Title: Cementing Ties
Note: Part VI and the end of the Stone Heart Series
Author: Kim Riley aka MYSTIC / MysticMcknight
Summary: sequel to The walls of Jerico
Disclaimer: Everything but the idea and the talent that went into this is Paramounts, the rest is all mine.
Feedback: Please! Mysticmcknight@hotmail.com
Chakotay walked in the infirmary and saw Jerico curled up on the biobed, frightened. He walked over to stand next to the boy and looked down as silver eyes looked up. There were no words but a million things passed between the two of them, and then Chakotay reached out and picked Jerico up and hugged him tightly.
"Can I help you, Commander?" the EMH asked as he walked in the room.
"No, I'm just here to take my son home," he said, a smile on both his and Jerico's face.
"I'm afraid you can't take Jerico," the Doctor stated. "The Captain has…"
"I don't give a damn what the Captain or anyone else has to say on the matter," Chakotay snapped, as Jerico increased his hold on Chakotay's neck.
Just then Tom stormed in and saw a confrontation, but seeing Jerico safe in Chakotay's arms, helped to ease his fury. "What's going on?" he asked.
"The Doctor here believes he can stand in the way of our taking our son home," Chakotay stated to Tom, indicating where he stood in this matter.
Tom beamed with joy, "Well, then he has another thing coming, now doesn't he," Tom replied as he moved and gave his loves a supportive hug.
"The Captain has given orders…"
"To hell with the Captain," Chakotay said as he, Tom and Jerico moved out of sickbay, hearing the EMH contacting the Captain.
"I'm sorry for all the trouble I'm causing," Jerico whispered to the two men as they traveled down the hallway.
"You have nothing to be sorry about," Tom reassured the young man.
"Definitely not," Chakotay added. Then he stopped and looked straight into the boys silver eyes, "You are 'our' son, and we love you. We will 'not' give you up, understand me?"
Tom hugged the boy from behind, "No one messes with our family," he quipped, but the seriousness of the meaning wasn't lost.
As they reached their cabin, the Captain and Tuvok met them, and the look in everyone's face made it clear that there was likely to be a showdown. Fortunately, Janeway gestured that the showdown would occur in the families quarters and not in the hall. But once the doors shut, "To hell with the Captain?" she asked, hands on her hips her hurt and anger showing.
Chakotay handed Jerico over to Tom, "keep a hold of him," he said in a hushed tone, and the look in his eyes was that he didn't trust the situation at all. Then he turned back to meet the Captain's gaze. "Let me make this perfectly clear, Captain. We will 'not' give our son up, period."
Tom couldn't suppress the smile, for the Chakotay he knew was back, and in full swing. The fire that burned in his dark eyes, gleamed so bright, he was certain that the Captain would be scorched. He held on to Jerico tightly, for he too didn't trust the situation, and when he saw Tuvok move to the Commanders left, Tom flanked him, letting Chakotay know what he suspected by his movement.
"Unless you plan on killing us, or keeping us in the brig or stasis for the rest of the journey, let me assure you, that only those methods will keep us from doing what ever is necessary to protect our son, Captain. I can't believe your even considering letting them have him?" Chakotay growled. "Have you stooped so low that you would sacrifice Naomi if aliens demanded it?"
"How dare you!" Janeway roared in return. "Naomi is a child…"
"And so is Jerico!" Tom shouted back. "Our child!" he exclaimed again, while shifting Jerico to the farther side of his body, putting more buffer between Tuvok and the boy.
"Captain," Tuvok interrupted, seeing that tempers were about to flare even farther. "I think it is safe to say that reason will not be a factor in this matter, so long as the goal is to return the…G'qua. It is quite clear that Commander Chakotay and Lt. Paris is more than adamant on protecting their young, a very noble and powerful trait found in many species. I for one, agree that the G'qua has gone beyond the limits of its original species and has become sentient. For I have observed the boy in his school surroundings, and have watched him learn and interact just like Ms. Wildman.
"Not you too, Tuvok?" the Captain asked, seeing that she was losing the one supporter she thought she could count on, but she didn't seem overly hurt by it. In fact, she seemed even relieved. With a cleansing breath she flashed a glare at the two trouble makers, but when her gaze fell on the small boy huddled tightly in Tom's arms, her anger was lost and a small smile took its place. "I can't say I'm surprised," she mused softly. "In fact, I think I would have been sorely disappointed if you two behaved any differently," she added. "I'll inform the Braahaa council and let's pray gentlemen, that they will listen to reason." She looked at Tom and Chakotay, "by the way, you owe me an apology," she said, the hurt in her tone made it clear that what Chakotay had said stung hard and deep.
"I'm sorry for hurting you, Kathryn. But I'm not sorry for my actions in trying to protect my family. I hope you can understand this," Chakotay replied, the fire in his eyes easing, for he no longer saw Janeway and Tuvok as a threat.
"Very well. I'll give you two thirty minutes then I need you two back on the bridge. This isn't going to go smoothly, I can tell you that for a fact. Tom, I'm going to need you to plot a possible escape route for us out of this sector, for the Braahaa council seemed just as adamant about getting Jerico back." With her orders in place she and Tuvok headed to the door.
"Kathryn, Tuvok?" Chakotay said, stopping them in their tracks. "Thank you."
"Yes, thank you," Tom added.
"I thank you too," Jerico said in a small voice.
Kathryn Janeway smiled at seeing the family that had struggled so through so much, still together, "Your welcome."
Tuvok gave a affirmative nod and exited out with the Captain.
"This is unacceptable, Captain!" Noble Alrwright shouted in anger. "The G'qua is a pet, an animal, property. Property of the Royal house, and we 'demand' its return, now!"
Chakotay had been sitting silent on the bridge for the last ten minutes listening to the Braahaa bastard degrading his son as if he were nothing, while Janeway was trying to convince him otherwise. He had tried to signal the Captain that perhaps he should leave along with Tom, for the anger was clear on both their faces. But this was the final straw. "You will not have my son, and I will send you to hell myself if you even get close to him!" he snapped as he stood up from his chair, the anger he was feeling filled his momentum, and stood behind Tom, who growled in agreement.
"Commander!" Janeway snapped, not pleased with Chakotay's outburst.
Noble Alrwright could see that things were getting out of control and so decided to take another path in convincing the human's of their error. He turned to someone off screen and asked for something. He was then given a five by five, clear box that contained what looked like a silver blob in it. "Commander, would you call 'this' a child? This is a G'qua, a new one at that, but this is what they look like in their original state before bonding with an owner. This is what the one you call Jerico would revert back to if something were to happen to both you and your mate."
"That's not true," Tom snapped in reply.
Alrwright looked furious now. "We don't wish war, for that could cause us to harm the G'qua and we do wish to prevent that, however. You will 'not' be permitted to leave with it either," he snapped and cut off the channel.
"Captain, Braahaa vessels have surrounded us," Harry stated.
"Well, it wasn't like we didn't know that was going to happen," Janeway muttered under her breath. "Well, gentlemen, it seems we have a stand off. I want a senior staff meeting in my office in twenty minutes," she ordered and moved from her chair to her office. "Commander, you have the bridge till then."
The meeting finally ended in the senior staff hitting a brick wall and no way to punch through it at the moment. There was no way around the surrounding ships without engaging in battle and Voyager's chances of survival were 40/60 at best. Tom and Chakotay made it clear with their very presence that giving Jerico back wasn't even a consideration, and no one even attempted to suggest it.
The EMH reported that though Jerico is G'qua that unlike the other reports he has on the species, Jerico's molecules were stable and showed every indication of being a regular humanoid child. Janeway had the EMH send the report to Noble Alrwright in hopes it would help, it didn't. Voyager was just only accused of falsifying the documentation for his or her own uses.
The hour was late and the Captain, keeping the ship on red alert send most of her senior crew off to rest in hopes that some brilliant idea would arrive in their dreams, while she sat vigil on the bridge. She knew she wasn't going to be getting any sleep, and probably not her First Officer and Chief Pilot. The more she thought about it, even she was a bit disgusted with her self for even considering handing Jerico over. The boy…yes, he was a boy, a child and in need of their protection. //Some how Jerico, some how we'll keep you safe. //
She was right, Chakotay and Tom were not going to get any sleep. They both sat a quiet vigil watching Jerico sleep in his bed, clutching the teddy bear that Tom got him a while back. After about thirty minutes Chakotay moved out to the living room with Tom, holding his hand, concern filled both their faces.
"Drink?" Chakotay asked.
Tom took a seat on the sofa at an angle he could still see Jerico easily, for they left his door open. Neither man was content to leave the child unguarded. "Yeah, a stiff one if you please."
Chakotay replicated two stiff drinks, and handed Tom his as he sat down next to his husband, his dark eyes shimmering in deep thought. "Tom…I…"
"Cha?" Tom asked wondering what more was upsetting his love.
"I think the only way they'll leave us alone is if we prove that Jerico is no longer what they think he is," Chakotay stated, choosing his words carefully.
This of course made Tom nervous, "Cha? We sent the report…"
"They didn't believe it because they didn't see it. No, we have to show them, but…" Chakotay took a big swig of his drink, unsure of his idea.
"Prove it? How else can we prove anything?" Tom asked, sipping his drink in hopes of calming his nerves.
Chakotay turned to eye the young boy just out of hearing range and then turned back to face Tom and lowered his voice to just above a whisper, "They keep saying that Jerico will revert back if we both were out of the picture. Well, what if he doesn't, wouldn't that prove…"
Tom sat back, "Cha, what are you saying? I won't give Jerico up!"
Chakotay shook his head, "No, love. I won't either. That's not what I'm saying. If, representatives of the council were here in sickbay, and we…you and me…um…" Chakotay finished his drink before continuing. "If we were dead…just for a short time, and Jerico remained unchanged, they'll have to concede."
Tom remained silent as he processed what Chakotay was suggesting. There was an unasked consideration, and as much as he didn't want to, he had to ask it. "What…what if we're wrong Cha?" he said softly. "Are we willing…to take that chance?"
It was Chakotay's turn to think in silence, then with a cleansing breath he met Tom's eyes. If that's going to be the case, we'll have to know sooner or later, not only for us, but also for Jerico's sake. I…I don't want to lose him, Tom…" Chakotay let his words trail as an old pain once again filled his eyes.
Tom recognized it and hugged his husband tightly, "We won't, love. We won't!"
"I…I just don't think I could bare it," he said softly.
"Neither could I love, neither could I." Tom hugged his husband with all his might, "Fate just can't be that cruel, it just can't be," he quietly sobbed, the tension of the day finally flowing from him into his husbands strong arms.
The couple rested in each others arms, trying to decide the best way to hand the situation while a young, overly bright boy pretending to be asleep in the next room made his own plans on how to stay with his fathers. He knew they loved him, it was the most special feeling in the universe and he wasn't about to trade it for a thing…but he couldn't let anything happen to them either, not over a…pet. There had to be an answer to this mess, and he finally closed his eyes in deepest hopes that what he was thinking was it.
Janeway was far from keen on the idea, but after almost twenty-four hours of a stand off, something had to be tried. At Chakotay and Tom's insistence she proposed the idea to the Braahaa representative Noble Alrwright. After a few minutes the council stated that they had similar thoughts and had methods of breaking unwanted bonds. But they would only agree that if the testing of Jerico was proven that he would simply morph back, than everyone on Voyager had to relinquish claim on it. There would be no compromise, if Jerico was G'qua he would have to be returned, if he did not, then the 'boy' would be let go and there would be an end of this madness.
The only problem was that Tom and Chakotay were not hundred percent ready to make such an agreement, even if they did suggest it. They were given another five hours to decide and then there would be no turning back, for the Braahaa council had made it's decision. For the sake of honor, Voyager gave back what was rightfully theirs or they would over take the vessel by force.
An hour later Tom, Chakotay, and little Jerico sat down on the family sofa for a very difficult talk. Chakotay took the lead in explaining things to the boy, followed by Tom who gave his faith that things would work out in their favor. They both could tell that the boy was afraid, but they explained that he had to agree to it, they wouldn't force him.
They couldn't have been prouder then when Jerico agreed only because he wouldn't want anyone hurt over him. Though Chakotay and Tom both would willingly die for the boy, they were proud that Jerico could make such a mature decision at so young an age, even if he was bright.
Chakotay contacted the Captain and told her that it was a go, and that all this madness would be coming to an end one way or another tomorrow at noon. That night the Paris family spent what all prayed was far from their last night with each other.
The mood in the infirmary was tense as all concerned parties stood quietly by waiting for things to begin. Janeway, Tuvok, and two-security detail stood waiting as Noble Alrwright and several of his aids along with a tiny creature also stood by silently waiting.
Tom, Chakotay, and Jerico finally entered the room, the boy safely between the two men. The look on the men's faces was apprehensive and angry. Jerico looked scared but remained clam as they walked into the infirmary.
"Let us get this over with, shall we, " Alrwright stated. "I have here a bonded G'qua, it is attached to me. With an injection of this," he gestured to a vial one of his aids was holding, " all bonds with the creature will be cut and the creature will revert back to its original state. That simple gentlemen… Captain."
"May I inquire if there are any side effects?" The Doctor asked.
Alrwright gave a simple smirk, "No. The G'qua will be perfectly fine, though there is some pain in severing the bond, but that's unavoidable, but far from harmful. The only 'side' effect is that the G'qua will never be able to bound with that same person ever again."
Subconsciously both men squeezed Jerico's hand, but the boy didn't yelp, he too was far from pleased at this thought and gave a big swallow. He gently slipped his hand out of Tom's grasp and pulled on Chakotay's. There didn't need to be any words between them, the big man knew that his son wanted to he held and he instantly picked him up and moved closer to Tom as they waited to watch and see this procedure done on the smaller G'qua.
The tiny creature was placed on the biobed as the EMH gave it a exam, then when he was satisfied he turned to the Captain, "It's molecules are definitely not stable," he stated as if giving some hope to the two men that all would work out after all.
The creature was given the shot and a tiny whine came from it, but after five minutes the creature turned back into the tiny silver blob they had seen on the view screen the other day. It was then placed back in its glass box and left on the biobed.
"Okay, now, the other one," Ordered Alrwright, who only hesitated in response of the glare he was receiving from the two men not that far from him. Then he moved aside to let things occur.
Jerico wiggled that he wanted down, and slowly Chakotay did. He moved from the two men and with a soft look let them know that he was going to face this head on. He could see the two men wanted to love him, protect him, and this gave him courage. He moved slowly toward the biobed that held the small box and the silver creature that was suppose to be what he was…a blob.
He rested his hands on the small box, eyeing the creature inside, then those around him. He steeled his gaze, his mind made up and slowly lifted the box and embraced it to his chest. He closed his eyes for a moment. "I'm ready," he said.
As people moved in to help him up to the table and get this started, Jerico suddenly dashed between them and out the infirmary doors, still holding the small box as he left.
"What the meaning of this!" Alrwright demanded as he saw Chakotay and Tom move out after the boy.
"It would seem that you scared him off," the EMH stated, a bit pleased not to have to go through with this madness, all the way down to his computer core.
"He's right. Jerico just panicked, give Tom and the Commander a chance to calm him down, Noble. I'm sure you can spare a little patience in the name of peace," Janeway stated, hoping like hell for her two officers that this would work out okay.
Both men were surprised at how fast the young boy disappeared from sight. The boy didn't have a com badge so it was going to take some time for Ops to pin point where the boy was as Tom and Chakotay searched manually.
After twenty minutes Ops called and said that they detected the boy in the lower levels of the port nacelle. Both men looked at each other, both wondering how Jerico got there so fast and what he was doing there. As they moved to find out Chakotay informed the Captain that they did finally manage to locate the boy and were going to deal with it.
It took them thirty minutes getting there through regular means of the halls and the ladders. Tom and Chakotay both surmised that Jerico used the ducts and probably got lost and ended up there. They approached the doors to the room where Jerico was and found it sealed off.
Chakotay punched in his override code, but it didn't work. "Computer override this door, Chakotay beta alpha nine three," he snapped.
Access denied. All command overrides are denied during a radiation seal is present.
Tom and Chakotay both paled. "Radiation?" they chorused.
"Chakotay to Ops. Scan the section where Jerico is. The computer states that there is a radiation seal on the door."
Tom and Chakotay held their breaths as the seconds ticked by.
"Sir, engineering is reporting a radiation leak in that area. I've notified B'Elanna," Harry stated, his concern for Jerico too was in his voice.
"Can we beam him out of there?" Tom asked in desperation.
"I'm trying to get a lock on him, Tom, but the radiation is playing havoc with the sensors. Damn, I wish he had a com badge, then I could lock in on the signal," Harry replied, uncaring if his last comment sounded unprofessional.
"Chakotay to the Captain. We…we have a problem."
"What is it?" she asked unaware of the building crisis.
"Jerico has somehow landed in the lower engine room near the port nacelle, and there's …there is a radiation leak and the door is sealed. It won't recognize any override codes and Harry can't get a lock on him," the older man stated, an edge to his voice clear.
At the same time, "Tom to B'Elanna. You've got to do something," he pleaded.
"Tom, I'm doing everything I can, I swear it," she snapped and cut the channel moving back to handle the crisis.
Seconds turned to minutes as Tom and Chakotay stood ideally by, panic clear in their eyes. Soon the hall was filled with the Captain, Tuvok, the Braahaa representatives and the EMH with his holo emitter.
"You got to do something," Tom pleaded, his plea being matched by Chakotay's eyes.
The EMH moved to the door and did some scans and then accessed the ship computer as to take some other readings, all a while making that annoying "Hmmm" sound.
"This could have all been avoided if you just turned over the creature in the first place," Alrwright stated flatly, his patience coming to an end.
Chakotay suddenly lurched, but Tom stopped him, "You can't hit him. You're the First Officer, think about how that would look," Tom stated a bit soothingly to his love. "So let me," he said as he turned to hit the representative, but he too was stopped, this time by Chakotay himself, "If I can't hit him, you can't either," he said coolly. Then a wicked gleam crossed their eyes, but what they may have attended to occur didn't for Tuvok stepped in the way to assure peace.
"Gentlemen, this isn't helping the situation. I want options, not fights." Janeway said.
"Harry, any luck?" Tom asked some impatience in his tone.
"Sorry, Tom. The radiation is getting worse."
"Captain, is the EMH there with you?" B'Elanna asked over the com badge.
"Why not simply ask me, Lieutenant. It's not like I can't give you my location," the Doctor stated annoyed.
"Yes, B'Elanna, he's here. Why?" Janeway replied.
"I can't control the radiation, but I can get the doors open. But, the hall will have to be clear and only the EMH would be able to stand the levels with definitely no harm. Harry can lock on the Doc's signal and when he indicated we can beam them to sickbay."
Janeway thought for a second, "Give us a few minutes to evacuate the hallway then make it so. Doc?"
"I understand, Captain. Mr. Kim, do you have a lock on me?" the EMH asked.
"Yes, Doc, I got a good and tight lock on you. Just give the word and I'll have all with in a ten-foot radius perimeter beamed to the infirmary. It's the best I can do."
"I'm sure it will do fine, Mr. Kim. Have the infirmary standing by with high level radiation protocol in affect." Then turning to the retreating couple, "Don't worry, Lieutenant, Commander. I will do my best to make sure he's well taken care of."
Everyone was waiting outside Sickbay, because of the Radiation, no one was allowed inside till it was all clear. Chakotay was leaning against the wall by the door holding Tom. He didn't care what anyone thought at this moment. He needed the strength of his husband, and the strain of fear was on both their faces.
The Doctor had only communicated that the transport was successful and that he would let them know when it was safe for them to enter inside. He did say that Jerico was heavily exposed but was confident that he would be all right. But his words brought no relief to the two men that stood silently by…waiting.
After what seemed like an eternity, the doors to sickbay finally opened and the Doctor stood in front of them. He looked serious as he turned to the couple by the wall, "Commander, Mr. Paris, would you please come inside…we need to talk."
The tone in the Doctors voice made Chakotay freeze in his spot. He didn't want to hear it if it was bad news, he didn't want to know…he couldn't take it again. It was by Tom's assistance that he walked inside the infirmary to discover the fate of their son.
It had been a full year as of today since that fateful day. Tom walked up to his husband who was staring sadly out the window. "I know, I miss him too," Tom said softly.
Chakotay sighed as he turned to face the man he loved. "I just never imagined things working out this way," he said softly as he hugged Tom. "But it has."
"Cha, its just part of the big mystery called the universe. It…it was mean to happen, face it."
"I guess I do, don't I," Chakotay stated some what warmly. Then he turned back to the view a wishful look on his face. "Who would have suspected the turn of events of that day?"
Tom laughed, "Jerico."
Chakotay smiled, "Yeah, I guess he did. Imagine him realizing that a particular combination of radiation stabilized his kinds molecules and activating them into their final morphing state."
"Too bad it also excellerated growth," Tom stated sadly.
"It wasn't excellerated. The Doctor explained that a second dose only assisted in Jerico reaching his true age and maturity. Go figure a thirty year old lurked under those eyes," Chakotay smiled.
"Yeah," Tom stated softly. "But he was born to his cause that day, we had to respect it."
"I know, Tom. But…he's all along trying to free his people from the Braahaa's servitude. It seems so…unfair."
Tom laughed, "But he's our son, always will be. If anyone can pull it off, he can."
"I pray you're right, love. I just wish…."
"That we could be around when he does?"
Chakotay hugged his husband and gave him a kiss, "Yes."
Just then the door chimed. "Come" Chakotay stated.
Just then the doors opened again and a dozen people came in carrying boxes and Neelix holding a cake. "Sorry we're late, but…"
"Don't worry about it," Tom smiled. They should be here any minute.
Then Sam Wildman entered with Naomi, but carrying a small child about a year in age. "You said, 13:00 hrs" she smiled. "Oh, how sweet!" she chimed as she moved toward the table where Neelix had laid down the cake.
Tom and Chakotay moved and each took one of the small children and hugged them lovingly.
"Ready for some cake?" Tom cooed the small boy.
Chakotay laughed, "We need to sing happy birthday first, then they get to mess it up, for I'm betting more cake will end up on them then in them," he smiled hugging the little girl.
The two dark skinned, children giggled. The girl flashed her bright dark eyes up to Chakotay, as the boy's flashed his bright blues toward the cake. Tom laughed, "I have a feeling your right."
"So, who's going to blow out the candle for these two?" Janeway asked warmly.
"Why? Don't you think Chakota and Gene can handle it?" Tom teased.
"Being that they take after you two, I wouldn't put anything passed them," Janeway teased. "But, humor me," she smiled.
"We'll do it together, like a family should," Chakotay stated as they all moved into position behind the table and the candle shaped like the number one was lit.
They all sang happy birthday to the two giggling children and all of them tried to blow out the candle, but it was the two men that succeeded. Cheers went all around as Neelix took over as official cake cutter and server.
"Commander, I've been looking over human family structure. Wouldn't Gene be your grandson instead of your son since…" he stopped suddenly feeling he may have brought up a sensitive subject.
Chakotay and Tom smiled. "It's okay, Neelix. On one hand it could be viewed as that. When Jerico was forced to complete his final morphing stage, he did…reproducing as his kind did at that stage. But once he was finished, the Doctor…"
"Who's late, by the way," Tom interrupted his husband."
"The Doctor stated that he was technically already grown up and that when we rescued him we…interrupted his change. Since Chakota and Gene were recently born they are their full age and will grow and live just like regular children, even having children in human fashion. But as for Gene being our grandson…Yes, I guess he is, but it's easier in the long run just to raise him like our son. We'll explain things to him later."
"Now, lets have some cake!" Tom demanded. "For I see a piņata with my name on it!"
"Tom, that's for the kids," Chakotay stated warmly.
"Hey, big kid her, Cha!" he turned to Naomi, and together they yelled "Candy!"
"Tom, two kids in the family is enough," he smiled.
Tom reached over and gave his older husband a kiss on the cheek, which Chakota did the same as Gene shouted candy. Tom smiled at Chakotay, "Four, big guy. I've seen how you get around the candy too," he teased.
By evening after the kids were in bed, Tom and Chakotay headed off to bed, but not before placing their latest family photo next to another set. One featuring a loving couple and a small boy with silver eyes, the other featuring the same couple with another grown man with silver eyes and handsome features, holding two tiny babies. One blue eyed blond hair and one dark hair and dark eyes, all looking like a loving family. The third being of two grown men covered in cake along with two one year olds, the perfect family…missing one.