakotay usually checked his mail first thing, but he was up
late last night going over with his spirit guide what happened down on
the planet and in the office, and found himself more frustrated when
all she kept saying was to accept his new lot in life and enjoy.enjoy
what? He gave a sigh, "No, anything good?"

"Well, sort of," Janeway smiled. "Seems someone felt the need
to set the record straight or up to date, as it were as to who's
available on this ship and who isn't," she chuckled taking the PADD
that contained all he mail. Looking over the list again she snorted.
"Why, Commander.who is she?" she teased.

"Who she what?" he asked innocently as he tried to finish his
breakfast.

Kathryn smiled even more thinking that Chakotay was playing
with her, "She.as in she who has rendered you 'unavailable," she
teased.

Chakotay looked up and for a moment thought that his Captain
was joking but even in her smile he could see she was asking a real
question. He reached out for the PADD, "Let me see that?" He then
looked over the list and saw it was a list of male and female crew
that were available for dating and those 'off the market' as the list
put it. He saw his name was on that list toward the top, but what
really caught his eye was the fact that Tom Paris was also on that
list. Feeling it was another cut toward him and the officers that had
suffered down on the planet Chakotay grew angry. "Who did this?" he
asked in his dark voice, letting Kathryn know he was far from amused
and the information wasn't as simple as she had first took it.

"Commander, what.?" She started to ask.

Chakotay glared, but it was obvious his anger wasn't at her as
he spoke in that dark dangerous tone that meant someone was in real
trouble, "This is just another insult to me, Tom and the others!" he
snapped, even if he didn't noticed that only his and Tom's name was on
the unavailable list from the former away party.

Just then Dalby walked in to get his morning meal and Chakotay
saw red. He lifted from the table with a PADD in hand and moved toward
the unsuspecting Lieutenant. He suddenly whirled Dalby around and
placed the PADD in his chest with some pressure, "Is this you or
Carter's doing?" he asked accusingly.

Dalby was startled and a bit scared seeing the dark look in his former
Captain's eyes, knowing far to well that nothing but the truth was
going to work here. He took the PADD and looked at it and then shook
his head no, "No.no, Commander. I for one didn't have 'anything' to do
with this. In fact, I got that on my email too, but I swear, sir, I
had nothing to do with it."

Chakotay looked at the man before him, knowing he was telling
the truth, but then in the back of his mind he remembered how he was a
part of those who harassed Tom and, "Let me make this perfectly clear,
Lieutenant. If I find out that you or anyone on board continues in
this.disrespectful manner toward me or any other member of the last
away party, they 'will' deal with 'me' personally. Do I make myself
clear, Lieutenant?"

"Perfectly, sir," Dalby replied and for a moment was almost certain
that Chakotay was still going to hit him for his eye were glaring at
him. Then a hand came to rest on the Commander's shoulder and Dalby's
eyes shifted to see who would enter into this moment.

"Something the matter, Commander?" Tom asked easily, though
his blue eyes were transfixed on Dalby as well.

Dalby thought for a moment he was imagining it, but the moment
Tom was present the Commander seemed to relax and became his old self
again, but Tom.Tom suddenly made him shiver. "Look," he declared, " I
swear, I had nothing to do with that list.honest."

"Is that what this is about?" Tom asked easily, even his eyes
relaxed from their posturing. "Sheesh, you people act like the 'list'
has never circulated before," he teased as he moved to gather his tray
so he could eat.

"This is a.regular thing?" Chakotay asked a bit stunned at the
news.

Tom smiled warmly, "Well, not 'regular' but it has happened a
few times over the years," he chuckled.

Chakotay felt a bit ashamed at his overreaction, he was
certain that it was a dig toward Tom...that was unacceptable.
"Lieutenant, I.I apologize, I.I thought."

"Don't sweat it, Commander," Dalby replied, only too glad to
be able to leave in one piece. He totally forgot about having
breakfast this morning.

"Commander?" Janeway said, not too happy with the scene her
First Officer had instigated. "You care to rejoin me?" she asked, not
really meaning that to be a question.

Tom saw Chakotay nod his head and that the older man was
embarrassed, this was not his intention when he posted the list and so
had to do something, "Commander," he said lightly as he moved closer
before Chakotay moved off to join the Captain. "I.I was wondering if
we could have lunch together.perhaps.talk about a few thing."

Chakotay was feeling very confused, but nodded yes as he moved
back to join the Captain and get an ear full of the right and wrong
ways to handle things on board a Starfleet ship.

Tom watched quietly as he saw Chakotay nod his head in
concession to what the Captain was saying, obviously giving him a
talking too. He was glaring so intensely that he didn't notice Harry
join him. "Voyager to Paris"

Tom blinked and then saw his best friend next to him, "Harry?
When did you get here?"

Harry laughed, "I've been here for about five minutes," he
chuckled then got serious, "But what's with you? You seemed far away
and angry?"

Tom didn't want to discuss this and so what he usually did,
changed the subject as fast as possible. "Harry, Harry, Harry. I may
have been off somewhere, but not angry. So.? How are you and B'Elanna
holding up?"

Harry new he was being brushed off, and since years of
experience told him that to push would be a waste of time he dropped
it. "As fine as one can be," he replied as he started in on his meal.
The rest of the conversation was light and minimal till Tom decided he
had an errand he had to run before his shift started, then with a grin
was up and gone.


*****************


Tom sat quietly at the con as he kept his awareness of
Chakotay and the Captain entering the bridge. He didn't even take
notice of the compliment the Captain gave him for being not only on
time, but early for his shift, only gave a smile and a nod. No, he was
only interested in Chakotay's reaction to what was about to occur.

Chakotay moved to take his seat and spotted a red envelope on
his chair. Picking it up he saw that it was addressed to him. He
wasn't in the best of moods and a bit of him thinking this was another
low blow from the crew almost made him tear it up, but he kept his
temper under control and sat down. He saw the Captain give him an
inquisitory look; he shrugged and opened the envelope. Inside was a
note. He pulled it out and read it, and to everyone's surprise smiled
ear to ear, the anger of the morning melting away like a bad memory.

"Since when did we start getting our mail here on the bridge?"
Janeway asked with a bit of teasing in her tone.

Chakotay folded up the note and placed it back in the
envelope, a slight blush on his cheeks, "Um." he didn't have a come
back, and he was too stunned by the note and its sediment. "I guess
since this morning," he finally replied meekly.

All joking aside, something was going on and she wanted to
know "If you'd care to join me," Janeway said quietly as she rose
indicating to Tuvok that he had the bridge. She moved to her ready
room and took a set and looked expectantly at Chakotay. "Well?"

Chakotay felt the heat of a blush on his cheek, "It was just a
note trying to cheer me up. I guess I was a bit more upset than I
realized and.someone took notice," he smiled shyly.

Janeway couldn't help but notice how sexy her First Officer
was when he was being shy, which didn't happen often. "So.anyone 'we'
know?" she asked teasingly.

Chakotay actually hesitated for a moment, unsure if he should
say for things were rocky enough as it was on board, but he didn't
feel right about not telling her either. "Tom," he said softly.

The huge grin on Janeway's face faded into concern, "Tom?" She
was hoping this wasn't going to be an issue, but seeing the way things
were going she could possibly be wrong. "Chakotay," she stated slowly,
bracing him for what she had to say, even if she didn't want to. "You
know, that besides the fraternization rule.Starfleet."

Chakotay looked annoyed, his good mood slipping away just as
easily as it had arrived, "I know, I know. They seriously frown on
homosexual relationships," he snapped.

Janeway sat up; "Seriously frown is far from an
understatement, Chakotay. It's not allowed and you know that. What
happened between you and Tom on the planet.well. it was out of
anyone's control, so it could be overlooked, but."

"But what? Tom only sent me a note to cheer me up, for heaven
sakes," he replied annoyed.

"Chakotay," she said, taking a deep breath, she didn't like
this, but it was regulations, " I'm not making any accusations, only
saying that.perhaps."

"Perhaps what?"

"Perhaps." she leaned back in her chair, "Perhaps I'm making
mountains out of mole hills. Sorry, I just was concerned. With what
happened, someone could mistake Tom's actions and, well, file a
charge.that's all. I was trying to be a friend," she stated weakly,
feeling she just made a mess of things.

Chakotay stood up and paced a moment, "I'd like to finish my
shift in my office if you don't mind," he requested. He needed time to
think. What happened on the planet was one thing, what happened in his
office the other day another, and the feeling he had when he read the
note from Tom wasn't helping matters.

"Very well," she replied and then watched he friend leave.
After a few moments she contacted Tom and had him report to her
office. In minutes he was standing before her. "Have a seat,
Lieutenant."

"What can I do for you, Captain?" he asked easily.

"First, I want you to know that I'm 'not' making any
accusations, just simply trying to.make you aware of a potential
problem, that's all," she stated evenly. She saw Tom nod his
understanding and continued. "You do recall that homosexual activities
are forbidden on board Starfleet vessels, correct?"

Tom nodded, "I do recall that," he stated evenly.

"Also, there are rules against fraternization between high
ranking officers and subordinates?"

"Yes, Captain, I'm aware of them," again evenly.

Janeway gave a sigh of relief, fearing that this was gong to
be a difficult conversation and was glad to see that she was wrong.
"Good," she smiled more easily. "I just didn't want any
misunderstanding by anyone on board, that's all."

Tom keeping his calm mask in place, "Why, has there been.a
problem?" he asked wondering if Chakotay would have made some sort of
complaint, but that didn't make sense, not after responding so
wonderfully to his note.

"No, Tom, there isn't. I just.don't want there to be one, if
you get my drift," she replied.

Tom asked his next question carefully, " What, would you do,
if.?"

Kathryn's eyes shot up to look at Tom, she caught full meaning
of the half-asked question, //Damn! // She thought, then prayed she
was wrong. "If.either of those regulations were broken, I'd have to
deal with it in accordance just like any other regulation." She then
stared at Tom who was being too calm at the moment and this made her
nervous, "Tom, this isn't going to be an issue.is it? Chakotay
deserves." she was going to say better, but Tom cut her off.

"To be happy." Then Tom smiled warmly, "Captain, all the
regulations in the universe can't stand in the way of what is or isn't
meant to be."

Janeway couldn't believe it; Tom was almost telling her that
he was going to pursue Chakotay in an illegal manner. "Tom." she said
in a warning tone.

"If there isn't anything else, Captain, I should be getting
back to my shift," Tom stated, totally indifferent to Janeway's mood.
When he received a stunned nod he went back to work.

Janeway was floored. Unsure of what she should do she sat
there for a few moments, then contacted Chakotay. "Commander, I think
you have a problem," she stated with concern.

"What's that, Captain?" he asked over the com badge.

"I just had a talk with Tom. It seems that.well, he doesn't
care about regulations. Though he hasn't out right said anything, I
thought you should know so you could deal with this matter."

Chakotay was silent for a moment, "Understood," was all he
said then cut the channel.

Janeway rubbed her temple; she had a sneaking suspicion that
this week was going to be a long one.


**************

Down in Astrophysics Carter was sitting at his station when
word reached him through the gossip line of the little letter stunt
Tom pulled on the Commander, and that the First Officer seemed to like
it. Some of the gossip made the little event seem harmless, but Carter
didn't feel that the First Officer should even entertain such action
since they could be so easily misconstrued. Then he thought about what
he heard what happened between the First Officer and Tom Paris down on
the planet. //This is unacceptable, // he thought as he moved to
contact his friend Dalby.

After a few minutes he made an excuse and met up with his friend by
one of the Jeffries tubes so they could talk. Carter told Dalby what
he thought was going on expecting his friends support in this matter.

"Look, John. I may be straight, but even I'm not narrow
minded. Starfleet regulations in regards to this matter have been out
dated for centuries, and since were out here in the Delta
quadrant.well, we should just leave well enough alone."

John Carter wasn't too pleased not having the support of
Dalby; he was counting on it. "I can't believe you'd sit by and let
this depravity take place?"

"John, just because I don't agree with it and it's not my
lifestyle, doesn't mean I have to fly off the handle over it. Let it
go."

Carter was furious, "Let it go? Let it go! It's bad enough
that scum like Tom Paris would delve into such.perversion, but.
Chakotay is our fist officer! He's a reflection of this ship! I can't
just.let it go!"

"John, your only asking for trouble," Dalby replied.

"Trouble? Starfleet regulations are on my side, I'll have you
know," Carter smirked in anger.

"Let the Captain deal with it. Besides, you 'could' be blowing
this all out of proportion."

"Fine! If you won't help me deal with this, I'll deal with it
on my own," Carter retorted and stomped off not listening to Dalby's
cries of be reasonable.


************


Chakotay had cancelled his lunch with Tom. He wasn't prepared
to deal with the young pilot in regards to this matter. He attempted
to get some work done but had only wasted time staring off into space,
torn between Kathryn's word of regulations and Tom's touch that still
burned on his skin.

His shift was over five hours ago, but he didn't leave his
office. He was filled with some irrational feeling that if he went
back to his quarters he'd meet up with Tom and then he'd do something
stupid. The real problem was, what form would that stupidity
take.pushing Tom away like he should or taking the Pilot to his bed
like he wanted.

Once more he pulled out the simple piece of paper.

* Sorry your morning was so rough because of simple
misunderstandings. Know that you don't have to face all your burdens
alone for I am with you if you let me. Tom *

The note could be so innocent, but he knew it was his reaction
to it that had made the Captain suspicious about it. He liked the idea
of Tom being around. Then he tired to remember when that feeling
started; it was all so confusing.

"Tuvok to Commander Chakotay."

"Chakotay here, what can I do for you Tuvok?"

"Commander, we seem to have a situation down on level 54."

//54? That's like the bows of the ship? // "What kind of
problem?" he asked.

"It seems that Lt. John Carter has been murdered."

TBC in "Scotland Yard"