See Part one for disclaimers, notes etc.

Chapter Two

As I hear Chakotay say the words of the ritual to start the quest, I imagine myself in the place where I felt most happy and comfortable. This was the orchard in my grandfather's estate. Whenever he invited us or we went to visit, I always spent some time there. Often alone but at other times, my granddad would come out and sit with me. We would frequently sit in silence and to me this was a luxury. Compared to our home, any kind of silence was a luxury. Home wasn't bad but Dad always made his prese
nce felt and Mom did the same so is it any wonder we kids tried to disappear.

When I found myself in the orchard, I was awed and for a moment, I could imagine that my grandfather was there. Chakotay said I should look for the first animal that appeared to me. I spent some time looking for something, anything that vaguely resembled an animal but I didn't find any. I just sat there thinking that it was too much to ask for. Just as I was about to get more depressed and leave, I saw a bird fly above me. It circled round my head for a while and then came down and sat beside me.
"Are you my guide?" I asked it and it didn't answer. I waited for it to say something and after about 10 seconds it flew away. I hoped it might come back but when it didn't, I got up to leave. As soon as I felt like leaving, I found myself back at the holo-forest with Chakotay watching me.

I don't know what to say to him. I know what he said about keeping it to myself but in this case, I really don't understand. Chakotay said that my guide will talk to me but the animal I saw didn't say anything to me. In fact I can go so far as to say that it treated my presence as if I was an intruder.


I notice that the time is getting away from us and I wonder what is going on in Tom's quest. The expressions on his face go from awe and then on to disappointment. I admit that I am curious. I wonder what he has seen. He is looking for something and I don't know if this will give it to him but we are all looking for something at different times in our lives and I hope he finds it. As he comes out of his trance, I keep silent and wait for him to take the first step towards communication. I remember my
first quest, I was so nervous about what I would find and what my guide would say to me. Considering that I was about to leave the tribe, I was expecting everything from damnation to non-appearance by my guide. For whatever reason that made her show up, make me comfortable and let me know that she will always be with me wherever I go, I will always be grateful. But from the look on Tom's face, I don't think that he's had the same experience. I told him that I would wait and I am determined to wait

"It's late. Are you ready to leave Chakotay?" Now, that surprises me. It is not the first thing I expect from him but I will keep waiting.

"Yes of course. Do you want to change before we leave or are you comfortable leaving dressed as you are?"

He thought for a moment and then decided to change. While he is doing that, I wrap up my medicine bundle protectively and get up to leave. As he finishes, I call for the arch and we leave the holo-deck together. Outside, I think of inviting him to join me for the late meal in the mess hall but in the end, I don't ask him. Maybe he has had enough of me for the day. We separate at the turbo-lifts. I go to my quarters and he heads on to his. I only hope that if he has a problem, he can come and talk t
o me about it. As he leaves, I call him back to make sure that he knows I'll listen.


"Yes Chakotay."

"You know you can talk to me right?"

"I know. I came to you first didn't I?"

"I just wanted to make sure."

"It's okay Chakotay. Don't look so worried. If there is more, I'll let you know. Thank you for helping me to do this."

"You're welcome. I'm glad I could help." The conversation ends here and we go our separate ways. I go on from there to have my meal and then to Sandrine's. Tom's absence is noticed while I am there but I challenge B'Elanna to a game of pool. She isn't a very good player so it is an opportunity to laugh. Tuvok is there silently in the background and we give each other some space. We recognize each other's authority and he accepts my closeness with B'Elanna but he is another person on the crew that h
as gone out of his way not to deepen the bonds of familiarity with me. I don't know why we have allowed this but ever since I identified him as Janeway's spy on my ship, I have placed him on the same box as Janeway. Her friend not mine. It really shouldn't be this way but how can I break this habit. Once I would have thought of him as emotionless but to deal with B'Elanna has to take more than just logic.

As the crew empties out in Sandrine's I make no moves to leave after all I have the next day off. I scheduled it for myself in case I would need it with Tom. Now that it doesn't seem to be the case, I might as well enjoy it and make the most of it. Tom also has the day off and I hope it helps him. Enough about Tom, I want to have fun and relax. I spend some time at the bar watching the few people left interact with the holo-characters. When I am sure that that there are only holo-characters left in
the bar I call up a holo-guitar and walk to the edge of the bar where it is pretty dark and secluded and start playing.

I'm not very proficient at playing the guitar but its something I used to do when trying to entertain my family when I was younger. I don't know a lot of conventional songs but I'm good at traditional folk songs and ballads. I start playing this and some of those present stop and watch me. I notice this and in order not to let their attention affect me, I close my eyes and imagine that I am playing in the midst of my family and My mom is sitting directly in from of me with my sisters surrounding her an
d my nephews sitting at her feet. If I think really hard, I can imagine my brothers come in through the door and smile at me mockingly. They always tease me that my mother favors me as she always sits and listens to me make enough noise to deafen them. We always laugh about it and over time have let it become a family joke.

When I finish playing my third ballad, I remember why I don't like playing anymore. It reminds me too much of happier times and I miss them so much. I hear some clapping and I open my eyes. Some of the people there are just sitting down and watching me. I think I have had enough for the evening. I bow to them in acceptance of their accolade and decide that I am glad that none of the crew is here to watch me being morose. I call the arch and watch Sandrine's fade into the criss-cross lines of the hol
o-deck as I leave.

I am not really tired and sleeping is somewhat out of the question. Thinking about happier times has brought to my mind the last time I played the guitar at home. My girlfriend at the time if you could call her that was named Amaliane. I had taken her to one of the more secluded highlands near my home. When we got there, I played her a good-bye ballad and told her that I was leaving for the academy. She was sad about it, as we were each other's best friends in the tribe. We also weren't sure about w
hen next we would be seeing each other so we decided to make love under the stars for the first and last time, as it would turn out to be. It was the first time for both of us. It was a memorable experience and thinking about it now shows me how lonely I really am.

Lying on my bed, I think about to how I felt back then. Was I ever that young? The boy I was then seems so far from the man I am now. In remembering that experience, I find that I am aroused. I think to myself that some company would be good to relieve me of this but as I am alone, I reach my hands down to my nipples. They have gotten hard and as I pinch and rub them. They just get harder. I try to imagine that there is someone else in bed with me. At this point, I don't think it really matters who
it is. I reach down and rub my nipples and my hands whisper over my stomach. I just want to feel them touch me but I deny myself that pleasure. The next thing I feel is my small finger dip into my belly button. I bring that finger to my mouth and the unique taste and scent of myself serve to make me that much harder. I then reach down and cup myself through my underwear. The flimsy cloth seems to be too much of an impediment so I take it off.

When I am compleyerly naked, I softly put my hands round the long length of my cock. It would be good if someone were here to do this for me but as there isn't, I spread my legs a bit wider to enable one hand to cup my balls and slowly massage them while the other hand is slowly moving up and down on my cock. The movement is slow at first and then as I feel my balls getting heavier, the strokes get harder. I then circle the head with my thumb and spread the small pre-cum already released over it. This
makes it smoother and I try to imagine my partner licking it. This sends me right over the edge and I spill the thick creamy liquid over my hands and I lie exhausted on my bed. While this has taken the edge of my present predicament, I feel oddly empty and really wish that I had someone to curl up to. I'm too tired to get up and take a shower so I pick up my discarded pants and give myself a brief clean up and then fall asleep.

As I wake up, I find myself wrapped around my pillow and I really do not feel like waking up. It has been a while that I deigned to take some time off so I am going to make the best of it and I'll start by doing away with my normal routine for the day. I laze around in bed till noon when I get up and decide to clean up my quarters. Tidying up takes the edge of my aloneness and after a while, this becomes a routine of its own and I stop thinking so hard. It is with this frame of mind that I hear someon
e press the buzzer to my quarters. I am really surprised and call out to let the person in before I really think. Else I'm very sure I would not be letting Tom Paris into my quarters while I was still dressed in a pair of shorts and tee, while some music is playing loudly in my room. Nevertheless, I invite him in and reduce the noise level in the quarters.

"Good day Chakotay. I hope I'm not disturbing you?"

"Come on in Tom. That is okay I was just tidying up. Are you okay?"
I ask him when I see him standing just shy of hovering. I wait for him to come in and sit down. To break the ice in the suddenly oppressive silence, I offer him something to drink. My offer is refused so I ask him what brings him to me.

"What can I do for you?"

"You offered to help me elucidate what I saw in my quest."

"Yes, I did. Do you need help?"

"Yes. I'd like to tell you about it if that is okay."

"Give me a minute, let me change and I will be with you."

I go into my sleeping quarters and change into a loose pair of slacks and long shirt that's a lot more comfortable and come back to the sitting area.


Ever since I got to my quarters yesterday, I have been trying to work out exactly what the whole thing I went through meant. I couldn't come up with an explanation. I didn't let the fact that I imagined I was somewhere else and could feel myself there disturb me. It was like nothing I'd ever experienced. Chakotay said that my spirit animal would talk to me and answer the questions that I have and it didn't. I think that is what disturbed me more. The fact that it deemed me unworthy of communication
is the root of my disappointment. I really thought that I would find the answer to this discontent that is running through me with Chakotay's spirits.

After staying and thinking for some time in my quarters, I decide to go and spend the rest of the day in Sandrine's. It's usually a good place to be when I don't need the solitude to think. The noise helps me and let's face it, sometimes Sandrine is good company. She reminds me of some of the life I had in the Alpha quadrant. I notice that it is quite late when I choose to go to Sandrine's so I don't really expect a lot of the crew to be there. Maybe one or two people to play pool with. When I get t
here, it is empty of the crew except some holo-characters and someone playing the guitar in one of the hidden alcoves.

When a voice starts singing with the guitar tune, I recognize that voice. I don't really want him to know that I am here because I am sure that he waited till everyone left before playing. I didn't even know that he could play. I don't think that anyone did. What he is playing is a bit melancholy though. Why is he sad? Does it have anything to do with what happened today? No. I am just being too paranoid. Why would helping me find an animal guide make him sad? As I get closer to where he is I f
ind a place where I can watch him and listen to him without his noticing me. I then notice that his eyes are closed. I assume this means that he doesn't want to see anyone but the expression on his face tells me otherwise. I don't think he is really here anymore. With that in mind, I leave him to his singing and go back to my quarters. I don't want him to see me here; it might spoil what little friendship we have just found between us.

When I woke up this morning, I realized that I didn't have anything to do. My recent withdrawal from most people doesn't exactly allow me to call up anyone and spend the day. I know that Chakotay gave me this day off in case I needed more time after the ritual yesterday. He told me I could talk to him so maybe he will be able to explain this to me better that what I came up with in my mind. After all he is a lot better at this than I am. He also scheduled a day off for himself so maybe he will talk t
o me if I go to his quarters.

Getting to his quarters, I am quite nervous about this. The way I saw him in the holo-deck yester-evening flashes through my mind and I refuse to let it deter me but it doesn't reduce my nervousness. What if he has no answers for me? What if his 'spirits' don't want to talk to me? It is getting harder to believe and I really want to get rid of this#133; whatever it is that I am feeling. As his door opens to let me in, what I don't expect to see is Chakotay in his quarters looking like a delicious rif
f-raff in tight shorts and a tee. If he wouldn't take it the wrong way, I'd probably compliment him but since we are not that close, I'd like to keep my life the way it is right now. He has never looked like this, not even while we were in the Maquis.

When I tell him the problem, I am glad that he immediately offers to help me with it. The trouble I have now is relating the story to him and awaiting his 'expert' opinion. I think that would be the most difficult part of the whole thing. When he comes back into the sitting area, he sits in the lotus position on the floor opposite me; a position I have begun to associate with his meditation and serious conversation and this helps to center me a little bit. I think he knew of my nervousness and is doin
g what he can to help me calm down.

"I know that you said I should only talk about this if I felt that I needed to."

"Yes, you can talk to me anytime you want."

"I'd like to tell you what happened yesterday if you'd like to listen."

"Talk to me Tom. What is going on?"

Looking at him, I don't see any pity on his face. He looks like he really wants to know what is happening and maybe even curious about what I saw yesterday. Encouraged by the look on his face, I decide to relate to him all that I experienced yesterday. I try to be matter of fact about it but I think that my disappointment filters through my voice.

"Why didn't it talk to me Chakotay?" I can't help asking him

"I don't know."

"I thought you said it would answer any questions I have. Why didn't it answer me?"

"I don't know why it didn't talk to you Tom but I do know that there must be a good reason. With my spirit animal, I'm often frustrated by the lack of straight answers that I get from her but I know that she is usually right in showing me the path of the spirits."

"So what are you saying? Your spirits don't have a path for me to follow because I don't believe in them or what?"

"If you don't believe in them Tom then what do you expect from them. When you went on the quest yesterday, what did you expect to get from it?"

"You said that we all have animal guides so I thought that my guide would appear and I'd ask some questions and then get some answers."

"What would you do with the answers you get if you don't believe them and if you don't get the answers you expect, does that mean that you wont go back?"

"Maybe not but at least I'll get some answers. This way, its just like I am not worth talking to or answering."

"But you don't believe in them Tom so why should their communication or lack of it bother you especially when you may not get the answers you want anyway?"

"But I want whatever answers they give me."

"Why is this so important to you?"
When I hear this question from him, I am not very sure about how to answer. I can't just tell him that I feel there is a compelling need in me telling me that this will offer me the answers to my questions and solve my discontent. I don't think he will laugh but it sounds silly even to me so I settle on giving him a portion of the answer.

"I just feel that I have to do this Chakotay. Do you understand? All my life, I have been going from pillar to post looking for something and now it feels like I have reached the end of the road where I will find what I am seeking. Even if it is not what I expect, I still have to find it."

"I don't have any answers for you Tom. I'll meditate on it myself and ask my animal guide. That is the best I can do. I hope that I will be able to help."

"You are the only one who can. Thank you Chakotay."
There is nothing more to say about this so I then get up and leave his quarters. I don't want him to think I am crowding him and maybe he needs to meditate himself so I go back to my quarters to continue writing Sims. Maybe later, I'll find out if Harry is not busy with Seven and we'll go to Sandrine's and play a game or two. Thinking of Sandrine's, I wonder if I'll ever let Chakotay know that I saw him play the guitar.


As Tom leaves my quarters, I wonder if there really is anything that I can do to help him. He looks as confused as I felt when I came back from Starfleet to join the Maquis and sought answers to the question "WHY?" I needed to know why my father died and why the spirits let it happen. I have since come to accept it as their way and in that acceptance I've allowed myself to believe in them and follow where they lead. This is where I think that Tom might have a slight problem; that blind acceptance of th
e ways of the spirits. There really isn't a lot more left to tidy up in my quarters so I decide to finish up, take a shower and them go to the mess hall for something to eat.

When I get to the mess hall, I notice B'Elanna sitting alone. I join her and we exchange some pleasantries. While we are eating, she suddenly smiles and looks towards the door. I follow her look and see Tuvok come into the mess hall. There really is no doubt in my mind now that she has found the happiness that has so eluded her.

"Well, there is no point in my asking you if you are really happy?" I ask her with little hint of a smile in my voice. I am glad to see her smile back as she answers my question

"No Chakotay. But thanks for asking. I am happy. He knows how to deal with me and my moods."

"I'm glad somebody does. This means that I don't have to worry so much anymore but you don't mind if I worry just a little though do you?"

"I don't mind but I worry about you too Chakotay. It is not good to be as alone as you are."

"That's alright B'El. I am okay."

"I know you are okay but you need someone too like the rest of us."
How do I answer her and tell her that I have looked amongst all those on the ship and that I have not found anyone. There is nothing I would hate more than to see pity on her face but how do I explain the emptiness I felt even after I finished pleasuring myself last night. There really isn't a good way to answer so I throw her off the scent as Tuvok joins us.

"Don't worry so much B'Elanna, I am fine. Good day Tuvok."

"Good day Commander." As we finish eating, I start to feel like a fifth wheel. I can almost see them communicating. B'Elanna's slight reactions give it away so I quickly take my leave of them and return to my quarters.

I really don't want to procrastinate on helping Tom so I do a brief run through of my reports in preparation of the staff meeting in the morning and then settle down to meditate.

"A-koo-chi-moya. I am far from the sacred places of my grandfathers. I am far from the bones of my people. But perhaps there is a powerful being who will embrace me and give me the answers I seek."

As I say these words, I settle within myself and prepare to meet my guide in a place of her choosing. Early in our acquaintance, I used to decide where we met but as I grew spiritually and trusted her more, I occasionally let her choose the meeting point. This time, she has taken me to the place in New Earth where I used to meditate while I was stranded with Kathryn Janeway. I am surprised to say the least but I follow her anyway. We get to the glade, which was my favourite place in New Earth and sit d
own. I sit with my back leaning on a tree and my legs straight in front of me. My guide lies across from me with her head resting on my thighs. I always like having her lie like this because it gives me the opportunity to rest my hands on her fur. She loves it when I do that. While we are getting comfortable, I take a good look at her. She is a beautiful Red Wolf. Her brown and cream fur is well groomed and despite her distracting ways, I love her to pieces.

//You return quickly. Do you see more clearly? //

//I didn't come to talk about that. //

//Then why did you come? //

//Someone came to me for answers and I couldn't provide them so I came to see if you can help. //

//A friend? //

//No! Not a friend. Just someone who needs answers. //

//Why come to you if you are not a friend?//

//Maybe he thought I could help. I don't have to help only my friends you know. //

//But you can't help so what will you do now? //

//Now, I have come to you.//

//What do you want me to do? //

//I need you to help me with some of the answers. When I came on my first quest, you spoke to me and answered some of my questions. Why didn't Tom's guide talk to him? //

//Young Thomas doesn't believe that the spirits can help him so we showed him what he expected to see. //

//He thinks that the spirits do not think he is worthy. //

//That is not true Chakotay. Every body is worthy but each person has to find the strength of his/her beliefs within him/her. Thomas needs that. //

//So what do I tell him. //

//Why are you asking me? He didn't come to me for help and even if he did, I cannot help him. He went to the right person, you. Only you can help him. //

//What do you mean 'only I can help him'. What can I do? //
At this point a small Bald Eagle flies to where we are sitting and perches on a stone in front of us. I just know that this is Tom's Guide. I wonder why he is here. This is the first time that I have had some one else's guide in my quest and I think that maybe he can give me the answers for Tom.

//Do you want to help him? //
Tom's guide asks me in a melodic voice. He is very beautiful and his voice matches his beauty but why am I not surprised that the first thing he says to me is a question? There must be something about animal guides and questions. They always ask and they don't often answer.

//Yes, I'd like to help him but I don't know how. //

//There are many ways but firstly, you have decided that he is not a friend. What if he needs a friend? //

I notice that my guide has stopped talking and has fallen asleep, letting the Eagle do all the talking. In sleeping he shows that he trusts the eagle and is not going to help me out. I am on my own and I hope I can ask the right questions for Tom.

//Okay I can be his friend but how does being his friend help him. //

//If he is willing to learn, will you not teach him? If he is seeking, will you not help him find that which he seeks? If he is lonely, will you not comfort him and most of all will you not love him? //

//Love!! //

//If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love I gain nothing. //

I have few friends and love them so if making Tom my friend helps him then I am willing to do that. I guess I don't want to see him any more confused than he is. The animal guides seem to think that I can help so maybe I can.

//I'll do what I can to help him if he lets me. //

//Then show him your trust and trust him. //

At this point, my guide wakes up and tells me

//You still do not see clearly. Come back when you are ready.//

Suddenly, I am back in my quarters. I would really like to stop these abrupt ends to my meditation.

It looks like the help I offered Tom is more involved than I thought. I hope that Tom allows me to help and that I am able to help.