The next several days were busy ones for me, seeing that the new schedules worked out, making adjustments here and there and generally poking my nose into every department to see if things were running smoothly. I was pleased that there weren't many complaints. The Captain accused me of babying her by allowing her to putter around whatever science labs she liked but I just told her that she needed to mingle with the crew and reacquaint herself with the scientific oddities of the Delta Quadrant, the same as I did.
Janeway, Tuvok and I had flexible schedules because we never knew what might come up. Tom's first few days in Sickbay weren't the disaster I feared they might be. It wasn't completely smooth sailing but he didn't complain too much. I think my warning him that constant bitching and moaning would result in a certain part of his body being upturned over my lap did the trick. In fact, just mentioning 'lap time' was often enough to keep him in line.
Not everyone knew who was training where. Sometimes I'd overhear snatches of conversation indicating someone had been surprised by finding someone else in a place they least expected.
One of the evenings during this initial period that Tom and I were together, he was lying quietly, buck-naked on the sofa, a padd filled with medical information propped on his chest while I was lost in the remainder of my daily reports. The door chimed and without thinking I called out, "Come." Tuvok entered the room as Tom hastily covered his groin with a throw pillow.
Tuvok's eyebrow rose a fraction of a millimeter but he showed no other reaction to finding a nude Tom Paris in my cabin while I was still fully clothed in my uniform. He said, "Pardon the intrusion, Commander."
I waved him inside and the door closed. Sensing Tom's distress, I said sharply, "What can I do for you?"
He studiously ignored Tom who was blushing furiously and confined his attention to me saying, "I recently encountered Seven of Nine working with Mr. Neelix in the galley. I wondered if I might inquire why she has been assigned to work there."
I replied seriously, "Actually, her assignment serves two purposes. One, she is more than competent in many technical areas and I felt that she needed something to round out her experience. Since she has begun to eat actual food, she needs to learn at least the rudiments of cooking; someday, she may have to cook for herself." I paused as Tuvok processed this explanation.
He nodded and responded, "That is logical. What is the other reason?"
I smiled to myself, remembering how Neelix had tried to bribe me with an unlimited supply of tortillas in order to get his 'love muffin' to spend more time with him. "The second purpose is purely personal. You'll find out sooner or later so I see no reason not to tell you now. There's a romance brewing between the two." Tuvok's brow climbed higher and I glanced at Tom who was no longer red but suddenly looked like he had Tuvok's blood flowing through his veins. I continued, "It appears that Neelix has introduced Seven to the concept of chocolate and that, as they say, is all she wrote."
The look on Tom's face was priceless. Maybe now he would understand why I'd assigned his good friend Harry to work with all the lovely ladies in Biophysics.
Tuvok just nodded yet again and said, "Thank you for explaining it to me. I will admit that I was somewhat curious. Good night and thank you for your time, Commander." He turned to leave, giving Tom a very restrained nod.
"You're welcome. Good night," I answered.
As soon as the door closed behind him, Tom launched himself off the couch and came over to me. He stood in front of me, radiating anger and then deliberately hit me over the head with the pillow, twice. He growled, "That wasn't nice, Chakotay. You said you wouldn't do things like that to me."
I took the pillow away from him and tossed it aside, saying, "I know I did. I'm sorry. It was unintentional. From now on we'll keep a blanket nearby so if I ever slip up again, you'll be covered." He looked only partially pacified so I added, "Is there anything I can do to make amends?"
I knew I'd fucked up and I felt awful about it. When I make a promise to Tom, I know I'm expected to keep it. No one knew how we conducted our private lives and I'd told him that I'd keep the special aspects of our relationship, as it developed, just between us. This was as close as I'd ever come to letting something slip and I needed to atone for it.
Tom looked at me speculatively, as if he were weighing various options. Finally, he demanded, "Tell me exactly what you meant by 'is there anything I can do'. I want to know what the rules are when *you* screw up and break a promise you made to me. Explain what sort of retribution I can expect when you make a mistake concerning me, concerning us."
Letting out a deep breath, I pulled him to stand closer to me. I bowed my head, taking his cock and balls into my hands and leaned down to kiss them. He placed his hands on my shoulders and I looked up into blazing blue eyes. Then I stated, "You may ask me to do whatever you want when I make a mistake of this magnitude; a mistake of this nature. I'll take whatever you dish out. I owe it to you."
Recognizing my sincerity, he said softly, "Really? *Anything* I want?"
I stood up and looked him in the eye. "Tom, I meant it when I said 'anything'. I know you allow me to control most but not all, of our lives together and I'm grateful for that. However, I'm human. Fallible. I can make mistakes, like I did tonight. I'm so sorry for putting you through that. I will try to not do it again but if I do, like now, I will want to make it up to you." I put my arms around him and kissed him softly. Then I offered, "You can beat me if you want to. I'll take it willingly."
He looked horrified for a split second, seized me and would not let go. Then his expression changed and he said thoughtfully, "I see. I wonder which I would enjoy more: using the paddle or the strap on that gorgeous ass of yours. Or maybe I should just put you over my knee, the way you do me."
I couldn't tell if he was serious. I replied, "Whatever you want, just choose quickly. Don't make me wait." I pulled out of his embrace and gave him some room to think. Holding his hands in mine, I moved us over to the couch.
He asked, "How much time do I have to choose?"
I propped my legs up on the coffee table and said. "Five minutes. No longer. Whatever you decide, we do tonight. I will not abide playing any sort of waiting game. Do you understand me?"
"Message received loud and clear. Let me think." He answered as he curled up on his side and put his head in my lap.
The next minutes passed so slowly for me. I could see the thoughts racing through his mind and wished, not for first time, that I could be inside his head. I felt bad about what happened. I'm not supposed to make mistakes like that. I looked down at Tom and thought he deserved better. I'd do whatever he wanted. I knew the value of paying the price for wrongdoing. I would feel relieved and he would feel that justice had been done and we could go on from there.
He sat up suddenly and said, "I know what I want you to do for me."
"What is it?"
"I want you to let me make love to you under certain conditions."
"What conditions?" I wasn't too sure about this. It didn't sound like I'd be doing any penance at all.
He rapped out, "First, you will have to remain silent. Second, you cannot touch me. Third, you cannot see me. I know how much you like to look so I'm going to deprive you of that pleasure. If you want me to stop, say so. You can use the safe words you chose for me."
I thought he certainly had covered the bases well. It would be very difficult for me to meet all those conditions at once but I'd try. "All right. I agree. May I finish my reports first?"
"Sure. I'll fetch a blanket to put out here. Let me know when you're ready." He hopped to his feet and I returned to my desk.
It didn't take long before I laid the last padd aside. Tom brought out a blanket and artfully arranged it over the back of the sofa, then went over to the replicator and got something for himself. I stood and cleared my desk then went over to him and said, "I'm ready."
He led me into the bedroom and stripped me efficiently. Slipping an eyemask in place, he said softly, "It starts now. No noise, no touching."
He guided me to the middle of the bed and placed my hands at my sides. I lay there, unmoving, waiting. He let me wait while he took care of my clothes and bustled around the room doing who knew what. I heard drawers open and close and things shifted in cabinets. I wondered what he had in store for me.
I heard him move to end of the bed and then all was silence. I knew he was standing there looking at me. After what seemed like forever, he moved onto the bed and lay full length on top of me as if I were his own personal mattress. I ached to put my arms around him, to hold him there but I couldn't. He kissed my cheek and nuzzled an ear, moving slowly around my face and neck with his lips and tongue.
He teased me unmercifully. I could smell him. Gods, this was turning out to be torture. He ignored my lips completely, not letting me taste him; yet another sense he wouldn't let me use. Slowly he moved down my body, caressing me, rubbing against me, allowing me to feel his erection as it slid over my skin.
I wished that he had bound me in place. I didn't know how I would manage to keep my hands at my sides. They itched to reach out, to grab and clutch at him, to bring him under my control. I tried hard to relax. I recited mantras that under any other circumstances would have calmed me instantly. They didn't work. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, vowing I wouldn't use the safe words no matter what.
He licked and nibbled wherever he wished, driving me crazy with random touches here and there. My nerves were silently screaming by the time he reached my feet.
The words, though softly spoken sounded very loud to me. I did as he told me and settled on my stomach, my raging erection mashed beneath me against the bedspread. He started with my feet and moved up centimeter by centimeter, tormenting me with his fingertips and tongue. It was so difficult not to moan, not to move. I imagined myself frozen in place, held immobile by some alien force. It was the only image I could conjure up to help me stay in control.
Finally, he reached the back of my neck and bit me lightly while he covered my body completely with his. I felt his cock nestled against my ass and yearned to feel it inside me. He ran his hands down my arms coming to rest with our fingers entwined. Then he moved his legs between mine pushing them apart. I gripped his hands tightly until he nipped at my neck and whispered, "Let go of me."
It took an enormous amount of my will power to comply. I felt bereft when his fingers left mine. It was all so much, almost too much to bear. I prayed this would be over soon and I swore to myself I would not make any more mistakes if this was what I had to go through to pay for them.
I was so tense, trying to stay in control, that my whole body felt like one giant knot. He moved to lie by my side, one leg thrown over mine and I felt slick fingers gently prepare me. At the first rub of my prostate, I jerked. I couldn't help it. I expected a painful reminder of the rules but all he did was stop all motion entirely and wait for me to subside.
Eventually, when he deemed me ready, he placed his cock in position and moved within me. It was the slowest, tenderest act of love I have ever experienced in my life. He gave new meaning to the words 'with my body I thee worship'. I was so overwhelmed I almost cried.
He covered me, surrounded me and filled me with his love, over and over and over. When he climaxed, he groaned my name and I lost it. My orgasm was almost painful in its intensity. He lay on top of me, keeping us joined for as long as he could.
When it was no longer possible, he positioned us on our sides facing each other and removed the mask, flinging it far away from us. He stared into my eyes as if he'd never seen them before and sighed, "I missed you. I need to see your eyes, I know that now. They are the entrance to your soul. And they're such a beautiful shade of brown that it's a shame to hide them." Then he kissed me sweetly, for a long time then murmured, "I missed this, too."
I was too far gone to do anything except whisper, "I love you." I don't recall anything more of that night.
Schedules being what they were, I did spend some time on the bridge. I found it unsettling because I was used to having Tom at the helm. I missed him, his cheerful banter and his jokes. I looked forward to when we'd get to work together, even if it was going to be rather dull work. Reports are almost always extremely boring to read and tedious to wade through but they were a necessary evil and so must be dealt with.
I was also looking forward to when the Captain and I would meet with Neelix. I'd put us on the roster for some much needed time with our Morale Officer. I'd expected that she'd balk at the assignment but she took it in stride with nary a grumble. When we'd get the opportunity to do it, I didn't know but I had a few ideas I wanted to see implemented to enhance the repertoire of the holodeck programs. I was also curious to see what Kathryn would come up with up when planning for the crew's relaxation.
Still and all, my short bridge shifts were very unexciting. Unfamiliar crew to contend with but nothing else out of the ordinary. It gave me plenty of time to think, to deal with reports and to plan other activities. I still spent time counseling certain individuals and wondered if I were to counsel myself and/or Tom, what would I suggest?
I knew that we, as a couple, needed to spend time with other people. For Tom and I, this last week had been incredible. We'd spent all of our free time, what there was of it, together. I'd screwed up once and was still dealing with the guilt I felt. Other than that, which was entirely my own fault, I had nothing to worry about.
Tom was doing well in dealing with the Doctor on a daily basis. A few times he'd come by after shift annoyed but we'd talk it over and he always felt better afterwards. I gave him suggestions on how to handle the situations that bothered him most. At first, he seemed amazed that I would spend time helping him cope with these sorts of issues. I just explained that I wanted to see him happy and that if providing a sympathetic ear along with a few strategies was what it took, then I'd gladly do it.
He seemed more centered as our time together increased. I thought it was a good sign. Lessons in mental and emotional control can be very difficult but he learned quickly and I think it gave him a sense of personal power to know that he had a choice in the way he could react to things. As time went by, he found he didn't need to wear his protective flyboy mask all the time.
I pondered the evening ahead and decided that, if the good Doctor hadn't overloaded Tom with homework, a night out was called for. Maybe the resort or Sandrine's, I didn't care which. I'd let Tom choose.
Once my shift was over, I hurried to my quarters, anxious to get rid of the uniform. I showered and changed clothes, putting on my silks again, just for the hell of it. Tom arrived shortly thereafter and before he could strip, I stopped him. "We're going out tonight."
"We are?" He looked shocked and I thought we should've done this sooner.
"Yes. First, let's grab dinner and then I want to go somewhere with a lot of people. Sandrine's or the resort; your choice."
"My choice?" He stood there with his mouth open so I kissed him. That brought him to his senses. "May I change out of uniform?"
I smiled, "Of course. Wear something sexy for me." I kissed him again.
We stopped by his quarters on the way to the mess hall. As he showered and changed, I amused myself by looking around. I noted the stack of padds on the table and the pile of vids next to the viewer. What do we have here? 'Debbie Does the Delta Quadrant'? Oh gods...a home-made blue vid! Trust Tom to leave something like this lying out in plain sight. I laughed to myself and wondered who had the starring role.
Tom entered the room quietly, wearing an outfit that made me want to rip it off him. Tight, dark trousers coupled with a silver-gray silk shirt that clung to every muscle. I wondered if my idea of going out in public was such a good one after all. Picking up the vid, I waved it at Tom and inquired, "Is anyone I know in this?"
He realized which vid it was and blushed furiously. Muttering something that sounded like 'holocharacters', he snatched it out of my hand and stammered, "This was uh, before--you, me--uh, before us!"
I smiled and said, "It's OK, Tom. Maybe sometime we can watch it together." I laughed at the incredulous look he gave me. "Come on, let's go eat."
What we had for dinner neither of us recognized but Neelix assured me that it met my standards. After choking it down and washing away the taste with some tea, I turned to Tom. "So where would you like to go tonight?"
He countered with a question of his own. "Cha, why are we doing this?" He did not look thrilled.
I wondered which wrong idea had lodged itself into his brain this time. "What do you mean, 'why'? I felt it was time to get out and see people. I don't want the crew to think we're a pair of hermits, always holed up in my cabin. I also figured you'd enjoy a chance to spend some time with your friends."
"Oh, OK. If that's the reason, then I vote for Sandrine's. I haven't been there for days." He sounded vastly relieved.
Concerned, I asked, "What were you thinking when you looked so worried? Tell me." I clasped his hand in mine tightly, letting him know we weren't leaving until he told me the truth.
He lowered his gaze and mumbled, "I thought maybe you were getting bored with me."
I pulled him to his feet and kissed him soundly. "You can be such an idiot." I then whispered in his ear, "I find you endlessly fascinating, don't you know that by now?" I didn't care who was watching. We were off duty and the crew had to get used to seeing us together. Without waiting for any answer other than his suddenly brilliant smile, we picked up our trays and headed out.
Sandrine's wasn't too crowded when we arrived. We got a couple of beers and picked a table with a good view. People came and went. We sat and drank, holding hands, watching from afar the games of pool being played. About halfway through our first beer, Harry Kim approached our table brandishing a cue stick saying, "Hey, Tom, care for a game?"
Tom looked at me, silently asking permission and I nodded. He replied, "Sure, Har. You want to play for rations or just practice?" He squeezed my hand and grabbed his beer.
As they walked away I overheard Harry say, "Since when do you check with him before playing pool?"
Unruffled, Tom answered, "Since we're here on a date, I thought I'd be polite. Now, do you want to play for fun or for real?"
Harry must've caught the 'back-off' tone of Tom's voice because he dropped the subject and all I heard was, "For fun...." before they moved out of range.
I sat back and sipped my beer settling down to watch Tom play pool. He moved so gracefully, the cue becoming an extension of his hands. The two of them moved around the table, their discussion lively. I peered around at the rest of the bar's patrons. More of the crew had been steadily drifting in and I received waves and nods of acknowledgment every so often. Still, no one approached me directly. A frisson of the old loneliness snaked over me and I thought that without Tom in my life, I would probably have turned into a bitter old man, especially if we were stuck out here for many more years.
I listened with half an ear to the buzz of conversation around me and finished my beer. Still engrossed in my thoughts and watching Tom move, I was startled when a full mug was placed in front of me. I looked up to find Kathryn smiling down.
"Care for some company or are you too busy watching Tom?"
I grinned back at her and pulled out the chair next to me. "Please join me. Thank you for the beer." I toasted her and took a swallow.
She nodded in return. "So, Chakotay, you two decided to come out of hiding. I'm glad. I've missed you."
Surprised, I retorted, "Why? You have Tuvok."
She laughed. "He doesn't do gossip nearly as well as you do. I also wanted to talk to you about a couple of things."
Groaning inwardly, I ventured, "Work-related?"
She laid a hand on my arm, "No, well, not all. We are off-duty right now." She indicated her martini with a flick of her fingers and went on, "Just some observations and a question or two."
Her vaguely mysterious tone got me curious. "OK. Shoot. I'm listening."
She gave me a guileless glance. "I know you and Tom have been seeing each other for quite a while. I must say that he seems happier, more in control of himself, even, gods forbid I should say this about a pilot--but he seems grounded somehow. You must be doing something right. I've also had positive reports from the Doctor. He's very impressed with Tom's attitude and willingness to not only learn but to teach as well." She paused and took a decorous sip of her drink.
I knew there was more to come so I waited. When she remained silent too long, I prompted, "Go on."
Sighing, she looked at me intently and continued, "Your relationship with Tom has changed you, too. You've mellowed somewhat. It's as if now that you have someone to lavish all your love and attention on, it's a great relief for you. I've worried about you for a long time. I'm glad I don't have to any longer. I'm very happy for you both."
Puzzled, I inquired, "You were worried about me? Why? Did I do something in particular to cause this?"
She shook her head and took a larger swallow. "No, nothing concrete. It's just that after our time on New Earth, once we returned, I looked at you with new eyes. I saw someone who needed more than I could give. I'm sorry--" I tried to interrupt but she wouldn't let me, saying, "No. Let me finish. You are a very passionate man and I knew there was no way I could match you in that respect. Tom, on the other hand, although he's a raw talent at this point, can. I suspect that over time, the two of you will grow together and become so much a part of each other that the rest of us won't know precisely where one of you begins and the other ends. There, I've said my piece. Let's talk about something else."
Stunned by her impromptu speech and instinctively reacting to the command tone that colored her last sentence, I nodded and took a swig of my beer. "So what else is on your mind?"
At that moment, Neelix entered the bar with Seven nearly glued to him. "Speak of the devil...." The Captain murmured.
I looked at her and said, "So you've heard about them?"
"Of course, Tuvok told me what you told him. But what I really want to talk about is what we're going to do when we meet with him regarding morale."
We traded ideas about what sort of holoprograms we wanted to create until Tom and Harry joined us. Then our conversation drifted into speculation on what lay beyond this area of nearly dead space. Not too long after we'd exhausted that subject, both Kathryn and Harry excused themselves leaving us alone.
I sipped my beer and inquired, "So what did you and Harry talk about?"
Tom grinned and said, "Oh, we traded horror stories about our cross-training experiences, only his weren't too horrible. He's having a ball working with all those pretty, young things in Biophysics. He told me he has dates lined up through next month. May I ask what you and the Captain discussed or is it classified?"
I laughed. "No, it's not classified. She gave 'us' official approval and we traded a little gossip. Then we talked about expanding the list of holoprograms available to the crew. She surprised me by suggesting that we could use a bowling alley."
Tom snickered at my expression of disbelief. "Are you that shocked? I mean bowling has been around for hundreds of years."
I took another drink and confessed, "I know that. It's just that I can't imagine her wearing those ridiculous multi-colored shoes."
Tom burst out laughing. "I hadn't thought of that." He leaned toward me conspiratorially, "Can you see her wearing the traditional shirt, too? Gods, what a picture, especially if she replicates one with her name on it!"
We both chuckled over that and finished our beers. Tonight had been good for us. We'd needed this. It also served to let Tom know how we would behave in public.
His voice lowered. "Cha?"
"Thank you for tonight. I had a good time even though I didn't spend enough of it with you."
"You're more than welcome. I had a good time, too." I brought his hand to my lips and kissed the palm.
He looked around and then back at me cautiously. "May I make a request?"
"Of course. What would you like?"
He licked his lips nervously. "Will you dance with me?"
I answered him by standing and extending my hand. He placed his in mine and I stated, "Only if I lead."
He stood and responded, "I wouldn't have it any other way."
We got lucky and the music changed to suit my mood. We danced close. It felt so good to hold him. Before too long, other parts of me were letting it be known that it felt good to them, too. Tom was similarly affected. His grip on my hand tightened and I murmured into his ear, "When this song is over, I'm taking you home where I will have my way with you."
He shivered as we swayed together. "How? Tell me how you're going to do it."
"No. You'll just have to wait and see." I ground against him pondering the possibilities. My hand moved to his ass and I squeezed gently, forcing a low moan from him.
He gasped, "Do we have to wait? Can't we go now?"
I removed my hand from one of its favorite resting spots and kissed him lightly. "Be patient. We'll go when this song is over and not before."
He gazed at me, those blue eyes working their magic and I almost caved in to his request. Damn, the man had a power over me he didn't even realize. I was determined to make us both wait. He needed the practice and I needed to regain control.
When the song ended, we left. In the turbolift, he turned to me and said, "You have the strangest look on your face. I'm wondering if I'll like what you have planned."
I stroked his hair and replied, "If you were mine completely I'd punish you for that last remark. As it is, just be prepared to serve me well."
His demeanor changed instantly and I reminded him, "Never forget that you have safe words."
He whispered, "I won't. It's just that I keep forgetting to change them."
END OF PART EIGHT
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Taming of Tom Paris, Part 9