|Lost and Found
"What's the matter, Tom?" Chakotay asked quietly. He looked down at the younger man, Tom's head still resting on the bar. "Are you tired?"
For a moment, Tom couldn't answer. His mind was still filled with unwanted visions, things that he'd inadvertently seen. A glass being placed next to him on the counter a short while ago had disturbed him, and he'd looked up to be confronted by the sight of Chakotay being led into an alcove by Amshev.
He'd seen Amshev turning Chakotay to face the wall; seen him stand behind Chakotay, pressing against him and slipping his arms around Chakotay's waist. He'd watched, through his tears, as Amshev had kissed and licked Chakotay's neck; saw the alien's hands drop to Chakotay's pants and ease them down, releasing Chakotay's erection into the room's warm air.
In his mind, Tom could still see Chakotay reaching back to grasp at Amshev, pulling him closer as he tipped his head back to rest on the Nahldarian's shoulder; hear, as the music had dropped, Chakotay's soft moans and Amshev whispering, 'So good, Chayelah. So good.'
Tom swallowed hard and sat up, looking at Chakotay's flushed face; the older man's recent pleasure was still evident in his features. Again, an intense feeling of jealousy coursed through Tom, but he tried to ignore it, returning his gaze to the bar before mentally shaking himself. His Starfleet training began to emerge then, and he managed to drag his thoughts back to their mission. "Yeah, I'm tired," Tom muttered, rubbing his eyes. "It's been a long day. Let's find out about Telsesh, then get out of here."
"Okay," Chakotay agreed. "Amshev's just gone to the bathroom. When he gets back, I'll ask him about Telsesh. We'll go to our hotel then, and you can sleep."
"He's called 'Amshev', is he?" Tom asked coolly. "What else d'you know about him?"
"Not much yet," Chakotay answered, sinking down into a chair next to Tom. "We haven't really talked."
"No, I don't suppose you have. It's a bit difficult when someone's got their tongue down your throat, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is," Chakotay replied with a grin. He felt totally relaxed now and Tom's sarcasm was completely lost on him. He briefly closed his eyes before looking around, scanning the room for Amshev. He smiled as he saw the Nahldarian appear, emerging from a door to his left and walking towards the bar.
"Chayelah," Amshev said as he stopped next to Chakotay and placed a hand on the Commander's shoulder. He looked at Tom, inspecting him slowly from head to toe. "Your mate is most beautiful. Please, introduce me to him," he said to Chakotay.
For a moment, Chakotay looked slightly puzzled. He glanced at Tom, then a flicker of understanding flashed across his face. Chakotay smiled at Tom, then returned his attention to Amshev. "This is Temospah," Chakotay said as he nodded in Tom's direction. "He is my life-mate."
Tom's breathing caught as he heard Chakotay's words, and he gripped the edge of the bar tightly, a painful longing making his chest hurt. Even after witnessing Chakotay's antics with Amshev, Tom fervently wished that the older man had meant what he'd said; that he and Chakotay really were bonded.
"Temospah, you are very lucky to be mated to Chayelah. He is a very responsive lover," Amshev remarked, sitting down opposite Tom. "You should take good care of him."
Tom took a deep breath, trying to calm himself before replying. He didn't quite understand why Amshev would make such a comment. After all, the alien had just made love to the man he obviously believed was Tom's mate. "I try," Tom whispered, dropping his gaze to the floor as he attempted to make sense of the situation.
"Yes, I am sure that you do," the Nahldarian said, touching Tom's knee gently. "But you must try harder. Chayelah deserves the best. You must give him everything that he desires."
"And what about my desires?" Tom asked, looking up sharply, momentarily forgetting that he was only playing a role. Tom stared into the Nahldarian's dark eyes for a moment, then turned away quickly as he remembered that he wasn't really Chakotay's mate. He could feel his face heating up as he flushed with embarrassment at his lapse. Neither Chakotay or Amshev seemed to notice though.
"Your desires will be quenched as you give yourself, and of yourself, to the one you promised to share your life with," Amshev said quietly. "You should desire nothing more than to make Chayelah happy."
"I'd like to make him happy," Tom murmured, mostly to himself.
"Good, Temospah. Now take your mate home and make love to him," Amshev instructed. "He will respond to all your touches tonight."
Tom's heart sank and he closed his eyes, once more trying to displace images of Chakotay and Amshev from his mind, replacing them with the dreams he'd had of Chakotay and himself together. His attempts were interrupted by Chakotay's voice. "We cannot leave yet, Amshev," he said. "We need to find Telsesh."
"Why?" Amshev asked sharply. "Telsesh is not here."
The Nahldarians tone of voice filtered through to Tom, and he looked up at him. "Do you know Telsesh? Where he is?"
Amshev snorted, and looked annoyed. "Of course I know him," he replied, leaning back in his chair and staring at Tom. "He will be here tomorrow, just after the sun has risen. But why do you wish to see Telsesh? I am here."
Chakotay shifted forward and stroked Amshev's thigh, getting his attention. "We need to speak with him. There's something that only he can help us with," Chakotay said softly.
Amshev sighed loudly, and Tom noted that there appeared to be tears in the alien's eyes. "I understand," Amshev said dejectedly. "It is your right to approach whomever you please. He is very good. I am sure he will help you."
"What is it that he's very good at?" Tom asked, puzzled.
Amshev never replied. He just glared angrily at Tom, then rose wordlessly, and walked away without a backwards glance. Tom looked over at Chakotay and frowned, totally perplexed by the Nahldarian's reaction.
"Looks like we'll have to come back tomorrow, then," Chakotay remarked, standing. "Come on, Tom, it's late. Let's get back to our hotel," he said, seemingly unperturbed by Amshev's hasty departure. "Amshev set you a task, if you remember. You're supposed to make love to me," he grinned.
Tom stood up quickly and looked Chakotay in the eye. "Oh, yeah?" he snapped, anger momentarily winning out over his desire for the older man. "Well, fuck you, Chakotay! You're not gonna treat me the same way you treated Amshev. *He* may be willing to be your little sex toy, but *I'm* certainly not. I've got a bit more self-respect than that. No-one's gonna use *me*."
"Lower your voice, Paris," Chakotay instructed calmly, looking around to see if anyone had heard Tom's outburst. "And for your information," he continued. "I wasn't intending to 'use' you. I thought you could take a joke, but I was obviously wrong. Now, if you've finished ranting and raving, let's leave before we draw attention to ourselves. We *are* on a mission, or had you forgotten?"
"No. *I* hadn't forgotten," Tom remarked pointedly. He turned away from Chakotay and headed for the door, leaving the older man frowning and staring after him. Chakotay quickly recovered from his state of bewilderment though, and followed Tom through the crowd, stepping back into the passageway that led upwards to the main club area.
They walked in silence along the deserted corridor, re-entering the other dark, and crowded room a few moments later. Tom strode purposefully towards the exit, still furious over Chakotay's comments and the older man's encounter with the Nahldarian. He knew his anger was irrational because he had no claim over Chakotay, but that fact didn't ease his feelings in the slightest. He was jealous and hurt, and Chakotay's 'joke' had proved to him just how little Chakotay cared, and that Chakotay's view of him was as a source of amusement; that the Commander saw *him* as a 'joke'.
Tom stepped out into the street, bumping into a couple who were standing close to the door, tightly wound around each other as they kissed passionately. He muttered a quick apology, but the pair didn't hear him, so he turned away from them and looked around, trying to get his bearings.
"This way," Chakotay said, slipping his arm around Tom's shoulder and lightly tugging him in the right direction.
Tom stiffened and tried to move away, but Chakotay held him tight. "Get your hands off me, Chakotay," Tom hissed as the older man pulled him a little closer.
"Listen, Lieutenant," Chakotay said quietly, bringing his face to within inches of Tom's. "We have to blend in, you know that. We have to look convincing, we can't risk being recognised. Now, stop fighting me. That's an order."
Reluctantly, Tom obeyed, grudgingly allowing the Commander's one-armed embrace as they set off in the direction of their hotel.
The streets were as crowded as they had been that morning, but it was noisier now, due to the fact that most of the Nahldarians they passed had spent a lot of the day indulging in the area's speciality; the intoxicating beverage that the two officers had also consumed during their tour of the clubs. Several times, drunken Nahldarians staggered out of rowdy bars and bumped into them, and each time Chakotay pulled Tom a little closer, his arm now around the younger man's waist, and his hand lightly stroking Tom's hip. They walked slowly on, weaving their way through the crowd until they reached the entrance to a quiet alley that ran between two brightly lit buildings.
Chakotay nodded towards the passageway, then tugged Tom in, stopping just inside and pushing the younger man back against the wall closest to them. The action took Tom completely by surprise, and it didn't fully register what was happening until Chakotay pressed into him, his body pinning Tom in position as the older man's mouth found his neck.
"What the hell d'you think you're doing?" Tom demanded. He brought his hands to Chakotay's chest and pushed hard, but couldn't move the heavier man.
"Shh, Tom," Chakotay murmured as Tom struggled against him. "Let me kiss you." He moved his lips from Tom's neck and tried to capture the younger man's mouth, but Tom twisted away from him. "Tom, please. We're supposed to be a couple. Kiss me," he insisted.
"Is that another order, *Commander*?" Tom questioned, giving Chakotay another shove, but still failing to budge him.
"Yes, Lieutenant. It's an order. We need to keep up appearances in case any of Kenthah's men are watching us." He took hold of Tom's head and pulled him round until they were face to face. "Now," he said quietly. "Kiss me."
Tom swallowed hard, his emotions in turmoil. For years, he'd dreamed of kissing Chakotay, although not like this; not under orders. But if he refused, he knew he could be putting their lives in danger. It was quite possible that Kenthah's men *were* watching them, and Tom couldn't ignore that possibility. Although still upset, he resigned himself to the situation, closing his eyes as Chakotay leaned forward and began to gently kiss him, the older man's hands still gripping Tom's head.
At first, Tom refused to participate, just allowing the other man to do as he wanted, but as Chakotay's tongue urged his lips apart, Tom succumbed, and started to kiss back. Chakotay moaned into Tom's mouth as he felt the younger man responding to him. He grabbed Tom's hips as he pressed into him, his erection finding its gradually hardening counterpart.
Tom groaned, unconsciously thrusting forward to increase the contact as the kiss deepened and Chakotay began to rub against him. It felt good, but a few minutes later, when Chakotay's hand slipped between their bodies and grasped his erection, awareness returned, and Tom broke the kiss. "Please don't," he pleaded softly. "Please, Chakotay."
"What's wrong, Tom?" Chakotay questioned, still moving against the younger man. He looked at Tom with a puzzled frown on his face. "Don't you like it?" he asked.
"We don't need to do this, Chakotay," Tom said calmly. Most of his anger had been tempered by the unexpected heat of Chakotay's kiss, and all that remained was annoyance at himself for giving in so easily to Chakotay's advances. There was a small amount of confusion in his mind too, though, and Tom scrutinised Chakotay's flushed face. The way the older man had responded to his plea had been odd. It was as though Chakotay had forgotten that all they were meant to be doing was putting on a show for any potential observers. "Let's just get back to our hotel," Tom suggested, thinking that maybe a good night's sleep might be beneficial to the Commander.
Chakotay smiled. "That's a good idea, Tom. We'll be more comfortable there." He leaned in and gave Tom a soft kiss, then pulled away, taking hold of Tom's hand and leading him back onto the street.
The walk to the hotel continued in silence for most of the way, with Chakotay holding Tom's hand tightly. Occasionally though, Chakotay would stop and pull Tom close, placing a gentle kiss on his lips, or nuzzling his neck, before tugging Tom onward again. To the Nahldarians around them, Chakotay's actions were nothing unusual, but by the time they reached the entrance to their building, Tom was more baffled than ever by Chakotay's behaviour. It was as if Chakotay was really enjoying the intimate touches. Growing more concerned about his commanding officer, Tom allowed Chakotay to lead him inside, and up the stairs to their room.
As the door closed behind them, Chakotay turned around to face Tom, his eyes dark with desire as he stepped closer to the younger man. He reached out, grasping Tom by the shoulders, then leaned forward and once more claimed his lips.
"Chakotay, no-one's gonna see us in *here*. We don't need to pretend any longer," Tom stated as he pulled away, closely studying the obviously aroused man. "Are you feeling okay?" he asked as he noted a bead of sweat roll down Chakotay's face, following the ridge that curved down from the Commander's left eye.
"I feel fine, Tom," Chakotay answered softly. "In fact, I feel more than fine. Come to bed with me, and I'll show you just how fine I feel." He walked across to the bed, and sat down on the edge as he began to remove his shirt. Tom watched in silence, now even more convinced that something was wrong.
"Aren't you going to get undressed, Tom?" Chakotay asked, undoing the loose pants he wore. "It's more fun without clothes."
"I'm sure it is," Tom remarked, walking to the couch. "But we're not gonna find out. I'm sleeping here tonight."
"Oh, come on, Tom. Don't be like that. Get your clothes off and join me in bed," Chakotay said, throwing his pants to the floor and lying back naked, his erection weeping as he gently stroked it. "I can make it another order if I have to," he added.
"Then, I'll just have to disobey you, Commander," Tom said, settling down fully clothed on the couch, and closing his eyes. "I told you I wasn't gonna let anyone use me, and I'm not. Goodnight, Chakotay."
"I said, *goodnight*, Chakotay," Tom said forcefully, cutting the other man off before he could object to Tom's dismissal of him. "We'll talk in the morning."
With a frustrated sigh, Chakotay relented. He turned the lights off, then lay staring into the darkness as he listened to the sounds that filtered into the room from the street below. He was still aroused though, and as he gripped his erection more firmly, his hand continued its slow and purposeful movements.
On the couch, Tom lay bewildered by the day's events. It had hurt him to witness Chakotay's encounter with Amshev, and he'd been deeply affected by the unexpected advances Chakotay had made towards *him*, but he couldn't fathom out what had caused the normally reserved Commander to act the way he had.
As he pondered the situation, a soft sound and a quietly murmured word caught his attention. Forcing himself into what would be a fitful sleep, Tom had one last thought before he drifted off. 'Just why the hell did Chakotay call out *my* name when he came?'
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