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 41


"You're still evading my question." Tuvok said, his voice finally
giving away a tinge of irritation.

"No, I'm not" I replied defensively "I just don't see the relevance.
It didn't happen so what's the point of discussing it?"

"The relevance should be obvious. In just under two hours we will be
entering the wormhole. You wish to be at the helm. I am responsible
for judging whether you are fit for duty."

"I can fly, Tuvok. Dammit, I am the best pilot on board. No one else
has even half as much chance of getting us through, including
Chakotay." I argued since he was the Captain's other choice for the

"So, since we are back on the topic of Chakotay, perhaps you will
answer my question now." Tuvok replied smoothly

I looked at him with pure hate and despair.

"What the hell do you WANT me to say?"

"Just the truth, Tom. If the memorial service yesterday had been for
him, if he had died with B'Elanna, what would you have done? How
would you have felt?"

"He didn't die" I repeated desperately, as I had several times

Why couldn't he understand that Chakotay's brush with death had made
no essential difference to my own situation? I didn't see my suicide
attempt as a weakness anymore. My life was intolerable without
Chakotay. I had the right to choose to end it if I wanted. If the
only way for me to survive were to learn to hate Chakotay, then I
would rather be dead.

"But if he had?"

"I DON'T KNOW" I screamed

"Would you have attempted to end your own life again?" he demanded,
his hateful chain of questioning inexorable.

I felt like I would collapse under the unfair weight of his question.
He had no right to ask me, he had no right to make me even consider
the answer. Why didn't he realise that the only reason I had made
myself survive these past weeks was the knowledge that I was still
needed, if only for one last act. Nothing mattered to me anymore save
that one small thing.

I wanted to fly Voyager home.

I wanted to make sure that Chakotay was safely back in the Alpha
Quadrant. I wanted to know that he was happy. And then, well, then I
would end my miserable existence.

But if I could fly, at least I could prove to everyone that I had
some value. That, in the end, my life had had some meaning. And in
convincing them with that one last act, perhaps I could convince

Everybody already knew that I was not worthy of being loved, possibly
no one would mourn my passing but they would at least remember that I
had taken them home.

Only it wasn't going to happen.

Looking at Tuvok's face I knew that now. He was a telepath; I
couldn't lie to him. I had to admit that had Chakotay died in the
fire I would not have been alive to attend the memorial. Although I
cared about the rest of the crew, it would not have been enough
reason for me to hold on any longer.

"Yes" I admitted sadly

"Then I have no choice but to deny your request to return to duty.
The lives of the crew cannot be put in your hands while you are still
so obviously unwell."

I looked at him angrily, I knew he was wrong. It wasn't an illness to
love someone. Even if the pain of it felt like a festering open wound
that couldn't heal.

"There would be no risk. Do you really think I would let anything
happen to Chakotay, to any of you?" I cried angrily

"Yes I do, subconsciously perhaps, but yes. It would only take a
moment of distraction for a tragedy to occur. Despite my efforts to
help you regain your equilibrium, you are still unwilling to put this
unhealthy relationship behind you."

"Why the hell should I? Just because I have accepted that Chakotay
and I can't be together doesn't mean I can't still love him. You've
spent weeks trying to convince me that I should forget he even exists
and I nearly let you do it. But when he nearly died, I had to accept
that I would never stop loving him. He's the best thing that ever
happened to me."

"I fail to understand your logic, Tom" Tuvok scoffed and I finally

" Just because it didn't work out doesn't mean I will agree to forget
the love we shared. You're a Vulcan, Tuvok. You don't even comprehend
what love really is. I'm sick and tired of you telling me to get over
him. I don't WANT to get over him! Don't you understand that the
thought of flying Voyager home is the only thing that has made me
pretend that I still want to live? " I yelled

Tuvok blinked slowly

"Your comments are illogical, Tom. Your failure to respond to my
attempts to counsel you is regrettable. I have no choice but to
recommend that you are transferred to a medical facility on our
return to the Alpha Quadrant."

"You can stick your fucking medical facility up your ass, Tuvok." I
snarled furiously.

He merely raised an eyebrow at my abuse.

"You will be confined to sickbay for the duration of the Voyage."  He

So now I finally had lost everything. I wouldn't even be on the
bridge for our return home.


I was as nervous as hell about navigating the wormhole. I had argued
vehemently against the Captain's decision that I should pilot the
ship instead of Tom. Somehow, I just KNEW that Tom wouldn't let us
down if he were given the chance to take the helm.

Tuvok's suggestion that Tom might take the opportunity to destroy the
ship in a bizarre suicide attempt was unfair and damned bloody
insulting to Tom.

I may not have always trusted Tom with my heart, but I had never
failed to believe implicitly that I could trust him with my life.
Even all those years ago on Ocampa, when we had both hated each other
with such passion, he had risked his own life to save me. And I knew,
without any doubt, that now he loved me he would be doubly certain to
ensure my safety.

Yes, I knew that he still loved me.

When I had come to in sickbay, the Doctor had made sure that I knew
every detail of how Tom had nursed me only to run away as I woke up.
I knew that there was nothing I could say to him to make him believe
that I loved him too, particularly since Tuvok had spent the last two
days keeping him away from me.

Between my own weakness from my injuries, the grief of the memorial
service and the preparations for the journey home, I had not found a
way to circumvent Tuvok's security and talk to Tom.

All I could do was wait until we arrived home and then prove my
feelings by refusing to let him disembark without me. If I had to
kidnap him again at that point, I would.

Assuming, of course, that I could manage to fly us home.

Our success depended on our being able to widen the opening with the
explosion of one of our two remaining shuttles. Gravity would
immediately force the opening to close again. In the few minutes
available I would have to get Voyager from where she would be waiting
a safe distance from the explosion, through the opening and down the
worm hole before it closed like a vice and crushed us.

If Tom were flying, I knew that he would not take it from a dead stop
as I was going to do. He would pull Voyager back and come in at
breakneck speed, timing the entrance perfectly and then "shoot the
rapids" through the wormhole. It would be horrifically dangerous but
would be our best chance of success.

I was a pilot, a damned good one to be honest, but I couldn't achieve
Tom's death-defying wizardry at the helm. I would have to take her
slow and steady and pray that we didn't run out of time.


As I made the last adjustments to the new warp coils I was painfully
aware of the subdued atmosphere in the Engine room. The absence of
B'Elanna Torres was like a dark shadow over everyone. Joe Carrey was
like a wraith, flitting silently from station to stain, grief etched
in his features. He blamed himself for the accident.

Personally I was pretty certain, in fact, that I was to blame.
Although Joe had made the error, it was I who had brought the new
technology to them in the first place. My all-consuming need to be
with Chakotay had tempted me to take a prototype system and race to
the rescue. Had I waited another few months and allowed for more
testing of the technology, perhaps the explosion would never have

And now, as though the deaths of six crewmembers didn't weigh heavily
enough on me, I was going to experience the destruction of Voyager.

Chakotay was going to die and it would be my fault.

There was no way that Voyager could traverse the wormhole with my
beloved at the helm. As much as I loved and admired him, I couldn't
fool myself into believing otherwise. The only pilots who were quick
enough were Tom Paris and myself.

I had the superhuman reactions needed to travel through. I had proved
that by arriving in the first place, but it was one thing to put my
own life at risk and another completely to do it with a whole
starship of people depending on me.

Knowing Chakotay was stood behind me, his life in my hands, I would
inevitably freeze, my damned Heran genes would trip in and I would be
incapable of flying.

So the only person who could save us all was Tom Paris and he had
been grounded.

I had inadvertently destroyed him and in doing so had condemned us
all to death.

Of course I had shared my concerns with the Captain. Hell, I had
begged her not to proceed. But she had dismissed my fears, citing her
absolute faith in Chakotay. I think she actually believed I was
talking out of spite because of the way he had ordered me forcibly
removed from sickbay when he woke after the explosion.

She didn't realise that there was nothing Chakotay could do that
would make me hate him. No more than Tom could do anything to harm
him. Surely I thought my own vote of confidence in Tom's abilities
would have made her listen, but she instead accused me of wanting to
set Tom up to fail so that Chakotay would turn away from him in

Since his failure would result in everyone's deaths it seemed a very
illogical argument to me. Yet my arrival seemed to have triggered an
almost manic desire in her to get home at all costs and no one was
listening to my arguments. I knew that Chakotay would understand and
believe me if only I could talk to him but he had point blank refused
to speak to me.

If only the Captain would put back the attempt a few days to resolve
the problem. Somehow there had to be a way to give us more time to
get through the wormhole. But I could hear the engines humming to
life around me, the shuttle had already been launched and it was too
late to stop the horror from unfolding.


I felt the warp engines coming on line. The whole ship was humming
and vibrating with the power of the new drive.  The Doctor had
patched the sickbay viewscreen into the bridge systems so that we
could see the remotely controlled shuttle on route to its planned
suicide in the mouth of the wormhole.

I waited expectantly for the reverse thrusters to come on line.
Chakotay needed at least another 50,000km to get up enough speed to
get us through.

Still we just hovered at a standstill and a feeling of dread flooded
through my veins like ice water.

"Move back, you stupid bastard!" I screamed at the screen

As though in slow motion I saw the shuttle explode, saw the entrance
to the wormhole begin to expand and then felt the rumble as Voyager
moved forwards far too slowly.

And that's when I knew, beyond doubt, that we were all going to die.

Chakotay was going to die.


As the shuttle exploded I pushed Voyager towards the expanding rift.
Like a bird released from a cage she surged forwards on the wings of
the new warp drive. In seconds we passed through the debris of the
shuttle and into the twisting tunnel of energy.

We were moving so quickly that I could barely keep up with the twists
and turns of the wormhole and yet as the seconds ticked past and the
walls of the tunnel grew tighter and tighter, I knew that we were too

We were all going to die.

Tom was going to die.


The wormhole was folding in on us. The walls were now pressing on
Voyager's shields and the friction was slowing us down.

According to the sensors we were a little more than halfway through.
It would take eight more minutes to reach the Alpha Quadrant. In six
more minutes the hull would buckle and collapse, killing us all.

A flashing light on the maintenance console broke into my grief. I
noted with disgust that someone had begun to activate the shuttle bay

Some stupid fool was trying to escape.

Then it hit me.

Of course.

The only way that Voyager could be saved would be another explosion
behind us, to force the wormhole open again and push us forwards with
the blast.

Whoever was in the shuttlebay had realised that.

Obviously, someone else had also had the same thought and was
preparing to act on it.

And I had a feeling that I knew exactly who that person was.

I didn't have time to stop, if I let myself think I would freeze in
panic, so I just started running, praying I would arrive in time to
stop Tom from launching.


The ship was ricocheting down the tunnel, it was all I could do to
keep at the helm, and I had lost all ability to steer.

"Shields at 35% and falling" Harry squeaked, unable to hide his

"Four minutes to the end of the wormhole" Tuvok stated calmly

I snorted in disbelief at his emotionless words. In less than two
minutes Voyager would be ripped apart.

Oh spirits, if only Tom had been at the helm we would have been home
by now. My thoughtless destruction of the man I loved had finally
cost him his life and that of the rest of the crew too.

"Shields at 20%" Harry gasped

"A shuttle has been launched from the shuttle bay" Tuvok said, his
voice stunned, it was the first real emotion I had ever heard from

"What?" Kathryn gasped

Then abruptly the tunnel widened and a pressure wave shot us out into
normal space and we came to a full stop.

"Shields holding" Harry said in relieved disbelief.

"Sensors indicate that we are in the Alpha Quadrant" Tuvok advised

"How? What the hell happened?" Kathryn demanded

"It appears that whoever launched the shuttle, immediately activated
its self-destruct. The resultant explosion widened the wormhole and
the force of the explosion pushed us through."

And that's when it hit me, when I knew.