Long Shuttle Trip, Day 8


SECOND FINGER IN THE DYKE

By Tommyhawk1@AOL.COM
Artwork (c) 2002 by Eduardo. All Rights Reserved.
This original is for sale; make offer. Send E-mail for details/price.

Illustration of The Long Shuttle Trip, #8

DAY EIGHT
.
Paris awoke just before the alarm was to go off. He was wrapped up tightly in Chakotay. From the way his body felt, Chakotay had spent the entire night wrapped around him. Paris sighed silently to himself and looked at the face, soft and vulnerable in sleep. Please, tell me I misread you last night, he prayed. Tell me that you haven't fallen for a hero instead of a human being!

Chakotay sighed, snuggled up against him, and Paris felt his erection pressed against his thigh. A dream, or just the body's juices reacting to the feel of a warm body to press against?

I did it once, Chakotay, Paris thought to himself. I was lonesome and afraid, and she was strong and nurturing. I tried to move in on her and I made her miserable. Then, when she finally got tired of it, I got so mad I never spoke to her again. Please don't do that to me!

Chakotay moved again, and his head, underneath Paris' arm, came to rest on Paris' breast, his lips nearly brushing the nipple. Paris didn't think anything about it, his mind busy, when suddenly warm moisture lapped the nipple's central button. Paris started and looked down to see Chakotay's tongue darting out like a snakes, the tip circling and stroking his nipple.

Don't love a hero! Love me! Me!

Chakotay moved and his cock began to hunch against Paris' leg. Chakotay's hands moved over his body in the now-expert fashion he had formed the day before. Every touch was pleasure, every caress inflamed Paris' senses. He was falling into an abyss and enjoying the ride! Well, after all, his unconscious smirked at him, the hero does get the standard reward from the grateful maiden fair. Shut up his conscious mind told his unconscious. But it was a losing battle. Time to end the introspection.

"Morning." he said to Chakotay.

"Good morning." Chakotay said. And his fingers touched that special spot on his ribs, and began a circular stroking motion, and Paris hissed.

"That reminds me." He said. "I owe you the same sort of treatment." The alarm picked that moment to go off and Paris snarled, "Computer, shut up!" Fortunately the programmers had expected this sort of comment from rudely awakened individuals, the only result was to shut off the alarm.

"You'll have to wait until after we check in with the Captain, darling." Chakotay said. "Then I'm all yours."

Darling? Darling??? Ayiyiyiyi! No! Doesn't mean anything. I called him darling yesterday. I think. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've been calling him that. He just picked it up from me. "Uh, who gets the shower first?"

"You can have it. I don't know quite how to tell you this, but you don't smell too good this morning." Chakotay took the bite off the comment with a kiss on his cheek. "Maybe the circulatory system on your suit needs to be checked over."

"Maybe." Paris said, very relieved. Blind love doesn't mention your body odor! "Okay, I'll do the old shake, rattle and roll and you figure out what we can eat today which won't leave us regretting it later on."

Even with the replicator rations now available, Neelix's cooking was inevitable for over half the time, and his breakfasts had the dubious honor of being the least obnoxious meal of the day. Paris heated the boiled and mashed roots that Neelix insisted was meant to be an oatmeal substitute, but resembled in taste and texture more yellowish-orange mashed potatoes. Paris felt almost normal again by the end of that meal.

"Well, time for us to check in with the Captain, I guess." Chakotay said as they finished.

"I'll get the dishes." Paris said. "You finish dressing."

"Waste of time, isn't it?" Chakotay said. He was wearing only his pants.

"Gives me something to take off of you." Paris smiled. "Slowly and erotically."

Paris was stacking the dishes in the washer and Chakotay was fastening his jacket when the call came in. Just a signal and Paris said, "Computer, call on screen."

Janeway's face mugged the screen, and Paris felt blithely superior that she saw nothing important or licentious going on at the moment. "Good morning, Captain." he said.

"Good morning, Lieutenant." Janeway said. "Hope I'm not interrupting anything."

"No, nothing at all." Paris said smugly. "What's the plan for today?"

"Voyager is now en route to join you." Janeway said. "We'll be there in three days' time. B'Elanna feels we can coax the engines up to Warp Eight for that long, anyway."

"I see." Paris said. Their little vacation had suddenly received a short deadline. Well, he and Chakotay had something solid going now, it shouldn't be that difficult to keep it going back on the ship. Would it?

"In the meantime, have you finished with the third probe?"

"Yes, Captain." Paris said. "Quite some time ago."

"I want to see what damage the power surge did to the wormhole." Janeway said.

"We haven't tried scanning it yet this morning." Paris dithered.

"We still have controls here." Janeway said. "Diameter is still unchanged. Fluctuations for four hours after the power surge, but it stabilized. And I'm wondering what the Johannes Kepler is doing with our probes on the other side. If I were the Kepler's captain, I would have grabbed those probes and brought them in. Which gives them the opportunity to learn Borg technology and software. Question is, can they adapt it quickly enough to send a controlled probe back to us?"

"Good question." Paris admitted.

"Find me an answer." Janeway said. "Send the third probe through the wormhole, with a course to broadcast a message asking for their planned course of action for the wormhole, record their response and have it re-enter the wormhole in only a few hours' time."

"Aye, aye, Captain." Paris said.

"Janeway out."

"Well, there goes our morning." Paris said. "Setting course for the wormhole once again." We'll be there in a half hour at Warp Three."

"I'll get the probe's programming done." Chakotay said. "We'll be ready to launch by 1000 hours."

Paris sighed. All dressed up and no place to go! "Computer, music." he ordered. "Random selection." The computer knew he liked 20th Century music, so he didn't need to specify that. When it blasted out with "9 to 5", he just chuckled. It fit. Damned if it didn't fit perfectly.

He pulled back alongside the probe and scanned the readings. "No significant damage from the power surge." he reported. "Appears to have been localized damage to the subsidiary control panel conduits. Muon stream, however, has changed intensity somewhat. Not output, but frequency has shifted."

"Scan the wormhole." Chakotay ordered.

"Scanning." Paris said. After a delay, he told the computer to correlate with previous readings and said, "There's a decrease in the electrical discharges in the perimeter of the wormhole. Like it's become more stabilized."

"They can control the wormhole's stability." Chakotay wondered aloud, walking over, forgetting the probe, still only half reassembled. "This may be a way home yet. Set controls on regular automatic scans and come help me with the probe. We've got to take a look inside."

"Relaying sensor readings to Voyager." Paris said as he set the controls. Then he moved over to help Chakotay. "Think they're trying to get us to come into the wormhole?"

"Maybe." Chakotay said. "They've had the readings from the second probe available for several hours. They would know what their muon stream was doing, and where. That would let them adjust the flow to stabilize the weaker regions."

"I hope so." Paris said. "Captain's going to insist we go through if it is stabilized, you know."

"I know." Chakotay said. "Does it still worry you?"

"Not with the latest readings." Paris admitted. "I guess I've had some time to get used to the idea of returning home."

"And your bad feelings?"

Paris shrugged. "They never were anything more than I've told you. I keep saying, it's not a sense of danger I'm getting. And this feeling of mine has been wrong before, plenty of times. It's just right often enough that I pay attention to it."

"So we're back to being homeward bound." Chakotay said. "Hand me that clamp."

With Paris' help, the probe was ready by 0930. Paris operated the transporter and beamed it to near the wormhole, then immediately shifted to control of it. It dipped into the event horizon and again Paris' world became a blue-tinged tunnel. But this time it was dull for a flyer, plenty of room for the tiny probe. Enough for the shuttle, easily. Even the lightning discharges were down to 25% of the previous flight records.

"Looks good." Paris said as they neared the mid-point around 1045. "Not a ripple in the batch. A couple of sharp curves but even Voyager could take those without any problem. I feel like I'm in a canoe on the Mississippi. No reason to worry about the water's width or depth."

"Very good." Janeway's voice said from the subsidiary screen. "When you confirm the rest of the travel path, take the shuttle through."

"Aye, aye, Captain." Paris said. "Object ahead. Scanning."

Paris looked at the readings, ran the scan again, and in dead silence turned the probe around to head back to them.

"Lieutenant, what are you doing?"

"Saving the probe." Paris said. "No reason to scan it further."

"Why not?"

"Because a Federation shuttle is en route through the wormhole. It'll be here by 1200 hours." Paris looked over at Chakotay. "We'd better get ready for company."

It's bad, the back of his mind told the front. It's really bad.

Oh, shut up, he told himself firmly. I know already. I know.

The next hour, he spent in a haze. Chakotay and Janeway were in constant communication, discussing details on how to best ease the transition for the former Maquis back in the Alpha Quadrant. It seemed to involve discussing each crewmember in detail. Paris listened until Chakotay noticed, and asked him very politely to step to the back of the shuttle. Once Paris was there, Chakotay activated the privacy shield, and Paris was cut off into half of the shuttle. The back half, with nothing much to do.

Well, Chakotay has to think of his men, Paris decided. And no reason for me to need to hear the details. I just hope that prison isn't any worse than it was before. Paris flopped down onto the bed and thought about a lot of things. What he wanted to do when he got back to the Alpha Quadrant. What his father would say to his son, a returning hero? But again and again, his subconscious guillotined the thoughts with a reminder that this was nothing good. Bad news was coming through with that shuttle. It was as clear as any gut instinct he'd ever had.

And he was helpless to do anything about it.

At 1145, Paris found the shield still in place and slapped his communicator. "Paris to Chakotay."

"Yes, Tom?"

"Can I get into the front of the shuttle now? I'd like to be there when we greet the Kepler's shuttle."

"Huh? Oh, right! Sorry, Tom." And the shield went down.

Paris slid into his chair. "Well, Chakotay, ready to take me prisoner when you leave Voyager?"

"Hmm? Oh, I hadn't thought of that. Captain's of the opinion that the Kepler wouldn't be near Federation space doing these kind of tests, anyway. Too much danger to the inhabited worlds. So there ought to be plenty of time for us to decide whether to slip away or not."

"But I do get to go with you?"

Chakotay smiled. "You'd better believe it. Start thinking how your face will look with a tattoo on it. I'll slip you into Dorvan V as my brother. A false personality we created years ago."

"All right. So long as you believe in incest." Paris grinned.

Chakotay shrugged. " Only as long as we keep it in the family." he said with a straight face.

"Huh?" Paris was puzzled. Then he got the joke. "Oh!" he chuckled. "Now I get it."

"I thought you were the guy who knew all the jokes?" Chakotay smirked at him.

"You never know all the jokes. Just get good at spotting them. And I wasn't ready for that one." A small alarm on his control panel. Paris looked down. "Disturbance in the event horizon."

"And there's the shuttle."

Paris looked up with Chakotay as the event horizon rippled, opened like a rosebud shot with time-lapse photography, and out came a shuttle. Larger, slightly different in design than their own.

"Greetings, Federation shuttle." Chakotay said. "This is Commander Chakotay of the Federation ship Voyager. Welcome to the Delta Quadrant."

"Greetings, Commander." came the female voice. "I am Lieutenant Chelez of the Federation science vessel Johannes Kepler. With me is Commander T'lin of the Federation starship Potemkin." And the voices became faces as visual contact became possible as the shuttle left the radiation of the wormhole's event horizon. Paris saw two faces, one Bajoran and one Vulcan, both female, both in Federation uniform. At least those hadn't changed in the last four years.

"Potemkin?" Paris asked quickly. "Is the Potemkin with you?"

"Of course." Chelez responded. "We used their deflector array to enhance the wormhole long enough to bring this shuttle through. If we can use Voyager's deflector array the same way, we can ferry all your personnel through over the next several days. Where are you, Voyager?"

"Voyager is en route and will be here in three days' time." Chakotay said.

Commander T'Lin frowned. "Unfortunately, we may not be able to wait that long. Dominion forces have become active in our sector. They will come to investigate the wormhole. If they find us there, we would be unable to rescue you."

"In that event, our orders are to enter the wormhole in this shuttle and join the Federation." Chakotay said. "Lieutenant Paris and myself."

"Certainly, you and Mr. Paris would be welcome aboard the Potemkin. Mr. Paris?"

Paris looked up. "Hmm? Oh, sorry, I was busy." he said. "What is it?" With one finger he sent the information request to the Federation shuttle.

"You are Thomas Paris?" T'Lin asked.

"Yes." Paris said. T'Lin looked down as the information request came in and she looked at it. Paris hoped Chakotay's curiosity wasn't aroused, and that she was as discreet as Vulcans usually were. His message:

"Urgent and secret. Relay to my station by
computer communique only the names of the
command personnel of the Starship Potemkin.
Will explain reason if necessary."


T'Lin looked up, nodded, punched a few buttons. "I know your father well. He taught military strategy at the Academy during my days there."

"You've been in Starfleet a long time." Paris said. His father hadn't taught at Starfleet Academy since shortly after he'd been born. It was difficult to look at the youthful face and realize that she was probably close to a century old. Vulcans aged slower than humans.

His own console lit and Paris casually laid a hand on the console to help cover the text from Chakotay's eyes. As nonchalantly as he could, he looked down at the list. He didn't have to look hard. The very top:

"Captain Robert Brennovan."


He didn't bother reading the rest of the list. "Commander." he said to Chakotay. "You probably should ask about their current location, with an eye to where the Federation is and other related topics?" he cocked what he hoped was an impudent eyebrow and was relieved to see Chakotay start and nod agreement. While Chakotay probed carefully the location of the Johannes Kepler and Potemkin in the Alpha Quadrant, Paris typed his own message.

"Urgent and secret. I must communicate
with Captain Brennovan at the earliest
possible moment, either by relay message or
direct contact. Important Commander
Chakotay not be informed of this
communication. Important Commander
Chakotay not be informed of Captain
Brennovan's existence. Consult with Captain
Janeway and Captain Brennovan for
any further details."


He sent the communique and looked up. Captain Janeway had entered the communications, and the front screen was now a two-way split with them. Paris looked at the three female faces looking out at him, then over to Chakotay, managing to not listen to the hard negotiations now underway.

Just once, he said, I wish this feeling would be wrong. It'd be so nice to know that it would be wrong now and then.

Because his feelings also told him that the bad news wasn't over yet. And it was never wrong, despite his cheerful lies to Chakotay, not when it came across this consistently, when every mention of the wormhole brought out the alarm circuits in that puzzling area of the brain lumped together under the misleading and inappropriate words of "psychic abilities."

What to do? Have a heart-to-heart talk with Chakotay now? Keep up the charade? Let him find out without getting directly involved? What to do? What to...."

"Lieutenant?" Chakotay said sharply.

"Huh?" Paris said, startling.

"Captain Janeway wants you to go out and check our external sensor array."

"Why?" Paris asked, then saw the faces. Oh! "Uh, I mean, aye, aye, Captain." He shucked into the pressure suit with overeager hands. Done, he said, "Ready to energize."

Chakotay hit the console and Paris found himself floating in space. His suit comm unit immediately buzzed. "Paris here."

"Go ahead, Captain." came Chelez's voice.

"Hello, Lieutenant." came an unfamiliar voice. "You wanted to speak with me?"

"You're Captain Brennovan?"

"Yes, damn it!" the voice said petulantly. It sounded far older than Paris had remembered. "Who are you?"

"Lieutenant Thomas Paris. I served under you as a cadet aboard the Farsight. And with me in the shuttle is an old classmate of yours, named Commander Chakotay. Recognize *that* name at least, sir?"

Silence. "I remember." came the guarded response.

"Captain, he doesn't know about you yet, and I've asked your crewmembers here to keep you a secret. I just want to be sure you're going to cooperate with that secret."

"Is it that important?"

"Yes, it is." Paris said. "You hurt him a lot many years ago. So much that he still has trouble talking about you. When I realized you were on the other side of this wormhole, I had to think fast before your name got blurted out. Thank God your Commander is a woman of discretion."

"Very well." Captain Brennovan said. "I'm sorry to hear he's taking it so hard. I've been meaning to find a way to break things to him. Just never got around to it."

"Let's keep it that way. Captain Janeway will cooperate. No reason he needs to see your face if we can keep you in a low profile. Let all contact with Voyager be through your own shuttle or with Commander T'Lin, and we'll all let you stay officially dead. I need you to give orders to that effect and enforce it strictly."

"Fair enough. But may I ask why a mere lieutenant is being so protective of Chakotay's feelings?"

"No, you may not, sir." Paris said coldly. "End communication. And let's keep communication at an end! Paris out."

He was shaking as he gave the external sensor array its check-out (it was fine, of course) and buzzed the shuttle for transport in.

The second hole in the dyke had been stoppered by his timely fingers. But how many more were going to crop up over the next few days?

As he stripped off the suit, he overheard Chakotay saying, "Then it's agreed. You return through the wormhole, leaving the communications relays behind. We'll follow them with Voyager in seventy-five hours from now. Make that exactly 1600 hours three days from now."

"Confirmed. We'll be ready to enhance the wormhole then. Kepler Shuttle Two out."

"Well, Tom." Chakotay said. "You heard that time?"

"Yes." Paris said.

"That's the time when Voyager will return home."

Paris smiled. "Great."

"In the meantime, we have a communications relay right through the wormhole. Anyone you want to send a message to back in the Federation?"

Paris smiled. "Only one to my father."

"I thought you had already written to your father?"

"Not about that." Paris said. "I just want to tell him I'm in love." Paris leaned over and wrapped his arms around Chakotay's neck from behind, his hands running down the broad chest as his cheek brushed Chakotay's hair. "God, I love you so much, Chakotay. So long as we remain together, I don't care where the hell we are."

Chakotay turned his face around and up and they kissed. The communicator's hooh- hooh at that moment was only to be expected. Paris didn't even have to look up. "Good afternoon, Captain." he sighed.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Paris."

"What is it this time?"

"I was just wanting the Commander's opinion on the events of the last few hours."

"Can't it wait until our regular report at 1700 hours?" Paris protested.

"Tom!" Chakotay said sharply.

"I'll go to the back of the shuttle again." Paris said, resigned. "Come get me when it's over."

"I would like this private myself." Janeway agreed.

Paris stepped back and the shield went into place. He went over to the bed and lay upon it once again. "Computer, music, this side of the privacy shield only. Continuous selections with a loud, hard beat. Enhance the sonic dampers on the shield, and turn up the volume to maximum without penetrating the shield. And cancel the program when Commander Chakotay orders the shield to be lowered."

"Brown Sugar" started pounding away at his eardrums and Paris let himself get lost in the rhythmic pounding of the bass section. It was better than thinking right now.

As he had expected, it was hours before the shield was lowered. Chakotay would start consulting with the Captain and forget about everything else. It was nearly 1600 hours before the music died, the shield lowered, and Chakotay came contritely back to him. "I'm sorry that took so long." he said.

"That's all right." Paris said.

"Have you eaten yet?"

"No."

"Me, either. Let's spend some replicator rations." Chakotay said. "Celebrate the end of the long exile."

"Sure." Paris said indifferently.

Warm hands stroked his body, seeking forgiveness. "We're to be left alone the rest of the day. Barring the most dire emergencies, the Captain won't contact us until 0800 tomorrow."

"Your idea? Or hers?" Paris asked, a minor tone of suspicion in his voice and his mind.

"Mine." Chakotay said. "You promised to take inventory, you may remember."

Paris smiled. "In that case, all is forgiven."

"A feast, then some entertainment while we digest it. I figure that we can start the main event by 2000 hours."

"Darling, you have got yourself a deal." Paris said.

Dinner was everything they could imagine and wish for. With no regard for their ration balances, they ordered delicacies to the point where Paris pointed out that they were going to have to use Neelix's storage containers to hold the leftovers as it was. Chakotay and he were supposed to alternate the items being replicated, but Paris noticed that he was pre-empting the ration points spent on the bigger items, paying a good portion more than his own fair share. Paris determined that in the near future, Chakotay would receive a surprise meal from his own accounts to help redress the balance.

Paris gorged on the items he hadn't dared purchase before with his points. If something happened to the wormhole, they'd both be entirely back on Neelix's rations within the next two weeks. Still, tonight he dined on Andorrian squids and Risan stuffed nimo-peppers, washed down with a pretty good imitation of a Moen white wine and topped off with delicate Tilesian finger-fruits. He finished it feeling pretty damned good about the entire day. There had been bad news from the wormhole all right, but he had managed to stop it at the source, and now the secret of Robert would soon be a minor problem easily handled.

Paris sat back at the end of it feeling at peace with the entire universe. "Whoof, that's going to have to sit a while." he said with feeling.

"We didn't have that many left-overs after all, did we?"

"No, but we'd better save them just the same." Paris patted his stomach. "Especially that squid! I haven't had that in, well, in years."

"All right." Chakotay said. "We have some spare time right now, and probably it's the last of the spare time we'll have from now on. Since neither of us feels like moving at the moment, what are your suggestions?"

"If I'm going to go to Dorvan V disguised as your brother, I'd better learn about the family." Paris said.

"Trade information?" Chakotay bartered.

"Fair enough. Start with the parents."

"Father passed away quite a few years ago. My mother only about a year before I came aboard Voyager." Chakotay said.

"You know about Dad, already. Mom died when I was very young. I don't remember her very well. Maybe not at all. Some memories of a loving woman holding me, but I'm told that was Aunt Matilda."

"Brothers and sisters?"

"Only child. You?"

"Two sisters, and a brother who died young. He's the identity you would get if we have to go through with it. We just erased the fact that he was dead from the computer databanks and stuck in some facts about education and sent him off to the outback for a long voyage of self- discovery. Missing for years and years, but no reason to assume he's dead and plenty of room for changes in appearance."

"A sandy-haired, blue-eyed Indian?" Paris smiled. "I can just see it."

"We're talking hair dye and eye tinting." Chakotay agreed. "And wrinkles, he was a few years older than me."

"Yikes!" Paris said. "Will you love me when I turn old and gray?"

"Of course I will." Chakotay said.

"Is this a back-handed way of telling me you love me?"

"Was your question a back-handed way of asking?"

"Probably." Paris shrugged.

"Let's say that I am beginning to try the idea on for size, and liking the fit." Chakotay said.

"That's good." Paris said carefully. "What places need tailoring for the perfect fit?"

"I think it's something that needs to be discovered through regular wear." Chakotay said.

"You have to break me in like a pair of badly replicated shoes?"

"I didn't mean it like that." Chakotay said. "We need to see how we're going to get along. A few hours ago you were downright annoyed with me for talking with the Captain when you wanted to make love, you may remember."

"I was only annoyed that she seems to communicate at the worst possible times. I wrap you in my arms for a long, lingering kiss and she's suddenly got the urge to chat."

"I wouldn't go that far." Chakotay said.

"I would!" Paris said emphatically. "Did you know she watched you while you got undressed last night?"

"I thought she was talking to you."

"And this morning, her first words. 'I hope I'm not interrupting anything.' She was looking around the shuttle for evidence, I suppose of some exotic and perverted sex."

"Like the Klingon warlord?"

Paris had to laugh at that. "All right, I guess she has her reasons for thinking we're engaging in all sorts of perversions in our spare time."

"And it must be dull for her right now. Even worrisome. En route to a wormhole, knowing the Dominion may force a premature shutdown, which means we would be rescued and no one else would. She'd lose her first officer and best pilot, when she could have sent a couple of rank ensigns on this trip. So she keeps checking in on us, making sure we're both still here, rather than having skipped through the wormhole, and in the meantime, she sees a little bare male flesh. Looking is all she dares do right now."

"All right, all right, I give up." Paris said. "Next time she calls, she can watch me fucking myself on you at the front console, all right?"

"That would be an extraordinarily generous action." Chakotay conceded. "But I wasn't thinking something so blatant. Just tolerate her watching us kiss from time to time and remember that she's a human being, too."

"All right." Paris said. "I'm ashamed of my reaction to her today, okay? I'll apologize."

"I wouldn't go that far. Maybe just try to relax. If you and I are going to be lovers aboard Voyager, we'll have to get used to people staring. They don't think of their command officers as human beings, not deep down inside, they don't. So if we so much as hold hands in the mess hall, we're going to be gawked at."

"I'm the son of Admiral Paris, latest of a long line of heroes." Paris said. "I'm used to being stared at in public. It's the private part I don't like. So I set the communications to voice- only until command. You keep turning it back on, and I keep turning it back off."

"I'm sorry."

"And I'm sorry it bothers me so much. Let's get back to family. Where did you go to school?"

They traded this information for the next few hours, interspersed with personal anecdotes, until Paris felt comfortable with bluffing as Chakotay's brother Waconda any time it was necessary. Not to mention some good anecdotes about Dalby's first few runs with the Maquis that he could turn to good account should Dalby come taunting once again. And Chakotay learned about Aunt Matilda, the matriarch of the Paris clan, and Tom's aunt, his father's older sister, with her stern but loving countenance which made her a wonderful woman to be on good terms with (even though you had to knuckle under to her a little to be on good terms! When she got too rough, the trick was to make her laugh, which had always worked for Paris).

Over the next hour or so, the talk drifted from friends to former lovers and when Chakotay started in about the Admiral's daughter again, Paris gently got up and went over. "I've heard that one." he said as he sat down on Chakotay's lap by straddling his legs and sitting down, facing him. "And I think you and I have a little unfinished business. Starting with the slow, erotic removal of your clothing." he reached for the fasteners, wishing momentarily that it had the archaic buttons on it. That would let him do a slow exposure of Chakotay's body, but as it was, he had to pull apart the magnetic clotures along their nearly-invisible line. They just didn't come apart as well as those old buttons would! But he pulled a few of the clotures apart, and ran his hand into the opening to be balked by the t-shirt. He ignored the thin cloth and rubbed as if it were Chakotay's bare skin under his fingertips.

He reached down with his lips to kiss Chakotay as he rocked back and forth on his hips to hunch his crotch against Chakotay's, and some impulse made him place his fingertips on Chakotay's tattoo and run them down the length of it, as if retracing the pattern, emphasizing and enhancing it with his fingers. As he had expected, Chakotay sighed and closed his eyes at that touch. Thought so, he said to himself. Point number one!

He tried the other side then, and that seemed to disturb Chakotay, so he stopped at a single stroke, and reached with his lips to kiss the tattoo. Then with his tongue tip when the lips seemed not to work, and that caused the sigh again. He began to taste each part of Chakotay's forehead, and found he shuddered when he kissed the point between the eyebrows. Ah, number two! Down onto the nose, ah, this one ran all the way down that straight line. Kissed his closed eyelids, danced over his cheekbones over to the ears. Ah, the ears are wonderful on anyone, people don't touch their own ears enough, so it thrills to the unexpected attention. The thin skin there is covered with nerve endings mashed in sleep and ignored by day, they tingled happily with the delicate touch of finger and tongue and lip alike. But that hollow behind and below the ear lobe, that was a specially thrilling point for Chakotay only when probed by the tongue to nestle and bore into that almost form-fitting space. Across the fine hairs of the nape of the neck, further around than the part usually kissed when making love, there was more sensitive and untended skin to awaken with his touch, his kiss.

Paris stood up and offered his hand to Chakotay, who arose with him and they went to the bed. Paris stopped Chakotay before the bed and proceeded to remove his clothing himself, to pull off that jacket and that horrible, entrapping t-shirt, letting the body breathe freely. Then he peremptorily pushed Chakotay to the bed and from there he pulled off the boots and socks, then the pants and briefs, leaving the dark brown body free, unexplored territory to be staked out and subdivided! He removed his own clothing while his eyes assessed the situation, determined on a route to take, then he lay atop Chakotay and began at the chin, kissing his way down slowly.

His tongue began to tire after a time, and he knew now why Chakotay had gone from a combination of hands and tongue to an alternation of them. Having gone over the shoulders and found nothing there that brought a special response, he sat up and began to carefully stroke Chakotay's body. The nipples, of course, and the armpits, they were a given! He was looking for the points that no one else knew about, or suspected. Surely they were all over Chakotay's body as well as his own! Yet the shoulder-tip, which had worked on him, was nothing to Chakotay. His armpit response went further down than Paris' own, nearly to the bottom of the ribs, and he tentatively called that Point Three (3A and 3B? Both sides!)

Two separate expeditions to his arms, Paris found isolated points on Chakotay's biceps, an arc along the bottom of each of them, and the outside of the elbow loved a hard suction with his entire mouth. Points Four and Five. The fingers were imminently kissable, but again, that was to be expected with the delicate fingertips. Worth remembering, though. Point Six.

When he had touched every part of the front of Chakotay to his waist (a good point to remember where you had left off!), Paris leaned over and traced the territory again. Yes, the sides of Chakotay's body were wonderfully sensitive, and deserved their position as future references. Chakotay also liked the long up-and-down strokes of his tongue through the hollow between his breasts, enough to call it a somewhat-minor Point Four. Tongue only, no fingers! He made a return to Chakotay's neck and ran his tongue dancingly right down the midline, and as he went further down, the more Chakotay wriggled with delight until he giggled as Paris' tongue reached the navel. Yes, a full Point Seven!

Back to his hands while his tongue, dried as an old piece of leather, rested and worked up more moisture, Paris began to stroke Chakotay's hips (ah, the side of the hips, a definite gap at the waist, but it revives below the waist, Point Eight with proviso that if he restricted the touch to one side only (he tried that), Chakotay was less than half as thrilled. A connected point of touch there, two-handed strokes required.

Paris tried a few motions on Chakotay's balls, found them a bit less sensitive than he had expected, ensconced as they were in the almost-leatherlike ballsac. He had to manhandle them pretty hard to get any sort of response, and that seemed to be more painful than pleasant. A thing to remember, but not to exploit right now. His hands on Chakotay's inner thighs seemed to work,but not as well as on the outer thighs. Paris wondered about this idly as he touched the hips and over the knees. The parts of the skin that seemed to respond best were those that were untouched or minimally touched by their owner. The parts that were touched a good deal, such as the stomach where hands often came to rest, or the breasts that rubbed cloth all the time, save for those nipples, were less interested in more touch even by a lover's hands.

With that in mind, he dove back with his tongue to survey the waist-to-knee region of Chakotay's front and sides. Yes, the sides of the legs loved this touch and stroking whatever and however it was done, preferably in tandem with its mate. And the inner thigh hummed to his tongue's touch. He could do something with that particular combination, his hands on the outer thighs while his tongue danced inside. Call that movement Point Nine.

Over the fronts of the lower legs, that seemed to love his touch indiscriminately, and onto the feet, those poor abused limbs crammed into shoes that they were never designed to fill, the toes cramped and misshapen somewhat by the repetitive jail time. Paris wondered how the toes would have looked had they never lived in shoes? Splayed wide and evenly shaped into round orbs? Probably, almost like the fingers, which never suffered such indignities. Still, his foot and toes loved the attention and the cool moisture of his tongue. Paris sucked on Chakotay's toes as if they were five miniature cocks, and Chakotay groaned, his cock pointing up and demanding the same attention.

But after finding the internal archway was especially sensitive (call the feet Point Ten and that arch its own number Point Eleven) as well as under the toes same as Paris' own (Point Twelve), Paris ignored the strident call of Chakotay's manhood and said, "Lie straight, please!" When Chakotay obeyed, Paris used a trick nurses had known for centuries, he crossed Chakotay's legs after pulling them tightly together, a deft twist by gripping the lowermost ankle, and the entire body turned without protest, and Chakotay's back was exposed and available.

Chakotay's back definitely craved attention. Every stroke brought him alive and groaning, every kiss was greeted with pleasure. "Oh, God!" Chakotay sighed when Paris was halfway through the exploration of his back. "I can't take much more of this."

"Well, you're going to have to." Paris chuckled. "Don't worry, I won't let you leave this bed until you are thoroughly explored, catalogued, categorized, labeled, prepared, marinated and ready for sale to the highest bidder." Paris finished this with a hunch to Chakotay's buttocks with his cock which had nestled into that handy crevice, and Chakotay groaned, "Oh, God, fuck me, please!"

"Not yet, dear." Paris said. "I'm not nearly done yet."

It was tough to decide how to define the back, everything seemed to work. Paris decided to pay special attention to Chakotay's back in the future and try to figure out a new series for it later on. For now, call the entire area Point Thirteen and be ready for subdivision at any moment.

Over Chakotay's buttocks, mashed for hours on end in chairs and you would think this would toughen the skin beyond belief. Instead, it seemed to be extra thin and delicate, and Paris was forced to lump it in with the back, there was no ending point at the mid-region at all as there was in the front. Definitely self-touch played a key factor here. Not that a person fondled themselves all day, but the body seemed to be content and surfeited with casual touch. Anywhere the body didn't receive it, it wanted it!

Chakotay's cleft of his buttocks was a moist, strong-tasting region, strong to the nostrils and stronger to the taste. This would take some getting used to! Paris dove in and did his best, but it seemed to be of no special thrill for Chakotay other than the same as on the rest of the back of his body, he decided that if he didn't develop a taste for this, he could ignore it with no detriment on their lovemaking. Maybe if he prefaced it with a sponge bath setting, he could cleanse that region and then dive into it? The taste was a bit more than he could take, it needed to be watered down!

The backs of his legs were the tough leather he had expected of the buttocks, they did nothing for Chakotay. The backs of his knees were fun, his tongue tickled Chakotay, who giggled insanely. Paris had some fun with that, then continued on his journey. The calves again showed that "midline" tingle he had found on Chakotay's chest, he called it Point Fourteen.

Paris rose up, his tongue feeling like a limp piece of dead meat, and said, "Now, my love, you are ready for the main event?"

"Ready." Chakotay said. He started to turn over, but Paris stopped him. Attacked his back with strong strokes of his hands and forcing his tongue into duty, until he had covered the back with strokes and touches. Strokes at the backs of the knees with his fingertips, he said, "Now you can turn over."

Chakotay fumbled eagerly as he scooted around, and Paris saw again the turgid erection waiting for him, angrily red at the head. "Not yet." he told it as if it were a separate living thing.

Kisses on his nose while his hands stroked the arcs of the biceps, tasting the armpits, then moving to let his tongue go down Chakotay's breast's midline while his hands stroked that long area below his armpits. He lifted up Chakotay's legs and again sucked those agile toes, then dove in to put a full liplock on the arches, then laid Chakotay's legs on his back and laid down to finally engulf that raging, screaming cock. As his lips sunk down slowly (tough working up saliva, he was nearly out of the stuff!), as his lips touched the base of Chakotay's cock, with the entire schlong buried, Chakotay sobbed, groaned and climaxed. Almost disappointingly quick in duration, he made up for it in volume, thick heavy loads jetted out of his organ with frenetic speed, and Chakotay raised up in ecstacy, and fell back in relief. That quickly, it was over.

Paris felt the heavy load in a massive lump at his throat. He pulled Chakotay's still-hard cock back to where only the head rested on his tongue, and managed to swallow. Not even a hint of salty taste, save that clinging to the cockhead. It was too deeply inside him!

Paris released the cock, to fall in a limp pile on Chakotay's groin, and scooted up to match faces with him. "Now you know how I felt yesterday." he said.

"No wonder you promptly fell in love." Chakotay teased.

That stung a little. "It wasn't that quick." Paris said. "I just realized it then, that's all."

"I didn't mean it that way." Chakotay said quickly, contritely. "I was complimenting you on your technique."

"You have been thoroughly explored and catalogued." Paris repeated somewhat. "I now know exactly what to do to drive you insane at any moment. Be careful in crowded turbolifts, my darling Commander. That back begs for attention at all times."

"My mother used to rub my back for me when I was upset or worried." Chakotay admitted. "I've never quite felt comfortable with getting massages for it ever since."

"You're saying I should leave it alone?" Paris fretted.

"I'm saying I'm glad it's got you now." Chakotay said. "Someone who loves me and is willing to touch it for me."

"I'll have to check my schedule for massages." Paris said. "I have a crowded itinerary, but I'm sure I can squeeze you in for fifteen minutes a week from next Thursday."

"It's a date." Chakotay agreed. "Do I have your private number?"

"Won't need it. From now on, all you have to do is nudge me." Paris said. He looked over at the chronometer. "And now it's time for all good commanding officers to go to sleep. Computer, lights off, and alarm on."

Paris pulled the covers over them after a struggle to free them from beneath their somewhat sweaty bodies, got them covered with the damp coolness of sweaty sheets. It was like being wrapped up in Chakotay.

Wrong. They were now wrapped up in each other.

This is good. He thought as he held his lover and sought the oblivion of slumber. This is worth fighting for. A second finger in the dyke is nothing. I got eight left. Just wish the bad news was all over with. It's still out there, part of it. God, I wish I didn't know that.

And a second feeling came over him then. Before the bad news was over with, he'd hurt Chakotay deeply. It deepened into a vision. Chakotay would look at him with the ice behind his eyes and say, "Go away, Tom! Just go away and leave me alone! I never want to even look at you again!" And there was nothing but anger and pain in his shattered, disillusioned eyes.

Paris jerked as the vision ended and stared wide-eyed at the ceiling. God, didn't this inner voice ever have something nice to say to him? Or at least show him how to stop it from happening? He lay there and tried the deep-breathing exercises he had learned years before. Calm and center the mind. He managed to push the bad feelings from his forebrain into his unconscious mind, where it had come from. Enough to let him go to sleep.

Which made for fitful sleep when it came. And a dream with horrible slimy creatures tearing at their bodies, pulling them apart, holding him back and helplessly watching while they ripped Chakotay to pieces with their sharp claws. Blood squirted from Chakotay's heart where they stabbed him and sprayed him with a bright red froth.

He awoke with a stifled scream. Looked at the chronometer. 0430 hours. Got out of bed and sat in a chair, looking at Chakotay.

I won't hurt you, Chakotay. I won't! I'll kill myself first!

Finally, after hours of helplessly waiting for sleep, he saw it was nearly time for the alarm to go off. Quietly crawled back into bed with Chakotay and snuggled up to him. He wouldn't mention this bad feeling at all.

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Shuttle Trip, Day 9