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

See Part 1 for Notes, Summary and Disclaimer


Tom woke suddenly, his heart pounding. He was surprised when his heart
didn't stop pounding. It always did when he woke like this. He sat up
as an arm hit him, and Chakotay yelled, "Don't do this."

No wonder his heart hadn't stopped pounding; it was Chakotay's yelling
that had woken him. Scrambling to his knees and trying to avoid being
hit by his lover, Tom said, "Chakotay, wake up."

"Give me a chance to make amends in another way. Please, don't take
him. Don't do this," Chakotay said his hand clenching the sheet.

Tom called for the lights at 20 percent, and then gave Chakotay a
gentle push while he said loudly, "Chakotay, wake up. Now."

Chakotay's eyes flew open, as he again began to yell, "don't," but this
time he didn't finish the word. His expression a mixture of relief and
awe, he exclaimed, "Tom," and pulled the younger man into his arms.

Not expecting to be tugged down, Tom collapsed awkwardly onto Chakotay.
The older man didn't seem to notice. He just whispered, "thank you,"
and hugged Tom tightly.

Tom carefully disengaged himself from Chakotay's grasp, so that he was
once again kneeling beside the older man. He rubbed Chakotay's arm and
said softly, "It's okay. It was just a dream."

Chakotay took a deep breath and sat up. He leaned against the wall and
closed his eyes. Tom stayed next to him, one of his hands resting
comfortingly on Chakotay's arm. Tom didn't say anything; he knew how
disorienting it was to wake up from a nightmare. The last thing one
needed was to be asked a question when you were still repeating to
yourself that it was only a dream.

Eventually Chakotay's breathing evened out and he opened his
eyes. "Just a bad dream. I'm sorry I woke you."

"You don't need to apologize for that," Tom said. "Was the dream about
what happened today?"

"Partly," Chakotay said, his expression completely controlled.

Tom resisted the urge to groan at Chakotay's single word answer. He
knew that his friends often complained that he kept too much to
himself, but in his opinion Chakotay was worse than he was.

"And partly whatever has been bothering you recently?"

Chakotay looked at him surprised. "What do you mean?"

Tom gave him a small grin. "Come on Chakotay. You don't think I let you
pilot the Flyer with no argument because I'm a pushover, do you?  I
knew something has been bugging you since yesterday and figured flying
might help you work things out."

Chakotay smiled ruefully. "Thanks. I should have known. So you didn't
quite believe me telling you last night that nothing was bothering me."

"Not at all. I figured you might need to think things through a bit
more on your own. Now, though, I think you need to talk about this."

"You're not going to let me get away without talking, are you?"

"Would you let me?"

"No," Chakotay said with a grin.

 "Well then why would I let you?  Please Chakotay, tell me what is
bothering you. It will help," Tom pleaded.

Chakotay took a deep breath. "I don't know where to begin."

"It doesn't matter. Just start talking. What you need to tell will
come," Tom said as he moved off his knees to sit on the bed.

Smiling, Chakotay said, "You sound like my spirit guide."

"Ah, I knew this day would come when you'd recognize my wisdom."

"Yes, just like my spirit guide, you drive me nuts by being

Tom laughed. "Ooh big word."

"I'm good with BIG things," Chakotay said with a grin.

Tom groaned, grabbed his pillow and nailed Chakotay with it. Laughing,
Chakotay caught the pillow, and tossed it back at Tom who put it
against the wall and then leaned up against it.

Both men were quiet for a moment, and then Chakotay said, "When I was
younger, I wished I was one of my older brothers, but not because I
wanted to be like them. They clung to the old ways, and I wanted to be
part of what I considered the modern world. It would be a long time
before I understood the value of my people's traditions. No I wanted to
be like them because they were always ordering me around, and my father
insisted on my listening to them. I wanted to be the one giving the

"I can picture that. You still like to be the one giving the orders,"
Tom said with a grin.

"Okay, so some things don't change," Chakotay said with a laugh and
fond gaze at Tom. It seemed so natural to open up to Tom. If he had
just talked about it all last night, he might have saved himself a lot
of grief. Maybe it wouldn't have been weighing so heavily on his mind
when they had crashed, but then again, maybe it still would have.

Pushing these distracting thoughts away, Chakotay continued, "I had a
cousin who was four years younger than me. His name was Terek, and in
our younger years, he had the good taste to look up to me." A brief
smile crossed his face as he heard Tom's chuckle at that remark.

"Terek took my orders, and he expected me to know more than he did. He
didn't follow me blindly though.  He asked questions and expected me to
answer those questions with something he could learn from. In many
ways, he gave me my first lesson in command. I learned that barking
orders was the part of command that mattered the least. Terek's trust
and respect meant a heck of a lot more. As the years went by, our
relationship slowly became more equal, and my cousin became one of my
closest friends.

Even when I went off to Starfleet Academy, and Terek remained behind on
Dorvan, we remained close. We'd have arguments sometimes over our
people's traditions. Terek thought that those traditions could be
applied to today. He said while some things were outdated, the bulk of
our beliefs would stand us well as we moved through life. I disagreed;
I didn't see how those archaic beliefs could do anything but hold our
people back. Terek had found early a balance between the old and the
new. By the time he was sixteen, he had already gained a sense of peace
that would elude me for years."

Tom tried to imagine what a Chakotay who didn't possess that calm
center would be like. All he could come up with was that he would be
nothing like the man who now sat before him.

In his mind, Chakotay could picture Terek, and he was greatly relieved.
Last night, when he had tried to recall what his cousin had looked
like, his mind drew a blank. That lapse had terrified him. He had no
pictures of his cousin here in the Delta Quadrant, nothing that he
could use to reinforce his memory, and it seemed almost blasphemous
that his mind could forget.

Talking, though, had brought all his memories to the surface, and he
could now picture Terek clearly. He could see the man's thin face with
those dark brown eyes that seemed to pierce through any problem,
disregarding the irrelevant, and quickly finding a solution.  His voice
was deep and always calm. He never needed to raise it, not even in an
argument. A confidence that was never boastful seemed to wrap around
the man making it difficult to argue with him.

He would have made a fine leader for his people, Chakotay thought with
a pang of loss. He closed his eyes briefly, and then said, "Terek
joined the Maquis right in the beginning.  When I finally joined up and
got command of a cell, we joined forces. Terek was my right hand, my
link to my people, and family. My father was dead, and my brothers had
been caught early on by the Cardassians. Terek too had lost his father.
We both understood what was at stake, and what we had already lost.

Despite his being younger than I, Terek understood quickly that the
rules had changed. He had a ruthlessness that I wouldn't learn until he
died. I don't mean that he was cruel; he was a good man. I just mean he
that he grasped the idea that in the Maquis sometimes you had to do
things that you normally would never do. In certain situations, mercy
can be the ultimate cruelty, a weakness exploited. On the other hand, I
had a better understanding of how to fight a battle, and what
technology we needed. We were a good team together."

Chakotay's right foot had gotten tangled in the sheet, and he removed
it kicking the sheets away from him. He sighed and glanced at Tom.
This was the hard part. He could see the compassion in those blue eyes,
and knew the younger man understood.

"Go on," Tom said.  "Tell me what happened."

"We had a contact, a Bajoran," Chakotay said disgustedly. "Well at
least we thought he was Bajoran. He turned out to be a Cardassian
medically altered to look like a Bajoran. You think my previous
experience would have helped me detect Seska."

"Cardassian operatives are good. Wouldn't you be if you knew failure
meant not only the loss of your own life, but also that of your family?
Ruthlessness would be a necessity. There's no way you could have known
in either case," Tom said firmly.

Chakotay nodded acknowledging the truth in Tom's statement. "Well we
were supposed to look over a shipment of weapons, and more importantly
medical supplies with this contact. We hadn't been on the planet for
more than five minutes when my ship hailed me. Maquis intelligence had
found out, almost too late for us, that our contact was a Cardassian
plant. I lost contact with the ship. I found out later they were having
problems of their own, two Cardassian warships. They were a good crew,
and eventually managed to evade the warships, but wouldn't be able to
return for us until a day later, when that had gotten reinforcements. "

Tom could see the bitterness on Chakotay's face, and his heart twisted
as he listened to the older man's tale.

"Realizing his cover was blown, the operative fired at me. It should
have been I who was hit, but Terek pushed me out of the way and took a
phaser hit to his side. Kurt, you remember him, was also with us, and
he quickly took out the operative. I went to help Terek, who was trying
to get to his feet, and we headed out quickly, knowing that the
Cardassian troops who were waiting to ambush us at the shipment site
would be hunting for us shortly."

"We hurried across the streets of Kruchian. That's on Torax, one of the
border colonies the Federation ceded," Chakotay said his lips curling
into a sneer. "She had been a beautiful city once with a full populace.
The Cardassians had evacuated all her citizens forcefully, leaving the
city to rot. The stone streets and pavements were broken. Rain began to
fall, and at first I was thankful. Kruchian was unbearably hot, but
that rain began to fall harder and mud began to well up from the broken
stones making the ground slippery."

Tom recalled Chakotay's disgust earlier when he had said he had seen no
leaves, just mud. He had thought it odd then, but in light of what he
was now hearing, it made a lot of sense.

"We entered a house that looked like it had seen some fire damage, and
I sat Terek down to look at his wound. He kept arguing that we didn't
have time for that. The phaser burn was deep, and while it hadn't bled
a lot, there was a huge amount of bruising and swelling. I told him to
stay seated, while Kurt and I peered outside for any sign of
Cardassians. We were still too close to the site. I knew the city had a
series of underground passageways that would be a perfect place to
hide, but the closest entrance was quite a distance away, over two
hours. I didn't think it was wise for Terek to go that distance being
injured, however, I also didn't relish the prospect of the three of us
being caught by the Cardassians.

In the end, we jointly decided we had no choice but to head for the
passageway. We had no idea when or if our ship would return, and we
needed a safe place to take refuge. I supported Terek, leaning his
shivering body against mine, while Kurt stayed armed and kept a vigil
for our being followed. The rain was coming down in buckets, and the
slippery mud coating the stones slowed our every step. I feared that I
was going to trip and bring Terek tumbling down with me. I was
constantly on the alert for the sound of phaser fire, although with the
noise of the torrential rain, I don't know if I would have heard it. I
could barely hear Kurt who was right next to me."

Chakotay took a breath and then continued. "It seemed like we walked
forever, and still the rain didn't stop. Our clothes were splattered
with mud, and Terek was unconscious. As we walked the last blocks, Kurt
helped me carry Terek. We found the passageway and headed slowly down
the steep stairs tracking mud with us as we went. Finally we reached
the bottom and eased Terek to the floor so I could check his injuries.
He was dead, ice-cold. He had died at some point along the walk, and we
hadn't even noticed."

Tom closed his eyes wincing at the pain in Chakotay's voice.

"I shouldn't have moved him," Chakotay said his voice catching. "I
should have found another option. His injuries were too severe for him
to be moved."

"There wasn't another option," Tom said. "If you had stayed where you
were, the Cardassians would have caught all three of you. You know they
must have canvassed the immediate area searching for you. Getting
underground was the smartest thing to do, that way you could avoid
their scans."

Tom's voice was soft as he continued. "Terek must have had internal
bleeding. Chakotay, you said your ship didn't return until the next
day. Keeping Terek immobile, might have kept him alive a little longer,
but he never would have lasted a day. There was nothing you could have
done. I'm sorry."

Chakotay rubbed his hands over his face. "I know. I came to that
conclusion years ago, and yet when we were on that planet, and you were
lying there unconscious and bleeding, somehow it seemed it was my fault
then, and that I had to be careful not to make the same mistake again,
or I'd lose you."

Tom moved closer, putting his arm around Chakotay. "You didn't make a
mistake then, and you didn't make one today."

Continuing as if he hadn't heard Tom, Chakotay said, "When I realized
the rain had stopped, I knew I had made the wrong choice. We should
have stayed in the Flyer, kept you still. I had no idea of the extent
of your injuries; I should never have moved you."  Chakotay's fists
were clenched, and he swallowed hard.

Tom moved around to face him. "You're still not looking at things
clearly. You had no idea when that storm was going to end. The longer
we had spent breathing the bad air in the ship, the less we would have
been able to think clearly. Besides if I had been bleeding internally,
that chest rattling coughing from breathing the gases would have been
even more damaging.  Not to mention, I agreed with you about leaving."

"You were injured," Chakotay said stubbornly.

"Physically, but my mind was clear. Besides you were injured too. You
had a concussion and had pushed yourself to the limit. Chakotay, you
did everything you could. You saved my life by stopping the bleeding.
You got the Flyer as secure as possible and got us out of there. We're
both all right, let it go," Tom said, as he put a hand to Chakotay's

Covering Tom's hand with his own, Chakotay sighed and said, "There
wasn't anything else I could have done, was there?"

"No, love, not a thing," Tom said quietly and pulled Chakotay into his
arms. They stayed that way for a while, neither saying a word, as Tom
held the older man, resting his chin on Chakotay's head.

Tom yawned, and Chakotay moved out from the comfort of his arms. "You
need to get some rest," he said looking at Tom concerned.

"We both need to get some more rest," Tom said firmly. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I am now," Chakotay said with smile.  "Thanks."


"Do you know how much I love you?" Chakotay said feeling a lump in his

"Yea," Tom said with a smile.  "As much as I love you."  Chakotay
leaned in for a soft, lingering kiss.

"Let's get some sleep," Tom said. "I think we can both agree that this
day officially sucked."

Chakotay chuckled. "That's putting it mildly."

"I have an idea. How about we run some sort of tropical holoprogram
tomorrow. I could go for a little warmth."

"So long as it doesn't have any tropical storms," Chakotay said,
silently adding "and no mud."

As if he could read his lover's thoughts, Tom whispered softly, "No
rain and no mud."

Chakotay hugged Tom, and they both settled under the covers. Tom gave
Chakotay one more kiss, called for the computer to turn out the lights
and then turned so that his back was spooned against Chakotay's chest.

The warmth and closeness were wonderful. Chakotay let his mind drift,
as he enjoyed the sensation of Tom's skin against his own. He felt
tired, but more like his self again. Tom had been right; talking had
helped and things were a lot clearer. Still even though he felt much
more rational, his chest ached over how close he had come to losing

He remembered the longing he had felt when Tom had been dating
B'Elanna. When he had believed that the younger man was forever out of
his reach. He had thought that had been agony. It wasn't even close.
No, true agony would be loving Tom like he did now, with all his heart,
and losing him. He closed his eyes as that fear that had been all too
familiar of a companion today washed through him.

Chakotay softly caressed Tom's body, needing to feel his lover. He
needed to know that reality was Tom sleeping next to him. The smooth
feel of Tom's skin relaxed him, and he felt the fear drifting away and
his eyes beginning to droop.

His mind wearily thought about Terek. Had he ever really come to peace
with what had happened?  Only in part. He had been able to admit that
there was nothing he could have done that would have changed things but
had never been able to come to terms with the fact that there was
nothing he could have done differently. It was out of his control.
Just as it all had been today. No, he had never been able to handle
situations where the outcome could not be avoided. He moved on,
accepted that there was nothing he could have done, but it bothered
him. Maybe it always would.

He yawned and felt Tom snuggle closer to him. He planted a kiss on
Tom's back, draped an arm around his lover and closed his eyes. The
day's events seemed to drift into meaninglessness. His mind stopped
trying to analyze things and his breathing deepened. Chakotay drifted
off to sleep, this day finally slipping into memory.

The End