Footfalls echo in the memory

Title: Tempest


Series: VOY

Date: 1-14-00

Disclaimer: If they were mine I'd do the dance of joy.

Summary: Serving up J/C angst. This one's a wallow. Yee-Haw!


By Starbaby

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden. My words echo

Thus, in your mind----T.S. Eliot

I wonder where you are tonight.

The wind batters my windows, a tangible echo of the turmoil in my heart. You still rage there, my stormbird on the wind.

I have no place to send these letters, this record of your slipping from my life. My people are salt of the Earth, but you are the hunter; I lack the skills to track you across worlds. Voyager sleeps; her computers cannot tell me your coordinates in the wilds of life. The spirits are true companions, but your Acoochemoya doesn't answer to the likes of Kathryn Janeway.

Do you want to be found, Chakotay?

The heart is so fragile; love is more intricate than a game of Kal-toh. Does our game continue, or did it end when I moved away from you for the last time, too aware of the eyes upon us, too afraid to seize what we had, hold it my hands and declare, "This is ours!" I squandered my chance to love a man different from any other, a hero from the mists of time, a son of the forest. When our world was wrapped in infinite darkness, I took you as my troubador. You sang my song on that hell-for-leather journey.

Is the next move mine? Are you waiting for me?

My only companion is the cry of the wind, my only song the scratch of pen on paper. I wonder if you are somewhere nearby. Does the fall of night turn your thoughts homeward? How egotistical, to consider myself your home. You understood the concept far better than I, you, the builder of headboards and bathtubs, the defender of kith and kin. Your eyes asked for a home with me, and I truly believed that I possessed the courage to soar with you, a stormbird on the wind.

Why wasn't faith enough for us?

Love asks so much. The poets are wrong; it isn't promised and unchanging. Like the fields of grain beyond my window, love must be fed before it withers on the stalk. Words, commitment, declaration…these are the sustenance it requires. Our relationship, so green on the vine, survived too long on air and possibilities. Staggering into Terran space, bent but unbroken, we faltered. I didn't fail alone, but I'd gladly assume responsibility if it meant we could be levered up from this place. We failed, to your surprise and my grief.

Is it my turn to lead?

We are all dancers at heart, longing to spin, twirl, and move in pairs. You and I were no different. That night, the crew celebrated Earth, anticipating a return in glory. They were weary, but never too tired to dance.

I celebrated you.

It wasn't a plan of yours or a scheme of mine, to spend the night in each other's arms, the first part or the last. It was an evening of bubble and froth, flowing with Talaxian champagne, but I was drunk on you, and you, alone.

We collided in the corridor. It was inevitable, like wind meeting sea. I dropped something. We both bent to pick it up. My eyes met yours. They were dark and bright, like a tempest in space…dark and bright, like the endless journey. I don't know what you saw before we tumbled onto the bed; only a day later we faltered. When the wind cries in the night, I long to recreate you from memory and tell you all my secrets, so that you might know them before morning.

Do you regret that night?

There is a place where love begins and ends. For us, they were one and the same. Would the parting have been less painful without those hours? Undoubtably, but I would not rewrite our history, taking the tempest from your eyes and my song from your lips, covering the glowing embers. The spark between us warms me still, a hearth-fire on nights when storms rage across the heartland, rippling the rows of barley where the field mouse trots. Have you found peace, close to the bones of your people? Do you build cities in the shadow of my memory?

The tempest will rattle my windowpanes long into the night. Perhaps random winds will reset your course and bring you home with the dawn, a stormbird on the wind.