In Dreams, Part 3


By Britta

*
Tom spent the afternoon in Sickbay. At first, he submitted to a complete scan then underwent an embarrassing, yet thorough interview. He had to tell the Doctor everything about his recent dreams, his thoughts, his sex life or rather, the lack of same.
*
After baring his soul, he was curtly informed that he would be working all his shifts assisting the Doctor in Sickbay until further notice.
*
Hearing this being reported to the Captain, all Tom thought was that it sucked. No more flying. When he heard who would be replacing him at the helm, he couldn't keep his mouth shut. "Why her?"
*
The Doctor stared at Paris like he was a lab specimen, which he was, though unaware of that fact, and replied, "Because she's married."
*
"What? That doesn't make any sense at all." Tom was angry and confused.
*
"It does if you realize that her wife is aboard this ship. They are a very stable couple and that's all you need to know right now." The Doctor moved away and motioned Tom to follow.
*
Tom was seated at a terminal and handed a huge stack of padds. He frowned at the Doctor. "What am I supposed to do with these?"
*
The Doctor quirked an eyebrow and replied, "Upload all the data into the main medical computer so that I can access it directly."
*
Tom stared at him incredulously. Anyone with half a brain could do this job. Why did it have to be him? As he was on the verge of asking, the Doctor slapped a medical wrist monitor on his arm and stated, "You must wear this until I say otherwise. Do not argue with me or I will have you sent to the brig or confined to your quarters."
*
Shocked, Tom just nodded. Wow. Whatever was going on must be very interesting. If the Doc was going to treat him like this, he wanted to know why. But, the threat of the brig pissed him off and he decided that if the Doctor wanted to play it this way, he could expect a little silent retaliation.
*
"Yes, sir." Tom began setting the padds into neat piles and waited until the Doctor was satisfied with his seeming compliance. Then he prepared to upload the first padd, taking the time to make sure he could read it while he did so.
*
Most of the padds contained information he wasn't terribly interested in but some of them were real doozies. He saw one where someone had admitted to hallucinating about him. Too bad there weren't any details. He wished he knew who it was. He could only hope it was someone with a lot of curves in the right places.
*
Damn the Doctor for encoding every member of the crew with an arbitrary numerical designation. It made his speed reading next to useless as he couldn't tell who was kinkier than he was.
*
Still, he had to wonder why he'd been pulled from bridge duty and stuck with this stupid monitor on his arm. What the hell did he tell the Doc that made him such a high risk?
*
Could it be the dreams about the Commander? They weren't such a big deal, were they? Everyone had dreams about other beings every now and then. Why should his be any different?
*
Skimming the padds' contents, he noticed lots of people having dreams about others. He swore he could pick out Harry's report simply by the number of wet dreams person 92 admitted to having about Megan Delaney.
*
He snorted and continued his task, impatiently waiting for his shift to end.
*

++++

*
Chakotay readied himself to go to the mess hall for dinner. He'd spent the remainder of the afternoon rearranging schedules per the Doctor's orders and now he had to go out in public once again. It wouldn't be so bad if he felt he could trust himself not to see things that weren't there but he couldn't.
*
He was beginning to doubt his ability to see people as they should be. It appeared he had no problem with inanimate objects; they behaved as he expected them to. It was only people...all right, one person, who was acting differently.
*
He pulled the cuff of his uniform jacket down around the wrist monitor, hoping to keep it well hidden and stepped out the door.
*
Entering the mess hall somewhat cautiously, he peered around the room and was glad to see it sparsely filled. Tom was not present and for that he was grateful. Choosing something to eat, he loaded his tray and went to the table farthest away from everyone and everything.
*
Sitting with his back to the wall and his left hand in his lap, hiding the monitor beneath the table, he ate and watched the activity in the mess hall.
*
Janeway and Tuvok arrived together, retrieved their meals and sat at a table for two in another far-off corner. They appeared to be just fine and he wondered again how many people were affected by this thing, whatever it was.
*
He chewed and swallowed automatically, not tasting what he ingested. All the people he saw come and go seemed like their usual selves. No one was naked, no one approached him and nothing unusual occurred until Paris entered the room.
*
Ensign Kim followed him closely and Chakotay could swear that Tom was wearing only his underwear. Harry blocked his view so he couldn't be certain but he suspected that his hallucinations had kicked in again.
*
Shaking his head, he finished the last few bites of his dinner and bolted. He did not want to face this, not here, not in front of all these people.
*

++++

*
As Tom ate, he listened with half an ear to Harry drone on about the possible activities the Delaneys might be interested in.
*
Eyeing Tom closely, he said, "You haven't heard a word I've said, have you?"
*
"Hmm? What was that? I'm sorry, my mind was wandering." He shot Harry an apologetic glance.
*
"I'll say it was. Who are you looking for anyway?"
*
Tom forcibly focused his attention on Harry. "What do you mean?"
*
Harry sighed. "You've been scanning the room since we got here and you keep staring at the doors like you're waiting for someone."
*
"Actually, I was wondering about Chakotay. He left the bridge this morning and I haven't seen him since."
*
"Well, he was just here. He left in a hurry while we were getting our food."
*
"Oh." Tom felt oddly disappointed. He was also a bit concerned.
*
Harry asked pointedly, "Why are you so interested in the Commander?"
*
Defensively, Tom answered, "I'm not. It was only idle curiosity." He definitely did not want to tell Harry about his dreams.
*
"Okay, whatever you say." Clearly Harry didn't believe him but was willing to drop the subject.
*
Tom smiled at his friend. "Now what were you saying about Megan again?"
*
With that opening, Harry was off and running.
*

++++

*
Chakotay intended to spend the evening hiding out in his quarters.
*
That was not to be, however, as the door chimed before he could get his boots off. He called out, "Come," half-expecting it to be Paris but the Captain entered instead.
*
"Good evening. Is there something I can do for you?" he asked, trying to regain his composure through formality.
*
She looked him up and down. "I came to see how you were. You left the mess hall so quickly, I was afraid something was wrong."
*
He sighed and offered her a seat on the sofa. Pulling up a chair, he sat down and said, "I thought I might be starting to hallucinate again."
*
"I see. How bad is it?"
*
"It's hard to say. I don't have any experience to measure it against. It's unnerving. With a few exceptions, everything seems normal." He paused and stood up to pace. "So far, all my experiences have been centered around one individual."
*
Janeway nodded. "That's what the Doctor told me. What bothers you most? Is it the experiences themselves or the person involved?"
*
He looked at the wall. "I don't know."
*
"Who is it, Chakotay?"
*
He turned and stared at her. "Tom Paris."
*
Her eyes widened. "Oh my. That must have shocked you at first. What does he do?"
*
The Commander frowned. "Let's just say he acts out of character and leave it at that."
*
"All right." She rose and faced him. "Let's go see if the Doctor has made any progress."
*
He nodded and followed her out the door.
*

++++

*
The Doctor appeared unsurprised to see them. "I thought you would be interested in my latest findings." He ushered them into his office.
*
"We are. What have you discovered?" inquired the Captain.
*
"Not enough to remedy the situation but there are some fascinating trends." He warmed to his subject and continued, "First off, let me say that the entire crew is affected, with the exception of myself, of course."
*
Janeway held up a hand to halt him. "Before you get into the details, I'd like to have Tuvok join us."
*
"By all means."
*
As she commed Tuvok, Chakotay watched the Doctor check on something in the other room.
*
Tom poked his head through the doorway and said, "Hi. Got a minute?" He beckoned to Chakotay.
*
The Commander nodded and moved away from the Captain so they wouldn't disturb her brief conversation. "What is it?"
*
Tom leaned in closely and said softly, "Are you all right? I haven't seen you all day. I was getting worried."
*
Chakotay was surprised and became even more so when Tom clasped his hand. "I'm fine. I had a few things to attend to." He wondered where all this concern was coming from. It was unlike the pilot to--then it dawned on him that this wasn't real.
*
Tom raised his other hand and caressed his face. "Don't be mad at me." Then he walked away and as Chakotay blinked, he disappeared.
*
Shaken, Chakotay returned to his chair only to find the Doctor and the Captain staring at him intently.
*
"It happened again."
*
"We noticed," the Captain said dryly.
*
"Tell me exactly what occurred during your solitary conversation, Commander."
*
The Doctor hovered over him while he explained. He finished just as Tuvok entered the room.
*
Janeway said, "Computer, what is the location of Lieutenant Paris?"
*
"Lieutenant Paris is in the mess hall."
*
Chakotay stared at his hands and wondered if this was what it felt like to go insane. He tuned out the conversation around him and thought back longingly to the days when peace was only a meditation session away.
*

++++

*
Tom left the mess hall thinking ruefully that his plans for the evening were shot to hell. The one night in over a week that Harry decides not to go off chasing after Megan and he gets summoned to Sickbay.
*
Cursing his luck, he arrived and headed for the Doctor's office. "You wanted to see me?"
*
"Yes. Please join us," the Captain said, indicating the chair next to her.
*
He moved to sit between her and the XO when Chakotay jumped to his feet and backed away from him, a wary expression on his face.
*
Tom stopped instantly and stood still, confused. He noticed the monitor on the man's wrist and looked at the Doctor for instructions. Something really weird was happening here. He could feel it.
*
"Commander, you may relax. He's real." The Doctor then gestured for Tom to sit down.
*
Chakotay waited until Tom was seated, then resumed his own place.
*
Janeway and Tuvok watched curiously as Chakotay cautiously reached out and poked at Tom's arm as if he were testing the man's solidity.
*

Tom had no idea what was going on but sensed he'd better let the Commander do what he wanted. The guy looked awful. He sat there, perplexed, while his CO patted his arm and finally squeezed his hand briefly.
*
Letting out a huge sigh, Chakotay looked him in the eye and said, "I'm not angry with you." He then sat back in his chair and waited for the Doctor to explain things.
*
Although he didn't understand anything that had just happened, Tom felt a sense of relief at Chakotay's words. He nodded but remained silent. Still, he left his hand within easy reach of the Commander's.
*
The Doctor began again, from the beginning. He first listed all his methods until the Captain interrupted, "I'm sure your research protocols were flawless. However, you said the entire crew is affected. Can you explain that in more detail?"
*
"I was just getting to that," he snapped. "Yes. The crew is affected, regardless of species, age or gender. It is a matter of degree only. The symptoms range from mild distraction and mood swings to deep depression and even total apathy. Dream activity is up across the board.
*
"These are only my initial results. There are several other, secondary symptoms as well. These include obsessive thought patterns, an increased libido in some people, heightened sexual awareness, the sudden desire to have children and a whole host of other things. There are some subgroups of people who have had similar reactions to whatever this is but the evidence does not shed much light on the problem.
*
"All I have been able to ascertain at this time is that certain people are faring better than others." He stopping speaking and began pacing behind his desk.
*
Tom saw Janeway frown and look at Tuvok with some undefinable emotion reflected in her eyes. He asked, "You said some people were better off than others. Are there some who are at higher risk? Is that why you took me off bridge duty?"
*
The Doctor stopped his pacing and replied, "Yes, to both questions. It appears that those who have established pair-bonds or close, stable relationships with others are the least affected. Those individuals who are single and/or feel lonely have the most pronounced, yet diverse symptoms. The couples and multiples I have interviewed experience almost no difficulties at all, unless you count shared dreams and the urge to reproduce as problems."
*
The Captain cleared her throat and inquired, "How many of the crew are suffering from the most extreme symptoms?"
*
"Very few, although their symptoms are unusual." The Doctor sat down at his desk and handed her a padd.
*
She perused it with great concern. It appeared that Chakotay, Tom, Seven and Chell were encountering more severe problems than everyone else.
*
Sighing, she handed it back but before the Doctor could take it, Tom snatched it out of her hand and looked briefly at the list of names.
*
He set the padd on the desk and closed his eyes. Why would Chakotay be topping the list? He recalled the crew profiles he'd uploaded and thought back to what the Doctor had said when he'd first entered the office. Gods. It must be Chakotay who was hallucinating about him.
*
That would explain a lot. Plus the shared dreams the Doc had talked about. No wonder he'd been pulled off the bridge.
*
Janeway broke into his thoughts by saying, "Doctor, do you have any recommendations?"
*
"Yes, I do. One in particular. It won't solve the problem but perhaps it can mitigate it a little. I am especially concerned for those on this list."
*
She nodded and asked, "What do you suggest for those on the list and the rest of the crew?"
*
He looked at her, ignoring the silent Commander and the somewhat bewildered pilot then responded matter of factly, "I'd like to institute the buddy system."
*
Tom spoke up, "Why? What good would that do?"
*
"It seems you weren't paying attention earlier, Lieutenant. I explained that people who felt isolated suffered the most. I believe this course of action can only help matters. Companionship can be very powerful."
*
"Just how do you plan on implementing this, Doctor?" Janeway inquired.
*
The Doctor replied evenly, "If no one here objects, I will explain the situation to the crew and let them decide for themselves who they'd like to spend their time with."
*
"What about the people on the list?" Tom asked.
*
"I will meet with Seven and Chell personally and see what I can do. As for you and the Commander, I strongly recommend, due to the nature of his symptoms and yours, that you spend as much time as possible together. In fact, if we continue on our present course and the symptoms intensify, I may have to make it an order."
*
Tom looked at his CO and drawled, "Well, Commander, it looks like you've got yourself a buddy. I guess I'll have to take you home and tuck you in for the night."
*
Chakotay rose to his feet and looked around, his eyes lighting on every person in turn. "I don't need a baby-sitter. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself." With that, he turned on his heel and strode out the door.
*
Ignoring the protests he heard behind him, he kept on walking.
*
Tom looked after him with grudging admiration and half a smile on his face.
*

++++

*
Chakotay walked and tried not to think. Just keep walking, he told himself. Without intending to, he wound up on holodeck One. He was in luck and it was not in use. He called up a favorite hiking program and lost himself in the great outdoors.
*
What better place to go than one that was all illusion anyway?
*
He kept to the easier trails, not wearing the correct footwear for a really arduous hike and set his mind free. He just didn't feel up to trying to control his thoughts any longer.
*
Hill after hill he traversed, letting the artificial breeze carry away his troubles.
*
As he strolled along, his thoughts organized themselves into a series of associations which led him to a variety of conclusions.
*
Now that he was calmer, he acknowledged that what was happening to him was being caused by an external agency. Furthermore, his fighting it was only making matters worse.
*
He realized that he needed to emulate the proverbial reed in the water and become more flexible so that he would bend and not break.
*
Stopping at the top of a gentle rise, he looked over the vista spread before him. It was all green, differing shades of the color washed over the landscape below and reminded him of that strange place he'd visited during his last attempt at meditation.
*
He decided to trust in his faith and hope for the best. Either there was a reason for everything or there wasn't. If so, then everything mattered. If not, then nothing made any difference at all.
*
Sighing with both dread and anticipation, he called out, "End program."
*
He then steeled himself to spend the night with Tom Paris. He knew he couldn't avoid it; the Doctor would make sure of that one way or another.
*

++++

*
Tom sat outside the doors to holodeck One and waited. If Chakotay stayed inside another ten minutes, he was going in after him.
*
He'd been told in no uncertain terms to be the Commander's buddy and a buddy he would be.
*
Like it or not, neither one of them had much choice in the matter. The Doctor had made that crystal clear after Chakotay had walked out on all of them and the Captain had concurred.
*
She was worried, he could tell, yet all that did was rouse his jealousy. He didn't understand why that was but accepted it along with everything else out of the ordinary that he'd felt lately.
*
Professionally, he thought this took nursing duty a little too far. But, if he was honest with himself, he did want to spend time with his dream lover.
*
Fuck. That image would not leave him alone. He felt drawn to the dark-haired, dark-eyed man and could not deny it.
*
As he sat there on the floor, he thought about it: he wanted to be with Chakotay, in more ways than one. He wanted to call him by name and even though he realized his urges were being caused by the great unknown weirdness out there, he didn't care.
*
He was determined to see this through, get over it and eventually move on. This was just another bizarre occurrence in the Delta Quadrant. He could handle this. Hell, he might even enjoy it a little.
*

++++

*
Chakotay exited the holodeck and found Tom sitting against the wall of the corridor. He stood there and gazed down at the pilot for a moment.
*
Extending his hand to help Tom to his feet, Chakotay said, "Let's go. It's time for bed."
*
Tom stood there, frowning and staring. He held the Commander's hand and squeezed hard. "You know I'm real, don't you?"
*
Chakotay quirked a corner of his mouth upward. "Yes. I know you're real."
*
"How?"
*
A large, brown hand pulled the cuff of Tom's sleeve back to expose the wrist monitor in all its glory. "That's how. You never wore one of these before."
*
With his free hand, Tom rubbed his face. "So now what?"
*
Chakotay tried to grin and said, "I never imagined asking you this, but, your place or mine?"
*
Tom shook his head and laughed softly. "Yours. I need to stop by my cabin and pick up some stuff for tomorrow though. Do you mind?"
*
"No." He waited a moment to see if Tom would release his hand and when he didn't, he shrugged and let it be. It appeared that while he had a predilection for seeing Paris naked, Tom had a propensity for holding his hand.
*
They stopped by Tom's quarters and retrieved what was needed then went to Chakotay's cabin.
*
Once there, they got ready for bed without any discussion at all. It seemed as though they both knew no one would be sleeping on the sofa all alone.
*
Chakotay lay in bed and waited for Tom to finish up in the bathroom. He wondered what, if anything, would occur next. He felt sure something would happen tonight but he didn't know whether or not he should allow himself to give into it.
*
He turned onto his side and thought, let Paris do what he was supposed to, no more and no less. He closed his eyes, felt the man climb into bed next to him and heard him call for lights out.
*
They lay butt-to-butt, curled on their sides in the darkness, while waiting for sleep to rescue them from the rough reality they faced.
*

++++

*
Tom felt particularly weird. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He had hoped for a replay of his dreams. He scrunched up into a tighter ball, trying not to bump against Chakotay's rear end.
*
He felt like an interloper, like he was in the wrong place. He knew it could be better somehow. He shut his eyes and remembered every detail of how he'd been held in his dreams. This was backwards.
*
A few minutes later, he rose decisively and walked around to the other side of the Commander's bed. Slipping under the covers, he said, "Move over."
*
Chakotay complied, they both relaxed, and finally slept.
*

++++

*
He was surrounded by green again. The trees and the mossy places came back to haunt him.
*
Chakotay found himself lying on one of the soft, grassy expanses that had first shown up when he was in an altered state of consciousness.
*
But this time things were different. He realized then that his journey with Tom Paris had just begun.
*
He had arrived first and recognized the place as their own. Now he waited patiently for Tom to come to him.
*
The sunshine was mellower than before and the trees had much bigger leaves. He wondered why but was too busy looking into the fog bank that appeared to his left.
*
Tom walked out of the fog and stood over him, naked and aroused.
*
He patted the grass next to him and Tom lowered himself to lie by his side.
*
They stared at each other for a long time.
*
"Is this real?"
*
Chakotay shook his head. "Not in the sense you mean."
*
"Can we do it anyway?"
*
"Do what?"
*
"Make love."
*
Chakotay blinked, swallowed and replied, "I think we can do anything we like while we're here."
*
"You think so, huh?" Tom moved over to lie on top of Chakotay and rubbed his body against the older man's. "What would *you* like to do?"
*
Chakotay took a deep breath and whispered, "I want to suck you. I want to taste all of you, feel you shake in my arms and hear you scream your pleasure."
*
He looked as intense as he always had and Tom responded by kissing him deeply then rolling over onto his back, grinning wolfishly and saying huskily, "Do it. I dare you. If you can make me scream, I'm yours."
*
Chakotay moved to lie between Tom's legs and began the long, slow process of taking Paris to the extreme edge of sensation. He used his hands, lips, teeth, tongue and breath to drive the pilot wild.
*
He licked and sucked and stroked his way up and down the pale body, indulging himself in a feast of oral gratification. At no time was his mouth idle. He sampled the various flavors and textures of Tom's skin. Neck, nipples, navel and nuts, all were savored and enjoyed thoroughly.
*
He kissed Tom again and again, while the rest of him rubbed and probed. When Tom began whimpering and thrashing beneath his touch, he moved down and took the hot, throbbing erection into his mouth.
*
At the first long, hard suck, Tom screamed.
*

END OF PART THREE

TO GO TO THE NEXT PART, CLICK BELOW:

In Dreams, Part 4