TITLE: The Legend of Drunken Ancestor

AUTHOR: Sally

SUMMARY: What is the history behind Chak's tat?

DISCLAIMER: Not mine, 'nuff said

NOTE: This was second in Astrogirl's recent contest. My apologies to Jackie Chan for taking the title of one of his movies and twisting it around *g *

"Absolutely not!" Chakotay shouted as he strode through his home.

"And give me one damn good reason why he can't?" the woman hot at his heels persisted. "You are such a hypocrite at times. If Justin wants it, you better have a damn good reason why he can't."

"You both have no clue," he groused.

"No clue?" She reached out a hand to him and grabbed his elbow. "Well, why don't you fill me in? Why is it that you won't let our son, your son, honour his ancestors the way you have?"

They were standing now at the open door to the terrace and with a sigh Chakotay stepped through it, and sat down on one of the easy chairs positioned there. He beckoned for his wife to take the other one.

"It's a long story," he began.

"It usually is," she retorted. "Next you'll be telling me it's an ancient legend among your people."

"Not quite," he admitted. "But almost. We are going back a few generations here. I told you my ancestors were originally from Earth."

"Yes, you said they were from Arizona or somewhere."

"That's right." He leaned back. "They were actually among the last of their people to make the move away.  My great-great grandfather was in Starfleet actually, and his son, my great-grandfather was at the Academy."

"But I thought all your family hated Starfleet and all this modern stuff."

He laughed. "That was my father. You want me to tell you this story or you going to keep interrupting?"

She sat back. "I'm sorry. One question though. How long is this story of yours going to take?"

He looked at her. "Why?"

She looked meek. "Can I go grab my coffee? I left it in the kitchen."

Chakotay shook his head and laughed. "Oh, go on. You won't rest until you've got that mug in your hands."

She was back a few moments later, mug cradled between her hands. "Okay, you can continue," she smiled, sitting back down.

"Like I need your permission," he snorted. "We're not on Voyager now, you know."

"Old habits die hard," she smiled apologetically. "Please. I do want to hear this story."

He took up the tale again.

MANY, MANY YEARS EARLIER

The son was out with friends, an end of exams celebration if you will. Somehow during the course of the evening it was revealed that one of the group had a cousin who specialised in body artistry. Before the night was through the friends were paying him a visit.

The son was the last to go, wanting to think carefully, or as carefully as one can get when one is inebriated, about what design he wanted and where he wanted it to go. The tattooist had some concerns over his decision, but ultimately decided that it was the son's body and that he could do whatever he liked with it.

The next morning he was woken by the father who was looking to reprimand him over his drunkenness and his lateness in coming home. But the father found he had something more serious over which he had to reprimand him and dragged his son out of bed to make him face the mirror which hung on the wall of his room.

"What is this?" he hissed into his son's ear.

The son stammered, taking in for the first time the consequences of the previous night. There on the left side of his forehead was a permanent reminder of the fun he'd had.

"I wanted something to honour our ancestors," he finally said, after desperately searching his memory for the reason why he had done it.

"To honour them?" the father cried, recognising the design. "You dishonour them, and us."

"But father," the son protested.

"No." The father turned away. "Your career is over, you realise that? You have brought shame on me."

"How?"

"You know Starfleet does not allow such, such decoration. You will be asked to leave. How will I face my colleagues, knowing that my son was asked to leave?"

The son was downcast. "I'm sorry, father," he said. "I thought you might be proud of me, the way I have pride in where I come from."

"Pride?" the father asked. "Son, how can you have pride and honour in something you don't know?"

"I know what you have told me," the son persisted.

The father sighed. "Perhaps I have too much of my own pride. When many moved we stayed because of my career. Perhaps I was wrong. I have deprived you of the truth."

"No father, you haven't."

The son tried to reassure him but the father had already turned away, lost in the regret over the choices he'd made. The father realised what must be done.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

"So what did the father do?" she asked him.

"He did what he should have done many years before. He moved the family to the planet his people had found, and there the son learned to appreciate and truly honour their ways."

"And the tattoo became a symbol of that honour?"

"Right. Each son was brought up knowing the ways of our people. Only when they made the move into adulthood was the tattoo applied, and it was a matter of choice. My grandfather chose to wear it, as did my father."

"But you chose to be contrary." She grinned at him.

Chakotay looked down. "I rebelled. And, looking back now, I do regret it. But after the death of my father I began to realise just what it was that made me rebel, and it drew me back. I realised the full extent of what honouring the ancestors meant. But it took my returning to my people to realise that."

"So what are you saying? That Justin needs to visit the planet of your birth to understand just what it is he wants to honour?"

"Yes."

She nodded. "I think I actually understand. He needs to understand where he comes from."

"Exactly." He leaned forward and grasped her hands. "Don't get me wrong, Kathryn. I'm not saying that this is more important than him knowing where his name comes from, because its not."

"Its different though, isn't it," she acknowledged. "After all, he didn't have a choice over his name, we gave it to him."

"But he has the right to make an informed decision about this."

"Will you tell him the story you just told me?"

"Of course." He grinned, the way she had grown to love over all these years. "Its part of the deal, another of those ancient legends to be passed from father to son."

"Its not exactly what I was expecting. I'm surprised you're not embarrassed by it."

"Why should I be? It's become part of who I am. Besides I think the embarrassment disappeared with my grandfather's decision to wear it." He leaned closer to his wife and ran a finger delicately down her cheek. "I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier," he said softly.

"Its okay. I think I understand a bit better now. How come you never told me before?"

"You never asked. And it just never came up." He stood up. "I suppose I should finish dinner. What time is he due home?"

"In about an hour."

"Good. That means I can get dinner in the oven and get some rough ideas for a vacation planned."

"Vacation?"

He looked at her. "I think its time we visited my sister, don't you?"

She smiled. "I think perhaps, you might be right." She stood up. "He does need to properly understand. Perhaps I do, as well. You'd better make travel arrangements for three."

MANY YEARS LATER

Justin looked down at his son. "Are you sure about this?"

The son smiled. "Sure, I am." He was thoughtful for a moment. "You're going to tell me a story, aren't you?"

Justin laughed. "What makes you say that?"

"Oh, no reason. So what is it going to be today?"

"Its one my father told me when I was your age. About our ancestors…and the mark that we wear to honour them."

FINIS