Bait and Switch, Part Eight


By Britta

Tom spent a moment thinking of ways how to postpone the inevitable. Then it came to him; he cleared his throat and said, "Captain Janeway wants to know why you haven't been on the Bridge for the last couple of days."
*
Chakotay turned around, his own glass of cold water in hand, and replied evenly, "She already knows. The Doctor had several tedious tasks for me to perform. You can check with him if you like."
*
Something in Chakotay's eyes, blue though they were, made Tom suspicious and he pressed his advantage. "Why was your uniform all wet when I met up with you in the corridor?"
*
A slow grin grew on his own face, widening by the moment, as Tom's surety began to evaporate. Chakotay said, "I thought you'd know all about it, Commander."
*
"All about what?"
*
"The Delaney sisters and the fate of Jenny's egg." Chakotay sounded a bit smug, and Tom wondered why.
*
"Okay. I'll admit I don't know what happened to it. Will you tell me so I don't put a foot wrong and louse up your rep anymore than I have already?" Tom figured that appealing to Chakotay's self-interest was the best chance he had in order to avoid future problems.
*
Chakotay frowned at him, then said, "Why don't you know what happened? Weren't you told what the Doctor and Tuvok did?"
*
"No. I wasn't." Tom was confused; why would Chakotay care about something that was a done deal?
*
"I see. I think." Chakotay sat down at the small table and stared into his half-empty glass of water.
*
"Care to enlighten me?"
*
His own blue eyes looked at him and a smile reappeared on his face, as Chakotay said, "The egg wasn't fertile, so we don't have to worry about any green birds flying around the ship. But, the Doctor and Tuvok went to great lengths to save the eggshell for Jenny."
*
"They did? Why?" He couldn't imagine anyone doing that for any reason.
*
"Well, I think the twins want something from the Doctor. They sure played him a powerful tune this morning." Chakotay took another sip of his water.
*
Tom's eyes widened and he began to grin. He knew exactly what those women were capable of. "They cried all over you?" he asked knowingly.
*
"Yes. They kissed the Doctor, too."
*
Tom laughed. "I can see it now. Yeah, that would make some sense. How do you figure they convinced the Doc and Tuvok to help them out?"
*
"Probably made quite a scene while we weren't around. Tuvok would be immune, but the Doctor wouldn't. Plus, Tuvok wouldn't want to spend more than a minimal amount of his time and energy on this. He probably took the easy way out and charmed the planetary officials into giving him what he wanted." Chakotay drank more of his water and flashed Tom a curious glance. "What did you mean when you said it made sense?"
*
Smirking, Tom replied, "You know the twins' reputation. Just think about how they'd view the Doctor."
*
Chakotay said cautiously, "I don't know them as well as you do, Tom."
*
Tom leaned forward and stated, "They can't wear him out. Unless something goes wrong with his power supply, he can get it up and keep it that way indefinitely."
*
"Gods! Are you serious?"
*
"Yes. It makes perfect sense to me." Tom sat back in his chair and enjoyed the shocked expression on his own face. He thought Chakotay probably had no imagination when it came to sex. Then he frowned again when he thought of what B'Elanna must've told Chakotay.

<><><><>

Chakotay was more than a little annoyed. Why the hell hadn't anybody told Tom? He should have been informed of the outcome of the Delaney sisters' second trip down to the planet. Regardless of who was acting as XO, the chain of command was in place for a reason. Now Tuvok and the Doctor were both on his shit list. He needed to talk to the captain again.
*
Ignoring Tom, he went into the bedroom and tapped his badge.

<><><><>

Tom sat at his little table and thought he'd certainly managed to get out of that discussion more easily than he expected. He absently reached for Chakotay's water and sipped it.
*
He heard mumbling coming from his bedroom, but decided to stay put until he was released from his duty somehow. The feeling that something wasn't right would not go away, and he felt obligated to stay here. As much as he thought it would be wise to avoid Chakotay, a perverse part of himself wanted more than anything to hang around and find out what was going on.
*
A few moments later, Chakotay stalked out into the living room, steam practically coming out of his ears. Tom remained still, trying not to call attention to himself. The last thing he wanted was to become the commander's personal punching bag again.
*
"You're still here?" Chakotay growled.
*
"Yeah."
*
"Why?" Chakotay stalked over to the table and sat down opposite him.
*
Tom's curiosity got the better of him and he replied, "I want to know what's going on." He took another sip of Chakotay's water, noting the man's glare as he did so. "I don't have to go back to the Bridge for another hour. Care to have lunch with me?"
*
Chakotay shook his head and snorted, "It seems I have no choice. Come on, let's go."
*
As his body rose and headed toward the door, Tom asked, "What do you mean? Does this have something to do with the captain sending me to find you and tell you stuff?"
*
"I'll explain on the way. Now, let's go!"
*
The atmosphere between them had altered, but why he wasn't quite sure. For once, however, Chakotay's anger--muted though it was--wasn't directed at him. His earlier worries faded as he got up from the table. He approached his body and took a really close look at it.
*
His beard wasn't evenly shaven. Only he would notice a little thing like that, but it bothered him anyway.
*
Chakotay kept staring at the door, avoiding his eyes. What was wrong? Oh well. It probably wasn't any of his business, and this time, at least, it wasn't his fault.

<><><><>

Chakotay fumed inwardly. With every day it seemed more and more apparent exactly what Tom's place was in the general scheme of things. Not to mention Kathryn's sudden seeming need to put Chakotay's life in order. The question was, Chakotay thought, darting a look at Tom, which of the many things churning in his head he should share.
*
He waited until they were in the turbolift, alone, then he said, "I've been ordered to talk to you, in public, so the captain can see us."
*
"Why?" Tom asked, tightness apparent in his voice.
*
"It seems, we haven't been 'communicating enough' according to the captain. The whole point of our punishment was to get to know each other better."
*
The 'lift stopped and they stepped out together.
*
Tom didn't reply. What was the man thinking, Chakotay wondered? It wasn't until they'd obtained lunch, whatever it was, and sat down at a table as far away from everyone as possible, that Tom finally spoke. "Have you been avoiding me because of what B'Elanna said?"
*
Startled by Tom's question, Chakotay looked up and into his own brown eyes. A troubled soul looked back at him, but he knew it was not his own. This was nothing like looking in a mirror.
*
Shamed by his own actions, he answered truthfully. "Yes." He glanced around the Mess Hall and spied the captain across the room watching but not watching, which was her specialty. Still, he was angry with her for forcing the issue.
*
Tom swallowed a mouthful of something gelatinous and blue, then softly inquired, "Does it bother you that much?"
*
Distracted by Janeway's roving gaze for a moment, he replied, "What? Does what bother me?"
*
Tom leaned toward his body, lowered his voice even further and said, "What B'Elanna told you about me...I'm not going to lie to you. I would like to know exactly what she said though."
*
Chakotay relaxed and decided to tackle their personal issues while they were in a nice, safe public place. Better here than in his or Tom's quarters. "She told me that you wanted me." He felt the heat begin to ignite under his skin. Before it could rise further than his collar, he continued, "She said you always had. Is it true?"
*
"Yes." Tom reached for his glass of water and said nothing more.
*
He didn't know what to do. Tom had been honest, painfully so, if his expression was to be taken at face value. How could he do anything less? All he'd learned about Tom's life aboard ship came back to him, and even though he had lots of questions of his own, Chakotay felt he owed Tom his own truth-telling.
*
Taking a bite of his own oddly colored entree, he gulped it down and tuned out his surroundings. Ignoring the audience with four pips, he looked at Tom directly and stated quietly, "You aren't alone in your feelings."
*
Chakotay watched his own countenance go through gyrations he never thought possible. His normally light brown skin changed colors, making his face look blotchy. Lips and eyes narrowed, widened, then tightened again.
*
He had definitely struck a nerve. Would Tom lose it completely and punch him in the nose over this revelation? This was not the ideal place to share secret thoughts of mutual lust, and so Chakotay waited, almost holding his breath, to see what Tom would do.
*
So intent was he that Captain Janeway's voice scared him half out of his now completely white skin when she queried, "Is everything all right here, gentlemen?"
*
Chakotay heard Tom answer steadily, "Yes, ma'am. Everything's fine. We're just learning how to get along. Isn't that right, Lieutenant?"
*
Grinning a bit, he let out a deep breath, and answered, "Yes, sir."
*
As soon as Janeway left the Mess Hall, Tom whispered, "You bastard. I'm going to get you for this."
*
"You can try." Chakotay felt the Paris smirk appear on his new face, and wondered if it showed up there automatically whenever Tom felt smug... or threatened.
*
Several minutes passed in silence as they finished their meals. Finally Tom shoved his tray aside and sat back, sipping his water, gazing very intently at Chakotay. Then Tom looked around briefly and said conspiratorially, "So, have you been playing with my body as much as I've been playing with yours?"
*
Gods! Chakotay nearly choked on his reply. "Maybe more. Yours seems to provide me with lots of opportunities."
*
Tom leaned forward and snapped, "What's that supposed to mean?"
*
Getting himself under control, Chakotay coughed once and mumbled, "Nothing."
*
"Nothing, my ass. Chakotay, I want to continue this conversation, but not here." Tom stood up and said in a much louder voice, "Meet me at my quarters at 1900 hours." Then he scooped up his tray, dumped it, and walked out the door.
*
"Yes, sir," Chakotay muttered to no one in particular. He finished off his meal and sighed.
*
Tom had taken the news better than he expected, Chakotay thought. Then he thought some more. Oh hell, what had he set himself up for? Who knew what Tom was capable of? The man did have a reputation for being a sexual adventurer.
*
He rose and gathered his tray. As he headed for the recycler, he felt rather than saw eyes upon him. Looking around, he caught sight of B'Elanna sitting in a corner with her laser-like gaze aimed directly at him. The curse of fair skin came to his mind as his face turned the color of that soup Tom liked so much.
*
Tomato-faced, Chakotay dumped his tray and hurried out the door, all the time thinking, 'she knows.'

<><><><>

Tom spent the remainder of his shift thinking.
*
Luckily, nothing exciting happened. He scanned a few reports, spot checked the schedules, and smiled benignly at the captain whenever she came out of her Ready Room.
*
He'd already figured out that he wasn't given the complete 'First Officer' job. The fact that he'd been left out of the loop with the Delaney sisters told him as much. He was nothing more than an XO Lite.
*
Well, that just gave him more time to consider what to do about things. Chakotay's little lunch-time bombshell really made him wonder. Was there anything he could do about it while they were switched? Or would he have to wait until their sentence was over?
*
Even if he did wait, what could he do? What would Chakotay allow? Maybe it was better to take advantage of their current situation; keep the commander on his toes, and see what he could find out.
*
Chakotay had admitted to wanting him. Or had he? Was it momentary lust or a long-time yearning? Shit. He vowed to find out one way or another this evening.

<><><><>

Chakotay fumbled his way through the afternoon, the Doctor keeping a sharp, holographic eye on his every move. He regretted his actions during lunch. It wasn't right that he took his anger at the captain out on Tom. He shouldn't have shocked him with the facts in such a public place as the Mess Hall.
*
He stared at the wall above the sterilizer. Why he was so angry with her? Perhaps it was because she'd ordered him to talk to Tom, and pressed the Minister of Manners' reasons at him. Damn. It wasn't like she knew what they were going through...and that's when it hit him.
*
She didn't know what it was like. That's why he was so angry. There weren't any Starfleet courses or simulations that matched this experience and unless she went through it, or something similar--under Voyager's unique conditions--she would never know.
*
"Ahem! Lieutenant, I am dismissing you for the day."
*
Chakotay turned around and stared at the Doctor.
*
The EMH removed the glass tube from his hand and said, "Go home. You have broken two of my test tubes and done nothing else but stare at the wall since you came back from lunch. So, go away before you do any more damage."
*
Blinking, Chakotay refocused his thoughts and said, "I'm sorry, Doctor. I didn't mean to be so absent-minded."
*
The hologram actually smiled at him. "Don't worry too much about it, Commander," his voice dropped to a near whisper, "I have a couple of extra helpers I can call on to wash everything."
*
As Chakotay left Sickbay, he had to wonder if the Doctor's eyebrows had really jumped up and down toward the end of their of conversation, or was it that he just had sex on the brain? Shaking his head at his own idiotic assumptions, he went home.
*
Once inside Tom's quarters, he found himself showering, changing into civvies, and eating dinner--all without a second thought. It only dawned on him that he'd become used to being in Tom's body, and his quarters, when he remembered B'Elanna's glare at lunch. He refused to think about that however, and spent the next several minutes getting up his nerve.
*
He'd thought about it, all the possibilities, during the afternoon. He still wanted Tom, and now Tom knew it. There seemed to be a chance for him to get what he wanted; what Tom also wanted.
*
When the time came, he presented himself at the door to his own cabin. He'd made up his mind to go for broke. Why the hell not? All Tom could say was no.
*
As he reached for the door chime, a fleeting thought crossed his mind: Was the fact that he was residing in Tom's body enough of an excuse for his about-to-be brazen actions? Perhaps he could blame it on Tom's body being younger and having more testosterone...then again, maybe not.

<><><><>

Tom nearly jumped out of his skin when the chime sounded. He was a nervous wreck when Chakotay walked into the room. Hell, he'd been nuts since his shift was over; so much so that he'd indulged in an after-dinner drink. There were many old thoughts, dreams, and fantasies....
*
He watched as Chakotay looked around and wished he'd done a more thorough job of straightening up the commander's quarters. It was a mistake telling Chakotay to come here, and his hand shook as he gestured toward the door. "We can go back to your place; just give me a minute."
*
With that, he raced into the bathroom and cleaned his teeth quickly, trying to remove the scent of scotch from his breath.
*
When he looked up, he found Chakotay in the doorway. Oh hell. He rinsed and spat, dried his face on a towel wadded up on top of the commode, then tried to slide by the older man.
*
But, Chakotay was having none of it. He stood there and let Tom get as far as the door jamb before pressing up against him. Tom felt the edge of the door align itself with his spine as Chakotay's hands reached for him.
*
Chakotay leaned forward and sniffed. By remaining in the doorway, the door couldn't close, but Tom could feel it pushing against him, pushing him toward Chakotay--or was that just his imagination?
*
"We don't need to go anywhere else, Tom."
*
He heard his own voice say the words, but he couldn't tell if there was censure behind the tone. God, this cabin wouldn't meet Chakotay's personal standards. Why hadn't he thought about it before shooting his mouth off at lunch? He looked up and found his own blue eyes staring down at him. Were they filled with laughter, or with lust?
*
He wasn't sure he could tell, but he still felt nervous. What sort of game was Chakotay playing? Or was he playing? His nerve came back with a vengeance once he decided to call the commander's bluff. "What do you want from me, Chakotay?" he demanded.
*
"A kiss."
*
Surprised, Tom just nodded. A moment later, he felt arms snake around him, soft lips linger on his, and before he knew it, he was on his back on the bed. The lights were called down low, and he felt a tongue--his tongue--tasting his neck, and setting him on fire.
*
Confusion warred with rising lust and Tom squirmed in Chakotay's arms, muttering, "I don't know if I can do this."
*
"Why not? Haven't you ever wanted to make love to yourself?" Chakotay panted.
*
"No."
*
"Why is that?" Chakotay asked seriously.
*
"I don't see myself as that attractive," he deadpanned.
*
"That's got nothing to do with it."
*
"It doesn't?" he rolled out from under Chakotay, trying to put a little distance between them, so he could think clearly.
*
"No."
*
"Why not?" Tom mimicked Chakotay's tone of voice.
*
"Because it's really not about how you can make yourself feel good physically. Making love to other people is about making yourself feel good when you make them feel good." Although Chakotay patiently explained these sentiments, his fingers were busy stroking Tom's face.
*
"Is that what you get out of sex?" Tom inquired, trying to ignore, and at the same time, memorize the sensations.
*
"Who's talking about sex? I was talking about making love."
*
"I see," said Tom, his heart rate still higher than normal.
*
"Do you?" Chakotay decided to go out on a limb and inquired, "Is that why you put up with B'Elanna; did you get off on making her feel good?"
*
"Yeah, when I could." Tom pondered for a moment, decided he'd be an idiot to pass up this chance, then shrugged. "Now shut up about her and kiss me again."

END OF PART EIGHT

Comments? Suggestions?
E-mail me at Britta

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Bait and Switch, Part 9