Title: Twice Again P2
Author: Cheryl Forbes
Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Pairing: Chakotay/Tom Paris
Rating: NC 17
Series: 2 of 3
Email for feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Voyager and her crew are the property of Paramount and
not me. Whatever.
Summary: In answer to Isa and Leone's 30 day challenge. Tom's 30
days in the brig have devastating consequences, so Captain Janeway
goes back in time to suspend the sentence and hoping to correct what
went wrong. Unfortunately events don't go as planned the first time
around. Will the second?
"I am my own beginning, my own ending."
Kathryn stood as the Guardian's rumbling timbre echoed off the broken
pillars and crumbling walls of the long ago temple.
The greeting was obscure as the swirling smoke in its portal but its
meaning was clear. She was being given permission to speak.
Clasping her hands before her and setting her jaw squarely she
responded to the ancient entity.
"I need to undo what has been done. To go back and set right what I
"All is possible here." The Guardian replied ominously as the smoke
cleared from its jagged gateway. Images, flashing too quickly for
her eyes to follow appeared in the portal.
Was that a yes? She hoped so because if she jumped through the
portal during the wrong image she could end up in a time period
totally irrelevant to her mission. In theory she supposed that if it
was wrong she could always try another jump, time was endless here
but in practice she hoped not.
This hollow, empty place chilled her bones straight on through to her
heart. Watching the snatches of time in the portal she wondered it
if it had been this foreboding the last time she had visited this
desolate planet. The doctor would know. He was the one that had
gotten her here in the first place or was it the second? Damn.
Kathryn pressed the heel of her hand to her brow and added a headache
to her list of growing grievances, right under to seeing the EMH
again after a decade of peace.
At a reception in honour of the Fleet's chief of staff's birthday,
one of faces she'd spent these last years avoiding had accosted her
while enjoying a glass of finely vintaged chardonnay.
"The guardian of what?"
"Forever, now will you please keep voice down? I'm not supposed to
be talking to anyone about this, especially to a mere captain."
Growled the doctor.
"Then why are you?" She had replied with annoyance, making a display
of shifting her eyes from her now empty wineglass to the bar letting
him know she had more important things to do.
The doctor had raised his eyebrows in exasperation and gave her one
of his famous `looks'. "Because you screwed it up the first time."
The comment showed borderline disrespect and no matter that he was
one of her former shipmates from Voyager or maybe especially because
he was, she had found it difficult to tolerate. Damn, his presence
alone had been bad enough. It had brought back a wealth of
The last couple of years of their trip home from the Delta quadrant
had not been a day in the park. The tragic loss of two of her senior
staff had cast a degenerate pall over the crew that they had not been
able to shake. It had been like commanding a ship of lifeless
automatons. They did their jobs but that was the extent of it. No
more of Neelix's impromptu parties, no one attended them anyway and
certainly no more friendly gatherings in Fair Haven or Sandrine's.
Those were `his' creations and running them was like adding salt to
Once they had returned home, they had cut all ties to one another and
scattered, some resigning, some transferring deep space, doing
anything and going anywhere to forget those last years of
melancholy. She hadn't blamed her crew then, so why she angry with
the doctor now? It wasn't his fault she hadn't pleased to see him.
It was just a knee jerk reaction to painful memories. Stowing her
irritation, she had given the EMH her full attention.
"Doctor," She had begun intending to apologize for her previous
rudeness. Not noticing her change in demeanor, he had cut her off.
"You have to go back Captain."
"Back? Back where? To this Guardian?"
"Yes you have to try to save him." He had replied while steering her
over to a quiet corner of the reception hall.
"Tom Paris. He wasn't supposed to die."
Answering the questioning look in her eyes, the doctor had taken the
rest of the evening to explain his outrageous statement and that had
been the beginning of her journey back to this wretched place. To
say it had been a confusing story would be an understatement. It was
a story upon a story.
According to the doctor who had complete faith in his eidetic memory,
they were living the wrong timeline. Apparently there had been
another scenario where Chakotay hadn't committed suicide and Tom
Paris hadn't wasted away to nothing in his grief in losing his lover
but one where her first officer and helmsman hadn't loved each other
and where only Chakotay had died. Incredible.
Kathryn had no problem believing Tom could be alive but had a hard
time imagining him without Chakotay. They'd had only three weeks
together but if anything was ever meant to be any timeline alternate
or not, it was their love. Chakotay and Tom's devotion to one
another and their apparent happiness had infected the whole ship.
Everyone had felt their love and had later keenly mourned its
The ritual suicide had blindsided everyone, including Tom. Chakotay
had told not her or even his lover of his plan to atone for the
deaths of the Devoran refugees. Up until the moment the pilot found
his body after a duty shift, they had not been aware of his struggle
to overcome the accident. Tom had of course blamed himself saying if
he had told Chakotay how much he loved him, it wouldn't have
happened. It was total rot and she had told him that, but in his
grief he had refuse to believe her and had stopped eating to punish
himself. Eventually even with medical interference, he too had died.
And now the doctor was telling her that the last twelve years of her
life were a fiction too. Total rot as she had once said to Tom.
That she couldn't save him then but maybe she could now. All she had
to do now was believe.
So here she was watching life flash by on the edge of forever. Once
again as the doctor told her, she didn't remember, preparing to make
a leap that would change history. That would restore a timeline that
her arrogance as well meaning as it had been, had corrupted. And all
that would hinge on thirty days.
As she stepped into the portal, one further thought plagued her.
But what of Chakotay, who saves him?
Kathryn walked into base camp where the EMH was patiently waiting for
her. His holographic face was so bright with hope it was hard to
look at. She concentrated on the gleaming hull of their small
shuttle as she approached instead.
"So did you see her? Talk to her?"
"Janeway? Yes doctor but I'm afraid it didn't work."
"She refused to reinstate Tom's sentence?"
"No, when I left she promised to ignore the advice of my second self
when I arrive the next day, which by the way wasn't easy to do
without telling her about the accident. It's a good thing I know
which buttons to push but I'm afraid it didn't stick."
"You think she changed her mind? That when my Janeway arrived she
believed her and let Tom out of the brig anyway?"
"She must have."
"Because I remember! I remember that Tom Paris is still dead!"
"What do you mean oh that? Shouldn't I be your Janeway now?
Shouldn't I recall a life where Tom Paris is still my friend?"
"This happened last time."
The doctor took her by the hand and sat her down in one of the camp
chairs. After taking one himself he explained.
"Don't ask me how but this planet is a dead zone in time. A sort of
static bubble and while you're here you will remember both timelines
like the crew of the Enterprise did. They were aware of the
Federation even though Dr McCoy's actions had prevented it from
forming. The forgetting doesn't happen until you leave orbit."
"But you remembered. You came and got me."
"I know but my memories don't work the same way yours do. Maybe the
Guardian hasn't come across a hologram as sentient as it is before?
I don't know but the point is once we leave here and head back into
space, you should be Admiral not Captain Janeway again."
"How can we be sure? I ended up being a captain last time."
"The Federation's central database, yes of course."
"I've established an uplink in the Flyer. All we have to do is check
the records to see whether or not Tom Paris served his full 30 day
"Can't we just check for Tom? I mean by now he must be flying the
"I'm sorry Admiral,"
"Captain, but Mr Paris resigned from Starfleet when we returned to
the Alpha quadrant and after that he disappeared."
"No. That makes no sense. Tom is a born pilot. Flying was his meat
and potatoes. He loved it almost as much as he loved, loved, . . .
oh my god."
"Captain are you all right?"
"You should have told me. Dammit Doctor you should have told me!"
"I saw no point. He was clinically depressed but he `was' or rather,
"So he was only dead inside? Not good enough. He still blamed
himself for Chakotay's death didn't he? Only this time he ran away
instead letting himself die. Tell me doctor did he even know
Chakotay loved him?"
"I, I don't think anybody knew."
"So I did all of this for nothing? I saved neither Tom or Chakotay."
"Chakotay couldn't be saved. That's how all this started in the
first place, trying to save Chakotay."
"We have to try again."
"How Captain? You already went back and it didn't work."
"I know, I know but there has to be a way. Maybe if go back earlier,
or later and prevent Chakotay from taking the helm directly or."
"He'll still die. If we've learnt anything from this experience it's
that some things can't be changed. Even if you're standing in
Chakotay's lap while he's piloting or if you physically haul Mr Paris
from the brig and set him at the helm, circumstances will twist so
you fall or the lieutenant does before he reaches the bridge. I'm
sorry Captain but you just don't have that kind of power over
"No it would seem that `I' don't but maybe someone else does.
Someone whose life is intimately connected to Chakotay's."
"Connected? I don't follow."
"Tell me Doctor who was most affected when the commander died?"
"We all were. It was a great loss and oh, Tom, I mean the
lieutenant. You mean Lieutenant Paris."
"Give the man a prize."
"But in this timeline Captain, we don't know where he is."
"If the Tom in this timeline loved Chakotay half as much as the one
in mine, I have a pretty good idea where he's is."
"He's with Chakotay."
"And you're really Captain Janeway and not Admiral Janeway."
"No I am Admiral Janeway, I used to be Captain Janeway or so the
doctor tells me." She favoured the hologram a fond look before
directing gaze back to her former pilot. "He had to update my memory
again once we left the Guardian's planet. I know it sounds a little
crazy Tom but it's true."
Wanting to take this one step at a time, she had only told him so far
about the properties of the Guardian and her going back in time to
meet her counterpart. She hadn't yet told him the reason for her
trips to the past.
"A little? How's about a lot and coming from a guy that talks to a
dead man everyday that's saying something. Look Captain or Admiral
"Just call me Kathryn."
"Fine Kathryn. I'm not saying I don't believe you but, hell yeah I
guess that is what I am saying." Tom gave his own look to the EMH
who was standing in the corner of the well-lit kitchen. It wasn't so
fond. "Have you considered that maybe the Doc here might be overdue
for a systems overhaul?" He whispered.
"I'll have you know Mr Paris my algorithms as well as my hearing are
in perfect working order." Her old friend said in a familiar
indignant tone that she'd years ago had grated her nerves but was now
music to her ears.
"All right, all right. Jeez Doc don't have a cow. It was only a
Oh god how she had missed this. No matter what happened in over the
next few days, Kathryn intended to keep both of these men close to
her heart. She would not let the past separate them again.
Tom gave one last good-natured scowl to the doctor and then turned to
her smiling. "Can I get you a drink Kathryn? Wine?"
"Yes thank you."
"Red or white, although I do recommend the red." He said from over
his shoulder as he selected a bottle from a rather extensive
collection from a rack along one wall of his kitchen.
"Red's fine Tom."
As he retrieved glasses and searched for a corkscrew, Kathryn took a
moment to reacquaint herself with his appearance. It was an
indulgence she had been a careful on Voyager not to dip into too
often but it had been ten years since her last good look, so she
At forty seven years of age, the pilot on the whole hadn't changed
much. His hair was lighter, sun bleached she guessed from his honey
coloured tan but still cropped short. The lines of his body remained
streamed lined, fit and trim in blue jeans with a white tee and he
still moved with an unconscious grace. However the biggest
differences she'd seen were in his face as they talked. This man was
more like the Tom she'd known before Chakotay's death and not the
sullen wreck that had fled Voyager when they returned home.
The blue eyes had almost twinkled during his banter with the doctor
and when he had offered her wine, his smile had almost matched its
previous brilliance. Unfortunately there were still shadows in his
eyes and his smile had never quite reached it full attrition.
This Tom Paris was a man of almosts and not quites.
"I hope you don't mind home brew, it's all I've got." He set the
opened bottle down on the big oak table with two glasses.
"Tattoo winery? That's you?"
"Yeah didn't you notice the big sign when you came in?"
"Oh Tom it's my favorite! I especially love your Pinot Noir."
"Really? Maybe you should tell Chak that. I'm always telling him
red wine isn't so bad, that if, oh fuck. Sorry Kathryn." Abruptly
Tom turned from the table and retreated back over to the wine rack.
He stood facing away from her with his arms overhead, his fingers
white knuckling the top lip of rack's wooden frame.
This is what the shadows were about.
"You did love him didn't you?" She said quietly mostly to herself.
The doctor had told her that Captain Janeway's Tom had been in love
with Chakotay but since her officers had not behaved the way of her
counterpart's, she had not quite believed it. Seeing his obvious
anguish now altered that perception and prompted her to ask a
question she had been wanting to for years.
"Why were you in his cabin the night he died Tom?"
Tom's shoulders bunched slightly before relaxing and rising up as he
took a deep breath. Pushing away from the wine rack he moved to
kitchen counter. From a small wooden box next to the fridge he
retrieved a data PADD. From it's outdated casing Kathryn could tell
it was old.
"For this." Tom handed her the slim instrument and rejoined her at
the table. As she activated the power and perused its contents, he
poured the wine.
What struck her first was the text. It was beautifully hand written
with a light pen instead of in a standard computerized font. A lot
of care went into the composing of this document she thought as she
went on to read the exquisitely formed script.
It spoke of dreams, desires and finally love. It was a biography, an
epic and a testament. It was more than a simple I love you. It was
the epitome of what Tom felt in his heart and soul for Chakotay. It
Blinking away tears, Kathryn set down the PADD and reached for her
wineglass. The pilot watched her silently, his blue eyes moist as he
patiently waited for her opinion. She took a gulp of her wine to
slake her dry throat before speaking.
"It's beautiful Tom."
He lifted his shoulders nonchalantly. "I was inspired."
"You meant to give this to him that night."
"Yeah but he had other plans."
"I'm so sorry Tom."
"It's Okay. It was a long time ago. I still miss him. Which is
probably why I visit his grave everyday, but I'm living with it. I
have the winery, Chakotay's family, they've been really great and my
memories, so I get by."
"And that's enough, getting by?"
"It has to be doesn't it?" He sipped his wine and let his gaze
wander out to the big open window over the sink.
If ever there was an opening to tell him the rest of her story this
was it. But what if things went wrong? Could she risk endangering
what little peace Tom had found here on Dorvan V?
"He should have been here Kathryn." Tom said still looking out the
"He could be. I know a way." She said without thinking, responding
to the longing in his voice.
She told him the rest of her tale.
What was. . .
Tom wandered around the dimly lit living room touching the furniture,
the walls and the photos and trinkets that adorned them. Un-fucking-
For the last ten years he had been borderline crazy but now he felt
as if he'd gone straight on through to certifiable insanity. It was
like walking around in a dream except this was no fantasy. He was
really here in Chakotay's quarters on Voyager twelve years in the
The Guardian, now that was a freak show and a half, had deposited him
on Voyager two weeks into his other self's 30 day stay in the brig.
The accident in Devore space was one week old and he, Ensign Paris
had started his manuscript of love for Chakotay. Walking over to the
lounge, he fingered the completed version he carried in the pocket of
his cotton windbreaker. Directing his attention to the large window
over the lounge, he watched the stars he missed because of his
This was his second chance and he hadn't given it a second thought.
The moment Kathryn had finished her story, he had started making
plans in his head for the overseeing of the winery during his
absence. There was never any question as to whether or he would come
here. Although Kathryn had her doubts because her previous
excursions had not turned out too well.
Shit he'd died in the alternate scenario, but he had pressed her and
finally she had brought him to the Guardian's planet. The fact that
they traveled in the Delta Flyer had seemed like a good omen and had
strengthened his resolve. He was going to get Chakotay back by
preventing his suicide before it happened. The bedroom door swished
open and Tom turned from the view port to look.
Dressed in sleep pants that hung low on his hips and displayed his
well toned abs and pecs to perfection, Chakotay emerged from the
bedroom. His dark hair was mussed and his faced looked haggard but
in Tom's love starved eyes he was magnificent.
Quietly drinking him and refreshing the image of him in his mind, Tom
pictured Chakotay at the winery, walking the rows of grapes with him,
drinking coffee in the kitchen and sleeping in his bed. It brought a
tender ache to his heart but it was a good pain and one he would
treasure the rest of his life.
As he stood mesmerized, Chakotay crossed to the middle of the room.
When he stopped abruptly, Tom let out startled gasp.
"Who's there?" Chakotay barked as he squinted at his silhouette in
front of the window. "Computer lights, fifty percent."
A soft illumination filled the room.
"Paris?" He asked his voice more confused now than wary.
Silently Tom stepped away from the window and over to his long lost
love. In the Flyer he'd had thought of a million things he had
wanted to say to the older man but as he closed in on him, not one
came to mind. A foot from him Tom stopped and studied his handsome
"You're not Tom."
"Yes I am." He replied softly as joy suffused his being at standing
so close to the big man after so long.
"No he's in the brig."
Idly Tom wondered why the commander hadn't called an intruder alert
if he didn't trust his identity.
He smiled warmly. "Yes he is."
Tom knew he sounded cryptic but that was beyond his control.
Besides, it sort of fit the situation. He placed his palm on
Chakotay's chest over his heart and continued to study his features.
The commander didn't seem to mind, he didn't even flinch as Tom's
hand touch his heated skin.
"Are you a spirit?"
"No." Tom breathed deeply of his earthy scent.
"Then you must be a fantasy." He felt Chakotay's heart beat faster
under his fingers. "It's the stress and I'm hallucinating."
"No, no fantasy babe. I'm real."
"Did you just call me babe?" The beating slowed.
"Yeah." Not being able to hold back any longer Tom did what he'd
always wanted to do. He kissed Chakotay.
The thrumming of the commander's heart started to trip, trip, trip
again as Tom's mouth tenderly massaged his lips in soft nips.
Chakotay neither pressed forward or away but stood motionless
allowing him to taste him.
Kissing his way along, Tom moved to from Chakotay's sweet mouth, to
suck enticing an earlobe, down his neck running his tongue over his
collarbone to a final kiss on a rounded shoulder. The smooth chest
under his hand began to rise and fall in rapid time with its beating
"What are you doing?" Chakotay whispered.
Pulling up Tom gazed directly into his eyes and whispered
back. "Collecting memories."
"Who are you?" He asked his face mirroring the wonder in his voice.
"What might yet be." He replied stealing a line from the Guardian.
As much as he wanted to tell Chakotay about the Guardian, Janeway had
forbidden him from telling the commander of this time period more
than he needed to know. She argued that they were playing fast and
loose enough with the timeline as it was. They didn't need one more
player in this dangerous game.
"And what do you want?" There was no fear or suspicion in the
inquiry, only curiosity. It surprised Tom how well the older man was
taking his sudden appearance.
"To love you and be loved by you for a very long time."
The declaration sparked a change in the awe-struck commander. His
eyes found their focus as he stepped back and considered him, gazing
the full length of his body before coming back to his face.
"Love me? Tom Paris doesn't love me but you're not exactly him are
you? You look like him, sound like him but there's something
"Yes, but that's not it. You lack a certain, oh I don't know luster
or shine maybe. My Tom Paris has more spark, more life." He shook
his head and ran his hand through his hair, spiking it up, in Tom's
opinion adorably. "It's difficult to put into words. You're as
beautiful as he is but you're not all him. Parts of you seem
Tom's heart skipped at beat at the word beautiful. "You're what's
missing Chak. I lost you and this," He removed his jacket to give
Chakotay a better look at his body and then held his arms
outstretched. "Is what's left."
"I don't understand."
"You don't have to. Just don't leave me. Screw tradition and wait
Ducking his head, Chakotay moved past him to the view port, taking up
his previous stance and gazed out at the stars.
This was crazy. He was crazy.
This vision or phantom was just a product of his sub conscious mind
brought on by stress. The fact that this, this thing knew of his
plans was confirmation that he was a psychotic hallucination born of
his troubled mind. There was no other explanation. Chakotay had
told no one of his plans of atonement. He was the only one that knew.
For a moment, one blissful moment he had allowed himself to believe
that this sun kissed version of the man he loved might actually be
here with him. He wanted it so bad and had wished for it so hard, he
had ignored that rationally it was not possible.
He should have seen it from the start. With the horrible deaths of
the Devoran refugees weighing heavily on his conscious it shouldn't
have surprised him that his mind had broken free of its moorings and
had manifested the only pleasant thoughts he had of late into
substance. It had been only a matter of time before his fantasies
about the young blond got the best of him.
Oh god it was still here. He pressed his forehead against the cold
pane of the view port and shut his eyes trying to block out its
presence and resurface into sanity.
"Look at me babe."
Babe? Now that part was confusing. In his dreams Tom always called
him by name. Why would he now have him use an endearment he himself
had never used? Or for that matter, why would he imagine him older
and with a tan no less? Stop it Chakotay. Don't go down that path
again. Those were the false elements that had first led you to
believe that this golden man was real. He wasn't, couldn't be.
A gentle hand landed on his shoulder. He squeezed his lids tighter.
Not real, not real, he chanted desperately into the window.
"Chak I have to go."
He was leaving? Since when did hallucinations announced their
departure? Shouldn't they just disappear when you woke up or came to
your senses? Chakotay gathered his courage and remaining wits and
With a sad smile the imposter stood with his arms wrapped around his
belly. The hold on his middle was so tight, Chakotay could see his
tanned biceps shaking with tension.
"I wish I had more time but people are waiting on me babe."
Chakotay stared in disbelief. People? Now his delusion had people?
Letting go of the death grip on his abdomen the fake Tom took a shy
step forward then placed his warm hands on his shoulders sending a
chill down Chakotay's spine. As his body argued with his mind that
the touch of a ghost should have no weight, it had already dismissed
the earlier kisses as wishful thinking, the blond kissed his tattoo
with a feathered lightness that turned the chills into sensuous
tingles and muddied the waters of his already clouded mind further.
"Just remember to wait, okay." The phantom whispered in his ear.
After one more kiss to his temple, he let go of him and stood back.
"Okay." He replied automatically not really agreed to anything.
You'd have to be of sound mind to do that Chakotay figured.
"Good babe. Hope to see you soon."
With a bright smile the beautiful hallucination, it didn't have to be
real to be attractive to him, backed away and exited out into the
With paranoia and disbelief reeling through his tattered mind,
Chakotay fell hard to the floor in his living room and tried to bring
his scattered perceptions to heel.
Closing his eyes and leaning his head forward on the coffee table
hoping its cool glass surface would help bring his raging senses
under control, he was surprised to encounter a softness that smelt of
fresh air and sunshine. He breathed deeply of the sweet smell
letting it coat his sinuses and calm his frazzled nerves before
opening his eyes to investigate.
Peeking one eye open and then the other he saw the source of his
It was a white jacket.