Author: Jeanette Kofoed
Codes: CP, VOY.
Series: Part 8 of the Thoughts series: The Seduction of Paris, Harry, A Gift for a Soul Mate, My Beauty, Tom's Gift, Chakotay's Gift and Pain
Archive: Paris Nights, Cha_Club. Anywhere else: Okay with me as long as you say where.
Dedicated: To Robin, who again did a great beta and was very helpful, also dedicated to Elisabeth and Mel.v.P They all know who they are. ;-)
Disclaimer: Characters wihtin this stories belongs to Paramount Pictures and CO. But the story and the plot belongs to me.
Feedback is welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written May 2000
"Tom is in sickbay, seriously injured." Those words, those six small words stopped my heart. Tom had been hurt. My entire world crumpled beneath me. What had happened? Kathryn kept on talking, but only a few words sank in.
"Chakotay, you should come to sickbay with me." I didn't answer. I wasn't sure I could handle seeing his beautiful body lying deadly still, bruised and battered.
Kathryn took my hand then, her action shaking me out of the dense fog that had captured me. "You have to see him before the surgery. It may be your last chance." Last chance? What was she talking about?
My head snapped up, and I looked directly at her. My voice sounded so far away as I spoke, no, whispered to her, "Die? Are you saying he might die? Not Tom."
The walk to sickbay was long and hard. I stared at everyone, trying to imagine who could have hurt him, hurt my Tom. My beloved. But all I met only held sadness in their eyes, pity and a few anger. No one looked satisfied or happy. And why should they? Why should beating a beautiful and wonderful man make anyone happy?
Why? Deep in my heart though, I knew that someone out there had enjoyed it, and that someone would wish they had never been born if I got my hands on the son of a bitch. No one hurts my soul mate-- my companion and lover. No one. No one hurting him would get away with it.
He was unnaturally pale. Blood still oozing from a big gash in his head that ran down over his cheek and onto the biobed. I was surprised that the doctor hadn't healed the wound by now. There must be other more severe injuries that he had to attend to first. For seconds I was frozen, as that reality hit me. Tom was seriously injured, possibly dying.
"Tom," I whispered to him, gently taking his hand and brushing the blood that ran down his cheek away. His hand was so cold, lifeless.
I told him that he was going to be all right, and at the same time the doctor carefully told him that he needed surgery. "...press Commander Chakotay's hand if you understand," was all I heard of the Doctor's words. I held my breath and waited, and there it was. A gentle squeeze, almost invisible, but it was there. My mind held onto that touch as I began the endless wait for him to come through the surgery.
He had suddenly awakened last night screaming my name. Fear, pain, and confusion were all mixed together in his call for me. All it took to calm him down was for me to lie down beside him and sleep. It was what he wanted, and nothing he asked would I say no to. I can't say no to him. Never.
Later, when I awoke, he sat staring around the room. The bruises on his face had been healed, and he was no longer deadly pale. There is nothing more beautiful than his face, except for his soul. Right then, as I looked at him, I felt as though I could see right through him. The relief of being alive, the pain of what had happened--and love.
He turned around and saw me staring at him, and he blushed. That wonderful blush he gets when he's feeling shy or sexually excited, and the thought of me never seeing him blush again made the world crumple beneath me. I had come so close, so damn close to losing him and that was something I couldn't live with. I cried, hugged him, and cried even more. And that wonderful man just said that he was all right as long as I was by his side. And now as I stand here looking at his sleeping form, thinking of the last twenty-four hours, I swear that someone will pay. They hurt him badly, and from the look on the Doctor's face when he scans Tom, something is wrong, and I intend to find out what it is.
"Chakotay, could I please speak with you in my office?" The Doctor calls to me. Looks like I don't have to ask him; he'll just tell me. I follow him and see that Janeway is already seated in his office. I didn't see her come in. Guess I was too busy looking at Tom.
"Chakotay, are you all right?" She asks, certainly aware of the answer, but she still needs to know. I only nod.
"Captain, Commander, if you'll please sit down, I can explain." I looked at the doctor as he started speaking, I really didn't understand what he was talking about at first, but something was wrong with Tom, seriously wrong. I used the last bit of strength I had to concentrate on what he was saying.
"Mr. Paris was beaten with a blunt object and fists. I would say that at least three people participated in this attack. His bones were broken, in many places, which I successfully repaired during the operation. However, the blunt object that was used against him damaged his spine and his brain."
Damage, brain, Tom. I was trying hard to follow, but I kept thinking back to the bloodied face and the bruised body I had seen. The doctor continued.
"The affected areas in the brain are his motor coordination and his eyesight. At times, he could go completely blind, and he'll experience trouble focusing. Those episodes of complete blindness most likely will be only temporary. I should be able to repair the problem with his eyesight over a period of a year. The other problem with his motor coordination, specifically the movement of his legs. This is something that he'll either adjust to, or not. Normally in cases like his, where the spine was severely split and his the brain as damaged as his is, I would say that he'll never improve."
He couldn't follow any longer; he just listened. Tom was going to have permanent problems. The problems with his legs, Chakotay knew Tom could live with, but if his eyes didn't get better, his soul would slowly die.
The one thing that had kept the free and wild soul truly free was flying. If Tom lost his eyesight, he would never fly again. He would want to die. Of that Chakotay was certain.
Go on to the next part