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 42


"I don't understand how you knew what was going on" I said to Angel
as I ran a regenerator over the vicious bruise that darkened his left

Despite his much slighter frame, Tom had apparently attacked Angel
like a cornered animal when he had been apprehended in the shuttle
bay. In addition to the black eye, Angel's jaw had been fractured in
three places.

"As soon as I saw the light on the maintenance console, I realised
what he was trying to do." Angel mumbled through his swollen
lips, "Tom's was the only possible action that could save Voyager."

"How did you know it was Tom?" I asked curiously. Personally I had
been so engrossed in watching the wormhole; I hadn't even noticed Tom
limping out of sickbay towards the shuttle bay to implement his
desperate plan.

"I didn't, except that I couldn't imagine anyone else understanding
the danger we were in and having the skill and courage to act on it."

I appreciated his description Tom's actions as being courageous. I
had never had any time for the Heran, seeing him only as an obstacle
in the way of Tom's happiness. It was odd to hear him defending the
pilot, particularly since I had heard a number of people uttering
less charitable interpretations of the incident.

"So what were you planning to do when you stopped him?" I asked

"I was going to fly the shuttle myself. I knew how much Tom meant to
Chakotay. All I could think was that if Tom died because of the
wormhole, Chakotay would never forgive me. So then we would both end
up losing him."

I was surprised to hear Chakotay speak up in reply to Angel's
sorrowful words. He had been sitting in a daze for so long that I had
almost forgotten that he was with us.

"I wouldn't have forgiven myself if you had died either, Angel. I'm
so sorry about how things have worked out. I never meant to betray
you. I waited five years. I tried not to fall in love with Tom, but I
just couldn't stop myself." He admitted sadly.

For a moment I thought I saw something dark glitter in Angel's golden
eyes and his mouth twisted as though he had tasted something bitter
but then he smiled forgivingly at Chakotay.

"And once you fell in love with Tom there was no way for you to come
back to me." Angel replied understandingly.

Chakotay's face showed his gratitude at Angel's generous forgiveness.

"I wanted to walk away from him, Angel, I tried so many times to give
him up, but I just couldn't." Chakotay apologized.
"I never meant to hurt either of you."

Angel looked Chakotay with a strange combination of love and regret.

"When Tom refused to take you back, I still hoped that you would turn
to me. I thought that eventually you would give up on him and
remember what we had once meant to each other." Angel admitted
quietly "But I realised after the fire that he still loved you. Only
I didn't understand why he still seemed prepared to let you go."

"He didn't believe I loved him. He wasn't prepared to give us another
chance. He just wanted to run away from our relationship. That's why
he decided to kill himself on the shuttle." Chakotay said bitterly.

"No, Chakotay, you're wrong." I snapped furiously, angry that he
still failed to fully appreciate Tom's bravery. How could the
Commander claim to truly love Tom and yet always fail to look beneath
Tom's actions and understand his motivations when they were so
obvious to me?

"If it was only that he wanted to die, he could have just let the
ship be destroyed. The important thing was that he wanted the rest of
us to live, or to be more accurate, for YOU to live." I stated firmly.

Chakotay considered this for a moment and then slowly nodded his
acceptance of my argument but oddly it did not seem to comfort him,
instead he turned his sad eyes toward Angel

"And what about you, Angel? Did you want to die too? Is that why you
tried to take his place?" He asked guiltily.

"No, I . I just knew that I couldn't bear to watch you grieve over
him, hating yourself, hating me." Angel said quietly

"I could never hate you, Angel." Chakotay said in surprise

"But you love Tom more. That's why you refused to see me or speak to
me. You didn't want to admit that you were secretly planning to leave
me and follow Tom if we got home, weren't you?" Angel accused
although his tone was softer than his words implied.

Chakotay nodded in shameful acknowledgement.

"I never thought you would understand, Angel. Let alone agree to let
me go."

"No, I don't suppose I would have. Not then, anyway. I couldn't see
past my own selfish needs." Angel admitted "But everything seems
clearer to me now. I've already caused enough harm. It's time I
stopped trying to reclaim something that was never really mine. Tom
couldn't bear to live without you but he wanted his death to mean
something. I stole his chance to sacrifice his life for you. I was so
busy trying to stop him getting on the shuttle that it was too late
to stop her taking it. I didn't even see her enter the shuttlebay."
He added with regret.

For a moment I wondered whether his regret was more for having
stopped Tom after all, but I decided that my suspicion was unworthy.
Angel's actions had been exemplary and he was accepting Chakotay's
decision to choose Tom with dignity and good grace.

"She never wanted to return to Earth and after B'Elanna died she felt
there was nowhere for her to go." I said softly "Seven gave us all
the chance to live. We will all mourn her, but at least she died
saving the ship that B'Elanna loved so much."

I finished running the bone-knitter over Angel's jaw and went to
check on Tom again. He was still unconscious.

"Did you have to hit him quite so hard?" I asked waspishly

"I didn't hit him at all. I've never been able to fight. I just
grabbed him and then Tom was so busy pounding me that we didn't see
Seven get on the shuttle."

"So what happened? How did he get knocked unconscious?"

"When the outer doors opened the internal force-field took a second
to seal the vacuum. Tom was slammed into a bulkhead by the drop in

"He should get a medal for trying to save us" Chakotay murmured,
stroking Tom's forehead lovingly.

"I doubt that will happen. In fact Tuvok has cited his actions as
further proof of his insanity and has instead recommended that he be
transferred to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. I will, of
course, register my protest, but I'm only an EMH, they may not listen
to me."

"Tom's not insane." Chakotay spluttered furiously "Although by the
time they have finished fucking with his head he probably will be."

"So what are you going to do, Chakotay?" Angel asked

"I am going to take him to Dorvan instead. When we get within
communications range of DS9, I'm sure I will be able to get hold of
one of my old contacts and arrange a ship. I'll transport us off
Voyager straight onboard and be gone before anyone knows we are

"We could use my ship, Chakotay" Angel offered "I'll get you both off
Voyager. My ship has a cloaking device. They will never be able to
track us."

"You'll help us?" Chakotay asked in obvious amazement

"Of course I will. I love you. Nothing will change that. Tom has
taught me what love really means. Your happiness always meant more to
him than his own. My love has always been more selfish. I realise
that now. Besides, I want the chance to say goodbye to your family.
They mean a lot to me Chakotay, and anyway, it will let them know
that I have given you and Tom my blessings."

I think that I was even more stunned than Chakotay. What was it about
the Commander that made these two men willing to sacrifice their own
lives and happiness just to please him?

And yet, there was something about Angel's sudden complete change of
heart that didn't ring quite true. Perhaps I was just a cynic, but I
had a feeling that there was some ulterior motive in Angel's generous
offer of help.

Maybe what happened next was not deliberate on Angel's part.

Perhaps it was just unfortunate timing that Tom woke at exactly the
wrong moment, just in time to see Angel throw his arms around
Chakotay and say exuberantly

"I can't wait to get home to Dorvan with you, Chakotay."