CPR: The Chakotay/Paris Realm

Title: The Walls of Jerico
Note: Part V of the Stone Heart Series
Author: Kim Riley aka MYSTIC / MysticMcknight
Pairing: C/P
Rated: R
Summary: sequel to Stepping Stone:
Disclaimer: Everything but the idea and the talent that went into this is Paramounts, the rest is all mine.
Feedback: Please! Mysticmcknight@hotmail.com

"The Walls of Jerico."

Captain's Log:

"Never say never, or better yet…never say that things can never get more strange or dramatic around here. A month ago we answered a distress signal and by the time we got there we were only able to rescue one small alien boy. See past reports for more details. The boy is somewhat of an enigma. He doesn't talk, well to anyone but Chakotay and only if no one is around…so the Commander says, for we have no proof. When anyone is around, Jerico, the boy's name according to Chakotay, and only grunts or growls or is silent to anyone else. He doesn't listen to anyone but Commander Chakotay, who can give very complex instructions and the boy will follow to a T.

When Jerico first arrived his dark complexion, long blond hair and silver eyes made him look so vulnerable, but as he awoke he was like a wild child till he some how bonded…chose…I'm not sure what the word here would be…Commander Chakotay. When the Commander wasn't about at first, Jerico was like a wild child. But when the Commander is around it's like Jerico is a bright enthusiastic child, even if the Commander doesn't show any emotions to the boy other then anger. The Doctor first speculated that it was a cultural thing, but his attempts to use aggression or anger were a total disaster. No, what ever it is, it has to do with Chakotay himself.

A few good things have occurred from this however; since Chakotay is officially responsible for the Jerico he finally conceded to moving back into his quarters, and has had some of the crew turn his office into another bed room where he and Jerico sleep. He still ignores Tom, but at least he isn't lashing out at the poor man. When I first heard that Chakotay was pregnant I was floored. To find out that Tom was the father I was totally knocked out of my socks, and when they got married…well if it were literal I'd still be catching up with Voyager. But what surprised me most was how happy they were…I mean they really were…are… meant for each other. The sudden loss of the twins was and still is devastating, not only to Tom and Chakotay, but to us all. Tom at least got the help he needed, though not as soon as he should of, but I blame myself for not seeing just how devastated he really was. He was being so strong for Chakotay we all just assumed he was dealing with it. It took…never mind.

Chakotay on the other hand had refused all help. He would just sit there silent when Tuvok, the Doctor…anyone tried to council him. That was the second good thing that happened. Ever since Jerico accidentally knocked the Commander over in his chair in sickbay, Chakotay has been a pendulum from no emotions to anger. I'm not saying this is an ideal thing, but it beats his total lack of emotion, and Tuvok, who was about to cancel all counseling sessions due to finding them futile, discovered that when he catches Chakotay in a angry mood, the man will talk. Tuvok still can't control the sessions…yet, but he is more hopeful than ever…as am I.

Well, since Jerico has proven to be a bright child, the Doctor has recommended that he start school along with Naomi Wildman. I'm not sure how this will go, so Commander Chakotay has been moved from Sickbay help to teacher. You would never think that man has such a mouth on him…(laughter) When I told him he was livid, but truth is he's not really needed in Sickbay, he's needed on the bridge. I don't know if he'll ever make it back here, but over seeing the children is a good step. I know, I know…it's over seeing children, but the Doctor and Tuvok agree it's a good step and Chakotay is more than qualified. Well…here's hoping.

End log:

Jerico dashed from the bathroom like a bolt of lightning. He wore only his pants and half his hair was cut as he scrambled up on his bed in his room, quickly followed by a frustrated Tom Paris. "Look, Jerico. It's just a hair cut," he soothed. "Nothing to be afraid of. Your hair will be more like mine…like Chakotay's?" Today was the first time in ages since Chakotay had asked something of Tom much less talk to him. The older man wanted to make some preparations in the classroom for himself and Jerico and asked Tom is he would look after the boy and get him ready to go to school, and give him a hair cut. Well the bath part was a bit messy but Jerico did listen; though Tom knew it was because Chak had ordered him to. The dressed part was going okay, but the hair cut was not working out too well. "Jerico, please?" Tom asked as he moved closer to the boy.

He saw Jerico only squish himself back away from him, and Tom only gave a tired sigh and sat on the far edge of the bed. His emotions were raw from all the stress of not being able to love his husband the way he deeply desired while being pushed away from him. His eyes were moist as he held back tears. "Look, Jerico. This is the first thing Chak has asked of me in a long time. If…If he comes back here and sees I can't help him…he may never…he may never ask me again and it's important that he does…you see?" Tom knew the boy understood, he just didn't know to what level, but he needed to try anything not to fail his husband in this matter. "Please, Jerico. I really love Chakotay, and I don't want him to push me away any farther than he already has…I…" he let out a deep breath feeling foolish unloading all this to the boy. He slowly got up as if to give up and started to the door when he felt a hand on his arm. He turned to see Jerico next to him…giving him his chance. Tom smiled warmly with gratitude, "Thank you, Jerico. Now, let's get you finished for school."

By the time Chakotay returned he found a well-dressed, well-groomed young man waiting for him. "I see he listened," was all he said as he moved his chair in. He was close to having the operation, but it was being put off till he was more healed. {that was the official reason, unofficial was till Chakotay's mental state was more stable} but the Commander knew this…he could still hack into files with the best of them. "Okay, Jerico," He said then waited till the boy was in front of him heading out the door. Chakotay stopped in the door, but didn't look back. "Thanks, Tom," he said then moved out and didn't see the overjoyed expression of his husband.


Tuvok having learned that Commander Chakotay was more open to talking when angered, found the best technique to increase the odds of making contact with Chakotay while in such a stage was to hover in the shadows and wait. He also discovered that he didn't have to wait long…today not being any exception. Jerico and Naomi were like oil to a flame, and Chakotay was beyond handling the matter. When all hell broke loose twenty minutes into the session, Tuvok watched to see what the Commander would do. To his surprise the Commander did nothing for about ten minutes (The children misbehaving but in no danger) then contacted Tom. This was a good sign. As soon as the pilot showed up, Chakotay just moved out of the room without a word, fury in his eyes, and Tuvok knew now would be an excellent time to…meet.

"Just what the hell was she thinking!" Chakotay shouted, his face flushed with anger as Tuvok was silent and near by listening. "I told her I couldn't deal with them! But did she listen…no…she never listens, Bitch!" he fumed.

"Them being?"

"Give me a break, Tuvok. Jerico and Naomi… that them. I can't teach them… I…"

"On the contrary, you are a very educated man and have shown more than what is required to be an excellent teacher," Tuvok responded. "In fact, you were a full time instructor at the Academy, were you not?"

"You don't understand," he huffed. "I can't teach THEM!"

"The…children?" Tuvok asked knowing that was the answer. He waited but Chakotay was starting to close up. He needed to keep him open. "I'm glad Mr. Paris was able to lend you a hand today," he stated seeing what reaction he would get.

"Uh…oh, yeah. Tom's a good man," he mumbled.

"Then why do you hate him?"

Chakotay turned to look at the Vulcan like he was a total stranger. "Hate him? I don't hate Tom! I…I…"

"Don't want him in your life anymore," Tuvok said for him.

"No…I mean yes…I," The Commander was getting flustered. "I just don't have anything to offer him anymore, he might as well move on," he snapped.

"Shouldn't that be his decision?"

"You know Tom. He's more stubborn and loyal than anyone on this ship…hell! He'd stick around out of duty…who the hell needs that! He can have a life again…why shouldn't he?"

Tuvok saw an opening. "Why shouldn't you?"

For the longest time Chakotay didn't answer. "Because," was all he said and in a hushed tone. "I have to go," he said then started to leave.


Chakotay stopped and looked at the Vulcan. "When ever you wish to talk, I am available," Tuvok stated then watched as Chakotay closed up and left. He was pleased, they had made some headway. It was a small step, but any step was better than standing still.


Tom thought it was another miracle when Chakotay had called for his help. He was on the bridge, but with one look he got the okay and was by his husband's side just long enough to see him leave. Tom realized that things had gone terrible, for Naomi was now crying and asking to go home and Jerico was growling from on top of his desk. He gave the young girl a hug and got her to stop crying and understand that Jerico was different and it would take patience on everyone's part to help him find a place here till they could find his home. The space child understood and was calm when Tom dismissed her to be with her mother or uncle Neelix. Then Tom looked at Jerico who suddenly didn't seem so fierce anymore. "What am I going to do with you?" he smiled, for he wasn't angry at the boy. Jerico was the key to Chakotay speaking to him, and it was a start, so he couldn't be angry one bit. He reached his hand out and waited, after three minutes Jerico took it and Tom led him back to their quarters.

When he got the boy back home he replicated an early lunch, his favorite, hot plain tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. He sat with Jerico and ate in silence at first, then he just started talking about how he flew Voyager and how he always wanted to be a pilot ever since he was about Jerico's age. He was glad to see the boy was eating and listening…no sign of a wild temper tantrum in sight at the moment.

Just then Chakotay came in and was surprised by the scene before him. He expected a mess like the others had had when they watched the boy, but like this morning, Tom could handle it. Tom could handle anything… "Well, since he's well behaved for you, perhaps the Captain will let you watch him and take him off my hands," he growled as he moved toward the area he was now using for a desk. The sound of a crash and several thuds made him turn around. Jerico was no longer there and the bowl of soup was sliding down the wall.

"Way to go, Chakotay!" Tom chided angrily. "You know better than anyone else that he understands us. That was…that was just cruel and cold," he said as he got up and moved to the bedroom where the boy had ran off to.

He did know, that was the point. He knew his words would sting the boy as they stung Tom. He couldn't get Tom to go…yet, but he could get the boy to let go of him and perhaps on to Tom. Yes, that would make Tom happy…this he was sure of. Then when all was settled he could be done with things. Only Tom and Jerico stood in his way, but not for long.


Tom found the child huddled on his bed, crying. His heart wrenched for he knew all too well the pain of rejection. "He didn't mean it," Tom tried soothing. "He…he's just angry…hurt," he said trying to think of what he could say to comfort the boy. He then just moved close and hugged the boy, glad that Jerico didn't push him away. He now understood what his mother was trying to do all those years ago, but this time he was sure Chakotay didn't mean it. "He didn't mean it," he said again.

"Yes he did," a small voice replied.

Tom was surprised, the boy really did talk.

"But what he said is not what hurts, it is why he said it," Jerico replied.

Tom was taken back by the intelligence and the maturity of the young boy's voice. "What do you mean?" Tom asked.

"He wants me to hate him so I would let go of him, like he wants the same of you. This way he'd be free to join the others." A soft tear filled voice replied.


"On the otherside," Jerico clarified. "He wants to join them, but they say it's not his time…but he's making it his time. That is what hurts."

Tom blinked at this…this child? This boy who sounded more like an adult then he did at times. "Are you saying…" he wasn't really sure.

"Chakotay is looking to tie up what he believes are loose ends in his life. The first one being you, the second now being me. If he feels that he has done so…he'll feel free to act on his dark wish and leave to the other side."

Tom was stunned. "How…how do you know this to be true?" he asked unsure how to take this.

Jerico reached up and touched Tom's temple. "I saw it here," he said.

"You're a telepath?

"No, I am what I am. I connect to my family as they connect to me. Chakotay and I connected and I became his rage, his fear, and his inner child. When we connected, I became yours too, though I usually only connect to one individual. I am a G'qua, I am not a child."

Now Tom was really taken back. "Not a child? You're an adult?"

"No, I am G'qua" Jerico replied, tears still flowing down his face as his tiny body still shivered from emotion.

"What is a G'qua?" Tom asked.

Jerico closed his eyes and reached out and touched Tom's temple again for only a moment then released the touch as he opened his eyes. "A pet."

"What! No way! You're a every bit a child, there is no way you are a…pet!"

"This is not my true from. When I was brought here, Chakotay's emotions were so strong that I responded to them immediately for I am very sensitive to emotions and make connections that way. You might say, my last owner being dead, I found another. It was what was inside him at the time that promoted my current form. I will keep this form till either I am released or my owner dies. Though I have never had such an…an advanced form before, it is all rather new being able to express myself."

This was just too much, but this child sounded way to advanced for his age, and so all Tom could do was listen. "Does Chakotay know?" he said still disbelieving the situation.

"No. I now know it would be dangerous to do so for then he could release me and then all he had to do was free you and he'd leave to the other side. I do not wish this," Jerico said, sadness emanating from every fiber of his being. "Commander Chakotay 'is' a good man with much pain, anger, and regret. I…I wish only to help him…like you."

Tom realized that Jerico was telling the truth, and the only part that mattered was that they both cared for the big guy. Tom reached out and hugged Jerico. "I don't know a damn thing about G'qua's or any such thing. To me, Chakotay and the rest of this ship, your Jerico, a bright, smart boy." Tom hugged him tighter as it dawned on him, that if Jerico was a representation of what Chakotay was feeling and a form of what he felt inside, he had found a key to helping his husband. He sat back and looked at the pale silver eyes and the face before him. "Us," he said softly. "You are a combination of me and Chakotay," he smiled, as he caressed the small face before him. He could see it; in Chakotay's heart was still his love and desire of their children.

"It doesn't matter what form I take, my eyes are always this color," Jerico replied as he hugged Tom. "I…I like being a…child," he said and hugged Tom tighter.

"Well, we'll keep this between us for now, okay?" Tom soothed, not wanting to upset Jerico or Chakotay. He felt the boy nod his head yes, and knew in his heart things would start looking up.


Tom walked out of the bedroom, a smile on his face. Jerico was going to be okay and now Tom had the inside track to what was going on inside the stoic man he loved. He saw Chakotay going over old reports that the Captain gave him, so he wouldn't get too behind on ships business while he recuperated. Tom smiled wider and walked right up behind him and gave him a big hug.

"What the…" Chakotay snapped startled.

"You looked like you needed a hug, love. So…I'm giving you one," Tom mused warmly then hugged tighter regardless of the stiffness he was feeling beneath his arms. // Well, he isn't hitting me, // Tom thought and that was a big step indeed. He then let go and looked at the darkened eyes of his husband. "Hear me, Chakotay. I love you, and will always love you. You can continue to push, pull, ignore, beat, kick, and scream at me, but…I will never, and I do mean never stop loving you or let go. When I took those vow's I meant them." With his declaration out in the open, Tom smiled and moved to leave. By the door, "I'll be on the bridge if you 'need' me," he said still smiling, hope in his eyes then left.

Chakotay stared at the closed doors stunned, angered, and surprised. He was sure his actions would have pushed the young stubborn pilot away, but he was wrong. //Does he really love me? How could he after I… How could he? // He thought. He then turned to the sound of another door opening and saw Jerico merging from the bedroom. He moved slowly to where the mess he made still laid and began cleaning it up. Just looking at the young boy was painful for Chakotay. His chest constricted, his breathing was becoming shallow, and his body started to shake.

"What's wrong?" Jerico asked, sensing his owner's distress. But Chakotay didn't answer; he only closed his eyes tightly and reached to his chest as if in pain. Jerico became terrified. He remembered what others did to communicate with others so he ran next to Chakotay and touched the gold badge on his chest. "Tom!" he shouted. "Tom help, he's in pain…help!"

"Jerico?" Janeway's voice came over the com badge. "What's wrong with the Commander?" she asked concerned.

"He's holding his chest and shaking, and he's in pain…help him!" he cried as he tried holding Chakotay as best as his little arms could. Then he felt a tingle sensation in his body and his surroundings blurred. When he could see again, he was in the infirmary and the Doctor was moving to help the older man. Jerico jumped down from Chakotay's lap and stood by watching as the doctor did his job. //Please, please, don't let his wish to cross be granted, // he desperately thought as he stood silent and watched.

Minutes passed and Tom was in the infirmary along with Captain Janeway. Tom moved next to Chakotay and took the unconscious man's hand in his and looked up at the Doctor, "What happened?"

"To make a long story short, he had a minor heart attack to the overemotional stress levels he has been retaining for months now. To be honest, I was afraid something like this was going to happen. We caught it in time and so there is no damage to his heart. I also believe the spinal damage also contributed to his synapses overload that triggered the heart attack. I've scheduled the operation to fix his spine for the day after tomorrow." The Doctor finished.

Tom looked from Chakotay and noted a small figure lurking in the back and saw it was Jerico. He let go of his husband's hand and moved toward the small boy. He knelt down before him, "Thank you, Jerico. Thank you for helping to save him," he said and grabbed the boy into a hug that was returned equally warm.

"Yes, thank you, Jerico," Janeway said, a small smile seeing the boy looking like a healthy child, and now with the proof that he could speak. "That was a very brave thing to get help and not panic, I'm proud of you."

"You are most welcomed, Captain," replied Jerico in a small voice, still hugging Tom tightly.

A soft moan from the biobed stirred Tom to letting go of the boy and moved to be next to his husband when he awoke. He saw dark lashes flutter and then stared into dark troubled eyes. He saw them struggle to focus. "It's okay, Cha, I'm here. You're going to be all right," Tom soothed as he held his love's hand and caressed his dark hair from his temple.

"Tom?" Chakotay said in a broken hushed voice. Tears started to fall down his face…tears long overdue. "They don't want me," he said, the pain in his voice evident.

Thanks to Jerico Tom knew what his love was referring to, "Good," Tom said with a loving smile. "For there are plenty of us here that want you to stay with us."

"Why? I…I lost them…I failed them," Chakotay cried. The months of pent up pain now flowing freely. He started sobbing uncontrollably, and Tom just leaned down and wrapped his arms around him and held him tightly. "Why? Why?" he asked in between sobs.

Tom wasn't sure what his husband was asking why about, but he felt it must be the children's death. "I don't know why, love. I don't know why. But we'll get through this, together, I swear it," Tom vowed and hugged his love tighter. After fifteen minutes he felt that Chakotay had cried himself into an exhausted sleep, then gently let go and looked around. Jerico was next to him the entire time as the Doctor, Tuvok and the Captain were in the office.

Tom looked down and saw how upset the boy was so he leaned down and picked him up and sat him on the edge of the biobed. "He's going to be okay," Tom said reassuringly with a warm smile. "The Doctor said that his heart is fine, thanks to you."

Jerico paled, looking guilty, "It's my fault this happened," he said sadly.

"How can you say that?" Tom inquired, as if chiding the boy for such a foolish idea. "You saved him."

"I felt it, Tom," the boy implored. "I felt him look at me and all his pain and anguish, and guilt he felt for the children that were lost…he saw them in me…it…it was too much!" the small boy began to cry and was moved easily into Tom's arms for a supporting hug.

"No, Jerico, it wasn't your fault. In fact, you being here has been a Godsend. Chakotay has been bottling up his pain for far too long, and if not for you I could have lost him all together. With you 'we' have a fighting chance of getting him back," Tom said in a confident whisper. "We'll get him back, I just know it."


(Part II)

Due to Chakotay's emotional state, a vast improvement of none or anger, the operation was postponed once again. This time, after three days in the infirmary Tuvok reported that his counseling session with the Commander had been most productive and very hopeful. Tom was overjoyed at hearing the report and went straight home after his shift to check up on Chakotay and Jerico. When he entered the site before him made him smile. His husband was sitting on the couch and reading a book to the small boy perched on his lap. Tom didn't want to break the spell but it was inevitable when the boy noticed him.

"Tom!" he cried with a huge smile, and jumped down and ran to the pilot for a big hug.

Tom caught the boy and was hugging him, but his gaze was caught by the small smile from his husband's face. He remembered that Jerico was like a window into his love's mood, so he picked up the child and moved next to Chakotay and sat down by him. "A good day?" he asked.

"It was alright," Chakotay replied softly.

"Alright? It was fantastic. I learned about wolves, eagles, crows, beavers, moose, and coyotes!" Jerico enthused.

"See, Cha? You're a wonderful teacher," Tom teased lightly of his husband.

Just then the door chimed. "Enter," Tom stated.

The door opened to reveal Sam Wildman who entered in with a warm smile. "Are you ready?" she asked the small boy.

Tom looked puzzled. "Ready for what?" he asked.

"I asked, Sam, if she'd look after Jerico tonight…I thought we could…talk," Chakotay answered still in a soft voice.

Tom saw the effort and appreciated it. "That would be great," he replied.

"Yep, all ready," Jerico said as he dashed off into the other room and returned with a small backpack. He gave Chakotay and Tom a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and was out the door holding Sam's hand as he left.

Tom stared at the warmth the small boy was not only showing, but was bringing in himself. The child had found a place in his heart; this much was very true. He turned to look into his husband's dark eyes, and saw uncertainty. "I love you," he whispered, "with all my heart."

"Even after I…" Chakotay's voice was now ragged. "Our children are gone, Tom," he said with fresh tears in his eyes. He let Tom cradle him in his arms and be held. "I'm sorry," he cried.

"Sorry? For what Chakotay? It wasn't your fault, it was the aliens, and they paid for it, but even that won't bring them back, love. You have nothing to be sorry for," he soothed his husband.

"If I hadn't been so stubborn I…"

"I've done the what ifs too, love. They only cause more pain, and they won't change anything or the truth that you were not at fault. I could easily say that I should of insisted that I go with you…but," Tom sighed, old feeling of guilt started to creep up in him again.

"No, Tom. It wasn't your fault…I insisted," he cried back.

"Did you insist that the aliens attack? Or that the lift's cohesion to go down? Or that the back up systems failed?"

Chakotay looked into Tom's deeply pained blue eyes and saw that his husband didn't blame him, and for the first time in ages felt that perhaps it wasn't his fault. "No," he said softly.

"Than it wasn't your fault. Chakotay, I love you, and I know you love me. Believe me, I do know how you feel, I feel it too. Shit! I…I blew up…" Tom's voice broke off thinking back at his unforgivable actions. "I wanted revenge for taking them, for taking you," he cried.

"I'm sorry I wasn't here for you," Chakotay said as he hugged his love tightly. "I…I was just so lost," he replied.

"I know that, Cha. I'm just glad your here now," Tom replied and kissed his love on his temple.

"Tom, I said some mean things…"

Tom placed a gentle finger on his husband's lips to silence him. "What was said was not from you, but your hurt. I know that, as well as I know you love me as I love you." With that, Tom leaned in and kissed the firm lips that he had longed to taste for many months now. The kiss was soft and filled with love. The kiss lasted for many long minutes till air was needed. Tom looked lovingly in deep brown eyes. "Love, would you do me a favor?" he asked softly.

"Anything, Tom."

"Would you consider moving back into our bedroom again? I've missed you so much." Tom was pleased to see another small smile cross his love's face.

"I already did," he said. "Jerico is a very bright and observant young man," Chakotay replied. "About an hour after you went to work he started pulling out bags and I asked him what he was doing, he said helping me pack since I was going back to where I belong."

"He said that?"

"Yeah, and Tom?"


"He was right. I do belong with you," Chakotay said then followed it with another deep loving kiss.

Tom once again broke the kiss for need of air, but continued to kiss his husband's face, "Cha? I know you still need the operation and all…but…"

"Tom, if you don't make love to me now, I really will divorce you," he replied with a lightness in his voice that Tom had missed over the many months of hell.

"Yes, Sir!" he replied with a smile and helped his husband into their room for a long over due love session.


Personal log:

It's been so long since I've made one of these things, I'm not sure what to say. I could go into account as to why I haven't made a personal log for so long…but I don't want to right now, maybe later. I'm starting to feel better, to my own amazement, I do. Two months ago I was trying to push Tom and Jerico away, thank the spirits I failed. Oh, Jerico is…well for all intent and purposes, Jerico is now our son. He was rescued a while back and I was looking after him, to my personal hell as a price, and Tom…love that man, he helped. Together they saved my soul. I won't lie, it's been a damn hard road which I was more than willing to give up on if not for Tom and his endless surplus of love, patience and persistence.

It's strange. We don't know what race Jerico is, but in some way he does look like a cross between me and Tom…silly…senile, perhaps, but true. Today Tom has walked Jerico to school before bridge duty, and I have an hour before my first shift back on the bridge. It's been so long I'm down right nervous. Both Tom and Kathryn have assured me it's like flying a shuttle, once you learn how you never forget…sure.

Well, I can tell you this; after so many months in a chair, I am so glad to be able to walk again. The operation was a success and with lots of physical therapy and my two loves…yes…I have come to love Jerico and pray with all my heart we don't find where he's from. I know, I know. I shouldn't feel that way, he could have family out there worried, concerned for him. Heavens knows I would be, but… *sigh* I'm not sure when it happened, but one day I stopped being Chakotay and became Father and Tom became Dad. I can see the joy it brings Tom, and I…I love it too.

I still see Tuvok, but once a week and he and the Doctor have cleared me for bridge duty, which is amazing if you asked me. But I really think they are being lenient or they're desperate to get me back on the bridge for no one else wants to do those damn reports. *small laugh* Ah, but I'm not jumping for joy as much as people may think. So much has happened that I've gotten gun shy, especially when I feel good about things. I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop, like I know it's just waiting for me to turn my back…but Tom says I'm being a tad paranoid…he's right, but I am too.

Well, I should be getting ready for duty. The Captain has informed me that we have made contact with a race called the Braahaa They seem to be advanced enough to have some warp drive technology and space travel and are willing to do some small trade. I'm not involved thankfully. I just can't get this feeling of a rock of some sort in the pit in my stomach. Well, I should get started. Wouldn't do for me to be late on my first day back.

Personal log out:


Janeway was very pleased with the Braahaa delegation and trade had gone very smoothly. She was taking a rare privilege and giving a small tour of her ship with all the pride she knew her crew was due. They were moving down the hall for she was going to show them the children center, for it was one of the Bhaahaa's concerns, children in space travel. They were just outside the observation area when a nearby lift opened and Tom Paris and Jerico exited out and headed to the center.

Tom was walking hand in hand with the boy as they turned the corner and felt Jerico come to a sudden stop and then jump behind the young pilot…afraid? "Jerico, what's the matter?" Tom asked puzzled.

Janeway hearing the voice of her Chief pilot turned to see Tom and hiding behind him was young Jerico. //That is one bright boy that has made many leaps and bounds,// she thought. //Fits right in with the two of them,// she smiled. "Ah, Tom," she smiled as she walked toward him with the delegation right behind her. "Noble Alrwright, may I present Tom Paris our chief pilot, and Jerico, the shy boy behind him," she smiled. It took a few seconds to realize that Jerico wasn't shy, but afraid. //Perhaps these races are enemies? // She thought, //I better inquire about it later. // Then she turned to the delegation, "Perhaps you would like to see the engine room?" she smiled warmly and led the small delegation farther down the hall, all the while noting that Jerico kept Tom in between himself and the Braahaa people.

When they were gone, Jerico looked up as if to see if he was in trouble. "I'm sorry, Dad. But…those people scared me," he said.

"Why?" Tom asked kneeling down to meet the young boy's gaze.

Jerico looked away, "Because…they would know me….and I don't want to go back."

"But you don't look…" Tom stopped as he remembered that Jerico said he morphed his shape and so they wouldn't find a race that looked like him. "But you don't look like them, you should be fine," Tom said trying to reassure the young man. //How can anyone think someone as wonder and sweet as Jerico could be a…a pet, is beyond me, // Tom thought angrily as he hugged the boy with all his heart. "You going to be okay?" he asked.

Jerico smiled feeling the love from Tom and Chakotay run through him. "Yes, Dad. I'm going to be fine." With that he gave his Dad a kiss on the cheek and moved off to attend school.

Tom rose watching with pride the young boy he had come to love as his and Chakotay's son. He knew somewhere inside he should tell his husband, but he felt that Chakotay had been through enough as it was. There would be plenty of time.


Janeway had noticed the quiet conversation in the back of the delegation of the Braahaa people as they moved down the hall to engineering. She stopped and decided to address this matter now. "Excuse me, Noble Alrwright, but is there a problem?"

"We were just wondering why when we inquired about one of our missing vessels that you were not honest about it?" the grayish-green fish like male said.

Janeway looked offended. "I was completely honest that we didn't run into anyone from your planet," she replied.

"Then why do you have a G'qua on board?" another male asked.

"A what?" she asked not understanding.

"A G'qua?" the male said again as if it should answer its own question by repeating it.

Janeway thought about it a moment, // might as well deal with this now,// she thought. "You mean the boy…Jerico?" she asked not only to clarify, but to make sure if she had a problem here.

"Boy?" Alrwright stated with mockery. "That was no… boy…or child. That is a G'qua, and Jerico was the name of Prince Urhippet's …." He looked to his adviser who whispered in his ear, "Ah, yes…pet."

"Pet!?" Janeway was stunned.

"Yes, the G'qua are most wonderful companions," replied another one of the delegation. "Though we never saw one in such an…advanced form before."

"Quite right. They usually don't morph into that high of a creature," Alrwright stated.

"Morph? Creature…pet?" Janeway stated puzzled. "Jerico is a healthy young boy…he's not a pet," she said, trying not to be offensive.

"I'm afraid to disagree, Captain. But his is, the eyes are a direct give away. And if he is the pet of the prince, then we must assume you ran into their ship…tell me what do you know about it?" Alrwright insisted.

Janeway didn't like this, "The boy was the only survivor of ship whose distress signal we picked up over three months ago. Nothing was left after the warp core exploded though everyone but Jerico was dead by the time we got there."

"Do you have any records we can look over?" Alrwright asked polite.

"Of course, Nobleman Alrwright," Janeway stated directing them back to the lift to take them back to the conference room.

"I should let you know, if we prove that we are correct, the G'qua will have to be returned to the Braahaa royal family. They are rare and prized pets," the leader of the Delegation sated.


Tom had been summoned to the Captain's ready room along with Chakotay. They both sat down and saw a very unhappy and troubled Kathryn. They both knew it couldn't be good with that look on her face.

"What's wrong, Captain?" Tom inquired.

"Tom, Chakotay…I…I don't know how to tell you this," she said, her voice failing. "But…well it's about Jerico," she said.

Chakotay sat up rigid. "Is he hurt?" he asked with great concern.

"No, he's not hurt…he's fine. No, that's not it. We…well, we've found were he's from," Kathryn said, struggling with every word she felt was going to break two men's hearts.

"Really?" the Commander asked not excited at all.

"No…it's not possible, he doesn't look like…" //way to go, Paris!//

Janeway heard the slip as did Chakotay, but Janeway knew what he meant by it. "You knew?" she asked in startled surprise.

"Well, sort of," he said softly. "He told me, that's why he was afraid today," Tom replied.

"Jerico was afraid of the Braahaa delegation and you didn't tell me?" Chakotay snapped at Tom.

"I was going to talk with you about it later, we were on duty," Tom rebuffed.

"What else do you know about young Jerico?" Janeway asked carefully.

Tom saw it in her eyes, she knew. //Damn it! Just once can the universe at large give us a break!// he thought with frustration. "I…I know it all," he said softly.

"Know what?" Chakotay asked , looking at Tom and Janeway. "Would someone please tell me what is going on?"

"Chak," Tom soothed. "I was going to talk to you about this later, when things settled down, since you've already gone through so much," he said.

"Tell me what, Tom?"

"Jerico…well he is what his or the Braahaa call a G'qua or a morphing creature that locks into a shape when connected to…an owner," Tom said with distaste.

"Owner? He's a slave?" he asked looking mortified at Janeway.

"No, Chakotay," she said. "He's…he's a …pet." She said, not believing she said it.

'He's not a pet!" Tom responded. "He's too smart, loving, good, and capable to be a…a pet!"

Kathryn sighed. "I know what you are telling me, Tom. But I had the Doctor go over the medical readings of Jerico and the ones the Braahaa have on the G'qua and they match. Jerico is probably the most advanced one they ever had…but according to the their culture…Jerico is classified a…animal with empathic morphing abilities."

Chakotay sat there silent. The other shoe did drop, and it was a big one. He just found out that the boy he loved in his heart wasn't a child by typical standard but a morphing creature that some how just advanced into a child? This was ridiculous, except Tom knew this…but Tom was right. The boy…yes he was a boy, was too kind, loving, bright, and sensitive to be a…a pet!

"I'm also sorry to inform you that the Royal family want Jerico back. Records have been produced that match his DNA and the samples we have on file. In accordance to their law he is Royal property and they are demanding him returned. I'm…I'm sorry."

"Captain, you can't!" Tom protested. "Chak…"

Chakotay only held up a hand that he wanted quiet. He looked at Tom and Kathryn, then back at Tom and again at Kathryn. Then he stood up and left out the office without a word.

"Captain, you can't," Tom protested again.

"I'm sorry, Tom. But technically he's not a person…though I don't think he's not…" she sighed. "Ah, Tom. This is a mess. But the bottom line is,he's not what we would normally classify a sentient being. He's drawing his knowledge from you and Chakotay. He also belongs to this planets Royal house. If we don't return him it could be war and I'm not sure…"

'If Jerico is worth it or not?" Tom stated angry. "As for as I am concerned, he 'is' a child and I love him and he loves me. He can talk, think, and feel like you and me. In my book that makes him as sentient as you and me! This is slavery nothing else!"

"Tom, my hands are tied," she said softly.

"Then unbind them," Tom snapped as he stood up and didn't wait to be dismissed.

Continued in: "Cementing Ties"

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