Title: Too Much To Take (2/?)
Author: CatHeights
Pairing: C/P, some P/T
Rating: R, death, disturbing dream images, angst (lots of it), m/m. This is a
slash story. If reading about a relationship between two men disturbs you,
read no further.
Feedback: I would love to hear your thoughts, e-mail me at
Archive: Protective!Chakotay Archive. If someone wants to archive the story
somewhere else, that's fine by me as long as you drop me an e-mail letting
me know where it will be archived.
Spoiler Warning: Barge of the Dead; Extreme Risk; Nothing Human. This story
is sort of a coda to Barge of the Dead, so if you haven't seen the episode you
may be a bit lost in the beginning.
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 made.

Tom walked into Sandrine's cautiously glancing around. He breathed a sigh
of relief as he saw that neither Harry nor B'Elanna were present. For the most
part the program was empty. After getting a drink from Sandrine, he found
himself a table in the corner. He didn't want to be alone in his quarters
being reminded of his nightmares, nor did he feel like socializing. A small
table in a dark corner of Sandrine's was a perfect place to be.
He took a sip of his drink and sighed. He'd been trying to avoid B'Elanna for
four days now and it hadn't been easy. She had come looking for him the
moment she had been released from sickbay. He had been sitting on the
couch trying futilely to read an old Earth novel, The Time Machine, when
she had let herself into his quarters. He realized with horror that he couldn't
look at her without picturing her decapitated head and the bat'leth in his hand.
B'Elanna didn't seem to notice his reluctance to meet her eyes when she sat
down next to him, smiled, pulled him into her arms, and kissed him. A chill
went down his spine as her lips touched his and he pushed her away, quickly
coming to his feet.
"Tom," B'Elanna said in a surprised voice. She stood up and reached out a
hand to touch his arm.
He jerked away from her touch and said, "Don't."
"Don't what?" B'Elanna said softly.
"Touch me, don't touch me," Tom said not looking at her.
"Tom, what's wrong? Tell me what is going on."
"I need space," he said his voice cracking. "Time to think. I think we should
spend some time away from each other."
"You're mad at me for going back to the Barge of the Dead," B'Elanna said
He turned to look at her puzzled. Mad, no he wasn't mad. Empty would be a
more accurate description. He felt hollowed out somehow. "No, I'm not mad."
"Then what is it? What's wrong? Talk to me, Tom," she demanded her voice
"I told you I need space," he said.
"Talk to me," she insisted stepping closer to him.
"B'Elanna, get out," Tom said stepping back from her his eyes on her neck
which to him appeared to be covered in coagulated blood. He closed his eyes
briefly trying to dispel the gory image. She needed to leave before he lost
the last shred of his control.
"No, not until you talk to me," she said firmly.
"I said, get out," he repeated his voicing rising, his hands clenched.
"No," B'Elanna started to say but Tom interrupted, "Leave, now!" He stood
ramrod straight as he glared at her with eyes that were ice cold. He was
hiding something. She knew it and it worried her. She recognized the
contemptuous mask he wore at the moment as one of his old defense
mechanisms, but she couldn't figure out why he was using it against her.
Maybe now wasn't the time for this confrontation. It would be better to talk
to him when his defenses were down.
B'Elanna met his glare her eyes trying to see past the barrier he had erected.
They failed. "All right, for now, I'll leave, but we will talk later." She
walked over to the door, paused before leaving and said, "Tom, I love you, and
I won't give up on us." The doors swished closed. B'Elanna's last words
sounding almost like a threat to Tom. The moment she left he changed his
access codes. He didn't want anymore surprise visits from her. He avoided her
calls and left her messages unanswered.
He had hoped that Harry would keep him company and help distract him from
his dreams, but Harry wouldn't drop the subject of Tom avoiding B'Elanna. He
kept trying to convince Tom that he needed to talk to her and work things out.
Harry had been so vehement in his arguments, that Tom now found himself
avoiding Harry also. He hadn't felt this alone in years he mused as he swished
the liquid in his glass.
He was so caught up in his own thoughts that he didn't see Chakotay walk over
to him. When the Commander asked, "Paris, mind if I join you," Tom jumped
and splashed some of his drink onto the table.
Covering his surprise quickly, he said, "No of course not. Take a seat."
Chakotay sat down looking at Tom curiously. "You seem a bit on edge. Am I
"No, I was just turning some things over in my head and I didn't notice you
standing there," Tom said and grinned half-heartedly. "Guess I was just a bit
Chakotay felt his heart drop as he took in Tom's appearance. Dark circles
lurked beneath his blue eyes, which were devoid of their normal vitality. His
face was ashen and the hand that lowered his drink to the table shook
"No offense, Tom," Chakotay said softly, "but you don't look good. Do you feel
all right?"
"I'm fine," Tom replied. "I've just been having some trouble sleeping. It's
nothing really. What brings you to Sandrine's tonight, Chakotay?"
"I'm avoiding the Doc," Chakotay said grinning.
Tom leaned back in his chair his arms across his chest. A grin spread across
his face, and Chakotay was pleased to note that some of the life had come
back into his eyes. "You're avoiding the Doc. This has got to be good. Why?
What's he trying to get you to do?"
Chakotay leaned in toward Tom dropping his voice, "Remember that
scintillating photo essay the Doc entertained the crew with several months ago?"
"How could I forget," Tom said with a mock frown at Chakotay. "Someone was
supposed to rescue us from that tortuous exhibition after thirty minutes, but
the rescue never came."
"I was just making sure everyone got to benefit equally from the experience,"
Chakotay said his expression neutral but his eyes laughing.
"Oh, how can I ever thank you," Tom drawled. "You just wanted to spread the
misery around, huh? You had to suffer for two hours, so why shouldn't the
rest of us."
Chakotay laughed. "Might be a bit of truth to that statement. Anyway, the
Doctor is thinking of doing a photo essay sequel, and he wanted me to stop by
tonight to view some of the images he was planning to include."
"A sequel," Tom yelped his eyes widening.
Chakotay chuckled at Tom's expression of horror. "My response was similar to
yours, not to mention the mind numbing fear of once again being one of the
first to witness the Doctor's photo spiel. I told him I had plans for tonight
and that I would need to get back to him about a time to go over the images.
I also told him that unfortunately it might be awhile before I could spare some
"So you mean you lied," Tom said smugly.
"Not really." Chakotay was thoroughly enjoying this repartee he and Tom had
going. He laughed when Tom raised an eyebrow at his reply. "I set two goals
for myself that I'm determined to accomplish. The first is to help the crew of
the Equinox to become fully integrated into this crew. I want to give them a
fair chance."
"A good goal. One I'd be happy to help you accomplish. I'm a firm believer in
second chances," Tom said the shadows returning slightly to his eyes. The
shadows receded as Chakotay caught his eye and said, "I can't think of a
better person to work with on that goal."
A slight grin tugged at Tom's lips. "Okay, so what's the second goal that is
preventing you from becoming the Doc's guinea pig again?"
Chakotay grinned widely, spreading out his arms. "Socializing."
"Socializing?" Tom questioned looking at Chakotay as if he had lost his mind.
"Exactly. I've decided the First Officer should be a bit more accessible,"
Chakotay explained. Not to mention, he thought, it will give me an excuse to
spend more time with you. Tom loved company and crowds. Normally, he was
the center of attention. Hanging out at Sandrine's would somewhat satisfy
Chakotay's need to be near the man without offering the opportunity for
"I know Neelix is our morale officer, but it wouldn't hurt if I was a little
more in tune with the crew," Chakotay continued. "It will also help with my
first goal, don't you think?"
"Most definitely. So, let me get this straight, you blew off the Doc because
you feel it will make you a better officer if you hang out and have a few
drinks at Sandrine's," Tom said. "It sounds like a good idea to me which
means I can't understand why you think it's a good idea."
"I'm full of surprises," Chakotay replied wishing he could show Tom at least a
few of those surprises. He couldn't tear his eyes away from the slight grin
on Tom's face. He had the urge to trace the sensuous outline of those lips
with his finger marking a path for his own lips. Then, he could picture
himself placing the same finger under Tom's chin tilting it up to meet his
gaze. After gazing into those crystalline blue eyes he would lean in and
slowly devour that inviting mouth. With a well-practiced effort, he banished
the image from his mind. B'Elanna was his friend he reminded himself. Tom
was his friend, nothing more. If only the man wasn't so fascinating. If only it
hadn't take him so long to realize what it was he wanted or more accurately