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The Morning after

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The next morning Tom was on his way to the bridge to start his shift when he got commed.

“Chakotay to Lieutenant Paris. Can you come to my quarters, please?”

He stopped dead in his tracks. That was very unusual. Especially the ‘please’. He couldn’t figure out whether it was an order or not. He quickly debated to simply ignore the call but in the end curiosity got the better of him.

What could the commander possibly want from him? He’d figured that Chakotay rather would avoid him, after what happened last night.

When he reached his door he rang the chime. Carefully he put his head around the opening door.

“Are you decent?”

He really didn’t need another display of manliness after what he’d seen in the turbolift yesterday. There were some things you shouldn’t know about your commanding officers. Now, if it had been B’Elanna… His thoughts drifted off for a second.

“Come in, I’ll be there in a minute,” Chakotay’s voice came from the bedroom, so Tom finally stepped in and the door closed behind him.

Soon enough the commander appeared, fully dressed. Thank God.

“So, what’s this about?”

Chakotay started to pace. It made Tom’s head spin.

“I need to know what happened last night.”

“Um…” Thoughts were racing inside Tom’s head. How much did Chakotay remember? How much should he reveal?

“Wouldn’t it be better if you ask the captain?”

“No. I need to know before I start my shift.”

Chakotay had stopped pacing and looked him fully into the face so finally Tom got a good look of the man. Ashen skin, sunken eyes with dark circles around them. He also was squinting as if he was sporting a headache. That ancient spiritual drink seemed to still have an effect on him, despite the detox and some sleep.

He really planned to go on shift like that?

“Okay. How about sickbay? Doesn’t look like you’re firing on all cylinders yet, if you know what I mean. Maybe the doctor will write you a note to excuse you from bridge shift.”


He probably was as sick of sickbay as the doctor was of him. Tom couldn’t blame him. He would be too if he ended up there as often as Chakotay, to be prodded and probed.

“I’ll go onto shift. End of discussion. I’ve never missed a shift and I won’t start now. So tell me what I want to know!”

Tom shook his head. Chakotay held himself to ridiculous high standards. What was he trying to prove?

“Is this still about me coming late a couple of times? Even though you know it was a ruse? Sorry about decking you, by the way.”

Chakotay turned so that Tom now stared at his back.

“We are not talking about that right now.”

Aha, still a sore point then. Back to topic.

“What could be so possibly important that nobody else could do in your place?”

“We are flying through unchartered space today.”

“Everything is unchartered around here,” Tom pointed out.

Chakotay was back to pacing.

“Exactly. She needs me by her side when we fly through this… thing.”

“The nebula? I could fly a little slower so we won’t reach it until tomorrow?” Tom offered.

Chakotay glared.

“Don’t you dare!”

Tom sighed. He was running out of options. He realized he was not getting out of here until he told Chakotay what he wanted to know.

“Okay. If you really want to know I’ll tell you. But can you please stop pacing?”

Chakotay now stood still, with his arms crossed. Tom felt very uneasy under his scrutiny. He figured the truth, as much as it might hurt, would be best. Matters were complicated enough without lying.

“You were very… protective of the captain. You tried to shield her from everyone. But you basically had her trapped. She looked very uncomfortable and couldn’t get out when I arrived. And you looked jealous of anyone coming near her.”

He watched closely but could not see any reaction on Chakotay’s face. It was not betraying anything of the inner turmoil he must feel. Under the ashen skin there was a light blush though.

“You weren’t yourself,” Tom hastened to add. “It was that stupid drink…”

“That is no excuse. Alcoholic influence is never an excuse. Anything else?”

“You called her ‘Kathptain’. And the ambassador ‘Ambastardor’.”

Chakotay heavily sat down and put his hands over his face.

From behind them he asked, “In front of everyone?”

Tom wasn’t sure whether he meant the captain or the ambassador. Probably both.

“I don’t think anyone but me heard. I can’t know what happened before I arrived though.”

He didn’t point out that of course Janeway would remember. Chakotay was intelligent enough to figure that out by himself.

The hands came off.

“Did we at least get that treaty?”

“We did, so it seems.”

Chakotay looked relieved that he hadn’t screwed that part up.

Nothing more needed to be said after that. Both were deep in thoughts on their way to the bridge.

As soon as they arrived Tom took his seat at the helm. If he had expected for Janeway to take a good look at Chakotay and send him back to his quarters immediately, he was wrong. Seems everyone was ignoring the big elephant in the room and it was back to business as usual.

His head started to hurt but he managed to fly them safely through that darned nebula.

Everyone whooped once they had passed it without any accident. From now on the trip would be quiet for a while.

The captain stood up.

“Commander Chakotay, please join me in my ready room.”

Tom kept staring straight ahead. He didn’t dare to turn and look at them. But inwardly he breathed a sigh of relief. Finally. Let them talk it out amongst themselves.

As long as he didn’t have to do anything with it anymore.

The End