Warning: the following story contains m/m relationship. If you are offended by it, you are welcome to stop reading the story. If you are above 18 and is open-minded, you are free to read it.
Disclaimer: the characters in the story, though owned by Paramount, are products of my imagination and creativity. (yada yada yada)
Rating: PGish, with NC-17 leanings.
Summary: A companion piece to "Rose Petals": Chakotay's POV as he goes through Tom's belongings. Angst. Chakotay tries to find out the reason(s) behind Tom's self-mutilation.
"Potpourri of Roses"
I open the slightly mildewed box, telling my hands to quit shaking.
There, it is open now.
I peer inside this box filled with personal items. I see faded postcards of old aircrafts. I recognise B-52s, F-14 Tomcats. Old 20th century relics.
What's this? Drawings. Sketches of shuttlecrafts. Tiny blue prints of more flying machines. And this. A drawing of a dragonfly wing. I can see the delicate lines, the tinge of blue. The amount of artistic effort. It is as if you have captured the real beauty of a dragonfly, put its magic down onto paper.
Rummaging further, picking out odd items. Beer bottle caps. A wine bottle from Marseilles. I twirl the bottle around in the light, watching it catch fire, glitter.
My heart constricts. The bottle caps and the wine bottle belong to your past, Tom.
I continue my search through the box, trying not to feel guilty. I need to know what is truly going on, Tom.
The box might contain the reasons, the secrets. Dark secrets.
Photos. Old-fashioned photographs. I see you resplendent in Starfleet dress uniform. A distinguished man stands beside you, proud and condescending. That must be your father, Tom. Admiral Owen Paris. You have his blue eyes but his ...they are cold, all Starfleet hauteur.
This one. You are standing next to a shuttlecraft with 'Exeter' on it.
Your first assignment, Tom.
I stare again at the picture of your father. He is Paris, alright. Tall, handsome. Starfleet aristocracy to the bone. Yet I can sense an aura of coldness about him. Even your body language in the photo betrays it. You want to be with him ...and away from him.
What has he done to you?
A piece of paper falls out from the pile of photos. I pick it up.
THOMAS EUGENE PARIS. DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED.
Scribbled, almost unreadable. In your handwriting, I realize.
You were drunk when you wrote this, weren't you?
Once again, my heart aches.
What actually happened, Tom? What actually happened at Caldik Prime?
You managed to keep these memories well, Tom. Well enough under that Paris-sarcasm, that Paris-nonchalance.
Was it partly my fault because I was the stupid one to ask about the 'incident'? You always call it the 'incident' and nothing else. You shy away from it, avoid it all at costs.
Maybe I am the one to blame because I have set off a chain of reaction none of us can stop. I am the fool who asks too much, says too much.
Now you sleep in Sickbay. You look wan, bloodless. The rose-pink from your cheeks is gone. You can't hear me. Your drugs are dulling your senses. The Doc is trying very hard to ease the side-effects of the drug he is injecting into you.
I want to hear you say something. Smile. Glare.
I long to feel your lips on my skin, your hands on my face. I want to see you alive, well again. Not these lifeless mementos from your past. Yes, they speak of the history, offer me glimpses to the man I love.
No, I want to hear from you. Face to face.
Maybe one day, when you are well enough, you can tell me the stories behind the photos, the drawings.
Now, I can only pray and hope for the best ---
And hold onto the box.