Title: Always
Authors: Chibi and Chuckles
Feedback: gacktisgod@fangirl.org, chuckles_cpfic@hotmail.com
Pairing: C/P (C/7 P/T)
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Paramount's, not ours. Song lyrics: 'I will always love you',
also not ours.
Warning: Major characters' deaths. Songfic!

Chakotay was filled with apprehension as he reached the doors of Holodeck
Two. Inside, his Dorvan V program was running, all set up in readiness for
later that day. It was here he would fulfil his duty by marrying Seven.

In his hand, Chakotay held a datapad which contained a short message from
Tom. He felt a familiar wave of guilt and sadness flow through him as he
thought of the blond pilot, already married to B'Elanna, with a baby on the
way. He glanced down at the pad. The note had said that he should go to the
holodeck and head for the place that he and Tom used to meet. He knew the
spot Tom was talking about. It was a small cluster of trees overlooking a
large ravine. They had spent many hours there just sitting together, wrapped
in each others arms as they watched the sun set, the land glowing like fire
as the last rays slipped below the horizon.

The doors opened with a familiar swish, and Chakotay stepped into the
program. As always, he spent a few moments marvelling at his surroundings,
and thanked the spirits that he could have this little piece of home so many
years away from the real thing.

Setting off, he headed in the direction of the cliffs, wincing as he passed
the small grove where the chairs and altar had been set up for his wedding.
He cared for Seven, he couldn't deny that. But he couldn't, and didn't, love

She deserved someone who would cherish her, and show her everything humanity
had to offer her now that she was away from the mindless perfection of the
Borg, but despite his feelings for her, he knew he was not really the one
who could do it. With every ounce of his being, he loved one flighty,
carefree Lieutenant by the name of Tom Paris, and he knew that Tom felt
exactly the same way about him.

A scowl darkened Chakotay's handsome features as he thought about what had
happened between him and Tom. Everything had been progressing perfectly
between them, and he had convinced Tom that it was time to let Kathryn know
of their relationship; she was, after all, one of Chakotay's closest
friends. He had therefore been surprised when she had turned on the pair of
them with a look of absolute disgust.

She had raved and ranted about the good of the crew and Starfleet protocol,
and how unnatural their love was, demeaning it on every level. He had been
hard pressed to hold his tongue as she continued. How dare she malign true
love when she herself had been dating a non-sentient hologram? If that
didn't diminish crew moral and respect, he was sure that genuine care
between two mature officers wouldn't either. But finally, she had ordered
Tom and him to separate, and be seen with female officers to maintain
dignity and respect within the crew. Tom had been forced to date B'Elanna,
while he had begun a relationship with Seven.

However, it seemed that acceding to Janeway's wishes had been a bad idea.
After just a few dates, B'Elanna was pregnant. And despite Tom's insistance
that the baby was not his, he had been forced to marry her. Feeling utterly
betrayed, Chakotay had agreed to Seven's demand to also be married.

Reaching the base of the cliff, Chakotay's eyes sought out the concealed
trail, and he quickly made his way to the top, his mind filled with thoughts
of Tom. His anger at the younger man had abated somewhat since the
announcement of B'Elanna's pregnancy, and he desperately wanted to believe
that Tom had been telling the truth about the child, despite the fact that
all the evidence seemed to say otherwise. It hurt enough that he and Tom
couldn't be together, but for Tom to have a child with someone else....

Chakotay stopped, and looked around. It was windy here at the cliff's
summit. Nearby, a small pool glistened in the sunshine, and he bent and
scooped cool water into his mouth as he mentally prepared himself for
whatever Tom had to tell him. Moving again, he made his way through the
trees until he arrived at their spot, and was mildly amused and annoyed to
see another datapad placed on a blanket at the edge of the precipice. It
seemed as if Tom wanted to play games.

In two strides he reached the blanket, and picked up the pad. He skimmed the
contents once and shakily sat down, unable to believe what his eyes were
seeing. Taking a deep breath, he reset the message to the beginning, and
read it again:

My dearest Chakotay,

If I should stay.....
I would only be in your way
So, I'll go but I know
I'll think of you
Every step of the way

And I will always love you
I will always love you
You, my darling, you
Bittersweet memories,
That is all I'm taking with me
So goodbye, please don't cry
We both know I'm not what you need
And I will always love you

I hope life treats you kind, and I hope you have
All you've dreamed of
And I wish for you joy
And happiness
But above all this, I wish you love....

I will always love you
You, darling, I love you

I'll always, I'll always love you...

The datapad dropped from Chakotay's hand as his vision blurred with hot
tears. Taking a shaky breath, he found just enough voice to call to the
computer. "Computer. Location of Lieutenant Paris."

"There are no life signs on board matching those of Lieutenant Paris. The
comm badge assigned to Lieutenant Paris is in Sick Bay," the computer's
monotone voice answered him, confirming his greatest fear. There was no way
that Tom had left the ship without his comm badge. He was gone.

After a moment of staring wide-eyed at the simple check pattern of the
blanket, Chakotay buried his head in his hands and closed his eyes, only to
be assaulted with memories and images; visions of himself and Tom laughing
with each other, laying in each others arms, holding and caring for one
another. Chakotay forced his eyes to stay closed as his memories played one
after the other in front of him. Their first meeting amongst the ranks of
the Maquis; their first attempt at a tenuous friendship; their first kiss,
and the first time they had awoken in each other's arms.

Then came the looks of love as lust had abated. The first time Tom had told
him he loved him, and he had returned the sentiments. Their first
anniversary spent in the very place he sat now, then how it had all fallen
apart later that same special day. His hurt at the news of B'Elanna's
pregnancy, and Tom's look of shock and betrayal when Chakotay announced his
engagement to Seven; the hurt and pain they had, through Janeway's
manipulations, inadvertently inflicted on one another, that could now never
be apologised for.

Finally, Chakotay opened his eyes and almost detatchedly stood up. His
tear-streaked face was surprisingly neutral as he found his voice and once
more called for the computer. "Computer. Remove safety protocols on Holodeck
Two. Authorisation: Chakotay-Beta-Two."

"Acknowledged. Warning. Safety protocols on Holodeck Two have now been
removed. Authorisation: Chakotay-Beta-Two."

With a perfunctory nod of his head, Chakotay stepped forward onto the edge
of the cliff. Turning, he could almost see himself and Tom laughing and
kissing one another in their special place, safe in the knowledge of their
love. Spreading his arms out, he closed his eyes and tilted his head to the
sky. "Tom. I will always love you, too. And where you've gone, I will
follow." His whisper caught on the wind and lifted high above the land as he
fell back, then plummeted to the rocky ground below.


Outside the holodeck, Captain Janeway looked at the controls and frowned as
she saw the safeties were switched off. "Computer," she barked. "Location of
Commander Chakotay."

"Commander Chakotay is in holo... Correction. There are no life signs on
board matching those of Commander Chakotay. The comm badge assigned to
Commander Chakotay is in Holodeck Two."

The end.