April 2001

R    (A short sequel to 'Sunrise')

The holographic sun was low in the sky as the two men sat staring out across the calm sea. The water seemed almost alive, though, as the sun's soft rays made it glint and sparkle as the waves rolled gently to the shore.

A bird called out to its mate and an answering call was heard before the pair flew into a tall tree to roost. The turtles had gone; back to the safety of the open sea. The dolphins that had played so enchantingly nearby had also left.

The birds and the men were the only creatures left in this now silent paradise.

Tom looked around at the man next to him. He remembered, as if it were yesterday, their first time together in this very same spot. They had found each other that day, their lives forever changed by a cure for boredom.

They had kissed and caressed each other through the darkness of the holographic night, finally making love in the first soft glow of the sunrise. It had been wonderful and Tom's body could still recall every intimate touch.

He leaned forward and brushed the now white hair out of his lover's eyes. Chakotay turned slowly towards him, a tiny smile trying to make itself known as thanks for Tom's gesture. Tom cupped Chakotay's face in his hands as he gently kissed the man that had been his life these past thirty years.

"I love you, Chakotay," he whispered to the silent man.

Chakotay had lost the ability to speak a month ago. Ever since an alien virus had attacked and ravaged his nervous system and vital organs. The Doctor, and his assistants, had tried everything they could to reverse the damage, but to no avail. It was even hard for them to control his constant pain.

Tom wrapped his arms around Chakotay and held him tight. He didn't want to see his lover suffer any longer.

Chakotay's head fell forward on to Tom's shoulder as a tremor shook him, and Tom knew it was time.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small vial filled with a dark liquid. He had secretly replicated the poison himself. He unscrewed the tiny cap and discarded it.

There was just enough light left for Tom to see Chakotay's face as he tilted his lover's head back to look into his still dark and beautiful eyes.

Tom brought the vial to his own lips and emptied the poison into his mouth. He knew it wouldn't take effect immediately; he had thirty seconds before that happened.

He leaned forward and gently captured Chakotay's mouth with his own. He urged his lover's lips apart with his tongue and, as they shared the kiss, they also shared the poison.

As the last rays of light disappeared below the horizon, the two devoted men held each other close and kissed their way to their final sunset.

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