by arachne

This was my first Voyager story - a little bit of froth inspired by the idea of Tom and Chakotay smouldering in the turbolift. The R rating is for language - not sex, because basically there isn't any. Sorry. Feedback welcome, even criticism, but no flames please.

DISCLAIMER: Voyager and her lovely crew are owned by Paramount. I am borrowing them for a short while but promise to play nicely and return them when I'm done.

With a barely audible hum the automatic doors glided shut on the retreating backs of two engineering crewmen, leaving Chakotay and Tom Paris as the only occupants of turbolift B. Both were headed the same way, to the bridge where the morning shift was due to begin. Tom barely on time, as was his wont. Chakotay, slightly ruffled, unusually late.

As a rule Tom tried not to think about the Commander but he paused to consider this circumstance. The guy was usually like clockwork, running ahead of schedule by ten or fifteen minutes. Hmmm. Could this be an instance of Morning After The Night Before? Nah, more likely Chakotay had got up boringly early and gone for a jog on the Holodeck or had over-immersed himself in meditation.

Chakotay, for his part, had noted Paris and decided to ignore him. Something about the younger man rubbbed him up the wrong way. He'd been persuaded by B'Elanna into joining her in the gym for an early morning callisthenics workout. Physically and mentally refreshed, Chakotay didn't want to spoil his good mood, something which conversation with Tom Paris was almost guaranteed to do within seconds.

Originally separated by other bodies the empty lift now left plenty of floor space between the two men. Chakotay shuffled his feet and relaxed his limbs, instantly seeming to fill most of the available room. Unaccountably Tom's hackles rose and he pointedly moved centrewards, staking a claim for his half of the lift, eyes daring Chakotay to comment. Chakotay frowned but said nothing. He was struggling to hold on to the remnents of his earlier contentment.

Intent on needling each other it took several seconds for them to realise they were no longer moving. Without bothering to consult Tom, Chakotay raised his voice the address the operating system. "Computer. Resume turbolift."

Nothing happened. Chakotay consulted his timepiece.

"Uh uh, looks like you're gonna to be late Commander." Tom's voice was mocking. The dying embers of Chakotay's good mood instantly flickered out.

"In a hurry Lieutenant? Not often we see you rushing to get to work." The soft voice dripped disdain and Tom instantly reacted, rounding on the Commander aggressively.


Chakotay lifted an eyebrow and regarded his companion impassively. "Meaning nothing. Perhaps you'd like to try talking to the computer?"

Furious, but not wanting to get into an arguement with his superior officer, Tom took his temper out on the ship's machinery. "Computer. Get your fucking finger out whatever fucking system it's currently poking around in and get this fucking turbolift fucking moving."


Insensibly cheered by the realisation that his companion was seething, Chatotay allowed himself to grin. "Perhaps it didn't like the way you asked it." Then, without waiting for a response, he half turned his back on Tom and pressed his comms badge to signal Captain Janeway on the bridge.

If Janeway was in a hurry to get off-duty she didn't show it, seeming more amused than annoyed by her officers' predicament. "Stuck in a lift? That's a new one on me and I thought I'd heard all the 'I'm late because' excuses going."

"I'm glad you find it funny." Chakotay's tone indicated he found it anything but.

Tom could imagine Janeway's face as she struggled not to laugh on the Bridge. Janeway stopped speaking but left the communications link open. Voices could be heard in the background, then the Captain was on-line again.

"Well gentlemen, I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that you've won today's lottery for extra free time." Amusement threaded her usually crisp tones. "B'Elenna believes she can fix the fault in about twenty minutes. Till then Mr Grimes and I will just have to hang on. Enjoy yourselves. Janeway out."

The link shut and Chakotay glared at Tom as if it was his fault. Shit. As if Tom wouldn't do anything not to have to spend time with the Commander. And in the godammed turbolift of all places. Well, twenty minutes wasn't long. If Chakotay wanted to give him the silent treatment Tom could play that game as well. He didn't care if they didn't say a single thing for the entire time they were stranded.

Fifty-nine. Sixty. Another minute passed. That must make at least 12. Tom was starting to feel distinctly edgy. Confined spaces had this effect on him. You couldn't exactly call it claustrophobia but small rooms without visible exits started to push panic buttons. And frankly he could do without the company. Still silent, Chakotay was doing his best impression of a statue. Breathe Tom instructed himself sharply, trying to ignore the fact that his palms had started to sweat, his heart was racing and the room was starting to blur at the edges.

"You all right?"

With anyone else the query may have been genuine concern and might possibly have elicited a honest response. Tom barely paused before shrugging a denial. "You know me Commander. Just sweating eager get to duty."

Shit. He was either going to puke or pass out. Trying to look nonchalent, Tom moved to the side wall and sank down, leaning against it gratefully and hugging his arms around his knees.

"I find that hard to believe." Chakotay didn't bother to disguise his disbelief.

"And just what is that supposed to mean?"

"Work has never seemed your main motivation in life."

"Let me tell you something Commander. You know zip about my motivations. For your information, flying Voyager is the most important thing in my life."

"If you say so."

"At least I have a life."

"And just what is that supposed to mean?"

Tom grinned evilly. " Why nothing. I guess I'm just admiring your commitment to the work ethic."

For a moment Chakotay allowed himself to imagine pounding the Lieutentant to a heap on the floor of the turbolift. Then he noticed the way Paris was gripping his hands together and the fact that his complexion, normally pale, now seemed almost bloodless in the artificial light. Without really caring Chakotay wondered if Paris found the lift claustrophobic but correctly surmised that if this was the case he could best help by ignoring it. He drew several deep breaths and shut his eyes, reaching instinctively for spiritual calm.

Deep even breaths. Never had Tom been so aware of the movement of another person's lungs. So regular - geeze like the guy was asleep or something. Trying to distract himself he allowed his thoughts to drift, imaging Chakotay asleep. Probably slept like the dead - no bad conscience to disturb him. Must be nice for the people who shared a bed with him. On the other hand, the Commander was so big his bed partners probably had to balance on their sides to avoid falling on the floor in the middle of the night. Either that or use the man as a pillow.

He'd probably make quite a good pillow Tom decided. So his lovers would get a good night's sleep. But would they get a good fuck beforehand? Perhaps Chakotay meditated to get himself in the mood. And what about that spirit guide. Did he hang around during sex? If so, it must get rather crowded. Tom had seen Chakotay under battle conditions and knew the the layer of calm to be only so thick. What, he wondered, would it take to snap Chakotay out of it?

"Lieutenant Paris. Tom."

"What?" Chakatay's hand on his arm startled Tom out of his reflections. He refocused to find the Commander crouching in front of him, brown eyes gazing at him without their usual hostility.

"Is something the matter? You've been out of things for the last couple of minutes."

Tom flushed, red on white. For a split second he imagined telling Chakotay that he'd been speculating what he'd be like to have sex with. Oh shit, he hadn't said that aloud had he? But no, Chakotay was still staring at him waiting for an answer. Confusion made him less creative than usual and he fell back on another truth.

"Er, sorry. I don't like confined spaces."

"That must be rough for a pilot. How do you cope with the shuttlecraft?"

For a moment, Tom wondered what he meant then comprehension surfaced. "No. I meant confined spaces with locked doors you can't get out of. Like in a prison."

"Oh - sorry."

Tom dropped his head than raised it again as it made him feel dizzy. Conversation, oddly, had helped the panic recede slightly, although he was still gasping for breath. Chakotay was regarding him with concern.

"You look a bit rough. Put your head back between your knees."

Tom threw him an indescribable look, through which annoyance and amusement could be discerned. "Don't worry, I'm not going to vomit over your shoes."

"I wouldn't be so sure."

"I am. I woke up late this morning and didn't have time to get to the canteen. No breakfast, therefore nothing to hurl with. You're quite safe Commander."

The last words were gasped out between quick shallow breathing. Chakotay still crouching down on his haunches moved from his side to the front of him. "Here, breathe into my hands."

"What?" Tom was staring at him as if he'd gone crazy.

Chakotay smiled. "No wonder the Holodoc dispensed with your services. Look, breathe into my hands, it restricts the oxygen - "

"Yeah, yeah, I know the theory," interupted Tom between gasps. but he put both hands around the Commander's wrists and guided his cupped palms towards his face. A minute or so later he raised his head, his breathing steadier.

"I'm alright now."

"Yes, I can see your normal gracious manner has returned."

"Yeah, well thanks." Tom realised he was still holding on tightly to the Commander's wrists. He disengaged his fingers self- consciously and spoke in what he what he mentally dubbed his Chakotay- baiting voice. "Don't think I'm not enyoying this but we don't have to hold hands any more."

"Technically speaking, you were holding my wrists," pointed out Chakotay. " And what makes you so certain I wanted you to stop?"

Tom blinked and his mouth fell open slightly. A rare thing. Tom Paris lost for words. Chakotay stretched out the moment. It wouldn't last he was sure, but just now he was enjoying having the upper hand. "Having trouble breathing Lieutenant? Want to hold hands again?"

" don't think.. " Tom broke off in obvious relief as Chakotay's badge bleeped.

It was Janeway. "B'Elanna thinks she's fixed the fault. You might like to try operating the turbolift again."

Almost before she had finished speaking, Tom had risen and was addressing the computer, relief palpable in every word. The response was instantaneous and the men could feel the almost inperceptable swell of movement as the turbolift resumed its journey. The doors opened. Tom made to get out but Chakotay stopped him with a barred arm.

"One moment Tom. I don't think you're due on the Bridge for another fifteen minutes."

Tom hadn't quite regained his equilibrium but his response was automatically suspicious. "Yeah right. And how do you work that out?"

"Well. I haven't arrived yet and since I'm always on the Bridge at least fifteen minutes before you, I figure you've still got time to go and get something to eat."

Tom hesitated. "Mr Grimes?"

The commander turned to go. "That's an order Lieutenant."

Tom's expression of gratitude was genuine if puzzled. He was still white but less so now with the open space of the corridor in front of them. "Thanks," he said, adding after pause "you know, for everything."

Chakaotay brushed it off. "Fifteen minutes Mr Paris." he said and turned to go.


The shift was uneventful, making handover to the evening roster quick and easy. With no real plans for the night Chakotay was lingering over some reports when a movement by his side caught his attention. He was surprised to find Tom Paris leaning over him. Flying Voyager had obviously had some kind of restorative effect because the pilot was his usual cocky self again. Tom's voice was at its most teasing and mischievious and pitched so that only Chakotay could hear him.

"I just wanted you to know that I enjoyed our date this morning Commander. If you ever want to hold hands again be sure and call me."

Chakotay felt a rush of triumph. Twice! Twice in one day, he was going to have the last word with Tom Paris.

"Sure, he answered, dropping his voice to match Tom's "Only I think you should know. On the second date I usually expect to have sex."

But if Chakotay had thought to floor Paris he was disappointed. Blue eyes sparkling Tom barely paused before replying "Why not try asking Commander. You never know your luck."

Finis. At least for now.

July 1997