Chakotay stared down at the duty roster in front of him and sighed in
relief. Having to rework the roster was one job he could have well
done without, but it certainly wasn’t Sam’s fault she was ill.
The Doctor had told him to schedule her off for at least three days,
and he’d let him know if she needed any more time. It was strange how
the virus that had caused Neelix to feel slightly unwell the evening
before last had debilitated Sam the way it had.
The Doctor assured that it was not life threatening, but it was
decidedly vicious... to humans anyway. And now young Naomi had it too,
although she was not as ill as her mother.
Chakotay smiled to himself as he looked down at the roster. With Sam
ill, Tom was scheduled for more shifts in sickbay. Normally he’d be
relieved from the conn in order to do that, but not this time.
Chakotay thought it might do Tom some good to work a few double-shifts.
It would give him less time for other things.
His smile disappeared as he remembered the sight that had greeted him
the morning before in the turbolift. Tom Paris, half-asleep, lounging
against the back wall; too exhausted to even notice his presence. His
clothing crumpled, hair a mess, and lipstick smothered all over his
mouth; he smelt like somebody had poured a bottle of perfume all over
him... a sickly sweet one at that.
Chakotay’s lip curled up in disgust. Did the man have no sense of
shame at all? A threesome. Tom had been involved in a threesome. Not
that that fact bothered him all that much. He wasn’t as staid and
wholesome as everyone seemed to think. He’d even been involved in a
No, what bothered him was that Tom felt he had to advertise the fact
over the ship, broadcast his adventure to everyone on board. Who the
hell had he been with anyway? Who had the two women been? And why the
hell did he care?
Tom’s sarcastic comment, ‘we Lothario’s have to stick together’, had
left him seething for the rest of the day. He was second in command of
the ship. He had an image to uphold. His lack of sexual conquests was
his choice, as there’d been plenty of offers over the years. But he
couldn’t go bed-hopping all the way around the ship the way Tom seemed
to. He had to be discreet.
Damn the smart-ass, arrogant, son-of-an-admiral anyway! No one could
stir him up the way Tom Paris did. He began to wonder why.
It was some time before the conversation from the next table penetrated
his musings. He covertly glanced over. Ensigns Kofoed and Hayes were
sitting there, discussing the very person he couldn’t seem to stop
Chakotay listened unashamedly. ‘Two more Tom Paris fans,’ he decided
they spoke of Tom’s virtues. He stopped himself from snorting aloud.
They obviously didn’t know the Tom Paris he did. He looked at them
closely, wondering if they were the two lovely ladies Tom had been with
the night before last. Not that he really cared, he was just...
He sat back and attempted to tune the ensigns out as, to his
consternation, they began to talk about that very night. He’d rather
not know, he told himself. Unfortunately, they seemed to be talking
rather loudly, considering the subject matter. He tried not to listen,
but then sat forward eagerly when he realized that they weren’t saying
what he'd expected them to.
Naomi Wildman. Tom had been babysitting Naomi Wildman. He smiled as
he pictured what Tom must have looked like when Naomi had ‘made’ him
up and tried not to laugh. He remembered Harry’s ‘embarrassing moment’
on the bridge the month before, the nail polish rather startling
against his console.
His smile faded. Why didn’t Tom tell him that? Why did he let him
think he’d spent the night having frenzied sex? What the hell was the
matter with the man anyway? Why did he always want him to think the
Chakotay began to seethe. Tom was obviously playing some sort of game
with him. That smart-ass, arrogant, little son-of-an-admiral. Well,
this was the last time he’d let him joke around at his expense. He’d
have it out with him once and for all.
He stood up quickly, a fierce scowl marring his features, and strode
>from the mess hall, failing to notice the dismayed faces of the two
ensigns still sitting at their table.
“That wasn’t quite the reaction I was hoping for,” Sue whispered
Jean nodded. “Me either. Damn!”
Chakotay marched down the corridor towards sickbay, and came to an
abrupt halt in front of the doors. They hadn’t automatically opened.
The computer said that Tom was in sickbay and he’d be damned if he’d
wait another moment to let Tom know what he thought of him.
Using his override codes, he stepped through the doors and glanced
around. All seemed to be quiet. There was no sign of the Doctor... or
Tom for that matter.
He walked further into the room and gazed over at the Doctor’s office.
Sure enough, there was Tom, lounging in the Doctor’s chair, feet up on
the desk, eyes closed as he relaxed back.
Chakotay made his way over there and cleared his throat. Tom jerked
forward at the unexpected intrusion and hurriedly pulled his legs off
“Nice to see you so busy,” Chakotay said dryly. “I’d like a word with
Tom opened and shut his mouth. “What are you doing in here, Chakotay?
How’d you get in?”
Chakotay’s frown darkened. “Through the doors.”
“But they were locked.”
“I overrode them.”
“I told you, I want to talk to you.”
“Couldn’t it have waited?”
“No, as a matter of fact, it couldn’t. I’ve just discovered what you
were really doing the other night, and I want to know what sort of damn
game you think you’re playing. What sort of sick pleasure you get from
making me feel a fool.”
Tom stood up from the desk and came around to face him, his face red
with anger. “Now wait just a damn minute...”
“No, Lieutenant. It’s time we hashed this out. I don’t know what your
problem is, but you seem to go out of your way to make me think the
“I think you’ve got that backwards, Commander. You seem to go out of
your way to *think* the worst when it concerns me.”
“Don’t try and turn this back on me, Paris. Why the hell didn’t you
tell me you were babysitting Naomi Wildman the other night?”
“Because it was none of your damn business.”
“It became my business when I found you half unconscious in the lift.”
“That is so much sh...”
“Don’t say it, Tom,” Chakotay warned.
“Oh? And what will happen if I do?”
“I’ll put you on report.”
“Now *that* really *is* sh...”
“Tom! What do I have to do to shut you up?”
The answer suddenly dawned on the Commander and he grabbed Tom and
pulled him into his arms, kissing him soundly.
Tom stood rigid with shock, his lips unresisting, letting Chakotay
plunder his mouth. He moaned suddenly and began to respond as the kiss
deepened. This was what he wanted.
Chakotay’s thoughts were very similar. He’d wanted to do this for
They pulled apart, their breathing labored.
“Um... Chakotay... I don’t think you should have done that,” Tom said
“You’re right. I apologize. I don’t know what came over me.”
Tom sighed. “You shouldn’t have come in here. You’re going to have to
stay here now until the Doc comes back.”
Chakotay shook his head, trying to think clearly. What the hell had he
just done? He’d kissed Tom Paris. Spirits, why had he done that? And
why did he want nothing more than to do it again?
He reached out, but Tom twisted away, heading quickly out of the
“The Doc should be back any minute.”
“Where is he anyway?” Chakotay asked, following him out. They’d talk
about this later. There was definitely something between them. Why
had it taken him so long to realize? Did Tom feel the same way? His
kiss suggested he felt something.
Tom eyed him awkwardly. “He was going to see the Captain and then I
think he’s making a couple of house-calls.” He shook his head. “You
*really* shouldn’t have come in here, Chakotay, and you *really*
shouldn’t have kissed me.”
Chakotay frowned. Tom was obviously regretting his reaction. Before
he could say anything, the doors swished open and the Doctor appeared.
“It’s official, Mr. Paris. I’ve just spoken to the Captain, and
you’ll... Commander! What are *you* doing in here?”
“I wanted to see Tom about something.”
“But I locked the doors.”
“I overrode them.” Chakotay felt himself start to flush. There was a
sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach. He suspected he may have
acted rather rashly by overriding the lock.
“There was a reason the doors were locked, Commander,” the Doctor
Chakotay swallowed nervously. Why hadn’t he stopped to think about it?
Of course the doors were locked for a reason. Spirits! What had he
done? He looked over at Tom, who was shaking his head sadly.
The Doctor picked up a tricorder. “I don’t believe you’ll be infected
>from this thoughtless infraction, but I’d better run a quick scan.”
“Infected?” Chakotay repeated.
“He kissed me,” Tom blurted out, his face a fiery red.
The Doctor’s eyebrows rose. “That was rather... unfortunate, not to
mention unforeseen. Why didn’t you stop him?”
“I... I... He took me by surprise,” Tom answered in a rush. “I didn’t
expect it, and...”
“Say no more. I’m very sorry you did that, Commander, as I’m sure you
will be too.”
“I don’t understand,” Chakotay said, although he had a horrible feeling
that he did.
“Mr. Neelix was contagious,” the Doctor explained scathingly, his
opinion of the Talaxian obvious. “Why he didn’t come to sickbay, I’ll
“I realize that, Doctor. He was slightly unwell, that was all. I know
Sam and Naomi Wildman are ill now too, but why wasn’t I told Tom was
“That’s because he isn’t. Not yet anyway. I’m sure he will be very
“You don’t have to sound so enthusiastic about the whole thing, Doc,”
Tom protested. “I’m starting to think you actually *want* to see me
puking all over the place.”
“I can assure you, that’s the *last* thing I want to see, Mr. Paris.
And may we all hope that you’ll limit the ‘puking’, as you so nicely
put it, to the bathroom or the bowl I’ll be providing for that very
Tom groaned. “This is going to be fun.”
“Now, to answer your question, Commander,” the Doctor continued,
scanning him as he spoke. “You weren’t told because the Captain and I
have only just finished making arrangements. We’ve been rather busy
trying to contain this thing before we had an epidemic on our hands.”
“Have you been able to, Doctor?”
“Yes, I believe so,” the Doctor beamed proudly. “Due to my superior
diagnostic abilities, of course.”
“Of course,” Tom said dryly.
The Doctor ignored him and examined his tricorder readings instead.
“Congratulations, Commander, the virus is in your system.” He turned
back to Tom. “That will earn you a gold star, Lieutenant. You’ve now
managed to infect four people.”
“Four people? That was hardly *my* fault. I didn’t know I had this
stupid thing, so...”
“Be that as it may, you did, and you have, and you have also caused
more problems than the other victims put together.”
“I don’t see how.”
The Doctor sniffed. “Mr. Neelix, who is not my favorite Talaxian at
moment considering he started this whole thing, infected one person...
Ensign Wildman, when she kissed him. Ensign Wildman in her turn
infected one person... her daughter, when she kissed her goodbye.
Ms. Wildman infected one person also... *you*, Mr. Paris, when you
kissed her goodnight.”
“And *I* infected four people. I know. I know.”
“Imagine if those four people had infected even one person each, and
then those people infected another one each...”
“All right, Doc, I get the picture. And I still say I can’t be blamed
since I didn’t know I had it. Besides, they didn’t. You said
you have it contained.”
“Thankfully. The Commander is here, forestalled from spreading it any
further, and the only people Ensigns Kim, Kofoed and Hayes have been in
close contact with since you infected them is each other. We have been
Chakotay cleared his throat, and then turned to Tom. “You kissed
Jeanette Kofoed, Sue Hayes *and* Harry Kim?”
Tom snorted. “Typical. Is that all you can think about? You’ve just
been told you’re going to be violently ill and all you can worry about
is who I’ve kissed?”
Chakotay flushed, and then turned pale as he tried to digest the
of being violently ill in the not too distant future.
“Well, before you go getting any ideas,” Tom continued. “No, I did not
kiss, Jean, Sue *or* Harry. We shared a pizza last night, that’s all.
It was enough to infect them however.”
“Doctor, how contagious is this virus? Are you sure you have it
contained?” Chakotay asked worriedly.
“I can’t be absolutely certain, of course, but as I said, I believe so.
We’re going to be using holodeck two as a temporary sickbay, just in
case. The Captain is setting it up as we speak, and all cases will be
sent there. I’ll have the two of you beamed there shortly.”
“Is that really necessary? Surely, if I stay in my quarters...”
“You will need nursing, Commander. Considering we do not want to
this any further, and with both of my assistants ill, the task will
to me. It will be easier if you are all in the same location, not to
mention that you may be able to help look after one another.”
“Exactly *how* sick will I get?” Chakotay asked, trying not to let the
fear consume him.
“Very, I should think. Severe abdominal cramps, vomiting, respiratory
distress, and perhaps even some delirium caused from high
Chakotay felt the need to sit down. “I’m afraid I have to agree with
Tom here, Doctor. You’re entirely too cheerful considering the news
The Doctor merely shrugged. “It depends on the individual to a certain
extent. I only have the Wildman’s and Neelix as case studies, but I
believe humans are more susceptible to this virus than other species.
Young Ms. Wildman’s symptoms have been much milder than her mother’s.
As you know, Mr. Neelix’s were hardly existent at all.”
“Don’t you have some sort of treatment for this thing?”
“While I’m able to alleviate the worst of it, I don’t have a cure.
You’ll have to persevere with the symptoms for a day or two.”
“Well, that’s not good enough, Doctor. I can’t afford to be sick.”
He truly regretted marching in here now. Why the hell hadn’t he
stopped to wonder why the doors were locked?
The Doctor sniffed. “May I just remind you, Commander, that you
wouldn’t be infected if you hadn’t forced your way in here, and then
kissed Mr. Paris?”
“No, you may not,” Chakotay answered gruffly.
“Sam Wildman kissed Neelix?” Tom said suddenly, his voice ending in a
“Yes, although what that’s got to do with anything is beyond me.”
Tom whistled. “I know she really likes him, but I didn’t know she
liked him like that.”
The Doctor sighed. “It wasn’t that type of kiss, Mr. Paris. It was an
affectionate hug and peck on the cheek when he apologized for being
unable to baby-sit.”
“Oh!” Tom said deflated.
“I will now beam the two of you back to your respective quarters, so
that you can pack a few things, and by then the holodeck should be
“Welcome to the TP Dorm,” Jean cried out enthusiastically as Tom and
Chakotay materialized before her.
“TP Dorm?” Tom repeated, glancing around and taking in the four sets of
twin beds lined up on each side of the room.
“It’s short for temporary dormitory,” she explained. “What do you
“Do you want to know what *I* think?” Harry tossed over his shoulder as
he arranged his pajamas and underwear neatly in the bedside cupboard
next to the bed he’d been assigned. “I think this sucks.”
“Don’t listen to him,” Sue called out from the bed she was sitting on.
“He’s just being a grouch. This will be fun... well, except for the
whole being sick thing.”
“And that’s the whole point,” Harry grumbled, slamming the cupboard
drawer shut crossly. “I don’t *feel* sick.”
“Neither do we,” Sue told him. “And hopefully we won’t. The Doctor
did say this was a preventative measure.”
“Tell that to Sam Wildman.” Harry was determined to stay in his bad
They all looked over at Sam, as she lay pale and shaky in her bed,
next to her apparently sleeping. The Doctor appeared beside the two,
tricorder in hand.
“I suggest you all unpack and change into the sickbay pajamas
he called out to them.
Chakotay flushed self-consciously, and headed over there. “I hardly
think that’s necessary, Doctor. I feel extremely well, and it will be
some time before this affects me, if at all. I’ve only just been
“That’s true,” the Doctor admitted. “You’ll be able to assist me.”
Tom threw his things on a spare bed and went over to sit next to Harry,
tuning out Chakotay’s argument with the Doctor. Jean and Sue crowded
onto the bed also.
“I’m not sure if I like the idea of the Commander nursing me,” Harry
Sue and Jean nodded, frowning in concern.
Tom groaned. “Do you think *I* do?”
“How did he get infected anyway?” Harry’s voice rose a little.
“He overrode the lockout on the sickbay doors and forced his way in,”
Tom said quietly.
“What the hell did he do that for?” Harry hissed.
“He said he had to talk to me.” Tom could feel himself turning red.
Both men missed Jean and Sue exchanging guilty glances.
“The Commander must have gotten up fairly close and personal to get
infected,” Harry persisted.
“Yeah,” Tom said weakly. “He did.” He was now redder than his uniform
top and hoped the heat he could feel was from embarrassment and not the
“*How* up close and personal?” Harry asked, convinced he had to have
all the details.
Jean hit his arm. “There are some things Tom may like to keep to
Harry glared at her and rubbed his arm. “We tell each other
“Not this time,” Tom declared.
Harry pouted, but Jean winked at Sue. Their plan may have worked after
Tom glanced over to the other side of the room and watched Chakotay as
he reluctantly listened to instructions from the Doctor. That kiss had
been special. He’d been surprised by just how much it had affected
how much it had meant to him.
He had feelings for the Commander. He may as well admit that now.
how long had he felt this way? That kiss had been a revelation, and he
wasn’t sure how to proceed. Chakotay was well known for his monk-like
existence. Was that because he wasn’t interested in getting involved
with anyone? Or was it because he hadn’t found the right somebody to
get involved with?
He didn’t know the answer to that, but hoped it was the latter. He
also hoped that he could be the ‘right somebody’. He was surprised by
just how *much* he wanted to be that somebody.
Tom turned around quickly as he suddenly realized his companions had
gone very quiet. They were staring at him as he stared at Chakotay.
“Nothing,” all three said at once. Before he could ask about their
knowing smiles, the Doctor came over to scan them.
He frowned as he looked at Tom’s readings. “How are you feeling, Mr.
“I’m fine,” Tom said lightly, ignoring the feeling of nausea rising
inside of him. He was not going to get sick, and that’s all there was
“I’m going to have to insist you all change and then sit quietly,” the
Doctor said sternly.
“Isn’t there anything we can do to help?” Sue asked.
“Not at the moment.”
“Doctor!” Chakotay called out in a panic as Sam began to gag.
“I’ll leave you to amuse yourselves,” the Doctor said hurriedly. “Mr.
Paris, tell me if you start to feel any worse.”
Tom nodded, determined that he was *not* going to feel any worse, as
the Doctor scurried back to Sam.
Harry turned away and swallowed loudly. “I hate it when I’m sick.”
Jean gave him a quick hug. “Hopefully we won’t get sick.”
Harry sighed miserably.