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 37


I gazed at the data padd with difficulty, every time I tried to read
a sentence the words blurred and then I got completely distracted. I
kept reaching the end of the first paragraph and then realising that
I still had no real idea what it had said.

It was a letter from my parents, I knew that much, but I couldn't
actually concentrate on its contents. I had made the mistake of
reading Libby's letter first.

For six and a half years I had been consumed by my desire to get home
and now, in view of her letter, I desperately wanted the artificial
wormhole to fail.

Libby HAD waited for me. What the hell was I going to say to Sue?

Suddenly, I was ashamed of my attack on Chakotay. What was the
difference between his actions with this Angel character and my
thoughts about Libby?

And as unfair as it might be, my mind provided the answer. The
difference was that Chakotay's actions affected Tom. Even the
knowledge that I would probably act no better in his shoes was no
reason for me to forgive him. He had hurt Tom. Hurting Tom was the
one unforgivable crime in my book.

I had spent the two weeks of Tom's recuperation on V'rakn sharing his
pain at Chakotay's abandonment. For Tom's sake I had said nothing
when they had reconciled. I had even spent the next two weeks
preparing their wedding. For Chakotay to have reached the point in
their vows that he had and still turn away was a crime of such
enormity that I couldn't even imagine a bad enough punishment for him.

Instead of spending his wedding night in bed with Chakotay, Tom had
spent it alone, bleeding to death on a cold tile floor. It was
unforgivable. I hated Chakotay with an intensity of emotion that was
alien to me.

And even as I considered this disquieting feeling, I realised that I
WOULDN'T act the same way. I wouldn't do to Sue what Chakotay had
done to Tom. It just wasn't right.

I wondered whether Libby would end up feeling the same hatred for me.
Probably, but it wasn't fair. It had been six and a half years. Both
Libby and Angel should have got on with their own lives. Their
loyalty wasn't selfless love, it was self-indulgence. Neither of them
had the right to inflict their inadequacies on us. Normal people
would have grieved and then moved on.

We weren't married, we didn't share children, there were no ties that
bound us inexorably together.

My loyalty now had to be with the person who had shared my bed and my
heart for the last year.  And so should Chakotay's. Libby and Angel
both needed to wake up and smell the damned coffee.

The chirping of my comm. badge interrupted my introspection.

"Kim, here" I said, tapping the receiver

"Could you please come to sickbay, Mr. Kim?" The Captain's voice
asked calmly

"Is - is Tom - is Tom -" I stuttered in fear

"Tom's fine, Harry, I just need your assistance in something."

"On my way, Captain" I gulped in relief.

For a moment I had been sure that Tom had died, after all. I had been
desperate to go back to him but had been waiting for a security
detail to march me to the brig in view of my attack on the Commander.
There had been nothing in the Captain's voice to indicate that she
was aware of my actions, but I wasn't naïve enough to think that she
hadn't been told.

She was either waiting for a better moment to court-martial me, or
she secretly approved of my actions, and although it seemed almost
beyond belief, I was more inclined to hope for the latter.

As I entered sickbay I was relieved to see Tom sitting up. He was as
pale as a ghost and looked as punch-drunk as if he had done twenty
rounds with an enraged Klingon, but he was alive, and his mouth
creased into an embarrassed but genuine smile as he saw me.

"Hi, Haz" He whispered and I couldn't stop myself from going over and
squeezing him in a huge hug. He wheezed in protest as I crushed his
over-thin ribs and I released him, tears stinging my eyes.

"You stupid bastard" I whispered sadly "How the hell would I have
coped without you?"

"I'm sorry, Haz" Tom whispered back and began to cry. Mortified I
gave him another hug, wishing desperately that I could do something,
anything to take his pain away. For a second I imagined koshing
Chakotay over the head and dragging his bound and naked body back
here and chaining him at Tom's feet. It was a remarkably satisfying

"Mr. Kim" The Captain said, a little impatiently and I guiltily
realised that I hadn't even acknowledged her when I walked in. She
was standing with Tuvok, so at least that confirmed that she already
knew I had attacked Chakotay.

"Sorry, Captain." I said, snapping to attention.

"Relax, Harry, this is a personal request." She replied softly. I
could see the faint telltale signs of tears on her face. I was oddly
gratified to discover her obvious concern for my best friend.

"What can I do for you?"

"Well, actually it's for Tom" she said

"Anything" I said fervently, grasping one of Tom's cold slender hands
and squeezing it reassuringly.

"It seems that Tom doesn't have anywhere to go at the moment and the
Doctor has agreed that he can leave sickbay."

"Under certain conditions" The Doctor interrupted pompously

Nodding her agreement at the Doctor, the Captain continued

"One of those conditions is that he shouldn't be left alone. I
thought you might be prepared to volunteer to stay with him for a
while. I realise that your quarters aren't large enough for two
people, Harry. I wondered whether you would consider moving into the
ambassadorial suite with Tom, just until he feels better."

I have to admit that the thought of living in the ambassadorial suite
would have even tempted me to move in with Chell, but to be honest I
would have shared a closet with Tom, if it would help.

"Of course, Captain, I'd be delighted." I said and Tom squeezed my
hand gratefully

"The other conditions are these. Tom will have to wear a security
anklet at all times so that his life signs can be monitored. Any
attempt to remove it will result in him being restricted indefinitely
to sickbay. Access to all critical systems such as the Bridge, the
Warp Core and the Transporter pads are denied. He will be expected to
attend counseling sessions daily and under no circumstances is he to
be left alone. Either Tuvok or the Doctor will relieve you if you
need time to yourself."

"Are you okay with this, Tom?" I asked in concern, watching him
shrink in embarrassed dejection at the Captain's list of restrictions.

"Anything, Haz. I just want to get out of this goldfish bowl."

I nodded in sympathy. The sickbay was way too public a place in which
to nurse a broken heart.

"Okay, Captain, when can we go?" I asked enthusiastically

"As soon as the Doctor has modified the security anklet to Tom's
particular lifesigns."

"I've finished, Captain. I'll put it on now," The Doctor said and
bent down to attach it. Tom gave a little sob, but didn't resist.

"Any questions, Harry?"

"Can we go to the mess hall?"

"Of course, Tom is not under arrest. As long as you stay away from
critical areas you can go anywhere,  you can even use the holodecs
now I have re-opened them." The Captain said and then flushed as she
realised who had been responsible for supplying the powerpacks that
made that possible.

"And what about the Commander" I asked awkwardly

"Tom has asked for a restraining order to be placed on Commander
Chakotay. You will hopefully not be seeing him and be warned, Mr. Kim
that should you strike him again, you will spend the rest of this
journey in the brig, and where would Tom be then?"

I nodded in subdued understanding.

"Haz?" Tom queried, bewildered by the Captain's comment

"I'll tell you later Tom. Come on." I said and helped him to his feet.

Between his current weakness and the pronounced limp that he still
had from his accident, I doubted we could make it to our new quarters.

"Permission to use the transporters, Captain?" I queried

"Of course. Thank you Harry. Try to get some rest Tom, I'll call by
to see you both later."

Tuvok signaled the transporter room and a moment later we were
transported right into the luxurious quarters normally reserved for
visiting dignitaries.

"Wow," Tom said, spinning around to take in the room "I should have
tried to top myself sooner." He quipped

I knew that his joke was just a self-protective mechanism so I
quelled my anger at his flippancy, but not my hurt.

"Please don't joke about it, Tom. It isn't funny. You nearly died."

"I know. " Tom said with quiet regret and something in the way he
said it warned me that it wasn't his attempt that he regretted but
his failure to succeed.  Suddenly the conditions of Tom's release
didn't seem so cruel and restrictive.

I sank down into one of the sumptuous chairs, suddenly too weak at
the knees to stand.

"Why, Tom?" I whispered "Why can't you just let the bastard go?"

Sinking into the chair opposite, Tom was silent for a long time, but
I could see emotions racing over his naked face as he struggled to
answer me, so I waited patiently until he could explain.

"I've never loved anyone before, Harry. If I had known how much it
hurt I wouldn't have let myself fall in love, ever." He said solemnly

"Love shouldn't hurt, Tom. The hurt should be telling you that
something's not right. Chakotay's not fit to lick your boots, Tom.
He's a selfish, egotistical bastard. You deserve better than him."

Unbelievably, Tom's face was immediately infused with anger at my

"Shut up, shut the fuck up. It's not his fault. Don't you dare call
him names!" Tom screamed at me in fury.

I was stunned by his angry defense of the man who had driven him to
suicide. What the hell was wrong with Tom? Why couldn't he see
Chakotay for what he was?

"How many times has he let you down, Tom? How many times has he
promised to love you forever and then walked away when the going got

"Shut up, shut up" Tom sobbed

"So it's not his fault that he spent six weeks treating you like a
non-sentient piece of garbage when you first moved in with him? Not
his fault that he walked away from you at V'rakn? Not his fault that
he promised to marry you and on the very day of your wedding went
back to his old lover? Whose fucking fault was it then?" I yelled in

Tom looked at me in pure fury, hate flashing from his eyes. He opened
his mouth to answer but then paused in confusion. His face began to
crumple, his lips trembled, and his eyes began to dart furtively for
an avenue of escape. He swallowed furiously as tears began to creep
from his eyes and finally his voice emerged in a broken whisper

"Mine" he gasped and then he began to cry again, his shoulders racked
with his great heart-breaking sobs.

I scooted frantically over to kneel between his legs, gently cupping
his weeping face in my hands, forcing him to meet my eyes.

"Oh God, Tom, how can you imagine it's your fault?"

"Because it IS my fault. I'm a fuck-up, Haz. Why would he love me?
There's nothing to love. I'm not beautiful like Angel, or brainy or
brave or interesting or ANYTHING. There's nothing about me that's
good enough for him. I always knew that. I knew he was only making do
with me. It's not his fault he doesn't love me. There's nothing to
love." Tom sobbed piteously

I couldn't believe that Tom's self-esteem had sunk so low. I should
have seen it coming, I had known for a long time that something
wasn't right about his relationship with Chakotay but I had stayed
silent, unwilling to interfere. I had just stood by and let Tom
descend into his depression.

"You're wrong Tom, you're brave and funny and good. You are my best
friend. I don't take that lightly and neither should you. If you are
good enough to be my friend then you're good enough for anyone to
love you, or do you think so little of me that you think I'm not good
enough for anyone else to like?" I asked cleverly

Tom blinked in confusion "I - I - "

"Is my friendship less important to you than your relationship with

"NO" Tom protested

"So, do you think that I am just making do with you? Do you think
that I am going to leave you too?" I asked, carefully pitching my
voice in a tone of outrage

"I - no, Haz, I - no" He stuttered in panic at my evident anger

"So if you are good enough for me, shouldn't you be good enough for
him too?" I stated triumphantly, snapping the trap shut.

"I - I don't know" Tom mumbled in panic

I decided it was time to let him off the hook, I wanted to shake some
sense into him, but I didn't want to give him a nervous breakdown in
the process. I had at least given him something to think about.

Hopefully, his own mind would do the rest.

"I think you're too tired to think clearly, Tom. Why don't I run you
a bath and then you can go to bed for a bit."

He looked at me in bewildered misery and then his expression cleared
slightly as my words sank in

"Bath?" he asked hopefully

"Hey, lets make the most of the facilities while we can, Tom" I
laughed gently and was rewarded by a tentative smile.

Unwilling to leave him alone for even a moment, I led him to the
bathroom and made him sit on the toilet seat as I ran the water into
the bath.

He was very quiet and subdued as he waited. I could only hope that
his silence indicated that he was mulling over my words.