By Morticia


ST: Voyager C/P

Rating. SLASH, m/m NC-17

Archive: Anywhere, just let me know, please

Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al are Paramount's (lucky devils) Angel is
mine (yippee!)

Part 27


When I returned to Voyager from the surface of V'rakn, I had a long
conference with the Doctor and then gathered my thoughts before
summoning Chakotay to my ready room.

"Captain?" He said questioningly as he entered.

"Call me Kathryn," I replied gently, gesturing him to a seat "Coffee?

"Tea, thank you. What's this about? Are you ready to tell me why
we've come here?" Chakotay asked

I knew that he'd been dying of curiosity since my abrupt course
change but he'd respected my refusal to explain.

"Yes, and I appreciate the fact that you didn't question my decision
not to tell you before."

Chakotay gave me a wide, lazy smile

"You're the Captain, anyway I figured you'd tell me sooner or later."

I handed him his tea and was careful to wait until he had put it down
on the table before I continued to speak

"We came here for Tom. The Y'ndorians told me that there was a chance
of a cure for him here and I have been down there discussing the
matter with the V'rakn'hal government."

"What did they say? Can they cure him?" Chakotay nearly shouted,
jerking in his seat with excitement.

"Perhaps. It's not as straightforward as I was hoping. There are
several problems. First off, they can definitely cure Tom's condition
but there's only a 50/50 chance of him being better off because of
the procedure."

"The operation was a success but the patient died?" Chakotay muttered


"Old saying."

"Yes, well it's oddly appropriate. The procedure would mean Tom being
immersed in a regeneration tank and his body being subjected to a
cell by cell clone replacement. It would take about a month to
complete and no one would know whether his brain survived the
operation intact until the whole process was over."

"So instead of being paralyzed with an intact brain he might be
mobile but brain damaged?" Chakotay asked in horror.

"Essentially, although the V'rakn'hal medics have clearly stated that
they would not be prepared to revive him if that was the outcome." I
replied gently and waited for that to sink in. Chakotay went almost
white, as he understood what I was saying.

"So Tom has a 50/50 chance of either a total cure or death."


"Those odds are not acceptable. I will not risk his life!" he shouted
suddenly, jumping to his feet and pacing the room like a caged Targ.

"It's not your choice to make, Chakotay, it's Tom's." I reminded him

"So you are going to let him do it?" he asked incredulously

"As I said, there are several problems. That is the first. The second
is that I am not prepared to put nearly 140 lives on hold unless the
crew all agree that they are prepared to wait."

"You're going to put Tom's life to the vote? That's disgusting."

"I thought you objected to the procedure?" I reminded him

"I do, but I also object to the thought that no-one could be bothered
to wait for him to try it if that's his choice, it's only a month

"That's the final problem.  The cure will take a huge amount of
energy. While the V'rakn'hal are quite prepared to treat Tom as
a `humanitarian' gesture, they require that we provide the energy.
Voyager can barely function as it is. We are held together by
sticking plaster and elastic. The amount of energy they are talking
about will drain our reserves, put the replicators off line
indefinitely, close the holodecs and restrict us to warp 6 maximum
until we can find a new source of energy.  It could add months to our
journey. I cannot do that to the crew without their agreement."

I saw Chakotay reluctantly absorb my words. "So what are you planning
to do?"

"After Tom has gone to bed tonight, I will signal an all quarters and
tell everyone of the situation. If, and only if, they agree we will
bring the matter up to Tom. If the vote goes against him he must
never know the chance existed."

"It would destroy him." Chakotay whispered softly.


"That's a lot of people to keep a secret. Maybe it would be better to
let the matter drop here and now. Tom is fine now; he has me to take
care of him. He's accepted his life. I don't want to risk losing him
or his finding out at a later date that the crew refused to help

I was completely caught off guard by his comment. Surely Chakotay
couldn't honestly prefer the situation to continue as it was?

"You don't have the right Chakotay. Neither of us does. He must
decide for himself, IF the rest of the crew agrees." I retorted
firmly and was relived by his reluctant agreement.

If there were any way to convince the crew, I would let Tom take the
risk. Rather that than watch Tom and Chakotay continue to descend
further into their mutual spiral of dependency.


I made love to Tom that night as though I might never have the chance
to touch him again. It was possibly true. If the vote went in his
favour, he would be taken off the ship in the morning and I might
never see him alive again.

I was surprised by my own selfishness, that I would rather keep Tom
like this than risk losing him. But we had been through so much
together and looking after Tom centered me. In a strange way his
paralysis assured me that he was mine forever. A cured Tom would not
need me. Might not love me. But more than that a dead Tom would need
no one. I would be left alone. I couldn't bear the thought of it.

However, I had no intention of taking away his right to decide.
Kathryn was correct. It was Tom's choice alone and I was damned well
sure I would support his right to have that choice. So after Tom was
finally asleep I patched his alarms through to the Doctor, dressed
and crept out of our quarters to catch the end of the crew meeting.

All but a skeleton crew were gathered in the cargo bay. As I entered,
the Captain's explanation was drawing to a close and I saw lots of
eyes swivel in my direction but I just joined Kathryn to add my
silent presence to her words.

"So there is a chance for Tom, which he may or may not wish to
accept, but if he does it will affect all of us for a long time. I am
therefore giving you all a chance to have your say. I have made
enough decisions that have universally affected you already, this
time you must choose for yourselves."

Kathryn looked slowly around the faces of the solemn crew:

"Does anyone have any questions before the vote?"

"Will the ship be able to function safely with so little power?" Sam
Wildeman asked quietly

"B'Elanna? Would you like to answer that?" Kathryn asked and B'Elanna
leapt forwards and turned on Sam aggressively

"Yes it will. Okay, so you won't be able to use the holodecs and
you'll have to eat in the mess hall and there won't be any private
replicator privileges but life will still be more bearable for all of
us than it has been for Tom for the last year and a half." She spat
viciously and Sam flinched.

I cheered internally, even as I prodded B'Elanna in the back and
whispered at her to calm down.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like I don't care about Tom" Sam
explained plaintively "But I have to think of Naomi's well-being

I saw a number of the crew nod their understanding and agreement. It
was a fair point. This wasn't just about their comforts, but about
their lives. It was understandable that they would question the
wisdom of giving up half our power supply.

"So, if the procedure doesn't work, and Tom dies, will we still have
to pay?" Ayala asked and I tried not to glower at him.

"The V'rakn'hal will still have expended the energy. We will have no
honorable alternative but to pay the fee anyway." Kathryn explained
and the muttering in the crew grew louder.

There were remarkably few more questions and no actual dissenters. I
chalked the later down to how well people had grown to respect Tom in
the last year or so rather an indication of their agreement to the
plan. If we had had this discussion shortly after his accident, I was
sure that there would have been a number of vocal protests but I had
the feeling that people would prefer to vote their no privately now.

And with a sinking feeling, as I looked around the crew, I was almost
certain that most of them would reluctantly decline.

"The vote will be anonymous." The Captain said quietly, "After you
have all had a chance to think it through you can use your comm
stations to vote.  When the decision has been made I will advise you
of the result.  Again, I must point out that if the vote goes against
Tom he must never be told that this situation happened."

There was a loud murmur of assent and then people began to disperse
in huddled groups. I felt quite nauseous.

"What do you think, Kathryn?"

"Who knows, Chakotay, who knows?"

I walked slowly back to my quarters, checked Tom was sleeping quietly
and sat down in the living room and stared out of the portal at the
planet below.

It was about an hour later when Kathryn commed me with the results of
the vote.

I listened quietly, feeling the blood rushing in my head and then I
simply said, "I understand" and turned the com-link off.

I dropped back into my seat and simply cried my eyes out.

(p.s. I was originally going to end this part here but thought you
might flame me, so I'm carrying on ROFLMAO)


When I woke up, Chakotay was not in bed next to me where he belonged.
I admit that I panicked a bit and called out for him. He appeared out
of the darkness of the living quarters and walked up to me with
obvious reluctance.

"What's wrong, babe? Are you in pain?" He asked gently and even in
the gloom I could see that his cheeks were stained with tears.

"I'm fine, but you obviously aren't." I said in concern. "Why have
you been crying?"

Chakotay looked at me guiltily, tried to speak, failed and then
turned away from me abruptly and his shoulders shook with silent sobs.

"Chak, what's wrong?" I cried in panic "What have I done?"

My automatic assumption of guilt broke through his misery and he
swung back to face me.

"Nothing, Babe. It's nothing you've done. I promise."

"Then what's wrong?"

"I can't tell you. I don't know how to tell you." He gulped

"Chak. I'm really getting frightened and pissed off now." I warned
him angrily. Chakotay was my strength, my protector; I couldn't cope
with seeing him fall apart.

"Okay, let me ask you a question and you must answer it honestly."

"Of course." I snapped bitterly, I had never deliberately lied to
Chakotay and it offended me that he'd even suggest it.

"If there was a chance, a 50/50 chance say, of you being cured but if
it went wrong you would die, would you take it?"

"Sure" I said automatically

"No, Tom. Seriously. Is your life still so unbearable that you would
risk death, risk losing what we have together, just on a remote
chance of a cure?"

"50/50 is not remote, it's even, Chakotay, and as much as I love you
and am prepared to accept that this is the way my life has to be, I
would have to try it, if I could. But since I can't, I think it's a
bit insensitive of you to ask."

"Even if trying meant you died?" he persisted.

"Yes" I snapped, wishing he would drop the subject.

"Oh, that's what I thought." He whispered sadly.


"Because that's why we are orbiting this planet. The V'rakn'hal have
a cure. At least they promise that you will either be cured or die.
There's no other outcome possible. Your transport down has been
arranged for 0900 if you want to try it."

"Oh god, that's fucking fantastic. Why the hell are you crying?"
I gasped

"Just happy for you, Babe" He said with apparent sincerity although
something in his voice didn't sound quite right. But I was too
excited to worry about it at that moment.

"Oh god, Chakotay. I will be able to walk down the aisle to our
wedding." I gushed happily

"Or you'll be dead" he whispered sadly and I realised suddenly why he
had been crying after all.

"Everyone dies, Chak, but I might be able to walk! That's all that
matters." I cried, I could almost feel the sensation returning to my
legs just at the thought of a cure.

"I know, babe. It's wonderful," he said but I heard the fear in his
voice and realised that he was terrified of losing me forever.

"I have to do it, Chak. I just have to." I apologized sadly

"I know, Babe, I know."

"Hold me, Chak." I begged and he lay down next to me and wrapped his
arms around me, for what I suddenly realised could be the last time.

"I love you, Chak. Remember that, whatever happens, I love you."

"I love you too, Tom. Don't leave me. Don't die."

I couldn't think of an appropriate reply, and he didn't seem to
expect one, so we just lay there together and waited for morning to