Starting Over 3/?

Pairing: P/T C/7 (implied) C/P eventually

Major Character death: In the beginning. 

Rated R for language and a good punch or two.

It is too long? Too much chatter? Too slow moving?

Feedback is welcome

Starting Over
By Maxine

In the weeks that followed Chakotay went about his work, trying not to worry about how Tom was holding up. Their weekly comm talks showed him that Tom was doing well. He was getting better at the parenting thing. Miral seemed to accept her mother's absence with little problem. Tom's mother was in the process of divorcing the admiral and it seemed strange to Tom but the admiral wasn't fighting her at all. Everything that his mother had asked for he had given her. Tom said it seemed as if his father had finally decided that he wasn't the be all and end all he thought he was. Chakotay chuckled to himself and thought `No the admiral knew he had no choice in the matter.'

Tom was still looking for a piloting job outside of Starfleet. He had a few offers but most of them would take him away from Miral for days at a time and he didn't want that at all. Miral and her grandmother 
had daily outings they even went to Italy for the day last week. Tom 
was convinced it was for his mother's benefit more than Miral's His 
mom had always wanted to go there but he father was always too busy to take her and she didn't want to go alone. Though Tom couldn't 
figure out how much company a two-year-old could be on a trip like 
that but it made his mother happy so he couldn't say no.

Chakotay had even spoken to Kathryn twice since he had been back. She and her husband were going to be in the Dorvan system next 
week and they were coming for dinner. Chakotay was looking forward to that, he missed his best friend. They hadn't had too many chances to get together since Kathryn had accepted her new commission. It was time to catch up. Chakotay really like her husband too, he was the 
perfect person for Kathryn, Chakotay thought. Though a few of the old 
crew didn't see how she could be with anyone other than Chakotay. 
They all thought Kathryn and Chakotay would be together when they got back to the Alpha Quadrant.

He got a surprising call from Seven. She said she was concerned about him after B'Elanna's dead and she wanted to make sure he was doing well. He smiled at the idea of Seven being concerned. She apologized for not being at the funeral but her studies hadn't allowed her the time to leave. She had sent her condolences to Tom and her regrets that she couldn't make it. When Seven and Tom spoke they had made arrangements to get together next month when her schedule was clear. Chakotay thought that Seven had come further along in her push for humanity in the past year than she had in the four years on Voyager. Obviously being on Vulcan had helped her tremendously and for that Chakotay was glad. 

Chakotay visited with his mother and his family regularly trying to keep the feelings of loneliness at bay. Though being around his nieces and nephews didn't really help. He loved them all dearly but sometimes seeing them running and playing with their parents 
reminded him of how empty his life was. His house wasn't really a 
home. All his life he had equated the word home with family, two 
parents, children, aunts and uncles, cousins. There was none of that 
in his house. He never had his family over for dinner or for any of 
the spiritual ceremonies that went on in their lives. Chakotay went to their homes. He just couldn't bring himself to prepare everything by himself. When he was at his mother's he would help them prepare. 
He loved that feeling of togetherness. But in his house it wouldn't 
be there. No lifemate to share that special feeling of joy as the food and table was prepared. No special someone to say thanks to the 
spirits with for all they had. Chakotay always thanked the spirits for everything he did have but he knew it wasn't the same as when his 
parents would sit together silently offering thanks. He remembered as 
a child watching them and seeing the mirrored contentment on their 


The day that Kathryn and Donald were coming for dinner had arrived. Chakotay spent the day cleaning his house, not that it was dirty but he did it anyway. He prepared as much of the meal ahead of time that he could then he decided to meditate because the time he would usually do it would be spent with his friend and her husband. Slipping into the spirit plain he found his guide waiting for him as she usually was. 

"Greetings sister."

"Greetings my child, you seem a bit happier today. Your captain is coming for a visit."

"Yes Kathryn and her husband are coming for dinner. It will be good to see her again."

"Yes it will. Have you spoken to Thomas lately?"

"Yes yesterday after I spoke to you. He is well."

"That is what he told you is it?"

"Of course"

"He is not well. His heart hurts."

"Of course it hurts he is still grieving his wife's dead."

"No that is not what makes his heart hurt. It is because he believes his beloved is lonely. He believes there is nothing he can do to help."

"Are you telling me that he wants to go to B'Elanna?"

"No B'Elanna is not his beloved. He does not want to die. He wants to live but he is only existing right now. He needs help."

"He will ask if he needs it."

"He will not ask for the real help he needs. You will need to offer it to him."

"What can I do to help him?"

"You will find the answer soon." With that the wolf left him and he was back in his living room. Perplexed to say the least. Why hadn't Tom told him he was having trouble? Why didn't Chakotay see it in Tom's eyes or hear it in his voice when they had spoken?

Sometimes his spirit guide caused more frustration than he cared to 
think about. Putting his medicine bundle back where it was kept he 
said a prayer of thanks to the spirits and went to shower. An hour later Kathryn and Donald were at the door. Chakotay welcomed them, offering a drink and a seat. They caught up on things. Then Kathryn brought up what Chakotay would realize was a way to help Tom.

"You know Chakotay while we were waiting for a hover car I overheard something. Why didn't you tell me that Dorvan was in short supply of pilots? I thought things were going well here. The person I heard talking said that they were having a hard time getting things from Trebus because they didn't have the pilots to fly back and forth. They could only do four runs a week and if they had a couple of more pilots, even one more it would make things a lot better here."

"Honestly Kathryn I had no idea. I guess I hadn't noticed the problem. There always seemed to be someone available for me when I need to go off world."

"Of course there is Chakotay, the people on Dorvan would drop 
everything they were doing to help you out. Don't you know that?"

"Oh please Kathryn don't be silly." Chakotay snorted at the idea that anyone would go out of his or her way to be available for him at a moment's notice.

"You are the one who is being silly. When I gave the hover car's driver our final destination he apologized continually for making us wait. He said and I quote `If the dispatcher had realized that you were going to see Chakotay you would not have had to wait at all.' You are well loved here and why shouldn't you be? You are one of the rebuilders of Dorvan and the mighty warrior who returned home against all odds."

At that comment Chakotay had to laugh. He was also surprised to be 
informed that the people of his world actually looked at him with such reverence. He never once thought of himself as anything more than one of the many who worked together to rebuild their homes and lives.
"I think maybe you just ran into one person with a little hero worship problem."

"Honestly Chakotay I didn't see any blind faith in the guy's eyes it was true admiration and respect." Donald said. Even he was impressed with all Chakotay and others had done. "You know I was here soon after everything was over and I have to tell you that I am amazed in all that has been accomplished in such a short time. It was only three years ago but you really can't tell how bad it truly was."

"Thank you for saying that Don. But we still have a long way to go. To the east of here it is still pretty much a wasteland but we are moving along. Many of the Maquis have settled here and more are coming as they are released from prison or coming out of hiding. It seems that the word is still spreading slowly that the Federation has ran the Cardassians out."

"Chakotay have you heard from Tom lately?" Kathryn wanted to change the subject she could see that Chakotay was becoming upset 
thinking about all the devastation on his world.

"Yes as a matter of fact I spoke to him yesterday. He is still looking for a job. He hasn't left Starfleet yet though."

"Why don't you let him know about the pilot's position here on Dorvan?"

"I don't think he wants to leave earth Kathryn. He is settled and happy where he is."

"Are you sure? I spoke to Miriam last week and she mentioned that Tom seemed a bit restless. Almost like he was itching to get out 
from under. You know that Miriam and Owen are divorcing right?"

"Yes I knew that. Tom said that his father wasn't giving his mother a hard time. Has that changed?"

"No Owen seems to be cooperating. Actually I had a little talk with him when he came to ask me to help him persuade Miriam not to go through with it." Chakotay saw a gleam in her eyes that made him shudder a bit.

"Kathryn what did you say to him?" Chakotay had to laugh he knew his friend very well and could almost guess what she had done, especially after the way she spoke at B'Elanna's funeral.

"Oh I just suggested that he not fight her. That he accepts that fact that he had pushed her a bit too far this time." Again she seemed to have this primal look on her face and Chakotay laughed out loud.

"I think you and I had the same conversation with the admiral 

"Really? He didn't mention speaking to you. Other than telling me that he couldn't figure out how I dealt with `that Maquis' all those years. He seemed a bit put out when I told him `that Maquis' saved my butt more times than I cared to count and the question was how he dealt with ME all those years." The three of them laughed and Don nodded his agreement.

"I don't envy you all those years with no escape Chakotay. I know I look forward to the times when we are going in different directions especially when Kath is hunting for coffee." Don smiled at his wife with pure love in his eyes. Chakotay knew that they both loved each other completely.

"Well, you sir, are the lucky one because good coffee can never be as far away from her as when we were in the Delta Quadrant. I actually thought that a couple of times she was going to kill Neelix when he came up with a new coffee substitute."

"I was not that bad and you know it Chakotay."

"Really, well if that wasn't bad I would hate to see what bad is."

"I can see that you are in bitchy mode again. And here I was thinking that seeing me would make sure you weren't."

`I am not in bitchy mode though cranky is a word that is coming to mind right now about you. So I will get you your coffee and yet it is the real thing. Actually it's from my sister's private stock. She has it shipped here from earth. She claims to have been spoiled while she was there many years ago." Chakotay went about getting coffee and tea. "Don what would you like to drink?"

"I would like some more tea thank you." Looking into his empty cup "This is really good."

"I am glad you like it, it's a blend my mother came up with years ago. She passed the recipe on to me because I was the only one of her children who didn't switch to coffee when they were adults. Something I think it still unnerves her about the others." 

"Well tell her that as a sort of tea expert I said she should market this blend it would do really well on earth if not other places." Taking the newly refilled cup and drinking some Don had a look that Chakotay could only describe as saying '`pure heaven' 

"As much as I love my coffee, my husband loves his tea and if he says its good Chakotay you must believe him."

"I will pass the compliment on to her. Thank you."

"So Chakotay getting back to Tom. Why don't you let him know that there is a pilot's position available here on Dorvan and let him decide if he wants to give it a try or not."

"I will mention it to him. But I really don't think he will take it." Praying that Kathryn wouldn't pick up on the fact that Chakotay was unsure if he could handle having Tom living so close to him.

"Well he just might surprise you." Kathryn was not about to tell him the entire conversation she had with Miriam. She wouldn't want him to get his hopes up. Miriam had said that while Chakotay was around Tom seemed to glow but as soon as he left Tom seemed to slide 
into a quiet state of resignation.  She had told Kathryn that she believed her son was actually fonder of Chakotay than he had led 
anyone to believe. 

Miriam also told Kathryn about the times that Tom had spoken about 
Chakotay when he first returned home and she knew that her son was 
attracted to the man but afraid to admit it for many reason. Kathryn 
was hoping that if the two men were to be within close proximity of 
each other that they would finally admit to each other how they really felt.

"I will look into the matter and if there is a need for pilots I will mention it to Tom when I speak to him again. But again I am not sure if he will want to move so far from his mother right now and there is Miral to consider."

"Miral would love it here and there would be no short supply of children to play with or adults wanting to dote on her, yourself included. I saw the way you fawned all over her during the wake and funeral." She smiled at him. Kathryn knew that Chakotay had always wanted children of his own and because he didn't have any as of yet he spread that fatherly love to all the children he came in contact with.

"She is an easy child to love." Chakotay smiled remembering how easy Miral took to him and actually had called him dada a couple 
of times when Tom wasn't around. 

"Yes she is, so I don't think there will be a problem in that department. Besides who says that Miriam wouldn't be willing to move 
here with them? Once her divorce is final she has no obligation to 
stay. Tom's sisters have their own lives and she would want to help 
Tom as much as possible. I think she would actually enjoy the change. 

You know she never was too comfortable living the Starfleet high 
life. She is more of a down to earth kind of woman. I remember many 
years ago she and Owen fighting about moving to that house she lives in now. She wanted to move away from San Francisco out into the 
desert country actually, but Owen wouldn't hear of it. His attitude was that Starfleet officers belonged near headquarters so that they could be there in a moments notice."

"Your father didn't agree with that, you grew up in Indiana. That is no where near as close to Starfleet as the admiral would be happy with."

"My father may have been Owen's friend but believe me he thought Owen's attitude about something's, including where Starfleet officers should live, were a bit too over the top for my father."

"Well again I will look into the matter and if there is a need I will let Tom know. He does want out of Starfleet in the worst way. I guess I could also have information on housing available for him too just in case." The wheels were turning in Chakotay's head and Kathryn could see them working overtime. The entire time Don just sat back and worked his wife work her magic. They had spoke about Chakotay and Tom many times. He knew everything about both men. Even the fact that Chakotay was in love with the younger man and did the gallant thing by not perusing the matter once he found out that B'Elanna Torres was interested in Tom Paris. Again he felt admiration for this man who was his wife's saving grace for so many years. He knew about the struggles and the arguments they had over the years. He also knew that more times then not Chakotay conceded to Kathryn's thoughts on matters even when he knew and was proven in the end to be right. Kathryn told Donald that never once did Chakotay throw it in her face that she had made a wrong choice. When they return to the Alpha Quadrant Chakotay had defended Kathryn's actions, had backed her at every board of inquiry. Yes he was a good man before today Don had thought maybe too good to be true. But sitting here listening he knew that thinking wasn't right. Chakotay was protective of his friends in the most unselfish manor he could be. A good man to have on your side in a fight of any kind and an enemy of the worst kind. He felt rather sorry for Admiral Paris. 

Kathryn had mentioned that Miriam believed Chakotay threatened the 
admiral in some way. Admiral Paris was just too agreeable to not have 
been shown that he had no choices. Donald knew that Kathryn had 
threatened Owen with some information she had. He didn't know what it was but Kathryn said it would put the admiral's career in the red for 
a long time to come. 

While Don was lost in thought Chakotay had left the room, he turned 
to his wife,"You know if I didn't know any better Kathryn I would think 
that you set Chakotay up here." Donald teased his wife"Me? I would never do such a thing."

"Uh huh sure you wouldn't"

"How could I set him up? I didn't know about the pilot shortage until I got here."

"Oh I don't know I just know you and I think you are trying to play matchmaker here."

"Keep your voice down. I don't know how Chakotay will feel if he knows I told you about his feelings for Tom." 

"Kath you know you are a lousy liar when it comes to me. You know that Chakotay would give anything for Tom to be in his life every day. Hell I can even see it when he speaks his name. Don't do anything to hurt him Kath. Maybe it's a good idea to just let things go." Donald whispered "I know that Tom cares about Chakotay and Miriam is positive that it's more than just a friendly caring. I want them both to be happy and I believe that together that is exactly what they will be." 
Determination filled her voice. "I am going to do whatever I can to 
make sure that man in there is as deliriously happy as I am." Smiling 
at her husband she leaned in and kissed him.

"Okay that's enough now. Keep that stuff for private moments." Chakotay chuckled as he walked back in the room.

"Oh you are no fun Chakotay." Kathryn giggled.

"I try Kathryn I try." 

Just then the comm unit beeped. 

"That's strange no one calls me this late." Chakotay got up and went to the computer. Opening the signal he saw Tom and immediately got worried.

"Tom is everything alright?"

"Sure Cha I just wanted to called today because I knew that Kathryn was coming for dinner. I wanted to talk to her before she left on her next adventure in deep space. That is if it's okay with you."

"Of course it's okay." Getting up from the desk "Kathryn it's Tom he asked to speak to you." Kathryn walked over to the desk and sat in the chair that Chakotay had just vacated.

"Hello Tom what a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?"

"Hi Kathryn. Well my mom asked that if I spoke to you to tell you that everything was final and she was taking your advice. She is selling the house and going to come and live with me. Also I wanted to say good bye we didn't get a chance to talk much last time you were here."

"Well I am glad that things worked out for her Tom. It will also help you to have her there. It will be easier than bringing Miral back and forth and if you have to work late or be off world overnight I am sure Miral would prefer her own bed."

"Yes it will help a lot. I am still looking for a job that won't take me away from here for more then 8 or 10 hours a day. But not having much luck earth seems to have it's fill of pilots."

"You know I was just telling Chakotay that I heard they are looking for pilots here on Dorvan." Chakotay jumped in "Kathryn I told you that I wanted to look into the matter before I mentioned it to Tom just in case it wasn't true."

`Well now I have mentioned it to him and he can look into it himself. Can't you Tom?" Kathryn smiled sweetly and in the background Donald could be seen shaking his head, that was if anyone bothered to look. He was going to have to talk to his wife about being discreet.

"I suppose I could. I wouldn't want to put Chakotay out in anyway."

Leaning in so Tom could see him Chakotay answered "Tom you know you wouldn't be putting me out I already told you that you are welcome here anytime for as long as you like. How about I call you tomorrow after I make some inquiries and if there is an opening I will see about getting an interview set up for you in say a week?"

"That would be great Chakotay. I would appreciate it."

"You know that you would have to move here are you okay with that?"

"Actually mom and I were talking about that tonight. There are too many memories in this house and maybe moving would be a good 
idea. once she sells her house. Besides my house is Starfleet subsidized and when I leave I will have to move out anyway."

"But do you want to leave earth?" Chakotay asked as Kathryn got up from the chair allowing him to sit again. She walked over to Donald grinning so brightly that he felt the need to cover his eyes to block the glare.

"Again I will say that if I didn't know any better I would swear you set Chakotay up." He whispered to her as he kissed her cheek. Kathryn didn't answer she just turned her attention back to her best friend.

"Honestly Cha it doesn't matter where I live as long as I can provide my daughter with a safe and happy place to live."

"Alright than I will look into the piloting job and let you know tomorrow."

"Thanks Cha you are the best." Tom's smile couldn't have been 
brighter if had been fueled by a warp core.

"No problem Tom I will talk to you tomorrow. After work okay?"

"Sure thing Cha, speak to you tomorrow Good Night." Than raising his voice "Good Bye Kathryn and Donald safe flying."

"Bye Tom give your mother my love." Kathryn yelled back and 
Chakotay signed off and walked back to the couch.

"You know Kathryn if your husband wasn't here I would kick your cute little ass for that. You know that I can't do this again. I can't be near him all the time. You remember how crazy I was those last couple of years when he was with B'Elanna." He stated plainly not the least bit concerned about making his feelings for Tom known to Donald. He had figured Kathryn had already told him. Chakotay knew that Kathryn told Donald everything about their seven-year trek across the DQ.

"Chakotay, first off you would never kick my cute little ass ever. Second off you will be able to do anything you need to do. Three off B'Elanna isn't here anymore and I don't think she would begrudge you or Tom if you found happiness being near each other."

"Tom is not going to come here and fall into my arms, even if he was interested in men. I doubt that it would be me he would look to for that kind of a relationship. I think he sees me as the father he never had."

"Oh please you don't believe that crap anymore than I do. I think that if Tom were looking for a relationship with anyone regardless of the gender, he would look for someone who was strong, confident, caring and who wouldn't let him get away with shit. And you my friend fit that bill to a tee." Kathryn stated smugly "Donald how do you put up with her smug attitude?"

"Probably the same way you did, I just yes her to death and 
hand her coffee." Putting actions to his words he poured his wife 
another cup of coffee and handed it to her. All three of them 

The evening ended all too soon for Chakotay's liking but his guest 
had to leave early the next morning. He showed them to their room and said his good nights. Than he was off to his room with his thoughts filled with the idea of Tom being in the same area as him and all he would be able to do for him. Chakotay held no thoughts that there would ever be more than friendship between the two of them. Though in the back of his mind he held out hope for more.

Back on earth as Tom cleaned up the house putting Miral's toys away and cleaning the kitchen his thoughts were on Dorvan and being able to be close to Chakotay. "Friendship is a good thing. We can work with friendship. I can work with friendship." Speaking to himself "Just to be near Cha on a regular basis would be good enough. 

Maybe I could even help him find that special someone he needs in his life. Yeah right like you would want to see him with anyone but 
yourself." He mentally slapped himself. "Chakotay is not into men. 
Even if he was he would never look to me for a relationship, I think 
he sees me as a little brother or a son of sorts." Turning off the lights on the main floor, Tom walked up to his room and got ready for bed. Friendship is a good thing. He kept telling himself as he fell asleep. That night again he dreamt of dark hair and eyes. Of strong loving arms wrapped around him.


The following morning Chakotay went to town and inquired about 
piloting positions. Kathryn's statement was in fact true. Dorvan could use a couple of pilots. Chakotay spoke to the supervisor and when he told him he had a friend who might be interested the gentleman jumped at the chance. Chakotay filled him in on who the person was, mainly because he feared that there might be a problem because of who Tom's father was. Actually him knew there really wouldn't be but he did it just to so when he spoke to Tom he could honestly say there was no problem. When that was done Chakotay decided to look into possible housing for Tom and his family. There wasn't much available at the time but again he wanted to give Tom as many options as he could. In his heart he knew he wanted Tom and Miral to live with him, but then again could he survive having Tom under his roof every night and still be just a friend? "Well we will just worry about that after Tom gets here. 

That evening he spoke to Tom again.

"Hi Cha! How was your visit with Kathryn?"

"Hello Tom. It was fun. I really like Donald too. He seems to 
keep Kathryn in line if you know what I mean." Chakotay and Tom both smiled. They knew that it took a special person to keep their former captain happy and centered on herself.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. So is what she said about the piloting jobs true? Did you get a chance to find out?" Chakotay actually thought Tom seemed excited about the idea of coming here to live.

"Yes as a matter of fact there are a couple of positions open. Wilco,the supervisor,told me they could use at least two, if not more. I told him about you and he said he would be happy to speak to you."

"Did you tell him who I was Chakotay? I am worried that coming there for work might put a few people off. Seeing how my father is partially responsible for Dorvan's troubles."

"Tom, you know my people do not hold the sin of the father against the son or vice versa. I did,however,tell him your name and who your father was. He did not care. I gave him all the information about you and your background. Only that which he could find out through public records of course. You can tell him anything else you think he may need to know. He seemed eager to speak to you."

"Well if they don't care who my father is. I guess I wouldn't worry about it. I spoke to my mom this afternoon and explained about the possible position and believe it or not she thinks it's a great idea. And she said that she would love to come with me. She wants out of here almost as much as I do."

"Wow. I am surprised your mom would want to leave earth. But I won't argue with her." Chakotay smiled remembering the look of pure fury on Miriam Paris' face when she was going at her husband. 

"Nope don't argue with her. So is the end of the week too soon for us to come there? I figured could use a couple of days to get acclimated before I speak to anyone. Of course assuming I get the job I will have to find some place for us to live."

"Tom don't worry about that. I have no problems with the three of you staying with me for a time. I have more then enough room." Chakotay felt a bit shaky he was hoping Tom would take him up on the offer but then again he was scared if he did.

"Thank you Cha. We will try not to get in your way or upset your routine too much." Tom was ecstatic at the offer, he just hoped that Chakotay wouldn't figure it out, not just yet.

"Well then it's settled you will stay here until you want to leave. I need to go now though. My mother is expecting me for dinner. I will talk to you in a day or two. Do you want me to arrange for transportation for you?"

"Nah, I can do that. I will talk to my mom tomorrow and let you know when exactly to expect us. But I think it will be Friday or Saturday if you can arrange for me to speak to whomever I need to on Monday I would appreciate that a lot."

"I can do that for you and I am looking forward to saying the three of you again. Good Night Tom."

"Night Cha, dream sweet." 

The two men signed off feeling excitement and a bit of trepidation, 
wondering how they would handle being so close but not being able to 
get closer. Chakotay decided that he would do his best not to make 
Tom feel uncomfortable and Tom decided to go with the flow.