"How did you know about my spirit walks?" he asked again. Rahea was
standing right on the edge of the cliff, apparently unconcerned by how
high they were. She gestured to the bird, except this time it was a
"Your mate, Chakotay."
"I have no mate," Chakotay said, watching the bird.
"You do, too. I will show you. Come on. Get up."
"Because it's a Spirit *walk*," Rahea said, as she pulled on his arm and
he stood up. They started down from the cliff. "Tell me what you
As they walked down the mountain path, he started to tell the story.
Then he came to the first spot where he had knowledge but only from
vids. She reached beside him and handed him a large glass ball.
"Break that," she said.
Chakotay stared at her, wondering why he should. This was his spirit
plane. Why should he destroy anything here? This was his place of
learning and peace. He had never desecrated one thing here. Rahea got
a disgusted look on her face.
"Break the stupid ball. It holds your memories."
"Because it's a *spirit walk*."
Chakotay could see that she thought he was stupid, but he hadn't had
anyone actually join him in a spirit walk since his father had helped
him on his first one. And, Rahea didn't seem to have much respect for
She sighed and then as if explaining to a child, she continued. "Things
are in a form you can grasp. The pointy eared one he locked your
memories up in this. Break it and you will remember."
"I don't know. I didn't do it. Break the ball and find out."
Chakotay took the ball. It was beautiful. Clear, smooth, cool, but
when he looked at Rahea, she was only watching him.
"Chakotay, I know this is strange for you, but you must trust me. Break
Chakotay took one last look at the globe and let it slip from his
fingers. It shattered at his feet, and his memories of their first two
days in the shuttle hit him so hard, he stumbled backwards. Tom doing
*You little Shit.*
*I learned from a pro.*
He remembered the anger. He remembered Tom's fears that he had actually
hurt him. Chakotay realized he was leaning against a tree. He looked
up, and Rahea stood by watching him carefully. Her eyes were warm, but
tinted with concern for him.
"Do you want to keep going?" Rahea asked.
Chakotay felt more whole now that he could remember. He stood up and
straightened his uniform. "Yes, I want to keep going."
"Then start walking."
The next place they came to was a canyon with a bridge stretching across
it. Chak continued to talk and stepped onto the bridge. He stopped and
looked back. Rahea was still standing where the bridge started. He
heard the hawk scream and looked up to see it fly overhead.
"You have been deceived," she said with a smile. Chakotay now saw her
eyes were warm like a fire. "I imagine you see what you are standing on
as a strong bridge leading to the other side of the path."
"Yes, it's a strong bridge."
"Want to see what I see?"
Chakotay looked down at the river below them, way below them. He walked
back to her, getting completely off the bridge and said
Rahea smiled and mumbled something like, "He isn't as stupid as he
Then she looked into his eyes and her eyes...flared, for lack of a
better word. They blazed. She gestured towards the bridge and what he
saw was a rickety rope bridge, and there next to the edge of the canyon
was a path. Rahea gestured he should lead, and as he put his foot on
the stone ledge, he remembered the fight, he and Tuvok had had.
"This is out of order," Chakotay stated, as she joined him on the other
"You're right." She took a wicked looking knife from her belt, and cut
one of the lines supporting the bridge and it almost disintegrated
beneath her touch. "I'm guessing there's something big, farther down
the trail. Go on, Chakotay. What happened next?"
Chakotay once more began to walk. They entered a forest and it started
to get dark. He heard the hawk scream overhead.
"Stop," Rahea ordered.
"I don't know, but something is wrong. Tell me that last part again."
She started walking back the way they had come. At the edge of the
woods, she looked around and then started back down the path.
"Here!" She said finally. "What is here?"
"Here is where...I don't know." Chakotay looked around.
"What is there?" She pointed back up the path to where it was light.
"Where we were drying our clothes, after the pond."
"And there?" she asked, pointing down the path where it was dark.
"The next morning," Chakotay said.
"So what happened here?" She asked, looking around.
"I don't know."
"I have a feeling there will be more places like this, places he has
Chakotay was really getting tired of having someone else tell him about
his spirit walks. He had been doing this for several years now, and she
was in his spirit plane. He would know when something was wrong. He
was about to say something, when Rahea started digging around in the
thigh high foliage.
"Now, where is it?" She was looking around again.
"The right path. When your mate screams at you, something is wrong."
"Yes, in a form you can understand." She said off handedly. "Ah, here
it is." She stepped behind a tree. "It will take a moment, but start
walking and tell me what happened."
Chakotay sighed and then stepped around the tree. Sure enough, there
was a path. He started walking. Maybe, he thought to himself, he
should listen a little more closely. He heard Rahea's snort of
"Great, Mystic Warrior," she teased softly.
Chakotay decided not to answer that little barbed comment.
Over and over they ran into obstacles, and false paths. Then they were
above the river. Chakotay could see Tom on the other side resting. He
wanted to get him back to Voyager. He wanted to stop this nonsense. So
what, now he could remember more, but he still didn't love Tom, he
hadn't remembered everything. Rahea paused beside him.
"Go on, tell me the rest."
"There is no more, we were taken back and Tom remembered and I didn't."
The path ended at the cliff. He looked at the rock.
"This is it, isn't it."
"Yeppers," she said, leaning back against the cliff.
"How do I break it?"
She shrugged. "Put your hand on it, Chakotay."
He touched it and it was like an electrical bolt shot through his arm.
He pulled his arm back, and looked at her.
"I never said it was gonna be easy," she said snidely.
"How do I break it?" He asked again.
"Chakotay, you are on a *SPIRIT WALK*," she almost screamed. "Use your
head. How do you break through something, and I'm warning you right
now, it's gonna be strong."
"You use a weapon," Chakotay said, touching the rock again and feeling a
twisting in his guts like he had never felt before. "You use a
phaser." He had one in his hand.
He adjusted the level and aimed at the rock. He fired expecting to see
the rock dissipate, but instead, it just got a little red. He looked at
Rahea and fired again, holding the button until the phaser got hot in
his hand and he dropped it.
"Try again," she suggested.
"Okay, basic lesson in minds. This is where the pointy eared one put
all your memories that you want to get back from your time on the planet
"I think so."
"So, we're talking about someone that knew minds. He knew you would
push at it, right?"
"Of course, those are my memories."
"How have you remembered things."
"They've come in flashes. Things that reminded me."
"What is locked behind that wall?"
"Tom and how I felt for him."
"Think, Chakotay, what would make you remember without using force?" she
asked, stepping up to him.
"I don't know."
"You are so stupid for your supposed intelligence."
Chakotay stood there silently for a moment. He had to break through
without using force, like the force field in the shuttle bay. He
shuddered as he remembered seeing Tom trying to force himself through
the... Slowly pushing through... Tom slowly pushing through the force
field. That was it. His eyes widened.
She smiled, "You're getting there."
The hawk, circling overhead flew towards him and Chakotay put his arm
out and the bird landed daintily on his forearm, but the talons dug in.
The bird turned and looked at him, the dark bird eyes met his and he
could see intelligence.
Without really thinking, Chakotay reached out and ran a finger down the
back of the bird's head. It cried out, but stayed on his arm. He
stroked the wings with the back of his hand. It was beautiful, but the
talons were still piercing his arm. The bird spread its wings, and
screamed. Chakotay jumped slightly and the bird lost its balance on his
arm. The talons bit in cruelly, and Chakotay nearly threw the bird
away, but in an instant, the dark bird eyes turned blue. Chakotay
stopped and blinked, then he resettled himself.
He looked over at Rahea and her own red eyes shone. "Very good,
Chakotay. Now put him down."
Chakotay set the bird on the ground and suddenly the bird transformed
into Tom Paris.
"Now what?" Chakotay asked Rahea. He cast a quick glance across the
river and saw Tom still lying under the tree.
"Find out what's behind the rock, Chakotay."
He turned and walked towards the rock. Tom followed him, but Chakotay
paused. Moments from the vids flashed before him. He looked at Tom and
then at the rock. Whatever was back there was enough to destroy Tom
when he had lost it. It was enough to make Tom try to kill himself.
Did he really want that? He looked at the deep cuts on his arm, but the
joy and beauty of the bird. He looked at Tom, and then Rahea.
He walked back to the rock and put his hand on it. Tom's hand joined
his and on a hunch, Chakotay covered Tom's hand with his own. They both
slowly began to push at the rock, and the rock, after a moment of
resistance, crumbled to dust, and a wall of emotion flooded over
Chakotay sat up straight breathing hard, staring around wildly. Rahea
sat across from him slowly blinking her ember red eyes. She looked
absolutely evil and Chakotay couldn't help but back away in his state of
confusion. He glanced at Tom to make sure he was okay, and he appeared
to be sleeping peacefully.
"Oh, shit," Chakotay moaned, as he stared at his lover. "What have I
done?" He crawled over to Tom, and took his warm body into his arms and
held him close. "I am so sorry, Tom. Spirits, I am sorry."
Everything that he had done to Tom came flooding back over him. The
words, the way he had treated him when he had come to his cabin. Tom's
trying to kill himself screaming he had trusted Chakotay and Chakotay
had failed him. Tears slipped from his eyes as he realized how far Tom
had been pushed.
How long Chakotay sat there rocking Tom in his arms, he didn't know, but
when a hand touched his arm, he woke up, curled around Tom. He looked
back and saw Rahea smiling gently gesturing to Tom. Chakotay looked
down and met tortured blue eyes.
"Yeah, Tom I'm here. I'm here and I'm gonna stay here."
"Just let me die this time, Chak, please. Just let me go. I can't face
another day up there. Please?"
"Tom, listen to me. Please listen to me. I remember. I went on a
spirit walk with Rahea and she helped me remember, Tom. Please give me
one more chance."
"I can't, Chak. Don't you understand, I did that once. Please just let
Chakotay watched the blue eyes close and felt a knife pierce his heart.
He looked up, holding Tom to his chest.
"I'm not giving up on you, Tom Paris. I swear to you, I will not give
He felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked back to see Rahea holding a
cup out to him.
"Chakotay. Drink this and let me help him too."
"Can you?" he asked tentatively. "I mean, you won't hurt him or do
anything like Tuvok did?"
"Did I do anything like that to you?" she asked, taking a sip of
whatever it was she had made.
"No, you didn't. And I'm sorry."
Rahea smiled, and as Chakotay gently put Tom on the ground, Rahea sat
down at his head and lifted Tom's head into her lap. She placed both of
her hands on his temples. Chakotay watched the tensions fade from Tom's
face and body. His hands fell limply to his sides.
Chakotay finished the bowl and felt better than he had in weeks. He got
up and walked over to the river. He even looked across and saw there
was no path there. It was a spirit walk all right, leading him back to
his mate, back to Tom. He glanced over at them, and asked the spirits
to help Rahea help Tom, like she had helped him.
A few moments later, Chakotay decided to head back up towards the cave.
Voyager must be going nuts about the two of them. It took him about
fifteen minutes to reach where he had been. He hit his comm badge.
"Chakotay to Voyager."
"Commander," Kathryn's strident voice demanded. "Where have you been?"
"With Tom, Captain. He had stumbled across a native. It's a long
story. I will give you a full report when I get back. Everything is
"Are you sure, Commander?"
"I'm positive, Captain, but we could use a medkit."
"I thought you said..."
"Captain, Tom dug the transponder out of his arm. He had a bad night,
but I couldn't move him. I was worried about breaking the wound open."
"Oh, fine. I'll have one transported to your location immediately. How
much longer before you're back?"
"I don't know," Chakotay said, as the medkit appeared beside him. "I
have to go back, Captain, but I'll let you know something as soon as I
can. Tom and I are in no danger whatsoever."
"All right, Commander, but if I don't hear from you within four hours,
I'm sending a team in."
"Acknowledged, Chakotay out."
Chakotay gathered the medkit up and started back down to Tom. He wasn't
surprised when he saw Tom sitting up drinking. Rahea knelt nearby, and
Chakotay could have sworn he saw a smile pass between the two of them.
He knelt down beside Tom and removed the dirty bandage. He picked up
the tricorder and scanned the wound.
"Is the Captain mad at me?"
"I would say she is fairly put out with both of us, Tom," Chakotay said,
as he prepared a hypo. "I never checked in with her last night. I'm
surprised we didn't wake up to a security team." He gave Tom the shot
to prevent infection, and then started to run the regenerator over his
arm. "How are you feeling?"
"Pretty good. Rahea really helped me."
"She helped me too, Tom," Chakotay said, rescanning his arm.
"So what do we do now, Chakotay?"
"You quit acting like two idiots and get down to building a relationship
and repairing the damage done to your friends by those two idiots,"
Rahea said, from where she sat at the fire.
Tom and Chakotay shared a glance. Chak arched an eyebrow, and Tom
"Rahea has spoken," Tom said.
Chakotay smiled and reached up and touched Tom's face. "We can't refuse
her, we owe her that much."
"I agree," Tom said quietly.
They both turned when they heard her snort. She stood and walked over
to them. "Both of you listen to me very carefully. I came here in
answer to a call. It's taken a lot of my strength, and I need to leave,
but before I do, I want you both to see something."
Chakotay settled down next to Tom and looked up at the woman he had met
less than a day before, but who he would trust with his life. Tom
reached out and took his hand. Chakotay squeezed it gently.
"Tom, you came here screaming for help and in so much pain. I couldn't
resist coming. Chakotay you were also in pain, but your concern for Tom
brought you here. I walked with both of you, and I know how much you
both care. Tom, Chakotay does care for you. He doesn't just want
someone to warm his bed. Chakotay, Tom is much deeper than you think he
is. Both of you are passionate men. Tom is up front and reckless.
Chakotay's deep and temperamental. You must work together, however you
fit best, but remember one thing, both of you, the Spirits do hear your
Then, Chakotay watched amazed as Rahea spread her arms towards the sky
and cried out. Thunder rolled and lightening crashed from the heavens.
He glanced at Rahea and in awe, watched her transform into a hawk and
fly away. They both sat there stunned for a moment, and then Chakotay
looked at Tom.
"She...she was your spirit guide," he stumbled.
"Yeah," Tom whispered. "She told me when we took that walk together."
"Your spirit guide came to you in a physical form," Chakotay stated,
shocked by what he had seen. "That...I've only heard of that
happening. When did you start meditating? Who showed you how?"
"Never and no one. I just sort of started praying to them," Tom said
flexing his arm. "When things were getting really bad, I just started
calling out. I guess they do really hear you."
They sat there for several moments trying to digest what they had seen
and been through.
"Uh, Chakotay, shouldn't we be getting back to Voyager?"
"Are you sure you want to?"
"Yeah," Tom said, looking at where Rahea had stood. "She showed me a
lot of things, Chakotay. One of them was what you had been through.
Nothing specific, but how you tried to protect me when you first got
here. She said your memories were really locked away and that even
though you didn't remember, you tried your best to protect me. Thanks."
"But Tom, I remember now," Chakotay said, shifting to face him. He
tried to think of the right words to say, but nothing popped into his
mind, so he went with the truth. "Tom, I'm...I'm sorry about what
happened. I know that had to be so painful for you to remember and know
that I didn't. I will tell you this much. You aren't going to see the
EMH anymore, but more importantly, can you give me another chance?"
Tom stared at the river. Chakotay noticed how rested he looked, how
calm, how peaceful, and he wanted to know this Tom Paris.
"Am I allowed to tell you about it, Chakotay?" Tom asked just above a
"Well, usually people don't share them, but if you're comfortable with
it, I'd like to know what she did."
The breeze filled the little canyon, whispering through the trees.
Chakotay could hear the river flowing by, as he watched Tom's face. He
could see such a spark of joy and peace in his eyes.
"My father, the great Admiral Owen Paris, cried when he found out I was
still alive. Chak, do you know how much that means to me? All that
time, he was convinced I was an embarrassment, and then when we
disappeared, he realized what he had done." Tom looked around, and met
Chakotay's gaze. "We've all been pardoned, Chakotay. My father
ramroded a pardon for all of us through Starfleet, called in every
single favor owed to him and got all of us pardoned."
"All of the Maquis, too?"
"Rahea said all the Maquis on Voyager had been pardoned."
"Tom, that's wonderful." The idea that all of his people wouldn't have
to worry about going to prison when they got back to the Alpha was a
huge weight off Chakotay's shoulders. He had been carrying it since
they had turned Voyager towards home, and now he didn't have to worry
"Chak, that is fan-fucking-tastic. Do you realize every time I sat at
the helm, I always thought I was flying myself back to prison and
shame. Now, I know I'm not."
"I never thought of it that way," Chakotay said, but even as he spoke,
he thought of the fear that Tom must have gone through. To sit at the
helm and wonder if prison were waiting for him, even if he did his job
"No one did. I would never burden anyone else with that. How could I
take any one's hope and joy about going home away or undermine the
Captain that way."
Chakotay just nodded trying to understand the new person he was seeing.
Rahea had been right. Tom was much deeper than he thought he was.
"And she showed me, how you tried to remember and how much you were hurt
when I tried to...space myself."
"I was hurt, Tom. I had watched the vids, but...I just didn't feel
anything for you. Rahea showed me that Tuvok had implanted the idea
that I found you distasteful, but when you screamed at me on the shuttle
deck that night: 'If I had one iota of love in my heart for you...'
Spirits, Tom, it tore me apart."
"I was hurting pretty badly that night."
Chakotay watched Tom, who was still staring at the river. He reached
out and touched Tom's arm, and he was very happy to feel Tom lean back
in his arm.
"She said we were mates, Chak. Even though we weren't the same, we were
mated for life."
"Tom, did you know both the wolf and the hawk mate for life."
"No, I didn't, but it kinda makes sense doesn't it? I mean we are
different, but...Chakotay, I wanted you on Crazy Horse, I wanted you on
that stupid planet and I want you now. Rahea said that now that you
remembered, I could trust you again. That you and I had to help heal
"She only took a spirit walk with me, but she freed my mind."
They both looked up as a bird screamed. Tom smiled and pulled his legs
up, wrapping his arms around them.
"I wonder if that's her?"
"Could be," Chakotay said, following the bird's flight. He doubted it
was Rahea, but if it reminded Tom of what she had showed him today every
time he heard a hawk scream, it might do him a lot of good.
"Chakotay, how do you make a medicine bundle?"
"You pick things that are milestones in your life. Things that will
help you remember your moments of growth, love, passage; and you keep
them together and those moments keep your memories alive and with you."
"I think I have some things I want to put in my bundle."
"Like what, Tom?" Chakotay asked, as he scooted over a little and took
Tom Paris in his arms.
"Like something from here," Tom said, leaning back into Chakotay's
arms. Chakotay heard the deep sigh, and gently leaned forward and
kissed Tom's cheek.
"That would be a good place to start, Poocah."
Captain Janeway was almost tapping her foot with exasperation as Tom and
Chakotay materialized on the transporter padd.
"Explanation, gentlemen. Now."
"Captain, I apologize. What I did was completely against regulations.
I realize that now. I just felt as if my life on Voyager had reached an
end, that I was no longer productive and decided to..." Tom said,
looking at the wall behind her head. "Captain, I made a decision without
consent with the sole purpose of going AWOL. I give you my word that I
won't argue with any punishment that you would deem appropriate."
He continued to stare at the wall behind the Captain, until he heard her
ask Chakotay, "Is he all right, Commander?"
Tom inhaled to say something, until Chakotay cut him off. Tom looked
back and saw the smile on Chak's face. Those dimples were in full view.
"Captain, what happened on the planet won't be easy to explain, but I
think Lieutenant Paris is just trying to set a good example, after some
less than exemplary behavior."
The look on the Captain's face was almost amusing. It was somewhere
between confusion and anger. She turned to Tom, who again took up the
rigid stance of attention until her hand touched his arm. "Tom, I'm not
going to put you on report. The drugs the EMH had you on were
counterproductive. You didn't know which way was up."
"But, Captain, I went AWOL."
"And you had good reason. Sam Wildman is standing by in sickbay. I
want her to run a quick physical on you. Then we can talk," Captain
Janeway ordered. "You too, Commander. You were both down there for a
As they walked the corridors of Voyager, Tom noticed how people were
looking at him. He was seeing something different in their eyes.
Before he used to see hate and suspicion. Now they saw concern and
He almost laughed as he saw B'Elanna coming down the hall. She stopped
in front of them.
"Tom, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, B'El. Chakotay found me and brought me back home."
She looked deeply into his eyes, and then nodded. She looked past him
at Chakotay and a quick smile, and then she moved on.
They entered sickbay and Tom was relieved not to see the EMH anywhere in
"He's been taken offline, Tom. Until we find the problems," Sam said,
as she came up to them. "Seven's working on it."
"I'm definitely glad to hear that."
Sam checked him out quickly. Tom looked over at Chakotay who was
waiting his turn.
"I see part of what she was talking about Ch...Commander. I see a
difference in their eyes."
"People's eyes can tell you a lot, Tom," Chakotay agreed.
Tom found himself lost in Chakotay's stare for several moments, and what
he saw there made him shiver. "How much longer, Sam?"
"Just another minute, Tom," she said with a small laugh.
It wasn't long before the two of them were walking down the halls of
"I guess I should change into a new uniform before we meet with the
Captain," Tom said, staring at his bare arm.
"I think we could both use a shower and get cleaned up. I'll meet you
at the turbolift in say forty minutes?"