(Sequel to "Regression")
(R Series part 27)
Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al belong to Paramount. I am only playing with them and promise to put them back relatively unscathed
Chakotay froze in horror in Tomís bedroom doorway. He watched in stupefaction as Tom crashed out of the impossibly tiny hole screaming "Mama" and threw himself weeping at the waiting Captain.
"Thatís right, Tommy, Mamaís here" He heard Kathryn Janeway say as Tom nuzzled her breasts.
The pair seemed totally oblivious to his entrance as he walked forwards in shock; his nose wrinkling at the stale smell of urine from Tomís stained trousers.
Spirits, Tom had been in that HOLE all night. Alone, terrified, abandoned and he, Chakotay, had simply assumed he was off whoring somewhere and had gone to bed. Guilt crashed over him in a black wave of self-loathing. He didnít, however, fail to notice that the Captain seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the way Tom was nuzzling her for comfort.
"Medical Emergency, Three to beam to sickbay" He snapped.
Janeway swiveled her head at the sound of his voice and gave him a look of pure hatred for his interruption. Then the transporter beam caught them and they materialised in Sickbay, still in the same positions.
Already alerted to incoming patients, the Doctor rushed forward only to stop in confusion at the strange tableau. Chakotay was frantically trying to remove Tom from the Captainís lap, Tom was clinging desperately to her screaming "mama" at the top of his voice and the Captain looked like she was unsure whether to assist the Commander or beat him off.
Deciding that the best move would be to sedate Tom and THEN find out what was going on, he slipped between the combatants and pressed a hypo spray into Tomís neck. For a moment the pilot swayed in bewilderment and then he slumped backwards into Chakotayís arms. The Commander swung Tomís limp body up and carried him carefully to a bio bed.
Meanwhile the Captain picked herself up off the floor, brushed herself down, wincing a little at her bruised butt. Tom had hit her with considerable force as he had emerged from the closet.
She watched disgustedly as Chakotay sniveled pathetically over Tom.
Chakotay was carefully peeling Tomís stained clothes off and motioning for the Doctor to bring him wash cloths.
"And who, may I ask, is on the bridge, Commander?" She snarled
"Lieutenant Torres has the bridge." Chakotay replied as civilly as he could manage.
"What the hell is wrong with him?" Kathryn snapped, striding up to the bio bed and looking at the unconscious pilot with evident disgust. Since it was obvious that Chakotay wasnít going to let her anywhere near Tom, her frustration and anger was now directed at the former object of her desire.
Unable to mention the near-rape by Tuvok, Chakotay replied simply "I think heís had some kind of flashback, a breakdown perhaps."
"Breakdown? Thatís all I need. A pilot with a nervous breakdown and heís no bloody use for anything else these days, youíve seen to THAT." She spat
"Iím sure Mr. Parisís condition is temporary." The Doctor interrupted smoothly, as Chakotay began to rise in fury. He couldnít cope with covering up TWO "accidental" deaths in less than 24 hours.
"It had better be." Kathryn hissed "Thereís no room on this ship for PASSENGERS. He flies or he gets put off on the next habitable planet. Do you understand me?"
"Perfectly, Captain." Chakotay replied tightly
"Good." The Captain snapped and strode out of sickbay. She was intensely pissed off. She wanted to seriously kick some ass and she wanted to get laid. She decided to pay a visit to the brig.
The Doctor waited until Chakotay had cleaned Tom and dressed him in sickbay pajamas before asking, "What happened to him?"
"I couldnít find him. I thought he was with someone else. Itís my fault." Slow tears began to drip down Chakotayís cheeks.
"What, exactly, is your fault?" The Doctor asked, deciding that his program just wasnít up to these constant histrionics.
"He was in his closet, Doctor. He was curled up in a tiny cupboard for at least NINE hours. He must have been terrified. He wet himself, Doc, he actually was so scared that he wet himself and I didn't even LOOK for him." Chakotay took one of Tomís hands in his own and raised it for the Doctorís inspection. The thumb was raw and swollen where Tom had desperately sucked and chewed on it all night for some comfort.
"He didnít even have Ted with him." Chakotay confessed guiltily
The Doctor was completely lost.
"Who is Ted?" he asked carefully, since the only Ted he knew worked in waste management and was so fat he wouldnít even fit in a turbolift, let alone a cupboard.
"His teddy bear." Chakotay replied and began to cry again.
The Doctor was just beginning to think that the Commander was having a breakdown too, when the big man pulled himself together.
"I think itís time I told you everything." He said decisively
The Doctor sat and listened in growing horror and not a little guilt of his own.
"His medical records say NOTHING about any of this." He said defensively but honesty forced him to continue "However, on the numerous occasions I have operated on Tom, I have noticed old scar tissue that could possibly date back into his early childhood. Of course, itís impossible to know for sure."
"Tomís memories are real." Chakotay insisted
"Iím not doubting it. In fact, it explains his behavior perfectly."
"Victims of childhood abuse often develop ways of dealing with that abuse in ways that people often canít understand, but that make perfect sense really. Tom has never been able to prevent what has happened to him so he managed to convince himself that it was something he wanted and probably deserved. Your descriptions of the way he reacts to being tied up and forced confirm this theory. I presume that Tom throws himself at people sexually so that they never feel the need to force him to comply."
"So itís never been about sex at all, only fear?" Chakotay asked, relieved that some of his own theories were being confirmed.
"Yes and no. I think he also has found enough comfort in the physical release of sex to enjoy it, and he desperately craves approval so sex for him is a way of gaining that approval."
"Like the way he bought the so-called friendship of Harry Kim."
"Exactly. Although long-term Tom has only been feeding his own delusions, at the same time he WAS happy with his own solution."
"And in my arrogance I tore his carefully constructed fantasy down and forced him to face reality."
"You were trying to help him."
"Some help, huh?" Chakotay hissed bitterly, looking at Tomís pale exhausted face.
"I think you are mistaken, Commander."
"I believe that this incident has been a breakthrough for Tom. You have forced him into a position where he faced his fears instead of running from them."
"By hiding in a bloody closet?"
"Bear with me. When Tom left your quarters and failed to seek out another companion, he knew heíd be alone. He knew what that would mean. But he still did it. He still faced being alone. The fact that he then couldnít handle his memories is a separate issue. At least he TRIED."
"Can you help him?"
"If he lets me. If the Captain lets me, more to the point. You heard what she said and there is no point in pretending that even I can come up with an instant cure. The only way Tom will be back in that Pilotís seat any time soon is if we let him pretend none of this ever happened, which is what I expect he will want to do."
"So our choice is either to let the cocky fly-boy mask emerge again or make him face his past and hope he can deal with it and eventually move on."
Chakotay looked sadly at Tom.
"I should never have interfered. Two weeks ago I thought he was just an arrogant little jerk and everyone was happy, including him. Now look where we all are."
"So you think it best if we just leave it?" The Doctor asked in confusion.
"NO. Itís too late. I love him, and if I have to drag him kicking and screaming into reality, I will. I just never wanted him to get hurt in the process."
"You know something, Doc? I was wrong about a lot of things. I have been fooling myself too. This last week I watched Tom coming alive in my quarters and fooled myself into thinking that I had made everything better for him. But it was just another mask he was putting on. A happier mask, perhaps, but still just an act. It was just a pretty house of cards and it collapsed under the first strong wind.
"This time I want to do it properly. Slowly. From the beginning. Hell, I might not even like the REAL Tom Paris; he might not like me. But itís time that I actually met him."
"You took my selfishness comment to heart, then."
"You were right. I WAS being selfish. I just didnít realise."
"Youíre a good man, Chakotay."
"No, Iím just a middle-aged fool in love for the first time and completely out of my depth." Chakotay smiled sadly.
"Iím going to keep Tom under for a few more hours. He needs to catch up on his sleep. Why donít you come back later?"
Chakotay nodded reluctantly. "I suppose I ought to go back to the bridge" he agreed. "Comm me when heís waking up and Iíll come straight back."
"Of course." The Doctor agreed, "Oh, and perhaps you should bring "Ted" with you, just in case?"
"Well Iím certainly not bringing "Mama"" Chakotay snorted
Having dismissed the security guards and locking down the brig with her secure Captainís codes, Kathryn was having the time of her life.
The little fantasy had come to her as she had stormed out of Sickbay and it was so nice to have someone to play it with her.
She snapped the short riding crop against her leather boots in warning.
"Say it EXACTLY how I told you to, word for word." She snarled at the quivering Ensign.
Harryís whole naked body flushed deeply as he knelt at her feet.
"Please may I kiss your boots, Mama" he sobbed in defeat, wishing he could remember what on earth had made him hit Tuvok.