Title: The Gift of Love
Author: Kim Riley a.k.a. MYSTIC
Pairing: C/P
Rating: Gee how sweet
Archive: Please, just let me know where.
Feedback: Yes please!

"The Gift of Love"

I sit here dazed and confused, truly unsure how this all came
about, but I do know one thing, it's all my fault. I'm sitting in the
Kallation's court room about to have sentence passed on me all because
I didn't listen to Chakotay when he told me to not go off from the
landing party.

It started a week ago, we just arrived in a new section of
space and we made contact with the Kallation council, the ruling
government of the nearest warp drive capable populous. We needed
supplies and they were willing to negotiate. They even extended shore
leave to our crew, and of course the Commander and the Captain wanted
a small part to check things out, get to know the laws and customs to
avoid trouble.

Leave it to me, Thomas Eugene Pairs to find trouble first
hand. We were passing through one of the local markets and I saw this
beautiful sculpture, funny I can't remember of what now, but I do
remember asking Chakotay if we could check it out, he ordered us to
stick together. Of course, since the market was crowded, I thought I
could slip off and return without him even noticing.big mistake.

"I must have said something wrong, that's nothing new, but it
ended in a brawl and me being arrested. Of course, leave it to me not
to get into a typical fight, no, I had to haul off and hit the Prime
ministers son who went flying back and fell into to his expecting
wife.heavens! I'd never harm someone who wasn't trying to harm me
first much less an expecting woman, but the result was the baby was
born premature and in poor health condition.

Thankfully our medical technology was able to make sure the
little girl was going to be just fine, but I was now up on serious
charges of attempt of murder. For in this culture that was exactly how
they saw it. I explained that her being injured was purely and
accident, that her husband hit me first, but that didn't matter. Oh,
the Prime minister's son wasn't let off by no means, he was sentenced
to one year in prison for endangering his child's life, with early
release for good behavior. Damn, are they strict.

Me.if I'm found guilty, I'll be sentenced to death. They take
crimes like this very seriously, that's why their crime rate is very
minimal. The Captain has done all she can and has all available
personnel on the case, learning the laws as fast as they can to see if
they can't come to some other means of justice. I know a part of the
Captain wants to kidnap me and run off I see it in her eyes when she
comes to visit; but how would that make us look?

I've been allowed a few visitors, and besides, the Captain,
only Harry and B'Elanna have come to see me. Funny, as I sat in the
prison cell, all I could think about was how I wanted to apologize to
Chakotay. I know we haven't had the best of relationships, hell, the
fact he hasn't wanted to kill me for over three months is a vast
improvement, but still.I know him. I know he's taking this all
personal somehow, that he let me down, when in truth I let him down.

Well, I did ask the Captain to give him my apologies, but the
Commander still didn't come see me, not that I expected him too,
just.well, never mind. Now the moment has arrived and the judge has
arrived to pass sentence.there is little in the way of trial here,
your guilty unless proven innocent on this world, and I was far from
innocent long before I ever came to this planet.

I did see Chakotay sitting next to the Captain, wearing his famous
stoic look, his dark eyes straight ahead, as if I don't exist, and for
that moment I wish I didn't. I also see the pained expressions on my
friend's faces as well as in the Captain's eyes. Only Tuvok seems
unfazed, unless you knew him, which I did, and he doesn't look to
hopeful either.

"Unless there is any new evidence to this case, sentencing shall
proceed," the judge stated, while looking over the crowd that gathered
to witness the alien trial.

"There is, your honor," Chakotay stood up and stated, to the surprise
of everyone, including Janeway.

"Commander, what are you doing?" she hissed with concern.

"What's right in accordance to the law," he stated flatly. Then he
looked to the judge, "May I approach and give testimony, your honor?"

The judge took a moment to size the human before him, "Will this truly
change the outcome of this proceeding?" he asked.

"I believe it will, your honor," Chakotay stated.

"Very well, you may approach."

Chakotay moved passed the guards and the defendant's table without a
look in Tom's direction as he moved up to speak with the judge.
Everyone sat in silent wonder as to what the Commander was saying to
the judge, even more so when the prosecutor was called up to join in
the privileged conversation.

"That is the law," the Judge said as he sat back in his chair. "So be
it." Then he looked to face the crowd, "in accordance to our law,
those under subordinate status is not liable for their actions but
their current superior." Then he looked at Tom, "In this case
Lieutenant Paris, you were under Commander Chakotay's authority and
thus constituted as a subordinate. Your superior has come forth to
claim his rightful responsibility."

"No!" Tom shouted as he stood up in shock, to think Chakotay would
take his place in this mater was unheard of.

"Commander Chakotay is under my authority," Janeway stated

"I'm sorry, Kathryn, but not in accordance with Kallation law. I was
in charge of the landing party, thus I am the authorized superior,"
Chakotay stated as he was being placed in handcuffs.

"Stop! I was the one who hit the guy! You can't do this," Tom insisted
as he tried to make his way around the table to Chakotay.

"Tom, please," Chakotay, said in a calm voice that froze the young
pilot in his steps inches from him. Then he leaned in and whispered
something in Tom's ear before he was taken away.

"Under the new circumstances, sentencing of the prisoner will take
place tomorrow, same time. This court is adjourned." The judge said
and he left the room, leaving a very surprised and stunned audience.


it took a few minutes to register that Janeway was next to him, her
hand on his shoulder, he was free to go. He turned and looked at her
stunned, his eyes full of tears, he didn't care what anyone thought,
"This isn't right," he whispered to her.

"I.I don't know what's going on, Tom. But I promise to get to the
bottom of it, some how," she said, not quiet as convinced of her own

Tom then just turned to stare at the door that lead to the hall that
lead to the cell he had been in, knowing Chakotay would be in that
cell now, because of him. His mind kept replaying the last words
Chakotay had said to him.{"you're worth it, Tom."} Worth it? Tom felt
anything but worthy of Chakotay's sacrifice. He was so deep in
thought that he didn't even realize till a minute ago that he was back
on Voyager in the transporter room.


Chakotay sat in the cell that once occupied they young pilot he felt
so much for. He knew on some level he'd do the same thing if it had
been anyone else under his command, but it was Tom, and though he
could never tell the young man how he felt, he could do this for him.
He could give Tom his life, for in Chakotay's eye's Tom was worth it,
for he had so much to offer, if only the young man realized it.

Stripped of his uniform and given a black prison jumpsuit, Chakotay
tried to meditate, to relax, he had resolved himself to his fate
before even beaming down to the planet for Tom's sentencing. His mind
went over regrets, and thoughts of what could be done to elevate them
in the precious time he had left, for he was sure that he would be
sentenced to death in Tom's place.

He had thought about leaving a letter for Tom, explaining things,
letting him know just how much he really cared for the young man, but
since he wasn't going to be around, and knowing how sensitive Tom
really was, after finally seeing beyond the mask, it would only hurt
the young man more. He did make sure his will was in orderly fashion
and it was part of his final wish that no one, especially anyone in
the Marquis blame Tom for what happened.

Feeling he had said all he wanted in his letters to everyone, and had
things settled with his will, he had requested not to see anyone, his
right as a prisoner. He couldn't take seeing anyone's face right now,
especially Tom's. Though it may not be long, he had made sure that he
had etched in his mind ever beautiful detail of Tom's face, he
couldn't bare to see it angry or sad, or anguished. He meant what he
said, Tom was worth everything, but Chakotay couldn't bare seeing him,
even one last time, if he was to keep control of his emotions as he
faced his final journey.

"Are you sure you don't want any visitors?" a guard's voice echoed
throughout his cell.

"I'm sure," Chakotay replied, his eyes still closed as he tried to
continue his focus to meditate.

"Well, I was asked to ask you again, for the office is being clamored,
if you know what I mean," The young guard said, but noticed that
Chakotay had tuned him out, so he shrugged and walked away to let the
office know that the prisoner had not changed his mind.


The next day, same time as the day before, it was Chakotay that was
sitting in the same chair that Tom had sat only the day before. Tom
sat silently next to the Captain, he didn't need anyone to make him
feel guilty, he was doing a great job all on his own. He was in the
ready room when Tuvok informed the Captain that the Commander had
finalized all his personal affairs after discovering the law that
would shift the blame from Tom to himself.

Tom had gone with the Captain in hopes of seeing Chakotay, but they
were told that it was the prisoner that refused visitors and it was
his right to do so. He was up all night just like the rest of the
bridge crew, trying to find someway to stop this madness, or for Tom
at the very least, get the charges back to where they belonged,

Nothing they tried seemed to help, and Tom felt that their pleas were
falling on deaf ears. Tom had actually suggested in the ready room
that they should take the Commander and run. It was one thing for him
to face the penalty of this world, not Chakotay. Even though everyone
had entertained the idea, for a very long time, they knew it wouldn't
be what Chakotay would want or would forgive. He was a man of honor
and preferred to die that way.

Tom was pale, just like everyone else that was allowed to attend the
sentencing of the Commander. He felt his heart ache and his soul
shrivel up when he saw Chakotay being led in the room, just like he
was the day before, dressed like a common prisoner and in handcuffs.
Tom couldn't help but admire the older man, for even under such
certain outcome, he maintained an inner calm that was all Chakotay. It
was then that Tom knew that he would always love the older man, and
why no one else could touch his heart, he had lost it long ago, but
just wasn't able to admit it. Now.it was too late.

The Judge entered in and took his seat. He called the court to order
and proceeded like he did the day before.

"Unless there is any new evidence to this case, sentencing shall
proceed," the Judge said, looking over the audience once more, but no
one spoke up.

"Commander Chakotay, your case has kept me up all night. Between the
pleas of your people, and those of my own, I find that you have
developed a rather strong following. For you see, we hold honorable
actions in high esteem. It is based on the fact that you could of
easily kept silent but chose to step forward once you knew the law,
that I will waive the penalty of death in your case," the Judge
stated, a sense of relief in his voice.

A small cheer came, but not from anyone on Voyager, but the Kallations
that were in the audience. The crew kept silent, for they could still
see that there was more to be said, and their Commander's fate still

"After long deliberation, it is hereby decided that you will serve
three years prison time, with possible early release with good
behavior. This case is adjourned," he said and the room echoed with
the sound of wood hitting wood, sealing Commander Chakotay's fate for


This wasn't what he had anticipated. Chakotay knew that in their own
way, the Kallations were trying to be merciful to his case, but they
didn't understand. In death he could have moved on, this way, he'd be
trapped to live out his existence alone. //Perhaps there is a reason
that I just can't see,// he told himself, trying to find the strength
to meet each morning, one day at a time.

By law, new prisoners were not allowed visitors for one month per a
year of their sentence, life or death being an exception, so being he
was sentenced to three years, he was told three months would go by
before being allowed any visitors. He didn't care, really, no one
would be coming this he knew, for he was sure Kathryn would have kept
his request and keep heading for home. But he was now sad that he
didn't say one last good bye to Kathryn, and yes, even Tom. He was
going to miss the young man, but his beautiful face had stayed with
him all this time.

Though life in prison was rougher than he first expected it to be, he
soon found a routine he could handle and after enough 'secret' brawls,
got the other prisoners to leave him alone, even a touch of respect
was given. He started his day with morning mediation and stretching,
then headed to whatever work assignment he was given for the day. He
chose to have little free time, so it was night by the time he
returned to his cell, where he would repeat the mediation and exercise
to keep in shape, and make sure he was tired so he could sleep.

This had been his routine for the last three months, so when he was
told that today he was not only granted visitation rights, but he had
a visitor, Chakotay was full of curiosity at who it possibly could be.
Only for a brief second did he allow himself to think that Kathryn
would have stayed that long, but then he knew better. Then he surmised
it was his representative, giving him an update on his situation.

Nothing could have prepared him for the site that greeted him. He
moved and sat down at the visitor window that separated prisoners and
civilians and stared. Dressed in Kallation civilian cloths was Tom

"Tom?" he asked, stunned beyond belief.

"Hello, Chakotay," Tom smiled, his blue eyes dancing warmly.


Tom looked down, not sure how Chakotay would take what he had to say,
"I.I couldn't let you stay here all by yourself," he said softly.
"They had to move on.I.I decided to stay."

Tom of course didn't want to discuss this yet, so changed the
subject. "I've got great news," he quipped. "I've talked to a lot of
officials, and since you've been the model prisoner, and since I'm
here, I've agreed to pay restitution, they'll communicate you sentence
down to 18 months, that's including the three you already served. I
just got the word this morning," he smiled.

"Tom.you should of gone," Chakotay said softly.

Tom felt a wave of anger run through him. Here he stayed behind, got a
job and was working his butt off to help cut this man's sentence down,
and all he had to say was he should of gone? But he took a few deep
breaths and one good look into the sweet caring brown eyes staring at
him, he understood where Chakotay was coming from and the anger left
him. "I couldn't," he said. "And now it doesn't matter," he quipped
as to say its old news, time to move on.

Chakotay felt a mixture of emotions, a bit of anger and sad that Tom
would sacrifice home to stay for him, but joy and touched that Tom
would sacrifice home to stay.for him. "Why?" was all he could say at
this point.

Tom looked up and for once could read all the emotions in the older
man's face as clear as day. He gave a small smile, "because your worth

<The end? Let me know?>