By Britta

I woke up with a double armful of Tom Paris. It never ceased to amaze me, though it had happened almost every morning for the last year. Spirits! A whole year of loving Tom. I never thought I'd be so happy for so long. I wondered if he'd realize that today was the anniversary of our first time together. I sighed then sensed the change in his breathing and watched as sleepy blue eyes opened for the first time today. A slow, ever-widening grin spread across his face.

"Morning, Cha," he whispered.

"Mmm, good morning, love. Sleep well?" I ran my fingers through his hair as he snuggled against me.

"Ooohhh, yeah, and I had great dreams, too." He rubbed his erection against my hip, "Know what I mean?"

I matched his sly grin with one of my own and leaned in for a kiss. He reached around and grabbed the back of my neck, holding me in place while our tongues greeted each other like old friends who hadn't been together in far too long.

Uh, oh. Tom was in 'slow mode'. This could take ages. Good thing we had the day off. I had the sneaking suspicion that we'd be in bed until lunchtime. He broke the kiss and started nibbling on my chin, then worked his way up to the spot under my ear. Oh, Spirits, I recognized this maneuver. He was going to torment me for hours! I moaned and slid my hands over his back, stroking softly, gently using my nails, trying to give as good as I got.

He acknowledged my move with a chuckle and countered it by sliding lower and biting me on the shoulder. This was new! Hmm, just as I thought I'd learned a particular pattern of lovemaking, he'd throw me a curve. Typical Paris action--be unpredictable. The thing is, I loved it and he knew it.

Slowly, he licked his way down my arm, stopping periodically to bestow bites, nibbles, and kisses until he reached my hand. Each finger was paid homage to with sucking that mirrored the technique he used on my cock. I was mesmerized. They say that the body remembers. It's true. I can attest to it. With his every motion, my cock grew harder and tingled with anticipation.

The nerve endings on my fingertips felt raw and exposed. The soft, slick, wetness of Tom's mouth was so incredible. He was so focused on his task that I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd tried to swallow a finger or two.

An eon later, he looked up into my eyes and reacted to my glazed-over expression by smiling smugly and turning his attention to my chest. Damn, he was good. He knew exactly what he was doing to me. He must spend hours just thinking of ways to keep me dancing on the edge.

"Cha?" the voice of practiced innocence inquired.

"Hmm?" I answered neutrally, even though I was shaking with arousal. It was all I could do to refrain from flipping him over and taking him fast and hard. Spirits, I prayed, please let me stay in control!

Letting go of my nipple again, he asked, "What do you want for breakfast?"


Patiently he repeated his question while I tried to make sense of his abrupt course change. I felt like I'd been thrown out of my bridge chair by one of his rougher evasion tactics.

He expanded his query by listing a huge choice of Terran-style breakfasts. I quit listening after he mentioned Eggs Benedict. I knew what he was up to. Trying to distract me with another of life's necessities, food. Hmm, it worked a little. I was still hot, but decided that two could play this game.

Putting on my most serious face, I looked at him and said, "I didn't realize you were hungry. How about we go to the mess hall and see what Neelix has left over?"

I pulled away and started to rise when his hand gripped my arm like a vise. I turned back to him and saw a frightened and desolate expression on his face. His knuckles were white, he held on to me so tightly. He rasped, "Chakotay, I was only kidding. Please don't go."

Thrown for a loop by his reaction to my teasing, I just stared and wondered what had happened. Slowly, I pried his fingers loose and took him into my arms. "I'm not going anywhere. I promise."

He shuddered and then relaxed in my embrace. My passion waned as my worry increased. I held him tight. "What's wrong, love? What brought this on?"

Tom looked at me and said, "Do you know what today is?"

I nodded. "Do you?"

He sighed and replied, "Yeah. It's been one year exactly since you first kissed me. How could I ever forget that?"

"Then what just happened? Why are you so upset?"

His eyes closed and he buried his face in between my neck and shoulder. I could barely hear the muffled words. "I thought maybe you'd finally had your fill. Had enough of me. Every day for that first week, I thought 'This is it, now he'll leave'. Then as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I thought the same thing, over and over. I never figured that we'd still be together after a whole year."

Stunned by his lack of faith in us, I took his face into my hands and kissed him. "Look under your pillow."

Puzzled, he lifted the pillow and saw what I had placed there last night before he came to bed. Wariness was replaced by awe when he saw the plain ring lying there. I picked it up and slid it onto his finger.

"Cha?" Confusion obviously reigned supreme.

"Tom, I love you. I know you love me. I've had this for months, but I wanted to wait until now to give it to you. I was wrong. I should've given it to you long before this."

"But what?"

"It's a commitment ring. Pure platinum. I want you to know that I will never leave you." I kissed his hand. "If you ever doubt me again, just feel the ring on your finger."

"Oh CHA! I love you." The tears fell in torrents. I held him and rocked him and still couldn't believe that I'd missed seeing his insecurities. The man in my arms was MINE. Now, I had to set out and prove it to him all over again.

The End