He had just resigned his commission
at the rank of Lieutenant
Commander, ending what would have
been a promising career in Starfleet
Tactical as one of their most cherished
He simply had had no choice.
His father had been killed fighting
the Cardassians, fighting for his
people and his home world, in a
war that should never have happened
had the Federation kept their promise
to serve its citizens as per the
oath it had taken many years ago.
Chakotay's surviving family was
either in Cardassian prison camps or
scattered all over the frontier
rim. His home was in ruins, occupied
by Cardassian military forces, leaving
him no place to return to other
than the battlefield.
With the fire of revenge and betrayal
burning in his heart, he had
embraced the Maquis resistance.
It was a difficult time for him.
He was so filled with rage and pain
that there were times, he says,
that he couldn't even see straight.
All he wanted was to make all those
who'd been responsible for the
destruction of his home, to pay
- and pay dearly.
It was amidst this period of rage
and anguish, during a series of some
very unsuccessful raid attempts
on a particular Cardassian weapons
depot, that Chakotay met Taleero
for the first time.
It had been a tricky mission to
begin with and Chakotay had been the
person with the tactical know-how
to effectively coordinate the attack
so that his team could take out
the weapons systems on the depot. For
a moment it had seemed as if things
were finally going to work out on
this mission. They were halfway
through in their job, having isolated
the security and weapons systems
of the depot, when suddenly a
dampening field was raised around
the block they were working in,
rendering all their weapons useless,
and his five-man team was
surrounded by Cardassian military
As they frantically worked to disrupt
the dampening field around the
complex, rigging connections and
tweaking wires, they could hear the
Cardies closing in on them from
all directions. With the last
detonator in place and the shields
finally down, Chakotay attempted to
pull out of the complex only to
be shot, injured, and cornered himself
by a Cardy.
With the Cardassian disrupter turned
on 'kill' and aimed at his head,
when it appeared he had attained
the Maquis objective only to fail in
his individual survival, he saw
the alien get hit from behind and fall
to his less than honorable death.
He watched the old Indian man, clad
in Maquis leathers, appear out of
a hideout that he had been unaware
of, promptly help him to his feet
and whisk him away to safety.
It was only after they had been
beamed back to the Crazy Horse and
were sweeping away from the planet
at maximum warp, that Chakotay was
finally formally introduced to Taleero,
As it turned out, Taleero had been
part of the last Maquis team that
had attempted to sabotage the depot
a week ago. He had lost his team
members in the attack and had been
trapped inside the complex when the
Cardassians raised shields around
it. Somehow with the help of a
rigged tricorder, he had managed
to stay hidden this last whole week,
without getting detected. When Chakotay
got down the dampening field
around the complex to get his team
out, the room Taleero was trapped
in was freed too.
In a way, both Taleero and Chakotay
had saved each other's lives.
Everyone on the frontier rim knew
who Taleero was. On Dorvan V, his
was a respected presence and name.
He was a very wise man, he had good
medicine, it would do one good to
listen to the advice he gave, or so
Chakotay had heard Kolopak - his
father - say about the revered shaman
time and again. Despite his big
name, this was the first time Chakotay
was meeting him.
And meeting him brought back some
very painful memories.
Taleero had known Kolopak well.
He had fought along his side and had
watched him die with his own eyes.
He said he had bonded with his
tribesman as one does with their
family. And he told Chakotay, because
of that, he considered him family
The shell was given to Chakotay
It was only symbolic, the old Indian
had told him. It was a gesture of
bonding, of calling a person one
of their own. He told Chakotay that
possessing that shell was charmed,
that the simple act of possessing
it had strong medicine of its own.
But he also said that the power was
not the shell's own. It was but
a mere shell. An exoskeleton of a
being that lived their entire lives
in the deepest oceans, leaving
behind nothing but a shiny, beautiful
husk to remind one of their
But sometimes you can find life
within carnage, and hope within
remnants of utter destruction.
The medicine belonged to the one
who possessed the shell, Taleero
said. The shell was just a symbol,
it was the person's own
determination that served as the
conduit through which those inner
powers were channeled and brought
out to the surface.
Taleero said he saw medicine in
Chakotay would've laughed if only
the shaman hadn't been so serious in
The old Indian gave him the shell
and said it would look after
Chakotay as it had looked after
him for so many years. He asked
Chakotay to keep it as a reminder
of their bond as fellow tribesmen
and warriors. He asked him to keep
the legacy of what Kolopak had left
behind by continuing to fight for
their freedom. Taleero believed
Chakotay had it in himself to make
his father proud.
Two weeks after he parted with the
shell, Taleero was killed in a
clash with Cardassian forces at
a colony on Jemara IV.
Even though Chakotay wasn't superstitious,
he started keeping the
shell on his person from then on
- wearing it around his neck, never
going anywhere without it.
And whether it had anything to do
with the shell or not, Chakotay
isn't sure, but his luck changed.
From that point on, every mission
he went on, every raid he made,
every fight he got involved in,
his cell always came out on top. His
extraordinarily relentless record
caught the attention of Starfleet
intelligence and they started coming
after him with a vengeance. His
name became associated with everything
that was dangerous, intrepid
and mysterious about the Maquis.
I very well remember my first impression
when I joined the resistance
and found out I was going to pilot
for Chakotay. Sure, my reasons for
joining were different from his,
but I was still very much awed by his
credentials and the name he had
made for himself. I had actually
thought to myself that if I was
going to join a terrorist cell, which
was my then interpretation of the
freedom struggle, it was a good
thing that I was at least joining
one with a no-nonsense reputation.
So it always intrigued me when Starfleet
caught me on my very first
mission without much trouble at
Of course, at that time, I hadn't
known Tuvok was a Starfleet spy.
I wonder who else sent their operatives
to penetrate the tightly woven
fabric of Chakotay's cell.
Chakotay says he has no idea why
he left the shell in his cabin that
night, before beaming over to Voyager
for the first time.
He had thought it was with him.
He really had.
I hear his breathing gradually slow
down as he finishes speaking, my
back resting on his calmly rising
and falling chest, my head on his
shoulder. I cover the back of his
right hand, threading my fingers
through his, and turn my face up
to brush my lips over his
reassuringly. He meets my lips in
a soft grateful kiss, his breath
warm against my cheek.
He shifts backwards and helps me
turn around so that I face him, and
then slips his arms around me, pulling
me over him, letting me cover
his body. I feel the familiar flutter
in my stomach start again as his
hips gently rock against mine, his
half-erect cock jutting against my
groin from between our clothes,
reminding me of his ultimate need for
me. And mine for him. My heart beating
fast, I tighten my arms around
him and press him back, holding
him captive against the backrest,
kissing him hard, my tongue feverishly
dipping into his sweet mouth
and dueling with its mate.
We are both panting by the time
we break, our breathing hitched, our
faces flushed with desire. I want
to grab him and go for it again but
he just holds me in his arms, his
hands rubbing over my back, trying
to calm me down.
"Shh." He kisses me reverently.
"Not now. Later, babe. I promise."
I reluctantly agree, sagging in
his arms again, knowing there are
things still left to be said. It
takes me a few long moments to
compose myself and then I look down
at the shell in his other palm,
casting rainbow hues in the soft
light of his living room.
"It's beautiful, Chak," I whisper.
He sighs and kisses the side of
my neck. "Yes, it is."
I hear the change in his breathing
and know he's thinking troubling
thoughts, though I can't imagine
what could be more troubling than
opening your private life history
in front of someone as he did in
front of me a moment ago.
"Tom," he says as he tugs at my
hand. "I need to ask you something,"
He places his hands on my shoulders,
as he stares into my eyes. "This
thing, it has been on my mind for
the past two months, and I need you
to answer me honestly, without prejudging
my reaction to your answer."
His eyes are sincere. "I just need
Swallowing heavily, I nod at him.
He holds my face in his hands. "Tom,
why did you agree to help
Starfleet track my ship down?"
My first instinct is to get up and
flee, as a small part of my heart
screams that it's the same old thing,
that he's still mistrusting me,
that he thinks I betrayed him. But
his eyes tell a different story, as
he grips my shoulders firmly as
though aware of my inner struggle.
There is a slight desperation in
the dark brown depths that tells me
he really does need to know the
The whole simple truth.
I sigh and close my eyes for a second,
and then I open them to look
into his eyes.
"I needed to get out of Auckland,
Chakotay, even if it was only for a
couple of weeks. I had NO knowledge
whatsoever of any of your bases or
hideouts so I couldn't possibly
have been any real help to Starfleet,
you KNOW that. Sometimes I feel
Captain Janeway knew that too. It was
as if she herself wanted me to get
out of Auckland even if it was just
for a little while. I don't know
why. All I know is that, it was hell
down there for me."
His eyes are sad as he strokes my
cheeks with his fingers and then he
nods in assent as he leans forward
to kiss me again. I close my eyes
and feel his lips and tongue moving
over mine with sweet tenderness,
as a heart-rending lightness invades
He accepts my answers, my heart
says. He understands. Suddenly weak
with relief, I slip my arms around
his waist and sink into his warmth.
"When you were caught." He strokes
my hair, his arms holding me tight,
his breath a tad shaky. "When they
took you away, Tom, I nearly went
I feel a pang of sadness go through
me as I look into his eyes and see
them fill with pain and regret.
I had never before really thought of
how it must have felt to him. Yes,
Torres did tell me how it had
happened, how Chakotay had felt
as if he'd failed me when I was
caught. But to see it with my own
eyes, to notice his sorrow at losing
me on a mission like that, his guilt
at not knowing from beforehand
that his cell was infested with
spies from Starfleet and heaven knew
who else out there, is a revelation
I card my fingers through his short-cropped
hair in a small token of
"And then the trial came." His brow
furrows. "And it was all over the
I sigh. "So, I heard."
I watch his throat convulsing as
his eyes dip to his lap, his brow
knitted in some complex thought,
and then he raises them again. "When
I heard about the admiral, your
father, being on the tribunal..."
"You probably thought I'd get off
easy, huh?" I interrupt him.
He maintains eye contact, his hands
warm behind my neck, fingers
messaging my shoulder blades, and
stays quiet, letting me continue.
"You probably didn't expect me to
be thrown into maximum security for
fifteen years, did you Chak?"
"I'd admit I was shocked, Tom. Shocked
The corners of my mouth twitch,
as suddenly the taste of my own saliva
becomes bitter. I swallow with an
"Don't tell me you missed the whole
media-celebrated public disowning
of Admiral Paris' only son."
There must be something in the tone
of my voice and the grind of my
teeth, because his eyes widen as
he looks deeply into mine, searching
them, somehow managing to read me
like an open book. He takes a deep
breath and takes my hands in his,
rubbing the back of them.
"That was all over the news too,
Memories I haven't thought of in
a long time, memories I haven't
allowed myself to remember in what
seems like forever but in truth is
only a period of a mere two months,
suddenly invade my mental
Happy dirt-covered hands digging
into soft, slippery soil.
A small wooden bucket lying beside
one bare thigh clad in baggy red
bermuda shorts, grimy enough to
keep any six-year old content.
The sound of a child's laughter
in my ear, my cousins Richie and Tammy
bantering in our backyard, piquing
my interest enough to turn around
My eyes instead locking with the
clear blues of my dad's as he stands
under the shade of the elm tree,
tall and dignified as always, quietly
observing me. The sudden smile on
his face at my obvious devotion to
The clear memory of my heart leaping
in my chest at the surge of
euphoria that fills my whole being
at making him happy.
At making him proud.
"Tom, I am sorry for what happened,"
Chakotay says suddenly, bringing
me out of my painful recollection,
not aware of the track the train of
my thoughts had taken a moment ago.
"But you should remember," he
continues softly. "Sometimes people
say or do things at the spur of
the moment, things they didn't really
mean, things that haunt them for
the rest of their lives."
I smile weakly at his noble effort
to make me feel better, but there's
too much bitterness, too much pain
in my heart, as far as my
relationship with my father is concerned.
There's too much water under
the bridge for it to be conceived
"Thanks, Chak." I shake my head.
"But somehow I doubt the admiral ever
wavers from a decision he's made."
He sighs. "I am just asking you
to keep an open mind."
Though, I wish it were that easy.
"Because I know what it's like,"
he says with a pained edge to his
husky voice. "To be at odds with
I look at him then. His eyes are
lowered to our joined hands, but the
strife on his face is enough to
explain the immense conflict within
Leaving the tribe to join Starfleet.
Disappointing his father.
Rejecting his tribe's customs to
embrace the New World's ways but not
fitting there either. Always being
a contrary. In every world. In
every place. His father's death
before either of them was able to
reconcile their differences. Losing
that chance forever.
To have the weight of that kind
of guilt on one's shoulders, regrets
that can no longer be rectified,
is suddenly too hard to imagine, too
difficult to comprehend. All of
a sudden, my own pain seems too
I touch his face. "Yes, you do."
I feel as if a gift has been given to
me, and probably it has. "You DO
know it." On an impulse, I throw my
arms around him and hug him fiercely,
kissing his face. "You, you
really understand, Chak." My voice
shakes with relief.
He hugs me back, his arms tight
around me and his fingers tangling
inside my hair. "Yes, I do, I know
how you feel, Tom," he sighs
"Chak, I thought I had lost you."
I bite my lip, struggling to keep my
voice steady. God, if it hadn't
been for the shell...
He pulls me back then, his eyes
staring into mine. "I am right here,
Tom." He kisses the tip of my nose.
"You got me."
And then, his eyes locked with mine,
I watch as a strange, alien
statement passes over his face.
His eyes sparkle as if rejuvenated
with a new life, and I stare at
him in confusion, as he opens my hand
and settles it palm up over his
I gape at him in stupefaction as
he slips the shell inside my open
"I want you to keep this shell from
What is going on? I drop the shell
back into his hand as if I've been
"What are you saying, Chak?" I squeak.
"It's your shell. It belongs to
"Yes." Chakotay picks it up and
puts it in my palm again. "It belongs
to me and I want to give it to you.
I am giving it to you, Tom.
Remember, it can be passed on to
anyone I want like Taleero passed it
on to me?"
"And you remember what happened
to Taleero after he gave this to you?"
I frown. "He got KILLED."
"Tom, you don't understand..."
I throw down my hands in frustration.
"I understand perfectly,
Chakotay. This shell looks AFTER
you. It keeps you safe, that's why it
was given to you. It's too important
to you. I told you what happened
when you went down to Ocampa without
carrying it with you. You DIED.
It's charmed, Chak. It watches over
"Don't you see, that's all changed
now? You had the shell with you and
you saved my life. You hold my life
in your hands now."
"What has that got to do with anything?"
"It has everything to do with the
shell and with you and me, don't you
see? You saved my life, you hold
my life in YOUR hands now. My keeping
the shell is of no consequence whatsoever
I stare at him. Could this be what
I think he's saying? But what about
what happened to Taleero? And to
Chakotay when he didn't have the
shell with him?
"I don't understand," I prod.
He holds my shoulders in place as
he struggles to put his words
together. "The point is, I'd rather,
I'd rather have the guy who saved
MY life and who is now the keeper
of... my soul." He halts cautiously
and then continues. "I'd rather
have him safe and sound, you know. I'd
rather have YOU safe and sound,
It IS what I thought he was saying.
But what about the fact that it
was given to him by someone who
was from his own tribe, his own
"Don't you see?" His eyes are shining.
"This shell is passed on in the
name of the bond. It's a symbol
of making a person one of your own. Of
taking someone in your tribe, in
your family, in your heart. To bond
with someone. We bonded on the Ocampa
stairs when you saved my life
and called me on the life-debt.
I want to give this to you to reaffirm
my faith in our bond, Tom."
I am speechless. I don't know how
to respond. He stares at me, his
eyes searching mine for any clue,
waiting for my response, but I am so
overwhelmed by his words and his
sentiments that I mutely stare at
him - stunned into silence.
He mistakes my silence for rejection.
The light in his eyes suddenly
dims with hurt and disappointment.
"Unless," he stammers, suddenly
looking very unsure, upping my
astonishment a few notches. "Unless
you don't," His throat convulses
with obvious pain. "You don't WANT
to be one of my own, I mean, as a
friend, and a bond-mate and --."
Dammit, does he really think that
I would give up the chance to be his
friend, his bond-mate?
"Chakotay." I grasp his shoulders
and pull him unresisting to me. "I'd
love to be your bond-mate. I'd be
honored." I hug him tightly, feeling
his heart thudding against my chest.
"I just -- I just don't think I
am worthy of it."
He crushes me to him. "I deem you
worthy. I want to make your mine,
Tom." He pulls back a little to
look at my face and the look of
profound relief in his eyes, at
whatever he sees there, is priceless.
"You really DO mean it."
"Of course I do, Chakotay. I love
you," I blurt out, and then freeze
as I feel him stiffen in my arms.
I wasn't supposed to say this. It's
too soon. Things are moving very
fast. This was supposed to be my
secret. I have no idea how he'll
He holds my face between his hands
and I scrunch my eyes shut, not
having the strength to see the ridicule
in his eyes, as he shifts back
to look at me.
I start as I feel his thumb stroking
my cheek and feeling somewhat
baffled, open my eyes to stare at
He groans, "I don't ever wanna let
I blink in amazement at his chiseled
features, notice the suspicious
shine in his beautiful brown eyes,
and feel my heart jump in my throat
as he leans forward to kiss me first
on my right cheek, then on my
left, and then on my chin.
"Tell me, Tom, how much?" He mumbles
before he covers my lips with
I moan into the sizzling hot kiss,
his mouth moving against mine, his
velvet lips working their magic
on my frazzled nerves. I wrap my
fingers in his hair and disengage
"How much what?" I pant, feeling
my cock surging to life to thresh
inside my pants.
He kisses my eyelids and zeroes
in on my lips again, "Tell me how much
you -- love me," and then presses
me back on the couch, sliding on top
"I love you, Chak," I moan into
his mouth, as he slides my tee shirt
off my torso and I feel his hands
sliding over my chest and his
fingers tangling into my chest hair.
"I love you so much that it
hurts, I love you so much that it's
impossible to keep it inside me
"Then show me, Tom." He looks into
my eyes. "I want you to show me how
much you love me."
"I... I am afraid," I gulp.
A frown appears on his brow. "What
are you afraid of?"
"That... that it won't be enough."
I wet my suddenly dry lips, my
heart hammering inside my chest.
"That I'll fail you again."
He laughs, delighted. "You can never
fail me, Tom. You didn't before
either. It wasn't your fault. What
matters is the present, this
lifetime. In this lifetime, you
saved me. My life belongs to you now.
Knowing that is enough for me."
His voice takes on a husky edge. "Your
love is enough for me, Tom, you're
all I ever wanted."
I feel tears brimming in my eyes.
He leans forward and brushes his
lips over my nose. "I said, show me,
I don't make him wait anymore. I
push him back on the couch and
pulling his tee shirt out of his
jeans, I peel it off his chest and
over his arms in one swift motion.
I then cover his body with mine,
his skin hot and slippery against
my chest, and kiss him frenziedly,
thrusting my tongue into his hot
mouth. Groaning against my nipping
teeth, he undulates his hips against
mine, his hands clutching my ass
as my fingers claw at the zipper
of his jeans.
"Not enough space," I growl with
frustration, trying to settle
comfortably on the unyielding couch.
And with that I find myself airborne,
as Chakotay picks me up off him
and standing up from the couch,
strides off towards his bedroom,
clutching me in his arms like a
prize won at a bounty fair.
"Um, Chak?" I manage, as the swishing
doors admit us to his bedroom
and I am unceremoniously dumped
in the middle of his large bed.
"Lots of space here," he grins at
me, then laughs at the incredulous
look on my face, the sound of his
voice beautiful in my ears. He leans
over me, and sliding his fingers
inside the belt-line of my pants,
yanks them open and slides them
and my underwear down my hips. I feel
myself turning hot at his long appreciative
look down my body, and as
he stands back and tugs at his own
jeans, a feeling of déjà vu passes
I spring forward on my knees and
grab his hands, halting him in his
task. "Oh NO, you don't," I growl,
and wrapping my arms around his
waist, pull him roughly to me, sinking
my face into his warm skin.
With a drawn-out moan he throws
his head back, as my tongue dips into
his navel to tease him for a second
or two before spiraling its way up
his abdomen and onto his chest,
my teeth tugging at his dark nipples.
I can hear him gasping and before
he can take another breath, I have
spun him around and have laid him
out on the bed under me like a
five-course meal, ready to be devoured.
And devour him I do, as my
eyes first rake up and down his
glistening, smooth skin, and then my
head dips and my mouth captures
his lips eagerly parted in
anticipation. He chuckles against
my mouth, his hands gripping my bare
ass from behind and kisses me back,
his hips thrusting upward to tease
my hard, burning cock.
"What's so FUNNY?" I pout at him,
as I shift up to unlatch our mouths,
and yank his jeans open, finally
sliding them off his rocking hips.
The seashell slides out of the side
pocket of his jeans and into my
hand, and I hold it into my palm
for a second, feeling its warmth
transferring to me. I then squeeze
it once, reverently, and place it
on the side table, catching his
reassured glance. I bend down to lick
his nose tip to add to his reassurance
and feel him shaking with much
merriment beneath me.
"YOU are," he laughs, flashing his
dimples, his hand sliding over my
back, tracing fiery trails up my
spine with his skilled fingers.
"Spirits, if you could just see
the look on your face, Tom."
"Hey, it's not MY fault that you
look so damn scrumptious that..." I
part his thighs with my knees to
settle between them, and groan as our
nova hot cocks come into perfect
alignment with each other. "That... I
could just eat you."
"Then eat me," he grunts, sliding
his fingers inside my hair. "Take
I look into his eyes then, wanting
to confirm his longing for me, and
am startled by the play of emotion
on his features. His eyes sparkle
with warmth and tenderness, as he
holds my face in his palms and looks
deeply into my eyes.
"I love you, Tom," he tells me.
I forget everything then.
I forget Lovaugim. I forget the
Maquis. I forget the Kazon and Seska
and the bullies and the gangs and
all the shit that I experienced in
that other lifetime, all the non-reality
which only I was cursed to
remember and live out in its abominable
I forget all my failures and my
loss and my pain.
I forget it all. For none of that
I just see the concern in his beautiful
eyes as he kisses me over and
over again, calling my name, trying
to rouse me out of my daze. I just
hear his affirmation looping into
my mind like a delightfully stuck
favorite record. I love you. I love
you. I love you, Tom.
I fall over his lips and kiss him
once, and kiss him again, and
grabbing his wrists and pulling
them over his head, I kiss him over
and again and harder than ever.
Somewhere in the haze, I hear the
sound of his delighted laughter
trickling into my consciousness
once again and I smile into his warm,
I love you, Tom, he said.
God, that's all I ever needed to
know. I believe I can wrap my whole
life around these four beautiful
words and spend an eternity
worshiping this wonderful, enigmatic
I love you.
I love you, Chakotay.