The Ghost of Christmas Future
By Morticia

C/P

Rating: NC-13
Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al belong to Paramount. I am only playing with them and promise to put them back relatively unscathed.
 

Harry was playing pool with Megan. She was pretending that she didnít know the game and he was Ďhelpingí her with her shots. It was a familiar ritual that both entertained and saddened Tom. He was slouched at the bar, drowning his sorrow in a bottle of half-decent synthale and pondering on the lonely night ahead.

He brightened slightly when Chakotay slipped into the seat next to him. For the last few months, since Harry had been busy with Megan, Tom had found solace in the Commanderís occasional companionship. They had finally left their mutual dislike slide by the wayside and had actually begun to enjoy each otherís company.

As they sat quietly side by side, each lost in their own thoughts, Tom found himself occasionally giving Chakotay the odd surreptitious glance. He was well aware of the Commanderís attraction toward him. Despite the older manís impeccable behavior, Starfleet uniforms were too tight for Tom to have failed to notice his own affect on Chakotay.

If only he had the nerve to do something about it.

Chakotay was obviously not going to make the first move and Tom was too frightened of the Commander reverting to his old stand-offish behavior to risk pushing him. So for months now they had both pretended that nothing was going on between them.

Tom had a sad feeling that it would never change. Although he knew he would spend the rest of his life regretting his cowardice, Tom simply couldnít find the courage to make the first move himself. He sighed.

"Trouble with BíElanna?" Chakotay asked

Yeah, Tom thought, I have a lust-filled half-Klingon woman who wonít take a polite no for an answer and I care too much for her as a friend to hurt her feelings.

"Kind of" He murmured back, "Nothing serious" he lied

Chakotay gazed morosely into his glass. Although he knew both Tom and BíElanna so well that he KNEW they were a match made in hell, he could hardly say so.

"Maybe you should be with HER tonight" he pointed out, selflessly.

"She has a date with the warp engine as usual." Tom replied, carefully hiding his pleasure at the fact.

"Oh" Chakotay responded and gazed back at his glass.

Watching the evident misery on the gorgeous Indianís proud profile Tom had a sudden urge to kiss him. He shot to his feet in panic.

"Iíd better go to bed, early shift tomorrow!" he lied desperately

"Night, Tom" Chakotay replied quietly and watched miserably as Tom escaped. As First Officer he knew perfectly well that Tom had lied. He was going to have to be more careful, he didnít want Tom to avoid him. Tom was evidently only willing to offer friendship. As much as that hurt, it was better than nothing.

~~~

A combination of synthale and genuine exhaustion from a double shift on the helm and then sickbay meant that despite Tomís confused jumble of emotions, he had barely lain down in bed before sleep descended.

About twenty minutes later, his eyes began to move rapidly as he entered REM sleep. It was becoming increasingly chilly in the room. He burrowed tighter into his blankets as the cold penetrated his whole body. A loud chuckle resounded through his bedroom like a slow roll of thunder. He shot up in bed in panic.

"Computer, Lights 50%" he yelped as freezing air hit his bare chest.

His heart nearly stopped at the image that was revealed by the

lights. A huge black robed figure filled the room, its face a grinning white skull, its eye sockets blazing with an unearthly red glow.

Tom scrambled backwards in terror

"Security Alert! Intruder on board" he screamed.

The computer failed to respond.

Tom reached a trembling hand out to his bedside table and fumbled unsuccessfully for his COM badge.

The skull-face grinned malevolently and raised a skeletal hand. Within its bony fingers, Tom could see the mocking gold glint of his missing badge.

"Wha - what do you want? Who are you? What the fuck are you doing in my quarters?" Tom demanded, his temper finally getting the better of his fear.

The creature made no reply except to crook a finger beckoningly.

Tom looked at the finger in mesmerized horror. He searched his mind desperately for an explanation for the monstrous visitor.

"Are you DEATH?" he whispered "Have you come for me?"

The creature swished its cloak impatiently and beckoned again.

Swallowing with difficulty, his throat dry with terror, Tom rose and walked slowly towards the horror before him. He would not whimper or beg. He would face his death bravely although as he reached the creature and it reached out its huge skeletal hands towards him, Tom couldnít prevent his eyes closing in anticipation of a blow.

He felt a sensation similar to a transporter beam and opened his eyes to find himself in the shuttle bay. The room was crowded with the crew of Voyager, all in dress uniforms, most crying. He saw misery etched on Chakotayís face, his once-proud features distorted by grief.

Tom rushed to Chakotayís side

"What is it? What has happened?" He begged but the Commander looked straight through him as though he wasnít there.

Tom ran to the Captain, who was frantically wiping her eyes with a large handkerchief.

"Captain?" he cried

She didnít even acknowledge him.

Tom ran back to the ghostly figure in panic.

"They canít see me. Why have you brought me here? What has happened? Who has died?"

The figureís only reply was to point his finger out of the viewport in condemnation to where a tiny craft was slowly disappearing.

Tom felt his heart almost stop in horror and he tried to close his eyes from the view. The ghost shook him fiercely, forcing him to face the nightmare vision of his future.

"No, no, please!" Tom sobbed in desperation. "Iíll change. I WANT to change. Iíll do anything to stop this future from happening."

Then, struck by renewed terror, he turned to the grinning skull.

"I CAN change it, canít I? I mean you wouldnít have shown me this if I couldnít stop it, would you?"

The ghost merely shrugged and turned his mocking face away.

"No, donít leave me here. PLEASE" Tom begged but the ghost faded away into the ether.

"NOOOOOOOO" Tom wailed and the sounds of his own scream woke him.

A glance at the chronometer showed him that he had only been asleep for a couple of hours.

He could feel the sweat running down his forehead. His hair was plastered to his skull like a wet cap. With trembling fingers he pushed back the sheets and rose shakily to get dressed. As he fumbled with the buttons of his shirt, the horrific vision of his future swirled in his brain.

He didnít know whether the ghost had been real or not, but the nightmare future he had seen still seemed all too possible unless he acted immediately. Maybe there was still time. He prayed there was enough time.

~~~

Chakotay was still hunkered miserably at the Bar, watching the many couples, wishing desperately that he had the courage to do something about his own loneliness.

He wasnít usually an indecisive man. In the past he had always had the courage of his own convictions. He was alone because he could only follow his heart, and his heart lead him to a stone wall. The only person he wanted had no interest in him, no interest in other men at all.

For years he had watched Tom flirt with all of the women on Voyager and never once look at any of the men. So he knew Tom would reject any advances. Besides, it had taken so long for the two of them to reach the point where they were actually friends that Chakotay wasnít willing to risk throwing it all away with an unrequited declaration of love. Tomís friendship was all he was being offered. He would just have to accept that there would be nothing more.

"Chakotay?"

He spun in surprise at Tomís voice; he hadnít seen the pilot return to Sandrines. Tomís hair was damp with sweat, his face flushed, his eyes fever bright.

"Tom? Are you alright?" He asked in concern "Can I do anything for you?"

A dazzling smile spread across Tomís face.

"YEAH" he replied and before the Commander knew it was going to happen, Tom dove at the older manís mouth and gave him a passionate kiss.

Chakotay nearly fell off his stool in shock and then decided to relax and enjoy the inevitable as Tomís tongue danced into his mouth and tangoed with his own.

When the pilot finally broke off his assault, and they had both regained enough breath and cognition to speak, Chakotay took Tomís hands gently and gazed into the beautiful blue eyes that sparkled with mischief and undeniable lust

"What did you do that for?" He asked softly, almost trembling in fear of the reply.

"It was the beginning." Tom smiled mysteriously

"Beginning of what?"

"Of a new future. OUR future!" Tom replied, his grin confidant, but his eyes a little scared.

Chakotay felt a warm glow expanding from his heart and effusing his whole body.

"Oh, YES" he responded passionately and saw Tomís eyes brighten as his obvious agreement chased the younger manís doubts away.

Chakotay reached for a couple of glasses and filled them with the remains of his wine. He handed one to Tom.

"Letís drink to it, our future."

Tom chinked his glass, "Our future" he agreed and took a deep swallow.

As the honeyed taste slipped down his throat he closed his eyes and shook his head to finally eradicate the unbelievably horrific, nightmare vision of Himself and BíElanna getting married.
 

The END