Our Lady of Sorrows Day


By Britta

Tom woke up with a stiff neck and wondered why. Memory returned almost instantly and he felt the heat of shame visit his face. What had he done? Why wasn't he sleeping in the brig?
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Shit. What time was it?
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He scrambled off the bed and made his way into the bathroom where he quickly called up the lights and ordered an extra-hot shower. Once under the fine spray, he checked the time, hoping against hope to have enough leeway for a meal before he had to go on duty. To his dismay, he was informed that he was already over an hour late.
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He dried off and pulled on his robe wondering why no one had commed him. A query to the computer informed him baldly that Jenkins had taken his shift, per Commander Chakotay's orders.
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Oh hell. This was going to be bad. Very bad. Tom knew it with every paranoid fiber of his heart. He had tried so hard to make the relationship work; he wanted it to be real and long-lasting more than anything else in his life. Yet this is what it came down to--being given the boot in the middle of the night.
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Well fine! The least he could do was get something to eat before his world felt apart. Tightening the belt of his robe, Tom left the bedroom and stopped short. He saw Chakotay, sitting naked in the low light, meditating.
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Automatically, he moved slowly around Chakotay and sat on the sofa unwilling to disturb his lover. Time passed as Tom contemplated Chakotay with the eyes of one who had been blind-folded for too long only to have his sight finally returned. His gaze was starving, and it fed hungrily on the contours of the brown body that brought him so much pleasure and solace out here in the great beyond.
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Stifling a sigh, Tom sated himself visually, storing away the images much like a prisoner filling a padd before being taken to solitary confinement. He sank deeper into the folds of his dark robe and waited for the inevitable.

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Chakotay resurfaced from his spiritual exploration slowly. It had been a difficult and very humbling journey this time. He owed Tom an apology and an explanation, this he knew. How they would be received was something of which he was uncertain.
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Sucking in a deep breath, he opened his eyes only to spot Tom hiding in the shadows on the couch. Guessing this was a sign from the Spirits that he had no time to waste, Chakotay blurted, "I'm sorry, Tom."
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A puzzled stare met his tired sight. "For what?" Tom shifted off the furniture and onto the floor near Chakotay.
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"For everything: not understanding or appreciating you, not talking about my own fears, not sharing everything with you and, for separating us the way I did." Chakotay tried to encapsulate all his sins in as few words as possible, hoping Tom would hear each one of them before telling him he wasn't worth loving any more and leaving to go be with someone else, someone who would truly appreciate all Tom's efforts, no matter how public they were.
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Tom appeared stunned as he remained silent, focusing his blue eyes on a target in the vicinity of Chakotay's face, ignoring the rest of the nude body. Moments passed, drifting by with differing speeds for the two of them, until, at the end of Chakotay's life, Tom spoke. "You're nuts. This is all my fault."
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Startled, Chakotay reached out and grabbed Tom's foot as if to tether him so he couldn't run away before things were sorted out. "No, Tom. Didn't you hear what I said?"
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Tom moved closer, albeit cautiously, and replied, "I heard, but didn't understand. Why don't you explain it again?"
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Chakotay relaxed and took Tom in his arms, turning to lean back against the sofa. He began by stating the obvious, to him, "I love you. And it--do you want the long version or the short one?"
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"Of what, exactly?"
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"My catalog of wrongdoings, stupidity, and misconceptions." Chakotay felt heartened that Tom wanted to know what he'd been going through.
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Squirming into a more comfortable position, Tom said, "The short one, but I reserve the right to hear every last detail at my leisure, when I feel like it. Deal?"
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"Deal. Okay, here goes: I had a very enlightening chat with Tuvok today--" Tom groaned but motioned for Chakotay to continue, "--and he told me he thought the reason behind Janeway's constant teasing is that she's lonely. In other words, her holographic boyfriend isn't enough to provide her with what she needs."
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Tom went still, then said, "She's been teasing you?"
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"Unmercifully since you recited your poem," admitted Chakotay.
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"I didn't know. I'm sorry that my poem made things so difficult. Is that why you stuck me on gamma shift?"
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Chakotay snuggled closer, trying to absorb some of Tom's warmth. He wondered if he should tell the whole truth and decided that he had no choice if they were to salvage anything. "Partly. Tom, I didn't want you to see people laughing at me. The captain is one thing, but, if other members of the crew caught on, then I would have lost their respect, and eventually yours as well. It's one thing to demonstrate our love in public, but it's quite another when it's only lust that comes across."

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Tom was quiet long enough for Chakotay to shiver for more than one reason. When he noticed, Tom opened his robe and pulled Chakotay inside the circle of his arm. "Do you know how hard it was to write that poem and make it so bad?"
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Chakotay shook his head and responded, "No. But I'll bet you put as much effort into it as you have some of the other things you've done for me--those I was too worried about to truly appreciate."
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"Don't even start down that road, Chakotay. I know now we're very different in our approaches to showing our feelings. Think back to when you ambushed me in the bedroom in stereotypical Indian fashion. You can give as good as you get, as long as it's in private." Tom pressed his lips to Chakotay's.
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A chuckle interrupted their kiss and Tom eased them apart. "You're getting sleepy now that you've warmed up. Why don't you go to bed?"
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Chakotay yawned and stood up. With a heartfelt look, he said, "You also need more rest and we haven't finished our discussion."
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Tom hugged Chakotay to him tightly, all the while his brain was churning out scenario after scenario. He kissed his lover and led him to bed with a promise, "After I get something to eat, I'll join you."
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A sleepy smile was his answer.
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As the bedroom door closed behind him, Tom Paris the avenger came to the forefront. He switched on the terminal at the desk and settled in to make the captain pay for torturing his lover and, by extension, himself. Idly, he noticed the Catholic calendar come up, courtesy of Chakotay always trying to help him regain his spiritual roots.
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Hmm, it appeared to be 'Our Lady of Sorrows Day'. How fitting, Tom thought, as he accessed the Fairhaven holoprogram. Janeway might have locked him out of making changes directly to her holographic lover, but she couldn't stop him from doing this--after all, she wanted a man who could read; one who was literary.
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Never forgetting his promise to join Chakotay in bed, Tom rose and replicated a cup of soup. Then he sat down and perused the list of book titles that 'Captain Janeway' would have delivered to her friend Michael. By the last sip of hot tomato goodness, Tom had chosen both the 'Kama Sutra' and the never-leave-the-Alpha-Quadrant-without-it 'Definitive Guide to Risan Pleasure'.
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Tom shut everything off and went to sleep with his lover, thankful he still had the opportunity to do so. Everything else could wait. He knew he had a lot to think about, but mostly he just wanted the comfort of Chakotay's arms.
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As he burrowed into the bed, he did admit to wishing he could see the look on Janeway's face after her next visit to Fairhaven.

TO BE CONTINUED

Comments? Suggestions?
E-mail me at Britta