"Captain, we have to get him back!" Tom cried out, looking distressed.
"We will. Mister Tuvok, locate that ship. Mister Kim, trace that transporter beam, it should give us more of a lead to finding the vessel. Mister Paris, turn us around, ahead warp factor four till we get a lock on that ship," Janeway ordered. She watched as her crew snapped into action.
"Captain, I have a lock on the Kazon ship, but they're now out of transporter range and moving fast," Tuvok replied.
Before Janeway could say a word, she felt Voyager speed up. Tom was manipulating the controls, his determination set on his face. "Mister Paris, let us know when we're in transporter range."
"Yes, ma'am," he replied. He then started muttering curses of death against the Kazon and specifically Seska for messing with his husband. He then increased the ship's speed once more.
"Tom?" Janeway asked.
"We'll get him back, but I'd like to get there in one piece if you don't mind," she said as easily as she could, reminding him he had a duty to consider as well.
"Understood, Captain," Tom replied and decreased the ship's speed to just over the Kazon vessel's.
Chakotay felt the beam when he was in the turbolift, but by then it was too late, there was nothing he could do. When he could see again, he noticed that he wasn't on a transporter pad, but in a cell. He didn't see anyone around, but he knew where he was and why.
He thought about demanding to be released, but just then, one of the twins kicked, he smiled then paled. //No! I can't let her find out!// He looked around, except for a wide bench attached to the wall, there was no place to hide and it wasn't very dark. Suddenly, he heard footsteps. He turned towards the bench, moved into the farthest corner and knelt down, his back to the entranceway. It was a maneuver not only to attempt to hide his condition, but render a deeply desperate prayer. //I could just say I got fat?// He thought. Then realized he was wearing the damned shirt...stating in bold letters…Twins.
He didn't need to turn around to feel her presence, it now made his skin crawl. He kept his calm as best he could and kept his head down in a prayer position. He heard an all to familiar cackle that was uniquely Seska. "Send me back," was all he said, firm, but not harsh.
"Ah, my dear Chakotay." He heard her say with way too much dark pleasure in her voice. "I have wanted to get you back on your knees before me for some time now, but this isn't quite what I had in mind," she chuckled. "Ah, come now. What's with the praying? No matter what you may think…I'm not a demon!" she shouted.
"What do you want, Seska?" he asked dryly, still not moving from his extremely uncomfortable position.
"Why, I want what I've always wanted…you, my love."
"I am not nor will I ever be your love. Plus, I hate to break it to you, but I'm married now," he stated with pride as well as some satisfaction at knowing how that information would sting. //That was good!// He mused. Then hearing a strangled growl, //No, that was bad. Yes, you know in your heart that you and Tom are one, but you also know she's going to be even more pissed. How's she going to react when she finds out you're carrying Tom's children? No, not good at all…big mouth!//
"That's impossible!" Seska yelled with fury. "There was…no one…besides," she was heaving air trying to think of the words she wanted to use. "By your own code, Chakotay, you know you'll be with me!" she finally said.
"What madness makes you say that?" he slightly chuckled.
It was now her turn to chuckle. "Because I'm carrying your child, Chakotay," she replied with triumph.
//What!? How…calm down Chakotay, calm down…you have two little ones you know for a fact is yours right now, so stay calm.// "How can that be?" he asked, risking a slight glance over his shoulder. //She's not showing…which means Tom's must have come first…thank the spirits for this much.//
"Oh…just a bit of DNA and some medical skill," she smiled. "You're going to be the father of a healthy son," she grinned.
"How far along are you?" he asked, making sure he was correct in his assumptions.
"Two and a half months," she beamed. "Though targ for brains thinks it's his…I know better, since I did the procedure myself. So, aren't you going to congratulate me…us, that is?"
Chakotay turned away from Seska. //If I weren't already with child, she'd be correct. Even if I were already legally married to Tom, I'd still want to do the right thing, but now…// he smiled a bit. //She's going to go over the edge when she finds out…but I won't be able to keep it from her for long. I can't stay in this position much longer. Oh, Spirits! What do I do?// He remained silent and tried to place himself in a meditative state, hoping to eleviate the severe discomfort he was feeling.
"Uh, come on, Chakotay?" he heard her say. "We used to be good together and can be again. Urgh! You and your obsessive prayers. Fine! I'll be back, when I'm sure you've come to your senses." He then heard her walk away.
He breathed deeply and focused on the movement of the twins. He found their life force soothing, strengthening and joyful. Soon, he felt himself reach the desired state and was again in his safe place, his wolf by his side, but she was watching something. He moved to see what it was. To his surprise, it was a cobra and a mongoose, battling it out, but the mongoose was unusually slow. "What's wrong with it?" he asked with concern.
He heard the shewolf respond, "Both are soon to be parents, but unlike the cobra, the mongoose has the disadvantage of carrying the child with her into battle. She is realizing that her old way of war will not be successful and she must adapt soon, or she and her unborn children will die."
"What can she do?" he asked, knowing the scene was symbolic of his and Seska's current fight.
"Watch and learn," the wolf said.
Chakotay watched as the mongoose kept her distance, led the cobra away from it's hole, then made a dash for it, knowing that the snake would beat her to it. As the Cobra did and started to enter it's hole, the Mongoose bit the snake's tail, forcing the snake to move farther in. It was too narrow for it to turn around, but it was determined to pull the mongoose inside with it.
"If the Cobra is successful in luring the mongoose inside her den, where the tunnels widen out and she can then strike freely, the mongoose is dead," the wolf said quietly, still watching.
The snake was more than half way in, dragging the unwilling mongoose closer into the hole. When the snake was well over half way in, too far to change directions, the mongoose let go and ran as fast as she could into the woods. The battle was not a matter of wining, but finding a way she could safely escape. The cobra would have to wait for another day.
"I'm not sure how to use this knowledge," Chakotay started warmly. "But, I thank you for it and all you've done for me."
"There are depths of strength and love that go beyond the understanding of those who are in the circle of motherhood. You possess this as well, use it to protect you and your children, Chakotay. And know your mate will do the same," she said. He then felt himself leaving, the pain of being on his knees filled his body. He pushed and with a lot of effort, got himself up. He found himself still unguarded, so sat down, as best he could and rested.
"Captain, we're in transporter range," Tom stated as professionally as he could.
"Captain, I am detecting a pattern scrambler in their shield harmonics. If we attempt to beam the Commander back, he would be killed," Tuvok said.
"Sensors have located him. Deck seventeen. He's alone and well," Harry added, seeing the stress on his friend's face.
"Captain, what are we going to do?" Tom asked, his composure failing.
"Mister Tuvok, hail the Kazon ship," she ordered.
"They are responding, Captain. Putting it on view screen," Tuvok responded.
The screen lit up, but instead of Seska's Kazon puppet, it was the woman herself, looking like the cat who had the canary for dinner. "Why, Captain Janeway. Are you contacting me to congratulate us?"
"What are you talking about, Seska. You kidnapped Commander Chakotay. I want him returned unharmed, now. Do you hear me?" Janeway replied through clenched teeth.
"Oh, I would, but…you see, I don't think Chakotay will want to go back, being that he's going to be a father," she said triumphantly, smiling her wicked grin.
Janeway was truly puzzled. Of course Chakotay was going to be a father, but why would it keep him from returning? Only one way to find out, "Yes, Seska we know, but how would that prevent him from wanting to leave…did you threaten him?" she asked, her eyes darkening. She then caught a glimpse of pure hate well up in her chief pilot's.
"Threaten, Chakotay? Now why would I do such a terrible thing to the man who is the father of our child?" she replied in mock innocence.
"Your child?" Tom snapped, unable to remain silent anymore.
"Ah, Tom…why yes!" Seska stepped back a bit and rubbed her hand over her abdomen. "Almost three months. And he'll be strong just like his father," she grinned.
Tom whirled to face the Captain, something was not right here, he knew it, he hoped the Captain knew it too. By the look in her eyes, she knew something was amiss. She shifted in her seat. "Does, Commander Chakotay know of this?" she asked calmly, trying to figure out the situation.
"Oh, yes," she beamed, then settled a bit. "But, you know how he is. Instead of welcoming the news, he just prays about it," she smirked. "Oh and Captain, you really shouldn't be so lenient on your officers. I do believe I'll have to help him get back into shape," she chuckled. "I'm sure I'll come up with a few ways on how to deal with that," she grinned. "Oh, I'm sure he'll be contacting his wife soon to let her know the bad news, but all's fair in love and war," she smirked again. Her expression then turned serious, "Oh and Captain. This ship's shields have pattern scramblers, so there won't be any transporter tag with my Chakotay, get it?" She then leaned forward and clicked off the communication channel.
"Wife?" Tom asked, looking at the Captain.
"Out of shape?" she responded.
"It would appear that Commander Chakotay has found a way to keep his true condition from Seska for the moment and has informed her that he was already married, to sway her from pushing his code of honor against him," Tuvok added as to clarify things for them.
"How does a man who's five months pregnant, hide his condition when he's as big as…he is?" Tom asked, forgoing the joke. Though he was pleased that his lover was as usual, handling himself with skill and his natural grace.
"Praying!" Janeway snapped her fingers. "He was beamed into the cell, moved into the far corner and assumed a praying position. His back to the entranceway, so all Seska could tell was he looked heavier than normal…poor man," she let out a deep sigh.
"He won't be able to keep his condition a secret from her for long," Tuvok interjected.
"Senior staff to my office on the double. I want Voyager so close to that Kazon ship, that Seska could reach out and touch us, understood?" she commanded as she got up and headed to her office, knowing her orders would be carried out.
When all her senior staff were seated, missing one First Officer, she looked deadly serious at everyone, as did Tom. "Okay, suggestions?" Janeway asked.
B'Elanna spoke up first. "I've gone over the readings. There is no way to beam him out as it is, though the frequency is marginal, I can taper it to make an opening…but," she trailed off.
"But what?" Tom asked, then looked skittish realizing he overstepped here, just a bit.
Janeway nodded her understanding, then looked at Torres to continue. "But?"
"Well, the opening would be small and possibly unstable, I really don't want to risk it with him, much less the twins. It's just too dangerous," she looked grim for a moment.
"If out is not in order, how about in?" Tom inquired.
B'Elanna looked a bit more enthusiastic. "Well, it would make the risk lower," she replied. "But, they would detect it," she added.
"It sounds like a good distraction is called for here," Tom mused with a wicked gleam in his eyes.
"What did you have in mind, Lieutenant?" Janeway asked.
"Well, they have their sensors on Voyager, so if she dispatched a shuttle, they would be very interested in what it was doing," Tom replied.
"I see," Janeway responded in thought.
"We could also use the shuttle to send a signal that would increase the harmonics frequency and increase the odds of the beam in," Harry chirped.
"All right. Since we can only send one in, this is what we'll do. Tom," Janeway began, the mention of his name had him on the edge of his seat. "You take the shuttle after Harry and B'Elanna…"
"The shuttle?" Tom interrupted, completely unsatisfied with this plan already.
Janeway could see why Tom would be objecting. "Yes, Tom. The shuttle. Tuvok will go after Chakotay, your our best pilot and we'll need our…"
"Captain…" Tom pleaded, knowing he was pushing it here, but this was his lover; he didn't care about his rank. "I need to go. I have to go, Cha is waiting for me to come get him, I know it. If I don't…I…I have too," Tom insisted, trying to keep his hysteria under control or she'd never allow it. Deep down he did know that he had to be the one to save his mate, it was primal, spiritual, a must.
"Tom, I know how you feel, but…"
Tuvok was the one to interrupt the Captain this time. "Forgive me, Captain. But under the circumstances, Lieutenant Paris' mind will not be focused on flying the shuttle and it would decrease the odds of our success, where if he is to head the rescue he will be…more focused than anyone here."
Janeway looked at her old friend. "And that would be the…logical thing to do?" She asked, not quite convinced.
"Perhaps, not the most logical, but the most pragmatic that would best suit this situation," he replied.
"Very well," Janeway decided, shifting in her chair. "Than mister Tuvok, will take the shuttle after Harry and B'Elanna have made the harmonic frequency changes, while mister Paris heads the rescue of Commander Chakotay.
"You do realize that you'll have to get the shields down for us to get you both back safely?" B'Elanna asked.
"Yes. Don't worry. I'll get them down and get Cha back unharmed," Tom replied professionally. //And kill the bitch with my bare hands,// he added silently.
"All right. How long before you're ready to go?" Janeway asked, looking at Torres.
"I'll have everything ready in half an hour," B'Elanna quipped. She didn't even wait to be dismissed before moving from her seat. Harry waited for the Captain's nod then followed after the engineer.
"I'll go over the shuttle's check list in preparation for the flight," Tuvok said, his logical reason to leave Tom and the Captain alone to talk.
After they were alone, Kathryn moved and poured two warm cups of coffee from the mess hall thermos that Neelix had provided. She brought it over and placed one cup down before the young man who was trying to hold it all in and placed her free hand on his shoulder. "He'll be okay," she said motherly. "Seska won't harm him."
"Normally, I'd buy that," Tom began, his voice shaking. "But, what kept him safe was that she's obsessed with being with him. Marriage, children, the whole typical package. What scares me is what she'll do when she finds out…she can't have that."
"Are you saying that she might…?" Janeway wanted to kick herself for even bringing that idea out into the open.
"Hurt the children?" Tom asked for her. "I've thought of that, but I know Chakotay will some how keep her from doing that, as best he can. But yes, I think she would." Tom then chanced a look at his long term Captain, letting her see the tears on his face. "I know it doesn't make sense, but I know he's waiting for me to get him home, that I'm the only one he'd ever truly let rescue him, if you know what I mean?"
Kathryn smiled warmly. "Chakotay is a very strong and prideful man. You've reached places in his heart I don't think any of us would have had a clue existed if not for you. So, yes, to some degree, it makes a lot of sense. Go…go get ready to bring your husband-to-be home," she said as she patted him on the shoulder, then watched the young man smile his gratitude and walk out.
Chakotay was tired and didn't think he could keep the pretense of prayer up much longer. He had to face Seska, but with coolness he didn't feel. He did his best to control the tears he felt from the frustration of feeling so vulnerable. He knew he couldn't fight, not like he wanted to, so he had to be cautious and rely on others to help him out; something he hated, but then he thought about Tom and how wonderful having the young man in his life had been. He remembered all that he and Tom had learned on this life's journey they were on together and knew that Tom would come and rescue him, all he had to do was placate Seska till he got here and wait. That was going to be the killer.
He heard steps and by the light echo he figured it had to be Seska again. He pushed himself up, turned his back and walked to the corner, still thinking of how to handle this situation. He then heard the beeping of buttons being pushed and the end of the low electronic hum that accompanied the force field. He stole a small glance over his shoulder and saw that Seska still wore that damn canary-eating smile.
She swayed her way slowly towards him; he turned away from her. "Come on, Chakotay," he heard her purr as she strode slowly towards him.
"I'd prefer that you didn't touch me," he said dryly.
"Aw, but it could be just like old times. You know…rekindle old flames," she replied eagerly.
"I'm afraid we'll have to object to any rekindling," he said coolly.
Seska laughed, "We?"
//Now is as good a time as any,// he thought and turned around. "Yes, 'we'," he replied with pride gleaming in his eyes.
"What!?" Seska shouted and jumped back a few steps as she got a good look at Chakotay and the shirt he was wearing, advertising his condition. "What kind of absurd 'joke' is this?" she demanded, fury and irritation filling her voice.
"I don't think my children are a joke, Seska. I would have thought that you of all people would have realized that by now," Chakotay replied, resting his hands on his enlarged stomach.
"This is ridiculous!" she snapped. "You're…you're not…" she stuttered in shock.
"It only goes to show you, Seska. You were wrong about me then and you're wrong about me now. So, let's put this foolishness aside and let me go."
Seska's eyes were still wide and locked onto the word twins. She instinctively reached out to touch his enlarged stomach to see if this was for real, but by Chakotay's reaction of placing his hands in front of them and stepping back, was enough to tell her…this was indeed real. "Unacceptable!" She shouted.
Seeing the danger in the female Cardassian's eyes, he knew he had to get some control over this matter before she decided to strike blindly. "What is done is done," he said calmly. "Besides, I thought you'd be happy that your son would have siblings his own age to play with," he added; though he still didn't believe her. That's when he saw it, the glint of light from something metal.
Instincts he never even knew he had, kicked in, as the hair on the back of his neck furled, he saw Seska moving towards him with a dagger in her hand. His right arm intercepted the blade and deflected away from his abdomen, as his left hand grabbed the wrist that held the knife. He may not have the same maneuverability, but he did have strength, even if she was a Cardassian. He flicked her wrist and heard the crack. Then pushed her back, while kicking the blade behind him under the bench.
Their eyes locked as she cradled her broken wrist and he, his gashed arm. The fire, the anger, the determination was clear in both pairs, but Seska had an advantage, she moved out of the cell and knowing Chakotay couldn't, she reached where a pulse rifle was stashed in a wall cabinet.
Chakotay watched with horror as he saw Seska reach for the rifle, he knew he couldn't do a damn thing about it in his condition. Fear filled him, not for himself, but his unborn children. "If you harm my children, I'll not only hate you forever, but I'll kill that bastard you're carrying with my own hands!" He swore, desperate to save his and Tom's children.
Seska had been facing Chakotay when he made his declaration; the rifle set on heavy stun, enough to harm the brats, but not him. She hesitated at hearing his words. //Would he really do that?// she thought, for the first time wondering just how much the man she loved had changed and how far he would go. //Not that much,// she decided as she leveled the rifle at Chakotay's stomach. "You can make all the empty threats you want, love. But let's face it, you'd never hurt your own child, no matter how much you're angry with me. Besides, you'll thank me for this later," she smirked and took aim.
Chakotay turned around hoping his body could take the pulse and closed his eyes when he heard the shot. He braced himself, but realized he didn't feel anything, then he heard a clunk. He turned to see Seska on the floor, the rifle near by. Tom stepped over her as he rushed over to hug his lover. "Tom!" he cried, never happier to see his love than right this moment.
Tom hugged his love as tightly as he could without hurting the little ones. "It's okay," he soothed, feeling the tremors of his love sobbing. "I'm here, Chakotay. I'm here. It's going to be all right," he said again as he kissed the older man on the top of his head. "We need to get out of here, which means I need to get the shields down," he smiled confidently.
Chakotay looked up into those beautiful blue eyes. "My angel," he whispered. "Once again, my saving grace…and my hero."
"Shit, she's coming around," Tom snarled.
"Tom! She's pregnant…the phaser blast…"
"I knew she was and it was on the lowest setting possible," Tom replied, though wishing otherwise as he moved and grabbed up the pulse rifle.
"We need to take her with us," the Commander stated.
Tom looked at his love, but understood. They needed to be sure if she was telling the truth or not. "All right. I saw a computer console at the end of the hall here. I'll get her if you think you can handle the shields?" he smiled in his best teasing smile.
"Trust me, Paris. I may not be able to see my feet, but I can still handle a computer," Chakotay replied in his best Commander tone with just enough edge to make his love laugh.
"Welcome to Voyager," the EMH greeted as Seska woke and found herself on a Starfleet biobed, restrained. She looked over and saw Chakotay sitting up on another bed, being fussed over by the Maquis trader, Tom Paris. She growled in fury.
"Uh, that is precisely why you are restrained," the Doctor responded as he moved over to the computer and ran some tests.
"Well?" Chakotay asked the Doctor.
"Give me a moment," he replied, still working the computer.
"Your lucky you're pregnant, bitch! Or else you wouldn't be breathing!" Tom fired off at the Cardassian lying across from his love. He even made a step in her direction, but a hand from Chakotay brought him some sense of balance to his temper. He turned, hugging and kissing his lover. "I'll be all right," he whispered.
"Oh, Great Gul!" Seska shouted in disgusted. "It was bad enough knowing you found someone else, even to go as far as bearing children, but…this? But this…this perversion with a male? And not just any male, but the fucking Maquis trader himself?"
Tom felt his fury boiling again, but it was Chakotay who spoke first, "Face it, Seska. You just weren't man enough for me," he replied, then kissed his angel.
"How interesting to note that your brand of wit, Lieutenant, is contagious," the Doctor quipped as he moved back towards Seska. "It would seem, miss Seska, that you are in error. Commander Chakotay is not the father of your child," he said, then looked over to see two very relieved men.
"That's impossible! I performed the procedure myself!" she snapped.
"Oh, I did detect the DNA sample and egg you had implanted, but you were already pregnant at the time. Quite surprising to know that Kazon and Cardassians are compatible species," he mused. "Oh, I also took the liberty to remove all traces of Commander Chakotay's DNA from your body. We wouldn't want any more attempts of unwanted conception, now would we?"
Chakotay was relieved. Suddenly, he sat up straight and placed Tom's hand onto his stomach. "He kicked," he said, a whole new expression coming over his face as he lit up like a Christmas tree.
Tom beamed with joy as well. "How do you know it was he and not she?" he asked.
"Because," Chakotay was about to say when he grinned even wider. "That was her kicking."
"I love you," Tom said, caressing where his children were growing.
"And I love you too, Angel."
"Oh, Great Gul! Sedate me or something, so I don't have to listen to this!" Seska shouted.
Just then, Janeway walked in with Tuvok and several security officers. "Well?" she asked, looking at the Doctor and Chakotay.
"Seska's the proud mother of the first half Cardassian, half Kazon child in the Delta quadrant," Tom piped in.
"Ah, well then this will make this a bit easier," Janeway stated, her joy of knowing that Chakotay wouldn't be plagued by her, at least by this aspect, was a great relief.
"What easier?" Chakotay asked.
"The Kazon are demanding Seska be returned, because they believe she's carrying their leader's child. Since it's true, as much as I want to lock you in the brig for life, I think it wise for the moment to let her go."
"What!?" Tom snapped, his eyes burning with the injustice of it all.
"Lieutenant Paris. There are five Kazon vessels heading this way. If we return Seska, they have no reason to pursue us and have given their word that they would not, under a Kazon oath," Tuvok responded.
"Like that has any value!" Tom snarled.
"Mister Paris," the Captain warned. The young man was close to crossing the line with her.
"Hon, it's okay," Chakotay said, soothing his love by rubbing his hand down Tom's back. "I really don't think I would like the idea of her here on this ship, even in the brig, in the least bit. Her leaving, knowing that we're together and she has no ties to me whatsoever, is enough. Let it go."
Tom looked into the eyes of his beloved and saw that this was what he truly needed to have, peace of mind and he couldn't resist him anything. He relaxed his posture and turned to the Captain. "I apologize, Captain," he said sincerely.
Both men watched as Seska was taken by armed guards to the transporter room that would send her packing, then back at the Captain, who was smiling from ear to ear.
"What?" Tom asked, not able to keep a smile from his own face.
"Oh, nothing. The two of you make the cutest couple," she chuckled.
"I'm glad you think so, for I believe we're due to be married soon," Chakotay replied, a huge grin himself.
"Ah, yes. Well, I also thought you both would be glad to know that we've located an M-class planet that has more than enough of what we need to get power levels back up so this wedding doesn't have to be on hold much longer," Janeway added with a grin.
"Really, how soon?" Tom asked eagerly.
"We're three days away, so I'd say to plan for a week from today. What do you say?"
"I say, what are we waiting for," Tom said with his joyous inpatience as Chakotay just laughed at his young love's enthusiasm.
"Well, then, I'll let you two plan. Oh and Commander, our deal stands, but you have the next three days off to rest and that's an order," she smirked and left.
Tom looked to see that even the holo Doc had left them, so he wrapped his arms around his love again and kissed him deeply. "I can't wait to be…hey, what will I be? Mister Kotay?" he asked with a teasing smile.
"Well, since my people don't use last names, I was seriously thinking of taking yours."
"Bad idea," Tom responded coolly.
"I told you about my father and I'm not exactly proud of being a Paris," Tom replied.
"All the more reason to give you the pride you deserve in being who 'you' are," Chakotay said, taking his love's face in his hand and gently looked deep into his eyes. "You are everything to me. Can you look me in the eye and tell me you are worthless?"
"I…I couldn't be, if a man like you loves me," Tom whispered back, really seeing all the love, admiration and respect his soon to be husband had for him.
"Then I have an idea," Chakotay smiled with a gleam in his eyes. <> ***********
The warm wind blew through the open green meadow as the sun shined brightly, accenting all the color nature had to offer. The sound of a babbling brook echoed in the distance as people crowded together, to witness the joining of Tom Paris and Chakotay. The planet had not only been inhabitable, though no one lived there, but beautiful and Tom and Chakotay both agreed that this was the place they would take their vows.
The night before, in a smaller attended ceremony, Chakotay performed the rights of his tribe and he and Tom were now bound in spirit as well as in body as he inducted his husband into his family and his life. The fresh tattoo that Tom now wore like his mate, still glistened as if still wet from the ink of last night as the sun shined down on them both. Tom dressed in sky blue, that accented his eyes, without shoes, faced his love, who wore what he believed was the first time, pure white. The purity of the color seemed to darken his skin and add to his glow his spirit was pulsating as they stood together in front of Captain Janeway, who insisted to make it legal, wore her uniform, but swore to change for the reception.
"We have traveled a long way, and may still have a ways to go," she said. "But as we do so, we are reminded of what it is we travel to and fight for on such special occasions when two very unique and loving souls find one another and the purity of love is born. In the days when ships only sailed the seas, it was always the Captain's greatest honor to hold the power to unite such blessed beings." Janeway looked at Chakotay and Tom with such pride, she could have just burst.
"Do you, Thomas Eugene Paris, take this man, Chakotay of the Creek nation to be your lawfully wedded husband. Through sickness and health, through good times and bad, to honor and cherish so long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Tom replied as a small tear rolled down his cheek.
"Do you, Chakotay of the Creek nation, take this man, Thomas Eugene Paris to be your lawfully wedded husband. Through sickness and health, through good times and bad, to honor and cherish so long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Chakotay said, also a small tear running down his cheek.
"The rings," Janeway said.
Tom took the golden silver band he had made especially for Chakotay, from Harry, his best man and friend and took Chakotay's hand and placed the ring on his wedding finger. "With this ring, I thee wed."
Then Chakotay took the silver ring with an engraved wolf on it that he had made just for Tom from B'Elanna, his best 'man' and best friend. "With this ring, I thee wed."
"With the power invested by me, I do pronounce you wed!" Janeway stated happily.
The crowed cheered as the married couple kissed long and deeply, only to stop at the sound of the Captain clearing her throat. "Save it for the honeymoon," she teased.
Chakotay smiled at his new husband. "So how do you feel, mister Paris?"
"Wonderful!" Tom replied. "And how do you feel…mister Paris," he smirked.
"Wonderful," he said and kissed his husband again.
"Well, with two mister Paris' on board, this just may get confusing," Kathryn teased as well wishers pushed their way up to the newly married couple.
"For technical reasons, let's just stick with Chakotay," the Commander replied.
"Hey, let's get this reception on the road!" B'Elanna shouted.
All was well as the newlyweds enjoyed their friends, their surroundings and their love.
"Honey, that's the eighth time you've been up tonight. Are you sure you're all right?" Tom asked from bed. It was 0330 and he had bridge duty in the morning. Even if his loving, though miserable, spouse was forced onto maternity leave, due to the fact he was now eight months pregnant.
"I'm sorry, Tom. But, the Doctor already told me that this was just another typical thing about being pregnant."
"So, along with swollen fingers and ankles, lower back pain, it's normal to piss every five minutes," Tom replied, trying not to let his tiredness and annoyance of his lack of sleep to enter his voice. He watched as his love and husband, looking very tired himself, waddled out of the bathroom, only to take a half seat on the edge of the bed, a scowl on his face.
"Honey, come back to bed, it's late," Tom said trying to be supportive.
"Why? I'll only have to get up again, might as well save me the hassle and stay up. I'd stay in the bathroom, but the toilet is just too uncomfortable to sit on," he grumbled.
"Why don't you go see the Doctor?" Tom suggested.
"I told you, he said it's nor…mal," Chakotay snapped, his tired irritation showing.
Tom had been through this far too long to let it get to him anymore. "Honey, I'm sure it is. But, you haven't slept well in two days and I know that isn't healthy for you or the children. Perhaps, if you talk with him, he can help you get the rest you need, huh?" Tom could see his husband tossing the idea around in his head.
"Oh, all right. I'll go see the quack," the big man snipped as he got up with a push from Tom and retrieved his robe.
"I do believe the doctor is right," Tom smiled. "My wit is rubbing off on you." Tom started to push off the covers.
"What are you doing?" The Commander's side of him now showing. "You have an early shift tomorrow and I am 'quite' capable of walking to the infirmary myself, thank you very much."
Tom had seen this side of his husband a lot too and it was the I'm-still-independent-and-don't- you-forget-it mode. "Okay, okay," he acquiesced as he lay back down. "But, if you're not back in my arms within an hour, I'm coming after you," he teased.
"Hell, it'll take me that long just to get there," Chakotay muttered as he started out of the room.
Tom was tired and didn't realize he had fallen back to sleep till the ship shuddering violently, startled him awake. The first thing he took into account was that Chakotay was not with him. The ship shuddered again as the red alert claxon sounded. Tom jumped out of bed and grabbed his uniform. "Paris to Chakotay," he said while slipping his clothes on and started for the door. No answer. "Paris to Chakotay!" Tom said again as he started running towards the lift. He was forced to the other side of the hall as the ship rattled violently again. He got to the lift to see several other crewmembers gathered, but no lift had arrived.
"We'll have to use the other ones, or the shafts!" Tom shouted as another boom of an explosion echoed throughout the ship. His mind was filled with fear for his husband, but he was a Starfleet officer and he knew Chakotay wouldn't expect anything less than his best as an officer during a crisis. He turned, ran to the other turbo lift and hot tailed it to the bridge.
The ship had been under attack from an aggressive race called the Kalkston, that had believed that if they captured Voyager, they could possess all it's technical wonders, but fortunately they had failed to take into account that Voyager's technical wonders would kick their ass for trying. Tom Paris sat back in his chair, giving a deep sigh of relief as the Captain gave the all clear and stepped the ship down from red alert.
"Sickbay to Lieutenant Paris," the Doctor's voice came over his com unit.
"Paris, here," Tom replied, puzzled for a moment.
"You'd better get down here, there's been an accident."
(To Be Continued in Stone Fortress)