"I didn't think we were ever gonna get out of there," Tom said as he and Chakotay walked briskly away from sickbay and headed for the turbolift.

"Yes, the Doctor was pretty thorough this time," Chakotay commented.

"Yeah, but two days cooped up in there was two days too many. *And* we have to go back for regular check-ups. Just because our brain activity isn't quite back to normal. I mean, we're perfectly healthy in every other respect, and the Doc doesn't think we're in any danger, so why do we have to bother?"

"He's just doing his job, Tom. I think he still feels guilty about declaring you free of that experimental drug, when you weren't. I don't think he wants to take any chances this time."

They stepped into the turbolift and Tom called for his deck. "Yeah, you're probably right," he conceded. "It's just me, I guess. I don't like being in sickbay. I always feel trapped in there."

"Was it really that bad?" Chakotay asked as he stood in front of Tom and gripped the younger man's arms.

Tom gazed into concerned brown eyes, then smiled. "Nah, not this time. I had good company," he said, and leaned forwards to give Chakotay a kiss on the cheek.

Chakotay smiled back, then stepped closer. "I know we've already discussed this, but are you sure you want to keep our relationship secret? You know I'm happy for everyone to know about us," he said, running his hands up and down Tom's arms.

"I know you are, Cha, but I want to keep things just between us for a little while. I like secrets, they're fun. I enjoy knowing things that others don't. And besides, I want us to get to know each other properly without anyone interfering. Do you mind?"

"Of course not. I just wanted to make sure you were doing what *you* wanted to do, and not what you thought I wanted. As soon as you're ready to let people in on our secret, I'll be happy to tell them. But until then, I won't say a word. It will be just you, me and the Doctor that knows of our relationship. Okay?" Chakotay replied. He was about to lean in for a kiss when the lift stopped and the doors opened. The men stepped quickly out into the corridor as Megan Delaney boarded the lift, smiling at them as she passed.

"You should have stayed on the lift, Cha," Tom commented as they walked to his quarters. "You have to see the Captain don't you?"

"Yes. Apparently there's a backlog of reports for me to go over. Kathryn's hopeless at keeping them up to date. It's a good job we weren't kept in sickbay any longer than we were or I'd never be seen on the bridge again," Chakotay answered as they stopped in front of Tom's cabin. He looked up and down the corridor to ensure they were alone, before kissing Tom softly on the lips. "I should be free about 2000 hours. Meet me in Sandrine's?"

"Our first real date," Tom grinned. He returned Chakotay's kiss, then took one last look at his lover before opening his cabin door. "I'll see you later, Chakotay. Don't work too hard, you might need some of your energy for tonight," he teased.

"I hope I will," Chakotay replied, looking Tom up and down. "It's about time we celebrated our return properly." He gave Tom one more kiss, then turned back towards the turbolift. "See you later, Tom," he said with a wink.

Tom watched him go, then entered his quarters. The door slid closed behind him, and he walked to his couch and sat down. After a week of either sitting by Chakotay's bedside in sickbay, or existing with his lover in a dream state, he'd got used to Chakotay's constant company. Now, he suddenly felt alone.

Tom snorted. Chakotay had been gone for less than a minute and he was already missing him! Tom rolled his eyes at his own admission, then rested his head on the back of the couch. Before he had chance to continue his thoughts though, the door chime sounded. "Enter," he called out, and the door slid open to reveal a smiling Harry Kim.

"Hi, Tom. How are you?" Harry asked, crossing the room to sit next to his friend.

"I'm fine, Harry. The Doc says I'm okay to return to duty tomorrow," Tom replied, sitting up straighter.

"That's great. It's been quiet on the bridge without you."

"Missed my sparkling wit, have you?" Tom grinned.

"Yeah," Harry grinned back. "But seriously though, Tom," he added. "We were worried about you. It's great to see you well again. I wish I could've spoken to you when you first came round, but the Doc wouldn't let me in sickbay."

"Yeah, I know. He wouldn't let anyone in, not even the Captain. We weren't allowed our comm badges either. He said he didn't want anything distracting us during his tests in case it messed up the results."

"So you were condemned to two whole days with just the Doc and the Commander, huh? That must've been hell for you," Harry commented.

"Actually, it wasn't," Tom replied seriously. "Chakotay's a nice guy. And if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here now."

"Really? Why?" Harry asked with interest.

"Let me get a couple of drinks, and I'll tell you," Tom replied, rising. "What d'you want?" he asked as he crossed to the replicator.

"Coffee's fine," Harry answered. He made himself more comfortable on the couch as Tom ordered two coffees.

After collecting their drinks and placing them on the low table next to the couch, Tom retook his seat and began to recount a sanitised version of what had happened to himself and Chakotay. By the end of it, Harry looked amazed.

"Wow, Tom, that's incredible," he said, staring at his friend. "So after you met up with Chakotay, the two of you wandered the ship unnoticed? What was that like?"

"A bit of a shock at first," Tom replied. "But fun as well," he added, thinking back to when Chakotay had taken him on the bridge. An image of that moment appeared in his mind, and Tom sighed softly. He closed his eyes, momentarily forgetting Harry's presence as he remembered every intimate touch. As he relived it, the scene suddenly changed.

"Are you okay, Tom?" Harry asked with concern as he noted Tom's flushed face.

Tom opened his eyes, looking puzzled for a second as he noted Harry staring at him. "Um, yeah, I'm fine," he muttered, although the image that had replaced the one of the Commander's chair was still playing in his head. One moment he'd been sitting on Chakotay's lap, the next he was bent, naked, over his own chair at the helm with Chakotay preparing to enter him. "I think I'm gonna lay down for a while, if you don't mind, Harry," he said. "I didn't get much sleep in sickbay."

Harry nodded. He was relieved that it was just tiredness that was affecting Tom. He could understand Tom not being able to sleep in sickbay, it wasn't his friend's favourite place after all. He stood up, then made his way to the door. "If you're okay in a couple of hours, come to Sandrine's," he suggested. "B'Elanna's looking forward to seeing you."

"Thanks, Harry, I'll see you there. I won't be able to spend too much time with you though, because I've already arranged to meet Chakotay."

"You have?" Harry asked, frowning.

"Yeah, we've got some things to talk about," Tom replied. "There's still some things I don't remember, and Chakotay's gonna fill me in."

"Oh, right. Well, have a good sleep and I'll see you at Sandrine's,"  Harry said, moving into the corridor.  "Bye, Tom."

Harry left, and Tom went into his bedroom and kicked off his shoes. After setting his alarm for 1930 hours, he lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. It wasn't long before he thought again of the bridge, and his hand strayed to his groin as he felt himself harden. He rubbed leisurely at his growing erection for a few blissful moments, then opened his pants and pulled them off. In his mind he could see everything that Chakotay had done to him, and his hands followed the movements as they imitated his lover's touch.

He sucked his fingers, coating them with moisture, then bent his legs up. They were Chakotay's fingers now, and they were gently probing him. Tom moaned softly as his arousal grew, and he gripped his now rock-hard erection with his other hand. He remembered how he'd lowered himself on to his lover, and instantly he could feel the same intense sensation that he'd felt then. He stroked himself roughly, pulling hard and fast as he recalled how Chakotay had kissed him passionately.  He was reminded of Chakotay's whispered  words that had driven him over the edge. "Come for me. Come hard, Tom," Chakotay had commanded.

As Tom heard the words again, his body shuddered and he erupted with a loud, ecstatic cry. He stretched out on the bed, panting heavily, but with a warm relaxed feeling pervading his body. Content, he drifted off to sleep.

When the alarm woke him, he grimaced at the mess he'd made, then decided he'd better clean up. He removed his sticky clothes and disposed of them, then headed for the shower. He washed quickly, and twenty minutes later, dressed in blue jeans and a pale blue shirt, he was outside the holodeck. As he entered Sandrine's, he spotted Harry and B'Elanna at a table near the bar. They looked up at his approach and smiled at him.

"Nice to see you, Tom," B'Elanna greeted him as she indicated the seat next to her. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine, " Tom replied, smiling. "I suppose Harry's told you everything?"

"Yes, he has. And Seven mentioned that she's still investigating how you and Chakotay managed to access the computer," B'Elanna informed him.

"I'm not sure that's something that can be explained easily," Tom commented. His gaze drifted to the door, and he smiled as he saw Chakotay enter. His lover looked exceptionally good in black, he thought.

"Hi, Tom," Chakotay said as he stopped in front of him. "B'Elanna, Harry," he acknowledged, nodding to each of them.

"Are you going to join us?" B'Elanna asked. "There's an empty chair here."

"Chakotay and I have some things to discuss," Tom answered before his lover could reply. "We'll see you guys later," he added, standing.

B'Elanna and Harry shared a puzzled glance as Chakotay just smiled and followed Tom to a table in the far corner. The two men sat side by side on the bench seat, then turned slightly to face each other.

"I wish I could kiss you, Tom," Chakotay whispered. "I've been thinking about you since I left you outside your quarters."

Tom smiled, and sure that no-one could see, took hold of Chakotay's hand. "I've been thinking about you too, Cha," he whispered back. He ran his thumb gently over the back of Chakotay's warm hand. It felt good to have his lover close again. "Did you get much work done?" he asked.

"Not as much as I should have done. I tried to work, but I kept getting distracted," Chakotay admitted.

"The First Officer got distracted? By what?" Tom asked, intrigued.

Chakotay smiled and squeezed Tom's fingers. "Well, like I said, by thoughts of you," he said softly.

"What kind of thoughts? Were they good ones?" Tom probed.

"Oh, yes, they were the best kind, Tom," Chakotay replied, moving slightly closer to the younger man. "I sat thinking about what we'd done on the bridge, and then I thought about what else I'd like to do on the bridge. Before I knew it, I was so worked up I had to call for a privacy lock on my office door."

"So you could take care of business?" Tom asked with a grin.

"Yes, business that just couldn't wait," Chakotay answered with a small grin of his own.

Tom noted a slight look of embarrassment on his lover's face, and decided to find out the reason for it. "There's something you're not telling me, Chakotay. What is it?" he asked.

Chakotay gave a soft snort, then looked down at his lap briefly before answering. "This is going to sound pretty egotistical," he said as Tom eyed him with curiosity.

"Just tell me, Cha," Tom coaxed. He let his hand move to the older man's thigh, and rubbed gently.

"Okay. Well, as we've already established, I had to 'take care of business'. While I was doing that though, I had these really vivid images of you in my head. I could see you lying on your bed taking care of yourself, but all the time you were imagining it was me touching you, like I did on the bridge. It seemed so real, like I was actually in your cabin watching you. I saw you bring yourself to orgasm, thinking of the words I'd spoken to you, and I came at the same time."

Tom stared at Chakotay silently, and Chakotay began to get worried. He was starting to wish he hadn't said anything. "What's the matter, Tom? Have I upset you?" he asked with concern.

Tom shook his head slowly. "No, you haven't upset me, but there is something bothering me," he confirmed.

"What is it?"

"Let me ask you a question first, then I'll tell you. You said earlier that you'd been thinking of what else you'd like to do on the bridge, what *was* that?" He held up his hand to forestall Chakotay's reply. "Would it happen to have anything to do with me being bent over my chair at the helm?"

"Yes, it would. Am I that easy to read?" Chakotay asked, grinning.

"Only by me," Tom answered.

"So what is it that's bothering you? My overactive imagination?"

"No, I don't think your imagination *is* overactive. What I *do* think though, is that I have an explanation for something that has the Doc baffled."

"What's that?" Chakotay asked with curiosity.

"Our brain wave patterns. The Doc said that at times they were in complete harmony, and I think I know why."

"And why would that be, Doctor Paris?" Chakotay enquired, smiling.

"Let me tell you something, then see if you can guess," Tom answered. He moved so that he could look directly into Chakotay's eyes before continuing. "The scene in my quarters actually happened exactly as you described it. And I knew what your other bridge fantasy was because I saw it clearly in my mind about an hour after we parted. It was *that* image that sent me to my bedroom. Now guess what the explanation is."

"We have some kind of mental link?" Chakotay said in amazement.

"Yes, I think we do," Tom confirmed. "It would explain today's events, anyway."

"Yes, it would," Chakotay agreed. "We should inform the Doctor, and see what he thinks."

"Let's try some tests of our own first," Tom suggested. "I mean, we don't want to rush off to sickbay, then find out that I'm wrong. We'd look stupid."

"Okay," Chakotay conceded. "What do you want to do?"

"Something pretty simple. I'll think of something, and you try and tell me what it is, okay?"

Chakotay nodded, and within seconds his mind was filled with a thought that could only have come from Tom. He closed his eyes as he felt his face start to flush, and he moaned softly.

Tom smiled as his lover responded exactly as he'd anticipated. "I think this is going to be fun," he said.

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