Grounded

Summary: In the Maquis, you learn to take the rough with the smooth.

 

Characters: Tom Paris, Tom Riker, Chakotay

Codes: Paris/T Riker

 

Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Star Trek universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.

Notes: Prompted by @anonymous in the tumblr meme kinky prompts, who asked for Riker/Tom Paris + #7, car sex. My prompter was very specific that this had to be car sex – no shuttles – but not so specific on which Riker it had to be, so ... creative license, because when else could Tom Paris have had sex in a car with Riker without it being super weird and creepy except in the Maquis? And even my crack fic has to be at least somewhat plausible.

Rated M

The Maquis will make a man of you.

That’s what you tell yourself anyway, privately, among the crush of unwashed bodies in your shared quarters on the Val Jean, as you shake mud from your boots and bandage your blistered heels. It’s become your mantra, your talisman against the blood and the dirt and the endless, relentless fear.

You aren’t sure who you’re trying to convince. It’s not like anyone cares to listen in on your thoughts; not the silent, assured Vulcan, and definitely not the Betazoid with the vacant doll’s eyes.

You suppose you repeat it, over and over in your head, to drown out what you know your father would say if he could see you now. Hell, his voice is so loud it traverses sectors of space. You’ve never needed to share the same air to suffocate under his disappointment.

You kick your filthy boots under the bed. Tomorrow you’ll have to wear them on the mission; you know the dried mud will chafe, but you’re too damned exhausted to clean them. It’s all you can do to swing your legs up and settle under the thin blanket before fitful sleep takes you.

Chakotay wakes you before ship’s dawn with a rough shake to your shoulder. “Showtime, Paris. Wheels up in ten.”

It’s an anachronistic expression, since the Val Jean has no wheels, and your mission will begin not when the ship takes off but when it lands. You keep your mouth shut, though. You’ve already learned that the Maquis captain doesn’t appreciate that kind of distinction.

Someone shoves a beaker of raktajino into your hand as Chakotay runs through the mission parameters one final time. “You fuck this up, and you’re out,” he finishes, before all but shoving you through the hatch.

You stumble as your boots hit dirt, catching yourself before you can fall flat on your ass. You wouldn’t put it past Chakotay to ditch you on this shithole planet just for that.

“We’ll keep a light on for you, Paris.”

“Thanks,” you answer, just in case he isn’t mocking you.

Chakotay shuts the hatch tight, and you take off in a running crouch toward the low collection of buildings by the foothills. You’re meeting your contact there. You don’t know his name, though you’ve been told you’ll recognise him when you see him.

The earth smells like dead things, like the cemetery your parents made you visit every year on Remembrance Day, and it’s so black out here that you can only tell you’re moving in the right direction by the green light of your bastardised tricorder. You hope the Cardassians in that complex up ahead aren’t detecting your approach. You wonder when they’ll figure out the Maquis use thoron generators to mask life signs.

With your luck, it’ll be on this mission.

You have your phaser cocked and ready, set to heavy stun, as you stealth-walk under the guard’s lookout, and your eyes narrowed to hide the wet glisten of the whites. You’re dressed in dark mottled colours. You should be close to invisible.

That’s why the arm around your throat takes you by surprise.

“Don’t move,” breathes the voice in your ear, “or I’ll break your neck.”

It’s not the threat that stops you struggling, but the unmistakable tenor of command. You’d know that tone anywhere, even in the dark, even in whispers. And, like the good little admiral’s son you are, you obey.

Metres away, Cardassian boots tread the ground, and Cardassian laughter rumbles through the dank and rustling night.

“They’re gone,” your captor murmurs eventually, and lets up a little on his choke-hold.

“Who are you?” you manage. “Are you my contact?”

“If Chakotay sent you, then yeah. I am.”

There’s a lightness and a geniality to his voice, now that you’re not in imminent danger of capture. Your contact eases back. The green light of your tricorder passes over a dark beard split by a white flash of teeth. You think his eyes might be blue, but it’s too dark out here to know for sure.

But Chakotay was right; there’s something familiar about him.

“Who are you?”

“Not who you think I am,” is his cryptic response. “Come on. We don’t have a lot of time.”

Breaking into the hangar is easy; easier than it should be, especially with the outdated implements your companion pulls from his backpack. You get the feeling he’s used to working with tools cobbled from spare parts. Used to making do. Inside, in the glow of emergency lighting, you can finally make out your contact’s features.

“Commander Riker,” you blurt.

Fear tightens your spine. Is this a trap? Did Chakotay just hand you over to Starfleet?

“Not exactly.” He doesn’t spare you a glance, just moves quickly to the largest vehicle over by the cargo doors. “Get in.”

You swing into the passenger seat. “What do you mean, not exactly?”

“Long story. You going to help me out here, or what?”

You shuffle to your knees in the footwell, squirming under the dash until you find the interface to the vehicle’s power matrix. Long fingers and dexterity are just two of the attributes that made Chakotay assign you this mission; the other is your affinity for all things automotive. It takes seconds to locate the controls for the tiny fusion reactor and minutes to reconfigure them.

“Ready,” you tell your companion, climbing inelegantly back into your seat.

He taps the dash panel. The purr of the thruster assembly rumbles beneath your feet and into your bones.

He says, “Hang on, kid,” and then he aligns the forward phasers, blasts a hole through the cargo doors and shoves the vehicle into starter mode. The whine of the engine as you rocket through that gap and into the night almost drowns out the shouts and furious fire as Cardassian guards, startled, scramble in pursuit.

The terrain is rough, but the pumped-up tyres of the ground vehicle are built to handle it. Even with the headlights switched off, navigating by the dim glow of stars, you soon pull ahead of the soldiers. As their shouts fade into the dirt and the distance behind, you feel the strangest emotion take root inside you. It’s comfort and freedom and exhilaration. Like the first day of summer vacation, or when the wind catches your sailboard just right. Like everything is going to be okay, no matter what.

“I think we lost them.”

You’re almost startled when your companion’s voice breaks the quiet. Glancing back, you can see bobbing lights, but they’re so far away they might as well be fireflies.

You let the silence build between you again, still easy, until there’s nothing but dark before and behind.

“You gonna tell me what’s going on?” you ask him.

He gives you a sideways glance, but doesn’t pretend to misunderstand. “I’m Riker, but I’m no Starfleet commander.”

“Identical twins?” you hazard.

“Close enough,” he answers with a shrug. “Call me Tom.”

“That’s my name, too,” you can’t help blurting.

Tom Riker laughs, but there’s not a lot of humour in it. “Why not?” he shakes his head finally. “I’m already sharing a face; why not my name, too?”

You hunch into your seat. “You can call me Paris if you want,” you mumble.

He looks at you, sharp and keen. “But you wouldn’t like that.” A pause. “Why not?”

You shrug. “You’re not the only one trying to live down a family connection.”

His hand comes to rest on your forearm, big and broad, and you stare down at it. You aren’t sure what you feel.

“Then, no,” he says. “I wouldn’t do that to you.”

 

=/=


Riker’s been driving for over an hour, the air tyres of the stolen car jouncing gamely over hillocks and mounds and scree. The Val Jean should have been in communication by now. You’ve seen him checking his chrono, frowning. Your innate sense of direction tells you that you passed the rendezvous point thirty kilometres ago.

To your starboard, dim fingers of orange begin to paint the stippled ground. You’ve seen many sunrises on many planets, but never one quite as unsettling as this.

Riker eases the vehicle behind a collection of boulders and powers down the thrusters. The low hum of the engine fades, leaving you aware of how much unseen life is awake and all around you. An entire universe exists in the shadows and earth of this dull brown landscape.

“So what’s the plan?” You speak to puncture the rustling quiet, and to reassure yourself that you’re not alone.

“The plan is we wait for contact,” Riker replies. He shifts down into his seat like he’s settling deep into a saddle, legs spread, one foot propped on the dash. You get the sense he doesn’t much care what happens next.

“What’s your story?” you blurt. “I never knew Will Riker had a twin.”

“I don’t.”

You puzzle over that for a little while before he takes pity on you.

“Transporter accident,” he explains. “I was duplicated. He went on to be Will Riker; I stayed trapped on an uninhabited planet for eight years. Life’s a bitch, huh?”

“Yeah.”

You catch him watching you from the corner of your eye.

“How about you?” he asks. “How does the son of Starfleet royalty end up in the Maquis?”

“If you know about my family, I’m betting you don’t need me to answer that question for you.”

“Oh, I know what you did.” Tom Riker’s voice is surprisingly mild. “I just wondered why.”

You really don’t want to talk about this. You don’t want this man to look at you with the same contempt as your crewmates, or your father.

“Let’s just say I’m a screw-up and leave it at that.”

You turn to glare out the window. When you look back, there’s kindness in his eyes.

“Okay,” he says. “But if you change your mind, I’m a pretty good listener.”

“Why do you care, anyway?”

“Because you’re all alone.” He shrugs. “I know what that’s like.”

You swivel away, digging your teeth into your lip. You’re not going to cry. No way in hell.

“Get some rest,” Riker advises, when the silence has stretched into numbness. “We may be in for the long haul.”

 

=/=


In your dream, alarms blare and consoles explode. You grit your teeth and wrestle for control of the ship, fighting gravity, fighting momentum. Beside you, Chakotay slumps across the navigation board, blood welling from his nose and ears, eyes vacant. You glance away, and when you look again it’s not Chakotay; the dead man wears Starfleet red and a lieutenant’s pips. In the forward viewscreen you see the brown curve of Caldik Prime. The shuttle’s nose dips and lurches.

You blink.

A thousand eyes accuse you, judge and sentence you. A hundred more watch as you stumble in the Marseille streets, as you throw blind fists and drink until you can’t see anymore. A dozen size you up as you hunch over your plate on the Val Jean. Hands brush your body in corridors and alleys and bars, and you don’t know which parts of yourself are yours anymore.

“Tom. Hey, Tom.”

You jerk awake.

“Hey,” says Riker. His blue eyes are warm with concern and his hand is on your shoulder. “You were dreaming.”

Sweat runs freezing down your back, and you can’t catch your breath. “I’m okay.”

Riker’s hand slips from your shoulder. Your skin is hot where he touched it through your shirt, and you clench your teeth to control your shivering.

God, but you could use a shot of Andorian whiskey right about now.

You tip your head back, eyes closed, waiting for the sick feeling to pass.

“I used to dream too,” Riker murmurs. His tone is reflective and asks nothing of you. “Usually I dreamed about running from something I couldn’t see, or about lying down in the open and waiting to die. Sometimes it was about the people I loved. That was nice.” You can hear the wry smile in his voice. “At least it was, until I woke up. Then it was worse.”

“What do you dream about now?” Your voice sounds almost normal.

He shrugs. “Maybe the same things you do. Maybe not.”

All the Maquis dream about the same things, you suppose. The fear of torture and bleeding to death under enemy boots. The gnaw of never knowing where your next meal will come from, or of never seeing your loved ones again. Of violence and dread so familiar it’s almost a comfort.

But the weight of his hand on your knee, that’s something else.

You stare down at it, trying to work out what that broad palm makes you feel. If it makes you feel anything. You look at him for clues, but there’s no greed in his eyes, no demanding. His breath doesn’t race and his fingers don’t clutch at you.

You cut to the chase. Bristles itch your jaw and the soft shape of his lips responds to yours; his chest is broad and he smells of leather and earth. Raw things. Familiar things. This is known territory. You mouth at his neck and spread your hands all across that wide expanse of muscle and bone.

Then he asks, “Do you want this, Tom?”

Do you want it? You wonder how long it’s been since anybody asked what you wanted. Long enough that you aren’t sure you know yourself.

Riker’s hands are on your shoulders, setting you back, creating distance. “This is probably a bad idea –”

“I want it.”

He’s looking at your face like he wants to be sure. As if he really cares.

Maybe that’s what settles it. Certainty and want coalesce in the pit of your stomach. Your pulse trips like an unpractised dancer, but your body knows what to do. It always performs.

You’re kissing again, tongues hot and slippery, your hands inside his shirt. You cup the swelling in his pants and hear his breathing change. You wonder if he’s the kind of man who likes to act reluctant, to dissociate, as if what’s happening has nothing to do with him.

Then he moves your hand away, gently, and urges you on top of him, your back to his chest. The arms around you are thick and weighty, but somehow you don’t feel trapped. You feel safe.

“Let me,” he says.

His beard tickles your ear and his hands are opening your fly, spreading your legs across his thighs, cupping and cradling you. Holding you. Your feet are tucked securely behind his calves. Perspiration collects in your armpits and groin and the hollow of your throat, and he breathes hot on your neck. His hands are hot. Pulling at you, smoothing, stroking, making your hips arch. When you come it’s almost a surprise, and you almost sob.

Life returns to your limbs, and you sense him behind you, hard and anticipatory. You don’t want him to think you’re all take and no give, so you push his arms to his sides and slither in his lap to face him.

“You don’t have to –”

But you cut him off with a hard kiss, and by the time you sink to your knees and suck him into your mouth you can tell he’s lost the ability to form a sentence.

It’s just moans and grunts now, guttural sounds that could come from anyone. The flat of his arm pinions your shoulder as his hips grind the back of your head into the console. He fills your mouth, bitter and hot. And you think that you’ve taken back all the power he robbed from you, when he held you close and touched you so deftly.

In the Maquis, you learn to take the rough with the smooth, and you’ve never been sure which one you like more.

He has his eyes closed and his head tipped back against the seat, so you’re the first one to see the approaching lights.

“Fuck,” you scramble upright, “they’ve found us.”

Riker shoves you aside. “Get out of the car.”

“What?”

“Go hide over there.” He points to the mouth of a cave, half hidden by boulders. “I’ll draw them away.”

“But what if they –”

“They won’t find you.” Riker pushes your modified tricorder into your hands. “Thoron generator. Go.” He grins. “Take care, Tom. Until we meet again.”

But what if they catch you? That’s what you were going to ask, but it’s too late. You’re already on the ground, half-crouched, praying the Cardassians don’t have any Toskanar dogs. All the caverns and thoron fields in the universe won’t save you from them.

You shimmy through the narrow gap between rocks. In the distance, as the red sun drags itself above the horizon, Riker’s dust trail is as clear as a smoke signal. You watch the Cardassian groundcars veer after him, but he has too much of a lead, and there’s a reason Chakotay risked two lives to steal that vehicle. It’s tough and it’s fast. It’ll be an asset to the Maquis.

A shadow blots the light overhead, and you squint upward, hoping for the Val Jean, fearing a Cardassian cruiser. But it’s neither. The ship swooping elegantly through the atmosphere is a Starfleet scout.

And unlike the Cardassian Guard, they aren’t fooled by thoron particles.

The scout ship looms in your field of vision, and the transporter beam grabs you, blood and bone and balls, and you know you’re gone. It’s all over.

Still, the last thing you feel as you dematerialise is triumph, because Tom Riker made it out, and he’ll be able to tell Chakotay that you did the Maquis proud.

© 2021 by Mia Cooper