In Dreams, Conclusion


By Britta

*
Chakotay groaned as he heard a badge chirping away somewhere. He knew it couldn't be his; his badge was in his cabin. As he started to roll over, he suddenly realized what that meant. Opening his eyes, he removed the dead weight that was Tom from his chest.
*
The chirping continued yet Tom didn't move so much as an eyelash. Yawning, he crawled out of bed and followed the sound to its source. Tapping the badge, he said, "Chakotay here."
*
"Uh, Commander? I'm sorry to disturb to you but I was looking for Tom." Ensign Kim's voice sounded puzzled.
*
"He's sound asleep. Is there anything I can do for you?"
*
"Well, I've started to investigate the sensor logs from the time we all were, um, busy and I just wanted to know if Tom could have lunch with me. I have a couple of things I want to discuss with him."
*
"I'll ask him to comm you when he wakes up." Chakotay yawned again and stretched.
*
"Okay, that would be fine. Thanks, Commander. Kim out."
*
Ah youth, Chakotay thought. All that unflagging energy.... He shook his head and went into the bathroom. Staring into the mirror he glimpsed a tired but satisfied face. Grinning at the memory of what had occurred in the middle of the night, he peed then hopped into the shower.
*
As he cleaned himself, he wondered if Tom had any residual doubts about what he wanted for the future. Rinsing off, he decided that if Tom did, then he'd just have to show him how he felt, all over again.
*
Smiling at that concept, he dried off and returned to the bedroom to find his lover still fast asleep. He checked the time and thought that breakfast was definitely in order.
*
Then it dawned on him that he didn't have anything to wear. Well, his robe was still intact but the sash was useless. Hmm. What should he do? A gleam entered his eye as looked over the large lump in the bed and he thought perhaps Paris might be able to help. His lover was always full of ideas, wasn't he?
*
In fine fettle and enervated by the shower, Chakotay felt that he really shouldn't rummage around in Tom's closet without permission and besides, he had to tell Tom to comm Harry about lunch. So, the only choice was to wake Tom.
*
The question was, how?
*
He crept onto the bed and peeled away the covers from Tom's face. Then he increased the lights to full illumination and moved back to let them shine fully on Tom. The man just threw an arm over his face and blocked the light.
*
Hmm, that didn't work too well. Perhaps something more was needed. He pulled the covers off Tom completely and kneeling by his lover's side, watched as the younger man jerked and shivered, reaching out to find the blankets only to encounter a dick instead. He smiled as Tom's eyes opened and the hand resting on his cock retreated rapidly.
*
"Good morning." Chakotay leaned down to lay a kiss on Tom's mouth.
*
"Oh god. Don't tell me...you want my ass again, don't you?" Tom began wiggling away from Chakotay sluggishly, his eyes trying hard to stay in focus.
*
He reached out toward Tom intending to halt his progress but Tom took it the wrong way and inched himself off the edge of the bed and fell to the floor just as Chakotay said, "No. That's not what I meant at all."
*
Bleary blue eyes looked up at him accusingly. "Yeah, right."
*
Stifling his laughter, Chakotay reached over the edge of the bed and asked, "Need a hand?"
*
Tom just glared at him.
*
After a moment of silence, Chakotay retreated to the other side of the bed and remarked, "Harry wants to have lunch with you."
*
A blond head popped up and Tom inquired dryly, "And just how would you know that?"
*
Chakotay rolled onto his side and answered, "He commed you but you were asleep and didn't hear it. I answered and he told me."
*
Tom got up off the floor and sat down heavily on the bed. "Did he say anything else? Was he upset?" Tom rubbed his face with one hand while the other gravitated toward Chakotay's bare chest.
*
Chakotay frowned in concentration and replied, "He sounded fine, said he was looking into the sensor logs. Why? Are you worried about him?" He clasped Tom's hand and brought it up to his lips for a kiss.
*
Tom yawned and grinned. "I'm not, really. It's just that he and B'Elanna haven't decided what they're going to do."
*
"Oh."
*
"Yeah, 'Oh'." Tom leaned over and kissed him, then ran a hand over his nakedness. "You need something to wear, don't you?"
*
"Mm hmm. That's the second reason I woke you up." Chakotay smiled at his lover and felt a sensation that he hadn't felt before. He couldn't quite put his mental finger on what it was, but he knew he liked it.
*
Tom laughed and kissed him again. "Since my ass is safe, for the time being, I suppose I should dig out my oldest pair of sweats for you to wear." He stroked Chakotay's face gently and continued, "After all, I can't have you leaving my quarters wearing only a bathrobe...people might talk."
*
Chakotay smiled at Tom and took him into his arms. "You think so?" Tom just nodded and he sighed with happiness. He could care less about what the sensor logs had to tell them. All he wanted, he had, except for...breakfast.
*

++++

*
Tom chuckled as he ushered Chakotay toward the door. God, the man looked ridiculous in that outfit of mismatched sweats and barefoot as well. Still, it was better than what he'd arrived in.
*
A quick kiss and a pat on Chakotay's butt was all he could manage before the door closed and he yawned hugely. Fuck this shit, hungry or not, he was going back to bed.
*
He scooped up his badge as he hit the head and once his bladder was happy, he crawled into bed and commed Harry.
*
"Kim here."
*
"Hey Harry, I hear you want to have lunch with me."
*
"Yeah, I do. Are you free?"
*
"Yep. Unless I get called to go on duty early."
*
"Okay. Sounds good to me. Meet me in the mess hall at 1300?"
*
"You got it. Paris out." Tom tossed his badge aside and instructed the computer to wake him at noon. Then he called for lights out and snuggled under the blankets intent on getting some more sleep.
*
There was only one problem: his bed seemed too big and it felt empty without Chakotay in it. Snorting at his own sappiness, he rolled over and back trying to relax. As he stuffed his face into the pillow that Chakotay used, he encountered the shredded remains of the sash to his lover's robe and he smiled.
*
He stuffed the ragged pieces of cloth under his own pillow and closed his eyes. Feeling sleep creep over him slowly, he became aware that it seemed different than usual. He didn't know why it felt that way but he was happy with the change...for now.
*

++++

*
Chakotay hustled back to his quarters in record time and donned a uniform. His stomach was growling and he wanted to appease it as soon as possible.
*
Walking into the mess hall, he grabbed a tray and piled it high with the things he enjoyed most. Muffins and fruit accompanied his ubiquitous cup of tea as he turned and scanned the room. Seeing the Captain sitting by herself in a corner, he decided to join her.
*
Sliding his tray onto the table and noticing her lack of reaction, he sat down and asked, "Kathryn? Are you all right?"
*
Dull eyes slowly met his own. "I'm fine." Her voice had all the life of a computer's.
*
"Bull. What's wrong?" Chakotay felt his protective instincts rise and his adrenaline as well. If things were not right with the Captain, then things could get nasty aboard ship. "Tell me what happened."
*
She shrugged. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all." She raised her cup of coffee to her lips and set it down again.
*
"I don't believe you. Tell me the truth or I'll drag you to Sickbay and let the Doctor determine whether you're all right or not."
*
She gazed at him with glazed-over eyes and sighed. Lifting her cup again and this time actually taking a sip of the bitter brew, she said tonelessly, "Tuvok dissolved our link."
*
Shocked, Chakotay frowned and reached for her hand. "Why? I don't understand."
*
She grabbed onto him like a lifeline and said intently, "He said he didn't feel 'the pull' toward the planet anymore." Her eyes filled with tears and she struggled to keep her composure.
*
Pushing aside his breakfast, Chakotay rose and pulled Janeway away from the table. "Come with me." He noticed the shadows under her eyes and figured that Tuvok, in all his logic had chosen the worst of all possible times to lower the boom on the Captain. She was obviously exhausted.
*
"Where are we going?"
*
"To Sickbay."
*
"Why? What's wrong with you?" she asked, confused.
*
"Not a thing. Trust me." He smiled at her reassuringly and thought as soon as he got her under the Doctor's care, he would go and have a word with the Vulcan...right before he killed him for being the insensitive clod that he obviously was.
*

++++

*
Tom was awakened precisely at noon. He felt much better, although there was something nagging at his subconscious. Shrugging it off, he hit the shower and got dressed. His ass was a little sore after the action it had seen over the last day or so but he didn't care.
*
He headed off to the mess hall and wondered what was on Harry's mind. As he walked down the corridors and rode the turbolift, he was somewhat surprised by the behavior of the people around him. He saw everything from awkwardness to what could be described as normal, given the odd circumstances they had been under for the last couple of weeks.
*
Shaking his head at the weirdness of people in general, he entered the mess hall. He saw Harry and B'Elanna sitting together while he went to get some lunch. The various smells wafting through the air incited his taste buds to a near riot and he realized that he hadn't eaten in far too long.
*
Selecting a variety of things he knew he liked, he then took his nearly overloaded tray to Harry's table. Before he sat down, B'Elanna got up and left, barely acknowledging his presence.
*
Sliding onto a chair, Tom looked over at Harry and was disappointed to see an unhappy Ensign staring down at his nearly untouched meal. "Harry? Are you all right?"
*
"No."
*
"Why not?" Tom asked as he attacked his food.
*
Harry brushed a hand over his hair and looked into Tom's eyes squarely. "She dumped me."
*
"Wha?" Tom tried to speak around a mouthful of food.
*
"Tom, B'Elanna just right now told me that she didn't want to continue sleeping with me." Looking down at his plate again, he continued, "I really can't say I blame her."
*
Tom's eyebrows rose as he chewed hastily and swallowed. "Why not?" He took a long slug of water to clear his throat.
*
Harry sighed and began picking at his food. "She knew she wasn't my first choice." Harry picked up a piece of something and popped it into his mouth. "As a matter of fact, I feel relieved."
*
Tom patted his lips with his napkin, feeling as if he was in the twilight zone of another universe and inquired, "You do? Care to tell me why?" He tried to keep his voice light even though he couldn't help but frown.
*
"Well, since we crossed the threshold of the planet's influence, my true feelings have reasserted themselves. I'm not dying of horniness any longer," Harry explained matter-of-factly.
*
As his best friend went on to describe his renewed interest in Megan Delaney, Tom sat there in a state of shock. They weren't being affected by the mysterious planet anymore and yet he didn't feel any different. He still loved Chakotay.
*
Barely paying attention to Harry's speech about how he hoped to have a chance with Megan, now that the weirdness had worn off, Tom gobbled his food and tried to make sense of the fact that his feelings hadn't changed. As he ate, oblivious to Harry's exposition on who in the crew might or might not stay together, he had to wonder if Chakotay knew this had occurred.
*

It struck Tom then that the knowledge of that event in itself hadn't changed his feelings, but he didn't know *when* the threshold had been crossed. If it had happened while he'd been sleeping, then perhaps Chakotay had lost his love and his lustiness, too. He had to find out, he decided. Now.
*
Downing the remainder of his glass of water, he rose, intending to dump his tray and go find Chakotay. Before he could say anything to Harry, their badges chirped and they were summoned to the Ready Room.
*
Muttering under his breath, Tom glanced over at Harry and acknowledged that they were on their way. After this briefing was over, he vowed to himself to find out the truth about what Chakotay felt.
*

++++

*
The Commander watched as Janeway paced around the Ready Room. He could feel her tension tangibly. A somewhat chastened Tuvok sat nearby and remained silent. They were all on edge.
*
He was scared. He had found out that they were on their own again, at least emotionally, but he didn't know how the crew was handling it. Who would stay together? Would anyone? Would he and Tom?
*
Knowing how he felt didn't do much good. He'd watched the Captain fall apart briefly and figured if she and Tuvok couldn't make a go of it, then who could?
*
The doors swished open and Seven of Nine entered the room. She stopped abruptly just inside the door and asked, "Permission for Mr. Chell to accompany me?"
*
Janeway stopped pacing only long enough to reply, "Granted."
*
Chell hustled inside and sat down next to Seven. They both waited tensely for the rest of the senior staff to arrive.
*
Chakotay folded his hands together and sent up a silent prayer that this would be over soon and he would get the chance to speak to Tom alone. No matter what happened, he wanted to see if they could salvage something.
*
The door opened again and the Doctor and B'Elanna strode inside. They took their places, both of them looking around curiously.
*
Tension tightened the air around them all, each person feeling it for a different reason. The door opened again and Tom, Harry and Neelix came inside and took their places.
*
Tom sat down next to Chakotay but did not lean toward him as he had in the recent past. Chakotay felt his heart skip a beat and refused to look at Tom, afraid of what he might see. Was there anything left between them? Anything at all?
*
The Captain cleared her throat and he steeled himself for whatever would come. She rose and gestured toward Harry. "Ensign Kim, please tell us what you were able to discover from the sensor logs."
*
Harry rose and looked around, seemingly unaffected by the undercurrents surrounding him. Chakotay chanced a glance at Tom only to find him rapt in what Harry was saying.
*
"...and there was a second set of readings, sort of like an echo that showed up on the logs. It appears that what we saw at first was all false."
*
Chakotay listened to the words and wondered if they were true for all beings, especially those in this room. He shut his eyes and hoped for the best.
*
Janeway inquired, "False? What do you mean?"
*
Harry sighed. "It seems that there was no beautiful planet, ripe for the picking. It was all an illusion. Once we got close enough, our sensors punched through and picked up a dead place. A planet full of debris, most of which registered as the remains of starships very much like our own."
*
"My god." Janeway sat down and looked around the room. "Then what was the purpose of the illusion?"
*
Chakotay watched the expressions reflected on everyone's faces and blurted out, "Flypaper."
*
The Captain turned to him and said, "Please elaborate. I want to know exactly what you mean by that."
*
He just shook his head wearily and closed his eyes again. He didn't see Tuvok rise to the occasion but heard him say, "I believe I understand the reference."
*
"Explain," Janeway snapped.
*
"It is an ancient device for capturing winged pests. Something sweet to lure them in and once they land, they can never get free again. It is a trap. A deadly and very effective, if barbaric, trap."
*
"I see."
*
At the change in her tone of voice, Chakotay opened his eyes and saw the people around him accept the hypothesis. He sat up straighter in his chair and said, "We may never know for sure who was behind it but I recommend that we steer clear of anything even remotely like this phenomenon should we ever encounter it again. I wouldn't want to meet up with the people who designed this trap."
*
Janeway sighed and replied thoughtfully, "I agree. The level of sophistication is impressive. I'm gratified that our emergency plan worked as well as it did. Doctor, Commander Chakotay, thank you both for your quick thinking."
*
The Doctor nodded at her and she stated, "If you hadn't released the gas when you did and if Chakotay hadn't engaged the auto-pilot a few moments before, Voyager might be part of that debris field now." She looked around at the assembled members of her senior staff and said quietly, "Dismissed."
*
As they rose from their chairs, Janeway motioned for him to stay behind. He glanced over his shoulder as he saw Tom walk out of the room. Damn it all. What did she want now? He needed to talk to Tom, to find out how he felt.
*
Distracted, he missed some of what Janeway was saying, "...thank you for covering for me earlier. Tuvok and I discussed things and I understand why he did what he did. I'm all right now and things are back to normal for everyone--" She stopped speaking and looked him over then sighed and grinned wryly, "--except for you it seems. Go and talk to Tom, Chakotay. You are both off duty until further notice."
*
Coming back to the here and now, he nodded at her, and encompassing everything she'd just said, he replied, "Thank you and you're welcome. I'll check in with you when I know what's going on." With that, he left quickly, hoping to catch up with Tom.
*

++++

*
Standing just outside the Ready Room doors, Tom paced while he waited for Chakotay to come out. Harry and the rest of the senior staff had gone back to their business without so much as a ripple in their concentration.
*
He was happy to see Seven and Chell still together, although he wondered what would happen to Neelix if the Delaney twins decided to take a powder. Maybe then Harry would get a chance to be with Megan after all.
*
Biting his lip, Tom paced some more and mentally dared Tuvok to order him off the bridge. He wasn't on duty and wouldn't be until later but he was damned if he'd miss this opportunity to speak to Chakotay. This was more important than anything right now and he'd stay right where he was until the love of his life showed up again.
*
Suddenly the door opened and Chakotay came racing out, almost missing Tom as he sped past him. Tom shot an arm out and grabbed wildly. "Hey, slow down." Catching Chakotay's hand in his own, he spun the older man around and said, "I'm right here and I want to talk to you."
*
Chakotay was pulled to a halt and turned. "I want to talk to you, too. But not here."
*
Tom saw the quick glance Chakotay aimed at Tuvok and replied, "I agree. Here is not a good idea. Let's go to the mess hall."
*

++++

*
Chakotay's eyes widened and his stomach growled loudly. "All right. Let's go. Now."
*
As they stepped into the turbolift, Tom inquired, "When was the last time you ate? I thought for sure when you left me this morning that you were going to get breakfast."
*
Embarrassed, Chakotay replied, "I did go for breakfast but I didn't get the chance to eat."
*
Frowning, Tom asked, "Why not?"
*
Sighing, he replied, "Because I ran into the Captain and she wasn't in the best of shape."
*
"Oh?"
*
"Tuvok had severed their link and she was trying to deal with it on top of being exhausted," he explained.
*
"I see. Well, we need to get some food into you and then we can talk." Tom brought up a hand and stroked Chakotay's face.
*
Chakotay shrugged and said, "That sounds like a plan."
*
They went to the mess hall where Tom promised there were good left-overs to be found. He also told Chakotay about Harry and B'Elanna.
*
Chakotay finished his meal and sat back, his stomach pacified. "I'm sorry to hear that they won't be staying together. Harry seemed good for her."
*
Tom looked around at the empty room and said, "Well, actually he has his eye on Megan Delaney."
*
"Really?" Chakotay leaned forward, willing to put off their conversation for as long as possible. The doors opened and Neelix walked in followed closely by both Jenny and Megan. He tilted his head in the direction of the kitchen and Tom's gaze shifted.
*
Chakotay thought, as Tom turned to watch the trio's antics, that it was a good sign that some others had decided to stay together. He sipped his water and glanced at Tom. He felt a huge wave of sensation pass over him when the younger man turned back and smiled.
*
"I guess poor Harry is shit of out luck, this time," Tom smirked.
*
Chakotay noted the three people behind the kitchen counter and saw their loving, comfortable interaction as they began preparing the evening meal for the crew. "I guess so."
*
He drank the last of his water and sighed. Setting down the glass, he opened his heart and stated quietly, "I still love you." He waited then, filled with fear, for Tom's reaction.
*
Tom whipped his head around so fast, it made his eyes spin. "You do? Really?" At Chakotay's nod, Tom clambered over the top of the table, sending the tray and utensils flying. Flinging everything out of the way noisily, he aimed himself toward Chakotay's lap.
*
"Hey! You guys! Stop that!" Megan's high voice rang out from a few meters away.
*
Chakotay was barely aware of the fact that Jenny came stomping over to them shouting, "We have to eat in here, you know? Go home!"
*
Tom had latched onto his lips and the momentum of his slide across the table eventually tipped the chair over, sending them both crashing onto the floor. They were lucky they didn't break any teeth on impact.
*
Having very little breath left in him, he could barely speak when Neelix approached, and with much respect, begged, "Please, sirs, we are all very happy for you both, but can you leave now so we can get dinner ready?"
*
Pulling Tom off of him, Chakotay rolled over and, panting, smiled widely. "Of course, Neelix. We'll get out of your way."
*
Tom rose to his feet in an instant and hauled Chakotay into his arms. "You meant what you said, didn't you?"
*
Before he could answer, the Delaney twins descended upon them, pushing them toward the door and saying, "Yes, he meant it! Now go away!"
*
Chakotay felt himself propelled out into the corridor and pushed up against the nearest wall. Tom's blazing blue eyes bored into his own and a voice, roughened with passion, demanded, "Are they right? Did you mean what you said?"
*
His mind still whirling, it was all he could do to answer coherently. "Yes, Tom. I meant it." Taking in a deep breath, he then asked, "How could they have heard me?"
*
Tom chuckled and kissed him. "They have great ears. How else could they be the premier gossips aboard ship?"
*
Chakotay just shook his head and grasped Tom with his hands, holding him at arms' length. "So what about you? How do you feel?"
*
Tom stared back and his expression changed. A serious look replaced the one of levity and he said, "I can't imagine being without you now. I love you and I want more than anything to keep you."
*
Letting out his breath in vast relief, Chakotay hugged Tom tightly and said, "Good. I want to keep you, too." He pulled Tom down for a kiss which rapidly spun out of control.
*
Many minutes passed and the doors opened again. Hearing the whispers of passing crew members, Chakotay remembered just who he was and what position he held.
*
Smiling, he pulled his lips away from Tom's and murmured, "Let's go home now. I think we deserve a little privacy."
*
Tom hummed a yes and gave the dinner crowd a true Paris glare which shut them up quickly.
*
On the way back to their quarters, they encountered Seven and Chell. All four of them stopped, and smiling and nodding, wished each other well.
*
As they parted, Chakotay turned to Tom and asked, "Your place or mine?"
*
Tom burst out laughing with the memory of the last time Chakotay had asked that question, then said softly, "I have something of yours under my pillow."
*
"Oh? Is it anything interesting?" He wondered what Tom was referring to but refused to admit how curious he was.
*
"Hmm. It might be. It was once. Maybe it will be again."
*
Seeing Tom's playful expression sent his mind into overdrive. He thought of leaves and lube plants, soft grasses and snow. He stopped their progress and kissed Tom gently.
*
"Is it green?"
*
Tom just smiled and kissed him back. "You'll just have to wait and see."
*
Chakotay looked around and then goosed Tom. At his lover's shocked face, he chuckled and promised himself that their reality would always be better than their dreams.
*

THE END