Title:No Comfort To Be Found (1/1)
Pairing: C/P
Rating:PG-13, angst.This is a slash story.If reading about a relationship between two men
disturbs you, read no further.

Feedback: CatHeights@yahoo.com
Archive:If someone wants to fine by me as long as you drop me an e-mail letting me know where it is archived.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all rights to Star Trek Voyager, its characters, and theVoyager episodes referred to in this story.The story idea is mine, but I am doing this just for fun, no money to be made.

      As he walked into Sandrineís, Tom Paris said, "Computer, initiate privacy lock."
"Privacy lock engaged," the pleasant female voice stated.
Sandrineís buzzed with life.Gaunt Gary was in his normal spot by the pool table hustling some poor slob.As usual Sandrine was holding court at the bar. Noticing Tomís entrance, she broke into a wide smile. Sandrine waved to him, but he ignored her.
      How could he have thought this would be comforting?The steady buzz of noise was grating on his already taut nerves.Someone bumped into him muttering a barely audible apology.His whole body tensed at the characterís touch.There was too much noise and too many people.He clenched his hands, digging his nails into the flesh of his palms.
"Computer, delete holocharacters," he gritted out.The characters froze and then disappeared.Tom was alone.He breathed a sigh of relief and slowly unclenched his hands.
He made his way over to the bar and took a seat but didnít get himself a drink.Instead, he found his attention focused on a piece of the program he had again recently added: the piano.He had deleted the instrument at least a dozen times, but his obsession with authenticity always convinced him he should put the piano back into the program.Each time he added the piano, he
told himself he was just making the program authentic, but he didnít believe the lie.He knew part of him kept the instrument around to remind him of his past failures.Tonight it seemed even more appropriate that it would be present, dredging up old memories.
He found himself getting up from the bar and heading toward the piano.He ran his hands fondly along the instrumentís side.She was an old upright, exactly like the one he had played years ago at Sandrineís.Heíd had the chance to play on many a grand piano, but nothing had sounded as sweet or as melancholy as this old upright.He sat down on the bench and found himself staring at the keys.In all the years since he had created this program, he had never been tempted to
actually play something on the replicated piano.Tonight he found his fingers yearning to touch the keys.It had been years since he had played.Would he even remember?He knew he would; it was just like flying.He would never forget how.
He put his hands into position, took a deep breath, and began to play.He didnít consciously think of what to play.He just let the music come to him as he had always done in the past.He found himself playing a song he had written during his first year at the Academy; Susie Crabtree had broken up with him and the only solace he had found was in music.
      His fingers moved effortlessly across the keys evoking a melancholy and complicated melody.He found himself drifting into the music which soothed him as if she were a long lost
friend.He poured out his pain into the melody, relieved to have found an outlet for his anguish.As Tomís playing moved toward a haunting crescendo, his fatherís voiced crashed through his head.
            "Thomas!Starfleet officers donít waste time on frivolous activities.You are not a musician, so donít try to emulate one.You should be studying, not filling the air with that awful noise."
            He missed a key and the resulting discordant sound sent shivers through him.He abruptly stopped playing.He covered his face with his hands as his fatherís cold and angry voice reverberated inside his head.
            "I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I am in you.You were raised better.From this day on, you are no longer my son."
            Tomís breathing started to come in gasps as his fatherís voice was replaced with Chakotayís."I donít think I have to tell you, Iím disappointed.I trusted you.My mistake.You betrayed me before, so it shouldnít surprise me that you would do it again."
            He stumbled off of the piano bench and over to the bar.He went behind looking for the bottle of whiskey that was real and not synthehol.He found it and with shaky hands poured himself a glass.He stared at the drink for a long time before lifting it to his lips.He meant to down the whole shot, but found himself only taking a tentative sip.The sip stuck in his throat and he had to force it down, gagging.He put the glass on the bar, laughing bitterly.He had
done such a good job of weaning himself off of alcohol that even now when he desperately wanted to use it as an escape, he couldnít bring himself to drink.
            What was he to do now?Tom could only remember two things that had ever helped ease such an agonizing pain: playing the piano and drinking. When Captain Janeway had granted him a commission, he had sworn off both, and now he found he could no longer find comfort in either.He had thought that if in addition to regaining his commission, he also swore off alcohol and music, he would be able to gain back his fatherís respect.He would no longer be such a disappointment.Now, he wondered if he had hoped to accomplish the impossible.He had just added to the list of people he had disappointed.
            His chest throbbed in agony.He wanted the pain gone.He wanted to forget all about Chakotay, but he never would, never could.He picked up the drink and hurled it.The liquid spilled out, splashing the bar and the floor before the glass hit the ground and shattered.With a sob, Tom sat on the floor.
            From the moment Chakotay had kissed him his world had been turned upside down.At first he had been so incredibly happy.He had never felt so intensely about anyone.
Chakotay loved him.It was too good to be true.The moment he had that thought was when everything started to spiral downwards.Chakotay wanted to know about every aspect of Tom.Sometimes when he met Chakotayís eyes, Tom felt that the man was looking into his soul.It scared him.What if Chakotay didnít like the Tom Paris buried behind so many walls?It would then have been too good to be true.
            He started to feel caged.He put Chakotay off with sarcastic remarks and found excuses why he couldnít meet him at the times they had arranged. Chakotay began to get jealous.He constantly wanted to know what Tom was doing in his spare time.Tom only gave him evasive answers.
            The crew noticed that Tom was no longer appearing in Sandrineís or any other public programs.However, Chakotay was still showing up, without him. Gossip quickly began to circulate that Tom was having an affair.If Chakotay had bothered to check, he would have found that each time Tom broke one of their dates, he could be located in his quarters, alone.Frustrated and hurt by Tomís constant evasiveness, Chakotay never bothered to check on
the veracity of the rumor.Instead, he accused Tom of cheating on him.
            Tom brought his head down to his knees, feeling again the hurt that accusation had caused.He could never have done such a thing to Chakotay.He was incapable of such a betrayal.Besides, he could think of no one who could hold a candle to Chakotay; there was no one else for Tom.When he opened his mouth to respond to the accusation, instead of denying it, he had found himself saying with a smirk, "I donít recall you calling this an exclusive relationship."
            The smirk stayed on his face even as he had watched with horror as Chakotay paled in anger.He could tell the man wanted to hit him, but Chakotay had remained in control saying instead the words Tom would never be able to get out of his mind.
            "I donít think I have to tell you, Iím disappointed.I trusted you.My mistake.You betrayed me before, so it shouldnít surprise me that you would do it again."
            He began to cry deep, wrenching sobs that tore at his throat and sapped his breath.Why hadnít he told Chakotay that he didnít mean it?He had just let Chakotay walk away.His heart had started to shatter, but he never said a word to halt its destruction.Once again, he had ruined his life.
            As he rocked back and forth sobbing, he told himself losing Chakotay had been inevitable.He had just hastened what would have happened anyway.Still, he yearned to feel Chakotayís arms around him.He wished just one more time he could wake up next to him and watch him as he slept.It had been such a brief period of happiness, but those weeks before he had started to sabotage the relationship had been the best of his life.He yearned for what he
had pushed away, but he had no idea how to recapture what had been lost. He never knew how to hold on to happiness.
            In the silence of Sandrineís, Tom Paris let the anguish overwhelm him knowing that this time, for this pain, there was no comfort to be found.