Part 11
The next morning, Chakotay got up.  The first thing he did was get in a
hot shower that he adjusted to just above cold just before he got out.
Then he had some fruit juice, checked in with the Captain and then got
his medicine bundle down.  He wanted to meditate.  Last night had shaken
him up badly.  He had watched everything that they had done.  He watched
himself take Tom Paris to bed, and had watched Tom love every single
second of it.  Trust him with everything, welcome what Chakotay wanted.
The only problem was - he felt nothing for Tom now, absolutely nothing.

Well, that wasn't exactly true, he felt something for Tom, but...most of
it was a lingering distaste.  Sort of like the aftertaste of leola
root.  Bitter, unpleasant.  At first he couldn't even believe what he
was seeing, but it had been him and Tom.  Spirits of my fathers, what do
I do now?


Tom woke up feeling grungy.  He didn't want to get out of bed.  He
didn't want to do anything, but he dragged himself into the shower and
stood there as the hot water beat on him.  He had never fallen into a
deep sleep, and was very tired, sore and drained.  He checked his
terminal.  He had the next two days off.  He sat at his terminal for who
knows how long watching the cursor blink.

It wasn't until much later that someone commed him.  "Paris."

"Tom, it's B'Elanna.  Want to have lunch together?"

"Thanks, B'El but I gotta put my quarters back together.  Whoever packed
my gear up wasn't real gentle about it."

"Want some help?"

"Thanks, but I know how you get when you have to leave your engines
alone."  His tone was light and teasing, even as his heart died.  "Tell
you what, if I'm not done by the time your shift is over, you can come
help.  Okay?"

"Okay, Tom, but I'm serious.  I'm here if you need me."

"Thanks again, B'El, but I'm fine."

He forced himself to go get two of the original four carry alls and took
them to his room.  He stuffed his uniforms and clothes into a drawer,
threw the vids up on a shelf and went back for the other two.  He just
put them in the closet, straightened the living area and hid the rest of
the mess in the bedroom.  As he sat down, Tom wondered where the fifth
carry all was.

B'El stopped by and found him scraping the *remains* of his dinner into
the recycler.  Of course the fact he had replicated the meal when the
computer said she had just gotten off the lift on his level had nothing
to do with it.

"Oh, I'm sorry, B'Elanna.  Would you like something?" he offered.

"Who's paying, Paris?" she asked with a smile.

"The Captain generously restored my credits from my brig time, so I'm
flush.  What would you like," Tom said, as he flashed the Paris smile.

He sat and watched her eat something that almost wasn't dead.  He was
glad he hadn't eaten, because if he had, he would have thrown up on
B'El's feast.  She had blood wine, he had two glasses of white wine, but
since it was synthehol, there was no danger.  B'Elanna, assured he was
all right, left soon because she had an early shift.  He smiled and
escorted her to the door, thanking her for being concerned and assuring
her, he was fine.


Chakotay came out of his meditation feeling somewhat better.  He hadn't
had a full spirit walk, but he had reached a place of peace.  After he
ate lunch, he decided that he would just give himself time.  Surely if
he felt as strongly as it appeared he felt in the vids, it would return
to him.  However, with the way he felt now, he wouldn't lead Tom on.  He
would just be very honest with him, and explain how he felt.  That was
the mature way to handle it.  He got up from his table and saw he had
several messages waiting for him.  He sat down at his terminal, and
began to answer the messages.


Tom sat alone in his quarters watching the chrono tick by.  He
considered going out to Sandrine's but he really didn't want to see
anyone right now, and he didn't really want to talk.  He had thought
about going to the mess, but he wasn't really hungry.  Instead, he
curled up on his couch, and tried to catch up on some sleep.  He vaguely
wondered where that fifth carry all was.  The one that had all the stuff
he wanted to keep.


The next day, Chakotay went to the bridge and took a short shift.  He
also spent a good portion of the remainder of the day in his office.  A
lot of his crew were having to deal with the feelings of betrayal they
were experiencing, and as counselor, it was his job to deal with it, and
who were they going to replace Harry and Tuvok with and the crew
rotation was due out for the next cycle and reviews were coming up.....


Tom woke up on his couch.  He managed to eat a piece of toast and had a
few cups of coffee.  He cleaned up a little more.  Went to the cargo bay
to look for the fifth container, but couldn't find it anywhere.  Then he
went to sick bay and asked if the Doc needed any help.  The EMH said
everything was quiet, and that Tom should go rest.

The next morning, Tom walked into the senior staff meeting and almost
fell down when he saw that Baytart was still there.

"Tom, please have a seat," the Captain said calmly.  "Ensign Baytart
will be replacing Harry.  And Seven will be replacing Tuvok in science
and Lieutenant Ayala will be taking over Security."

"Congratulations," Tom said, sitting down in a vacant chair.  Baytart
was sitting in the one he usually sat in.

"Welcome back, Tom.  We've missed you," the Captain said.

"Thank you, Captain.  It's good to be back."

Tom threw a glance at Chakotay, who seemed to be engrossed in what ever
the padd he was holding said.  Tom couldn't stop the sinking feeling or
the mantle of depression that settled firmly on his shoulders.  He sat
back and listened, trying to catch up on what was happening.

When the meeting was over, he went to the helm and stretched his hands.
He considered cracking his knuckles like the old time piano players used
to do, but thought that no one would appreciate the humor.  Then he
heard the Captain gently say.

"Go ahead, Tom.  Indulge yourself."

Tom smiled back at her, his eyes pausing on Chakotay for just a moment,
before he met her eyes.  "No, Captain that isn't necessary, but thank

"As you wish, Lieutenant."  Janeway smiled at him and sat up straight.
"Set a course for the Alpha Quadrant, Lieutenant, Warp six."

"Aye, aye, Captain."

The next six hours almost breezed by for Tom.  It would have been a snap
if Chakotay hadn't been sitting behind him.  *Doing your best and
knowing I'll see it.  Goofing off and knowing I'll see it*.

"Oh Tom, I meant to ask you.  How's she feeling since the Gltz?"
B'Elanna asked.

"She feels good.  There's a slight delay, but I can't even count it.
It's miniscule."

"I'll see if I can track it down?" B'Elanna said with a smile.

"Let me know if I can help," Tom offered.  B'El was trying so hard to
make him feel welcome.

"I didn't feel anything, Tom," Baytart said from Ops.

"Mr. Paris' assessments of Voyager's helm are to be trusted, Mr.
Baytart," the Captain said quietly.  Tom knew she was smiling and he
turned and gave her one of his own.

"Thank you, Captain.  It's nice to know you still trust me."

Her smile was one of quiet pride.  He glanced at Chakotay and swore he
jumped when their eyes met.


A few days later, Chakotay was in the mess hall when he saw B'Elanna
drag Tom in.  He stiffened until he realized Tom wouldn't cause a scene
here.  So, he went back to his meal, wishing he had something to do with
his hands next to shovel his food in his mouth.

He looked up at one point and found blue eyes staring at him, and it
made his stomach lurch.  Tom's eyes were wide open, everything on the
surface, and they almost made Chakotay feel guilty.  With nowhere else
to go and nowhere else to hide, Chakotay got up and left the mess hall.
He could feel Tom's eyes boring into his back as he left.

When he got to his cabin, he wondered what the big deal was.  It wasn't
like he was breaking something off with Tom.  If they had anything, he
couldn't remember it.  There was nothing in his heart for Tom.  Then why
hadn't he talked to him?

'Tomorrow,' Chakotay promised himself.  He would talk to Tom tomorrow.


The next evening, Tom saw Greg Ayala down the hall and he thought of the
fifth carry all.

"Hey, Greg, wait up," Tom called, hurrying down the corridor to catch
the new security chief.  Greg stopped and waited for him.

"How are things, Tom?"

"They're good, but I gotta ask you, that fifth carry all you gave me to
pack up.  Where is it?"

Greg looked confused for a second.  "I don't know Tom.  Let me check,

"Sure, Greg and thanks.  That had the stuff I wanted to keep in it."

"We'll find it."


Tom replicated a new uniform.  A complete size smaller.  Then he grabbed
a ration bar and got dressed.  He was headed to the bridge with five
minutes to spare.  Maybe Chakotay would notice that.  He'd been trying
that approach, but it seemed as if Chakotay didn't want to have anything
to do with him.

He hit the bridge and slid into his seat at the helm.  Chakotay wasn't
even there yet, Tom noticed.  That was when his comm badge sounded.

"Paris."  He looked back when the turbolift opened and saw Chakotay and
Seven exit.

"Tom, it's Greg.  I found out where the fifth carry all went."

"Great, Greg.  Where is it?"  Tom was smiling.  He almost sighed in

There was a moment of silence.

"Uh, Tom, we beamed it down ahead of you and with all the commotion, we
never got it back."

"What?!" Tom cried.  "Greg, that was the stuff I wanted to keep.  Shit,
that was my civies, pictures, and..." the picture of Chakotay and
memorabilia.  He didn't even remember standing up.

"I'm sorry, Tom.  I really am."

"Sorry, ain't gonna fix this one, Greg," Anger, loss and helplessness
flooded his system.

"Tom," a calm voice said behind him.  "We're on the bridge."

"Yeah, you're right, Chak, but..." Tom sighed heavily.  "Thank you for
finding out what happened, Greg.  Paris out."

He sat down heavily in his chair.  This time not even the joy of flying
could lift the depression.  He sat there alone, barely aware of what he
was doing.  It was gone.

At lunch, he went to his quarters, and in the afternoon, he did his
shift in the sick bay and then he went back to his quarters.  He stared
at his desk where those pictures always sat.  The one of his mother,
with the picture of Chakotay were the ones that hurt the worst.

There was a chime at his door.

"Come," Tom called out dully, until he saw Chakotay step into his
quarters.  "Commander, what are you doing here?"

"I wanted to talk to you, Tom."

"If it was about my display on the bridge today, I'm sorry, but that was
important to me.  I can't replace any of that stuff."

"No, but even if it were, I understand completely.  I wanted to talk to

A flicker of hope flared in Tom's heart.  "Us?"

"Yes.  Tom I've reviewed the logs..."

"You watched them?  Then you remember?"  The flicker flared to a flame.

"...and although it has sparked one or two memories, on the whole, I
don't remember what happened to us."

"But you said you might," Tom pointed out quickly.  The flame faltered.

"Yes, I did say that," Chakotay said, and the flicker grew again.  "But
I just spoke with the EMH and he said, due to the amount of time that
has passed, he didn't think I was going to regain the memories.  Tom,
I'm sorry, but I don't remember.  I had to tell you.  I couldn't lead
you on, letting you hope when there doesn't seem to be any."

That was it, the final blow.  Tom just dropped his head.  "What about
Vorick, maybe he...."

"Nothing personal Tom, but I've had enough people crawling around inside
my head lately.  You can understand that, can't you."

The flame was doused in a bucket of ice water.  Chakotay wasn't even
willing to try.  It wasn't important enough to him now.  Someone could
have kicked him in the balls and it would have hurt less.  Tom just
nodded.  "Sure, Commander.  I can understand that.  Good night."

"Tom, I'm not rejecting you.  I just don't feel that way for you

"Sure, Chak.  Fine, I'll leave you alone," Tom mumbled.

"Tom, please don't take this personally.  It isn't.  It has nothing to
do with you, your past, or our past, I just don't remember."

"I understand, Commander."

Chakotay turned to the door, but stopped.  "Tom, are you all right?"

"Sure, I'm fine.  It happens.  Life in the Delta."  Tom said, shrugging
his shoulders.  "I've been dumped before, Chak.  I can deal with it.
Good night, Commander."

"Good night, Tom."

Later that night Tom found himself in the shuttle bay.  In fact, in the
shuttle he and Chak had shared.  He walked around touching things:  the
bunk where they had made love.  Where he had knelt and given himself to
Chakotay.  He punched the bulkhead as tears once more threatened to
spill down his face.  Tom leaned against the cool surface as his breath
wheezed in and out of his tight throat.

The chair Chakotay had sat in while Tom had regenerated his arm.  *There
are those words again, Tom.*  The console, the cargo bay, everywhere.

He stumbled blindly from the shuttle and went to the bay doors.  He hit
the release and the doors slid open in front of him.  He looked out in
the cold vacuum of space.  The only thing between him and death was a
blue force field, he reached out until he felt the charge from the force

The lizard in the lake, Chakotay pulling him back up the cliff.  Now
Chakotay's medical file read: the chances of Commander Chakotay ever
retrieving his full memory of the experience without intervention by a
Vulcan or telepath, are at best, poor.

"Chak," Tom whispered, as he almost felt his lover's arms come around
him.  Then he lowered his head.  "I trusted you, and you said you'd be
there."  Tom slipped to his knees and wept.

Moments later he screamed the pain in his heart.  "I TRUSTED YOU!"  He
beat his hands on his thighs.  "I trusted you, just like you said.  I
gave it all to you, and now I'm just supposed to forget?  Forget what it
felt like?  I can't do it, Chak."  Then he screamed it to the stars.

He stayed there for a moment and then he stood up again.  He took a deep
breath.  He touched the force field, and felt the charge, but knew if he
pushed, his hand would pass through, and then his hand would explode.
For a moment he saw himself pushing through the force field and all the
pain would stop, it would all stop.

No one would have to worry about him being a traitor anymore, because
everyone had just been too ready to believe that little lie.  Maquis,
Starfleet, the Captain, everyone.

He wouldn't have to face himself every morning, wondering how Harry had
fooled him so completely, or how he had just given in to Chakotay.  He
wouldn't have to face B'El's pitying gaze, or Greg's voice apologizing
for throwing away everything that meant something to him.

He wouldn't have to face anyone, not himself, not the Captain,
not...Chak.  It ripped through him again as tears blurred the star
field.  He drew in a trembling breath, and released it slowly.

Yeah, it was the best thing, Tom thought to himself.  End it all,
because his life sure as hell wasn't worth living anymore.  No matter
how hard he tried, people would always see him as a traitor.  He would
never be accepted by Star fleet or by the Maquis.  He would never have
to worry about flying himself back to Auckland, and going to jail.  He
would never have to worry about whether Chak really cared or was just
using him down there.  How could he not remember after seeing what they
had shared.  And for a moment, he let himself remember the safety he
felt inside Chakotay's arms, the thrill of his kiss, the extreme
pleasure when he knelt before Chakotay and came for him.

"Chak!" he cried miserably.  Then he stood up and shook himself,
physically and mentally.  No, he wouldn't think about it.  If Chakotay
didn't remember, then he didn't remember.  Chak wouldn't lie about that
and there was no way he could lie about that.  It was too strong.  No,
Chak didn't remember.  That was it.  Tuvok had locked whatever they
shared up into a dark corner of Chakotay's mind and it would never be
freed again.

Tom took another breath, and took a step closer to the force field.  He
knew he couldn't just throw himself out, the force field was made to
withstand that.  Suicide attempts were not smiled on in Star Fleet.
Experimentally he pushed at it.  It pushed back, almost.


"Emergency," the computer announced.  It brought Chakotay up out of a
deep sleep.

"Nature of Emergency?" he asked, as he rolled out of his bed, and
reached for his pants.

"Apparent Suicide Attempt."

"Shit!" Chakotay exclaimed, closing his pants.  "Site to site

He had programmed the computer some time ago to alert him in case anyone
was making a suicide attempt: the replication of a weapon, a large
amount of a potentially lethal drug, use of the holodeck with violent
programs and the safeties off.  That had shocked B'El the first time he
had entered during a Klingon battle scene.  All these thoughts flashed
through his mind as the familiar fuzzy feeling of a transport engulfed

It only took a moment for him to realize what was happening, Tom was
trying to space himself.  Chakotay knew he didn't have time for the
doors to close before Tom breached the force field.  He took several
running steps, threw himself at Tom, catching him around the waist and
letting their momentum carry them to safety.

"Computer, emergency override.  Close shuttle bay doors."

"Acknowledged."  The computer said, but Chakotay was now too busy trying
to keep from being hurt.  Tom fought like a wild man.

"What are you doing?" Tom screamed.  "Let me go!  Let me finish this!
You don't fucking care!  No one does!  Just let me go!"

Chakotay finally restrained Tom, crossing Tom's arms across his chest
and holding him by the wrists.

"Tom, stop it.  You can't do this."

"The hell I can't.  Don't do this, Chak.  Please let me go.  Gods, do
you know what they'll do to me.  I just lost the helm!  Don't do this to
me!"  Tom threw his head backwards, struggling against Chakotay's hold.
Chakotay avoided the blow.  The doors were slowly closing.

"Tom, calm down.  This isn't the answer."

"Fuck you, Chak.  Fuck you.  It's the only answer.  Can't you see that?
I don't finish it now, I spend the rest of my life watching the stars go
by, medicated out of my mind."  He threw everything he had into getting
loose, Chakotay struggled to hold him, and was forced to completely
restrain Tom against his chest, and roll him face first to the deck.
Then he had to intertwine his legs in Tom's to keep from being kicked.

"Close, damn you!" Chakotay screamed at the doors.

"Let me go, Chak, let me go.  Please, Chak, if there is one iota of love
in your heart for me, let me go!"

Chakotay could hear the plea in Tom's voice and it ripped at his heart.

"I can't, Tom.  You aren't thinking right.  You need help, Tom."

"I needed you!  I wanted you!  And you turned your fucking back on me.
I trusted you.  I gave you everything.  I trusted you with me!  And you
fucking walk off, and, you want to save me from myself.  You
hypocrite, you liar, let me go!"

That was when a hypo was pressed to Tom's neck.  Chakotay looked up as
Tom relaxed in his arms to see the EMH kneeling beside them.  Chakotay
slowly released Tom, even as he mumbled, "Let me go.  Let me finish
this.  I needed you."  Chakotay sat up, and watched as the EMH scanned

"How is he?"

"Underweight, depressed, sedated," the EMH said dispassionately.  "I'll
transport him to sick bay and begin a treatment program."

Chakotay looked down at Tom Paris, lying unconscious on the deck of the
shuttle bay.  He tried to get his breathing under control as Tom
disappeared.  Chakotay put his head in his hand and wondered what in the
hell had just happened.

Slowly, he walked through the corridors of Voyager.  It was about three
in the morning and no one was around, so the fact he was only in his
pants didn't bother him.  He went into his quarters and wrote a message
to Kathryn, saying he would explain more in the morning, but Tom was off
duty the next day.  Then he finished dressing and commed the Doctor.

"What's the status of Lieutenant Paris?"

"I have the Lieutenant sedated and plan to keep him that way.  I'm
running psychological scans.  I have come across evidences of Tuvok's
mind meld with him as well.  I would say, Mr. Paris will not be
returning to duty anytime in the near future."

"I disagree, Doctor.  I think as long as Tom Paris is not a danger to
this crew, he should be allowed to pilot Voyager.  It appears to be the
only thing keeping him alive."  Chakotay said, rubbing the bridge of his

"Commander, that is the only that has ever kept Tom Paris alive.  EMH
out."  The screen went blank.

"Shit," Chakotay said to himself.


Chakotay entered Kathryn's ready room.  He was surprised at her
appearance.  She looked ragged and as if she had taken only the bare
necessity to prepare herself for duty.

"What's wrong with Tom?"

"He attempted to kill himself last night, Captain.  He was trying to
space himself from the shuttle bay."

Chakotay watched as Kathryn Janeway sat heavily in her chair behind her
desk.  Shock showed in her features, her hands started to shake.  "Why?
Did he give a reason?"

Chakotay steeled his features knowing this was going to hit Kathryn as
hard as it had hit him.  "He doesn't believe he's trusted.  He doesn't
believe anyone cares about him, and he believes I have betrayed him."

Kathryn's eyes slowly rose to meet his, and he saw a naked truth that
Tom had obviously seen long before anyone else had.  Tom was right.

"Chakotay, I..."

Chakotay swallowed and cleared his throat.

"Kathryn, I have suggested to the EMH that Tom be allowed to fly
Voyager.  As far as I can tell, it is his one true joy and to take that
away from him, would destroy any reason he has for living."

"You don't think he'll try Voyager into a star or anything, do

"No, I don't think he will.  He has never done anything to intentionally
endanger anyone on board this vessel."

Chakotay was ashamed to admit that he thought about setting up sensors
that would alert them if Tom deviated from a flight pattern.  Although
in any other situation it might be applicable, considering what Tom had
just been through, it would be overtly destructive.

"Chakotay, what have I done?"

"Kathryn, it wasn't your fault."

Chakotay might not be able to counsel Tom, but he sure as hell would see
the rest of the crew through this.