This story takes place during the episode The Chute, and looks at what happened that night after Paris asked Kim not to leave him there. Spoilers ahoy.

Thank you kindly to Danielle for checking this for me J 

Feedback would be really nice –

This story is for my goldfish Wolfgang and Françoise. 

In the gloaming
by Lay McDaniel, 29-12-01 

I can hear him breathing next to me, rasping and uneven, amidst the laughs and shouts of the other inmates. It’s so hot. The air is dark, and thick with the smell of sweat and blood. His blood. 

“Harry…what’s happening to me?” 

How could I have given him an answer, when I’m not even sure what’s happening to me? I feel like me, and then something happens and I’m screaming in irritation, and then I’m me again, and I wonder what the hell made me lose control like that, and then it happens again. 
I hate this clamp. I hate what it’s doing to me. My hand reaches up yet again to touch it, to feel the warm metal underneath my fingers, to probe it, and I have to fight the urge to rip it out. If I did, I’d not only kill myself, I’d kill him too. There’s no way he could fend for himself. He can’t even sit up.
Was it only last week that he came bounding into my quarters, telling me he’d found a great spot for shore leave? 
The memory of Voyager calms me somewhat. The Captain will find us. She’ll get us out. 
But then he groans suddenly, and I’m flooded with fear again. I’ve no doubt she’ll come, but when? He won’t last much longer, despite what I keep telling myself.
“It’s okay Tom, hang on,” I whisper. My constant refrain. 
I remember when I was a little boy, about ten or eleven. My parents had to go out suddenly one night, leaving me by myself. They said they’d only be an hour at most. So I waited up for them, and an hour passed. Then another one. And another. I remember sitting in my bed, terrified that something had happened to them. I had a horrible, fluttering feeling in my stomach, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything except when they’d be home.
That was nothing compared to this. Maybe the clamp enhances it, I don’t know. 

“Harry…don’t leave me here.” 

That was never part of my plan, never. If the situation was reversed, he’d do everything he could to get me out alive. I intend to do the same. 

 I must have fallen asleep. I wake up, but it’s still dark, so I don’t know how long I was out for. It’s quieter now. I can hear the clunking of the ventilation system. 
 There’s a movement next to me, and I turn over to face him. He’s awake too, his body rigid, one arm clamped tightly round his waist, his other hand curled into a fist, which is rammed into his mouth. 
 I’m instantly alert; I sit up – “Tom, what is it?” 
 He starts at my voice, and removes his fist. He’s sweating profusely, and his face is creased in pain. “Nothing… you can do,” he whispers breathlessly. 
 “Let me look,” I tell him. I’m shocked at how much pain he’s in, and my voice sounds strange to my ears. I gently remove his arm, and peel back the bandage. He cries out, and when I look at him quickly, he’s already biting down on his fist again. 
 I think the wound’s become infected. There’s pus oozing from the broken skin, and there’s a sickly sweet odour emanating from it that makes me want to vomit. I fetch a cup of precious water and a fresh bandage from the stores Zio gave us, and I proceed to clean it. I try to be as careful as I can. Tom’s silent the entire time, and when I’m finished, I notice he has blood coming from his bitten knuckles. A part of me thinks to bandage them too so they don’t get infected, and then I realise how silly that is. 
 “Is that any better?” I ask him. But he doesn’t seem to have heard me. Instead, he turns away and starts retching. Nothing comes up. 
 I sit there feeling utterly helpless, trying to look as if I’m not watching him. I doubt he cares anyway. 
 He lies back, and I rip off another strip from my clothing and wipe away the sweat from his eyes. I feel him trembling underneath my hand. “Hang on,” I say to him, “Hold on, you’ll be okay. Hang on.”  
 There’s nothing more I can do, so I make sure he’s comfortable, and lie down again. “If it gets bad again, wake me,” I say. He nods, but I know he won’t. 
 I lie facing him, watching him, and soon he drifts off to sleep.
 I’m so scared.
 I wipe my eyes, and reach out to clasp his arm. “Hang on,” I whisper again, even though he can’t hear me.
Perhaps I’m saying it to myself. 

The End