Title: Struck With Fear
Author: CatHeights
Contact: CatHeights@yahoo.com
Series: VOY
Codes: C/P, angst
Parts: 1/3
Rating: R
Archive: Cha_Club, ASCEML, Paris Nights, TPD
Author Notes: This story follows the events that take place in Too Much
To Take. You do not have to have read Too Much to follow the events in
this story, however there are minor references to what occurred in that story.

Summary:  Indecision and fear become Chakotay's enemies as he struggles
with the past.

This story is dedicated to the Protective!Chakotay Club and is an
answer to the Club's anniversary challenge.  Belated Happy Anniversary
to a wonderful group of people!
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all rights to Star Trek Voyager, its
characters, and the Voyager episodes referred to in this story. The
story idea is mine, but I am doing this just for fun, no money to be

Chakotay swallowed hard as he looked at the amount of blood on his
hands. He was pretty sure that he had managed to stop the bleeding, but
how much had Tom lost before he had. He wiped his hands off as best he
could before feeling for Tom's pulse. It was still faint and far too
rapid, but at least it was there.

In the dim emergency lighting, Chakotay saw sparks briefly illuminate
the Flyer's tactical station. His nosed itched from the scent of burnt
circuitry. He needed to check each of the ship's systems. He already
knew communications were offline. Hell, he was pretty sure everything
was offline, but he needed to make sure that they were just burnt or
fused beyond help, rather than a time bomb waiting to explode.

He remained kneeling next to Tom. He knew he had to get up, but he
seemed unable to move from Tom's side. Chakotay twisted his right hand
in his torn and blood-stained gray shirt, while staring at the younger
man's chest and abdomen, which was now partially wrapped in the remains
of Chakotay's uniform jacket. His hands felt numb from having been
pressed against Tom for far too long. For a few terrifying moments, he
had thought that the bleeding would be endless, that no amount of
pressure would stop it, but it had stopped. Now he needed to focus on
the Flyer or what was left of it. Still, he didn't move.

What if Tom was bleeding internally? How would he know? The aft section
of the Delta Flyer was crushed, and buried within it were all of the
ship's medical supplies. The small medical kit in the cockpit had been
destroyed when the panel near it blew. He had nothing he could use to
help Tom - no hypospray, no tricorder.  Even if he knew Tom was
bleeding internally, what could he do?

Chakotay blinked as his eyes tried to clear the dust that sweat had
dripped into them. He rubbed a hand across his eyes trying to relieve
the itching but succeeded in only adding a streak of blood down the
side of his forehead. It blurred in quickly with the other smudges of
dirt and dried blood that marked his face.

He peered at Tom's stomach, looking for swelling that might indicate
internal bleeding, and was thankful that he noticed none. Tom's
breathing seemed even, another good sign. Yet he was still unconscious
and that worried Chakotay greatly. His eyes fell on Tom's blood coated
hair. He again looked carefully at the wound there. It was no more than
a nasty laceration that had bled a lot. No, that injury didn't worry
him, but what did concern him was the thought that Tom might have
suffered a severe concussion or worse when a piece of paneling had
slashed across him and knocked him to the floor.

Why was he still unconscious?  Chakotay stared at his lover, willing
the blue eyes to open, but they remained shut. Maybe they were held
closed by the same inertia that seemed to have glued him to Tom's side.
He took a deep breath and choked on the acrid smell that seemed to coat
his throat. It was time to get up. For the moment, he had done all he
could for Tom. He had to make sure it was safe for them to stay in the

It took every ounce of willpower he had to make himself get up and walk
away from Tom. He couldn't help being afraid that the moment he left,
Tom's condition would worsen or that he'd return to find Tom..  No, he
wasn't going to think that. He couldn't get hung up on fear or guilt.
The anxiety and self-recrimination could be saved for later. If he kept
procrastinating, a console blowing or an electrical fire could kill
both him and Tom.

Chakotay stumbled through the debris. His right leg ached and felt
stiff. He gazed down at it and was surprised to see his pant leg torn,
and a deep, clotted gash marking his calf. He hadn't noticed that
before. He hadn't really noticed much of anything besides Tom lying on
the Flyer's floor, not moving. From the moment he saw that Tom was
injured nothing else seemed to penetrate his mind. The sounds and
smells of the ship became distant as he focused on applying pressure to
Tom's wound. He had no idea how long he had sat there. He had prayed to
the Spirits every prayer he knew as Tom bled for what seemed like an
eternity. His prayers, at least temporarily, had been answered.

Coughing as he moved through the ship, he was quickly realizing that he
and Tom needed to get off the Flyer very soon. The damage control
system was offline. Various gases were leaking into the cockpit, and he
had no way to contain the leaks. Feeling lightheaded, Chakotay started
to stumble his way toward the emergency hatch. He needed to get some
breathable air into the ship.

Getting to the hatch proved to be more difficult than getting it open.
With the controls offline and the area beyond the hatch compacted,
Chakotay thought he would need to find something to force the opening,
but at his push the hatch gave way. The lack of resistance threw
Chakotay off balance, and as the hatch flew open, he tumbled with it,
rolling out of the ship and falling to the ground with a thud.

He lay on his back stunned for a moment, as mud soaked into his shirt
and rain pelted his face. Rain rinsed away sweat, leaving Chakotay
chilled. Water poured into his nose and he fought his way upright,
coughing. Sitting now, he crouched over, spitting out water and trying
to catch his breath. His coughing ceased, and with a groan he stood.
His nose and throat burned, but nowhere near as bad as the wound on his

As he peered through the rain looking for a place they could take
shelter, Chakotay wondered how the hell Voyager's sensors could have
indicated that this planet's weather was temperate. He should have
known there was something wrong with what the sensors had recorded. A
beautiful, seemingly uninhabited planet that possessed a mild
temperature, regardless of one's location, and contained lush plant
life just didn't make sense. The strangeness of it all had raised
questions among the senior staff, but after some discussion it had been
decided it was worth the risk to send the Flyer down to investigate.
Their fresh food stores were low, particularly as they had been having
trouble with the hydroponics bay, and this could be the perfect chance
to restock.

The Captain had asked Tom and Chakotay to take the Flyer down to the
surface and scan the planet for any possible inhabitants. It was the
one thing that had continued to concern them - that something could be
masking life signs on the planet. Despite that worry, it had looked
like an easy, quick away mission. Something that should have made him
wary, but it hadn't. Instead, Chakotay had been eager to go on the
mission, hoping it would take his mind off an old sorrow.

He had wanted to throw his mind into work and just get through the day,
and so when he entered the Delta Flyer, he had taken the pilot's seat.
When Tom stepped inside, he had said with a grin, "You're in my seat."

Chakotay had looked at him calmly and said, "Not today. You get to find
out what it's like to fly in this thing as a passenger."

Tom had chuckled, taking a seat at the Ops station. "Fine, just don't
hurt the Flyer."

Chakotay grinned, surprised and grateful that Tom had acquiesced so
easily. "Deal. Don't worry, we'll bring her back without a scratch."

It had felt good to be flying. He had even discovered that he enjoyed
using the little "twentieth century" features that Tom had included
when he designed the Flyer. During those minutes before they had
entered the planet's atmosphere, Chakotay had found himself relaxing,
his mood greatly improving. He had felt in control, and had started to
banter easily with Tom. As they entered the planet's atmosphere, he had
been thinking how nice it was that just the two of them were on this
mission together.

That was the last coherent thing he could remember thinking. Everything
else was a blur - a nightmare that still seemed to have hold of him.
The moment the Flyer passed into the planet's atmosphere, it was
buffeted by a violent charge that reduced their shields by fifty
percent. The gases surrounding the ship seemed to have ignited, sending
forth tendrils of energy that appeared intent on crushing the Flyer.

Chakotay remembered Tom cursing as he struggled to reinforce their
shields, and then hearing the younger man yell that they were losing
structural integrity - that the hull was starting to breach. The
screeching sound of metal stretching filled the ship, and the noise had
made his jaw clench. He had tried to ignore it and focus on the task at
hand, attempting to bring the now plummeting Flyer under control. He
had tried every trick he knew to slow down the ship's descent, but it
wasn't enough.

The wind and rain continued to blow, but Chakotay didn't hear the storm
crashing around him. Instead in his mind, he heard the sound of the
Flyer groaning, and then issuing several loud popping sounds as some of
the ship's inner paneling came loose. He remembered feeling something
brush against his shoulder and as he winced from the brief but sharp
impact, he realized that he was no longer hearing Tom. There had been
no time to call out to see if his lover was okay, though, as the ground
came into view. The Flyer impacted, and Chakotay had felt himself
thrown forward. When he had finally been able to get up, he had found
the ship's computer to be non-responsive and Tom collapsed behind the
Ops station, a bloody piece of panel by his side.

A gust of wind caused Chakotay to take an involuntary step, and he was
jolted back to the present. Ignoring the chilling rain that was pouring
down his face, Chakotay turned to look at the remains of the Flyer.
What had he told Tom?  That they would bring her back without a
scratch. Well, he had damn well lied. The ship didn't even resemble the
sleek, swift beauty Tom had designed. She was a heap of twisted metal,
and it was his fault.

I should have let Tom fly. Why did I have to insist on piloting?  If
Tom had been flying, he probably could have gotten us down with hardly
a scratch. Spirits, why didn't I let him fly?

A piece of hail glazed his cheek, and Chakotay snapped his head up.
Tom. He had to get back to Tom. What the hell was he doing?  It wasn't
like him to wallow in self-pity. He had to get a handle on himself.
Again, he scanned the horizon, noting some trees and boulders off in
the distance. Those should offer some shelter.

He hauled himself back through the emergency hatch, sliding slightly
when he hit the now wet floor below. He coughed as his lungs again
breathed the gases permeating the ship. Rather than dispersing some of
the bad air in the shuttle, the open hatch only seemed to have let in
rain. Chakotay brushed away some water dripping down his face and made
his way over toward Tom.

His heart stopped as he heard a groan, and then Tom's voice call
out, "Chak?"  Leaving a trail of water behind him, Chakotay hurried
over to the younger man and knelt down beside him. Spasms traveled up
his right leg, but Chakotay ignored them as he took Tom's hand.

"Chakotay, you all right?" Tom said coughing and struggling to sit up.

"I'm fine. Lay still," Chakotay said, stopping Tom's efforts to sit
with a gentle hand.  "You fared a bit worse than I did."

Tom lay back down with a hiss of pain. "Damn," he muttered as he
clenched his jaw and closed his eyes.

"Try not to move too much," Chakotay said softly. "The aft part of the
Flyer is pretty much destroyed. I'm sorry, Tom, but I don't have
anything to give you for the pain."

"I'm all right," Tom said, opening his eyes again. "Just a twinge in my
stomach that reminded me a little too much of the time this Ferengi
paid me to deliver some blood wine to a Klingon celebration. Seemed
like an easy job at the time, except what I didn't know was that the
barrels were supposed to contain weapons not blood wine. When the
Klingons opened one up and blood wine poured out, they were far from

Chakotay laughed, incredibly relieved to hear Tom joking. "You'll have
to tell me the rest of that story later."

"Nothing else to tell. I felt like this when the Klingons were done
with me, and I would bet that damn conniving Ferengi would tell you he
felt much the same when I was done with him," Tom said with a faint
grin that was wiped away by a cough whose force caused his stomach to
burn with pain.

He swallowed and his voice was raspy when he continued. "What happened
to me?  Last thing I remember is the hull starting to breach. I had
still been trying to get a hold of Voyager but communications weren't
working. I couldn't even put out a distress call."

Chakotay gave Tom's hand a light squeeze and said, "The interior panels
started coming loose. One of them hit you, slicing across your chest
and stomach."

"Feels like it tried to cut me in half," Tom said with a groan.

Chakotay's grasp on Tom's hand tightened as he remembered his hands
covered in Tom's blood. He had feared the panel had almost cut the
younger man in half.

"You sure you're okay?" Tom asked. Chakotay may have fared better than
he, but Tom wasn't convinced that he was truly fine. Something just
wasn't right. Another thought occurred to him, and he followed his
first question with, "And why are you wet?"

"I'm fine. I stepped outside a moment to see if there was any place to
take shelter. We need to get off the Flyer. Too many gases are flooding
it. I've opened vents and that's helping some, but not enough. The
damage control system is offline, so there isn't any way to control the

"Let me guess, the weather on this planet is not even close to

Chakotay snorted.  "You guessed right. Plenty of wind, rain, and even a
bit of hail."

"Was there some place to take shelter?"

"I could see some trees and boulders in walking distance from where we
are now. They should provide us with some protection from the elements."

"Ah, I would have preferred a cabin with a hot tub, but I guess that
will have to do," Tom said through clenched teeth. He waited for the
sharp, cutting pain that had twisted through him to dull before he
added, "Well what are we waiting for?  Let's get out of here. At least
outside, every breath won't make me feel green."

"Let me just make sure there is no danger of the warp core breaching,
and then we'll get out of here. Will you be all right for a few
minutes?" Chakotay gazed at him worriedly.

"I'll be okay. Check the warp core. As much as I'm beginning to hate
this planet, I don't want to see it or us wiped out by a breach."  Tom
waved his other hand weakly. "Go, I'll hang out down here for a little

Chakotay smiled. "I'll be right back, love."  He kissed Tom lightly on
his cheek, and then after giving one last squeeze to the younger man's
hand, Chakotay got back to his feet.

After making sure that the core was in no danger of breaching, Chakotay
returned to where Tom was laying. Tom had his eyes closed, and his face
was pinched with pain. Looking at the extreme paleness of his lover's
face, Chakotay wondered if it was too dangerous to move him.  He had no
idea if Tom had any internal injuries that might be aggravated by
movement. Fear crept its way around his heart, and for a second he was
frozen in indecision. Then, Tom began coughing and gasping for breath.
As he knelt beside Tom, Chakotay knew there was no other choice.  The
air in the Flyer was not improving. Coughing and struggling to breathe
could cause just as much damage to Tom as moving could.

Sensing Chakotay's presence, Tom opened his eyes.  "You ready?" Tom
asked between gasps.

"We're all set.  Let's get you up."  Chakotay carefully slipped an arm
underneath Tom's shoulders and helped him to a sitting position.

"Shit," Tom hissed once he was semi-upright. He felt like he had left
part of his stomach lying on the floor. He leaned heavily against
Chakotay. "Give me a sec," he gasped.

Rubbing Tom's shoulder, Chakotay said, "Take all the time you need.
We'll leave when you're ready."

A series of coughs shook his body, and Tom pressed a hand against his
ribs as he tried to resist the urge to bend over. He didn't even want
to imagine the pain that action would cause. When he was able to speak
again, he said, "Nice sentiment, Chak, but I'm really not into
asphyxiation. Too much time breathing this shit, and we'll be too loopy
to find our way out." He took a deep breath, resisting the urge to
cough again as the acrid air coated his throat. "Help me up."

Chakotay helped Tom to his feet, and then guided the taller man to lean
against him for support. He gave Tom a few seconds to recover from the
ordeal of standing up before he started to slowly move toward the
emergency hatch. He frowned as his foot slid slightly. "Be careful not
to slip," he warned Tom. "I thought opening the hatch might clear up
this air, but all it's done is add water to the mess."

Tom didn't respond as his mind was trying to take in the amount of
damage to the Flyer. Lying on the floor, he had assumed that things
were bad, but bad didn't even come close to describing the shape of the
ship. He thought disaster area would probably be more appropriate.  As
they navigated the debris cluttering the Flyer's floor, Tom felt like
Chakotay was leading him through an obstacle course. "I'm beginning to
consider us lucky," Tom muttered.

"What did you say?"  Chakotay asked stopping in concern.

"Nothing important. Just muttering to myself. Let's get out of here."

With Chakotay's help, Tom made his way to and out of the emergency
hatch. He leaned on the Flyer for support as he watched Chakotay
struggle to close the broken hatch so that the rain wouldn't flood
ship. He shivered as hail began to pelt him. This sucked. He would have
laughed at his understatement, if he hadn't feared that the exertion
would cause him to collapse.

His body screamed for him to just lie back down. It would be so nice
just to close his eyes and sleep. Tom fought to keep his eyes open and
to remain standing. He just needed to find enough energy to make it
over to the forest. He squinted off in the distance. Why did those
trees seem incredibly far away? Tom just wanted to feel a transporter
beam wrapping around him and taking him back to Voyager.

The crew had to know that something had gone wrong. Why hadn't they
transported them off this hellhole? Tom figured it was probably the
same reason he hadn't been able to contact Voyager - something was
causing major interference. You can get in, but you can't get out, Tom
thought without humor.

Pieces of hail settled in Tom's hair, and rain dripped down onto his
neck. The water trailed down his back, and Tom shivered as the wind
blew strongly. He groaned involuntarily and tried to stop shivering.
Damn, it hurt. He was beginning to think that it would have been better
to stay inside the Flyer and choke on the air.

Chakotay secured the hatch and moved over to Tom. He heard the younger
man groan and saw that he was shivering. Looking at Tom's pale face and
his pinched, pained expression, Chakotay knew that Tom's strength
wouldn't last much longer. The wind howled, and Chakotay didn't waste
time trying to yell to Tom. He slipped up beside him, and placed a
gentle hand on the younger man's shoulder. Tom didn't speak either, he
just nodded wearily and put his arm around Chakotay's shoulders, trying
to support as much of his own weight as he could.

The mud clung to their feet as they fought to walk against the bitter
wind. Tom's shivering was growing worse, and Chakotay began to fear
that if he wasn't already, the younger man might soon be suffering from
hypothermia. He needed to get Tom out of this mixture of rain and hail,
and somehow get him warm.

Keeping his eyes cast downward to avoid bits of hail, Chakotay gazed at
the seemingly endless stream of mud that they were traipsing through.
At least this mud was more sticky than slippery. He remembered a day
forever burned into his memory when he had been trying to hurry across
broken stone walks whose cracks seeped with mud. On each step he took,
he had slid and feared that both he and Terek would go tumbling.

The rain then hadn't been nearly this bad.  It had been warm at least,
still it seemed like he had walked through empty streets forever before
he found the passageway. They had constantly been on the alert for
Cardassians troops.  He had expected to hear phaser fire at every
moment, but they had managed to stay ahead. They had gotten Terek
inside, and Chakotay remembered the mud marking the stairs as they
headed down. Miserable mud that had slowed down his every step, just as
it did now.

By the time they entered the forest, Chakotay was almost completely
supporting Tom. Despite the howling of the wind and the thrashing of
the trees, he could hear the younger man's pained gasps. The dense
covering of foliage provided some protection from the rain, at least
until the wind shook one of the trees violently letting loose a flood
of water. There was a huge boulder off to his right, and Chakotay
headed for it, hoping it would serve to block the wind.

Luck was finally with him as the boulder did provide some protection.
He eased Tom to the ground, frowning as mud soaked into his lover's
hair. For a moment he got an image of the mud reaching up to envelop
Tom, sucking him into the ground. It was then that he was almost
positive that Tom was dead. That he had been dead even before they
entered the forest. Just like with Terek, he had made a mistake and
underestimated the extent of the injuries.

The sound of coughing pulled him from his morbid thoughts. What the
hell was wrong with him?  Tom wasn't dead. He was right here shivering.
Chakotay spread out next to him, and pulled Tom into his arms. Hoping
that even though it was wet, his own body would provide some warmth to
his lover.

"It's so damn cold," Tom said. His voice was barely a whisper.
Chakotay doubted he would have been able to hear him if he hadn't been
so close.

He kissed Tom's forehead. "I know. Just hang on.  Voyager will locate
us soon."  He prayed he was right because he didn't know how much more
Tom could take.

He moved as close as possible to Tom, making sure there was no distance
between them. His right leg felt stiff and had begun to itch, but he
didn't want to scratch it for fear that he might jar Tom. Suddenly
Chakotay realized something had changed, he wasn't hearing the sound of
the wind anymore. All he heard was silence. The storm had ceased.

Chakotay resisted the urge to burst into hysterical laughter. They
could have breathed the air in the shuttle for a bit longer. If he had
waited, they probably wouldn't have had to battle the storm. Oh
Spirits, was this payment for years of arrogance in believing he hadn't
been at fault. Was he to lose Tom because of something he had sworn was
not his fault but obviously was?

He thought he had come to terms with all of this year ago, that there
had been nothing he could have done differently. He had believed that
his sadness each year could be attributed to memory - a memory that had
been growing dimmer. Were the spirits making him pay?  Had he
misunderstood all these years? Dared to try to forget?

He looked down at Tom. The younger man's eyes were closed, and he had
stopped shivering. "Tom?" Chakotay said and got no answer. He put a
finger lightly against Tom's lips and felt the younger man's
breath. "Please don't take him from me," he whispered. "I thought." He
didn't know what he thought. Part of him realized that he was getting
things wrong, but he couldn't think straight. His head hurt, his leg
itched, and most of all he wasn't sure if Tom would ever open his eyes

He tried to think of something he could do, but nothing came to mind.
Fear filled Chakotay's heart, and there was nothing he could do to keep
it at bay. He had always been able to center himself, but that ability
had deserted him. All he could think of was that he had truly lost Tom,
and it was his own fault.

Caught up in guilt, misery, and flashbacks from the past, Chakotay
didn't even recognize the sound of the transporter as it wrapped around
he and Tom taking them back to the safety of Voyager.