Title: Darkness Rising
Author: kiraananke@hotmail.com
Series: VOY Rating: PG-13 
Summary: Tom broods, B'Elanna rages, and Chakotay runs interference. Set directly after the events of, and based upon spoilers from, the upcoming episode Lineage. Hence, if you don't want spoilers,or haven't read spoilers, I don't recommend reading.You might not 'get it'. Archive: Do it. 

Notes: Tom and B'Elanna have been arguing after the events in LINEAGE. B'Elanna, hormonal and moody, refused to reconcile with her husband, demanding that he bring Chakotay to her instead. An hour later, and Tom is brooding in the empty mess hall. 


Tom sighed and took a seat in the mess hall, staring out at the stars while nursing a drink. The room was in low light, empty, tranquil, but things didn't seem any more relaxed than normal. In fact, he felt quite a bit more harragued, worried, old. As a shuttle glided past an  aft window, he glanced down at the hand holding his cup, staring in abject misery at his wedding band. 

Chakotay entered, face grim and mind apparently set with a cause. Replicating coffee, he sat immediately opposite the pilot, seemingly gazing into his soul, in search of something. 

The tension of previous years returned immediately. Tom stiffened, scowled. "Knock it off." 

Chakotay chuckled. "Your wife is sleeping peacefully with her Targ, Paris." 

Tom nodded grudgingly."Thanks. Maybe I can make it to the couch tonight without earning a concussion." Peering out at the sweeping alien stars in distraction, he finally resettled his gaze on the commander. "You once loved each other." 

Chakotay stiffened. "We had a relationship, yes." 

Tom nursed his cup once again, eyes going distant, meditative. "Why did you break it off?' 

Chakotay, shifted in his seat, expression darkening defensively."I wasn't what she needed." 

A faintly wheezing laugh burst forth from the helmsman. "Funny, I bet the Targ could say otherwise tonight." 

Chakotay, warningly. "Don't make hotheaded accusations, Lt. Nothing happened." 

The other laughed softly, darkly. "I know. That's the problem. She's never been comfortable enough around me for 'nothing to happen.' She loves you, Chakotay. As a brother, a father figure, a lover-hell, I don't think she knows which. But she loves you, and she takes more strength from you than she ever believes I have. Just being around you gives Lanna peace. I only stir her to tears or wrath. That hurts." 

Chakotay didn't quite know what to say. 

Tom was half drunk, and swiftly decided to go ahead for the kill. "You know what this was about, right? She thinks I'm going to leave her and the baby. Lanna had such a horrific childhood that she can't accept love. Except from you. Chakotay, always Lanna's exception." Another bitter laugh escaped as he hunched forward. "Maybe she's right. Maybe I will leave. Not because I don't love her, but because I'm weak. I'm not worthy. I know how Carl Torres felt. Maybe 12 years from now, my little girl will be holding a fishing pole and crying Klingon tears as I walk out of her life. Maybe 12 years from now Lanna will be in your arms, or a bitter Klingon warrior, and I'll be a nonentity. Cycles repeat." 

Chakotay, quietly. "You've got 12 years to dwell on it, Lt, and 12 minutes to sober up and be on the bridge before I assign you to the brig." He stood and frowned briefly before shaking his head and striding towards the door. 

Tom's voice stopped him. Turning, he saw that the pilot wasn't drunk at all, but lost, terrified. The younger man and barely tolerated nemesis spoke, tones weary. "Chakotay, make me a vow." 

The former warrior nodded slowly. 

"Don't let me be Carl Torres. No matter where we are 12 years from now...don't let me hurt them. Remove me from their lives before I create Miral and B'Elanna for the second time." Nodding brief and empathetic assent, the Maquis walked out. Tom returned his gaze to the stars. 

  ~The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink~