Title: The Measure of my Love
Author: Kim Riley aka MYSTIC
Note: Sequel to Mere Nine ½ inches. (Challenge) and Inch by inch.
Rating: R language and m/m
Summary: Just how far is Tom willing to go for his man?
Archive: Please, just let me know where.
Feedback: Yes please! Mysticmcknight@hotmail.com
The Measure of my Love
Tom sat in his quarters attempting to go over flight simulation reports of the other pilots, but his mind kept drifting back and replaying that irritating giggle and smirk. //How dare she! // He thought in anger, but he then would school his thoughts and try to convince himself that she was only teasing his mate…//mate…//
Tom placed down the PADD and moved to pour himself some water as his mind whirled over the word…//mate. // Before any doubt or real question entered in his mind it slammed shut, //MATE! Chakotay's 'my' mate and everyone better keep their damn hands off! // He found himself fuming.
After downing another glass of water Tom found he was much more calmer, //perhaps it wasn't clear to everyone just 'what' had happened and just 'who' Chakotay now was? // "Well, I can take care of that!" Tom stated smugly as he moved to the computer and sat down with a mischievous grin on his face. "Something simple, yet subtle, but that any lame brain can figure out?" he said to himself, then with a wicked smile he went to work.
Chakotay entered the mess hall as always to join Kathryn for breakfast before the morning briefing. After grabbing a tray of what seemed palatable he joined her at the 'Captain's' table. "Morning, Kathryn," he smiled.
"Morning," she smiled back then waited till her friend and First Officer was seated. "Oh, I never asked you, how did you handle the indiscretion with Paris?"
Chakotay almost choked on his coffee, //Does she know? // Was his first thought but seconds later he realized she meant his actions in the mess hall yesterday.
"Are you all right?" she asked torn between laughing and concern.
"Yes, fine," he replied easily. "One month no rations and no privileges," he added.
"Ah," She responded. "Did he say why he did it?"
Janeway watched, as her friend seemed to struggle with something before answering her. "He was taking a lot of razzing and it got carried away, and…he lost his temper."
Kathryn couldn't help but just then get the feeling there was more to this but wasn't going to be getting to that truth now if ever, so decided to let her First Officer do his job and handle it. "Very well," she replied easily. Then deciding to change the subject, "Oh," she smiled. "Did you see what came across the general email?"
Chakotay usually checked his mail first thing, but he was up late last night going over with his spirit guide what happened down on the planet and in the office, and found himself more frustrated when all she kept saying was to accept his new lot in life and enjoy…enjoy what? He gave a sigh, "No, anything good?"
"Well, sort of," Janeway smiled. "Seems someone felt the need to set the record straight or up to date, as it were as to who's available on this ship and who isn't," she chuckled taking the PADD that contained all her mail. Looking over the list again she snorted. "Why, Commander…who is she?" she teased.
"Who she what?" he asked innocently as he tried to finish his breakfast.
Kathryn smiled even more thinking that Chakotay was playing with her, "She…as in she who has rendered you 'unavailable," she teased.
Chakotay looked up and for a moment thought that his Captain was joking but even in her smile he could see she was asking a real question. He reached out for the PADD, "Let me see that?" He then looked over the list and saw it was a list of male and female crew that were available for dating and those 'off the market' as the list put it. He saw his name was on that list toward the top, but what really caught his eye was the fact that Tom Paris was also on that list. Feeling it was another cut toward him and the officers that had suffered down on the planet Chakotay grew angry. "Who did this?" he asked in his dark voice, letting Kathryn know he was far from amused and the information wasn't as simple as she had first took it.
"Commander, what…?" She started to ask.
Chakotay glared, but it was obvious his anger wasn't at her as he spoke in that dark dangerous tone that meant someone was in real trouble, "This is just another insult to me, Tom and the others!" he snapped, even if he didn't notice that only his and Tom's name was on the unavailable list from the former away party.
Just then Dalby walked in to get his morning meal and Chakotay saw red. He lifted from the table with a PADD in hand and moved toward the unsuspecting Lieutenant. He suddenly whirled Dalby around and placed the PADD in his chest with some pressure, "Is this you or Carter's doing?" he asked accusingly.
Dalby was startled and a bit scared seeing the dark look in his former Captain's eyes, knowing far too well that nothing but the truth was going to work here. He took the PADD and looked at it and then shook his head no, "No…no, Commander. I for one didn't have 'anything' to do with this. In fact, I got that on my email too, but I swear, sir, I had nothing to do with it."
Chakotay looked at the man before him, knowing he was telling the truth, but then in the back of his mind he remembered how he was a part of those who harrassed Tom and, "Let me make this perfectly clear, Lieutenant. If I find out that you or anyone on board continues in this…disrespectful manner toward me or any other member of the last away party, they 'will' deal with 'me' personally. Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant?"
"Perfectly, sir," Dalby replied and for a moment was almost certain that Chakotay was still going to hit him for his eye were glaring at him. Then a hand came to rest on the Commander's shoulder and Dalby's eyes shifted to see who would enter into this moment.
"Something the matter, Commander?" Tom asked easily, though his blue eyes were transfixed on Dalby as well.
Dalby thought for a moment he was imagining it, but the moment Tom was present the Commander seemed to relax and became his old self again, but Tom…Tom suddenly made him shiver. "Look," he declared, "I swear, I had nothing to do with that list…honest."
"Is that what this is about?" Tom asked easily, even his eyes relaxed from their posturing. "Sheesh, you people act like the 'list' has never circulated before," he teased as he moved to gather his tray so he could eat.
"This is a…regular thing?" Chakotay asked a bit stunned at the news.
Tom smiled warmly, "Well, not 'regular' but it has happened a few times over the years," he chuckled.
Chakotay felt a bit ashamed at his overreaction, he was certain that it was a dig toward Tom...that was unacceptable. "Lieutenant, I…I apologize, I…I thought…"
"Don't sweat it, Commander," Dalby replied, only too glad to be able to leave in one piece. He totally forgot about having breakfast this morning.
"Commander?" Janeway said, not too happy with the scene her First Officer had instigated. "You care to rejoin me?" she asked, not really meaning that to be a question.
Tom saw Chakotay nod his head and that the older man was embarrassed, this was not his intention when he posted the list and so had to do something, "Commander," he said lightly as he moved closer before Chakotay moved off to join the Captain. "I…I was wondering if we could have lunch together…perhaps…talk about a few things."
Chakotay was feeling very confused, but nodded yes as he moved back to join the Captain and get an ear full of the right and wrong ways to handle things on board a Starfleet ship.
Tom watched quietly as he saw Chakotay nod his head in concession to what the Captain was saying, obviously giving him a talking to. He was glaring so intensely that he didn't notice Harry join him. "Voyager to Paris"
Tom blinked and then saw his best friend next to him, "Harry? When did you get here?"
Harry laughed, "I've been here for about five minutes," he chuckled then got serious, "But what's with you? You seemed far away and angry?"
Tom didn't want to discuss this and so what he usually did, changed the subject as fast as possible. "Harry, Harry, Harry. I may have been off somewhere, but not angry. So…? How are you and B'Elanna holding up?"
Harry knew he was being brushed off, and since years of experience told him that to push would be a waste of time he dropped it. "As fine as one can be," he replied as he started in on his meal. The rest of the conversation was light and minimal till Tom decided he had an errand he had to run before his shift started, then with a grin was up and gone.
Tom sat quietly at the con as he kept his awareness of Chakotay and the Captain entering the bridge. He didn't even take notice of the compliment the Captain gave him for being not only on time, but early for his shift, only gave a smile and a nod. No, he was only interested in Chakotay's reaction to what was about to occur.
Chakotay moved to take his seat and spotted a red envelope on his chair. Picking it up he saw that it was addressed to him. He wasn't in the best of moods and a bit of him thinking this was another low blow from the crew almost made him tear it up, but he kept his temper under control and sat down. He saw the Captain give him an inquisitory look; he shrugged and opened the envelope. Inside was a note. He pulled it out and read it, and to everyone's surprise smiled ear to ear, the anger of the morning melting away like a bad memory.
"Since when did we start getting our mail here on the bridge?" Janeway asked with a bit of teasing in her tone.
Chakotay folded up the note and placed it back in the envelope, a slight blush on his cheeks, "Um…" he didn't have a come back, and he was too stunned by the note and its sediment. "I guess since this morning," he finally replied meekly.
All joking aside, something was going on and she wanted to know "If you'd care to join me," Janeway said quietly as she rose indicating to Tuvok that he had the bridge. She moved to her ready room and took a seat and looked expectantly at Chakotay. "Well?"
Chakotay felt the heat of a blush on his cheek, "It was just a note trying to cheer me up. I guess I was a bit more upset than I realized and…someone took notice," he smiled shyly.
Janeway couldn't help but notice how sexy her First Officer was when he was being shy, which didn't happen often. "So…anyone 'we' know?" she asked teasingly.
Chakotay actually hesitated for a moment, unsure if he should say for things were rocky enough as it was on board, but he didn't feel right about not telling her either. "Tom," he said softly.
The huge grin on Janeway's face faded into concern, "Tom?" She was hoping this wasn't going to be an issue, but seeing the way things were going she could possibly be wrong. "Chakotay," she stated slowly, bracing him for what she had to say, even if she didn't want to. "You know, that besides the fraternization rule…Starfleet…"
Chakotay looked annoyed, his good mood slipping away just as easily as it had arrived, "I know, I know. They seriously frown on homosexual relationships," he snapped.
Janeway sat up; "Seriously frown is far from an understatement, Chakotay. It's not allowed and you know that. What happened between you and Tom on the planet…well… it was out of anyone's control, so it could be overlooked, but…"
"But what? Tom only sent me a note to cheer me up, for heaven sakes," he replied annoyed.
"Chakotay," she said, taking a deep breath, she didn't like this, but it was regulations, "I'm not making any accusations, only saying that…perhaps…"
"Perhaps…" she leaned back in her chair, "Perhaps I'm making mountains out of mole hills. Sorry, I just was concerned. With what happened, someone could mistake Tom's actions and, well, file a charge…that's all. I was trying to be a friend," she stated weakly, feeling she just made a mess of things.
Chakotay stood up and paced a moment, "I'd like to finish my shift in my office if you don't mind," he requested. He needed time to think. What happened on the planet was one thing, what happened in his office the other day another, and the feeling he had when he read the note from Tom wasn't helping matters.
"Very well," she replied and then watched her friend leave. After a few moments she contacted Tom and had him report to her office. In minutes he was standing before her. "Have a seat, Lieutenant."
"What can I do for you, Captain?" he asked easily.
"First, I want you to know that I'm 'not' making any accusations, just simply trying to…make you aware of a potential problem, that's all," she stated evenly. She saw Tom nod his understanding and continued. "You do recall that homosexual activities are forbidden on board Starfleet vessels, correct?"
Tom nodded, "I do recall that," he stated evenly.
"Also, there are rules against fraternization between high ranking officers and subordinates?"
"Yes, Captain, I'm aware of them," again evenly.
Janeway gave a sigh of relief, fearing that this was gong to be a difficult conversation and was glad to see that she was wrong. "Good," she smiled more easily. "I just didn't want any misunderstanding by anyone on board, that's all."
Tom keeping his calm mask in place, "Why, has there been…a problem?" he asked wondering if Chakotay would have made some sort of complaint, but that didn't make sense, not after responding so wonderfully to his note.
"No, Tom, there isn't. I just…don't want there to be one, if you get my drift," she replied.
Tom asked his next question carefully, " What, would you do, if…?"
Kathryn's eyes shot up to look at Tom, she caught full meaning of the half-asked question, //Damn! // She thought, then prayed she was wrong. "If…either of those regulations were broken, I'd have to deal with it in accordance just like any other regulation." She then stared at Tom who was being too calm at the moment and this made her nervous, "Tom, this isn't going to be an issue…is it? Chakotay deserves…" she was going to say better, but Tom cut her off.
"To be happy." Then Tom smiled warmly, "Captain, all the regulations in the universe can't stand in the way of what is or isn't meant to be."
Janeway couldn't believe it; Tom was almost telling her that he was going to pursue Chakotay in an illegal manner. "Tom…" she said in a warning tone.
"If there isn't anything else, Captain, I should be getting back to my shift," Tom stated, totally indifferent to Janeway's mood. When he received a stunned nod he went back to work.
Janeway was floored. Unsure of what she should do she sat there for a few moments, then contacted Chakotay. "Commander, I think you have a problem," she stated with concern.
"What's that, Captain?" he asked over the com badge.
"I just had a talk with Tom. It seems that…well, he doesn't care about regulations. Though he hasn't out right said anything, I thought you should know so you could deal with this matter."
Chakotay was silent for a moment, "Understood," was all he said then cut the channel.
Janeway rubbed her temple; she had a sneaking suspicion that this week was going to be a long one.
Down in Astrophysics Carter was sitting at his station when word reached him through the gossip line of the little letter stunt Tom pulled on the Commander, and that the First Officer seemed to like it. Some of the gossip made the little event seem harmless, but Carter didn't feel that the First Officer should even entertain such action since they could be so easily misconstrued. Then he thought about what he heard what happened between the First Officer and Tom Paris down on the planet. //This is unacceptable, // he thought as he moved to contact his friend Dalby.
After a few minutes he made an excuse and met up with his friend by one of the Jeffries tubes so they could talk. Carter told Dalby what he thought was going on expecting his friends support in this matter.
"Look, John. I may be straight, but even I'm not narrow minded. Starfleet regulations in regards to this matter have been out dated for centuries, and since we're out here in the Delta quadrant…well, we should just leave well enough alone."
John Carter wasn't too pleased not having the support of Dalby; he was counting on it. "I can't believe you'd sit by and let this depravity take place?"
"John, just because I don't agree with it and it's not my lifestyle, doesn't mean I have to fly off the handle over it. Let it go."
Carter was furious, "Let it go? Let it go! It's bad enough that scum like Tom Paris would delve into such…perversion, but… Chakotay is our first officer! He's a reflection of this ship! I can't just…let it go!"
"John, your only asking for trouble," Dalby replied.
"Trouble? Starfleet regulations are on my side, I'll have you know," Carter smirked in anger.
"Let the Captain deal with it. Besides, you 'could' be blowing this all out of proportion."
"Fine! If you won't help me deal with this, I'll deal with it on my own," Carter retorted and stomped off not listening to Dalby's cries of be reasonable.
Chakotay had cancelled his lunch with Tom. He wasn't prepared to deal with the young pilot in regards to this matter. He attempted to get some work done but had only wasted time staring off into space, torn between Kathryn's word of regulations and Tom's touch that still burned on his skin.
His shift was over five hours ago, but he didn't leave his office. He was filled with some irrational feeling that if he went back to his quarters he'd meet up with Tom and then he'd do something stupid. The real problem was, what form would that stupidity take…pushing Tom away like he should or taking the Pilot to his bed like he wanted.
Once more he pulled out the simple piece of paper.
* Sorry your morning was so rough because of simple misunderstandings. Know that you don't have to face all your burdens alone for I am with you if you let me… Tom *
The note could be so innocent, but he knew it was his reaction to it that had made the Captain suspicious about it. He liked the idea of Tom being around. Then he tried to remember when that feeling started; it was all so confusing.
"Tuvok to Commander Chakotay."
"Chakotay here, what can I do for you Tuvok?"
"Commander, we seem to have a situation down on level 54."
//54? That's like the bows of the ship? // "What kind of problem?" he asked.
"It seems that Lt. John Carter has been murdered."
TBC in "Scotland Yard"