March 1998
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In the black void of beginning,
a faint glow appeared
From this glow,
flames swirled across the void
Spirals of flame bridged together,
crackling with energy
The flames joined
and burst into a magnificent Fire
And Love was born
"The Flame Within" by Diane Wolfsong


"Don't?" Chakotay lips moved down the other man's neck to collarbone to chest. He paused. "Don't what?" he teased.

"Don't stop!" gasped Tom, feeling his legs waver, about to give out underneath him.

Chakotay moved upward once again, pressing his body to Tom's, trapping him between his body and the wall. Neither man wore any clothing.

Tom groaned and pushed himself against Chakotay, feeling the ember that moments ago had been a mere glow now burst into flame. Chakotay pushed back, trapping their erections between the two firmly muscled bodies.

Tom's hands came up and, grasping Chakotay's face, he pulled those enticing lips toward his, latching onto Chakotay's mouth with a hunger that fed the flames.

Chakotay's hands moved around behind Tom, fitting themselves between the wall and Tom's buttocks. He cupped the mounds of flesh possessively, molding them, kneading them, tracing familiar patterns over them.

Tom's tongue dove into Chakotay's mouth, seeking and finding its mate. One hand slipped down between them to graze a hardness. Chakotay moaned into Tom's mouth, feeling that addictive mouth turn upward in a smile.

Retaliating, Chakotay slipped a finger in between the cheeks of the rear end he had been fondling and teased the opening there with a fingertip.

Tom pulled his lips away. "No fair!" he grunted breathlessly, trying to wriggle away from the probing finger. To his surprise, Chakotay relented. Tom's eyes narrowed as he watched Chakotay's finger slide into his mouth. Chakotay suckled the finger, letting it slide in and out several times in a suggestive manner. His eyes never left Tom's.

Tom swallowed and felt a stirring in his loins. There was an answering twitch from Chakotay's nether regions. He slowly reached up and removed Chakotay's finger from his mouth and directed it back to his own hip and around behind. At the same moment the finger dove in, Chakotay's mouth covered Tom's and Tom's hand wrapped firmly around Chakotay's erection.

The flickering flames burst into a crackling fire and both men moved even closer together in an impossible attempt to become one. Lips fought for ownership. Tongues argued for a taste to be savored. Hands battled for sensual touches. Bodies glistened with sweat as they fought to prolong the ecstasy. Silenced voices gave way to breathless moans . . . groans . . . until . . .



Tom broke free of Chakotay. He swept the desk free of datapadds with one sweep of his arm and bent over the desk, bracing himself with hands that grasped the desk's edges. Chakotay snagged the needed lube from a nearby drawer and had prepared himself by the time he reached Tom.

To the casual observer, it all would have seemed orchestrated, so smoothly did they carry it off. To the two men, it was simply that they knew each others needs, as lovers frequently do.

Chakotay slipped two lubed fingers into Tom, a deep quiver of desire rushing through his hardness at Tom's drawn-out satisfied groan.

Tom pushed impatiently against the fingers and Chakotay added a third while his other hand reached up to caress the glistening, leanly muscled back of his lover.

One of Tom's hands tried to slip down between himself and the desk to grasp his own erection. Chakotay knocked the hand away. "Not yet," he murmured. Then Tom felt the gentle nudge of Chakotay's hardness pushing at his opening. He pushed back, wanting it all.

"Easy," Chakotay crooned, holding Tom's hips.

Tom wanted to pound his head on the desk with the frustration of it. He needed Chakotay. Now. His hands tightened on the edge of the desk until the knuckles turned white.

With a final push, Chakotay was in him, filling him. They held still for a long moment, both savoring the feel of being one. Then Chakotay began moving. Slowly at first. He pulled part way out and then ever so slowly pushed back in.

Tom raised his upper body, holding himself on quivering arms and spreading his legs even further apart. "Harder!" he gasped, pushing back to meet Chakotay's thrust.

The tempo picked up until they were moving together frantically, Chakotay pushing in and out of him in quick hard thrusts. He didn't give Tom time for a wail of protest at the loss of his fullness between thrusts.

"Nonononononono," Tom chanted, fighting off the coming conflagration. Not ready yet. Not yet. He felt his muscles beginning to clench around Chakotay. "Oh god," he groaned, head bowing as he struggled to contain it. Struggled to hold out just a little longer with the need to prolong this as much as possible.

Thankfully, Chakotay eased up and then was pulling out of Tom completely.

Understanding, Tom quickly turned to face Chakotay. He sat on the desktop, his buttocks right at the edge. Reclining back, he pulled his legs up. Chakotay's hands gently grasped his ankles and levered Tom's feet up so they rested on his shoulders. Without warning, he plunged back into Tom in one stroke and picked up the fast and furious tempo they had established moments before.

This time, when Tom's hand moved to his own hardness to stroke it, Chakotay didn't knock his hand away. He bent over his golden blond lover, watching as Tom's head thrust up and back, his mouth open and eyes closed as the first wall of flame burst over them. For a long moment, Chakotay saw nothing.

With one last thrust, Chakotay cried out and emptied himself into Tom. Tom's eyes opened, his own movements stilling as he watched the shock of the orgasmic wave engulf his lover.

Chakotay gave a pleasured shudder and opened his eyes to find Tom watching him. He slowly pulled out of Tom and leaned forward over his lover to kiss him tenderly on the mouth while his hand snaked down between them to capture Tom's hand and pull it away from the pilot's straining erection. Tom whimpered, but the whimper quickly died when Chakotay's hand replaced his and began stroking him to arousal with a familiar touch. Tom's arms moved around Chakotay, pulling him down closer. His legs draped loosely over the side of the desk on either side of Chakotay.

With one last consuming kiss, Chakotay moved downward and took Tom in his mouth, gently teasing the tip. He swirled his tongue around it, stilling the thrusting of Tom's hips with a touch.

Lifting his gaze, Chakotay maintained eye contact while he mouth slid down over the entire length of Tom's hardness. Keeping the suction tight, he moved up and down the length of his lover. Tom groaned. Already near the edge, he hips began thrusting. Chakotay moved with him.

"Godddddd!" Tom practically screamed and then he was exploding into Chakotay's mouth. Chakotay eagerly drank from his lover, staying with him until he lay limply on the desktop, the only movement coming from him the rapid movement of his chest as he gulped in air.

Smiling, Chakotay kissed him. Tom just lay there, limp as a rag doll, but Chakotay persisted until he finally got some reaction out of the other man.

"Mmmmhhmmm," Tom murmured against his lips. "Don't think I can move."

"Come on," Chakotay said warmly, getting an arm underneath Tom's shoulders and hefting him up to a sitting position. "Let's take a nice long hot shower together before bed."

"Water and not sonic?" asked Tom drowsily.

"Um hmmm."

Getting off the desk, he followed Chakotay toward the bathroom, eyes targeting in on the luscious backside before him. Smiling, Tom caught up with Chakotay, slid an arm around his waist and then let the hand run seductively over Chakotay's rear.

"I thought you were tired," Chakotay accused, but his hand moved up to stake a similar claim on Tom.

"Getting my second wind, Cha."



Grinning like Cheshire cats, the two men disappeared into the bathroom.

The flame within burns
Through the light of love
Through the joy of happiness
Through life eternal
The flame within burns
We are sparks from the Fire
We flash and blaze
We flicker and seem to disappear
But the flame within burns
"The Flame Within" by Diane Wolfsong

One Day Later:

Tom sat in Chakotay's darkened quarters. Alone. Alone in heart. Alone in soul. The tragedy of the day weighed heavily on him.

His eyes turned to the desk, remembering what had taken place there just last night. Chakotay. Oh god, Chakotay! Why?!

Tears flowing down his face, his mind turned back to events earlier that day as the scene replayed itself before his unseeing eyes once again.

He, Chakotay and the Captain had beamed down to confer with the Lemaskans about the best course to be navigated through this stretch of space as they continued on their journey toward the Alpha Quadrant.

Janeway had been impressed with the scientific technology the Lemaskans displayed. Shared looks between Chakotay and Tom communicated their mutual amusement at the Captain's almost childlike excitement as she discussed sciences with the Lemaskan authorities.

The business of star charts and such finally concluded, Janeway had given Tom and Chakotay leave to do a little sightseeing before they all beamed back aboard Voyager.

That was where it had all begun to go so terribly wrong.

They had been in the right place at the right time, or the wrong time, depending on how you looked at it. A small shop catering to customers looking for handmade wares had suddenly gone up in flames. A burning candle had started it they later found out. The cause of the fire by that time had ceased to matter to Tom, however. His only concern was the outcome. An outcome he couldn't change.

They had heard a child's cries coming from the burning shop. Seeing that no one was moving forward to help, Tom had started forward, only to have Chakotay move him aside and rush into the burning building.

"Chakotay!" Tom had moved to follow Chakotay, only to find himself restrained by several hefty-looking Lemaskans. "Let go of me!" he bellowed.

They hadn't listened. Tom had watched in dismay as the flames engulfed the building. "Chakotay," he whispered. "Please. Please get out of there!"

Then he saw him. Through the smoke. Through the flames. One sleeve of his uniform had been burned away and the arm was seared an ugly red. His face was smudged with smoke from the fire. And he held a young Lemaskan child in his arms.

Tom and Chakotay came to the identical realization at the same moment. There was no way out. He was trapped. Their eyes met. Tom saw Chakotay's lips move. "Tom." Tom struggled against the Lemaskans. His fear giving him strength, he broke free of them and started forward. His hand made an abortive attempt toward his commbadge until he remembered that the planet's atmosphere made communications with the ship impossible unless using one of the Lemaskan receivers.

The heat of the flames caused him to stumble back a step but then he was doggedly moving forward once more. There was a sudden loud cracking. Tom saw Chakotay look upward. Following his gaze, he saw that the shop's roof was about to go.

Tom continued to move forward, never taking his eyes off Chakotay. He saw Chakotay shake his head. Eyes full of sorrow he mouthed to Tom, "I love you," and then he flung the child over the flames. Tom had no choice. He stopped, braced himself, and caught the child in his arms. His gaze flew back to Chakotay just in time to see the roof collapse in on him. Chakotay threw his arms up in useless protection and then was buried under a burning mass of timbers.

In shock, Tom wasn't even aware of arms pulling him back from the burning building. He stood there, holding the coughing child, his gaze fixated on the building that had become Chakotay's funeral pyre. It was simply too much to comprehend in such a short period of time.

Chakotay's dark quarters slowly swam into focus for Tom as he returned to the present. Captain Janeway had come upon the scene shortly after that. She had gently removed the Lemaskan child from Tom's hold and placed her with one of the Lemaskan elders.

He didn't remember much after that. They had beamed back to Voyager. The Doctor had treated Tom for some minor burns. Tom remembered the Captain and then Harry and then B'Elanna all trying to talk to him but he couldn't seem to understand what they were saying. So he had left them without a word and hidden himself away in Chakotay's quarters.

Chakotay. His Chakotay. Dead. Ever so slowly, the flickering flame inside Tom dwindled to a glowing ember. Then the ember went dark, but deep within its depths was a flickering light fighting for survival. A memory called Chakotay.

The flame within burns
Through the darkness of despair
Through the loneliness of sorrow
Through hurt and pain
The flame within burns
It may flicker softly
It may seem to disappear
The darkness so complete,
its ember hidden
But the ember never dies
"The Flame Within" by Diane Wolfsong

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