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Lost and Found
Part Nine




Dragging himself away from his musings over their current predicament, Chakotay turned his head to look at the man sitting next to him on the bed. Tom was leaning, eyes closed, against the wall, seemingly lost in his thoughts, a frown showing occasionally on his slightly paler than normal face. Chakotay gave a soft sigh; even though his face was still slightly puffy and red from his earlier emotional outburst, Tom was still a beautiful sight. He let his gaze drift lower, admiring the younger man's exposed muscular chest and stomach as he remembered their first morning on Nahldar. Ever since they'd first met, he'd dreamed of waking with Tom in his arms, but the difference between his dreams, and the reality of Tom's warm, strong body pressed against his, was beyond compare; it had felt far better than he had ever imagined. That fact was going to make it very difficult to accomplish what he had in mind.

"Chakotay? Something wrong?"

At the unexpected sound of Tom's voice, Chakotay quickly looked up, a little embarrassed that Tom had caught him staring. He flushed slightly, but did his best to affect a nonchalant attitude. "Sorry, Tom. I was miles away," he muttered. "I was still thinking about our situation."

"Oh. Thought of a way out of here, then?" Tom asked. He could've sworn that the way Chakotay had been looking at him had been less than professional, but it was probably either his own wishful thinking or maybe the lingering effects of the drugs that were most likely in his system making him see things that weren't there. Although, Chakotay *did* appear to be blushing, so....

"There *is* no way out, Tom," Chakotay stated, abruptly cutting off the younger man's thoughts. "We're here until Kenthah decides to release us."

"What?" Tom exclaimed with surprise. He gave Chakotay a long, disbelieving stare. "D'you mean we're not even going to *attempt* to escape? What kind of attitude's *that*?"

"The kind that's going to keep us alive and in one piece, Tom," Chakotay replied gently. "So just accept it."

Tom snorted, and shook his head. "I don't believe this," he declared, still staring at his superior officer. "What's wrong with you? You're usually the first person with ideas to get us out of tough scrapes." A sudden thought made itself known. "Did Kenthah's interrogation methods affect you that badly? Is that what's wrong?" he asked sympathetically. "Are you afraid that if we were to get caught you might experience something similar?"

"That's one of the reasons, yes," Chakotay answered quietly. "But mostly, I'm just being realistic about our chances. As it is, the possibility of us getting out of here, without help, is zero."

Tom frowned, but remained silent for a moment. Even if Kenthah's questioning techniques *had* been really rough, something didn't seem quite right about this; Chakotay never usually gave up without *some* sort of fight. He looked carefully at the older man's serious expression. "So, we do nothing, is that it?" he queried. "We just wait for Kenthah to let us go? Nothing else?"

"We don't try to escape; there's no point," Chakotay stated calmly. "But there *is* something else we can do in the meantime."

"There is? What?" Tom asked, puzzled.

Chakotay shifted further up the small bed, then pulled back the covers. "We can make use of the bed," he said softly. He gazed intently at the younger man's disbelieving face. "Come here, Tom," he continued quietly, but insistently. "Now."

Chakotay's tone was soft, but commanding, and although Tom was still far from convinced that things were okay with the Commander, and certain that he shouldn't follow the implausible instruction, the way Chakotay had spoken compelled him to obey. Slowly, and silently, he edged his way up to where the older man was waiting expectantly for him. He looked quizzically at his C.O. "Chakotay?"

Chakotay climbed under the covers and settled down, lying on his left side. He reached out, and lightly ran his fingers along Tom's arm. "Come on, Tom," he whispered. "Get in. Let me hold you."

Tom's breathing had become fast and shallow, and he swallowed nervously as he felt himself hardening. He was thankful he still wore the loose pants that were common on Nahldar, but if he stayed where he was for much longer, he knew he wouldn't be able to hide his growing erection from Chakotay. Without any more thought, he slipped under the sheet and into Chakotay's waiting arms, sighing as he was pulled into a gentle hug. He sought out, and held, Chakotay's gaze. "Why?" he breathed as he looked deep into the older man's dark eyes.

Chakotay leaned in close, and nuzzled the sensitive skin below Tom's ear, before whispering an almost inaudible plea. "Trust me, Tom. Please." He pulled back then so that he could once again see the younger man's face.

Tom could see the earnest look in Chakotay's eyes as he answered him. "Always, Chakotay," he responded softly. "I'll always trust you. With my life. With anything."

Tom sounded so completely sincere that Chakotay was totally shaken; the words, and the way Tom had delivered them in such an honest, heartfelt manner, was utterly unexpected. Acting on impulse, he lowered his lips to Tom's and kissed him tenderly.

Tom couldn't believe what was happening, but he wasn't going to protest, he just responded automatically, reaching up with both hands to grasp Chakotay's head and pull him closer, deepening the kiss as his fingers carded their way through the older man's silky hair. It was what he'd longed for - Chakotay kissing him because he wanted to, not because he had to for the sake of their mission, and it felt incredible; he didn't want it to ever end. "Don't stop. Please," he whispered when Chakotay went to pull away several minutes later. "Kiss me again."

Chakotay was more than willing to oblige, and their mouths met over and over, the gentle, loving kisses running one into another, merging, and becoming more heated again as the minutes passed. It was bliss, and Chakotay found his hands slowly roaming Tom's body, exploring the younger man's warm, soft skin as his arousal grew. It was only when Tom began to pull urgently at him, trying to shift his body to cover Tom's own, that Chakotay remembered his original purpose for initiating the intimacy. "Tom. No."

The soft words didn't register with Tom at first, but when Chakotay repeated them, he looked up at the older man, bemused. "What? Why?"

Chakotay bent down and slowly kissed his way across Tom's shoulder, then up the younger man's neck. "Because I think we're probably being watched," he finally replied, whispering directly into Tom's ear.

"So, why... Why did you start this?" Tom questioned quietly, pulling Chakotay round to face him.

Chakotay stared down into Tom's puzzled eyes, and gently stroked his cheek. He moved then, and placed his lips against Tom's. "We need to plan how to get out of here; I thought it would be less obvious if we talked like this," he murmured before kissing him lightly.

Tom's world fell apart yet again - this *was* about the mission, Chakotay didn't *really* want him; the kisses were just part of a ploy to beat any surveillance equipment that was trained on them. He should've known it was too good to be true. He closed his eyes as he felt tears threatening to fall.

Chakotay had returned his attention to Tom's neck and ear, and was gently licking and nibbling first one place, and then the other. He was revelling in the smell and taste of the younger man's skin, and was completely unaware of the pain Tom was suffering because of his words. "Forget everything I said earlier, Tom," he instructed in a whisper. "It was for the benefit of anyone who might have been listening in. I didn't mean any of it. If there's a chance to escape, we'll take it."

'Forget everything. He doesn't want you. You were right,' Tom's mind screamed at him. He lost his battle with his tears, and they spilled out to run slowly down his cheek as he mumbled his acquiescence. "Yes, Sir."

"We need to stay alert, Tom," Chakotay continued close to his ear. "I want one of us awake at all times." His eyes were closed as he licked at the skin nearby; it was wet, and tasted salty. Chakotay pushed himself up on one elbow, and gazed down at the younger man, frowning as he noted tears steadily rolling down Tom's face. He gently wiped at them with his fingers. "What's the matter, Tom?" he asked, deeply concerned. "Why are you crying?"

Tom swallowed heavily and shook his head, his eyes still tightly shut. "It's nothing," he replied quietly. "Probably just the drugs in my system. They're making me overemotional. Sorry."

Tom's reasoning was plausible, but Chakotay wasn't convinced. "Are you sure that's what it is?" he questioned further. "Or was it my fault? Did I go too far, Tom? Because I never meant to upset you."

"It's not your fault, Chakotay," Tom sighed, aware of the truth of his statement. He couldn't blame Chakotay for the pain he was feeling - the older man was unaware of what he'd done; Chakotay had no idea how much he loved him, and, therefore, no idea how badly his rejection had hurt, either. "I'm just finding it difficult to control my emotions, that's all."

Chakotay wiped at Tom's tears again, then pulled him close and hugged him. "Go back to sleep, Tom," he said softly. "You'll feel better once you're more rested."

"Yeah, I suppose." Tom sighed, and snuggled up to Chakotay. Even if the Commander didn't want him, at least he had Chakotay's trust; he clung to what Chakotay had told him earlier - 'I trust you more than anyone else I know.' It wasn't quite what he wanted, but it was far more than he'd ever hoped for, and it would have to be enough. He yawned, suddenly tired, and within minutes, fell asleep.

Chakotay closed his eyes briefly, feeling incredibly guilty. He absentmindedly caressed Tom's back as he silently berated himself over how selfish his actions had been. He hadn't given a thought to how Tom would react to his idea for covertly sharing information. The younger man had barely woken up after suffering one emotional crisis, and here *he* was, inducing another.

Chakotay sighed, and glanced down at the man in his arms. Tom was sleeping fairly peacefully, just the occasional hitch in his breathing to testify to his recent tears. He thought again about Tom's explanation for them, and still felt certain that *he* was to blame. But *why* had Tom cried? Because he'd taken advantage, because he'd done things that Tom hadn't wanted him to do? No, that couldn't be right; surprisingly, Tom had responded wholeheartedly to his kisses, and had wanted more - was *that* an effect of the drugs? Probably. But he didn't think drugs were the root cause of Tom's tears, so what else could it be? Was it because he'd *stopped* kissing him? That was just ridiculous. But Tom *had* seemed perplexed when he'd prevented him from taking things further, so maybe... Maybe... Maybe, what?

Chakotay gave up trying to figure it out. All he could come up with was that *maybe* Tom felt something for him, and wanted his feelings to be reciprocated, but that wasn't likely. For as long as he'd known Tom, the younger man had never shown any interest in him, so that probably ruled out any chance of his far-fetched theory being correct; it was just another case of wishful thinking on his part. 'But, still,' his mind insisted, 'it wouldn't hurt to test the waters a little, once Tom was himself again. Just to see.'

Chakotay nodded to himself as he brushed Tom's hair back from his face; it was worth a try. At least, once his theory was shot to pieces by Tom's disinterest, he would know for certain that he was imagining things. He'd know for sure then that his dreams were only ever likely to *be* dreams, and he could go back to the way things were before. He would do it; he would throw caution to the wind, and let Tom know much he cared for him. Having reached his decision, he relaxed. Hugging Tom even closer, he watched as the younger man slept on, waiting patiently for him to wake again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Tom came to, about an hour later, his only thought was that he was suffering from deja vu. Once again he was wrapped up in Chakotay's arms, although, this time, Chakotay wasn't asleep. Tom realised that fact when Chakotay's fingers gently brushed his cheek.

"Feeling better, Tom?" Chakotay asked softly.  Although Tom still looked tired, his face was no longer puffy, and Chakotay was pleased that the younger man appeared to be more relaxed. It seemed as though sleep might have done the trick. 

Tom gave the Commander a small smile. "I'm fine, Chakotay. I'm still a bit weary, but I'm okay. I feel much calmer now."

"I'm glad to hear it. I was really worried about you, Tom," Chakotay said quietly. He swallowed nervously, then held Tom's gaze. "I know it was my actions that upset you," he continued, guiltily. "And I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you, because that's the last thing I'd *ever* want to do. You're too important to me for that." He took a deep breath, then released it slowly. "There's something I have to tell you, Tom," he began softly. "But I'm not sure how you're going to take it."

Tom frowned; Chakotay looked as nervous as hell. "What is it, Chakotay?" he asked, sitting up. "You look like you're about to go ten rounds with the Borg. What's on your mind?"

Chakotay swallowed heavily. "It's about you. Well, me, really... I... " He sighed and shook his head. This was far harder than he'd thought it would be. He tried again. "I have to tell you, Tom, that I...." His words were cut off by the sound of the door opening.

"Ah, Tom Paris. You are awake," Telsesh remarked as he walked in. "On your feet. You are to come with me," he stated, gesturing for Tom to stand. "Up!" he ordered again when Tom failed to comply immediately.

"What do you want with Tom?" Chakotay demanded. "Where are you taking him?" Telsesh ignored Chakotay's questions as two guards entered the room and quickly headed towards the bed, grabbing Tom's arms. Chakotay sprang at the men as Tom struggled with them, managing to deliver a few hard blows to one, before three others rushed through the door and overpowered him. Two of the Nahldarians produced restraints and secured Chakotay's wrists to the bed frame, but his eyes were glued on Tom, who was staring back at him. "Don't you dare fucking hurt him," he growled, turning to glare at Telsesh. "Or you'll be sorry, you bastard. I'll kill you the first chance I get. That's a promise."

Telsesh laughed, and pointed to the door. "Get Tom Paris out of here," he ordered his men. "And you, Chakotay," he continued, returning his attention to the furious man on the bed. "Well, I'll have the pleasure of *your* company next." Telsesh waved the guards out, then followed, leaving Chakotay behind, struggling anxiously with his bonds.


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