Star Trek: Voyager
fan fiction by Vyola
A sequel to Invitation and Seduction. And somewhere, R'rain wrote a lovely version of Tom's letter home.

TRIOS: Consummation (R)

Dear Dad, remember me?

Guess what?

I'm fucking my Captain and her First Officer.

Yeah, knew you'd be thrilled.

I think I'm glad that's one letter I'll never write.

You know, I was starting to think I was allergic to the Alpha Quadrant. That's where all my major league screw-ups happened. Maybe they were just a reaction to the place. But the Delta Quadrant....well, that's another story. I know it's been hard for everybody else but hey, they all had real lives back there. People and things they want to remember.

What did I have?

Nothing I want to remember.

Delta Quadrant's a second chance. When she came to me in New Zealand, I didn't really believe in second chances. I was just looking out for the main chance. Instead, I got a whole new life. I've got friends here, friends who trust and respect me. Harry even has a little case of hero-worship. My god, sometimes I worry about that boy. Oh, well, B'Elanna will take good care of him. She doesn't have too many illusions about me but somehow she's become a friend, too.

Neelix, Kes, the doctor....the old Tom Paris sure wouldn't be happy because an Emergency Medical Holographic Program liked him.

At least, Kes says he likes me.

Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay....

Oh, boy.

Sometimes I wake up and for a minute I know it's all been a dream and I'm back to reality. I'm not in prison, I'm not back after the accident. It's much worse. I'm back a few months ago, on the Bridge, on duty. Behind me, I can hear the Captain and the First Officer quietly talking. I know that they belong together and that finally they're doing something about it.

And I'm alone.

It's the worst nightmare I've ever had. Trust me. I'm an expert.

Then a warm body cuddles close to me or a voice whispers in my ear and I really wake up and it's real and we're together and all I can do is crack a joke or steal the covers from Kate or roll Chakotay off the edge of the bed, anything to hide my relief.

Sometimes, though, like now, I wake up early and listen to the murmur of their breath, the rustle of the sheets. I try to memorize every detail.

The computer announces our wake-up call. We give ourselves extra time in the mornings. It's no secret that the three of us sleep together but neither Chakotay or I have moved in. We pull ourselves together enough to return to our quarters without scaring anyone passing us in the corridor and get ready for the day before meeting in the Mess for breakfast.

I linger on the bed, listening to Kate in the bathroom. She's singing to herself, something she never does in front of people. Her voice isn't meant for singing. It's for snapping out orders during battles, for defying enemies, for inspiring a crew to fight against the fiercest odds.

It's for whispering love words as we embrace. It's for calling our names at the climax of her passion. It's for demanding pleasure received and given.

It's Kate and I love her.

I rush through my morning rituals and arrive at the Mess first. Neelix is presiding over a steaming dish of -- chartreuse eggs?

"No, not today, thank you, Neelix. Dry toast will be fine. Really."

I sit down next to Harry, who's pushing the eggs around his plate. I mention he hasn't joined us at Sandrine's lately.

"Well, you know, I've been, well, uh, with B'Elanna, I've been kinda, um, occupied." He blushes. Was I ever that young?

I smile sympathetically. "Yeah, I know. So," I say, deciding to tease a little, "when are you two going to formalize this relationship?"

To my surprise, he answers readily. "We've been talking. Probably in a couple of months. It's not like there's a rush or anything."

I sip at today's version of coffee. Better than yesterday's, but then, anything would be. Kate will not approve. It's still too hot so I blow on it before taking another sip. Harry continues to speak.

"So, what about you guys?"

Hot, hot, hot! Oh, god, I think I burned everything, inside and out, as I accidentally gulp the coffee then spill it all over my lap. A small melee ensues as Neelix bustles over with towels. He and Harry nearly emasculate me in their frenzied attempts to sop up the liquid.

Things return to normal. I look up to find Harry watching me curiously. "I guess that was not the question to ask."

"Look, Harry, I'm just not comfortable taking about this just now. I mean, nobody's ever said anything about staying together for the long run...." Or even the short run. Damn it, Harry. Now you've made me think. That's not good. For once in my life I've been content to drift along, take each day as it comes. I've been happy. I start wondering what's going to happen next and how bad is it

going to be and how will I ever be able to go back to being just another crew member to them and how ---

Stop it!

I manage to put my fears in the back of my mind for a while. Life goes on. A few days later, we arrive at a small, uninhabited system. The second planet of three is class-M and landing parties search for anything of use. Meanwhile, shore leave has been authorized and it's camping time for Voyager's crew.

"Listen, nature boy. I'm willing to eat roots and leaves. After Neelix's latest offerings, it'll be a pleasure. But I am *not* going to sleep with only a blanket between me and the ground."

"You have no sense of adventure, Tom."

"Adventure, hell! If we don't take along a force-mattress, I'm going to end up smashed into the dirt every night under your weight and I refuse to have to ask the Doctor for another spine adjustment when we come back."

"Poor Tommy. Always on the bottom of the pile."

"That's it, Kate. Laugh at me. You weren't the one being lectured by a holograph. 'If you must engage in strenuous sexual activity, Lieutenant Paris, you should take a few elementary safety precautions. Would you like me to draw you up a list or should I just speak to Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay about it?'"

Chakotay smirks at me. "I saw that list on the ship's 'net. 'Fifty guidelines for safe sex with stronger or multiple partners.' And here I thought Harry and B'Elanna were the inspiration for that."

Our shore leave starts on that light note and it's great. We hike and explore by day, swimming in a small, clear lake, lazing on its banks. I marvel at how comfortable Chakotay is planetside, how smoothly he slips into the rhythms of nature. Yet he's chosen to spend his life in space. He can manage anywhere.

No wonder I used to hate him. Look at him, tall, strong, handsome. A born leader. The confidante of Starfleet Captains. Everything I always wanted to be. I can just imagine his face if I said, 'Commander, I want to be you when I grow up.' It'd almost be worth it. God, no wonder I love him.

The nights are perfect, just us under the stars.

Too perfect. I'm getting tense. This can't last. And in typical Paris style, I start pushing and prodding rather than wait for the inevitable.

I don't know what triggers the argument. Something stupid; something small. There's always a little edge between me and Chakotay, echoes of our mutual past, a hint of rivalry over Kate, the clash of two alpha males for dominance. Now it erupts and before I know it we're face-to-face, screaming at each other.

Kate tries to calm us down. We grudgingly separate but the damage has been down. The day passes slowly, the strain almost visible. The night is worse. Kate sleeps between us, our backs to her and each other.

Funny, I never noticed how cold it is here at night.

Dawn of our last day here. We pack our gear and wait for transport. God, how can I bear this? I think of the odds and ends I've left in Kate's quarters, the clothes that have migrated to Chakotay's drawers. I see myself removing every trace of my existence from their lives under their cold gazes, impatient for me to be gone. I see me returning to the emptiness of my cabin. I want to say something, anything. I want to beg, 'Please, please don't let me leave, don't let me walk away.' But the words won't come. I can feel them hot and tight in my throat. I've said them before. They never work.

"Tuvok to Janeway." A welcome break in my thoughts. "Are you ready to beam up?"

"Janeway here. We're ready."

Back on Voyager, we silently return to Kate's quarters. The door slides open and I enter, saying, "Well, it's sure been fun, Captain, Commander. I'll just get my stuff and run along."

I barely take a step when a heavy hand drops on my shoulder, spins me around and pins me to the wall. I start to empathize with Custer as over six feet of incensed Indian glares at me.

"How dare you try to 'run along'? What do you think this is, some kind of game?"

"Yeah, 'Fuck the Lieutenant'," I snarl, ducking under his arm. "But it's over now and I'm leaving." He's bigger and stronger than me, but now I'm mad. I've got speed on my side and an utter willingness to fight dirty. I just want out.

I forgot it was two against one. She hits a few nerve centers then gets an immobilizing hold on my arm. An angry hiss in my ear.

"This is an order, Lieutenant Paris. You are to stay here and act like a reasonable person until I tell you otherwise. You are not going to run off or fight anyone. Is that clear, Lieutenant?"

As she eases her hold on my, I straighten to attention and toss off my most disrespectful salute. "Aye, aye, Captain."

Chakotay bristles but she quells him with a look. She leads us over to the lounge area. I keep my face impassive. I've been worked over by experts. I can get through this.

I know it's over. Why are they stringing it out?

"Tom," Kate begins, leaning forward intently. "What's wrong? One minute the two of you were having a small disagreement and the next you're leaving us."

He adds, "I don't even know what we were fighting about. You just kept pushing my buttons until I started pushing yours right back."

"You want me to say it? Okay. This is your relationship. It always has been. I knew that when it started. Just like I knew sooner or later there'd be no place for me. Well, it's sooner rather than later but I'm ready to go."

They share a puzzled look. What, did it never cross their minds that I'd be the one to end it?

"Tom," Chakotay says, "this relationship is the three of us together, not Kathryn, me and a playmate. Don't you know how much we care about you?"

"How much we love you?" An echo from beside him.

Do I look as stunned as I feel? "Love me?" I laugh so I won't cry, and shake my head. "You don't have to dress it up with pretty words. I know you want me physically and that's okay. I can understand that, really. But when you start making plans for the future I'm just extra baggage and you shouldn't have to deal with that."

Kate's angry now and she doesn't mind my seeing it. "Damn it, Tom! Don't you dare throw away our feelings like that. I should know if I love you and I do. I don't care how many people have let you down in the past. I won't and Chakotay won't either."

Doesn't she realize it's me who'll let them down? Like a mind reader, he picks up on my unspoken thoughts.

"You won't let us down. I've come to know you, Tom, and I trust you. You're one of the strongest and most honorable men I've ever met."

"You wouldn't say that if you knew---"

"We do know," she says softly, laying a hand on mine. "We're not stupid. We can figure out a great deal of what you must have gone through. But all that matters is that you survived with your spirit intact. That's what we love, the man who's been beaten down again and again but always endures. You've shown us your courage and your loyalty so many times since we came to this quadrant because you're a fighter, Tom. Fight for this, fight for us."

He moves to my other side and I am surrounded by them. For a moment, I panic, trapped. No one has ever asked me to fight for them. No one has ever asked me to stay. No one has ever said they love me.

The warmth of their bodies seeps into me and I gradually relax. "Are you sure? I don't think I could bear it if you changed your minds later."

"You're dealing with the two most stubborn people in the quadrant, Tom," he replies, chuckling. "Once we make up our minds, there's no stopping us."

We begin kissing and caressing, enjoying the feel of each other. Each touch makes it more real for me. It's not a dream; the future is within reach. Clothes fall away as we move into the bedroom. Our lovemaking is unhurried, deliberate. An affirmation of love.

Later, I drowsily run my hand along my lovers' backs, not wanting the contact to stop. "Harry wants to know when we're going to make this formal," I mention.

"B'Elanna's asked me the same thing," he says.

"It's not a bad idea. It'd be good for crew morale and for a certain doubting lieutenant," Kate decides, throwing a mock punch to my jaw. "A public declaration of commitment."

"My people have a wonderful ceremony of joining. I could create a holoprogram for the occasion."

I lift an eyebrow. "Just what would this entail?"

"We stand before the spirits and exchange symbols of our commitment. We each promise to love, cherish and honor one another until the end of our days and beyond. We ask that the spirits bless our union. Then we party."

"A joke! An honest-to-God joke from the Big Man! I'm a bad influence on him, Captain."

"Sounds good to me. I haven't been to a real party in ages."

Laughing sleepily, we drift for long minutes. Suddenly a thought hits me. 'Symbols of commitment.' I sit bolt upright, exclaiming, "Oh, hell! Does this mean I've got to get a tattoo?"

the end
October 1996

garden gate
Petals & Pixels
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