June 2004

Title: Truth or Lies
Author: Chuckles
Category: Very mild slash
Pairing: C/P
Rating: G
Word Count: 352
Author's Notes: Loosely based on the events of the episode "Nemesis".
Written for the challenge ‘Counterfeit’ on the voyager_week LJ community.

The waking flashbacks were hard enough to deal with, but when he closed his eyes for the night and his brain continued to send him images of what had happened, Chakotay found that no matter how tired he was, he would wake up within minutes of dozing off.

The Doctor had tried to help, providing tranquillisers that were meant to induce deep, dreamless sleep, but even his efforts had failed; the Vori’s mind-control techniques continued to hold sway over him despite the Doctor’s best efforts to neutralise them with sophisticated drugs and the most modern of treatments. It seemed that time and his own strength of will were Chakotay’s only answers to conquering the aliens’ lingering control.

But what did that mean for him now, when his head was still filled with visions of a war he had never truly been involved in? Scenes of hate and despair, faked to make him fight. Counterfeit people with counterfeit feelings….

But his own feelings were real enough.

Sitting on the edge of his bed, his head in his hands, Chakotay breathed slowly and deeply as he tried to convince his troubled mind that everything he had been a part of had been a sham. The war had nothing to do with him. He belonged on Voyager; he was the ship’s First Officer. Despite the training he had received, he was not a Vori soldier sworn to fight the Kradin beasts.

With a shuddering sigh, Chakotay rubbed his hands across his eyes as he climbed back under the covers for another attempt at sleep, but the warm body next to his own shocked him for a moment and he warily turned his head, staring intently through the gloom of his dimly-lit bedroom until he noticed understanding eyes searching his own.

“I’m not an alien warrior, Chakotay,” Tom Paris whispered soothingly. “There’s nothing fake about me; I promise you that I’m completely real.”

Chakotay nodded slowly, wonderingly, and then settled his head on the pillow next to Tom’s.

Though he’d longed for it, and then got it, even this most pleasant of realities could be hard to grasp, sometimes.

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