CPR: The Chakotay/Paris Realm


"Another Brick from the Wall"

Personal log...

I just told the Captain that Tom is the father of the twins, she almost fainted. *Chuckles* But, she didn't and took it better than I thought. She asked me if I've talked with Tom and I informed her that I talked with him before talking with her and he is more than up to the job. I think I was smiling because her pale cheeks blushed as she grinned back at me.

Oh, Spirits! I'm scared and I don't know if Tom realizes it or not, but if he hadn't come by the other night, I wasn't going to go through with this. Don't get me wrong, I want to be a father, always have, but this…carrying them…was never something I ever thought of.

But, somehow, when Tom came to me last night, held me, feeling the strength he has denied in himself for so long. I felt our connection, that being a family, even if it is rushed, was the right thing.

So…looks like I'm going to be a 'papa' as Tom put it. *Laughs* I'm still scared, I really don't know what to expect and I don't know what I'll tell the crew. I mean, I'm not saying a word till I have to, I just can't shake this feeling of being off balance.

The Doctor says that whatever allowed this to happen, had added a heavy dose of estrogen to my system and that is what is doing this…just great! I have to have more of that stuff over the nine months, I'm going to be a wreck, but…but it'll be worth it…I hope.

End personal log.

*************

Tom kept a protective eye on Chakotay as he came onto the bridge from his doctor's appointment. He was looking better, though Tom could see the shift of his strength from time to time over these past two months. So far, only Chakotay, Janeway, the Doctor and himself knew of the twins, but people were becoming very edgy and suspicious as to what was wrong with the Commander. Tuvok had caught several people trying to hack into the medical files to find out, but instead of telling, Cha asked that the files be deleted or moved into a more secure file. He asked the Captain to be lenient, knowing they were concerned, but when she suggested he tell them, he gave a flat out no.

Tom did his best not to look too obvious as he kept his vigil over his love, but when he saw a small smile from Janeway, he knew he was caught. They didn't bother going back to the planet, Chakotay didn't see a reason why. They had all they needed to continue forward, so the Captain agreed and set a course towards home once again.

Normally, with little to do at the helm, Tom knew he'd be bored. But, now he was glad, because nothing to do meant all was well and Chakotay would be safe. He had practically moved into the Commander's quarters. Though he did try to keep a low profile, people would have had to have been blind not to know what was going on. But then again, he didn't know how much or how long Chakotay had loved him right before his face, so he wasn't too surprised nothing had been said…yet.

Tom had never been so happy in his life. He got to go home to the man he loved, knowing he was loved in return. Though he always pictured Chakotay pampering him, he found he loved doing it for the older man. He knew Cha liked to be independent and Tom didn't do a thing to interfere with that, but he'd give him the perks. He would give back rubs, massages, breakfast in bed and all the loving Chakotay's body could handle, and then some. //I've been with men and women half his age and they don't have what he has in the love making department,// he mused with a warm smile.

Then he heard it. Fast footsteps and the swoosh of a door. He turned to see Janeway looking in the direction of her office, but no Chakotay. Without a word, Janeway gave Tom the nod that he could follow and he moved to find out what was wrong.

He entered the office and didn't see Chakotay, but after a few seconds, he heard retching coming from the bathroom. //Oh, man. Morning sickness. I should have remembered. My sisters would bitch left and right about that and sometimes the medicine didn't always work. I guess, in this case, it wasn't working,// Tom thought as he steadied his nerves and moved towards the bathroom.

He found the door open and Cha paying homage to the porcelain thrown. "Honey, are you okay?" Tom asked as he moved inside, grabbing a towel and handing it over to Chakotay, then gently rubbing his back as the man started getting sick again. "Take it easy, I'm here," Tom soothed, knowing how stupid it sounded, because he couldn't do a thing about this. "Do you want me to call the Doctor?"

"No," Chakotay replied as he sat back against Tom and wiped his face. "He'll just try and force that medicine on me again."

Tom raised an eyebrow. "You didn't take the medicine?" he asked, a bit surprised.

"It's bad enough I have to have the other stuff, but it's all natural, well most of it, the medicine isn't, so I don't want it," the older man breathed out letting his stomach settle.

Tom didn't like the sound of this, "But, then you're going to be having morning sickness and as the First Officer, is it really wise? I mean, I understand you wanting to keep this pregnancy as natural as possible, but you don't have the luxury of being sick whenever the mood strikes, as it were," Tom said softly, placing a light kiss on top of his lover's head.

"But, Tom...?"

Tom wanted to laugh. Hearing Chakotay whine was an unique treat, at best he smiled. "I know what you want, but can you really pull it off? All I'm asking is that you think about it. Whatever you decide, you know I'll support you," he said. "Though there 'is' something I would like to try and insist on," he said carefully, having taken notice of the mood swings his love was having over the last several weeks.

"What?" Chakotay asked, making himself comfortable in Tom's arms, right there in the Captain's restroom and closed his eyes to rest.

"I know this is going to be difficult for you, but I happen to be very happy and very proud about what we are doing. I know you're concerned about how people will react to you, but…"

"Paris, get to the point," he growled a little, never opening his eyes and still snug in Tom's arms.

"I want people to know we're going to be proud parents," he said, unsure of which direction his love would react to, anger or stubbornness. What he got, he didn't expect. "Honey?" He asked when he felt the man trembling. He looked down and saw tears. "What's wrong? Our children are a beautiful thing. Why are you crying?"

"I…I don't know," he replied. "My emotions are all over the place, I'm such a damn mess! Maybe I shouldn't be doing this, I mean what kind of parent would I make if I fall to pieces every five minutes," he sobbed. "If I tell people, how can they continue to respect me? I wasn't designed to be the mother type," he sobbed some more.

Tom hugged him tighter. "Oh, love. You never thought of being a mother and I never thought of being a father," he whispered.

"What?" Cha asked, looking up at the beautiful blond. "You're good with kids, I've seen you. And you said you were so happy…"

"I am," Tom smiled. "But, until you told me I was going to be a father, I never gave it much thought…well, I did, but I had decided not to. My own father was light years away from being a good dad. I was and still am, afraid of being just like him," he said, letting some of the pain in his voice escape.

"You'll be a wonderful father, Tom. Because you'll give from your heart and I've seen it, it's a beautiful thing through and through," Chakotay whispered back, leaning up and giving Tom a sweet loving kiss.

After the kiss was broken, "If I can be a great father, you can do this," he said with a smile of love and conviction. "You are the strongest, most determined and spiritual man I know, you love life and I know you're already attached to them," he smiled. "You can do this and I'll be here right by your side, every step of the way."

"I don't know if I've said it today or not, but I love you, Tom Paris," the older man said, then kissed his love deeply.

Tom returned the kiss, then gave a reverent smile. "Hey, speaking of spiritual. Have you been able to meditate?"

"No. I've been too wound up, but perhaps I should. If I ever needed guidance, now is the time," he smiled, then moved to get up.

Tom helped him. "So, have you decided? Bridge or sickbay?"

Chakotay looked at Tom, lost in those sky blue eyes. "Your wisdom is amazing at times," he smiled as he caressed the creamy skin on Tom's face. "Let the Captain know that I'm off to sickbay and then to rest. The Doctor told me that the initial shot would make me drowsy, but after that I should be fine. While I rest, I'll think over about telling the others, okay?"

"Okay," Tom replied, kissing his love again. Tom watched as Chakotay exited out of the bathroom and then out of the Captain's side door. He walked out onto the bridge to inform the Captain and wondered why he was getting a lot of puzzled looks. The Captain was the only one who had a small smile plastered onto her face. He made his way over to Janeway, leaned over and whispered, "He went to sickbay. He's fine, but the doctor will probably send him to rest. He knows this may happen, so he wanted me to tell you."

"That's fine," Janeway whispered back. "By the way, you're glowing," she smiled. "And now you're blushing." Her grin grew as she watched Tom do his best to hide his face as he took his seat back at the helm. //Oh, it's so about time those two figured out they were made for each other,// she smiled and sat back, relaxed for the rest of the shift.

**************

Two weeks later and with the miracle of modern medicine, Chakotay was the picture of health. Though the Captain still insisted he do short shifts and use the extra time to rest or exercise to keep fit.

Today was the day of all days. They were about to find out the sex of the children and Tom was so excited he was bouncing as he walked, that was, till he noticed he was being followed. //They just won't let up, will they?// He smiled, knowing it was Harry and B'Elanna tag teaming him. //Oh, guys. I want to tell you, but Cha isn't ready, so you'll just have to wait.//

He knew this ship like the back of his hand and knew B'Elanna did too, but he knew exactly where he was going and she didn't. So he took an unexpected right turn, ran towards a shaft, jumped in and climbed down, away from his destination by three levels. He then moved to a computer console and tracked Harry and B'Elanna. They were right on his tail, one in the shaft, the other by the closest lift. //Ha! Going to have to do better than that if you're going to catch me,// he smiled. He punched in a few codes and beamed himself to his quarters. There, he played with the computer some more and beamed outside of the infirmary. //Yes. The Captain may be upset, but she'll understand,// he told himself as he walked in.

"Ah, there you are. I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever show. As it is, Commander Chakotay won't let me examine him till you arrived," the Doctor stated, annoyed.

Tom looked at his love, "Sorry, had to shake a tail," he smiled, then grinned when he saw Cha got his meaning. "Well?"

"Give me a minute," the Doctor said. He waved the medical scanner over Chakotay, "I only wish whatever was the cause of this, didn't interfere so much with the equipment," he griped. "Ah, here we go."

Tom was holding Chakotay's hand. "Well?"

"Congratulations. You both have a very healthy son...and daughter," the Doctor smiled.

"Fraternal twins?" Chakotay asked with surprise and delight.

"Wow! One of each from the get go," Tom mused.

"I should take this time to point out, Commander, that you are doing an excellent job in taking care of yourself," the Doctor said, filling a hypo for the next set of shots needed.

"Thanks," he smiled. "I've had a lot of help," he finished, giving Tom's hand a squeeze.

"I should also inform you that at the rate the twins are growing, you'll begin to show within the next week. As it is, you only show a bit, but not enough for anyone to take notice of. After next week though, that will no longer be the case. I know you didn't want anything to be said about this, but there is little I can do about it," the EMH said as he gave the Commander his shots. "There you go. I'll leave you two to talk. I'm going to tend to some 'real' patients." He then left the room.

Tom could see the news didn't sit well with Chakotay. "Hon, you knew this day was coming, why are you so bothered by it? We talked, you talked with your guide and even 'she' told you it was a blessing to be enjoyed. So why are you so upset?" He moved his arms around his lover's strong shoulders.

"I know it doesn't make any sense," he said softly. "But as happy as I am, I can't shake this…this feeling that I'll be looked at as less of a man."

"Chakotay, you know that is simply not true," Tom replied feverishly. "You are the most respected, loved and admired man on this ship. And we both know how much more it takes to travel the path you have chosen than not to. Those who have eyes will see this and if…if anyone would dare think otherwise…I'll space them," he teased. He was delighted to see his love smile. "Do that again," he said softly.

"Do what?"

"Smile," Tom whispered. Then when Chakotay did, he leaned in and kissed him deeply. He then slowly leaned back, "I love that smile, never lose it."

"As long as you're with me, I never will."

Tom was about to lean in for another kiss when the doors to the infirmary swooshed open. He moved back from Cha just as B'Elanna stormed in. "All right! I have had enough! What the hell is going on here? If you're dying you stubborn son-of-a-bitch, I have the right to know!" She fumed.

Any other time, her behavior would have landed her in the brig. But, the Commander only laughed, for he knew she was only doing it because she was beyond her limits with worry. "B'Elanna, I'm fine. I'm not dying, but you're correct. You have a right to know what's going on." He took a deep breath as if making a decision, then he looked at Tom, his blue eyes dancing with joy at the prospect of finally telling their friends about this. "Tell our friends to gather at the bar around 2000 and that I have an announcement, okay?"

She looked from the Commander to Tom, then back towards the Commander, puzzled. "All right," she agreed. //Oh, my word!// Her mind screamed. //They were kissing!// She mused as she saw the light glow of saliva around their mouths and their close proximity to each other. She smiled, believing she knew what some of the big deal was. "Okay, 2000, got it." She turned and left.

"I think she figured it out," Tom mused.

"No, just the obvious part," he smiled, then kissed Tom once more. He gave a deep sigh, "I have to go to work. See you for lunch, angel?"

"Angel?" Tom smiled, "Where did that one come from?"

"Ah, Tom. You've been my saving grace through all of this. What else could you be?" he smiled as his eyes danced with the joy he felt in his heart.

Tom felt the heat in his cheeks. "Thank you," he said softly in return. Then he cleared his throat, "Lunch sounds good…mess hall?" Tom knew Cha avoided the mess hall since becoming pregnant and the Captain was all too pleased to allow it.

"Get real, Tom. My quarters. See you then," he smiled and walked off.

That night when the two of them walked into the bar, Chakotay froze in his tracks by the sheer number of people he saw. "Perhaps, I should of just made a ship wide announcement," he said.

"Why, seems like the whole ship is here," Tom teased. He wasn't half off, for the holosuite was crowded.

"Perhaps, I should leave and let you tell them," Cha said as he turned to leave, but was caught by Tom's gentle hand.

"Hon, these are your friends and in many ways your family. That's what you would tell me, right?" He saw the older man nod his concession. "Then face them. You have nothing to fear, right?"

Chakotay smiled, "No." He looked deep into those sparkling blue eyes as he heard his name being called from the crowd. "How did you get so wise?" he asked softly.

"Oh, just hanging around this very wise man who I happened to love very much. Learned a thing or two even if he did think I wasn't paying attention…I was," Tom smiled.

"Stop playing googly eyes and get over here," B'Elanna said as she grabbed Tom and Cha by the arm and brought them inside. "Okay, everyone! They're here, so shut it!" she shouted.

Chakotay looked at Tom, his resolve fading. Tom moved up to him and held his hand. Then looked out over the crowd, "If you haven't guessed, you owe us five rations each," he teased as he leaned in and gave Cha a small kiss on the cheek.

The crowed cheered as B'Elanna shouted, "Harry, you owe me ten, as does the rest of you suckers," she smiled.

Tom gave a glowing smile to his love and leaned over to whisper, "See, they love us. Go on, it'll be okay. They'll be a bit shocked, but don't worry."

Chakotay, still holding tightly to Tom's hand, cleared his throat. "Ah, there's more," he said.

"Wow! A wedding so soon?" Megan Delaney shouted.

Chakotay blinked as if the idea had never even occurred to him. Tom and him were together, the idea of a wedding seemed foreign, as if it had already taken place. He looked at Tom who was smiling ear to ear, "I didn't…"

"We'll talk later, go on," he softly encouraged.

"Um, no," he replied to the crowd. That got some folks to be quiet. They had almost taken it as a given. He waited till the rest were quiet, still feeling the fear in his stomach, or was it the twins pushing against it? He wasn't sure. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath while holding Tom's hand tightly. "We're expecting," he stated quickly. He opened his eyes to see the stunned looks before him.

Then, as if time remembered itself, cheers and congratulations filled the bar. This wasn't what he was expecting, but he was pleased to hear it. //Not too bad,// he thought as he smiled at Tom, who was beaming with pride.

"Congratulations!" Harry said, as he walked up and shook their hands. He then looked over at Tom, "So when's the baby due?"

"Six months," Tom responded with pride.

"Wow! You don't look it," Harry observed while staring at Tom.

"You don't show a bit," B'Elanna said as she came up to Tom. "Think you can handle being all beached out?" She teased. "Get too big and you won't be able to reach the helm controls," she laughed.

Tom paled, then looked at Chakotay who was stunned. He then turned back to his friends, "What makes you think I'm carrying the children?" he asked.

"Children?" Megan asked as she moved in to give her blessing with her sister Jenny, not far behind.

"Yeah, twins. One boy and one girl," Chakotay managed to say, his voice tight.

"That's wonderful, Commander," Neelix chimed in with pure delight. "You best be taking good care of our Tom, here," he playfully chided.

"Again, what makes you think I'm the one carrying them? Why not Chakotay?" Tom asked in disbelief at the conclusions his 'friends' had jumped to. Hearing his questions, everyone roared in laugher as if he had said the funniest thing in the galaxy.

"What's so funny?" Tom asked, trying to keep his temper under control.

"Oh, Tom!" B'Elanna laughed. "Chakotay…pregnant?" She curled up laughing.

"Come on, Tom. We all know that between the two of you, it'd be you. Puh-lease," Harry laughed.

"Commander Chakotay with child? Now that 'is' funny," Neelix giggled. As the rest of the room got wind of the joke, they too started laughing. Everyone, but Janeway and Tuvok.

"Yeah, Tom. Chakotay, pregnant. That 'is' funny," Chakotay said between clenched teeth. He then let go of Tom's hand and stormed out of the bar.

"Knock it off!" Tom shouted. "This isn't funny!" He fumed.

Tom's reaction and Chakotay taking off, made everyone slowly come to their senses. Janeway and Tuvok made their way to stand next to Tom as he shook with anger. She laid a hand onto the young man's shoulder, only to have it shrugged off. "Tom," she began quietly, trying to soothe him.

"I would like to think that everyone here is now becoming aware of the serious mistake you all have committed," Tuvok stated to the crowd.

Silence filled the room as they all took in Tuvok's words and Tom's fury. It was Harry who put two and two together for them. "Oh, my word! That day on the bridge was morning sickness!" he exclaimed in total shock. He then looked over at Tom with total remorse for his foolishness.

"The health issues, the cut back in schedule," B'Elanna said, too stunned by how obvious it should have been.

"That's right!" Tom finally snapped. "It took me three months to convince him to tell you. I told him it would be okay, that you would understand and not lose respect for him. Well, I hope you're happy with yourselves, because now he's 'never' going to believe me again!" Tom shouted as he pushed passed everyone to go after his upset lover.

"Tom! We…we're sorry!" Harry tried saying, but Tom didn't bother to stop as he continued his charge out the door. Harry looked towards B'Elanna then to the Captain, who was royally pissed off.

"'Sorry' isn't going to be good enough, Ensign Kim," she glared at the crowd. "Yes, Commander Chakotay is carrying the children...twins. He's gone through a lot already and the circumstances are noone's business, but theirs. I want all of you to know, it took a great deal of courage for him to follow through with this. He has earned our respect and our admiration. I don't think for one minute this should change anything, but if you do have a problem…"

"Forgive me, Captain," Neelix interrupted. "I don't think anyone here has a problem. All of us here respect and admire the Commander, it's…well, we…"

"Never even considered it," B'Elanna finished softly. "We've always seen him as the alpha male type and Tom…well, you know?" she stated, looking over at the Captain in hopes she did indeed know what she meant.

"Your assumptions of their roles are not without some merit, however, fate has deemed that these typical roles be some what reversed. Thus making this situation even more strenuous on someone like the Commander," Tuvok stated.

"Oh, brother. What can we do to make it up to them?" Harry asked.

"First, you can all apologize, but beyond that, the best thing you can do is treat him the same way you always have, because if he thinks you're feeling sorry for him, he'll slap you sideways. Figuratively speaking, of course."

"Does that mean a baby shower is out?" Jenny asked.

"Oh. Perhaps not now, but in a few months, I'm sure it would be a welcomed thing. But for now, he's a strong man with a lot of pride and before anyone of you forgets that, you try putting yourselves in his shoes. And if that's not enough, I'm sure either he or Tom will remind you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a feeling this evening is over, good night," Janeway said as she made her way out of the bar, followed by Tuvok.

"They have made an error, but their hearts are in the right place. I'm sure the Commander will come to see this in time," Tuvok stated, his hands behind his back as they walked down the hall. "I too would have made a similar error had I not witnessed the Commander's illness a month back. Curious, Captain. How did this happen?"

Kathryn smiled at her long-term friend, "It happened back on the planet, that much I think you have deduced. But, exactly what happened, they really don't know and Chakotay was beside himself insisting we didn't go back there to find out. He didn't want to know, didn't see the point and so I made the decision to let it go. I am glad to see him and Tom so happy though, so whatever happened couldn't have been all that bad, if unexpected."

"Well, the Commander has seemed very happy regardless of tonight's misunderstanding," the Vulcan stated.

"That would be true," Kathryn sighed. "As does Tom. I hope they can get past this. I mean, if it were to have happened to me..."

"I am sure you would have handled it just as well," Tuvok replied.

She smiled, "Well, I'd handle it, but not anywhere near as well, that's for sure." They entered the lift.

***************

Tom entered their quarters. He had never slept in his own bed or even used it hardly, since that first night three months ago. He could see Chakotay sitting in the dark, by the sofa, blanket around him, staring out into the stars. This time, he didn't hesitate. He walked right up and hugged the man he loved. He was glad to feel Cha ease into his arms, but was upset to feel the trembling of the man's body as he quietly sobbed.

"I'm so sorry," Tom whispered. "I…I didn't think they…" Tom couldn't hold his own tears back, he let them flow as he hugged Chakotay tightly. "I love you so much. Just believe that and we'll get through this. I promise," he vowed. "I won't let anyone hurt you ever again," he said, anger in his tone.

"It wasn't your fault, Tom," Cha sobbed out. "The truth is, I'm not the man they expected me to be," he said, moving back so he could use the starlight to see into his love's eyes. He saw Tom about to protest. "It's true, I'm not. I'm not even the man 'I' expected and you know what, I think I finally figured out that that is a good thing." He gave a small smile.

"How so?"

"If I was the man I expected of me, I would have first never attempted to carry the children, which only women in my culture do, nor would I be so happy about it. But, the truth is, I do and I am and even though I feel hurt about what happened, I don't want to change anything."

"Uh, Hon. I think you showed just how much of a strong man you really are. Right here, right now," Tom smiled. "For as much as they pegged me for being the child bearer, if it were up to me, we wouldn't be having them. I don't have your strength or courage to do it. I know I don't."

"Tom, it's not nice to lie."

"Cha, I would never lie to you."

"It's not me you're lying to, it's yourself. You have lots of strength and courage, we've both seen it, you're just still in denial."

Tom smiled and kissed his lover soundly on the lips. "I guess I'm not the only one who has gotten to see behind the wall, huh?"

"I guess tonight I just dropped another one," he smiled.

Just then, the door chimed.

Tom got up, "I'll tell whoever it is to go away," he said softly as he moved to the door. As soon as it opened, he was bowled over by dozens of people walking into the room.

"Hey? Why's it so dark in here?" B'Elanna asked, trying to sound light, but not wanting to turn the lights on just in case.

Chakotay wiped his face. "Lights." He saw everyone from the bar cramming his or her way into his quarters. "What is the meaning of this?" he asked in a stunned tone.

Harry moved up to Chakotay and handed him a box. "We…um…we kind of made you leave the party, so we thought we'd bring it to you. We also wanted to tell you we're sorry and congratulations," he said sincerely.

Chakotay looked at all the happy, beaming faces, looking for a hint of pity, but as much as he tried he couldn't. "Um…thank you," he said taking the box.

"Open it," Neelix said with anticipation.

"Just so you know. If you don't like it, it was my idea," B'Elanna said as she watched Chakotay open the box. He pulled out a large, comfortable dark brown shirt and just stared at it. Then to everyone's surprise, he started laughing.

"What's so funny?" Tom asked of his love.

Chakotay turned the shirt around. All down the front of it, it read, 'Full capacity has been reached,' an arrow pointed downward, then 'Twins'. "Thank you, B'Elanna. I don't see myself wearing it, but thank you."

"Ah, come here," she said and hugged him, but not too tightly.

Everyone gave Chakotay their warmest wishes and left the couple alone to enjoy the rest of their evening.

"I'm learning so much on this journey," Chakotay said as he got ready for bed.

"You and me both, love. You and me both." Tom walked over and hugged his lover. "I can only think of one thing that would make this night even better," he said with a loving grin.

"Great sex?" Cha quipped.

"Okay, two things," Tom smirked.

"Well, what's the first one?"

Tom's eyes got serious, "I meant every word I've said to you since we began this journey, you know that right?"

"Yes," Cha replied, seeing Tom was completely sincere.

"Then know, that in my heart, I know what I want without a doubt and that is you and our children. Marry me, Chakotay. Marry me and make me the most happiest man alive," he asked.

Chakotay smiled, his eyes misting over. "If I marry you, you'd have to share that title. Because I'd be just as happy," he replied.

"Is that a 'yes'?"

"Yes!"

They passionately kissed while Tom maneuvered his future husband over towards the bed, grabbing up the box with the shirt in it. He looked down at his Chakotay, "What should I do with this?" he asked

"Toss it aside for now, I'll stick it somewhere later," he replied, pulling Tom down onto the bed. "It's not like I'm going to be wearing it," he smiled and lost himself in loving his saving grace.

**************

Two months later and Chakotay could barely sit still in his chair. It took more discipline than he thought he had ever possessed, for no matter how much he tried, he just couldn't get comfortable. It also didn't help that the replicators were offline again, so here he was First Officer of the starship Voyager, five months pregnant, big as a large beach ball due to having twins, wearing the shirt B'Elanna gave him as a joke. To him, this was a joke. If it were not for the fact that everyone treated him practically the same, although he did have to take into account he was a five month pregnant XO, he probably would have crawled under a rock and stayed there.

The wedding had been postponed. It was to have been this week, but with the replicators down and all the unexpected break downs, he and Tom thought it best to wait till things got up and running again. But, as far as they were concerned, Tom had moved out of his quarters all ready and the Captain was working on seeing to a family sized one just before the babies were born. Things were going fairly smoothly for both him and Voyager. They were both waddling along, but doing fine. He felt almost connected to the ship. It was leaking plasma, he was leaking…well, he had to make a lot of pit stops. The ship was slow, he was slow. She was old, he felt old. Though everyone commented on how he glowed and Tom said he never saw him look more beautiful in his life. //Ah, my angel. If not for you, I'd have crash and burned a long time ago,// he thought, thinking of his fiancÚ as he watched the sexy pilot dance his fingers over Voyager's controls and make her purr, just like they did for him. Yep, he and the old gal had a lot in common.

Suddenly, the ship rocked. "What was that?" Chakotay asked.

"Unknown at this time, Commander," Tuvok replied.

Then the ship rocked again. "Red alert!"

"Commander, I'm picking up Kazon energy signatures, but not their ships," Tuvok stated.

"Seska!" he swore. "Shields up at maximum. Tom, get us the hell out of here. Harry, do a sensor sweep, she may have been able to pull off that cloaking device after all, but to do it she'd have to use a maximum power output, look for it!"

"Aye, sir," Harry replied as his went to work.

The ship rocked once again, but not as hard. "That was behind us," Tom said, pushing up Voyager's speed.

Janeway walked in. "Report!"

"Kazon vessel, though only through energy signatures. Tom has us ahead of them, but they're still in pursuit. Harry is looking for a maximum power output, to see if he can get a trace of where the Kazon and Seska are."

"You think she's behind this?" Janeway asked as she took her seat.

"Definately," he replied as the ship rocked once more.

"Commander, I hate to do this, but sickbay, now," Janeway ordered. She knew he would want to stay, but the bridge was too dangerous for him right now and they did agree, he could stay as long as it wasn't dangerous.

Chakotay was about to protest, then looked at Tom and saw he was being distracted from his duty, which couldn't be allowed, now. "All right," he said, moving towards the 'lift and entering it.

"Captain! I'm getting a transporter signal," Harry yelped.

"In or out?"

"Out!"

"Block it!"

"Damn, too late! They beamed someone off of the ship," Harry said with frustration.

"Who?"

"Can't tell yet."

Tom felt a sudden sense of panic, "Computer, location of Commander Chakotay?"

Janeway was about to chide the young man…

"Commander Chakotay is no longer on board."

Continued in Stepping Stone

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