In Dreams, Part 1

By Britta

*
Tom was dreaming again. He was aware of the fact but it didn't matter. More important was the warm, familiar feeling that pervaded his senses. He was being held; embraced by something solid, comforting and exciting at the same time. It exuded rightness and permanence that he felt all the way down to the cellular level.
*
If only he could make it last.
*
He tried to hang on to the impression, as he did every time this happened but he was unsuccessful and woke up anyway.
*
As he reluctantly opened his eyes, the wonderful sensation faded away. He wished he knew how to keep that feeling alive when he was awake. As it was, it only followed him through the day like a shadow. At least during quiet moments he had the memory of that touch to ponder.
*
Rising, he prepared to face yet another day in the Delta Quadrant. As he showered, he wondered if there would be any surprises today or if it would be like most of the days lately, routine.
*
His thoughts rambled around, bouncing off the walls of his mind as he got dressed and headed for the mess hall. Once there, it was time to put on the happy face.
*
Trademarked smile in place, he entered and looked around. He was later than usual, which gave him a good choice of tables. He spotted the Captain and the Commander stuck in a corner, no doubt talking ship's business. Didn't those two ever take a breather from work?
*
He selected something for breakfast and sat down far enough away from them so that he wouldn't have to hear anything they said. Still, he had a good view and as he ate, he watched them much the way one would a vid with the sound muted.
*
Sipping his juice, he looked around the room. It was nearly empty. Neelix was nowhere to be seen and everyone else, with the exception of Janeway and Chakotay, had finished up and left.
*
He went back to his meal and gnawed on something rubbery that purported to be a waffle. A rumble of sound caught his attention and he looked up just in time to see the Captain lay a resounding slap across Chakotay's face.
*
Holy shit. Something was really wrong. Tom tried to become invisible as Janeway stalked out of the mess hall as pissed off as he'd ever seen her.
*
Chakotay was angry too, Tom could tell by the rigidity of his body.
*
Suddenly, Chakotay turned his shocked gaze on Tom, catching him staring. Tom flushed but didn't look away, meeting the Commander's wide eyes with his own. Then the doors opened and a few of the crew entered the room, disturbing the moment. Tom heard his name called and reacted instinctively by turning his head. It was Harry.
*
By the time Tom turned back to face the Commander again, he was gone.
*

++++

*
Tom fidgeted at the conn all day long. Twice, the Captain remonstrated her displeasure. He tried more than once to bring back that warm, safe feeling his dream had given him but couldn't. It had been left behind in the mess hall during breakfast.
*
It didn't help matters that the Commander was conspicuously absent from the bridge. He wasn't the only one who had noticed either. The tension level was higher than usual and everybody suffered accordingly.
*
When his shift ended, Tom almost flew into the turbolift, anxious to get away.
*

++++

*
Chakotay sat in his office, where he'd been closeted all day long, trying to avoid the wrath of the Captain.
*
He'd really put his foot in his mouth this time, he thought. Rubbing his face, he decided that it was better said than not. Still, he felt she had overreacted. What was wrong with her lately?
*
He sighed. If he had to take a slap in the face, he would. The only other thing that bothered him was that Paris had witnessed it.
*
What would their chief pilot think of them? Would he have spread the word around?
*
Damn, the man was already irritating as hell, would he become much more so now?
*

++++

*
Tom just wanted to relax, have a few drinks and maybe shoot some pool. It was too bad Harry was on a quest of his own lately, he could use some company.
*
Dinner was a hurried affair before he headed for Sandrine's, a place still popular after all this time. It was comforting to him; the familiarity a balm to his nerves. Today had been excruciating. He hated days like these.
*
He changed out of uniform and went there, plying himself with liquor and waiting for someone to show up that he knew he could beat at pool.
*
A couple of drinks later, he felt much better and certainly more ballsy than usual as he watched the Commander enter the room and head for the bar.
*
He hung back for a moment and watched as his CO ordered a drink. He was surprised when Sandrine brought him a glass of what looked like Berusch brandy. Tom thought his day must have been nothing compared to Chakotay's if this was any indication.
*
Deciding to get a refill and bait the bull a little, since no worthy pool players had shown up yet, Tom approached the bar and stood next to the First Officer.
*
"Evening, Commander."
*
"Lieutenant."
*
"Missed you on the bridge today," Tom ventured.
*
"Did you?" Chakotay appeared disbelieving. He then downed his drink in one gulp and motioned for another. If Paris was going to be a shit about this morning he needed some more liquid courage to handle it.
*
Tom held back his sarcasm seeing how close to the edge the XO appeared to be and answered honestly, "Yes." Vaguely surprised by his own behavior, he stood resolutely awaiting the older man's response.
*
Chakotay frowned. This was unexpected. He didn't know if Paris was telling the truth or not. If not, he didn't feel up to playing games and if so, he was at a loss as to how to deal with it.
*
Resigned, he tipped his new drink and asked, "So what are you after? Do you want to know the gory details of what happened this morning?"
*
Tom heard the frustration in the other man's voice and decided not to push, for once. Instead, he opted to reach out a bit and stated, "No. I don't need to know all the details."
*
"Then what do you want?" Chakotay took another large swallow of his drink.
*
Tom turned to him and said, "Just tell me what you said to her to make her hit you like that...in front of me. And make no mistake, Chakotay, she knew I was watching."
*
"She did?" Chakotay tried to recall the exact circumstances of this morning's contretemps but all he could do was wonder why Tom cared.
*
Sipping his drink, Tom peered closely at Chakotay, then he nodded and said, "Yeah, she knew I had a good view of the two of you."
*
Chakotay thought about this and replayed the scene in his mind. What had started out as an amiable conversation had degenerated fairly quickly into a confrontation. Not wanting to discuss the particulars with Paris, he said, "Let's just say she took exception to one of my suggestions and leave it at that."
*
"It must have been one hell of a suggestion," Tom smirked.
*
Chakotay finished his drink and set his empty glass on the bar. Rising, he said seriously, "Actually, it wasn't."
*
Tom watched as the Commander left Sandrine's and wondered just what the hell was going on.
*

++++

*
The next few days saw a thaw begin in the frozen truce called between the Captain and her XO. Peace did not return completely but the tension eased, making the bridge a much more comfortable place to be.
*
Harry remarked on it at dinner. "Boy, am I glad that's over, whatever *that* was. Do you know what caused it?"
*
Tom looked up from his plate. "No. I don't. But, I'm happy that the situation is getting back to normal; it bugs me when things aren't right on the bridge. It makes it hard to concentrate on flying when you're sure there's something weird going on behind your back."
*
Harry gave Tom an odd look but said nothing.
*
Finishing the last of his meal, Tom piled his dishes onto the tray and inquired, "So Harry, feel like playing some pool tonight?"
*

"No. I have something else I want to do." He scooped up his own tray and followed Tom over to the recycler.
*
"Oh? What's that? Gonna track down Megan again and try to convince her to go out with you?"
*
Harry grinned. "Something like that."
*
As they left the mess hall and went their separate ways, Tom called out, "Good luck!"
*
"Thanks!"
*
Tom wandered down to the resort to see what was happening. Not too much apparently. There were a few people enjoying the usual resort activities. He gave up quickly on finding a source of entertainment there and went over to Sandrine's instead. He needed to find something to occupy his mind. Anything was better than brooding over the dream he kept having.
*
It had come more often lately. Now it visited him on a nightly basis. He still had no idea what or who it was that gave him such a nice feeling but it was beginning to annoy him that waking reality was such a dismal contrast. He would spend all his time asleep if he could, reveling in that sensation of peace and contentment, but that was impossible.
*

++++

*
Chakotay sat in Sandrine's at a little table in the corner and pondered his life. Meditation helped him to accept what was but so far had not given him any clues as to what direction he should follow.
*
He and his crew were stuck out here with the Starfleet people for who knew how long; it could be for the rest of their lives. They had meshed into one viable unit, work-wise. Still, what was he going to do for companionship...okay, be honest, sex and love, too.
*
His discontent seemed to be growing lately and he wasn't sure why that was.
*
Janeway was his friend, most of the time anyway. Still, she wasn't at the top of his list of people who excited him sexually or emotionally. She was far too wrapped up in her role as benevolent dictator to do much with anyone at the moment. At least she thought she was. Someday she'd cave in and acknowledge her needs. He hoped when that day came that there would be someone available for her, with whom to share her life.
*
Years had passed out here in the Delta Quadrant and they'd all weathered some severe storms together, yet there was still a gulf between him and the Starfleet crew, and, because of his working with Janeway, a distance between him and his own people. It wasn't much, but it was there.
*
So what options did that leave him with? Another doomed encounter with an alien female? Shit. He was tired of those.
*
He sipped his beer and decided that there wasn't a whole lot he could do except wait and see.
*
Just then, he saw Paris enter the bar. Great. Now he'd be treated to a show of watching the man strut around the room, charming people, both real and otherwise, into doing what he wanted.
*
Chakotay drained his beer and felt annoyed that Paris had shown up here.
*
Well, why shouldn't he? It's his program...a voice in his head whispered.
*
He frowned at that realization and went to get a refill.
*

++++

*
Tom entered Sandrine's and looked around, hoping to spy something interesting but all he saw was the Commander frowning, at him, most likely.
*
He decided to ignore it and see if anyone was up for a game of pool. He received 'no' after 'no' and finally quit asking. Fine, he thought, as he obtained a scotch for himself. I'll just practice all by my lonesome.
*
More and more often lately, he seemed to spend his time trying to amuse himself. Everybody was busy, wrapped up in their own private universes. As he took his drink over to the pool table, he wondered if Chakotay was still frowning and watching him. He didn't think he'd done anything to piss the man off recently.
*
Mentally shrugging, he racked the balls. Think of trajectories, angles, speed and spin, he told himself. Drinking and making shot after shot, he finally lost himself in the intricacies of the game.
*

++++

*
Chakotay sat and sipped and watched the people in the bar. Paris was playing pool solo. He wondered why that was. It seemed every time he saw him lately, he was alone. That was odd and the Commander did not like oddities. He peered into his beer and realized there had been more than a few of them lately.
*
His mind slowly drifted from thought to thought, then with a sudden shift in perception, he looked up and found himself in another realm entirely. He was seeing Tom through a completely different set of eyes.
*
In this vision, he saw someone graceful, a beautiful human being moving seductively around a flat, green surface that reminded him of a lawn, enticing him from afar. He had the urge to touch the man, to explore him and feel his strength pitted against his own.
*
For some odd reason, it felt right. He could picture Paris coming into his arms and holding him tightly; wanting the same thing he wanted. He could feel the sensation of those talented hands run over the contours of his face and down his neck, stopping briefly to undo his uniform--
*
A noise shook him out of his reverie and he squeezed his eyes shut. What the hell was the matter with him? Where did those thoughts come from?
*
He didn't know and wasn't sure he wanted to find out. He downed the last of his beer in one large swallow and left, trying to hide his agitation as best he could.
*

++++

*
Tom lined up another shot and miffed it as he noticed the Commander get up and practically run out of the bar.
*
I wonder what his problem is, he thought, as he set up another shot.
*

++++

*
Chakotay arrived at his quarters and tried to center himself. It was just a daydream, he told himself, no big deal. Sometimes the mind played tricks on you and if you wanted to stay sane, you had to learn to deal with it.
*
Why would he think of Paris that way?
*
He was vaguely aware that the thoughts he'd had felt alien, like they weren't really his, only superimposed upon his own. Yet the result was the same.
*
Groaning with frustration, he tried to block out the memories of lovers and ghosts from the past. Reassuring himself that this was just a fluke, a one-time thing, he prepared for bed and called for lights out.
*

++++

*
After an evening of pool practice that left him feeling empty and bored, Tom yanked off his clothes and threw himself into bed. Hugging his extra pillow tightly, he tried to force himself to go to sleep. All he wanted was a tiny bit of that wonderful peace that he only seemed to encounter in slumber.
*
He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to revive that feeling; the one he liked so much, where he felt loved and wholly content. He deliberately refused to think of anything else and waited.
*
After an hour or so, his patience was finally rewarded and he slipped into sleep.
*
As he slid from the alpha state through the others until he reached the REM stage, he was unaware of the fact that the source of his comfort was in a bad way, trying to figure out why he felt the way he did.
*

++++

*
Chakotay tossed and turned in bed trying to let go of his earlier thoughts but failed miserably. His mind spun around in loops of time and he couldn't make it stop right away. He had glimpses of his earlier vision come back again and again, jumping frames like an ancient vid, repeating the same scenes over and over.
*
He really wanted to let go of this. The harder he tried, the more difficult it became to control his frantic mental activity. He finally gave up in frustration and allowed it to flow over him. Let it come. Let it do its worst. He hoped he could handle it.
*
Eventually he fell asleep, now knowing that forcing the issue would not help matters. Peace would come when the time was right or not at all.
*

++++

*
Tom buried his face deeply into his pillow and felt strong hands moving over his shoulders, his back, pulling him close. Warm breath tickled his neck, moving up to his ear. A soft tongue snaked out and licked the sensitive spot behind his ear lobe.
*
The hands differentiated into individual fingers which spread out and insinuated themselves throughout the hair on his head then moved down over his suddenly nude body until they made their way into every patch of hair he sported.
*
His armpits, his chest and finally his pubic hair were touched and combed by the dream fingers that belonged to the same person who owned the dream tongue that had been tormenting him for the last few days.
*
He'd felt that tongue before; he recognized it. It had begun by touching his cheek then it moved back around to the nape of his neck. It was never too intrusive but hovered just out of the reach of his own mouth. He wanted to engage it in a passionate dance but he couldn't quite catch it with his lips.
*
Damn. Whose tongue was it? He started to struggle, wanting to taste it badly but only succeeded in driving it farther away.
*
Before he could pursue it further, the comforting, strong presence that began and ended his dreams manifested itself and he sank into that warm, loving pool of emotion once again.
*
When morning came, Tom recalled a lot more of his dream than usual and was surprised by its vivid sexuality.
*

++++

*

Though Tom spent his shift at the helm physically, mentally he was elsewhere. He pondered last night's dream. It had been more intense than he was used to. Now that he had time to think about it, he decided he liked the new additions. Hell, it was better than his waking reality, that was for sure.
*
If his dream could provide him with both love and sex at the same time, why should he complain? It just made going to sleep that much more of an attractive option.
*
He smiled hugely and wondered if he were dipping into an alternate universe's version of his life. He hoped that somewhere he was as happy awake as he felt here asleep.
*
Disregarding the odd looks Harry threw his way, he kept on smiling and flying, waiting patiently for his shift to end.
*

++++

*
Chakotay muddled through another day in which the Captain still hadn't forgiven him. He wondered why that was. He'd thought about it time and again and decided to keep a close eye on her. Something wasn't right and he wanted to find out what it was.
*
He sighed to himself as his shift ended and determined to spend some time in meditation this evening. Hell, he'd spend the whole night there if that's what it took to get everything sorted out.
*
Heading directly for his quarters, he ignored Tuvok's interested glance and gave up on the idea of having dinner in the mess hall. He wanted to be alone, without distractions so he could think things through.
*

++++

*
Tom left the bridge and went to get something to eat. Harry joined him in the mess hall and regaled him with tales of woe at his attempts to get Megan Delaney to go out with him.
*
Paris made appropriate sympathetic noises while most of his mind was engaged elsewhere.
*
He waited until Harry ran out of sad stories and said, "Har, if you want to get to Megan, you'll have to go through Jenny first. My advice is to ask both of them out to do something together. Jenny will see what you're made of and then if she figures you're trustworthy, she might let you spend some time with Megan alone."
*
Harry just looked at Tom incredulously. "Are you crazy? What could I do with both of them?"
*
Tom grinned and said in his most smarmy voice, "Need you ask?"
*
Harry's eyes widened until he realized that Tom was fooling with him, then he said, "Okay. I get it. You don't have to get all perverted on me. I'll think of something innocuous for the three of us to do." He rolled his eyes and took another of bite of his meal, unaware of the fact that Tom wasn't really paying any attention to him.
*
"Good. You do that." Tom looked around the room searching for someone and although he didn't quite know who it was, he was aware of the fact that the person wasn't present. He finished his meal and excused himself, then left the mess hall.
*
After a workout in the gym and a long, unsatisfying prowl through the holodeck he decided to go home and sleep.
*

++++

*
Chakotay prepared himself, rushing a bit as he went through his rituals. Then he slowed down, tried to calm himself and used his akoonah.
*
He needed to find out what was going on. Why had he encountered those out of place thoughts lately? Why had Kathryn struck him?
*
As he sank into the meditative state that usually gave him so much comfort, he was surprised to find himself in a place that he didn't recognize. The flora was different than anything he'd seen before. It was beautiful and welcoming but it was not the spot where he and his spirit guide usually met.
*
Instead, this place had none of the windswept cleanliness that he was used to. It was a luxuriant, sensual environment that called to him on another level. There were shaded, mossy areas beneath his feet coupled with large patches of soft grass that begged to be lain upon.
*
He walked carefully around those inviting, comfortable-looking natural mattresses and tried to find his spirit guide. After a circuit or two he gave up. It appeared that she was elsewhere.
*
Chakotay decided to end his meditation but found to his consternation that he could not. It seemed he was caught here, much like being stuck in a lucid dream. Sighing, he picked a spot beneath a huge tree where the grasses grew less thickly and sat down to wait.
*

++++

*
Tom rolled over, opened his eyes and found himself surrounded by green. Was he sleeping on a pool table again? He squinted at the brightness of the light and flopped around trying to feel if there were pockets in the corners.
*
Suddenly, he realized that the surface he was lying on was much spongier than a thin layer of felt. It appeared to be grass of some kind. Very soft, thick grass without any sharp edges that a newly-mown lawn might have.
*
Hmm, this was different. What kind of a dream could this be? Before he could ask more questions of himself, he settled into place comfortably and closed his eyes against the glaring sunshine. He drifted off to sleep again somehow knowing that the loving, comforting feeling he craved would be there with him before very long.
*
He sighed and smiled, looking forward to whatever his dream would bring.
*

++++

*
Chakotay sat under the tree in the shade. He was trapped in another state of consciousness and figured that all he could do was wait and see what the Spirits had in store for him.
*
He felt no sense of panic and so rightly concluded that he was there for a reason. Like it or not, he would soon be learning something new about himself.
*
He sat and wondered about his surroundings. Why was everything so lush and green and full of life? What did these environs have to say about his state of mind? Or *was* it about his state of mind? Perhaps it was a warning of some kind.
*
With that cynical thought in place, he decided that he'd better pay close attention to whatever occurred next.
*
Time slipped by at an incalculable rate but it seemed like only a few minutes had passed before his shade disappeared. He stood and walked around the base of the tree only to find an amazing sight before his eyes.
*
There was Tom Paris, naked and sleeping on the grass, so soundly that it could have been his own bed. He lay sprawled on his stomach, one arm beneath his head.
*
Chakotay was surprised to say the least. What was he doing here? Sitting down at the base of the tree again, he tried to figure it out. As he thought, his gaze roamed over the pilot and he watched as the man shifted his position as though searching for something. As time wore on, he noticed Tom become agitated and the skies darkened as though clouds had moved in, shutting out the light and heat of the sun.
*
With very little thought, Chakotay moved to lie next to Tom in order to calm him and keep him warm. He dimly realized that he was now as naked as the other man but it didn't seem to matter much. He felt he was doing the right thing and that was all that counted.
*

++++

*
Tom was cold and then he was warm again. That lovely sensation had returned, only this time it was different. He lay on his side feeling strong arms wrapped around him, giving him comfort as before but there was an added perception as the friendly tongue snaked out to taste him.
*
He shifted and became aware that there was a hardening cock pressing against him.
*
Slowly he turned, in his erstwhile lover's embrace, only to find out he was being held by none other than Commander Chakotay.
*
Oh gods.
*
This being the last person aboard the ship that he ever expected to sleep with, he quickly slid away from the warmth the man provided and got to his feet, walking off as rapidly as his shock would allow.
*

++++

*
Chakotay was disturbed by Tom rising. He opened his eyes and saw Tom walking away, disappearing into the dense fog that now surrounded him.
*
Sighing with disappointment and frustration, he sat up and closed his eyes waiting impatiently to be released from his latest spirit lesson.
*
When he opened his eyes again he was back in his cabin, sitting on the floor in his living room, just like had been earlier.
*
There was only one difference: now he had an erection.
*

++++

*
Tom tossed and turned in his bed so violently that he wound up on the floor, panting and upset. Where was that comfy pool table now?
*
He didn't know why exactly but he had the urge to take a shuttle and get off the ship until he figured everything out. He felt threatened somehow.
*
There was knowledge hovering just behind his waking consciousness and he was more than half afraid of it.
*
Deciding he wasn't going to get anywhere in this condition, he hopped into the shower and let the warm water soothe him. As it sluiced over his body, he closed his eyes and recalled the good, wonderful feeling.
*
Then, it hit him. He remembered who it was that had held him.
*

++++

*
Chakotay looked down and sighed at the discomfort he felt. No matter how turned on he was, he was still confused and a little angry. It wasn't as if he'd spent time enjoying foreplay with a partner of his own choosing. No. Much to his chagrin, this was turning out to be something akin to a waking wet dream.
*
Shit. Was Tom Paris going to torment him in new and unusual ways now? If so, how the hell was he supposed to deal with it? They did have to work together.
*
Sighing, he decided that sleep would help. Unless, of course, the Spirits decided to have him meet up with Tom there as well.
*
He crawled into bed and waited until his cock softened. Then and only then did he feel safe enough to relax and let sleep come.
*

++++

*
Tom remembered everything. As the water ran down his body, his memory cleared and he realized fully who it was that had invaded his dreams. He propped himself up against the shower wall and let the water take his aggravation away. It slipped down the drain along with his questions of why. His fatigue kicked in then and he didn't want to deal with it any more this night.
*
He dried himself and crept into bed, praying he wouldn't end up on the floor again.
*
He wasn't certain what he wanted, now that he'd discovered the truth of his good dream. The only thing he was sure of was that it wouldn't ever be the same, wouldn't ever be as wonderful or as comforting and compelling as it used to be.
*
Sighing heavily, he closed his eyes and saw nothing but green.
*

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END OF PART ONE

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In Dreams, Part Two