Title:  Games End
Author:  Cheryl Forbes
Fandom:  Star Trek:  Voyager
Pairing:  Chakotay/Tom Paris
Series:  1 of 1
Email for feedback: forbesc@skyia.com
Disclaimer:  Voyager and her crew belong to Paramount and not me.

Summary:  In answer to Noelle's first line story challenge.

I remember being surprised when he asked me out.

Don't get me wrong.  I was pleased too, but damn.  Did he have to do
it right smack dab in the middle of the messhall in front of god, the
captain and everyone?  I know why he did it, but surely if he'd taken
a little more time to think about it, he could have come up with a
place that wasn't so public and still have shamed me into saying

But that was the problem, wasn't it?  He didn't have time.  In
exactly one week he be gone and his chance to know physical contact
would be gone with him.  His reasons for choosing me of all the
people to spend his last days with are as confusing as they are
unexpected.  I am not deserving of such an honour.  Even now as I
wait for him to come to me, I still wonder.

In all our years here in the Delta quadrant, I have given him no
indication that I would welcome his affections.  In fact, I have done
everything within my power to discourage them and in light of my
feelings for him, that has been the most monumental task of my life.

Beyond sense and comprehension I love him.  I always have and for
just as long, I've known my feelings would be unwanted.  Casual
friendship he would have taken but not this deep soul shattering

Despite his wide scope for loving all around him, it did not
encompass me.  It couldn't.  The gap of hate and distrust between us
was too wide for his hardened pride and too treacherous for my
fragile heart to bridge.  So in self-preservation, I have denied my
self even the smallest of intimacies and have hidden my feelings in
cold professionalism.  I hate every minute of it but that's just the
way things are.  Or at least they were until we learned of his
immanent departure.

Departure, it's a misleading word.  Even though I have read the
report of his condition over and over again until my eyes watered and
my head hurt, I still cannot bring myself to accept what is really
happening to him.

One recessive gene turned on by an alien scanning pulse is shutting
down his higher brain functions.  The process isn't gradual but
abrupt and nothing in this quadrant can stop it.  Only a cellular
donation to remap his DNA from a family member light years away could
put a stop to the sudden termination.

"He's going to die."

There I've said it.  It's out there and now there's no taking it
back.  In seven days the bright spark that is him will wink out of
existence and I will no longer be able to bask in its glow no matter
how indirect.  His light will be gone and my life will be dark

But that moment has not come yet.  In a few short minutes, he will be
here and I will remove the self-imposed restraints I have lashed to
my heart.  I will not brood about the past or the future but rejoice
in the present.

With all that I am, I will love him and cherish what little time has
been granted to us and waste nothing.

I hear a beeping and call out for him to enter but the doors to my
cabin do not open.  I sit in confusion for a few moments before I
realize it's my comm badge that has gone off and not the door chime.
Standing, I slap at the small device on my chest.

"What is it?"  I growl in irritation.  This had better be good.

"Wormholes."  Ensign Kim replies excitedly.  "Hundreds of them!"