Memorials and Memories

A/N: Post 'Memorial' – AU line starting to take more and more prominence, still very slight. Oh, and slight Tom angst. Anyone who reads my other fandom fics will know that I just LOVE to whump TV pretty-boys, so I sneak it in whenever I can. :D


Another weapon's blast burning the right over his head, and a scream to accompany it. But it was only a child who screamed, and he was screaming, too, yelling and screaming at his soldiers to stop shooting, stop making things worse. They had to stop firing, explain to these civilians-

Were there any civilians left? There were so many bodies, and almost none of them were actual soldiers. Men, women, elderly, children. Oh, god – he could see a dead infant from here. It would look like it was sleeping, if not for the smoking hole in its chest-

More firing, more screaming. "STOP!" he yelled. "PLEASE, JUST STOP!" Suddenly, a flash came right in his direction-

"AH!"

He sat up, heart pounding in his chest, before shutting his eyes and leaning his head back.

Damnit – another nightmare.

Damn memorial.

And of course, because he was on the away mission during the surge of power of the memorial, it was implanted a little deeper into his and the other three officers' memories than the rest of the crew. Knowing he had it worse than them wasn't really all that comforting.

At least not as bad as Tom…from what B'Elanna's been saying and by how Tom's been looking, he's not getting any sleep at all – to the point of needing a sleeping aid to get any rest at all. A very, very strong one.

Chakotay might follow suit, soon.

"Chakotay?"

He looked over beside him. He and Kathryn had been 'camping' on some coastal stretch, and they'd fallen sleep between their blankets, on the sand, after a nice round of outdoor hoverball.

"It's nothing, Kathryn."

Yeah, like she'd fall for that.

"Another nightmare?" she asked. He sighed and nodded. She slowly stood up, silk, white night gown fluttering in the lightest wind.

"I get them now and again, too…though I know not as bad as you."

"I think I might follow Tom's example and get a sleeping aid."

She nodded.

"See the doctor tomorrow, if you really want to look into that."

He nodded slowly, eyes off in the distance.

"What do you do after nightmares?" he asked, sitting up, pulling on a thick robe over his clothes, damp with sweat.

"A large cup of chamomile tea."

He nodded again. "Sounds nice."

"Want me to get some for us?"

"Same answer," he said with a smile, trying to push the memories back.

He leaned back against the sandy bluff, letting the smell of the ocean fill his nostrils and relax him, smiling appreciatively when he felt a hot cup of tea in his head.

"Cheers," she said, smiling comfortingly, clinking her china cup gently against his, before both sipped at their own tea.

He sighed and leaned his head back.

"God, it was ages ago…how the hell does it still effect me?"

Kathryn looked at him, smiling a little.

"Well, for one, your proximity to it when you worked on it."

"But still – those crewmen working with us? It's worn off for them."

"You were also there during the away mission – double dose."

Another head tossed back.

"I'd mention that for Harry and Neelix, it's already worn off quite a bit…"

"Except for Tom, for whom it's actually worse."

Chakotay nodded, on the verge of laughing.

"You know what I think?" she said. "You two care a bit too much. It's not the physical effects keeping them there – it's the psychological effects. You felt the emotions…"

"Your point?"

"Guilt. Neither of you two have ever been that good with guilt."

He nodded.

"And as you once said," she said. "'You wish it was as easy to stop hating as it was to start.' Maybe the same applies for many other emotions in this area. Guilt, especially."

He just sighed before taking a few rather large gulps of the tea, draining it in seconds.

"Well…none of it matters. I think I'll go see the Doctor tomorrow about a sleeping aid."

She sighed, and both of them looked off into the ocean, letting the sound of crashing waves wash over them and letting themselves be lit by the two moons in the sky, and the two moon reflections on the calm water.

He slipped his arm around her and pulled her close, needing to feel warmth, needing to feel something alive right next to him, against him, hot skin against hot skin. She melted into his arms like always, her hand gently rubbings circles into his chest, both of them simply letting the beach wash over the like the waves on the shells.

"Kathryn?"

"Hm?"

"Do…did you ever see an infant? In your nightmares?"

She paused, her hand too, before turning to look up at him.

"An infant?"

"Yes…and infant…it looked like it was asleep…except for that smoking hole in its chest…but god, it was just a baby…"

She shook her head.

"I never saw that…the worst part for me was watching a phaser kill a mother and her two children in one shot."

He sighed, shaky and unsteady.

"God…I just want to be rid of these nightmares…"

"I know," She said.

"I just…one night of decent sleep…"

"I know-"

"Just one goddamn night without feeling an impossible amount of guilt and pain over something I have nothing to do with…over something that happened centuries ago…"

"I know…"

"Just one night…"

Another circle drawn by her fingers in his chest.

"I know…" she paused. "Maybe we should go get that sleeping aid now."

He smiled.

"I think I'll stay here for now," he said. She nodded before resting her head on his chest again.

"So…" she mumbled. "Feel like doing anything for right now?"

"Not really," he said, shutting his eyes. "Laying here sounds nice."

He wrapped his arm a little tighter around, pulling her closer – and she didn't fight it.

"I'm going to have to agree…" she said. He could hear her voice lowering with the lull of the waves, pulling her back onto her dream of clouds. He was on cloud nine, himself.

"Then let's stay here," he said, slowly shutting his eyes…

For the first time in a long, long time, he slept. Peacefully.

He might not need that sleeping aid, after all…


A/N: Okay, I hope it didn't hurt too much to read that. Sorry about it being so short.

Anyway, up next:

Ashes To Flame: Chakotay and Janeway aren't sure if things between them are for better or worse - until Janeway can't help but reflect over the resurrection of her dead crewmember...and decide things shouldn't go down that path. But Chakotay never gives up without a fight.

(If you can't guess what episode it's after, you REALLY need to go re-watch the whole damn series, got it?)