xenophobia
Xenophobia


"You want to get married," Janeway said, repeating Chakotay's request. She looked from him to Tom, a smile gradually creeping across her face. "Well, that's wonderful. Just let me know when, and we'll start making the preparations."

"Preparations?" Tom queried with a frown. "What preparations?"

Janeway gave an amused snort and shook her head. "Men," she muttered. "I'll tell you what preparations, Lieutenant. For a start, there's the location, clothes, the reception - they all need to be organised beforehand."

"Why?" Chakotay asked, his face echoing Tom's puzzlement. "Why can't we just get married without all that?"

"Well, technically, you can, I suppose," Janeway relented. "But don't you want to share this special occasion with the rest of the crew?"

"Not really," Tom remarked, moving a little closer to Chakotay as they sat side by side on Janeway's couch. "We just wanted it to be a private moment. And we want to keep it simple."

"Oh, I see," Janeway said, leaning back in her chair, her disappointment evident. "Well, in that case, there's nothing to stop you from marrying whenever you want," she conceded. She gave a small sigh before continuing. "You're going to need two witnesses, though," she informed them. "We can't proceed without those, it's a legal requirement. And you'll need to decide *when* you want to get married."

"Well, the 'when' is easy," Tom stated. "We'd like to get married now, if we can. It's just the witnesses that might prove difficult."

"Has that got anything to do with what went on in Sandrine's earlier?" the Captain questioned. "Tuvok reported that there'd been some sort of disagreement between certain members of the senior staff. I must say, I'm not too happy that it went on in public, but as Tuvok informed me it had been sorted out fairly swiftly, and that there had been no need for security to become involved, I suppose there wasn't too much harm done." She turned her full attention on Tom then. "I understand that Harry Kim was one of the participants. Was this a continuation of the friction that existed between you two prior to the away mission?"

"Yes, unfortunately," Tom sighed. "Although, I honestly thought it'd been resolved. I guess I was wrong."

"So I take it, Harry Kim is not a prospective witness, then? Is that correct?"

"Yes, Captain," Tom replied quietly.

"In that case, have you decided on anyone else?"

"We have one witness arranged, Captain - B'Elanna's accepted," Chakotay informed Janeway. "But we haven't asked anyone else yet. Coming to see you now was something of an impulse," he confessed. "I didn't really think it all through first."

Janeway frowned. "That's not very like *you*, Chakotay," she commented. "You *are* sure about this, aren't you?"

"Of course I am," Chakotay insisted forcefully. "Tom and I love each other very much, and we definitely want to get married. I just didn't think about certain prerequisites before making my request to you, that's all."

"Well, if you're serious about going through with this, you're going to have to think about them. And if you want to marry *tonight*, then you'll need to get your witnesses sorted out very quickly."

Chakotay nodded. "Yes, Captain. If you could see us again in about an hour, I'm sure we'll have everything worked out by then."

"Very well, Chakotay. But where do you and Tom want the ceremony to take place? Do you have a preference?"

/Our quarters, Cha?/ Tom queried silently.

//If that's what you want, Sweetheart.//

/Yes, it is,/ Tom confirmed. /Is that okay with you?/

In answer to Tom's question, Chakotay addressed Janeway. "We'd like the ceremony to be held in our quarters, if that's acceptable."

"Your quarters? Are you living together?" the Captain asked, puzzled.

"Yes. Tom moved in with me tonight," Chakotay nodded.

"Oh, I see," Janeway responded, a little surprised, but deciding not to comment further. "Well, in that case, I'll see you there at 2100 hours."

"Thank you, Kathryn. We'll be waiting," Chakotay answered, taking Tom's hand as they both stood, then headed for the door.

Janeway nodded and smiled, then, with a thoughtful expression, watched  as the two men left her cabin.

"So why our quarters, Tom?" Chakotay asked as they made their way down the corridor towards the turbolift.

"It's convenient," Tom grinned, stopping and leaning against the wall next to the lift.

The lift doors opened and they stepped in. After calling for engineering, Chakotay returned his attention to Tom. "Convenient? How do you mean, Tom?" he asked.

"Well, think about it, Cha," Tom responded, moving in front of the older man and pressing into him. "What comes after the ceremony?" he asked, softly kissing Chakotay on the cheek, then rubbing against him.

"I have no idea, Tom. Enlighten me," Chakotay requested, a twinkle in his eye as he ran his hands down his lover's back and pulled him closer.

Just then, the lift stopped, and as the doors opened, Tom reluctantly pulled away from Chakotay, whispering in his ear as they exited. "Our wedding night," he said, smiling seductively.

"You have a one track mind, Tom," Chakotay admonished him as they walked towards where B'Elanna stood engrossed in diagnostic readouts.

Tom raised his eyebrows, a knowing grin on his face. "And you don't?" he asked.

"Of course not, Tom," Chakotay replied seriously. "I'm more interested in the legal and spiritual aspects of our marriage."

"Yeah, right," Tom snorted. "And leola root is the crew's favourite delicacy."

"It *is*," Chakotay insisted, a wide smile spreading across his face.

Tom laughed, and B'Elanna turned around, smiling as she saw the two men approach. "This is the second time tonight I've seen you two. To what do I owe *this* pleasure? " she asked.

"Well actually, B'Elanna, it concerns our earlier discussion," Chakotay answered, moving to stand next to her. "I know this is very short notice, but we need your services as a witness at 2100 hours."

"You're getting married tonight?" B'Elanna asked incredulously. "What's the rush? One of you pregnant or something?" she grinned.

Chakotay slipped his arm around Tom's waist and smiled. "No. Tom's not ready for that just yet," he replied, patting the younger man's stomach with his other hand.

"No, Tom isn't," the pilot said hurriedly. "And he's never likely to be," he added, turning to look at Chakotay, panic clearly evident on his face.

"It's okay, Tom. I was only joking," Chakotay reassured him. He pulled Tom to him and gently kissed his lips. "I don't think *either* of us will ever be ready for something like that."

"Good," Tom sighed, relieved. "You had me worried there for a minute."

"So," B'Elanna said, looking from one man to the other. "Why *are* you getting married tonight? *Is* there a reason?"

"Not really," Tom answered, calmer now. "It just seemed like a good idea, that's all. We've been to see the Captain, and she's fine about it. We just have to find one more witness."

"I might be able to help you there," B'Elanna said, finishing up the diagnostic she'd been running. "That's if you don't have anyone in mind already, of course."

Chakotay shook his head. "No, we don't," he replied,. "Who were you thinking of?"

"Sam Wildman. I was talking to her after you left Sandrine's. She'd been sitting at the table behind us, and was appalled at Harry's behaviour. She happened to mention that she would've loved it if *she'd* been asked to be a witness. She's very fond of both of you, you know."

"I'm fond of *her*, too," Tom commented. "She'd be a good choice, Chakotay."

"Yes, she would," Chakotay agreed. "We should pay her a visit." He turned to B'Elanna then. "Thanks for your suggestion, B'Elanna. And we'll see you a little before 2100 hours?"

"Just tell me where, and I'll be there, Chakotay. I wouldn't miss it for anything," B'Elanna assured him.

"Then we'll see you in our quarters, formerly *my* quarters, in just under an hour," Chakotay said, giving her a hug. After Tom had done the same, Chakotay asked the computer for Sam Wildman's location, then he and Tom left to visit her.

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

"Smile, please," the Doctor requested as he focussed on the two men standing in front of the viewport in their cabin, their arms around each other's shoulders. Tom and Chakotay complied, and the EMH beamed with satisfaction as he preserved yet another moment for posterity. He walked away then, crossing the room to find B'Elanna and Sam, determined to record their inclusion in the evening's proceedings.

"I hope you didn't mind me asking the Doctor to come along," Janeway said as she approached her newly-married officers. "I know you said you didn't want anything elaborate, but I couldn't let an occasion like this slip by without some sort of visual record of it."

Chakotay smiled, his arm now around Tom's waist, and a glass of champagne, supplied by Sam, clutched in his other hand. "We didn't mind at all, Kathryn," he answered. "I'm sure we'll enjoy looking at the pictures for many years to come."

"I'm sure you will," Janeway smiled. "After all, you do make a very handsome couple, as I think the rest of the crew will agree."

"With the notable exception of Harry Kim," Tom muttered, leaning his forehead on Chakotay's shoulder.

Chakotay sighed and placed his glass on the small table that stood nearby, then pulled Tom into his arms, holding him tightly. "Don't let him spoil our evening, Tom," he whispered against Tom's neck. "Harry's already hurt you enough. Forget about him now. Please?"

Tom nodded, rubbing his cheek against Chakotay's. "I'm sorry, Cha," he answered quietly. "I didn't mean to let him get to me any more."

"I know, Tom," Chakotay said softly. He ran his hands over Tom's back, feeling the warmth of Tom's body through the white silk shirt he wore, and drew him even closer. "I love you," he stated, kissing Tom's cheek. "We're married, Tom. Let's never let anyone, or anything, come between us."

Tom pulled back slightly and looked into Chakotay's dark eyes, noting the concern and love he saw there. And as the Captain stepped away from them, Tom leaned forward to give Chakotay a long, loving kiss. When he pulled away several minutes later, Tom smiled. "No more worrying about Harry Kim. I promise," he said, holding Chakotay by the hips. "But if we make it home, I wonder what my dad'll think of us. He's never approved of anything I've ever done, and I can't see him approving of our marriage."

"Does that bother you, Tom?" Chakotay asked, frowning.

"A little," Tom confessed. "But not enough to make me worry about it. It was just a stray thought that was all. The days I spent seeking to make him proud of me are long gone. It'd be nice if we could gain his acceptance, but if we can't, I shan't lose any sleep over it." He moved his hands to Chakotay's waist, then pulled him close again. "You're all I care about, Chakotay," he said softly. "Nothing else matters."

"I feel the same way, Tom," Chakotay replied. "And as soon as everyone leaves, I want to show you just how much you mean to me."

"Mmm," Tom murmured, pushing his hips forward until his groin brushed Chakotay's. "Sounds good. Let's tell them all to go away now."

Chakotay gave a soft laugh. "I don't think we need to say anything, Tom. I think they've already got the message," he remarked, glancing towards the Captain. He was about to comment on Janeway's attempts to usher the others out, when Tom groaned and brought his hands to his head in evident discomfort. "What's the matter, Tom?" Chakotay asked, running his hand over the younger man's forehead. "Are you in pain?"

"Something's wrong, Chakotay, but I'm not sure what. Can't you feel it?" Tom asked, dropping his hands, then studying Chakotay's worried face. "I think we're about to.... " His words were cut off as the ship shook violently, and the red alert sounded.

"Status!" the Captain shouted into her comm badge as she ran for the door.

"We're under attack, Captain," Tuvok's calm voice informed her. "Two alien vessels. They are ignoring our hails."

"I'm on my way," Janeway called as the others hastily followed her into the corridor, then began making their way to the bridge.

The Doctor huffed as he prepared to return to sickbay. "Does *every* species in this quadrant suffer from xenophobia?" he muttered.

Tom snorted in frustration as his and Chakotay's plans were put on hold. "Certainly seems that way," he responded moodily as the EMH vanished.  He gave Chakotay a small wry smile as he grabbed his hand, then along with everyone else, they entered the turbolift.


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