No Escape Clause
October 1998
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Tom peered over Chakotay's shoulder. "What's she doing?"

Chakotay frowned. "Packing? No. Unpacking."

"Unpacking? Did we move?"

Chakotay tossed an exasperated look over his shoulder at the tall blond. "Tom, don't you pay attention to your surroundings at all?"

Tom's chin settled down on Chakotay's shoulder and his arms wrapped themselves around Chakotay's waist as he fit himself snugly against the other man's back. "Not when you're in the room, Chakotay." He moved his hips suggestively.

Chakotay's eyes rolled but he couldn't stop himself from responding to Tom's body and his rear end pushed back against Tom's groin. He smiled slightly at the other man's slight gasp at the longed-for contact.

The rustling of paper drew their attention back to the woman crouched on the floor in front of them, who was wearily unpacking another box.

"Is this why she's been ignoring us?" asked Tom softly, his breath brushing teasingly across Chakotay's ear.

Still watching the woman, Chakotay said, "You don't remember her packing us up? She squeezed us into a box, Tom, and marked it 'ST.' The mover thought that stood for storage."

"She's going to put us in storage?!" Tom sounded scandalized and hurt.

"No, no, no," Chakotay reassured the other man. "That's just what the mover thought. The 'ST' stood for Star Trek."

"Wait a minute. I remember now. But, Chakotay, there isn't just Star Trek stuff in that box."

"I know. Methos and Duncan were in there too. That Scotsman spent the whole time brooding because she," he pointedly looked at the woman who was busy unpacking boxes, "was ignoring him. And Methos kept droning on about being in worse places in his 5,000 years." Chakotay turned in his would-be lover's arms to glare at him. "And you. You snore!"

"I do not!"

"I can't believe you slept through the whole move, Tom."

Tom shrugged. "What can I say? There was nothing else to do."

"I'm nothing?"

Tom's hand gently touched Chakotay's face. "You know what I mean. She left us in limbo. Last time she paid any attention to us I had just regained my memory and you were missing Tommy and wondering if Tom could possibly like you as much as Tommy. We hadn't even had any thoughts at all of becoming lovers yet."

"And that puts you to sleep?" Chakotay's tone clearly conveyed his disappointment that apparently all Tom saw in him was someone who was good for sex.

"Chakotay, you know that wasn't it. There's more to us than the sex, but, hell, right now I gotta admit that I want to kiss you so badly I can hardly stand it. And we can't because she's busy unpacking and won't write it for us."

Chakotay's eyes glinted. "What would happen if we kissed anyway?"

"Without her writing it for us?!" Tom looked appalled at first but then a delightful grin spread over his face. "You think it might get her attention?"

"Never know until we try." Chakotay's hands were now fondling Tom's rear end through the seat of his uniform. He caught his breath as Tom leaned into him and gently covered his mouth with his own.

It was a slow gentle kiss that spoke of need and missed chances and a yearning for togetherness that had been ignored for too long.

A sudden high-pitched feminine screech rent the air.

The two men ignored it. Their bodies molded together and the kiss deepened. One of Tom's hands ran through Chakotay's hair while the other wrapped around him to draw him even closer.

"Stop it!" The woman who had been busily unpacking jumped up from the floor and tried in vain to insert herself between the two men. Finally, with a powerful shove, she managed to place herself between the two. They stared hungrily at each other over her head. She could feel the heat radiating off their bodies, not to mention certain body parts poking at her.

She flushed bright red but still refused to budge.

Tom leaned in over her head and gave Chakotay one last lingering kiss before reluctantly releasing him to stare down at the woman who was sandwiched between them. She was breathing nearly as heavily as the two of them.

Tom gave her an irrepressible grin.

She frowned at him. "What are you doing here? And just what the hell do the two of you think you were doing?"

A calm voice from behind her spoke. "We live with you, remember?"

Sapphire twisted around to look at the darkly handsome man in a Starfleet commander's uniform. "Listen, Chakotay, you guys are only allowed out when I say so. Remember?"

"That's not exactly true, and you know it," admonished Tom.

Sapphire removed herself from between the two men so she could see both of them at the same time. When they made a move toward each other, she adamantly stuck an arm between them. "Not now, boys."

Tom shrugged and stepped back, his blue eyes glinting with mischief. "We bug you enough and pretty soon you'll have no choice but to let us."

"You don't want me to sit down right now and write you guys a scene," she scolded. "Not in the mood I'm in."

"No?" Tom's smile widened before he dimmed it a bit and his whole body shifted into sensual mode.

Sapphire's eyes widened. "Don't do that!"

"Why not?" Tom moved in closer.

Sapphire backed up a step. "Because! You know what that does to me."

"Yeah, you can't resist me."

Tom took another step in her direction only to find himself coming up short when a broad arm pushed across his chest. He looked up in surprise at Chakotay. "Come on, Chakotay. You don't like this waiting in limbo any better than I do."

"Hold on a minute, Tom." He pinned the younger man with a look that demanded obedience. Tom wavered and then grudgingly backed off. Chakotay turned concerned eyes on Sapphire.

"Something's wrong," he said. "It's not like you to completely ignore us. You're not even writing your ideas down anymore, are you?"

Sapphire shrugged. "It's a tough world out there."

"Life's not being very kind to you at the moment, is it?" asked an understanding Chakotay.

"It sucks, Chakotay." Sapphire turned sad eyes on her boys. "I'm sorry, guys. I really do want to write some nice romantic stuff for you. And . . ." She trailed off.

"What?" they both asked simultaneously.

Her eyes glinted. "I want to do some more of that angsty stuff and torture you."

Tom sighed. "More Tom Torture?"

"Oh, not just you, Tom. Chakotay too. There's a lot more going on under that stoic exterior than one would think, you know."

Tom gave Chakotay an appraising look. "Yeah, I know." He grinned. Chakotay just shook his head at the two of them.

"It'll be harder for Chakotay to bounce back from some terrible torturous event than you, Tom." Sapphire was just getting warmed up. "You're a survivor. You always come through. Eventually."

"You're saying I'm not a survivor?" Chakotay's tone was hurt.

"Oh, Chakotay, of course you're a survivor," Sapphire reassured him. "You just survive differently than Tom. You do it so quietly. I want to see you explode, just once."

"I can make him explode." Tom ran a suggestive hand over Chakotay's rear end.

At Chakotay's affronted look, Sapphire and Tom burst into laughter.

"You two are impossible." Sapphire gave them a loving look.

"Aren't we, though?" Tom smiled proudly.

"You're still going to have to go back in the box," she told them sadly. "I haven't unpacked that box yet. I'm not sure how you even got out in the first place."

"Methos let us out," Tom said.

Sapphire glanced around worriedly. "Please tell me Duncan and Methos aren't running around loose too."

Chakotay shook his head. "Don't worry. Duncan is in full brood mode. Methos is trying to coax him out of the box but Duncan refuses to budge. He keeps insisting that you're very close to voluntarily letting him and Methos out of the box and that they should play by the rules of the game."

"You wouldn't take care of those two before us, would you?" Tom gave her a hurt look.

"Well . . ." Sapphire hedged.

"You would! I don't believe this!" Tom turned to Chakotay. "Come on, big guy. Let's go find our own box to wait in. I can't believe she'd put those two, who just happen to be immortal and have a lot more time than we do, before us."

"Tom," pleaded Sapphire, "it's not like that. Really. It's just, well, you know. Methos. He's-he's--"

"Demanding?" supplied Tom.

"Single minded?" added Chakotay.

"No," corrected Sapphire, "Single minded is Duncan. Methos is--"

"Irresistible," spoke up a muffled voice.

Both Chakotay and Tom whirled to glare at a box at the bottom of a large stack.

Sapphire shrugged. "When Duncan's right, he's right."

"So you really are going to let those two out to play before us?" pouted Tom.

"Sorry, guys. Those two are being a lot more pushy than you two are."

"But they haven't even said a word to you since you packed them up!" protested Tom.

Sapphire gave the pilot a look. "They are subtle, flyboy. You should try it sometime."

Grinning, Chakotay grasped Tom by the arm. "Come on, flyboy. I know where she's hidden the disk with her fanfic in progress. She carries it back and forth from home to work with her. We'll just settle in there for the long haul."

"Can we at least smooch a little?" Sapphire heard Tom asked plaintively as the two men disappeared from sight.

"We'll negotiate it," replied the Commander.

Sapphire was staring around the room that was supposed to be her bedroom but was at the moment full of boxes needing to be unpacked when a British-sounding voice quietly but firmly spoke up once again.

"You promised you would help us out this week, Sapphire."

"Not now, Methos. I'm busy."

"Come on," wheedled the immortal. "It only took you an hour to write The Look. You promised we'd get to touch and not just look in the next one."

"I know, I know."


"Soon, Methos. Soon."

"How soon? I can't stand being cooped up in here with this brooding Scot much longer. He's starting to depress even me. I--"




Sapphire tiptoed over to the box, not trusting that this wasn't some sort of trick on the old man's part. She tentatively pulled boxes down until she uncovered the bottom one. Carefully pulling it open, she peered inside. Methos and Duncan were curled up, arms wrapped tightly around themselves and looked as if they were in pain.

"What is it?"

"Those idiots!" Methos gasped. "They're trying to delete us."

"What?" Confusion warred with worry on Sapphire's face.

"You canna let them do this," said Duncan, finally showing a little fire.

"Do what? What are you two going on about?" A sudden warning prickle ran down Sapphire's spine and she straightened abruptly and headed for the living room where the computer was set up. Tom was sitting at the computer with Chakotay leaning over his shoulder. He had a file open and was joyfully deleting it line by line. Sapphire's eyes widened in horror when she saw what they were doing.

"No!" she cried.

Tom hit the final delete and sat back with an air of satisfaction.

Sapphire marched over and grabbed them both by the ear and marched them back to the bedroom, tossing them both back in the box with Methos and Duncan, who were apparently not deleted after all, much to Tom and Chakotay's surprise.

"Idiots," muttered Methos. "She's already got us up on a webpage. You'd have to delete that to get rid of us. And even I know better than to touch her fanfic-in-the-works disk. You two are in for it now." Methos grinned evilly.

"Shut up. All of you, just shut up!" yelled Sapphire. She slammed the lid down on the box, muffling their replies. Yelling at the closed box, she warned Tom and Chakotay, "That just earned you another death story! You two are gonna suffer!"

There was dead silence until a polite voice with a slight Scottish burr to it asked, "What about us?"

"If you're good -- very, very good -- I'll let you touch Methos like I promised. But only a touch. No kissing or fondling . . . yet."

"What about me?" protested Methos.

"You have to wait."

"So only Duncan gets satisfaction out of this?"

"I'm warning you, Methos. No fanfic consults with you guys. This time you do what I say. If you can keep Chakotay and Tom out of trouble, I might be convinced to leave you hopeful at the end of the next story."

"Hopeful for what?" scoffed Methos.

"Sex, you silly boy. With your Highlander."

Dead silence.

Well, thought Sapphire, that certainly shut them up.

She quietly went back to her packing but her mind was awhirl with scenarios for all her boys, even though she wasn't about to admit it to them. First order of business was to get Duncan and Methos one step closer to doing a horizontal tango. Next order of business was to torture Tom and Chakotay. No more playing nice with those two. How dare they try to eliminate Methos and Duncan?

Inside the box, silence reigned. Two pairs of dark brown eyes, one hazel pair that contained unusual flecks of color in them, and one bright blue pair all stared at each other. They were all in agreement about one thing. The lady of the house couldn't ignore them for long. Soon, they'd be back to haunting her dreams until she was forced to let them out to play. This exile wouldn't last forever.

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