(Sequel to "Retaliation")
(R Series part 24)
Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al belong to Paramount. I am only playing with them and promise to put them back relatively unscathed
The Doctor had just finished his half-hearted reattachment of Tuvok’s penis when two security officers beamed in carrying the unconscious forms of Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Carrey who were both sporting huge contusions on their foreheads.
"What has happened?" he snapped impatiently.
"We don’t know, Sir. They appear to have been in a fight with each other. It’s strange that they managed to knock each other out simultaneously though." One of the crewmen responded with evident confusion
A very unholographic grin lurked behind the Doctor’s apparent concerned glance at the concussed pair. Inspiration hit him with the flash of true genius.
"Ah ha" he said triumphantly "So that explains why Mr. Tuvok arrived here a few minutes ago with a shattered jaw."
The Security Officers noticed Tuvok’s unconscious form for the first time.
"He must have broken up the fight but then been just too injured himself to report it." Crewman Harris said with admiration for his brave superior.
"Indeed" The Doctor agreed. As long as he could keep all three sedated until Chakotay returned, it would at least explain why Tuvok was in sickbay. He had been waiting with dread for the Captain to notice the Vulcan’s absence.
"The Doctor to Captain Janeway" He said confidently
"Janeway here, what do you want, Doctor." Came the Captain’s irritated voice
"Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Carrey are in sickbay with minor injuries. There appears to have been an altercation."
Janeway sighed with a mixture of irritation and relief. When Tuvok had escaped the bridge earlier, she had been a little concerned whether he was attending a genuine "security" issue or taking the opportunity to sneak behind her back and make a move on Tom.
She was relieved that the Security matter had been genuine, but irritated that Kim had been implicated. If the stupid fool ended up in the brig, it would cause havoc with her nocturnal plans. It was perhaps a measure of her distraction that she completely failed to remember that Harry had actually left the bridge AFTER Tuvok.
She settled back in her seat and continued her pleasant daydream (which had been so rudely interrupted by the Doctor). She was picturing herself in her new role as Tom’s best friend and sympathetic, kind commanding officer. Now she knew exactly what button to push to make the silly little tart get all dewy eyed, she was planning to be SO nice to him. Then when Chakotay finally tired of him, she would be in place to offer Tom the necessary "comfort".
Chakotay sped back to Voyager. His negotiations with the Rhikaraen Government had been long and frustrating but not completely fruitless. The Rhikaraens were completely paranoid about outsiders, perhaps unsurprisingly given the warlike nature of most of the DQ inhabitants. They had been unhappy with his refusal to trade technology, but had conceded that the data Voyager held on their hostile neighbours and copies of the maps Seven had compiled on the DQ was worth an offer of fresh supplies and seeds for the hydroponics bay.
Chakotay had been hoping to trade for an energy source too, but had decided that the food was at least an acceptable offer, particularly since there was a large supply of a substance with definite ‘coffee-like’ properties. The only problem was in settling the final quantity of supplies. The Rhikaraens seemed to love the bartering process itself. The process of meeting at a mutually acceptable compromise took hours.
Chakotay knew that it would be highly unprofessional of him to cut short the endless wrangling simply because he desperately wanted to get back to Tom. He was a Starfleet officer entrusted with a serious mission. It would be outrageous of him to decide that his ‘anniversary’ appointment with Tom was more important than getting a few more kilos of food.
But when the Rhikaraen made his next, slightly better, offer Chakotay had looked straight into the chief Rhikaraen’s eyes and had firmly said, "DEAL".
The Rhikaraen had blinked with confusion and disappointment. He had been prepared to argue for hours yet. On the other hand, he wasn’t going to look this gift horse in the mouth. He grinned and spat his agreement.
So Chakotay was returning with less than a full hold, but at least on the right side of midnight.
The Doctor was becoming increasingly worried at the Commander’s failure to return. There was a limit to how long he could keep his three ‘patients’ unconscious. He left an urgent message for Chakotay to visit the Sick bay as soon as he arrived back on Voyager.
Chakotay landed in the shuttle bay and arranged for the unloading of the supplies. He received a message from the Captain saying that she would de-brief him in the morning and one from the Doctor. He had no idea what the Doctor wanted, but accepted that it must be urgent.
On the other hand, Tom was waiting for him.
Deciding again that his personal life shouldn’t interfere with his duties, Chakotay started towards the Sickbay.
Then he stopped.
Sod it, he thought and headed for his quarters instead.
B’Elanna was frantic. Rather than recovering, Tom was definitely getting worse as the evening progressed. She had no idea what demons were chasing him, but his reaction to the near rape, and her admittedly violent prevention of it, seemed completely out of proportion.
For hours he had simply cried. He had stopped responding to her voice or touch and had simply lain there, clutching his stuffed toy as though it was the only thing in the universe that could comfort him.
Unable to do anything else, she simply lay by his side and kept hugging him while she prayed for Chakotay’s return.
At some level, Tom was aware of, and comforted by, B’Elanna’s presence but just couldn’t make himself respond to her. He was drowning in his own confusion, drifting further and further away from reality until the effort to make his way back was just too much to face.
It was as though he was floating out into a dark hostile sea, knowing B’Elanna was on the shore offering him safety but he was too frightened to swim back and every moment that passed he was getting further and further away.
He knew he should just pull himself together, like he always did. What Tuvok had tried to do was no worse than anything else that had happened to him was. A week ago he would have just shrugged and laughed and then got on with his life.
A couple of weeks ago he might have even enjoyed Tuvok’s advances.
He was fucked. Completely and utterly fucked. He had let Chakotay strip him of the defenses he needed to survive in the reality of the hell that was Tom Paris’s life.
Chakotay had systematically peeled away his outer shell of indifference and had exposed his vulnerability, and then the bastard had abandoned him.
He knew he was being unfair. He understood why Chakotay wasn’t there. He realised that the Commander couldn’t have anticipated Tuvok’s actions.
But he should have, Tom decided. Chakotay had promised to protect him. He hadn’t. Chakotay had sworn that no one else would touch him. He had lied.
Maybe he had even TOLD Tuvok he could do it.
Perhaps, knowing he wouldn’t be there, he had sold Tom to Tuvok for the night. Zerkalo had done that sometimes, selling his ass for a particular favor. Maybe Chakotay would be mad with him for refusing and mad at B’Elanna for helping him.
Why HAD she helped him?
Maybe B’Elanna just wanted his ass too.
Suddenly he felt trapped by her embrace. He trembled under her arms, suddenly feeling threatened.
Sensing his discomfort, B’Elanna relaxed her protective hug.
Feeling her release him, Tom was engulfed with a wave of fear. Without her warmth he was cast adrift. Abandoned and alone.
Shit, I’m fucked, really fucked. He sobbed in misery as his own contradictory feelings swept him even deeper into despair.
Chakotay froze in understandable confusion in his bedroom door at the sight of B’Elanna and Tom in bed together. Thankfully the fact that Tom was under the covers and B’Elanna was fully dressed and lying on top, prevented him from howling blue murder immediately.
Slowly he took in Tom’s obvious distress and a huge quantity of dark green bloodstains over the carpet, bedding and walls. It looked like a Vulcan had been butchered in his bedroom. Then he noticed the black silk scarves still tied to the bedstead and realisation dawned.
Instead of exploding, Chakotay grew very, very quiet
"What happened B’Elanna?" he asked with deceptive calmness
B’Elanna jumped at the soft voice. Intense relief flooded her features as she saw the Commander
"Thank God you’re back." She sighed "Tuvok knocked Tom out, tied him up and tried to rape him."
"Tried?" Chakotay asked, still in the same eerily calm voice.
"I got here in time. I stopped him."
"So I see." Chakotay said quietly, indicating the bloodstains
B’Elanna flushed. "I bit him," she admitted
"Good." Chakotay said simply
"No one’s come to arrest me." B’Elanna said in obvious confusion
"The Doctor hasn’t reported it." Chakotay replied with confidence, suddenly understanding the cryptic summons to Sickbay.
Slowly he approached the bed. Tom didn’t even acknowledge his presence he simply continued to cry softly into his pillow.
"Tom, honey" Chakotay said gently "Are you okay?"
Tom ignored him.
Chakotay gently turned Tom’s face to meet his own. He jerked at the unmistakable look of hatred that flashed at him from Tom’s swollen red-rimmed eyes.
"I’m so sorry, Tom, so sorry." He said helplessly, instinctively knowing that Tom was somehow blaming him for the incident.
Tom simply averted his eyes and refused to respond.
The fury inside Chakotay was building like the hot heart of a volcano. He could feel rage bubbling and steaming under his illusion of control. As much as he wanted to stay and comfort the distressed younger man, Chakotay knew he wouldn’t be able to keep his feelings in check much longer. Hurt oozed off the pilot like the bleeding of an open wound and Tom’s anguish was ripping at his own control.
He couldn’t risk losing it here, in front of the traumatised man. Tom had obviously already witnessed too much violence today already. He jerked his head at B’Elanna and motioned her to go into the living room.
"I’ll be back soon, honey." He promised as gently as he could manage and then he followed B’Elanna
Even B’Elanna quailed at the murderous look on Chakotay’s face as he emerged from the bedroom.
"Now tell me, EXACTLY, what that fucker did." He snarled.
Half-way through her story, Chakotay commed the Doctor and queried with deceptive mildness what the situation was in Sickbay, then evidently satisfied with the answer, he relaxed slightly and told B’Elanna to continue.
He actually smiled when she admitted biting Tuvok’s cock off, but the smile was even more chilling to witness than his earlier scowl. B’Elanna shivered, giving thanks that she had chosen to be Tom’s friend. She had a feeling that anyone on the opposite side was going to be very sorry, very soon.
"So Harry and Carrey KNEW and did nothing?" Chakotay checked, confirming her suspicion that Chakotay was compiling a "hit-list".
Before she had a chance to answer, they both heard the bedroom door open and turned.
Tom emerged, half-dressed, his teddy in one hand, a bag in the other.
Chakotay leapt to his feet in outraged panic, Tom’s obvious intent to leave breaking through his iron self-control.
Tom flinched and cowered away, clutching his possessions in front of him like a barricade.
Seeing Tom’s terror, Chakotay slowed his approach, reaching his arms out to the pilot in a gesture of peace and comfort
"Don’t fucking touch me" Tom hissed defiantly although his whole body was quaking with fear.
"Please, Tom, don’t go." Chakotay begged helplessly as Tom backed slowly to the outside door.
For a moment Tom wavered, new tears filling his eyes. Then Chakotay moved towards him again and Tom’s nerve snapped, throwing his bag at Chakotay to deflect him, Tom shot out of the door and ran down the corridor to lock himself in his old quarters.
Chakotay raced after him, beating on the door in frustration and then starting to tap in a security over-ride. B’Elanna’s hand landed on his shoulder and he swung in fury at her interference.
"Don’t Chakotay. Give him a little time. If you go barging in there now he’ll probably have a heart attack. He’s terrified. Let ME talk to him."
"Why B’El? Why is he doing this? Why does he blame ME?"
B’Elanna looked at the stricken First Officer with sorrow.
"Because he loves you, Chakotay. Because he trusted you to protect him. Because you’ve changed him. You made him throw away his mask of invulnerability and now he can’t cope with the pain. He isn’t thinking straight. He’s thinking like an animal. He just wants to curl up quietly and lick his wounds."
"I’m going to kill him." Chakotay promised
"Tom?" B’Elanna gasped in disbelief
"TUVOK" Chakotay replied and then spun on his heels and marched towards Sickbay.