In Dreams, Part 12


By Britta

*
Chakotay woke up on the floor beneath the conn wrapped in Tom's arms. His head hurt and he was chilly but other than that, he wasn't aware of too much else.
*
Just when he had settled down again and drifted off, a booted toe nudged him in the ribs. "Commander."
*
He groaned and forced his eyelids open only to see Tuvok staring down at him as if he were a fish in a barrel. Spirits...this wasn't fair. "What?" he croaked.
*
Tuvok's eyebrow climbed upward minutely as he stated, "You are wanted in the Captain's office. I suggest you stop by the lavatory and clean up then put on your clothes before reporting for duty."
*
His scrambled brain tried hard to make sense of the request. A few moments later, he sighed and said, "Give me a minute."
*
Tuvok replied, "Of course." As if nothing unusual had happened, Tuvok waited silently for a short time then asked, "Do you need assistance?"
*
Chakotay squinted up at the Vulcan and growled, "No. I do not. Please tell the Captain I will be there shortly." With that, he sat up and waited until Tuvok left before checking on Tom.
*
Tom was out for the count and, as he looked around the bridge, he realized that the rest of the crew present was in the same condition. He gingerly rose to his feet and retrieved his uniform. Finding his shorts near one of the conn chairs, he noticed with some dismay, the encrusted semen on the helm which made him wonder how long they'd been unconscious.
*
Staggering toward the head, he saw Torres and Kim sprawled over each other near Ops. Kim's back had bled considerably, if the deep scratches were anything to go by, yet the blood had dried and the wounds would leave permanent scars if they weren't tended to soon.
*
Chakotay did what he could to make himself presentable in the bathroom off the bridge then made his way to Janeway's office.
*
Not knowing what to expect, he was surprised to be greeted with a hypo to his neck as soon as he walked in the door. He turned and saw the Doctor smiling smugly at him. "That should help your headache go away, Commander."
*
Chakotay said evenly, "Thank you." He looked around and spied the Captain and Tuvok, sitting next to each other quietly. Once his mind cleared and the pain receded, he noticed that they looked as rumpled as he did. The Doctor went to scan Janeway and frowned.
*
Rubbing his neck with one hand, he inquired, "Can anyone enlighten me as to our situation?"
*
Janeway stood up and swayed for a moment until Tuvok steadied her. "I can. We are at present moving away from the star system at warp 9." She sat down again abruptly and Tuvok frowned slightly.
*
"I see. What's the status of the crew? Other than those who are unconscious on the floor of the bridge," Chakotay asked testily as he stared at the Doctor.
*
The Doctor replied somewhat stiffly, "Don't worry, Commander. No one has been injured and they will all wake up soon. I expect there to be some residual amounts of embarrassment but nothing more serious than that. Rest assured that I have everything under control."
*
"If that's so, then I expect you will be performing scar-prevention skin regeneration on Ensign Kim as soon as possible." Chakotay was angry.
*
This whole mess could have been avoided if only the Captain had listened to reason. He took his anger out on the Doctor and, turning his back on the rest of them, stalked out of the room.
*
The Doctor motioned the others back and following Chakotay he demanded, "What did you mean about Ensign Kim?"
*
Stopping in the middle of the bridge, Chakotay turned and pointed. "Go see for yourself."
*
The Doctor muttered, "He turned over from the last time I checked on him."
*
Ignoring the Doctor from that point on, he surveyed the various stations to make sure everything was functioning smoothly. Then he gathered Tom's clothes together and went to him.
*
Tom was curled up into a ball under the conn, shivering slightly and still unconscious. Chakotay didn't care about proper procedures at this point, all he wanted to do was make sure that Tom would be all right.
*
He kneeled down next to his lover and stroked his face, seeing the frown disappear as he murmured, "Tom? Wake up. It's time to go home. Come on, wake up and let's go."
*
Tom rolled closer to him and stretched out his long body. A hand reached blindly in his direction and he caught it, brought it to his lips and kissed it.
*
Blond-lashed eyes fluttered open and Tom looked up at Chakotay. Blinking repeatedly, Tom yawned and found his voice. "What the fuck happened?" he asked, as he took in his position on the floor and his state of undress.
*
Chakotay leaned down and kissed Tom. "Don't worry about it right now." Leaning forward, he helped Tom get to his feet and handed him his clothes. Pushing him toward the head, he said, "Get dressed and I'll explain everything."
*
Tom just nodded, yawned again and did what Chakotay said.
*

++++

*
By the time Tom returned from the head, somewhat cleaner and decently clothed, the rest of the bridge occupants were awake. He looked around for Chakotay and saw him leaving the Ready Room, a damp cloth in hand.
*
He met up with him and asked, "What's that for?"
*
Chakotay leaned close and whispered, "I'm going to clean off the conn." He moved away from Tom and proceeded to do so.
*
Still a little groggy, Tom didn't quite get it. He ambled along after Chakotay and suddenly everything became clear. Feeling his face burn, his stomach clenched into a knot. Oh god, what had they done?
*
He spied the spent tube of lubricant on the floor and bent down to retrieve it. That made his head pound and he straightened quickly. After disposing of the evidence, he made his way over to where the Doctor was examining Harry.
*
Tom took in the blood-streaked back of his best friend and offered, "Doc, I can take care of him if you give me something for my headache."
*
The Doctor turned to him, "Are you sure you're up to it, Lieutenant?"
*
"Yeah, if you shoot me with a pain-killer, I can do it."
*
The Doctor hesitated only for a moment. "Very well. You may want to do it in the Ensign's cabin. When you've finished, come to Sickbay. I might need your assistance there." With that said, the Doctor stuck a hypo against Tom's neck and turned to leave.
*
Relief was nearly instantaneous and Tom sighed. "Uh, Doc? Could you spare a shot of that for my friend here?"
*
The Doctor harrumphed but dosed Kim anyway. "After removing the dried blood, use a level 2 regenerator on his back. You can take the one from the emergency station nearest Mr. Kim's quarters."
*
"Will do, Doc." Tom helped Harry to his feet and asked, "Where did B'Elanna go?"
*
Harry peered around and frowned at his next-to-useless uniform. "She left while you were in the head. I think she said something about going down to Engineering."
*
"Oh. Well, let me tell Chakotay where I'm going and then let's get you back into shape, okay?" Tom smiled at his friend and hoped everything would be all right.
*
"Okay," Harry answered listlessly.
*
Tom left Harry standing there looking like a picked-over scarecrow and went over to the conn. He tapped Chakotay on the shoulder and the Commander quit scrubbing and turned around.
*
"What?" he snapped. "Oh, it's you. I'm sorry Tom."
*
"Hey, relax. I just wanted to tell you that I'm going to take Harry home and fix him up. Then after that I have to go to Sickbay."
*
Chakotay set the cloth aside and slumped into the nearest chair. "Okay. Do what you need to do. I'll probably be somewhere around here. Let me know when you're free." He ran a hand over his face and looked up at Tom hopefully.
*
Tom was worried but leaned down and kissed Chakotay anyway. "I'll be as quick as I can."
*
Chakotay just nodded.
*
With a backward glance at Chakotay, he went over to Harry and stripped off his jacket. Handing it over, he said, "Here. Tie this around your waist and let's go."
*

++++

*
Chakotay watched as Tom left the bridge and wondered if it was the beginning of the end for them. They'd done it all, he thought, as he rose and finished scraping the last of the evidence off the conn.
*
He was well aware that they were now speeding away from the small star system that had caused everything to happen. What would come next, he didn't know but he suspected that he was about to pay the full price for his recent happiness.
*
How long would it take before they reverted to their previous selves? He gave the conn one last swipe with the cloth and went to discard it.
*
Scowling, he frightened Chell without even realizing it as he stomped off the bridge and into the Ready Room. Plopping down into a chair, he rested his head on his arms and closed his eyes. Spirits, what was he going to do?
*

++++

*
Harry darted into his quarters so fast Tom was surprised he could keep up with him. Once the door closed behind them Tom said, "Hey, Har, slow down. I need to catch my breath." Tom tried to grin reassuringly.
*
"Okay." Harry stopped smack in the middle of his living room and didn't move an inch. Gripping Tom's jacket tightly, he continued, "What do you want me to do?"
*
Sensing there was more going on in Harry's head than the painful reality of his back, Tom said, "Give me my jacket and go lie down on your bed. I'll join you shortly."
*
Harry handed it over and went into the bedroom while Tom checked the regenerator. Tom was still worried about Chakotay but couldn't take the time to comm him just then. Damn. He just couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong.
*
Entering Harry's bathroom, he retrieved warm, wet cloths and came out again. Sitting beside his friend, he said, "This might sting a little. I have to clean you up before I can fix the wounds, okay?"
*
Harry flinched as Tom gently tended his back and grabbed his pillow tightly. "Okay," he mumbled.
*
Tom did his job as best he could and once the dried blood had been soaked off, he applied the dermal regenerator. Its soft hum filled the Ensign's bedroom and Tom said, "These are pretty impressive marks, Harry. Are you sure you don't want to keep them as souvenirs?"
*
Harry snorted and replied, "What, and show them off to the folks back home? Are you nuts, Tom? Just fix me up so I can take a shower and get dressed. In case you haven't noticed, it's been hours since we've had anything to eat."
*
"Anything you say, Har." Tom went back to work diligently and wondered just how long it had been since he'd last eaten. His stomach wasn't complaining so he didn't worry about it too much.
*
He was curious about other things though and so decided to pry a little. "Can I ask you something?"
*
Harry shifted his position a bit and answered, "Sure."
*
Tom moved the regenerator over the last long gouge on Harry's back and inquired neutrally, "How do you feel?"
*
"About what?"
*
"About B'Elanna...about you two being together. Are you going to keep seeing her?"
*
Harry propped himself up on an elbow and twisted slightly. "I don't know. We haven't exactly had the chance to talk about it yet. Are you almost finished?"
*
Pushing Harry back into place, Tom completed his task carefully, then said, "I am now. You're almost as good as new." He smiled as Harry rolled over and got up.
*
"Thanks, Tom."
*
"You're welcome." Tom rose and gathered his things together as Harry headed for the shower. "I've gotta go to Sickbay now. I'll catch up with you later."
*

"Okay."
*
Harry's voice was lost in the sound of cascading water and Tom left his friend's cabin to go to his own quarters. He wanted a shower and a fresh uniform to wear before he had to go to Sickbay.
*
The Doctor could wait a few more minutes, after all, it wouldn't kill him. Tom also hoped to squeeze in a quick message to Chakotay. He really wanted to know what was going on...especially between the two of them.
*

++++

*
Chakotay lifted his head and met the concerned gaze of the Captain. He sat up straighter and composed himself. Remaining silent, he tried to look attentive even though he was exhausted.
*
"Are you all right?" she asked.
*
"Yes. You?"
*
She studied him through bleary eyes. "I will be once I have some coffee." Moving toward the replicator, she asked, "Can I get you some as well?"
*
He shook his head. "No, thank you."
*
"You're still angry with me, aren't you?" She brought her cup over and sat down across from him.
*
"Yes."
*
She sipped her coffee, leaned forward and lowered her voice a bit. "So is Tuvok."
*
A minute passed and Chakotay's lips twitched. Finally, he said, "Good."
*
Janeway sighed loudly and dramatically. "Would you forgive me if I said I was under the influence of aliens?"
*
Chakotay stared at her and smiled a little. "Maybe. It depends on which aliens."
*
She leaned forward and shook her head saying, "What's done is done. Let's move forward." At his curious glance, she went on, "I've spoken with the Doctor and there's not much to do at this point except let the crew rest and recover from the gas."
*
Stifling a yawn, he replied, "It's a shame we didn't find out exactly what was down there on that planet."
*
Her eyes lit up as she downed another huge swallow of coffee. "We don't know...yet."
*
"What do you mean? We aren't going back there are we?" Chakotay experienced a frisson of dread at the very thought. He already felt he and Tom were on shaky ground; the last thing they needed was more sex in public.
*
His expression must have communicated his apprehension because Janeway hastened to reassure him. "We aren't going back there. We don't have to; the Doctor instigated a deep, thorough scan of the planet and star while the rest of us were...busy."
*
He saw her blush and realized that she felt as uncomfortable as he did about what had occurred. "So what happens next?" he asked gently.
*
"We wait until Ensign Kim has recovered, then we let him go to town on the sensor logs." She sat back in her chair and drank more of her coffee.
*
Chakotay stretched, pulling the kinks out of his neck and shoulders. "In that case: permission to go to my quarters and get cleaned up?" he asked pointedly.
*
Janeway finished her coffee and rose. "Permission granted. Also, you're off duty for the next twelve hours. Make the most of it and get some sleep."
*
He got to his feet and yawned again. "Thank you, Captain."
*
She gestured for him to leave and turned her back to him as he walked out the door.
*
Chakotay was too tired to deal with anything else at this point. All he wanted was a good night's sleep in his lover's arms. Figuring he had enough time to handle what would come his way professionally, he opted to tackle his personal challenge first and went to Tom's cabin.
*
He let himself in and took a shower, throwing his clothes into the 'fresher. Then he crawled into Tom's bed and waited.
*

++++

*
Tom was both tired and frustrated. He'd tried to comm Chakotay before going to Sickbay but found his call intercepted by Tuvok. 'The Commander is conferring with the Captain,' he'd been informed curtly.
*
Did the Vulcan sound jealous? Tom wasn't sure but he knew something odd was going on...and he didn't like it at all.
*
His fear and fatigue ganged up on him as he entered Sickbay and looked around for the Doctor. Not finding him anywhere, he said loudly, "I'm here, as ordered!"
*
"That's obvious," the Doctor replied as he stepped out of his office. Tricorder in hand, the Doctor circled Tom slowly.
*
Tom rubbed his eyes and scratched his head. "What's this all about? Where are the patients we need to treat?" he asked.
*
Still circling like a buzzard, the Doctor intoned, "They've been already taken care of. Hold still, I want to check up on you."
*
"Me? Why?" Tom yawned widely a time or two but stood still anyway. He didn't like this but wasn't about to put his life on the line trying to figure it out. For all he knew the Doctor had somehow gone nuts, just like the rest of them had before.
*
Staring at his tricorder intently, the Doctor responded without any particular inflection, "I need to get a current reading of your vital signs since you are aren't wearing a monitor any longer and the Commander is unavailable."
*
Letting out a pissed off snort, Tom said, "Look, I'd much rather wear a monitor than be stuck in here with you right now. So either put one on me or let me go."
*
The Doctor stepped away from him and said somewhat gently, "You may go. I suggest you get some sleep. Consider yourself off duty until notified otherwise by either the Captain or myself."
*
Tom nodded and left quickly, heading straight for Chakotay's quarters.
*

++++
*
Chakotay fought sleep as long as he could but eventually succumbed. He drifted for awhile, chasing his doubts and fears. After catching them and subduing them in battle, he relaxed and woke up in the green place.
*
It was mostly unchanged. He looked around and noticed that, if anything, everything appeared sharper, more clearly defined and easier on the eye. He stood and went searching for his favorite tree.
*
A short walk over velvet grass brought him to where he wanted to be. It almost seemed as though this particular tree had taken the place of his spirit guide. He still missed meditating but this tree had given him shelter and comfort more than once.
*
He sat down and leaned against the large trunk, feeling its silent support and sensed peace flowing outward surrounding him. Gratified, he let his remaining worries go.
*
Gazing off into the distance, he glimpsed the sudden sprouting of lube plants that Tom had once conjured up, along with the tell-tale fog bank that crept ever closer. Smiling, he expected Tom to arrive any second.
*

++++

*
Paris ignored all the disheveled crew members he encountered on the way to Chakotay's quarters. Once there, he rang the chime impatiently. He'd hoped that the Captain would have let Chakotay go by now.
*
There was no answer and disappointed at the lack of response, he cursed under his breath and stomped off toward his own cabin. Damn it all, he thought, when were things going to go right for him? Would they ever?
*
He entered his quarters and sat down heavily on the sofa. After removing his boots, he propped his feet on the coffee table. One hand lazily undid the fasteners of his uniform while the other covered his constantly yawning mouth. He eyed the doorway to his darkened bedroom and decided it looked pretty far away from his current comfortable seat.
*
Tom rested his head against the back of the couch and before he knew it, he fell fast asleep. He floated through various states of consciousness, arguing with himself over both minute and magnificent matters and, in the end, he decided that he was too tired to fight anymore. He gave himself over to another realm entirely.
*
In dreams, his wants and needs became more clearly focused. He knew now what he had to do.
*

++++

*
After what seemed liked forever, Chakotay finally saw Tom approach, exiting the fog bank with an unreadable expression. "Over here, Tom!" He rose and waved an arm trying to guide his lover to come to him.
*
It didn't work. Chakotay stood there under the gigantic leaves of his special tree and watched as Tom made a detour and checked out the lube plants with a sad look on his face.
*
Determined to find out what was going on, Chakotay strode over to where Tom was squatting and grabbed him. Pulling him up to his feet, he asked, "What's wrong? Where were you?"
*
Tom spun around in the older man's arms and replied flatly, "I went looking for you but I couldn't find you. Since you're here I have to assume that we're both asleep. The question in my mind is: where the hell is your body?"
*
Chakotay blinked and pulled Tom closer. His hands moved to encompass his lover and reassure him. Stroking and patting everything within reach, he smiled and kissed Tom. Then hugging him tightly, he admitted, "My body is sleeping in your bed. Where is your body and why isn't it next to mine?"
*
Tom backed out of Chakotay's embrace, determined to do the right thing, and said, "My body is sleeping on my sofa. And that's where it's going to stay until further notice."
*
Confused, Chakotay tried to take Tom into his arms again but was pushed away. Worry and fear clouded his features as he asked, "Why? Tom, please explain."
*
They stared at each other and Chakotay felt Tom's psychic armor settle into place as the environment around them changed, grew harder. He tried one last time to touch his lover, the man who had become so important to him, yet he knew he would fail. Tom's mind was made up and that was that.
*
He saw the plants and trees around them freeze as if they were put into stasis and he felt like his heart had been frozen as well when Tom spoke.
*
"Chakotay, I don't want to do this anymore." Tom began to pace back and forth and, as he did, he picked up his feet one by one and rubbed them as the ground grew harder. "I want to know what's going on between us. I need to know if it's real."
*
Two large leaves came floating down from his tree and Chakotay felt the air grow colder around him. He sat down again and pulled the leaves close to his body. "So do I," he said softly.
*
Tom didn't appear to be listening and kept pacing, back and forth. His voice became garbled and Chakotay could only make out a word or two. He watched as Tom's feet suddenly sported boots. Then, as Tom traversed their green place, moving ever so slowly away from him, he noticed the fog becoming thicker. The last he saw was Tom, in full uniform, being swallowed by the fog bank.
*
Chakotay leaned his head back against his tree and pulled the leaves up around him. Tom had chosen to leave him. He couldn't take it; he simply couldn't handle it, not now, not after everything they'd done together.
*
As he cried, it began to snow.
*

END OF PART 12

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In Dreams, Part 13