Continued from Expiation 2/4

For warnings, codes and disclaimer, see part 1/4


Expiation 3/4

There are six crewmembers in my way to the turbolift. Some lounging
against the bulkheads, some standing in the middle of the corridor, a
couple even sitting in the corner next to the lift door, all engrossed
in some excited banter. I look at the lift doors and realize it's a
good twenty paces from my position. Still it's not too far away so I
straighten my uniform and start walking towards it, careful to keep my
gaze straight and away from the crewmen. I don't want to get involved
in any needless conversations in this state of mind.

It's not until I am halfway through and walking around the group
standing in the middle of the corridor that they notice me for the
first time and abruptly their chatter stops.

Not that I am surprised. I often have this effect on people anywhere I
go. Even on Voyager there have been times when I would enter a
filled-to-capacity messhall, bustling with commotion, and suddenly a
pin drop silence would descend over the entire crowd. People would
stare at me for long seconds, their guarded, suspicious expressions in
place, before slowly returning to their discarded conversations. It
would start deliberately, a slow, cautious droning of whispers into
eagerly turned ears, as accusing eyes looked at me from beneath
lowered lashes.

A tarnished past is something that never truly leaves you, I guess.

I am quite used to it now. It hardly ever affects me anymore unless
someone says something directly to me.

So, keeping my track record in mind, I ignore the men in the corridor
and carry on 'till I reach the doors. The lift is not available at the
moment and I press the panel next to the doors to call it, thinking
they will most likely ignore me if I ignore them.

I am wrong.

"Ahh, look who's here."

I start at the chilling drawl.

"The Maquis traitor sauntering down deck 9 as if his father owns the
fucking ship."

I feel a shiver run down my spine, my heart lurching inside my chest,
as I turn my startled eyes to face the owner of the voice. The voice I
can never forget no matter how hard I try, no matter how often I tell
myself that it's a part of a life, a nightmare, I've awakened from.


"Oh, I forgot," he continues, his tone torpid. "His father DOES own
the fucking ship," he concludes, to an eruption of derisive chortles
and sniggers from the group.

I look into his wily gaze and, all of a sudden, I am back at the
well-digging site, reliving a thousand hateful encounters on that
hellhole. I swallow hard at the bile rising up in my throat, my breath
catching, as I notice the ruthless gleam in his eyes. I glance at his
buddies and realize they are all Maquis, none of whom I remember from
before. It seems Yosa has formed a new band of thugs on Voyager. These
poor fucks all died at the hand of the Kazon the last time.

I abruptly come out of my thoughts when I see them standing up,
forming a wall behind the two of us.

Shit, you have to get out of here; I hear a voice inside me warn. But
the lift has still not arrived. I watch them moving into position,
their eyes hooded, their lips pressed into thin forbidding lines. Get
out; get out of here now, my insides scream. But I can do nothing
other than wait for the lift to come.

I take a deep breath before I turn my face to the door again, mentally
willing him to leave me alone, knowing in my heart he won't.

"What's the matter, Tommy?" he purrs, as he leans against the bulkhead
beside me, forcing me to look at him again. "Don't you wanna play?"
His tone is lazy, and there's a sinister glint in his eyes that makes
my spine turn cold in trepidation.

"No, thanks," I hear myself mutter, averting my gaze. I turn to the
door again, but Yosa apparently doesn't like being ignored because he
steps even closer, invading my space.

I feel my hands curl into fists, unwittingly readying for attack. "Get
out of my way," I snap at him, harshly elbowing him away, my voice
trembling with contempt.

"What will you do, if I don't?" he drawls, and suddenly I am made
aware of another pertinent little detail as a waft of his rank breath
hits my nostrils.


He's fucking drunk. They all are.

My heart thuds against my ribcage, suddenly aware of the grimness of
the situation. I know the look on his face, the gleam in his eyes.
It's a look that still haunts me in my dreams no matter how hard I try
to force it away. No matter how many times I remind myself that it
will never happen again, that what I went through on that doomed
planet was part of a different lifetime, something inside me can't
bring itself to quite believe it. A part of me keeps telling me that
Lovaugim was NOT a dream. It was a reality; a painful, horrific
nightmare, that came true once and so can come true again.

I turn around on my heels, trying to find a way around them and feel
my temples throb in pain as his Maquis come to stand even closer,
completely blocking my path, their drunken expressions hard with

"Get the fuck out of my way." I growl, determined to keep my voice
controlled, my face straight - and failing, as a small, involuntary
tremor slinks into my voice.

"What's the matter, Paris?" Yosa wets his lips with a flick of his
tongue, as I turn around to punch at the panel again, silently urging
the lift to arrive already, knowing there's no way I can make it back
the way I came from. "Didn't you enjoy your time with the gangs on
that hellhole?" I halt at his words as my startled gaze meets his in
confusion. "You made a pretty good distraction to all those horny
bastards stuck down there, didn't you?"

My heart leaps in my chest at his words. What the hell is he...
talking about? He couldn't possibly know what happened in Lovaugim,
what I went through.

He sees my bafflement and sneers. "What? You think we didn't know
anything that went down in Auckland?" he chortles, and I suddenly
realize what he's really talking about. "Hell, the Captain even used
to get weekly reports about how his lost lust object who betrayed him
and the Maquis was playing fuck-toy to the Federation's filthiest

My ears are suddenly ringing, my eyes filling again, as his words hit
me. He's lying, my heart cries, I know he's lying. Chakotay didn't
know anything about Auckland, didn't know what I went through there.
And then the meaning of his words, the implication, penetrates my
foggy brain. What did he call me? Chakotay's... lust object?

Before I am aware of what I am doing, a feral cry wrenches from my
throat as I launch myself at him. "SHUT UP!" My vision blurs and all I
am aware of is the humiliation of his words as I push him backwards,
punching his face, trapping him to the wall. "YOU'RE A LIAR!" I
scream, pummeling into him, my good sense clouded by the waves of
anger stifling my judgment.

"Fucking SLUT," he screams in rage, punching me in the stomach and
suddenly I find myself thrown back to the closed lift doors, as he
jumps back at me, trapping me against the doors. His drunken blows
aren't aimed well enough for serious damage and I just find myself
dazed, as I try to block out his blows, kneeing him in the groin in
the process. He cries in pain and claws me in the chest, pulling my
jacket's zipper apart, his nails scratching my skin through my
turtleneck. Feeling bile rising up my throat, I clutch his biceps, his
fingers tearing at my chest and, breaking off his hold on me, I throw
him backwards.

He staggers a few times but doesn't fall and I watch, shaking against
the door, as he straightens up and throwing a look of utter contempt
at me, drops something out of his clenched fist onto the floor.

I look at the object. It's my combadge. I look down at my empty chest,
and realize he must have snatched it off my shirt when he was clawing
at my clothes. I watch as he stomps on the small plastic device,
crushing it with his boot.

"Don't think you'll call anyone for help now, whore," he snarls.
"Fucking loser, who you gonna cry to now?"

His words only fuel my already soaring temper. "BASTARD," I scream,
and spring at him again but he's ready this time. He leaps back at me,
meeting me halfway, and we wrestle against the doors again, screaming
bloody murder at each other. Amidst the enraged clawing and grappling,
I hear the distinct sound of the approaching turbolift behind me but,
before either of us can disentangle ourselves, the doors open and
we're both thrown back inside the car.  Before I know it, I've lost my
footing and with an ungraceful stagger I crash down to the floor of
the lift. Yosa lands on top me, his fingers still clawing at my

"GET OFF ME," I scream, kicking back at him, his weight crushing me,
as he grinds his pelvis into my groin.

Too reminiscent, too fucking reminiscent of another lifetime, my
gasping brain splutters as I struggle to get free.

 "WHORE," he yells, his fingers pulling my hair, his nails scratching
my throat, as I try to pry him off me.

And then suddenly, he's gone. For a moment I don't know what to make
of the sudden silence, shocked at being left alone, as the only sound
I hear is the buzzing of my own blood beating against my temples. And
then slowly my vision clears and I hear noise of another commotion
around me.

I scramble to my feet, my body swaying, and turn my dazed eyes to find
Dalby - Dalby? - grappling with Yosa, trying to restrain the drunken
Maquis, shaking him.

"You have no FUCKING idea what the Captain is going to DO to you,
man." Dalby grits his teeth, accentuating each word with a violent
jolt to rattle the inebriated man. "He's gonna be so fucking FURIOUS,
you'll regret you ever did this."

"He's a SLUT," Yosa whines, kicking back, trying to shake off Dalby's
grip. "Chakotay is only USING him to bring the Fleeters in line. He
doesn't give a FUCK about him."

My hands clench into fists at the words, as I take a step forward to
help Dalby in his task. But I am stopped in my tracks as he pinches
Yosa's biceps and throws him out of the lift, then follows him out.

Just as the lift doors start to slide close, Dalby whips his head
around to stare at me with hard eyes. "Go back to your cabin, Paris,"
he snarls, his eyes flashing with anger and something else that looks
distinctly like concern.

I look at the other Maquis behind Yosa and am startled to notice the
bewilderment on their faces. It suddenly occurs to me that they really
don't want to be a part of this, never wanted to be a part of this.

"Didn't you hear what I said?" Dalby urges impatiently. "I've got
everything under control, now get out of here."

And with that he steps back, the doors close, and I find myself
leaning back against the wall, my hands clutching what remains of my
tattered jacket. I don't remember ordering the lift to my deck; don't
know how it gets there or how I enter my quarters. Nor do I have any
memory of locking my main door or stripping off my torn clothes.

All I am aware of is this gnawing, biting emptiness burrowing into my
soul, this surge of terrible, incomprehensible loneliness staggering
me, as I crawl into bed, my whole body trembling uncontrollably as the
realization of the mess I have gotten myself into sinks down on me.

It's all my doing.

I should've been ready for what happened tonight. I had faced enough
similar situations in my recent dark past to know I wasn't supposed to
get entangled in situations like I did tonight.

I should've just turned around and walked back the way I'd come in the
first place. But no, I was too afraid of having to face Chakotay.

The thought of the man wrenches my heart, its splinters gouging my
soul, as the dam finally breaks and tears roll down my face.

Yosa is right.

Chakotay DOES hate me. He thinks I betrayed him. Maybe I did. Maybe
it's me whose interpretation has been wrong all along.

Even by returning the shell to him, I've screwed everything up.
Because I failed to return it in time, because I was incapable of
explaining my reasons and my situation to him, I've ruined any chance
I ever had of knowing him, of showing him how I truly feel about him.

Any chance I ever had of loving him.

Chakotay hates me and it's only my own fault.


I can't breathe.

There's sand filling my nostrils, my mouth and my eyes.

I can't see.

I struggle, trying to kick them off me, but they only tighten their
grip on my arms, twisting them painfully behind me. I scream, afraid
that they will pull them out of the sockets, but my mouth is filling
with sand, my face is pressed down to the ground, my throat is hoarse
and any sound I make is muffled.

"The Captain LOVED the weekly reports he got about how you played
fuck-toy to the Federation's filthiest, you SLUT."

I hear Yosa's panting breath in my ears, my heart turning over at his
words. "And now." His fingers claw at my skin, crawling between my
legs. ".He'll enjoy the reports of your escapades with the Maquis on
Voyager too, because he hates you..."

"NO!" I cry, my brain screaming at me that he's lying; that what he's
saying couldn't be true. "Chakotay," I whimper, calling out to him.

But my mouth is filling with sand.

My throat is hoarse.

And any sound I make is muffled.


I bolt upright in the semi-darkness, coughing and sputtering, my chest
heaving with exertion. My heart beats wildly as the memories of the
nightmare smother me. I gulp in long, deep breaths of air, trying to
calm my galloping heart.

I tentatively touch my face and find it clean. There's no sand, no
constriction blocking my throat and nostrils. Nothing but a
reminiscent dampness streaking down my face.

It's alright, I touch the rumpled bedding around me as I try to
reassure myself. I am in my quarters. I am safe. It was just a

And then I hear it.

The door chime.

One long, insistent buzz. As though the person ringing the chime has
forgotten to remove their finger from the panel.

Followed by a small, impatient pause.

And then another drawn out, relentless buzz.

My heart starts thudding again. I order lights up and look at the
chronometer. It's almost 2 am. Who could be here so late? Maybe it's
Yosa. Maybe Dalby wasn't able to hold them down for too long. How long
ago was it anyway? What time did I come back to my quarters?

I realize I can't remember.

The buzzing continues and I am clambering out of my bed, my head
spinning at the unending clamor of the door chime when, suddenly, it
stops and I hear the unmistakable sound of the main doors sliding
open. I freeze as the threat of imminent danger hits me. Whoever was
at the door has now broken into my quarters. I look around for my
combadge, wanting to contact security and realize I don't have it with

Yosa took it off my jacket during the scuffle and I never got it back.


I jump at the voice.



"TOM!" His voice is loud, desperate, and I suddenly rush out of the
bedroom, freezing at the sight of him. He's standing just inside my
door, still wearing the same clothes he was wearing when I saw him in
the Observation Lounge, and I notice a strange, frantic shimmer in his

He looks at me and an expression, something I can't quite recognize,
passes over his face. "TOM. Are you alright?" he asks, his brow
wrinkling in apparent concern at whatever he sees on my face.

I struggle to find words to reply to him. Tom. He called me Tom. He's
never, ever before called me by my first name. It's always been Paris,
crewman, or lieutenant.

Why is he here?

I find his eyes running down my length, as if searching for something,
and I suddenly realize I am only clad in my shorts. Suddenly
self-conscious, I feel the heat of his gaze on my body and an
involuntary shiver runs down my spine.

But there's nothing covert, nothing veiled or sordid, lurking in his
gaze, nothing except for an unfamiliar, yet somehow comforting, shade
of concern glittering in his warm eyes.

When I don't reply to his query, he takes a step forward. "Tom, are
you HURT?"

I snap out of my daze and swallow hard. "No, I..." I suddenly notice
the creases around his eyes, the way his short military-style hair
look a little unruly, the way his bronze skin looks flushed and his
breathing ragged, as if... as if he's run a marathon. "I... I am

I don't know what he notices on my face, but his face suddenly
stiffens and he grits his teeth. "Do you have ANY idea how long I've
been standing outside buzzing at your door?"  He frowns. "Why the HELL
weren't your answering your chime?"

I swallow at the sudden transition. Doesn't he realize what time it
is? "I was, uh, in bed."

"You gave me a SCARE, Tom," he growls, as if he hasn't heard me. "And
Spirits know what kind of security lock you had on the door. It took
me AGES to override it."

But that's not what it sounded like; I want to say to him. Of course
no one would ask the First Officer why he broke into a junior
officer's quarters at two in the morning, would they? Then again, he
probably covered his tracks. With a sinking heart, I realize that
Chakotay is back to the same mood I left him with in the Observation

I wonder how long it would take him to bring up the topic of the

Before I can say anything to him, though, I am interrupted by his
combadge going off.

"Dalby to Commander Chakotay."

I flinch. Why is Dalby calling him at 2 am? I look at Chakotay's eyes
searchingly and find them narrowing in distaste. He taps his combadge

"What is it?" he snaps into the comline.

"Sir," Dalby's voice wavers but he continues. "We've secured Yosa's
cabin. What else do you want us to do?"

Yosa? My ears perk up at the name, my eyes narrowing in suspicion, as
I search Chakotay's face for any clue regarding what this might be
about. But the only reaction I see is a slight tightening of the skin
around his eyes. What is going on here?

"What you're ALWAYS supposed to do in these situations," he growls.
"Disable voice-interface from their quarters using the authorization
code I gave you. Explain to him and the others that they're to stay in
their quarters until their next duty shifts." His tone is angry yet
his face is strangely calm, as he shifts his dark eyes to pin me
motionless. "They are NOT to leave their quarters until the next time
they're expected on duty."

"Next shift, sir?" Dalby's voice sounds unsure over the comline. "None
of them are due back until day after tomorrow, Commander."

I watch as Chakotay's jaw tightens another fraction. "I know," he
says, sounding infinitesimally pleased. "Make sure all their
replicators are offline and that Mr. Yosa doesn't have access to any
kind of medical supplies. I want him to feel the pain a little while
longer." His voice turns a tad colder. "It's a punishment, after all."

Shit. My heart starts beating wildly. What the hell has he done?

"Understood, sir," Dalby says.

"Have Ayala put a security code on all their doors."

"Done, sir."

I watch Chakotay's left-hand rise to slap his combadge again and that
is when I notice the marks on his left hand. Slight, almost
unnoticeable, bruises on his knuckles - bluish and ugly - that are
nonetheless discernable to my eyes, as though he has slammed his fist
against something.

Or someone.

Continued in Expiation 4/4