Susurrations, Part 21


By Britta

Red Alert klaxons went off jerking him awake, disturbing their nap. Tom shoved Chakotay off him then jumped to his feet, ready to get dressed and go to the bridge. As they searched for their clothes, the Captain's voice came calmly over the unusually crackly comm system. "All hands, as you were. I apologize for the intrusion; it was a false alarm. Lieutenant Torres, report to Engineering."
*
Tom stood beside his bed wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and one sock. Chakotay had dashed into the living area to get his clothes and was also only partially dressed. They stared at each other, then smiled. It was a hell of a way to wake up, thought Tom, but it was also a great way to break the tension. He motioned for Chakotay to join him and asked, "Care to take a shower?"
*
Chakotay doffed his pants and shoes, then said, "Sounds good to me."
*
Tom peeled off his underwear and silenced the wake-up alarm when it went off. He wondered if Chakotay felt as weird as he did. Oh well, whatever, he thought, they'd just have to get over it and move on. He led the way into the shower and they began washing themselves.
*
Suddenly, Chakotay leaned forward and kissed him under the spray of water, asking, "Are you all right, Tom?"
*
"Never better, Chakotay," he answered with a relieved grin. After that, they washed each other.
*
When finished, Chakotay held a towel out for him to step into. It felt so good to washed, held, dried off, all as if he were somehow, maybe, he hoped, cherished.
*
Once clean, dry and dressed, Tom took the initiative, sighed, and said, "I suppose you want to know why those particular choices showed up on the padd."
*
Chakotay paced around the living area and replied, "Yes, I do. As I asked you before, I want to know what those fantasies mean to you. Are they indicative of your preferences, or not?"
*
Tom noted the older man's formality and even though he regretted the distance it represented, he sat at his little dining table and stated equally seriously, "Not."
*
His lover turned to face him and asked quietly, "Then what was that earlier scene all about?"
*
Listening to the doubts creep into Chakotay's voice and seeing his face resume that old neutral, distant expression, Tom hastened to reassure him. "I meant not all the time. Don't get me wrong, Chakotay, I liked what we did."
*
"All of it?"
*
Tom rose to his feet and walked over to the man he loved, then said, "Yes. All of it." He took a chance and kissed Chakotay on the lips then hugged him tight. "I just don't want it to be like that for every minute of every day that we're together. Okay?"
*
A moment later. Chakotay relaxed and hugged him back, kissing his jaw and mumbling, "Yes. I'm happy to hear that."
*
"So we're okay, right?" Tom stepped back half a pace and stared into the deep, dark-brown eyes as if hoping to find a piece of his soul within their depths.
*
Chakotay smiled at him, touched his lips with a broad fingertip, and said seriously, "Yes. We're fine. Now I want to know what you said to give us the choices we've got. We need to get our stories straight before going to the rendezvous."
*
Tom checked the time and offered, "Let's talk about it over dinner. I don't want to go down there hungry. Is that all right with you?"
*
Nodding, Chakotay replied, "Good idea. Let's go."
*
They entered the mess hall only a few minutes before the dinner rush. Neelix popped out from his kitchen and raced over to greet them. "Tom, Commander, how are you?"
*
Tom answered, "We're fine, Neelix. How are you?"
*
The Talaxian smiled widely and replied, "'In the yellow', as my people would say. All I needed to do was replenish myself with several cups of rith tea and sleep a bit."
*
Chakotay remarked, "I'm glad to hear you're feeling better."
*
"Thank you, sir." Neelix's spots grew somewhat darker as he said plaintively, "I wish to apologize for putting both of you through what I did. Honestly, I didn't know that my pheromones, at full strength, would affect you that way."
*
"It's okay, Neelix. We're all right now." Tom patted their chef on the shoulder, indicated his lover, and inquired, "What's safe for him to eat tonight?"
*
Neelix pointed to a platter full of fruits and vegetables. "These should satisfy your man, Tom." The Talaxian lowered his voice and continued, "The blue ones have, ah, certain hot properties, or so I've been told."
*
Seeing Neelix's eyebrows jump up and down nearly made Tom laugh out loud. He said, "Thanks for the advice, Neelix. I'll make sure he eats enough." Tom winked and picked up a serving spoon.
*
The Captain's lover nodded, and beamed at both of them contentedly while Chakotay stifled snorts of laughter. Tom deliberately piled several of the blue fruits on his lover's plate, hoping that Neelix was right and that these things acted as aphrodisiacs.
*
Once they had moved out of Neelix's hearing range, Chakotay shot him a glance that bespoke retaliation at a later date as he muttered, "I'm going to get you for this."
*
Tom replied sotto voce, "I'm sure you will. Come on, let's go find a table." He nudged Chakotay in the direction of a semi-private corner of the mess hall and they settled down to eat.
*
Watching surreptitiously as Chakotay bit into one of the oblong blue fruits, he was surprised when the older man pronounced it was delicious and proceeded to devour several of them in quick succession. Curious, he grasped Chakotay's hand as it held the last of the blue things and asked, "May I?"
*
"Of course. Be my guest." Chakotay smiled and took a sip of his water as Tom guided the food to his mouth.
*
One bite later, Tom's eyes began to leak tears. Still, he chewed with determination, hoping things would improve. They didn't. He dropped his lover's hand as if it were a hot rock, and quickly downed all the water there was in his glass. It wasn't enough, so then he pulled Chakotay's glass out of his hand and drank that water as well.

++++

Chakotay just sat back and watched Tom turn redder and redder. The man broke into a sweat and he began to feel sorry him, but not too sorry. A few minutes later, Tom's color began to return to normal.
*
He picked up a vegetable he recognized and bit into it, waiting to see what Tom might say, if anything. He smiled reassuringly at his bedmate and thought he was a lot of fun to play with.
*
Tom coughed several times then barked, "How the hell did you eat that stuff without exploding?"
*
Chakotay answered placidly, "My mother used a lot of cayenne and jalapeno peppers in her cooking. Those blue things were like a taste of home." At Tom's incredulous glance, he continued, "Remind me never to suck you off right after I've eaten one."
*
With a horrified look on his face, Tom went to get more ice water.

++++

When he returned, Chakotay asked, "Are you ready to talk to me now?"
*
Sitting across from Chakotay, Tom promised himself never to bait the man again. Slurping more water, trying to cool his tongue, he said, "Yes."
*
Chakotay smiled at him and ordered, "Explain, Tom. How and why did we come up with what we got?"
*
He sighed and sucked on an ice cube, then said, "I only did what you tried to do before." At Chakotay's puzzled expression, he went on, "When you wanted to say 'yes' to everything on the application padd."
*
The light dawned and Chakotay nodded his understanding.
*
Tom leaned forward across the table and said, "I just did it with a little more finesse, that's all. I tried to pick out things that would be believable and still net us some replicated stuff."
*
"I see." Chakotay rubbed his chin. "So tell me why the 'Hawaiian Honeymoon' option was given to us."
*
Swallowing more chewed ice, Tom quickly explained, "Think coconut oil, poi, grass skirts, tiki-like torches, and leis."
*
"Okay, I get it now; those things would have to be replicated." Chakotay waited a moment, then asked, "So are you ready to go below and choose which 'experience' we get?"
*
Spooning the last ice cube into his mouth, and chomping down on it, Tom replied, "Yeah. I'm up for it." Then he stood up and walked over to the recycler.
*
Chakotay followed him and brought out the padd. Tom watched as his lover looked around the room, then kissed him and said, "Let's go see where this map leads us."

++++

They followed the instructions on the padd and found themselves at the entrance to a small storage area on one of the lower decks, which were far more dimly lit than usual. Chakotay recalled that this place had been included in most ships' design to be used for carrying extra luggage belonging to VIPs when on a diplomatic mission. Since they'd been stranded in the Delta Quadrant, there hadn't been much call for that, and so the room had lain empty, until now.
*
Tom looked at him, and at his nod, gave the required sequence of knocks and the password.
*
The door opened and they stepped inside the nearly dark room. Hearing the door close behind them, Chakotay whirled around and tried to focus his eyes on something, anything. He didn't like this set up at all.
*
A muffled voice came out of the gloom, "Good evening, Mr. Paris."
*
"Good evening to you, too," Tom offered. "Can you turn up the lights in here?"
*
Chakotay heard a throat being cleared off to his left and moved to stand between Tom and the sound. Tom refused his protection by shoving an elbow into his ribs and pushing him back toward the door.
*
The voice answered, "I'm sorry, but I can't do that. There's something going on in Engineering and I'm in the dark."
*
"Do you have a wristlight?" Tom asked.
*
"No. But I have a candle."
*
Chakotay knew that voice, it was familiar in a way that being in these circumstances reminded him of how young its owner was. He gripped Tom's shoulders from behind and whispered, "Tell him to light it."
*
"Then light it already!" Tom snapped.
*
A tiny flame flared and an enormous, wax phallic symbol shed some light around the room. It was barely enough to see by, and the voice said nervously, "O, by the Prophets! I didn't know you were here, Captain Chakotay."
*
"Calm down. I didn't expect to see you either, Geron." Chakotay smiled at the young Bajoran and moved over to the table where the candle was. He said gently, "We need to talk."
*
Tom offered to fetch a wristlight or two, and find out why the power was out on parts of this deck. Chakotay nodded and Tom slipped out the door.
*
"Geron, do you have any other candles in here?"
*
"Yes, but they're stock and I can't afford to replace them, Captain."
*
"Don't worry about it. I'll replicate some new ones for you," Chakotay promised. "And it's 'Commander' now, you know that."
*
"Yes, sir." Geron pulled out a variety of candles and lit them, setting them around the small room. This allowed Chakotay a much better view of the room's contents. He looked around and was surprised to find himself surrounded by a veritable pornucopia of pleasure devices and sexual enhancers.
*
Sensing his crewman's unease, he said, "Sit down and relax, I don't plan on sending you to the brig."
*
The Bajoran heaved an audible sigh of relief and sat at the tiny table, waiting silently while Chakotay went exploring. The candlelight didn't penetrate every nook and cranny in the overcrowded room, and Chakotay wondered he was overlooking. He vowed to himself to come back here at a later date to see what choice items he'd missed.
*
What he did see, however, raised his estimation of Geron's imagination quite a bit. Makeshift shelving units were spaced around the perimeter of the room and erotic artworks hung on each wall. Different groupings of items intended to cater to specific sexual tastes were highlighted in many ways.
*
There was a vid/audio/book area, a display of clothing, and other wearable things, and then came the intimidating showcase of various equipment filling several shelves--right beside a variety of accessories, including such things as lotions and oils.
*
Shaking his head, Chakotay returned to the table and said, "You have quite a selection here. I'm impressed."
*
Geron smiled widely and replied, "This is only what we carry in stock, you should see our catalog."
*
Chakotay hid his surprise and asked, "Do you have one I can take a look at?"
*
"Sure thing." Geron whipped out a padd and handed it over. "Please feel free to keep it, Commander, compliments of the management."
*
For a fleeting moment, Chakotay regretted the loss of his old rank. It felt good being called 'Captain' again.... He shook himself out of that futile state of mind and concentrated on the present noting the young man's bright smile, thinking that he would make one hell of a salesperson. He put the padd in his pocket and said, "Speaking of the management, do you run this place all by yourself?"
*
Geron's expression changed and an uncertain look crossed his face, making his nose ridges stand out more. "Actually, I don't run it at all. I'm nothing more than a junior associate."
*
"I see. Can you tell me who is in charge of this operation?" Chakotay inquired.
*
A flash of disappointment appeared in the Bajoran's eyes as if he hated to let Chakotay down, but still he said, "No. Not without permission from the Boss. I'm sorry, sir."
*
Undeterred by that reply, Chakotay went on, "Can you tell me what you get out of this, then? Do you make enough profit to treat yourself to some extra luxuries?"
*
Geron appeared to be offended and hurt in the extreme, as if his integrity had been called into question. He quickly responded, "Sir, you have it all wrong! We don't make a profit. The only payment I receive, if you want to call it that, is that I'm allowed to attend the weekly orgy for free."
*
The former Maquis Captain took a few moments to ponder this revelation, and go over in his mind what he knew about Geron. The young man had been raised in a brothel, but his mother had ingrained in him a strong streak of honesty and honor. Puzzled, he ventured, "And that's enough for you?"
*
"Yes, sir. That, and the satisfaction of making people happy. It's more than enough. In fact..." Geron paused, smiling shyly, his now-relaxed nose ridges adding to the joyous expression on his face, "...I was proud to be in on the planning of the experiences chosen for the anniversary present Lieutenant Paris wished to give you."
*
Before the Commander could respond, Tom entered the room wearing a wristlight and holding another. Chakotay looked from one young man to another and back again, his thoughts and feelings suddenly in turmoil.

++++

Tom entered the room, sensed that the atmosphere had changed, and wondered what sort of conversation he'd walked in on. Chakotay seemed upset, as if he'd learned something that bothered him. Trying to diffuse the tension in the air, he said, "One of the energy conduits collapsed. B'Elanna is working on it now and that's why the power is off, or at low levels down here."
*
"Is life support threatened on this deck?" asked Chakotay, as he resumed his Executive Officer persona.
*
"No." Tom moved toward the little table and handed a wristlight to his lover. "Everything's fine. There's nothing for you to worry about."
*
Chakotay nodded and said, "Why don't you take a look around while I finish talking to Geron."
*
It sounded more like an order than a request, and so he did as he was told, leaving them their privacy. Shining his light into places of deep shadows and darkness, Tom whistled silently as he saw sex toys he never dreamed existed.
*
God, whoever thought up all this stuff had his utmost admiration. His curiosity was piqued and he made a mental note to contact Geron on the sly. He wanted to know more about these things, a whole lot more.
*
As he moved back toward the small table where his lover sat, he heard a comm badge chirp.
*
"Janeway to Chakotay."
*
"Chakotay here."
*
"Please join me in my Ready Room as soon as possible, and bring Lieutenant Paris with you, if he's available."
*
The Commander looked at him and replied, "We're on our way. Chakotay out."
*
Tom moved toward Chakotay and slid the wristlight off his arm. Handing it over to Geron, he said, "Here. You'll probably need this more than I will."
*
Chakotay stood up. "Geron, make sure you put out every single candle in here. With the problems we've been having tonight, I don't want to take any chances with fire. Understand me?" he said gently.
*
"Yes, sir, Cap--Commander."
*
Tom watched as his lover laid a hand on the Bajoran's shoulder, then said, "Come see me tomorrow about refilling your stock."
*
Geron threw his arms around the older man and pulled him close for a quick hug. Chakotay just smiled and gave him a pat on the back.
*
A surge of jealousy nearly overwhelmed Tom as Chakotay let go of the young, handsome Bajoran man. Chakotay then turned to him, and grabbed his hand, tugging him out the door so they could go see the Captain.
*
God, thought Tom, everybody wanted his lover. Frowning mightily, he allowed Chakotay to lead him down the corridor in the semi-darkness. What had he missed by going away for a few minutes?
*
They entered the turbolift, Chakotay seeming to be so lost in thought that Tom wondered if the man was even aware of him. Shit, when would this mystery be solved? How long would he have to wait until things got back to normal, and he could rely on his own judgement again?
*
Still peeved at Chakotay's apparent obliviousness to Geron's reactions, he was all set to do battle with Janeway, should she try anything overt. Tom ached for a showdown of some sort, his frustration driving his blood pressure up to record heights.
*
They walked into the Ready Room and his sails instantly deflated as the Captain said, "You can call off the investigation."
*
Chakotay snapped out of his quietude and demanded, "Why?"
*
Janeway stated, "Someone has confessed."

END OF PART 21

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E-mail me at Britta

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Susurrations, Conclusion