Title:  Clone P7
Author:  Cheryl Forbes
Fandom:  Star Trek:  Voyager
Pairing:   Chakotay/Tom Paris
Rating:  NC 17
Series 7 of 7
Email Address for feedback:
Disclaimer:   Voyager and her crew belong to Paramount and not me.

Summary:  Tom looks for his animal guide.

"You're a pig!"

Match point and set!  B'Elanna like him.  She wasn't just pretending
anymore for Harry's sake.  If she took the time to insult him that
meant she really cared.

"Hey I'm just saying that it would be a lot easier to win."

"By getting naked?"

"Yeah then the three Klingons at the cave entrance on level four
wouldn't be able to drag you down by your collar."

Although anger still simmered thorough the half of her that was of
the before mention adversary, the human half of her was still able to
think clearly before reaching for the butter knife in front of her
and wielding it like a Bat'leth.   She glared at him and rose from
the table.

"You're still a pig."

"Yeah but you love me anyway, admit it."

" Verengan Ha'DibaH!"

And with that last epitaph she left.   He thought it had something to
do with a Ferengi and his dog but he wasn't sure.  Oh well whatever
the saying was he was pretty sure it was it wasn't meant an

"Stuff like that could get you killed."

He turned his attention from the spitfire brunette exiting the
messhall to his best friend.

"Nah Harry down deep I think she really likes farm animals."

The ensign wasn't amused.

"This is a waste of time."  He put on his 'father knows best'
face.  "You're supposed to be fasting and being in the messhall isn't
the best place to be to do that."

"Now that's were your wrong Harry.   When I think of Neelix's food,
eating is that last thing to comes to mind."

He was getting punch drunk.  It had almost been 22 hours since eaten
and the depravation was beginning to take its toll.

"Why don't we get you back to your quarters and Chakotay." The ensign
got up and walked over to his side of the table.  "He's probably
climbing the walls by now waiting for your return."

"Good idea.  Maybe I can talk him into climbing something else."

The tolerant ensign offered him an expression that one would normally
give to an insolent ten year old and not to a full-grown man.  Words
of admonishment nearly left his lips before he realized Harry was
only following his lead.   He was acting like a spoilt brat but he
couldn't help it.  He was frightened and just as Tommy had done so
many times before he did the same and covered his fear with humour.

Today was the day he would visit a realm where the insubstantial
would reflect substance and where the level of his spirituality would
be measured.   He didn't have to do this, he knew that. Chak would
respect his decision to call off the vision quest and he would still
love him but he would always wonder if he had the right to that

If he planned on living his life alone he would be able to accept who
he was and be a good man living a good life.   However he didn't want
to be alone, he wanted to be with one of the most spiritual beings on
Voyager.  Chakotay's life-force radiated a luminosity that a dark
void in him needed to touch and to be touched by.  It would give him
so much but it would mean allowing the commander to touch that
darkness in him in return and he couldn't allow that if that's all
there was.   He would not taint the brilliance of Chak's soul with
the bleakness of his own.  There had to be at least a spark waiting
to be ignited.

He had told Harry he didn't want to live a life of lies and if it was
up to him and it was, neither would Chakotay.  This quest would bring
out the truth.  In resignation he allowed the ensign to take his arm
and escort him back to his quarters.

In less than three hours he would meet the rest of his life.


"I love you."

He pulled the young man to his breast and kissed the nape of his
neck.  He felt the slender body tremble in his embrace.

He could stop this.  He could just tell Tom that him not having a
spirit guide wouldn't effect his love for him but it would be a lie.
He needed this test of faith more than he wanted to admit and it
shamed him.

He wanted this beautiful creature in his arms to be his whole world
but he wasn't.  As much as he wanted to he couldn't forsake
completely his father's teachings.  They were an intrinsic part of
him that his time with Tom had only reinforced and he was ultimately
ruled by those edicts.   He hated himself for it but the truth was
undeniable.  He needed Tom to do this as much as Tom needed to do it
for himself.

The pilot's hands came up to his face and those glorious blue eyes
captured his.

"I love you too and no matter what happens I still will."

Spirits how could someone so vibrant not be real?  He grasped Tom's
hands in his and brought him down to the rug in their quarters to sit
crossed legged across from him.  As he calmed the love of his life
into a trance a thought crossed his mind.

Can a man make holy what he believes as he makes beautiful what he
loves?   He didn't know but he was about to find out.


Angel Island.

The waves crashed against the tide worn rocks and the salty spray hit
his face.  He was there on the end of a pier in the western part of
the San Francisco Bay, a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.

He looked out to see the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean as
blue as the sky that met its horizon.  As a child he had come here to
watch the boats and dream of sailing away.  It had been his
sanctuary, his solace from a less than happy life at home.  It was
safe here because this was his place.  His father had never been here.

He closed his eyes and listened to the waves.  It was the same but
not.  He opened his eyes.  Gone were the boats and the birds that
followed them.  The sun was still here as well as the swells of blue
water but there was nothing living here, it was quiet.

He pulled forward and let his legs dangle off the pier to touch the
wetness of the deep below him.  Was this his answer to life?  The
elements may still survive but the creatures that inhabited them were
unable exist there?  It was beautiful here but beauty without life no
matter how breathtaking was worthless to him.

"Oh now that's a morbid thought."

"Excuse me?"  He scanned his surroundings for the source of the

"You heard me."  A pearl gray fin broke the surface of the water
before him briefly and then disappeared.

This time he really did but he didn't know how.  The sound was
audible but it didn't come from anywhere specific, it was just there.

"Who are you?"  This had to be his guide but he still had to ask.


"Really?"  His breath caught in his throat.

"No but I had you going there for a minute there didn't I?"

Fuck how typical!  He had a guide but one with attitude.

"Hey if the shoe fits!"

"OK if you're not God who are you?"

"Do you want the technical version or the plain English one?"

"English please."

The dorsal fin broke the water again followed by a flick of a tail

"OK in terms you can understand what I basically am is your friend."

"My friend?"

"Yeah your buddy, compatriot, you know just like Harry."

"I think you're a little more than that.  Harry can't even swim."

"Now who's got attitude."  Silence reigned.

"Sorry.  I guess I'm a little nervous."  His eyes desperately scanned
the water for his guide and after what seemed like an eternity he was
rewarded with another cresting fin.  "Please forgive me."

"Apology accepted.  Now where was I?"

"You're my friend."

"Right friend.  I'm here to listen to your questions and to help you
find the answers to them."

"OK do I have a soul?"

"Holy shit Tom you don't pull punches do you?  What's wrong with the
usual questions like 'what's the meaning of life' and 'will I find
true love'?  I had really good answers for those ones."

"Does that mean I don't."

A long rounded muzzle surfaced from the water.

"I didn't say that."

"So what are you saying?"

"Do you know what soul is Tom?"

"It's what makes us real."

"Good answer."  A high forehead left the watery depths and gray
opalescent eyes captured his.  "Here's another one.  Your immortal
soul is an entity generated by forces within the brain, which
survives the destruction of the neurons that originally generated it,
and is in some formulation intrinsically indestructible under the
laws of the ultimate reality."

"So you're saying that if have a brain and I can think I have a soul?"

"I dunno.  Go open up a brain and take a look."

"That's not very helpful."

"No it suppose it's not but it sounded whole lot better than I
haven't got a clue."

"So you don't know."


He didn't know what he expected from this encounter but he was pretty
sure it wasn't this.   Hell Neelix could have given him a better

"Yes but Neelix couldn't have done it with the same finesse."

Fuck this!  He got to his feet and yelled down to the oversize excuse
for guppy.

"Yeah but he would have cared!"

The entity disappeared from the surface of the water line.

"When you ask me the question you really came here to know I'll care
and I'll answer you."

He looked out at the cliffs and considered the words of his guide.
What did he really want to know?  He thought about the faith the
captain had in him and he thought about the loyalty of Harry.  And he
thought about Chakotay.  The man was everything to him.  He was his
reason for living and each time the man touched him, like a thief he
stole a little of his soul for himself but that's what he did with
all of them wasn't it?  He took their humanity because he didn't feel
he had enough of his own.   As he heard the mating calls of the
seabirds nesting in the hollows of the cliff face it came to him.
He knew the answer and he knew the question.

"Am I worth it?"  Previously absent gulls flew overhead casting
shadows over the calm of the sea.

"I'd like to think so or else I've come along way for nothing."

"What's that suppose to mean?"

In a rush the dolphin emerged from the waters of the Pacific to
almost dance along its surface with its tail.  He settled at the end
of the pier with only his head gracing the surface.

"I mean you were worth the trip."

"I was?"

"As it turns out, yes.  Can we talk mammal to mammal here?"


"OK time for real truths then.  Nobody, including Chakotay if he took
the time long enough to take his nose out of his father's butt, gives
a flying fuck whether or not you have a soul or not.   What they
really care about is you."


"Yep.  From my experience there's no divine spark or big clap of
thunder that creates a soul that determines who you are anyway.  What
you are is derived from a unique pattern of the sum total of what you
say, do, feel, think, and hope for.   Without those things all you
are is a skeleton with flesh and Tom believe me when I say that if
you have the ability to piss me off you gotta be more than that."

"I think therefore I am."

"Yeah whatever.  The bottom line is if you think you're worth it you
are and if you can do that then nothing else matters."

"It's that simple."

"Simple?  No it ain't never going to be that.  You're going to have
to fight for it every inch of the way just like everyone else."

He sat back down on the pier.  Life was good and what was even better
was knowing that he had one to feel good about.  He looked to his
totem and remembered a line from an old song Tommy liked.  You don't
always get what you want but you get what you need.

"Are you always going to be this much fun?"

"That depends."

"OK I'll bite, it depends on what?"

"What you come here to ask me of course."

"Oh yeah and what things should I be asking?"

"Well you haven't yet asked me for the answer to the meaning of life."

Tom put his feet back into the water and tucked his fingers under his
knees.   He swung his feet creating small eddies.

"OK what's the answer then?"

"Forty two."


"I'm hungry."

Chakotay pulled him up off the floor and onto the lounge.

"For what Poocuh?  Just name it."

Now there was a loaded question if he ever had heard one.  He wanted
everything and he wanted it all at once.  But first things first.


"OK Poocuh but how about some juice first?"

He could see the question in his eyes as he walked to replicator and
gave him a point in his favour for not out right asking.   Chakotay
wanted to know if he'd met his guide but his comfort had come
first.   He looked at the handsome man tending to his needs and
marveled at the depth of his compassion and his love.

His very existence had threatened all that this man had believed in
his whole entire life and still he had chosen to be with him.   Where
most men would have walked away, he had stayed.   Oh he knew the man
wasn't infallible.  He had doubts about him and about his faith but
to his credit he had tried to face them instead of leaving.

"Drink this Poocuh."

He took the glass from his hands and took a sip of the sweet liquid.
Chakotay settled beside him on the lounge.

"Do you love me?"

He was surprised by the question and laughed out right.  Today was
just not his day when it came to questions.   He put the orange juice
on the low table.

"Yes I love you Chakotay."

The commander got very serious, even for him, he was almost solemn as
if someone had died.

"Then don't ever tell me what happened tonight."


"Because I doubted you I don't deserve to know if you met your guide
or not."  He kissed his temple.

"Besides it doesn't matter.  I love you with all that I am and that's
all that's important.  You make me happy and you make me feel alive."

"But your father believed.."  He tried to finish his thought but was
cut off by Chakotay's finger on his lips.

"My father loved my mother because she made his world brighter and
worth living not because she had a spirit guide."

"Did she?"

He carded his fingers through black hair peppered with gray.

"I don't know, he never told me and neither did she.   It was never
an issue and it didn't occur to me to ask.  Maybe because I never
doubted their love for me.  It was just there and it was enough."

OK in a normal world that made sense.  He loved his father too when
it got right down to it even though he was the Fleet's biggest
prick.  But lets pull up the shades and let the light in, this wasn't
normal in any sense of the word.

"It's not the same."

"Says who."

"I do."

"Well that's too fucking bad.  I still intend on loving you, marrying
you and naming our first child Shannon."

Shannon?  Who the hell was Shannon and why was that going to be the
name of his first baby?  Wait a minute who said he was the one going
to have the babies?  OK he just did but that was beside the point,
the point was that he was pretty sure the commander had just proposed
to him.

"Shouldn't you be on one knee or something?"


The captain was right.  When it came to the commander's love life the
bulkhead was smarter.

"Do you want me to marry you or not?"

He still didn't get it and it was almost painful to watch him try to
figure it out.   With all the complicated customs that came part and
parcel with this man he was surprised the simple act of going down on
one knee to ask for somebody's hand wasn't one of them.   Not being
able to stand it any longer he took the assumed position.

"I love you Chakotay do you love me?"


"Then tell me what you plan to do about it?"  He was brought up off
the floor into the commander's lap.

"Marry you."

"You sure?"  He curled deeper into his arms and Chakotay kissed the
top of his head.

"Yes, I just hope I can survive being mated to such young pup as

"You're not that old."  He kissed the lines of the tattoo on his
beloved face and wondered.  "How old are you anyway?"

"Forty two."