Tempting Fate by jadefire

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Story Notes:

This came from my bi-yearly Voyager marathon and this idea kept nagging at me while watching Timeless.

 

In just a few hours, if all goes as planned, we’ll have changed history. The past 15 years – erased. We don’t have to do this.

 

Now you tell me.

 

I’m serious.

 

So am I, and I have no intention of backing out.

 

Chakotay.

 

Look at me. Last minute jitters, cold feet. I don’t know what to call it. Ridiculous, isn’t it? After all these years, working towards this moment, and when it finally comes, all I can do is think about losing you.

 

Your heart has always been here, on Voyager. That’ll never change. This is where you belong (with him). And who knows, maybe we’ll meet someday.

 

But if we don’t..,.

 

Then I’ll miss you all the same.

 

*****

 

By the Ship’s the Chronometer it was technically night and Commander Chakotay was comfortably reading in his quarters when he was pulled out of his thoughts by the door chime.

 

“Come”

 

Chakotay stood up and put the book aside. Captain Janeway strode in determinedly with a wry smile and a Tricorder one hand.

 

“I’m not sure how it happened Chakotay, but I’ve somehow been demoted to Messenger.”

 

“Captain?”

 

“Seven found 2 entry logs encoded in the Telemetry with the altered Phase Corrections. They have a Temporal Displacement and appear to have originated from about 10 to 20 years into the future. I just delivered a message from Harry Kim to Harry Kim. The second message is for you.”

 

Chakotay took the Tricorder from her, surprised.

 

 “I have to admit Chakotay I’m curious as to what all the fuss is about but I’m not sure I want to risk altering the time line again. And though I’ve checked the Temporal Prime Directive, it isn’t exactly clear on the rules for receiving messages from the future. So I’ll leave it up to your discretion as to whether or not the information from that message is important.”

 

Chakotay looked down at the tricorder in his hands, then looked back at the Captain and swallowed.

 

“Thank-you Captain.”  

 

Captain Janeway nodded, then turned and headed for the door.

 

“Oh and don’t forget dinner tomorrow night. I’ve been fiddling with the replicator and I think I’ve finally fixed the problem. I’m sure the chances of it burning another roast are slim at best.”

 

Chakotay heard, rather than saw, the door close behind the Captain as he eyed the Tricorder in his hands with some trepidation. He was uncertain as to what the message could contain or what impact it could have.

 

He contemplated deleting it for a few minutes before he finally connected the Tricorder to his Console and a beautiful woman appeared on the screen. She had short auburn hair and a glowing smile. From what little he could see behind her she looked as if she was sitting in the pilot seat of the Delta Flyer.

 

“Hello Chakotay. My name is Tessa Omond. I know you don’t recognise me but rest assured that I do know you. Very well in fact. Let’s just say we’ve become quite close over the years. Or we will, or we were going to be. I was never very good at temporal physics.”

 

Her smile was radiant.

 

“You’re probably wondering why I’m sending you this message from a future that will no longer exist and honestly - I’m asking myself the same question. But even if this transmission to the past alters everything, saves the lives of the crew, erases the past, my conscience wouldn’t allow me to close this chapter of my life without sending this message to you.”

 

She looked away for a moment before she continued. When she looked back she was still smiling but Chakotay saw that there was sadness in her eyes.

 

“I fell in love with you the moment you smiled at me and I saw those cute dimples, then you made me laugh and I was lost. I know that you would never admit it but you let yourself believe that you were in love with me too. And I let you. I hope you don’t think badly of me for being selfish but understand that I would do anything if it meant I could be with you.”

 

“We both knew that this was never permanent. Part of you was always with Voyager and it was a part I could never hope to reach. I thought that helping you to find where Voyager had fallen out of the Quantum Slipstream would buy us more time, would somehow help to change your mind about us, about me. But I know now that you weren’t the only one in denial.”

 

“I know that if this is successful that we may never meet in the future and what we have will never happen. But I just want you to know that I love you. And that I want you to be happy. Even if it that means that you are with him instead of me.”

 

Him? Chakotay’s mind whirled as he tried to figure out who this woman could possibly be talking about.

 

“And don’t look at me like I’ve lost my mind. I know you Chakotay. You know exactly who I’m talking about. Tom Paris. You’ve been in love with him for years but for some reason you refused to allow yourself to take that chance at becoming more to him than his commanding officer, or his friend.”

 

Chakotay stared at the Console, shocked.

 

“I know you’re probably wondering how I could possibly know this.” She gave a sad little laugh. “But it would surprise you to know I’ve actually known for years. I knew it the first time you talked about him. Even though you were complaining about his gambling and his obsession with 20th Century Holodeck programs, you had this longing on your face, your eyes were lit up and you had a dopey smile that I had never seen before. It’s the same one you get every time you speak about him, which you do quite often. I have to admit, it made me jealous.”

 

Odd, his last examination had proven him to be in perfect health. But now it felt as though his heart was trying to escape his body through his chest.

 

“I hope that if there is one thing that you take from my message, let it be this.”

 

Chakotay unconsciously leaned forward.

 

“Tell him how you feel before it’s too late. Consider this to be your second chance at happiness. Take it from me, not everyone gets one.”

 

The woman took a deep breath and smiled that beaming smile at him again.

 

“Goodbye Chakotay. I hope with all my heart that you get Voyager home. I love you.”

 

And then the screen went blank and Chakotay was left sitting in darkness, a shocked and confused look on his face.

 

He wasn’t quite sure how to react.

 

*****

 

Tom Paris was exiting Sandrine’s after an unsuccessful game of pool when he ran into Commander Chakotay, wearing his workout clothing.

 

“Tom.”

 

“Evening Commander. I thought I was the only one who used the Holodeck this late?”

 

“I couldn’t sleep. I thought a few rounds in the ring might wear me out.”

 

“Well I hope you have more luck than I did at Sandrine’s. I think in the future I won’t program holograms with so much more talent than me. We should have another match so when I beat you I can regain some of my dignity.”  

 

Chakotay chuckled at this, eyes becoming bright and dimples showing.

 

“You couldn’t beat me the last 7 times we played Tom. What makes you think you’ll beat me when we play for the 8th?”

 

“There’s a first time for everything Commander. Well I should be going. Have fun!”

 

Tom took another glance at Chakotay before he headed off to the Turbolift, unaware that Chakotay’s eyes were watching him leave with intense consideration.