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 33


Kathryn, Tuvok and I raced neck and neck to the bridge, leaving Harry
to help Tom to limp slowly in our wake. In the brief rest of the
turbolift, the Captain patted me gently on the shoulder.
"I'm so sorry, Chakotay" I heard her say, but I was too distraught to
answer and then the lift doors opened and we spilled out onto the

"Status?" Kathryn snapped as she took her chair, although the
viewscreen spoke a volume of explanation.

A huge round spatial anomaly had opened in front of us. It enveloped
all the surrounding space and its edges pulsed with sparks of energy.

Voyager had been brought to a complete stop.

"I think it's the opening of a worm-hole, Captain" Ensign Ratchek
replied nervously from the Conn.

"It is an artificial creation" Tuvok stated, as he took his station
and checked sensor readings "the point of origin appears to be." He
paused and checked again. Then he raised his eyebrow in perplexed
wonder "the Alpha Quadrant!"

"Is it stable?" Kathryn snapped, visibly containing her excitement.

At that moment Tom limped across the bridge, giving me a wry smile as
he passed and took over the helm. I could hardly bear to look at his
dejected shoulders. I had prayed for a chance like this for years but
would have given up all hope of getting home if I could have
prevented the fiasco that our wedding had turned into.

"Unknown, Captain." Tuvok replied

"Launch a class 2 probe" Kathryn ordered but before her orders could
be carried out, the wormhole flared and a small ship was disgorged
from its depths.

The strange craft came to a halt just outside our shields.

"I am reading just one life-sign" Tuvok stated

"The markings are not Federation, Captain" Harry squeaked from the
COM. I looked at him in surprise; I hadn't seen him arrive.

"Do you recognise the insignia, Mr. Tuvok?" Kathryn asked

"I believe the ship originates from a planet in the Alpha Quadrant.
The markings are those of the Heran homeworld."

I felt the blood drain from my face and I grasped the arms of my
chair for balance. In front of me Tom gave an almost inaudible moan
and stiffened in his chair.

"Heran?" The Captain was struggling with her memory.

"It is a closed planet, with Federation protection." Tuvok stated
unemotionally, completely unaware that two members of the bridge crew
were on the verge of collapse.

"What the hell is it doing here?"  Kathryn wondered aloud

"Presumably trying to rescue us." Tuvok replied dryly

I was frozen in horror. There was only one reason a Heran ship would
have come to rescue us and it was obvious that Tom had not missed the
implication either.

"How did the ship find us?" Harry queried innocently

"The Herans are technologically far more advanced than the
Federation. It seems that they have solved the problem of creating a
stable artificial wormhole. However, I do not understand why they
would wish to help us. There is a history of alienation between Hera
and Starfleet." Tuvok said

"The ship is hailing us." Harry said in excitement

"On viewscreen, Mr. Kim"

Harry hurried to patch the ship through.

Seconds later the screen was filled by a face so familiar that my
heart somersaulted with the conflicting emotions of happiness and

"Greetings from Hera to the crew of Voyager.  Captain Janeway, may I
have permission to land?" the Heran purred softly,

Kathryn turned to look at me, her face unreadable.

"I presume this is someone you know, Chakotay." She said coolly

I could hardly deny it, given that Angel was wearing the twin of my
tattoo on his perfect forehead.

"Yes, Captain. His name is Angel, he's an old - friend."

She blanched as she looked at my stunned face and then at Tom, who
was almost sinking under the helm in abject misery at my words. A
look of pity filled her face as she obviously realised that Angel was
more than an old `friend' of mine.

"Mr. Kim, lower shields and open the shuttle-bay doors.  Commander
Chakotay, perhaps you would escort me to meet our visitor?"

"Tom?" I pleaded desperately at Tom but he refused to turn around and
meet my glance.

I started towards him but was stopped by Kathryn's hand on my
arm. "Commander?" Kathryn snapped warningly and I sighed and followed
her off the bridge.


In retrospect, I was surprised I didn't recognise Angel immediately,
after all I had once seen his photo on Chakotay's bedside table and
he was hardly someone that you would forget.

But the shock of his arrival, especially the bizarre timing was
enough to throw anyone for a loop. Besides, in the photo he had not
been wearing a tattoo.

Chakotay had turned almost white with shock, Angel's arrival at
exactly that point had been like a scene from a bad holo-vid. I
cursed myself for my interference. If only I had left them alone, Tom
and Chakotay would have already been married and this `Angel' would
have arrived too late.

Now I had no idea at all of what would happen. Evidently Angel had
spent all these years trying to find us a way home. He had presumably
stayed faithful to Chakotay and I knew that my First Officer would be
unable to turn his back on such loyalty.

On the other hand, Tom would be destroyed if Chakotay left him now.
There was no possible outcome from this menagé-a-trois than tragedy.

I deliberately rushed Chakotay off the bridge, preventing him from
talking to Tom. At this point all he could do was make Tom hollow
promises and false reassurances. In my opinion, the sooner he spoke
to Angel, the more chance we had of resolving this mess.


I have always prided myself on my ability to face situations head-on.
I have never deliberately run away from anything in my life. But as I
followed Kathryn to the shuttle bay I prayed for some miracle to
happen. Like an attack of the Borg. Assimilation definitely felt
preferable to facing Angel and admitting that I had fallen in love
with Tom.

There was no way I could let go of Tom now. When he had groaned on
the bridge and tried to hide in his seat like a lost little boy, I
had just wanted to grab him in my arms and hold him tight. I would
have done or said anything to assure him that nothing had changed.

Only, it had.

I didn't know what the hell to do. If only I could split myself in
half and live two lives. Most people live their whole life and never
meet anyone who truly loves them. Why the hell had I met two people
who were so precious? Why had the spirits chosen to torment me with
the choice of destroying either one or both of them?

My people believed that the Spirits never gave you a burden that you
were incapable of bearing.

My people were evidently full of crap.


I was living on Dorvan V with Chakotay's remaining family when his
ship was reported lost in the Badlands. For weeks I refused to
believe the reports. Information was sketchy at best and the
Federation loved to plant rumors to discourage the Maquis.

But as the weeks turned into months and there was no sign of his
return I began to spiral into depression. If only I had been less
useless in a fight I would have been at Chakotay's side. I understood
why he left me at his home while he fought his war, I had an uncanny
ability to start fights just by walking into rooms and Chakotay had
spent the first few months of our relationship with permanent black

My expertise with his ship's computer systems was completely
nullified by my uncontrollable panic whenever we faced dangerous
situations. Chakotay understood that it wasn't cowardice on my part
that made me collapse under the strain of combat. I had been bred to
react that way; it was in my genes and was beyond my control. It did
however make it impossible for me to stay on board.

Chakotay's family had welcomed me with open arms. Dorvan V was a
society with low-level technology. My exceptional strength was
invaluable to them as they tried to restore their farm. So while
Chakotay fought, I rebuilt houses destroyed in the attempted
occupation and plowed fields and made us a home.

The waiting was always terrible, but each time Chakotay returned it
was like the joy of meeting him for the first time all over again.

Only, one day he didn't return.

I wanted to die. I wouldn't eat, couldn't sleep. I don't think I
would have survived if we hadn't heard the news that Voyager was lost
in the Delta Quadrant, 70 years away, but still in one piece and with
Chakotay on board. I had found a new strength in the knowledge and
had left Dorvan V for Hera, waiting only long enough to receive
Chakotay's family tattoo as a token of my undying love for not only
him but his whole tribe.

For six years I had begged and cajoled and bullied our scientists to
solve the problem of bringing my beloved back home. Then six months
ago the prototype was developed and success was in my grasp. I knew
that it wouldn't be easy, Voyager was far larger than my craft. The
wormhole would have to be widened from this end and a revolutionary
new warp-drive incorporated into their systems. I wasn't bringing an
instant-fix, but I was bringing hope, and I would at least be with my
beloved as we waited.

I landed in the shuttle-bay, almost too blinded by tears to manage
the simple maneuver. In only minutes now I would be in Chakotay's
arms again.


I knew that the only fair way to deal with the situation would be to
let Angel know immediately that I could no longer continue our

It had been six and a half-years. Surely he would understand. I would
be formal with him from the start, leave him in absolutely no doubt
that our relationship was over. I steeled myself to walk up to the
door of the small ship and stood at rigid attention, locking my face
into a mask of indifference.

The door opened quietly and Angel emerged.

I heard Kathryn's soft gasp. Even seeing him on the monitor had not
prepared her for his actual presence. He was six-foot seven of
absolute perfection from his long blonde hair and vibrant golden eyes
right down to his toes.

He turned to me and his face creased into a huge smile. I felt my
knees weaken under his gaze of pure adoration. Like a child his
excitement was too much for him and he raced towards me and threw his
arms around me in an ecstatic hug as he kissed me desperately.

I honestly tried to resist his charm but I couldn't help my body's
instant response to his closeness, his delicious scent filled my
nostrils, flooding me with memories and as his sweet tongue plundered
my mouth I found myself hugging him back, my erection pressing
excitedly against his muscular thigh.

How could I have forgotten how fantastic he felt? I craved him like a
starving man needed food. I am ashamed to admit that in that moment,
the memory of Tom completely escaped me.

It was only as I pulled reluctantly out of his embrace at the sound
of Kathryn's discrete cough, that I noticed Tom standing at the
entrance of the Shuttle Bay.

He was as white as a ghost.

I looked at him in horror, frozen by my guilt as Angel draped his arm
possessively over my shoulder and looked at Tom with the unconscious
condescension of his sheer perfection.

Tom was gasping for breath, his mouth opening and closing silently as
he struggled to form a sentence.

I knew I had to go to him, let him know everything was all right,
that it wasn't what he thought. But Angel's body was pressed into
mine and, Spirits forgive me, I just couldn't bear to pull away from

Before I could form any words, Tom spoke with a dignity that was
heart breaking.

"I'll - um - I'll move my things then." He said quietly and turned
and slowly limped away.

And I let him go.


In the small bathroom of the guest quarters that I had been hurriedly
relegated to, I filled the basin with cold water and sank my face in
to try to clear my head and then rose to stare in hate and defeated
misery at the dripping reflection in the mirror.

I recognised the plain ordinariness of my pale over-thin face. My
dull blue eyes were so colorless compared with the golden brilliance
of Angel's. The deep ugly frown lines etched in testament to my long
illness were in stark comparison to the flawless perfection of his

There was nothing attractive in my face; it was too plain, too
ordinary, and too human. There was nothing in my reflection that
could even begin to compete with Angel.

I had always known that, deep down, ever since I saw his photograph.
But to have been faced by the reality of him in the flesh, to have
stood in the same room and known myself judged and found wanting, was
more than I could bear, especially on this night of all nights.

The night that should have been the start of my life as Chakotay's

As I stared in loathing at my face, I realised that the only aspect
of my appearance that had any similarity with Chakotay's lover was my
long hair. Bitterness overwhelmed me, as finally I understood why
Chakotay had insisted that I grew it. It had been Chakotay's attempt
to make me look more like HIM. I could no longer fool myself that I
had ever been more than a pale substitute for Chakotay's true love.

I gasped with the agony of the realisation. Unbearable pain ripped
through the tattered shreds of my heart. Desperately I fumbled in the
well-stocked bathroom cabinet, angrily tossing bottles out onto the
floor, listening with satisfaction to them shattering around me,
until I found what I was looking for.  The razor glinted in the
bright light of the bathroom. It winked at me with sharp promise as I
turned it slowly in my hands.

For a long time I was mesmerized by the blade then I grabbed a
handful of hair and hacked through it. As the knife-edge glided
easily through the months of growth, I could feel some of my tension
releasing. Yes, this was what I needed to do, I thought, I need to
cut that man right out of my hair! I giggled at the snatch of half-
remembered 20th century music that accompanied the thought and began
to hum maniacally in time to my vicious slashes.

Again and again I attacked my offending hair until the basin was half-
filled with the dead strands. They swirled like a log pile in the
water.  I was laughing hysterically, almost blinded by the tears
pouring down my cheeks.  My hand was shaking with the tremors that
ran through me as I sobbed in a weird combination of despair and
hiccuping laughter.

Unable to stop, I dragged the razor over the remaining short tufts,
turning my whole head into a battlefield of stubble and shallow cuts.
Then I scraped at the stubble until I was just grazing bare pink

When there was nothing left on my head but bleeding skin, I dropped
my hands to the basin and ran a finger through the water, making it
swirl, watching in fascination as tiny red droplets dripped off my
forehead onto the discarded hair and dispersed pinkly into the water
in an hypnotic pattern.

I was disappointed when the drips stopped, aware that the hair was
still too blonde, too like HIS. It wasn't enough to have cut it. It
needed to be destroyed, drowned. I didn't think of the act any more
consciously than that. I was just responding to the need to cover the

I didn't even feel the new cut, I just watched as the pink water
turned a deep red, swirling torrentially around the basin, dyeing
every last offending strand.

Feeling oddly tired I sank onto the toilet seat, resting my head on
the edge of the basin, relieved by its cold metallic pressure on my
forehead. I could feel a rushing sound in my ears that almost drowned
out the gushing from my wrist.

The sound began to fade into the distance. I was so tired, so very
tired.I just wanted to sleep now. Everything seemed very remote. I
couldn't remember where I was, couldn't quite grasp why I felt so
detached from everything.

I tried to stand but my legs were strangely rubbery, so I simply
folded down onto the tiled floor and hugged myself into a tiny ball
and gave in to the overwhelming desire to simply fade away.