Voyagers 1:
Close Encounters


August 1998

Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager belongs to the late Gene Rodenberry and Paramount. Of course, since they cancelled the show, that makes them public domain, doesn't it? ;)

Fifteen years. It's been fifteen years since the Array pulled the Maquis ship and Voyager into the Delta Quadrant. I had expected to be away a few weeks at most on our mission to the Badlands. How was I to know that this ship would become home to over a hundred Voyagers making our way back to the Alpha Quadrant or that I would find love in the unlikeliest places.

Voyagers... that's what we call ourselves now. Oh not when we meet new races of course, then I'm still Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager, but amongst ourselves we're Voyagers. The terms sprang up a few years ago, partly because of our ship's name and partly due to our lifestyle. No one will admit to being the first to coin the term, but I'd bet a month's replicator rations on Tom; it's typical of him.

I think the change to thinking of Voyager as home began ten or eleven years ago, not long after most of us got messages from home through the Hirogen relay network.

Carrying her tray of Neelix's latest offering (B'elanna refused to call anything that glowed purple "dinner") over to the corner, she joined Tom who didn't seem to be eating either. She just didn't think the meal's appearance had much to do with Tom's lack of appetite. Ever since he found out that his father had sent him a message, then that the relay station was destroyed before the message could be recovered, Tom Paris had withdrawn into a moody silence. Not even B'elanna or Harry seemed able to reach him. The half-Klingon engineer wasn't sure whether Paris' silence was better or worse than the cocky attitude the pilot usually displayed when trying to hide strong emotions.

"Voyager to Paris." B'elanna was seriously considering hitting Tom with her dinner to gain his attention. She was just afraid of the possible toxic side effects of the gently glowing whatever it was.

Tom started. "Sorry, B'elanna, I guess I was a bit distracted."

"Distracted? Tom, you actually ate some of this stuff. I'm not sure Neelix didn't use warp plasma as one of the ingredients."

Tom glanced down at his plate and did a double take. "Gods, I hope you'll all have a nice funeral for me when I'm gone." Paris' moment of humor subsided quickly. "You know, I wish the admiral never sent that letter. I know I said I'd believe that he said he was proud of me, missed me, but even if that's true, it still brought everything back. I have a life here on Voyager, doing a job I care about, with people I care about and who care about me. I was finally starting to believe that I might be worth something, hell, even Chakotay doesn't hate me anymore. Of everyone on this ship, I have the least to go back to."

He saw B'elanna draw breath to speak and continued quickly, "I know, all of you Maquis've lost a lot, finding out that most of your friends are dead or in prison, that you lost the war without even being there. I really do understand that, but it doesn't change how I feel. Here, for the first time in a long time, I have a family and friends. I don't want to go back, not to the Alpha Quadrant, not to prison, not to the person I used to be." He met B'elanna's eyes. "Maybe it's time to admit that we're not Starfleet or Maquis anymore, but a single group of travelers, of ... of Voyagers, and this ship is our home."

"You can say that, Tom, after seeing how excited and happy everyone was to get mail from home, how happy Harry was?" B'elanna didn't try to hide her disappointment.

"Yeah, I can. Look how depressed Harry was until he got that letter, and look how many people found out that their loved ones had moved on without them. I may not know what was in every letter, but I saw a lot of people looking pretty depressed after they got their letters." He sighed and looked out at the stars for a moment. "Sure, nearly everyone would be ecstatic if we got home tomorrow and most would be able to pick up the pieces of their lives, but we're probably not going to get home tomorrow. Even with Kes throwing us beyond Borg space, we've got 55 years to go unless we find some kind of shortcut. I don't know about you, but I expect that to be the major chunk of my life."

"Tom," B'elanna started, not sure what to say. Despite everyone's excitement at the letters from home and their renewed determination to get back, Tom did have a point. It was unlikely that Voyager would get back to the Alpha Quadrant before they were old men and women, at best. Still, it worried her to see how alienated Tom felt from his old life. Granted, he had changed a lot, for the better, but he actively wanted to stay more than 50,000 light years from home. "You're right, it will take us a long time to get back home, if we ever do. But that's the point, it is home."

"Is it, B'elanna? Think about it. We've been out here for close to five years. We're not Starfleet and Maquis anymore, we're something new, something we grew into together. People on this ship have developed relationships, some of them in spite of marriages back 'home'. We've made friends and enemies here. We've lived a significant part of our lives right here on Voyager.

"Look at my own case. Despite getting lost, injured, tortured or imprisoned nearly every time I've stepped off the ship, I can honestly say this is the first time in my life I've been happy."

B'elanna stared at Tom after his impassioned speech. She didn't have a lot to go back to in the Alpha Quadrant either, but she couldn't understand not wanting to go back. Fortunately, she was due back in Engineering, so she let the conversation drop and left.

Tom was off duty that day so hung around the mess hall a while longer, not really wanting to be alone just then. As he was about to leave, Commander Chakotay came in for a snack on his way off shift. After taking one look at the still glowing remnants of lunch, Chakotay headed for the replicator and a dish of fruit salad. Still eyeing lunch as if afraid it would attack him if he turned his back, the commander came over to join Tom.

Paris grinned as the commander sat down, noticing the way the older man eyed his lunch tray suspiciously. "Don't worry, Chakotay, I've been sitting with it for over an hour, and it hasn't attacked me yet. I'm just waiting to see if it tries to leave under its own power."

Chakotay grinned back at the blond pilot. "Just because something doesn't attack you, Paris, doesn't mean anything. Even new life forms might have standards."

Tom widened his big, blue eyes at the other man. "I'm hurt, Chakotay. Are you telling me you're immune to my attractions?"

The commander looked up from his plate and met the other man's eyes at that moment. Both froze as they recognized the briefly unhidden wanting in the other's gaze. "Tom -" "Chakotay -" Both men began to speak at the same time and stopped.

Tom rushed into speech. "Sorry, Commander, I just remembered I have to get things ready for a surprise for B'elanna after her shift. I've gotta go."

"That's alright, Tom, I told Kathryn I'd stop by after my shift. She's probably wondering what's keeping me. I should go too."

The two men left the messhall in silence, side by side, afraid to look at each other. Awareness strummed between them as they strode down the corridor, their steps in synch. As they entered the turbolift, Tom glanced at Chakotay out the corner of his eye, only to find the commander staring at him like a starving man at a banquet. Both looked away hastily.

After exiting the turbolift and heading down the corridor towards officers' quarters, Chakotay hesitated perceptibly when Tom stopped at the entrance to his quarters. The pilot stepped in quickly without turning around, and the commander continued on his way.

"Gods! Why now?" Tom groaned as headed for the replicator, wishing he could get something a lot stronger than synthehol. He had wanted Chakotay since the first moment he saw him when he joined the Maquis but had always thought the older man despised him. Maybe he had at one time, but Tom knew what he had seen in the commander's eyes back in the messhall. Part of him was thrilled that Chakotay returned his feelings, but most of him was frustrated. Now Chakotay wanted him, now that he was involved with B'elanna, who was one of his best friends in addition to being his lover. Tom wouldn't hurt her for anything. Not to mention that Chakotay was finally openly in a relationship with the captain; Tom refused to analyze his feelings for Kathryn Janeway, but he knew he didn't want to hurt her either. "Shit!"

Meanwhile Chakotay was entertaining very similar thoughts as he tried unsuccessfully to meditate in his own quarters. He didn't actually have any plans to get together with Kathryn but like Tom, had invoked his lover's name in an attempt to ward off temptation. On arriving in his quarters, he had commed the captain and made arrangements to meet her for dinner. Since then, however, he had been unable to get a certain blond pilot out of his thoughts. "Gods," he groaned aloud, "why didn't I see it six months ago! It's too late now." Chakotay had been attracted to Tom the moment he met him, and since getting stuck in the Delta Quadrant and seeing behind some of Paris' many defenses, he had fallen in love with the younger man. But their initial interactions had set the tone and as far as Chakotay could see, Tom Paris considered him an enemy or at best a convenient target for his biting humor. Now it seemed he'd been wrong about Paris' feelings, but the pilot was involved with Chakotay's friend and former lover, while Chakotay himself had finally found his way into Janeway's bed. They couldn't hurt the two women who both meant so much to each of them.

Tom and B'elanna were sitting in the messhall having dinner (which fortunately neither glowed nor contained leola root) when Janeway and Chakotay came in. B'elanna saw them and motioned them over as they got their dinners. The captain nodded and headed for the other two officers, Chakotay following without really noticing where they were going. Tom glanced up just as his commanding officers reached the table, and his eyes met Chakotay's.

Both men froze, unable to tear their gazes away. They both flushed deeply as they stared into each other's eyes. B'elanna and Kathryn watched them in surprise at first, then with budding amusement. The women looked at each other inquisitively only to find that neither had known the men had finally acknowledged their attraction.

Not wanting the whole crew to realize what was going on, B'elanna greeted Chakotay, drawing his attention and breaking the trance he and Tom were in. Chakotay mumbled a greeting as he and Kathryn sat down, while Tom practically buried his face in his plate. Kathryn hastily took a swallow of her coffee to hide the grin trying to break across her face.

Unable to resist, Kathryn turned to Tom as he took a mouthful of his soup and asked, "So Tom, how did you manage to entertain yourself on your day off?" While Paris attempted to regain his breath after choking, the captain regarded him with a look of innocent inquiry. Chakotay had a wooden expression on his face as he tried to hide his horror. B'elanna, unable to keep a straight face, hastened over to Neelix, pretending she wanted a glass of water.

Finally regaining his breath, Tom stared at Janeway suspiciously, noting the gleam in her eyes. He glanced over at Chakotay who was also eyeing Kathryn askance. She couldn't know what they had discovered ... could she? Nah, she'd be furious if she thought her lover and protege were lusting after each other. "Actually, Captain," Tom finally replied, "I just took it easy, didn't do anything in particular. It was a nice, relaxing day."

"Oh, that's too bad," Kathryn responded, "from your reactions, I thought maybe you and Chakotay had finally pulled your heads out of the sand."

It was Chakotay's turn to choke while Tom's jaw hit the table. Neither man appeared capable of speech, so B'elanna, who had returned in time to hear the captain's last remark, added, "I hoped you two were finally going to stop dancing around each other and acknowledge what was going on. Lying to yourself must be a human trait."

"Wha-?" Tom was less than coherent.

"Gods, Tom," B'elanna continued, "If we could harness the energy the two of you generate, we wouldn't need the warp drive. Go lock yourselves in a room for a few days and get it out of your systems!"

"B-b-but," Chakotay was so shocked he was stuttering, "Kathryn ... you ... we ..." Even Tom had to smile at that masterpiece of clarity.

"What B'elanna is trying to say," Kathryn explained, "Is that neither of us is willing to be second best. We can't get past this until you decide who you really want to be with. And you won't be able to do that until you admit that you want each other and do something about it." With that Kathryn and B'elanna stood up to leave. "Commander, Lieutenant, you are both off duty for the next three days. I don't want to see either of you before that time is up."

Paris and Chakotay stared after the women, neither of them quite able to believe the last few minutes had been real. "Well," Tom finally spoke while conspicuously avoiding looking at the commander, "That was surreal."

"So now what?"

Tom started to laugh. "Well, Commander, I could be wrong, but I think we're under orders to go fuck ourselves silly."

Chakotay stared at him for a moment then started to laugh as well. "Far be it for me to disobey my commanding officer. Your place or mine?"

Tom's laughter stopped abruptly, and he met Chakotay's eyes. "We're really going to do this."

"One way or another, Paris, we will make love. And if we don't get out of here soon, I may just fulfill one of my fantasies." Accurately reading the other man's thoughts, Tom snorted. "Sorry, Chakotay, you'd have to give me more notice so I could sell tickets. If I'm going to be on exhibit, I insist on getting something out of it. And the name's Tom."

"Trust me, Tom, you'd get something out of it. I very much doubt you'd even notice anyone else in the room." The pilot's blue eyes darkened almost to sapphire and his breathing grew ragged. Chakotay gasped as he read the complete surrender in the younger man's eyes. "Anything you want, Kotay. Just name it."

Chakotay stood up abruptly. "Come on, Tom, let's go. I'm not going to share the sight of you with anyone. I want you in my bed, now." Tom nodded almost submissively as he followed the older man to his quarters, but the commander wasn't fooled. Paris was being so agreeable because they both wanted the same thing, badly. The blond was, however, so far from being submissive as to be almost laughable. It was his nature to challenge authority at every turn, and that was never going to change. But that was fine with Chakotay, he thought it would be fun to alternate taking the lead.

As they entered his quarters, a sudden thought struck Chakotay. "Tom, I've been making assumptions, have you ever done this before?"

Tom grinned. "Kotay, are you asking if I'm a virgin?"

Chakotay had to laugh. "Hardly, I meant with a man, you idiot."

"I've never discriminated on the basis of gender. I've always been attracted to both sexes. What about you?"

"The same." Not really wanting to talk, Chakotay reached for the other man. He drew the taller man into his arms, gently nibbling at his jaw as he brought their bodies into perfect alignment. The difference in height frustrated Chakotay momentarily, but Tom was more than happy to lean down the small amount necessary to meet his lips. Their first kiss was no gentle exploration but an explosion of the desire they'd been hiding for years. Their tongues dueled as each tried to explore the other's mouth.

By the time they dragged their mouths apart to gasp in some much-needed air, both men were half-naked. Now that they were separated, they were able to drag off the remainder of their clothing. Tom stopped half out of his uniform top, his only remaining piece of clothing, when he glanced over to see Chakotay's bronzed skin revealed. Chakotay grinned and stepped back when Tom reached for him.

Passion-glazed blue eyes shot up to meet brown, momentarily fearful that the older man had changed his mind. The commander shook his head teasingly. "Uh uh, blondie, you can look but not touch until you're as bare as I am." Tom grinned back and ripped off his uniform with absolutely no concern for the replicator rations it would cost him to replace the torn garment. Once bare, Tom stepped up to Chakotay, sliding his arms around the other man and shivering in pleasure at the sensation of skin against skin.

Tom began to explore the commander's body, caressing every bit of skin he could reach and slowly drawing his mouth across his lover. He kept eye contact with the older man as much as possible, wanting to catch every reaction. When he reached Chakotay's chest, he changed tactics, settling in for a prolonged stay. He licked and kissed the commander's chest, coming close to but never quite touching his nipples, occasionally giving a quick nip to the bronzed flesh tempting him and quickly soothing the brief sting with swipes of his tongue. Finally, Chakotay, whose own hands had been busy exploring Tom's body to their mutual pleasure, grasped Tom's head and drew the blond to his aching nipples.

Chakotay's entire body arched into the younger man when his lips closed around his aching nipple. Tom suckled the stiffened bud of flesh, bringing one hand up to stimulate its mate while the other moved downward to Chakotay's aching cock.

"Spirits," Chakotay groaned as Tom's hand moved past his cock to cup his balls. Hearing the older man's cry, Tom grinned at him before dropping to his knees. Chakotay's hands clenched on the blond's shoulders as the younger man leaned in to him. Tom flicked his tongue into the other man's navel, causing his stomach muscles to clench, before gradually licking his way down to the flesh waiting for him. Just as his tongue would have touched the commander's cock, Tom stopped, settled back on his heels and looked up into his lover's eyes, ignoring Chakotay's whimper and attempt to drag him closer. "Gods, Kotay, you taste even better than I imagined."

With that, Tom ran his tongue the length of the underside of Chakotay's cock, drawing a cry from the older man. Chakotay's hips surged forward, seeking more contact, but Tom was firmly in control. He nibbled his way along the length, briefly drawing the head into his mouth to taste the droplets of liquid already waiting for him before working his way back down to the commander's balls which still rested in his hand. Tom's mouth replaced his busy fingers.

Feeling his balls sucked into Tom's mouth, Chakotay forced his eyes open and looked down just in time to see the pilot shift back and swallow his cock to the root. The sudden suction and sight of the blond head between his legs was enough for the commander, and he came, crying Tom's name.

Tom continued sucking until he had drawn every drop of semen from his lover, then released him as the commander's moan told him that he was becoming too sensitive. Chakotay sank to his knees in front of Tom who drew him into a deep kiss, letting him taste himself. Chakotay reached out to grasp Tom's stiff cock, pumping his fist along the rigid flesh.

"Oh yeah, Kotay, that's so good, gods yes, oh, fuck don't stop ... " Tom was almost there when Chakotay stopped and firmly gripped the base of his cock, stopping his orgasm. "What the fuck did you stop for!" Tom nearly screamed at him.

"Easy, lover, you're not done yet. You don't get to come until you're so deep inside me that I feel like you're going to come up my throat." Tom shuddered at Chakotay's words, nearly exploding from that alone.

Chakotay pulled the other man to his feet, drawing him into the bedroom. He released the blond and moved to the bed. After getting some lube out of the drawer by the bed, Chakotay settled on his knees in the center of the bed with his back to Tom. Glancing over his shoulder to make sure he had the pilot's full attention, Chakotay began to lube himself up.

Watching his lover preparing his own ass, Tom started to pant. When Chakotay began to push back against his fingers, Tom snapped. In one fluid motion he sprang onto the bed, landing behind the commander. He grabbed the lube, smoothing some over his cock with shaking fingers and positioned himself. Before entering, he probed Chakotay with his fingers to make sure he was open enough, drawing a scream from the older man when he rubbed over his prostate.

Tom pushed in, pausing at the commander's involuntary gasp, waiting till the pain receded. He reached around to Chakotay's cock, and soon Chakotay was pushing back against him, pleading for more. Tom started to move, releasing Chakotay's cock to grip his lover's hips as he began to thrust harder. Chakotay pumped himself in time with Tom's thrusts inside him, crying out with each one. The sensation of Tom deep inside him pushed him over the edge, and he came screaming Tom's name. Chakotay's muscles clenching on Tom in orgasm were all Tom needed, and he came seconds after his lover.

Tom collapsed forward against Chakotay's back, nearly unconscious. After a short time he withdrew from the commander, dropping down flat on the bed. Chakotay dragged himself into the bathroom to clean up and brought back a damp cloth for Tom. Chakotay crawled back into bed beside the blond to try to get some sleep. Tom shifted over until he was draped over Chakotay, his head tucked into the commander's shoulder and the big man's arms around him. Contentedly, both men drifted into sleep.

Tom was momentarily disoriented when he woke up the next morning, wondering why the computer hadn't woken him for his shift. Then he realized he wasn't alone, opening his eyes to find himself lying half on top of Chakotay. Finally remembering that the captain had given them the next three days off, Tom was in no hurry to move away from his warm pillow. In fact, his morning erection was urging him to get a lot closer. Meeting Chakotay's half-open eyes, he found no objections to his plan.

A long while later, showered and dressed, the two men sat eating a breakfast that probably could have fed the entire alpha shift. After their recent exertions, both were hungry. Eventually they could eat no more and after cleaning up, moved to Chakotay's couch.

They sat side by side, not touching except their hands that clung together. Tom raised miserable blue eyes to Chakotay, "What do we do now, Kotay?" He looked away momentarily before continuing, "I love you."

Chakotay tightened his grip on Tom's hand. "I don't know, Tom. I love you, too."

They sat in silent misery for a very long time.

"So, Captain, how long do you think it'll take them to figure it out?" B'elanna questioned.

"Although they're both pig-headed, neither of them is stupid. I think they'll get it all sorted out in the three days they have."

"I certainly hope so. It's long past time they realized that all four of us belong together." With that the chief engineer of the Federation starship Voyager flipped over on top of her captain, trapping the other woman among the pillows on her bed, and moved in for a long, deep kiss.


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