Taming of Tom Paris, Part 4

By Britta
Artwork (c) 2002 by Voyeur. All Rights Reserved.

Illustration of Taming #3

As it turned out, the next several days were rather interesting. We ran into an energy field with unusual properties that caused more than a few problems aboard ship. Figuring out what was wrong necessitated running numerous diagnostics on everything, which is very time consuming, not to mention frustrating. Tom had returned to duty the day before I did and we hadn't had a chance to be together for more than a few minutes at a time since.

He swore something was off-kilter at the helm but couldn't pinpoint what it was. It seemed like more than one thing went wrong at any given time. As soon as something was spotted and fixed, something else would pop up to take its place. Often problems appeared and disappeared, seemingly correcting themselves.

All in all, it was very annoying. People were irritated and growing short-tempered. Keeping the peace became a full-time job in itself... trying to stop arguments before they started or once they had, trying to keep them from escalating into full-fledged fights. I was tempted to ask the Doctor if he had enough supplies to give the entire crew a mild tranquilizer. Before I could, we left the field behind us and the situation stabilized.

There was still a lot of work to be done but at least the random factors had gone away. Tempers flared but not with the frequency that they did earlier. Slowly, life got back to normal or what passed for normal out here.

Tom and I managed to take a few meals together, stealing a few kisses and gropes in the process but I had no spare time to share with him for almost two more weeks. Numerous reports had to be dealt with, not to mention all the other Ship's business that had been put on hold for the duration. I spent a lot of time closeted with the Captain, much to Tuvok's annoyance but it could not be helped. We didn't have the luxury of choice as far as I could see. Our survival depended on it and even though we all knew that, it didn't make things more palatable.

One evening, after my shift, I went to see the Captain for our scheduled after-dinner meeting. I was surprised to find her out of uniform and relaxing with a glass of wine. Curious, I asked, "Kathryn? Has there been a change in plans?"

"Good evening, Chakotay." She greeted me. "Yes, there has. I'm letting you off the hook tonight. In fact, you're off duty until 1300 tomorrow." She smiled.

I smiled back tiredly and queried, "What brought this about?"

She sipped more of her wine and stood up. Shooting me a sly grin she said, "Your boyfriend came to see me earlier." Her grin widened at my expression of shock and she poked me in the chest. "He claimed I was working you into an early grave and said it was in the best interest of the ship to have a well-rested First Officer."

Oh gods! "My boyfriend?" I echoed stupidly.

She laughed, "Yes, you know...Tom?" She obviously thought the whole thing was hilarious. She went on, "He was very persuasive. His argument was logical, too. I wonder if he and Tuvok put their heads together just so they could get their hands on us. What do you think?" She took another sip of wine.

What I said was, "I think it's possible. Tom is capable of doing just about anything." What I thought was, good intentions notwithstanding, he shouldn't have done it and he was going to learn the hard way never to do it again.

Just then the door chimed and Janeway let Tuvok in. She turned to me and said, "Go. Enjoy your evening."

"Thank you. I shall," I answered and I hoped it would be true. I left them and headed straight for my quarters. I had a feeling that Tom would be lurking nearby. I was angry. Damn him, anyway. I wondered if he didn't know that this would piss me off or if he knew it and just didn't care.

Rounding the corner, I saw Tom indolently leaning against the wall near the door to my cabin. He straightened when he saw me approach and sent me a blinding smile. I went up to him intending to shake some sense into him but he threw his arms around me and gave me a big, wet kiss as well. I hugged him back, nearly crushing him in my ire, then keyed in the code to open my door.

"Hi," he said, oblivious to my mood. "Long time, no see. I've missed you." His suggestive tone of voice didn't help matters any.

"Come inside," I barked. "I want to talk to you. Now!" I moved within, dragging him along with me. Once the door closed, I turned to face him and stated, "I appreciate what you did but it was wrong. Why didn't you come to *me*?"

He was startled by my vehemence. I don't think it occurred to him until just then, that essentially what he'd done was go behind my back or, in this case, over my head. His expression changed to reflect the realization and he looked genuinely repentant. "Chakotay, I'm sorry. I didn't think. I was just so anxious to see you, be with you. This idea just popped into my mind and I ran with it. I promise I will never do it again."

I sighed, calming somewhat. He hadn't thought it through. Typical of Tom; so impulsive. He looked upset. I said, "Come here," and took him into my arms again, trying to let my anger go. I went on, "You need to learn to think ahead, to take things into account before you act. I'm not angry with you, not any more, just very annoyed. I know now that you didn't mean to make me mad."

He pulled away and in a low voice asked, "Are you going to punish me for this?"

I looked back at him squarely and answered, "Yes. I am. Don't you think you deserve it?"

Blue eyes clouded with remorse. "Now that I know I upset you, yes, I do." He paused. "Will you do it now?"

I thought about how I felt at that moment. I wasn't that upset, I could do it now. Then we could move past it and get on with whatever it was Tom had planned for the evening. I was certain he had something up his sleeve.

"Yes. Right now. We'll both feel better when it's done." I hoped it wouldn't ruin our evening but that was a chance I had to take. I knew that it would wreck everything if we left the situation unresolved.

"Tell me what to do." Blue eyes beseeched me for absolution. "I want to get it over with." He looked more upset about this than I felt, even when Janeway was teasing me about 'my boyfriend'.

Decision made, I stated, "Pull your pants down and lay over the table." As he did so, I went to retrieve what I needed. When I returned, he was in position, legs apart and waiting. I stepped up to his side and more calmly said, "You've earned yourself a taste of this." I showed him the strap. "Now you will find out how it feels." I placed one hand on his lower back and gave him a moment to prepare. "Are you ready?"

"Yes. Do it." He closed his eyes and I let go.

I brought the strap down hard enough to leave a stripe across the middle of his buttocks. I then laid another stripe diagonally across the first one, then another lower down where the cheeks and thighs join. He didn't make a sound. I knew it stung like crazy. I'd been whipped before but not in many, many years. I raised my arm for the fourth time and aimed a little higher. Then, one last diagonal lash to even things out. I decided that it was enough.

I placed my hand on his shoulder and said, "We're done, Tom. It's finished. Rest there a minute." I put the strap away. I felt better and I knew that when the initial pain had passed, he would, too. He needed to know that the incident was now closed.

I knew he'd remember this for a long, long time and even though I admit I enjoyed wielding the strap, it wasn't what I liked most. This event had the sense of being personal in that I was the wronged party and it didn't sit right with me. It's one thing to punish for disobedience or to correct someone's behavior in general but it's quite another when you are the person who's been hurt and there are others involved.

I returned to the living area and went to him. "Get up now." I helped him to stand and he turned to me, reaching out, pants down around his feet. I held him and just let him be for a moment or two.

He buried his face between my neck and shoulder then mumbled, "I'm so sorry."

I said softly, "It's done, Tom. It's over. I forgive you. Just don't ever do it again."

I heard a muffled "OK" in response and we just stood there for a while.

My hands found his ass and I felt the heat come off in waves. Gently, I caressed the flaming flesh and asked, "How do you feel?"

"Better. It hurt but it's getting better."

"I meant emotionally," I clarified.

"Oh." He blinked. "I feel relieved. When I realized that I'd upset you, I felt like shit. That was the *last* thing I wanted to do tonight!"

I stroked his hair. "What *did* you have in mind for tonight?" I was curious. If he went to all the trouble to corner Janeway, it must be something exceptional.

He sucked in a deep breath, looked me in the eye said, "I wanted to take care of you. I have a program for the holodeck that I made just for us, for when you need something special."

Another stroke. "I see. Can we still take advantage of it or has this..." I patted his butt gently, "...ruined your plans?" I ventured the question with some trepidation as I knew it would be a major setback for us if his punishment interfered with a surprise for me that he'd spent a lot of time working on.

He thought about it for a moment then answered, "We can still do it...if you want to. I might be a little uncomfortable but that's no big deal. I can live with it." He peered at me, searching my eyes for something. I suppose he found it because he went on, "I'd like to share it with you. I still think you need it and would enjoy it. What do you say?"

"If you're up to it, then so am I." I leaned in for a reassuring kiss and inquired, "Will you allow me to take care of you first?"

He looked puzzled and I told him, "Go lay face down on the couch." He hobbled over while I went to get the soothing cream that would at least take some of the remaining sting away. I didn't want to erase the lesson entirely or I would have used a dermal regenerator. I just wanted to mitigate it a little and provide some comfort in the process. I had a sneaking suspicion that his nanny had probably done something similar in the distant past and since I'd done it after paddling him and Dalby, it seemed to be the thing to do this time as well.

Never let it be said that I cannot spot a recurring theme and learn to take advantage of it.

I brought the cream over and applied it to his skin in large amounts. The strap does more damage than the paddle. It's thinner and therefore leaves different results. I had no doubt that Tom's ass felt like it was on fire. The cream would help. I didn't let my fingertips rest on one spot too long. I know that even the small amount of heat they generated would not be welcome.

As I did before, I parted his cheeks and noted that at least there, his skin was untouched. I had no intention of bringing him off at this point so I just appreciated his beauty for a moment and left it at that. As I smoothed more cream on his ass, Tom began to talk to me.



"You've been going really easy on me since we started seeing each other."


"So I've done my homework and you've told me how you are. I also have a sneaking suspicion that you haven't told me everything and that you need more than you're getting. Am I right?"

I wondered where this was going. "Maybe. What about you?"

He turned to look up at me and said, "I want to know what it's like, for real. Can I be yours for one night to see how it feels? That's what I wanted to do for you tonight." He stared at me with dilated blue eyes that could not hide his emotions. "I'll do whatever you say. Anything at all."

I stared back at him and thought it was definitely time to fuck him. He was asking for it. He wanted it. He was ready for that and more. You can tell when it's time to move forward and this was as clear an indication as any. "Are you sure about this?" I inquired, as I let the last dollop of cream sink into his overheated skin.

"Yes, I am. I want to give you something that will make you feel good. I worry about you sometimes. I'll admit I had a few ideas in mind when I wrote the program but I wanted it to be all for you."

I glanced back at him, saw his earnest expression and replied, "It will be different. If you mean it and we do this, I will show you and tell you exactly what I want. No games. I will expect you to do what I say when I say it. You will also not be allowed to do anything you like. You can take no liberties. Is that understood?"

He exhaled deliberately and answered, "Yes."

"Yes what?" I let a slick finger slide between his cheeks and slip inside him briefly.

"Yes, sir."

I lifted my hand off his butt and stated, "All right. If you're sure you can handle it, pull your pants back up and let's go." I stood and waited, my mind awhirl with possibilities. Oh yes, I'd been waiting for him to ask for more and now he had. Too bad it had to be when his ass was so sore but then again that might make things more interesting. It all depended on that holoprogram of his.

He rose and carefully put his pants in place. Moving to stand before me, he said seriously, "Chakotay, thank you for taking care of me. I love you for it." He hugged me and then looked into my eyes long enough for me to see a hint of merriment before he went on, "Before we go and I turn into Slaveboy for the night, may I kiss you?"

I had to smile at him. I couldn't help it. "Yes, please do."

He did and thoroughly. It felt like it was his last kiss before dying, it was that intense. I vowed then and there to make sure he was kept in a state of partial arousal whenever he was with me. Gods! When he was in this mood, he was so hot I felt like I could mold him into any shape I wanted, sort of like those old-fashioned glass blowers we had on my homeworld.

On our way to the holodeck, I asked him how much time he'd blocked out for us. He told me that per Janeway's authorization we had until 1300 tomorrow. I was stunned. If I had known this was part of her letting me off duty until 1300, I would have objected, strenuously. The fact that Tom was also off duty until then and that we had full run of something normally shared by many others...well, let's just say I'm glad I didn't know about it when I punished Tom earlier or else we wouldn't be here at all.

The doors slid open and Tom pushed me inside. I was struck immediately by the heavy scent of tropical flowers. It was warm and humid enough that the air itself felt like velvet. I decided that my uniform had to go and quickly. It itched and I wanted it off.

Tom reached out to take my hand and I allowed him to do so, considering that I was on unfamiliar ground. It appeared that we were in the middle of a jungle. The place had all the signs of being a rain forest, complete with the sounds of various creatures moving about in the trees. I loved it. It was like being transported to another world; a world I liked very much. How did he know? I thought back and wondered if I'd ever told him how much a place like this meant to me. I didn't think so. Then how did he manage to get it just right?

We headed off on a well-worn path and soon came upon a shack. There was no other word for it, although 'hovel' might have come close. At least it looked that way from outside. He led me to the front entrance and pushed open the door which was hung with actual hinges. It was made of some light-weight material, as was the rest of the structure.

It turned out that the place was not very spacious. There was a living room/kitchen area with a replicator neatly disguised as an old-fashioned refrigerator, along with a bedroom containing a huge bed with a pair of night stands. There was also a tiny bathroom with only a sink and a toilet. At least I guessed it was a toilet. It looked like something you could sit on, if you had to but there were a lot of pipes and such running above it and a long chain hung down with a handle on the end. I thought I might have to ask Tom how it worked.

I really didn't want to have to do that and hoped I'd have a chance to play with it myself before admitting my ignorance. Tonight was supposed to be for me and yet I wondered if he'd programmed these historical oddities just so he could retain some control of his own. He was a very complex man, I wouldn't be surprised if his fear and defiance were manifesting themselves in this way.

We finished our little indoor tour and he brought me outside again to the back to show me a pond lined with stones, steaming slightly. There was a waterfall at one end near where the water flowed out in a small stream. It appeared that this 'pond' was constantly being refilled with fresh water. There was also a huge slab of rock nearby looking for all the world like a massage table. I knew now what he'd meant earlier when he'd admitted to having a few ideas in mind.

He'd provided himself with every opportunity to get his hands on me. With all these amenities, he could bathe me or give me a proper rub-down or well...the possibilities were endless. Tom was very clever but then again, I always knew that.

We returned to the shack and he stopped before what looked like a fully stocked bar. "Can I get you anything?" he asked, obviously in full-blown host mode.

I realized then that it was high time to disabuse him of that notion so I said, "Yes. You can take off your clothes, *now*." He looked surprised for a moment but then moved across the room and did what he'd been told. I watched him, noting that he was folding his clothes neatly and piling them on a nearby chair. I thought then that he'd been telling the truth when he'd said he'd been doing his homework. So far, so good--and neatness did count.

Nude, he came to stand before me and asked, "What's next?"

I grinned at him. "Now you can take off mine."

A flash of pleasant surprise crossed his face and he went at it. He tried to be careful but his excitement and impatience got in the way. He wasn't as gentle as he should have been. When I was naked and he had finished folding up my uniform and put it next to his own clothing, I grabbed his arm and whipped him around, slapping his ass hard, twice.

"Ow! What was that for?" he turned and asked, a hurt look on his face.

I replied, "For being too quick and rough with your task. Next time, be more aware of what you're doing and to whom you are doing it." Then I spun him around again and swatted him once more. "And that one was for daring to question me for the first two. If and when I punish you, I will explain why. Understand?"

He looked at me and I saw him adjust to the situation. This was for real. Acceptance mingled with a healthy dose of cautiousness and even a little fear and he replied softly, "Yes, sir."

"Good. Find me something light to wear," I ordered. I knew his ass was already tender from the earlier encounter with the strap so I went easy on him, this time.

He went over to a door in the wall which turned out to be a mini-closet. He reached inside and pulled out a couple of robes. He silently offered me my choice and I went for the longer one. I pulled it on and saw him start to put on the other when I reached forward and yanked it out of his hands. "Oh, no you don't," I said. "You seem to have forgotten a cardinal rule."

Startled and confused, he blurted out, "What?"

I wadded up the robe and threw it aside saying, "You stay naked; the way you were born. Tonight you are mine and you will not wear anything at all. Got that?" I was beginning to wonder if he was ready for all of this. Maybe too much time had passed since we'd been together last. I was willing to make allowances but still, he'd asked for the real thing and he was going to get it. I was tired of waiting and it was time to find out if he could take it.

Again the look of trepidation but then memory kicked in as I drew him to me and gripped his ass in my hands. He sighed in capitulation and a whispered "Yes, sir," floated into my ear.

"Good. Don't forget what you agreed to and who is in charge. Now go and pour me a glass of wine. And yes, before you ask, you may have one as well." I released him and he went back to the bar but with a new attitude this time. I seated myself on the couch and waited.

Tom brought me a glass of white wine without a word. At least he remembered my preferences, I thought. Then he poured one for himself and came to stand in front of me with a questioning look. I motioned for him to sit down beside me and then turned to pull him halfway into my lap. I could access his face and chest and anything else if I so desired but what I wanted to do now was to speak with him.

I raised my leg so he could lean against it and be upright enough to sip his wine. He relaxed into position and I commanded, "Talk to me. Tell me what you've been doing while I've been in my meetings. I want to know how you've been keeping yourself occupied."

He began by telling me all about creating this program. How he'd worked on it after dinners with Harry and his research, which included talking to anyone I'd ever been on good terms with. Turned out there were more of those people than I thought, at least among the former Maquis. Most of the Starfleet members of the crew hadn't known me before I quit and turned renegade. I was impressed and flattered that Tom had spent so much of his time creating this for me. When he told me he loved me for taking care of him earlier, I'd thought it was just gratitude for the things we'd shared, now I knew it was more.

I reached out and began stroking his chest. I let my fingers twine through the red-gold hairs there and played with his nipples as well. He didn't react too much until I pinched one nipple lightly, then he began to squirm. I glanced at his body and saw his cock twitch.

He set aside his wine and tried to finish his sentence regarding what else had been happening. I was too caught up in the soft sensation of his skin under my fingertips to listen closely. I decided it was time to play a little more and moved my hand down between his legs. Ignoring his cock, I sipped my wine and asked him to repeat what he'd said about Dalby. I moved my fingers to caress his balls, opening his legs in the process. I watched his cock grow even as he tried to answer my question. He was not successful.

I backed off and wondered vaguely if whatever he was going to say about Dalby had been important. I hoped not. I had other things on my mind now. I scooped Tom upright, kissed him lightly said, "Thank you for telling me that. I hope you will recall it in the morning, because then I'll ask you to repeat it. For now, I want you on your knees, on the floor in front of me."

He got up and then got down, no doubt wishing he'd thought to program a carpet in this place. I shifted my position slightly, moving my hips forward and opening the lower half of my robe. Parting my legs, I beckoned to him. "Suck me, Tom."

He reached for my cock with his hands but I batted them away gently, saying, "Mouth only. Keep your hands where I can see them."

His lips came down upon me, his head moving to find the best angle. His hands came to rest on either side of me, one on the arm of the couch and the other next to my hip, clutching my robe. He began slowly and I reached out to touch his hair and face. I knew what places would affect him and so I caressed them. I watched as his hands turned into frustrated fists and noticed that his tongue action faltered every now and then.

Oh, how I loved this. I sipped my wine and felt the tension of the last few weeks start to fall away, only to be replaced by arousal. I let it build slowly, savoring it. I watched Tom suck and lick my cock and balls, while I ran my fingers through his hair and played with his ears and neck. His hands were tightly clenched and I knew he was hard. The sweet sensation of his lips and tongue caressing me was indescribable. How I'd missed it the last couple of weeks. I finished my wine and decided the time had come to take him. I placed my hand on his head, stilling his movements and quietly said, "Enough."

He slowly, reluctantly, released my erection and sat back on his heels, breathing hard. "Have I ever told you that I love how you taste?" He leered at me and licked his lips.

"Not until now," I smiled. "Get up and come with me." We rose to our feet and I led him into the bedroom. I opened the top drawer of the nearest night stand and found what I'd hoped was there; a big tube of lube, that I instantly appropriated. I turned to look at Tom and said, "I see you prepared for every eventuality. I'll bet there's another one of these in the other night stand. Am I right?" I grinned.

His face flushed red and he looked guilty as sin. "Yes."

I sat down at an angle and patted the space beside me toward the middle of the bed. "Come and sit here next to me." He climbed over the edge and sat down carefully where I indicated. We were facing each other. He shifted a little trying find a way to get comfortable with all his weight resting on his sore butt. I set the tube aside and reached for him. "Scoot down a little and lean back on your hands."

He complied and I adjusted his position until I was satisfied. Then I took his face into my hands and just looked at him for a long moment. This was it. He knew it and I knew it. He sighed as I gazed into his beautiful blue eyes. I saw by the passion reflected there that he wanted this as much as I did, that he'd been waiting for it, as I had. I kissed him on the forehead and both cheeks then rubbed my nose against his a time or two. Finally my lips landed on his and I teased them open with my tongue. Slowly, I invaded his mouth, just as I planned to invade the rest of him.

I kissed him for a long, long time, letting my hands wander down and all around. He warmed up nicely, I will admit. It was such a pleasure doing this to him, for him. I finally pulled away and his eyes glittered at me. I put a hand on his chest and pushed him to lie flat. I turned and reached for his hands pulling them up and placing them over his head saying, "Keep them there." He nodded but remained silent.

I grabbed the lube, lifted his legs spreading them apart, then greased my fingers well. With one hand I stroked him anywhere and everywhere, utilizing the knowledge I gained from our first 'experiment' while the other concentrated on preparing him for my use. He writhed and began moaning softly. His hands were gripping the headboard in an effort to stay where they'd been put. When he was up to four fingers and doing his best at thrashing around while impaled, I pulled them out and stood up. His eyes opened and he watched me as I deliberately removed my robe and kneeled between his thighs.

I opened the tube again and coated my hard cock liberally with the slick gel. His hungry gaze was glued to every move of my hand. I tossed the gel aside and lifted his legs over my shoulders. He shifted his glance up and we locked eyes. I positioned my cock at the entrance to his body and in one move, drove inside him to the hilt.

"Ooohhh yesss!" he hissed as he rose to meet my first thrust. We began to create a new rhythm of our own and rocked back and forth making music of the sexual kind. The instruments we played were made of flesh and the tune that poured out of us reflected that. Grunts, groans, moans, sighs, and the sound of skin against skin came together to comprise our song.

The sensation of being within Tom was exquisite. I placed my hands next to his shoulders and leaned down for a kiss. My tongue pushed into his mouth just as my cock did the same to his ass. He was so open, so welcoming, I felt like I could lose myself completely in his warm depths.

I sensed his acceptance of my lead and it spurred me on to greater passion. He was loving this as much as I was. I could almost hear his thoughts of, "Take me! Take me!" that he shouted in his mind. I did my best to oblige him. I wanted him to feel everything there was to feel and even more. I wanted to send him so far into sensual hyperspace that he'd think warp 10 was a standstill.

I also wanted him to come first so I could see the look on his face when he did. I panted, "Move your hands. Touch yourself." He snaked them between our heaving bodies and began a counterstroke. "Don't come until I tell you to." I thrust in harder and picked up speed. His hands moved faster and I got closer. "Now, Tom, come now!"

It took one more pull and he arched and clenched his muscles around me. His legs tensed and I stopped briefly, buried deep inside him to watch the expression of ecstasy cross his face. Oh but he was gorgeous like this. After a few seconds or maybe an eon, it was over. He relaxed, yielding to me and I picked up where I left off. Again and again I pounded into him, climbing ever higher toward my own peak. When I reached it, I jumped joyously over the edge and surrendered to it with a roar.

He recovered first, making sure I didn't squash him when I nearly collapsed. In this position I could not remain inside him comfortably, so I pulled out and flopped over onto my side. He rolled over as well and we straightened out to lie front to front, all parts of us touching. I heaved one last, huge sigh and kissed him again, letting him know that I appreciated his surrender, temporary though it was.

I was positive he was as much affected as I was by our first coupling. I knew it wasn't the best we could achieve. First times are notoriously awkward but I felt in our case it didn't matter. We had, I hoped, the rest of our lives to make it perfect.

He looked at me seriously and said, "May I touch you now?"

I smiled tiredly. "Yes, Tom. You may."

He wrapped an arm and a leg around me tightly and said, "That was fantastic. It felt like the 4th of July, Bastille Day and the anniversary of the forming of the Federation all in one. I didn't know it could be like that, could feel so good. Thank you." He kissed me tenderly and I suddenly realized that his expertise in making love to men must have come at a great personal cost. What it was exactly, I didn't want to know. Because if I did, I feared I would have the urge to kill somebody and that somebody was in the Alpha Quadrant and I couldn't get there now. I knew then that if Tom never consented to being mine in all ways, it wouldn't matter. I loved him enough to accept whatever he could offer.

Reining in my runaway emotions, I responded, "I'm glad you liked it. I did, too. Very much. You were wonderful." I rolled onto my back and pulled him on top of me, holding him close, kissing him and rubbing his back.

As I moved a sheet up to cover us and keep us warm, he asked quietly, "Will it always be like this?"

Puzzled, I said, "Like this how?"

Somewhat embarrassed, he answered, "You on top."

Relegating the instinct to test him further into the back reaches of my mind, I held him tightly for a minute, then brought his eyes to meet mine. "No, Tom, not always." I kissed him again and let a teasing tone enter my voice. "I like to get it as much as I like to give it...and I'm hoping that a little later this evening, you'll be *up* for it."

He stared at me for a moment or two. Then I watched him revive a little. "Oh, yeah? Well, I think I might be able to manage that. If you're sure...."

I grinned complacently. "I'm sure."

He mumbled, "OK. In the meantime, is there anything else I can do for you?"

"No, not a thing." It seemed we both needed a little shut-eye so I instructed the computer to wake us in 45 minutes.

He snuggled close to me, yawning. "Thanks, I could use a snooze."



Taming of Tom Paris, Part 5