Title: What He Had Missed (No Comfort Series)
Part: 4/?
Author: CatHeights
Pairing: C/P, K, Doc
Rating: R, angst, self-injury
Summary: Tom reacts badly to Chakotayís attempts to get to know him better, bringing their relationship crashing down. In this A/U, Thirty Days never happened. Voyager never stopped on the Monean homeworld, instead they took a slightly different course. Also the events in Blood Fever never occurred.
Feedback: CatHeights@yahoo.com
Archive: Cha_Club, ATPS, Paris Nights, anyone else please ask first.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all rights to Star Trek Voyager, its characters, and the Voyager episodes referred to in this story. The story idea is mine, but I am doing this just for fun, no money to be made.
Dedicated to JoAnne for all her encouragement.

What He Had Missed (Story 4 - No Comfort Series)
 

Chakotay shifted nervously outside of Tomís quarters. Hours had passed since he had returned from the away mission, and still he couldnít stop thinking about the aching misery that had appeared briefly in Tomís eyes. Something was very wrong. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach and it was making him edgy. That overwhelming sense of wrongness was what had finally compelled him to go to Tomís quarters and try to talk to him. Now though, his uneasiness was battling with his feelings of betrayal. Was he just giving Tom another chance to make a fool out of him?

His anxiety over Tom won out; he was going to talk to him. Before he could press the chime, though, a voice said questioningly, "Commander?" He jumped slightly and turned to find that Harry was standing next to him. He hadnít even heard the other man approach.

"Oh, Harry, Hi. Did you and Tom have plans?" Harry didnít answer right away. He looked hard at the first officer, almost as if he was pondering just what he should tell the man.

"No, we didnít have plans. I talked to Tom earlier, and he said he wanted to be alone. He sounded odd, so I decided after a few hours to try to talk to him again. Iíve been hailing him for the last half hour with no answer," Harry said, the concern evident on his face. Chakotay met Harryís eyes, and he could see his own anxiety for Tom reflected there. His stomach lurched; he hadnít imagined that look in Tomís eyes. Harryís behavior banished the last of his doubts. Now he was positive that Tom was hurting badly in some way. Panic for Tom briefly banished the anger and hurt that had been his constant companions lately. He pressed the chime on Tomís door. No answer. Again he pressed it, his finger pushing it harder as if that would somehow make the door open. Still, no answer.

"Computer, give me the location of Lieutenant Paris," he called out.

"Lieutenant Paris is in his quarters," the pleasant female voice responded.

"Is he alone?" Chakotay asked. He could feel Harryís glare, but he wasnít barging into Tomís quarters without asking it. Not that he really thought Tom was currently in an intimate situation.

"Affirmative," the computer replied.

He entered in the codes to Tomís quarters. They slid open immediately, which surprised him. Chakotay was sure changing the codes to his quarters would have been one of the first things Tom would have done after they broke up. He had changed his. He entered Tomís quarters with Harry close on his heels.

"Tom," Harry called as they entered the living area. Chakotay noticed that the place was spotless, which was unusual. Not that Tom was a slob, but he usually had a few things out, here and thereóa pad left around, a bit of clothing dangling on a chair. Chakotay had found that tendency funny. It had always seemed to him that Tom left things out almost as a bit of rebellion against the neatness that surely would have been required of him as a child. Seeing nothing out of place made the room feel devoid of Tomís presence. As if he had cleaned-out his personality. He had to find Tom.

He hurried into Tomís bedroom, but he wasnít there. His eyes noticed Tomís uniform perfectly folded on the bed with his combadge still attached.

"I guess that explains why he didnít answer my hails. He must have gone out without wearing his badge," Harry said sheepishly.

"Maybe thatís it," Chakotay said distractedly. He should be feeling relieved and maybe a bit silly for barging into his former loverís quarters, so why did he feel none of those things. Rather than lessening, his worry had intensified.

"Computer, how many life signs are there on Voyager not wearing a communicator," Chakotay said.

"One life sign."

"Give me the location of that life sign."

"The life sign is located in the quarters of Lieutenant Paris." In an instant he was moving toward the bathroom, the only place where Tom could still be. He stepped inside and froze, his breath caught in his throat. Seated in the shower, his back against the wall was Tom. His face was dreadfully pale, and his head sagged limply toward one shoulder. Chakotayís eyes widened as his gaze fell on Tomís wrists that were resting on his legs in a puddle of blood. Most of the blood was on Tomís pants, but a few drops had fallen to floor, marring the clean surface. For a moment, his mind refused to register what he was seeing.

Harry moved past him grabbing a towel, and wrapping it around Tomís left wrist. The sight jarred him back into reality and he quickly moved toward Tom. He felt for a pulse and was relieved to find a faint one. "Computer, medical emergency, three to beam to sickbay," he called out.

As they materialized in sickbay, the Doctor came toward them. "Help me get him on the biobed," he instructed. "What happened?" "I donít know. We found Tom in his quarters unconscious with his wrist cut," Chakotay said. He heard something fall to the floor but didnít bother looking to see what it was. The Doctor took over Harryís hold on Tomís wrist and went to work. "Iím sorry, but I need you both to clear the area while I work. Iíll let you know how he is once I have him stabilized." As they moved out of the Doctorís way, Harry paused to pick up an object. Once they were well clear of the biobed, Chakotay asked, "What is it?" "Itís a laser knife," Harry said dully. "Tom and I were on shore leave together when he bought it. Remember Dulcen where the women wore all those leaves in their hair? I hated that place. The women looked like Medusa." He turned the knife in his hand adding fresh blood to the already dried blood on the handle. "Tom kept teasing me that he had brought Medusa back with him. I guess he used it to...." His voice caught in his throat and he couldnít continue. He didnít need to as they both knew what Tom had used the knife for. Chakotay watched the diagnostic arch rise up around Tom before returning his gaze to Harry. The ensign looked awful. He was pale and his hands, which were marked heavily with Tomís blood, were shaking. "Harry, come on. Letís get you cleaned up," Chakotay said.

Harry nodded and followed Chakotay to the back of sickbay to a sink. Chakotay leaned against the wall for support as Harry cleaned himself up. He wished he could take back the comment he had made to Tom about sleeping around. What if that had been the thing that set Tom over the edge? Had he hurt him so badly with just that one remark? He cursed himself. "I never should have left him alone. I knew he sounded really bad. I should have just gone right over to his quarters and pushed my way in," Harry said miserably. He ran his now clean hands through his hair, clenching them there.

Harryís remark halted Chakotayís own internal berating.

They were both doing the same thingóblaming themselves. It was only natural, but it wasnít going to help matters any.

"Stop, it Harry. There was no way you could have known. Itís not your fault. Iíve been thinking similar things myself. Situations like these make you think that way, but itís not going to help Tom." Harry nodded his head in agreement but remained silent. He had cleaned the blood off the knife and was looking at in distaste. Seeing that look, Chakotay took it from him and placed it on a tray near the sink. "Harry, had you noticed any odd behavior on Tomís part recently?" Chakotay asked softly.

Harry snorted. "Letting his relationship with you fall apart would fall into that category." He glanced up at Chakotay and saw the pained expression on the Commanderís face. He continued in a softer tone. "Chakotay, Tom loves you. He didnít cheat on you. I donít know why he let you think he did. Each time he broke a date with you, do you know where he went? Back to his quarters. I found him there time and time again, sitting there alone in the dark. It made no sense to me, and Tom refused to talk about it." Harry sighed loudly and began to pace. "And he was very jumpy, constantly glancing over his shoulder, even when we were in the mess hall. Then the two of you broke up, and it was like I had fallen through a time warp. It was just like the early days on Voyager with me constantly having to defend Tom. No one believing that he was a good friend and a damn good officer. Tomís walls were up again, his sarcasm his first line of defense. I couldnít get through to him. It was as if all the years of friendship had suddenly disappeared, and he no longer trusted me completely. Damn it, Chakotay, why did he do this?" "I donít know, Harry, I donít know," Chakotay answered his voice catching. Despite having advised that they shouldnít blame themselves, he found himself doing just that. He too had thought about how Tomís behavior was just like at the beginning of their journey, but he hadnít thought to find out why. Tom starts dating me and his life falls apart, he thought. What have I done? "So, Tom started behaving like this soon after we started going out," Chakotay said dejectedly. "No," Harry said.

Chakotayís head jerked up in surprise. "He was behaving odd before you started dating. I noticed the jumpiness long before that, a month or so more. He wouldnít tell me what was bothering him. Then the two of you started going out, and he seemed fine. More than fine, Tom was happier than Iíve ever seen him. Then he changed again. I should have said something to someone, but I felt like if I did, Tom would feel betrayed and he wouldnít confide in me. I should have told someone." "Harry donít do this to yourself," Chakotay said. Before Harry could reply, the Doctor came over, along with the Captain. The two men had been so wrapped up in their conversation that they hadnít heard her enter. Kathryn looked sad as she gazed at them. "Are you both all right?" Chakotay glanced at Harry before replying. "For the moment. Doctor, how is he?" "Mr. Paris is stable. He lost a fair amount of blood, which Iíve restored, but he probably will sleep for a while, and will be somewhat weak for the next day or two. His physical condition is not what Iím worried about. Either Tom tried to commit suicide or at the very least intended to injure himself. I did a thorough scan to see if he had been injuring himself with some regularity, and I saw no evidence of such abuse. Iím afraid Tom will have to provide us with the answers to why he did this," the Doctor said with compassion.

"Iím going to inform the senior staff as to what has happened and that Tom will be off-duty until further notice. Iím asking that they keep things quiet, though. As far as everyone else knows, Tom had an allergic reaction that developed into a virus. While the doctor cured it, it had some after affects that require him to get a lot of rest. When Tom is better, he can decided who, if anyone, he wants to tell," the Captain said. Chakotay nodded his agreement.

"When you both feel up to it, Iíd like you to talk to Tuvok. Iím going to have him see if he can piece together anything that might give us a clue to what Tom was thinking," Kathryn said.

"Tell Tuvok to stop by whenever he wants. Iíll tell him all I can," Chakotay said.

"Same goes for me Captain," Harry added. "I will do anything I can to help Tom." Chakotay leaned over to the table by the sink and retrieved the knife. He handed it to the Captain. "We found this on Tom. We think itís what he used." Kathryn handled the item gingerly. "Iíll pass it on to Tuvok. I want you both to take it easy. Take some time off. Doc, let me know when heís awake." She nodded to everyone and left sickbay.

The next few hours were a blur to Chakotay. He barely remembered giving his statement to Tuvok. The Vulcan had tried to convince both him and Harry to leave sickbay, but both had refused. After Tuvok left, Chakotay tried to get Harry to go back to his quarters. Harry had been adamant about remaining until BíElanna showed up and dragged him away.

The two friends had recently started to discover that their interest in each other went further than friendship, and Chakotay knew that the problems between him and Tom had being causing some bumps in that developing relationship. He had heard that Harry and BíElanna had been seen arguing violently. He felt a bit guilty, as he knew BíElanna was defending him. She had been right there at his quarters, ready to listen, ready to let him rant to her the moment she had heard the news. He was sure his using her as a sounding board had made things more difficult for Harry.

Chakotay sighed in the silence of sickbay. Once again, it was Harry who stayed true to Tom, believed in him when no one else would. That should have been him. He should have been the one that Tom could depend on. Sitting beside Tomís biobed, waiting for the first flicker of consciousness, Chakotay replayed scenes in his mindódesperately trying to figure out what he had missed.

TBC