Title: Struck With Fear
Author: CatHeights
Contact: CatHeights@yahoo.com
Series: VOY
Codes: C/P, angst
Parts: 2/3
Rating: R
Archive: Cha_Club, ASCEML, Paris Nights, TPD

See Part 1 for Notes, Summary and Disclaimer


Tom's first thought on waking was that his stomach no longer hurt. He
also didn't feel so incredibly cold. He opened his eyes, and a huge
grin crossed his face as he realized he was in sickbay. That was one
planet he wouldn't miss; it was good to be back on Voyager. He sat up
gingerly, relieved to find that he felt nothing worse than a bit

"Tom, are you all right?"

He turned to see Chakotay hopping off of a bio bed and heading over to
him. His expression was anxious, and he looked exhausted.

"I feel fine. What about you? You look like you could use some sleep,"
Tom said concerned.

Relief flooded Chakotay's features, as he took Tom's hand. "I'm fine
now," he said and kissed the younger man.

Tom frowned and was about to ask Chakotay if his answer meant he hadn't
been fine before when the Doctor approached.

"Ah, Mr. Paris, now that you're awake let's see how you are doing."
The Doctor scanned Tom, finishing with a satisfied smile. "No
complications. Once again, I've put you back together."

"Thanks Doc," Tom said with a grin. "How long have I been out?"

"Almost eight hours. You had lost a substantial amount of blood and had
started to go into shock by the time you were beamed here." The
Doctor's expression turned serious as he continued, "While I've healed
all of your injuries, you do need to take it easy for the next two
days. Is that understood? No skiing or running any other strenuous

"Perfectly clear, Doc. So does that mean I'm released?" Tom asked.

"I see no reason why you can't return to your quarters as long as you
agree to take it easy," the Doctor said.

"What about Chakotay?"

The Doctor looked annoyed. "The Commander was released hours ago. He
had a concussion and a nasty wound on his right leg. After I had
treated and monitored those ailments, I told him to return to his
quarters to rest, but he refused. He insisted on staying here until you
awoke, so I made him rest on a biobed."

"Stubborn patients keep you on your mettle," Tom said with a grin as
the Doctor glared at him.  His smile turned soft, and he said to
Chakotay, "You picking up my slack?"

"Someone has to," Chakotay responded with a smile. He still held Tom's
hand firmly in his own.

"I'm going to get changed, and then let's get out of here," Tom said
giving Chakotay's hand a squeeze. He went to remove his hand from
Chakotay's grasp and was surprised when the older man didn't
immediately release it. He had to actually give a little tug before
Chakotay let go of his hand, and even then Tom could tell it was done

"I'll be right back," Tom said reassuringly, but before he could hop
off the biobed, the Captain entered sickbay.

"Tom, it's good to see you up. How are you feeling?" the Captain asked.

"Perfect. I've already pestered the Doc into letting me leave," Tom
said with a grin.

Kathryn chuckled. "Glad to hear it."

"Captain, while I was vacationing here, did the crew figure out what
happened when we entered the planet's atmosphere?" Tom asked. Next to
him, he felt Chakotay tense, and Tom wondered why.

"Partially," the Captain replied with a grimace. "As far as we can
tell, this planet has a natural defense system. There is no sign of any
technology creating a field, but the atmosphere reacts violently to
any "foreign" substance that it encounters. It immediately begins
trying to counteract what it sees as an invasion. The resulting battle
wreaks havoc on the planet's weather pattern."

"So basically to that atmosphere we were some nasty germ invasion that
it had to stamp out," Tom said.

"That analogy works," the Captain said with a smile.

"You know, I doubt we would have been able to eat any of the plant life
down there anyway. If the other plants were anything like the trees,
they weren't coming up easy. The wind down there was brutal, but I
don't recall seeing a single branch or a leaf fall from any of the
trees. Of course I was out of it at times. Chakotay, do you remember
seeing any debris from those trees?"

Chakotay took a moment to answer, and when he did, his expression was
bitter. "No, I didn't see any leaves, just mud." The last word was said
in a tone of absolute disgust.

"Yeah, there was a lot of mud," Tom agreed, as he glanced oddly at

"I suspect you're right. The plant life would have had to adjust to
those conditions to survive, so it probably would have been a bit
difficult to gather, let alone cook," Kathryn agreed.

Tom chuckled. "I can just picture Neelix trying to figure out how to
work with food that can't be cut." His expression sobered, and he
said, "This is probably a silly question, but were you able to recover
much of the Flyer?"

"Some. Don't worry, we'll build a new one," Kathryn said to Tom, but
her eyes were on the Commander. "Chakotay," she said softly. "Are you

Tom turned sideways and saw that his lover looked pale. Concerned, he
placed a hand on Chakotay's arm, only to feel that he was shaking.

"I'm fine. Just tired," Chakotay said. "Shall we get out of here Tom?"

"Actually Commander, before you leave, I'd just like to run one more
scan," the Doctor said.

"Doctor that really isn't necessary. I was fine when you told me I was
released hours ago; nothing has changed." Chakotay's voice was his
normal even tone. He sounded fine, but Tom was far from convinced.

"Humor the Doctor, Chakotay, while Tom gets changed," Kathryn
said. "Tom, Harry brought some clothes by for you earlier. Why don't I
show you where he put them?"

Tom nodded and then turned to Chakotay, "I think you're outnumbered.
I'll be right back."

Chakotay sighed. "Seems like you're right. Okay Doctor, get your scan
over with, so we can get out of here."  His eyes followed Tom until the
younger man moved out of his line of sight.

Once they were out of Chakotay's sight and hearing, Tom said, "Captain,
what happened while I was out? Is something wrong with Chakotay?"

"There's nothing necessarily wrong with him. It's just that since
you've returned, he hasn't been quite himself. The Doctor thinks he
really needs to get some rest."

"Why?" Tom crossed his hands over his chest. He wanted the whole story.

"When we got you back to the ship, Chakotay believed you were dead. He
was adamant that you were and claimed it was his fault. Nothing we said
could convince him otherwise. The doctor didn't want to sedate him
until he had a chance to treat the concussion, but he needed to
stabilize you first. So, B'Elanna and Harry tried to distract

Tom felt his stomach twist at the thought that Chakotay had believed
him dead. It was bad enough to fear losing someone, let alone to
believe that it had really happened. No wonder Chakotay had been
reluctant to let go of his hand. "Go on," he said, knowing the Captain
had more to tell him.

"After a while, B'Elanna and Harry were able to calm Chakotay down
some. B'Elanna told me though that he kept repeating that it was all
his fault, and asking the spirits not to do this, to forgive him
because he hadn't understood."

The Captain paused, looking as if she were choosing her next words
carefully. "Tom, can you tell me what happened on the mission?"

"Sure, there's not much to tell. As soon as we hit the atmosphere, it
was like we had flown into some living mass. Shockwaves wrapped around
the ship. I tried to contact Voyager, but got no response. The first
shock that hit us knocked our shields down by 50 percent, and each
additional wave took another chip at them. I tried to reinforce them,
but I had no luck. Then the Flyer's hull started to breach. I don't
remember anything after that until I woke up on the floor. Chakotay
told me the damage control system was offline and the ship was filling
with gases. Figuring breathing was pretty important, we decided to
brave the weather outside, and we headed over to a forest that had
these huge boulders in it. Besides thinking that I'd never seen trees
with so many leaves and that it was freezing, I don't remember anything

Tom's eyes narrowed as a suspicion hit him. "Captain, you're not
thinking that there is anything to Chakotay saying this was his fault,
because I'll tell you there is no way that is possible. When Chakotay
helped me up, and I saw the condition of the Flyer, all I could think
of was that we were very lucky to be alive. He's the one who stopped my
bleeding, and got me out of a ship filled with noxious gases. You say
he had a concussion. Well that would account for some confusion. Throw
in the effects of the being drenched, bruised, freezing, and having to
help me, and of course he would be confused and exhausted."

Kathryn held up a placating hand. "I agree with you Tom. I'm not making
any accusations. I just had to be sure. Chakotay told me pretty much
what you said."

"But, because of his earlier behavior, you couldn't be sure if you were
getting the whole story," Tom said, starting to calm down. It was after
all standard procedure to get a report from both members of an away

"Unfortunately, yes. Plus since he's been back, Chakotay hasn't slept
at all. The Doctor tried to give him a mild sedative, but Chakotay
wouldn't let him. He did agree to lie down on a biobed, but he never
closed his eyes, he kept them on you."

The Doc had said he had been out for almost eight hours. Tom ran his
hand through his hair. Once his body was warm and no longer injured,
Chakotay must have felt an incredible urge to just sleep, yet he had
resisted, even after having been told that Tom was fine. Why? Tom
sighed. "Captain, do you mind if I get changed now?"

"Of course, Tom," Kathryn said. She walked over to a nearby biobed,
picked up a pile of clothes and handed them to him. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, just tired. I think sleep would be a good idea, all around," Tom
said starting to head to the bathroom to change.

"Tom, if Chakotay continues to have trouble sleeping..." Kathryn
started to say.

"Don't worry, I'll have him come see the Doc."

"Good. Get some rest," Kathryn said. She squeezed his shoulder gently,
and then walked back over to the Doctor and Chakotay.

Tom stripped his sickbay clothes off quickly and hurriedly dressed,
eager to get back to Chakotay. He had a feeling that what was bothering
Chakotay was more than just what had happened when the Flyer crashed.
Tom had realized last night that something was weighing heavily on
Chakotay's mind. When he had asked if anything was wrong, he had of
course gotten a, "no I'm fine."  He had decided to let it go for a bit,
and if the melancholy he sensed persisted, then he would push Chakotay
to talk. Well, the waiting was over; it was time for his lover to share
what was bothering him.

Relieved to be in his own clothes, Tom walked back over to Chakotay.
He was greeted by a wide smile. He grinned in return, meeting his
lover's eyes and searching them for any sign of distress. All he saw
was tiredness.

"Well, Captain, may we leave now?" Chakotay asked.

"Of course gentlemen," Kathryn said with a smile. "I've given you the
next five days off.  Take it easy."

"Thanks, Captain," Tom said. "We'll put them to good use. And I
promise, I'll wait until tomorrow to go skiing."  He grinned at the
Doctor's glare.

Chakotay chuckled. "Don't worry, I won't let him anywhere near a ski

Pretending to be indignant, Tom said, "You're supposed to be on my

With a wink, Chakotay said, "Oh, I am."

Tom laughed as the Captain, chuckling herself, said, "Out, both of
you." When Tom met her eyes, he could see the same relief he felt at
Chakotay's joining in on the teasing. It had been one hell of a day,
and everyone had moments where it was just too much, including

Once they were out in the corridor, Tom said, "Worked like a charm."

Chakotay looked at him curiously. "What did?"

"Distracting them from coming up with any more excuses for us to stay
in sickbay. See by the time I was done, they were asking us to leave."

Grinning, Chakotay said, "I think I helped some."

"Immensely, as always."

Tom's lips were slightly curled, and Chakotay thought he had never
looked more beautiful. The hallway was empty, so he thought what the
hell. He lightly tugged Tom's arm, causing him to stop walking. Then,
he pulled the younger man into his arms, and kissed him.

"I like it when you're impulsive," Tom said when the kiss ended.

"Me too," Chakotay said softly as they continued walking.

They headed to Chakotay's quarters, as that was where Tom spent most of
his nights anyway. Once inside, Tom said, "I'm starving.  What about
you, are you hungry?"


"I'm going to get some tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. What
do you want?"

"I'll have the same. I'll get it, you sit down," Chakotay said heading
over to the replicator.

Tom sighed, resisting the urge to tell Chakotay that he could have
gotten the meal. He knew it probably made Chakotay feel better to take
care of things. In his eyes, Tom was the one who needed rest.  He
wondered at Chakotay's meal choice. It wasn't that the older man didn't
like tomato soup; it just wasn't something he normally chose.

He took a seat at the table, and when Chakotay brought the soup over,
Tom's stomach grumbled.

Chakotay laughed. "You weren't kidding about being hungry."

"I never kid about food," Tom said as he took a spoonful of soup. It
tasted wonderful, and he loved the feeling of the steam from the bowl
hitting his face. He took a few more spoonfuls and then a bit of his
grilled cheese sandwich. He polished off half of the sandwich and was
about to begin on the other half when he noticed that Chakotay hadn't
touched his food at all. He was just staring off into the distance.

He put his spoon down and said, "Hey, tomato soup tastes awful when it
gets cold. Trust me."

"What?"  Chakotay asked, looking at Tom a bit dazed.

"Your soup. It's getting cold," Tom said concerned.

"Oh." Chakotay picked up his spoon and began to eat.

After a moment, Tom continued eating. They'd talk later. When they were
both finished, Tom insisted on taking the used dishes back to the
replicator. Chakotay went over to the couch and sat down, and when Tom
was done clearing the table, he joined him.

"You seemed pretty out of it while we were eating," Tom said.

"Just thinking," Chakotay said, as he took Tom's hand, tracing patterns
along the top of it.

"About what?"

"Nothing in particular."

Tom sighed. "You remember when I told you that if something was
bothering me, I'd tell you about it, and that I hoped you would talk to
me if something was bothering you? You would talk to me if something
was on your mind, wouldn't you?"

Chakotay squeezed Tom's hand but didn't answer right away. Of course he
remembered when Tom had said that. It had been on the first night they
had made love. Afterwards, he had woken to find that Tom wasn't in the
bed. Tom had been lying on the couch in his living area, and Chakotay
had been afraid that the younger man might have had a nightmare, as
they had been plaguing him recently. Tom had said he was fine and asked
Chakotay to trust that if there was something wrong, he would tell

He did trust that if something was ever bothering Tom, he would say
something, and he wanted Tom to feel that same trust. Still, he didn't
know where to begin. Everything was blurring together. Once the Doctor
had treated him, he had felt his panic ebb. He knew that Tom was okay,
but despite that knowledge, he couldn't bring himself to let Tom out of
his eyesight. He needed to be there when Tom opened his eyes.

He knew he had been mixing memories from his past with the present, but
even though it was irrational, he still couldn't get rid of the guilt
that gnawed at him. Nothing made sense at the moment. He finally
admitted that he was just too tired to try to sort everything out, let
alone explain what he was feeling.

He opened his mouth to tell Tom that it wasn't that he didn't trust
him; it was just that right now he had no idea what he was thinking.
Couldn't they just talk things over in the morning after they had both
slept and put this day behind them? Instead of this plea to not talk
now, he found himself saying in a choked voice, "I'm sorry Tom. I'm so

Moving closer, Tom placed a hand on Chakotay's thigh. "What are you
sorry for?"

Chakotay squeezed his eyes closed. "I should have let you fly.  If you
had been piloting, we would have been better off."

Tom looked at Chakotay in shock. He had never imagined Chakotay blaming
himself for the crash. "Chakotay, look at me. You are in no way
responsible for our crashing. You did a hell of job getting the Flyer
to slow down enough so that there was something for us to crawl out of.
Do you think I'm a good pilot?"

Although he was a little surprised by the question, Chakotay answered
instantly. "The best."

"Well then, I would know if there was something you could have done to
prevent us from crashing. And I'm telling you that there was nothing
you could have done differently."

Chakotay sighed, feeling some of the tension fall away. Tom was right,
and he knew it; there was nothing he could have done to prevent that
crash. As far as the crash was concerned, he was holding onto needless

"Thanks," he said. "I know you're right. It's just right now nothing is
making sense."

Tom leaned over and kissed Chakotay. "That's because you're exhausted.
I think it's time to end this day and get some sleep. What do you

"I agree," Chakotay said, and they both stood.

"You get cleaned up first," Tom said.

Chakotay nodded, but before walking away he ran his hand along Tom's
face and said, "I love you." He followed the words with a gentle kiss.

Tom smiled. "I love you too."

Chakotay got ready for bed quickly, and Tom took his turn.  When he
returned, Chakotay was already in the bed with the covers turned down
on Tom's side.  Tom slipped under the covers and told the computer to
turn off the lights. "Good night," he said and kissed Chakotay. He
slipped an arm around the other man.

"Good night," Chakotay said with a yawn. His eyelids felt heavy, and
now that Tom was here next to him, he gave into sleep.

Tom remained awake for a while listening to Chakotay's breathing. He
was positive there was something else bothering Chakotay, but it was
more important now that he got some sleep. There would be time tomorrow
to talk.  Assured that Chakotay was sleeping peacefully, Tom closed his
own eyes and quickly drifted off to sleep.