By TíPam

Standard Disclaimer: Tom Paris, Voyager and all its crew belong to Paramount/Viacom.
No profit will be made from this story.

Warning: Please take note of the rating. Severe angst. Disturbing in parts.

Codes: P, All, P/T
Rating: R (Just to be safe. Rather dark in places.)

Part Eleven


*Harry's POV*

I get up from my bed and pace my quarters. What am I going to do? I've already told the Captain and Chakotay more than I meant to. I told them about Manning's sick little ritual before I could stop myself. Do I tell them everything?

Will Tom every forgive me? Probably not. But then, I doubt he will forgive me for what I have done so far, anyway. I've failed him in so many ways.

I thought that by having someone to talk to, Tom would be all right. And at first, that had seemed to be the case. Tom seemed so much better after telling me about Zio.

Life went on. Tom showed no signs of further distress and I honestly thought he had somehow managed to deal with his demons. I continued to get myself into trouble and Tom was always there to help pick up the pieces.

Then Tom started a serious relationship with B'Elanna. Although it was pretty rocky at times, they managed to stay together. She often complained to me that she didn't understand him at all. She felt as if he was keeping a part of himself hidden from her.

B'Elanna came to me one day and asked me what I knew about a James Manning. Had Tom spoken to me about his kidnapping? I didn't know anything about it at all, and told her so. She didn't believe me.

She told me that Tom was having the most terrible nightmares. They had started when we came out of the stasis chambers we'd been forced to travel in. Tom had had a very bad reaction to them and she was worried sick.

I really knew nothing about it, but B'Elanna thought I was hiding things from her. I was, but nothing to do with a kidnapping.

I wondered why Tom had never mentioned it to me. Why he felt he had to hide it. Being kidnapped as a child was certainly nothing to be ashamed of. He had tried to hide this in the same way he had hidden the rapes. Why?

I decided to ask him about it, only this time I was a lot more careful about the way I approached him. He was reluctant to tell me anything, but I was very persistent. I can be like a dog with a bone, sometimes. My mother was always telling me that.

I didn't let on that B'Elanna had told me he'd been kidnapped and hidden in a trunk. I just let him think I was concerned over his reaction to the stasis chambers. And that wasn't a lie. I was. It was just that I already knew why he had reacted that way.

Maybe I shouldn't have kept on at him like that, but I thought it would help if he talked about it, just like I thought it had helped to talk about Zio.

It took weeks to get him to tell me much at all, but eventually he told me what I already knew. It was several months later before he told me about the abuse. About just how sick that creep was.

We had been through a bad time on board the ship. Traveling for weeks through an area of space devoid of anything but complete darkness; cabin fever had hit everybody. Crew morale was at an all-time low.

The Captain had become reclusive and succumbed to a deep depression. She blamed herself for our plight and the whole ship seemed to pick up her mood. Tom and B'Elanna did nothing but fight, until I honestly thought that they would break up.

Tom was the one coming to me in those days telling me that he didn't understand B'Elanna. That he felt she was hiding something dark from him.

We created Tom's dream of the Delta Flyer and she really didn't seem to be all that interested. And then B'Elanna's secret was discovered.

Tom came to me one night and told me what she had been doing. Deliberately hurting herself on the holodeck. He had been devastated that she could do that to herself and devastated that she had hidden it from him.

When I had tried to point out that he kept a lot of things hidden from her as well, he had insisted that it was different. That what he kept hidden had nothing to do with the present.

He continued to feel upset over what she had done but was completely supportive to her in her attempts to get better. Privately to me, however, he raged. He couldn't understand her willingness to abuse herself. The whole abuse issue seemed to disturb him greatly.

I remembered in Akritiria when Tom had been delirious and begging his Daddy not to hurt him. I began to wonder. Had he been abused as a child? Had his father hurt him in that way?

What did I really know about Admiral Paris? Was he capable of such a thing? Wouldn't it have shown on the psyche evaluations that Starfleet insisted upon? Admirals still had to have them, didn't they?

Tom had spoken of his father to me several times. It hadn't sounded like he was afraid of him. He desperately regretted what had happened between them. He wanted to make it up to him, somehow. There had never been any cause for me to think that their relationship was violent.

But Akritiria kept playing in my mind. Of course, Tom had also insisted in there that his Daddy was dead. And that definitely wasn't true.

So one night I had asked him. I caught him completely off guard. He had spent the evening with me, trying to cheer me up.

We had been working on a new slipstream drive and I had just discovered that my enthusiasm had caused everyone on board to die. A future me had managed to stop that timeline from happening, but it was not a pleasant thing to discover.

Tom had stayed with me, letting me talk it through. He helped me come to terms with what I had done, what I was capable of. We talked for hours and then when we had grown quiet I asked him if his father had ever abused him.

The question was so unexpected that he answered me immediately with a vehement no.

"Harry, why would you even think such a thing? My father can be a little intimidating at times and I know that he has a reputation at the academy for being kind of tough, but he would never do anything like that. Never!"

"It's just that in Akritiria you said some stuff."

"What sort of stuff?"

Tom's face was pale, so I quickly looked away and battled to keep my voice as careless as possible. "I thought it was probably the fever in you, but you kept on begging him not to hurt you and promising that you'd be good. You got kind of worked up about it."

I glanced over at Tom to see how he was reacting and he was staring at me, fear showing in his eyes. He turned away for a few seconds and when he turned back his face was a blank mask.

"I was out of it most of the time, Harry. I didn't even know what I was saying. You shouldn't pay any attention to anything I said in there."

"That's what I thought. But it got me thinking."

Tom stood up quickly. "Maybe we should call it a night. We're due on the bridge in a few hours, so we should try to get some sleep."

I shook my head stubbornly. "There's no way I could sleep tonight. You know, Tom, if your father did abuse you..."

"My father did not abuse me," he yelled angrily, his mask falling away. "If you knew him, you'd know how ridiculous the whole accusation is."

"Why are you getting so angry?"

"How would you feel if I suddenly started accusing your father of abusing you?"

"I'd probably shrug and say it wasn't true. In fact, I'd probably laugh at the whole notion."

"Well, I don't feel like laughing."

"So I've noticed. Do you know what you said, Tom? You said...'Please don't hurt me, Daddy. I'll be good, I promise, I'll be good. Just don't hurt me anymore, Daddy, please don't hurt me.' You said it more than once, Tom."

"Shut up," he said fiercely. "My father would never have laid a hand on me. Never."

"You kept saying 'Daddy'."

"It wasn't him, I tell you. It was Manning."

"James Manning? The guy that kidnapped you? But you kept saying 'Daddy'."

"He used to make me call him that. He had this thing. He'd say 'who's your Daddy, Tommy?' and I'd have to say, 'you, Daddy, you.' Then he'd ask, 'and who do you love, Tommy?' and I had to say, 'you, Daddy, you.' If I didn't, he'd hurt me, Harry. I mean really hurt me."

He sank back down into the couch. "He had me so confused. He kept insisting that he was my father, but I didn't believe him at first. I don't know why I did in the end, but I did. He said he loved me, but he was always hurting me. Hitting me, punching me, kicking me." He visibly shuddered. "I was so scared all the time. So scared."

And that's when he told me about James Manning. Really told me, I mean. Told me just how sick the man was. I got the distinct impression that there was even more that he wasn't revealing, and something was stopping him from telling me everything.

It was only after he'd finally gone back to his quarters that I realized that I knew a lot more than what he'd just told me. A lot more. Everything, and I mean everything, he'd said in Akritiria began to make sense to me, and I didn't like the conclusion I was coming to.

If what I thought was true, then Tom needed help desperately. But I put off saying anything to him. I didn't want to upset him. I kept telling myself that I had an overactive imagination and if there was really any more to tell, then eventually Tom would tell me himself.

Besides, I really didn't get a chance to talk to him about it. B'Elanna was attacked and almost killed by a strange alien straight after that and Tom spent every free minute with her. He had enough on his mind, without me adding to it.

And then, just as I'd plucked up enough courage to speak to him about my suspicions, Tom was thrown into the brig for deliberately disobeying the Captain's orders.

That he would go against the Captain in the way he did, shows just how strongly he felt about what the Moneans were doing to their ocean.

He was demoted and sentenced to thirty days and the Captain wouldn't even let us visit him. B'Elanna was furious with the Captain and told her so, which certainly didn't help her when she asked to visit him.

Neelix and the security guards were the only ones to see him and their reports on his welfare were not good. Tom was having frequent nightmares and Neelix said he looked terrible and wasn't eating.

I began a persistent campaign to make the Captain change her mind and let me visit him. It took me over a week of constant requests and polite inquiries, before she gave in. Like I said, a dog with a bone.

I was allowed one brief visit, which did nothing to put my mind at rest. Tom looked as awful as I had imagined. What was worse was the way he pushed me away.

As soon as he was out, he jumped back into his normal life. It didn't seem to worry him that he'd been demoted and he appeared to be his usual self. A little quieter than usual perhaps, but that was hardly surprising under the circumstances.

His position on the ship didn't change. He was still chief helmsman. He had become 'Tom' to nearly every-one on the ship by then anyway (except for Tuvok, Seven and the Doc, who always address people formally), so to all outside appearances nothing had changed.

B'Elanna was worried about him, however. She told me he was having terrible nightmares.

As the weeks went by his moods became erratic. He would be his usual self one moment and sullen and quiet the next. His nightmares had lessened to some degree but some days you couldn't get two words out of him.

He was suffering and I certainly didn't want to make matters worse. The brig had set something off in him and it was like watching a time bomb waiting to go off.

B'Elanna and I began to truly fear for his well-being. Tom's carefully built façade was slowly crumbling away. At some stage he told B'Elanna about the rapes and the fact that I also knew about them.

She came to me upset. She told me she understood why I had never told her, as it was not my secret to share, but she wanted to do something. She wanted to force him to accept help. I tried to explain to her that we couldn't do that. That Tom needed to be willing to accept help.

As time went by, Tom began acting more like his usual self. During the day, he seemed fine, but I know the nightmares hadn't lessened. Then we came to the Yaran home world and everything fell apart.


The whole time we were on Yaran, Tom was on edge. I understood why he was so uncomfortable but could do little to ease the situation.

The intensity of Tom's nightmare that night was horrific. I tried to wake him, but it was impossible to tear him from its grip.

Was this nightmare worse than the previous ones he had been having or were they all this intense? I had no way of knowing. B'Elanna had said they were bad, but she had not mentioned this level of horror.

Finally, I managed to wake him, but it took some time for him to become aware of his surroundings. I lay there next to him, completely shaken, as he jumped up and bolted for the bathroom.

He locked the door, so I paced around the room worrying, listening to him retching. When he eventually came out, I was sitting on the bed. He looked terrible.

I tried to talk to him about it, but I succeeded in scaring him instead. He appeared to be at the breaking point and I didn't want to push him. I decided I'd speak to him when he'd calmed down. When we were safely back on Voyager.

Tom didn't give me the opportunity, however. The tiny thread that he had been clinging to snapped when Britax invaded Tom's personal space just once too often.

I don't know exactly what he said, although B'Elanna says it was all rather funny until Tom sucker-punched the idiot. All I know is the absolute dread that coursed through me as I ran behind the Captain to see what all the noise was about.

I knew that it was Tom in the middle of the huge crowd that had gathered, although we couldn't see him. He was screaming, "I hate you, I hate you," at the top of his lungs.

The Captain pushed her way through the ogling crowd and I scurried in behind her. Tom was on his hands and knees attempting to crawl his way towards Britax, who was lying a few meters away, his face covered in blood.

B'Elanna was struggling to hold Tom back, and there were three Yaran males crouched in front of Britax, protecting him. Everyone was yelling, but Tom's voice could be heard above them all.

Security guards arrived at that moment to disperse the crowd and to restrain Tom. Britax was quickly ushered away, to a medical facility I would assume, and the Yaran ambassador stepped forward to politely ask us to soon as possible.

The Captain was literally white with anger. She had Tom beamed up to the ship, telling Tuvok to take him under guard to his quarters. She then had a rather terse conversation with Chakotay, pacing around the whole time she was talking.

As soon as she had signed off she turned to B'Elanna. "So, what the hell happened?"


B'Elanna swallowed a little nervously. "I'm not sure. He just lost it."

"Why?" The question was barked out with such fury, that I shivered.

"I-I don't know Captain. Britax was being completely ridiculous..."

"That's a reason to beat him half senseless?"

"N-no, of course not. It looked a lot worse than it really was. Tom only hit him a couple of times. I stopped him from doing any more damage."

"I beg to differ. The damage is irreparable. We have been asked to leave. And I still don't know why Tom did this, Lieutenant."

"Britax had a crush on Tom. I suppose that's what you'd call it. It was all so stupid. He said he wanted Tom to help him get over him. It was just so pathetic. He said something sappy like, 'just one kiss before you go.' It was pitiful. He got too close to Tom, way too close and Tom lost it."

The Captain resumed her pacing. "I spoke to him about this. I warned him. Britax was completely harmless."

"He wouldn't leave Tom alone."

"And so the only course of action was to beat the man to a pulp?"

B'Elanna - wisely, I feel - said nothing to that and the Captain continued. "I can't believe he did this. The ambassador is refusing to honor any of the trade agreements, and without some of those supplies, Voyager just won't make it out of this system."

"Maybe we can get the supplies somewhere else," I ventured, knowing how ridiculous the statement was as soon as I said it. There WAS nowhere else. Voyager wasn't going anywhere.

The Captain didn't even bother to reply. She continued to pace to and fro angrily.

"Why?" she said, looking up at the sky. "What the hell is the matter with him? I'll have that last remaining pip for this."

"Captain," I said hastily. "Tom didn't know what he was doing. You saw him. You saw what he was like."

But she was too angry to listen.

"What are you going to do to him?" B'Elanna asked quietly.

"Throw him in the brig for the rest of his life," she answered grimly.

Of course, that was just the anger talking. She wouldn't really do that, but I was anxious anyway. Tom couldn't handle any more time in the brig at all. He still wasn't recovered from the last time.

"You can't do that," I said.

Her eyes were cold and she stopped pacing to focus on me fully. "Really?"

I gulped, wishing fervently that I'd kept quiet. I found myself trembling as she regarded me thoughtfully.

"I want you to beam back up to the, Ensign. B'Elanna, go and get our belongings and then beam up too. I'll try to talk to the ambassador."


As soon as I arrived back on Voyager I hurried to Tom's quarters. Tuvok was standing outside, on guard. I winced. "Is that really necessary? Tom's not going anywhere, Tuvok."

"I am merely following the Captain's express orders, Ensign. I believe the question at the moment should be, have you permission to be here?"

I hesitated. The Captain had simply told me to beam back, she hadn't told me I couldn't see Tom. As Tuvok had felt obligated to point out, she hadn't told me I could either.

I walked away dejected, worried about what condition Tom might be in and went back to the transporter room to wait for B'Elanna.

When she arrived she almost leapt from the transporter padd. "How's Tom?"

"I don't know," I answered. "Tuvok's on guard outside his quarters and he won't let me see him."

"Damn it!" she growled out angrily, grabbing me by the arm and propelling me from the room. "I tried to reason with Janeway, but she's still too angry. I was just making it worse."

"You don't think she'll really throw him in the brig again, do you?"

"The way she was talking just then, yeah, I do, Harry. She's still waiting to see the ambassador. I guess it depends on whether she can smooth things over with him or not. It doesn't look too hopeful at the moment."

"But Tom can't spend anymore time in the brig."

"Don't you think I know that?"

"What are we going to do?"

"I don't know. We need to see how Tom is. Come on."

She dragged me along the corridor to the turbolift, swearing in Klingon all the way. As soon as we arrived on the bridge, she pulled me over to Chakotay. "Can we speak to you for a moment, Commander?"

Chakotay nodded and led us to the Captain's ready room.

"We need to see Tom," B'Elanna said as soon as the doors hissed closed behind us.

"He's confined to quarters. If you're worried about him, then don't be. He's fine. I just spoke to him myself. He wouldn't say much, however."

"Chakotay, please. This is very important. We need to see him for ourselves."

He watched us both closely for a few seconds. I knew the desperation I was feeling would show clearly on my face. I didn't dare look at B'Elanna; her tone of voice was enough.

"Well, the Captain didn't actually say that he couldn't have any visitors."

B'Elanna squeezed his arm. "I owe you one."

"Well, more than one, Lieutenant," Chakotay said with a grin. "But, who's counting?"


As soon as we entered Tom's quarters, we could hear his panting gasps. We couldn't see him, however.

"Tom?" B'Elanna called out, hesitantly.

There was a rustling noise from the other side of the room and we hurried over to find Tom huddled on the floor, curled up in a tight ball.

"Kahless!" B'Elanna whispered, kneeling down beside him. She tentatively reached out and touched his shoulder. "Tom? It's me."

Tom stiffened a little. "Please don't lock me up," he whimpered.

I knelt down on the other side of him. "It's us, Tom. No one's locking you up." I prayed that was true.

He slowly uncurled himself. "Harry? B'Elanna?"

"That's right, Tom, it's just us. Everything's going to be all right." How the hell it could possibly be all right after this, I had no idea.

We helped him up off of the floor and onto the couch.

"I didn't mean to do it."

"We know, Tom." B'Elanna held him while I went to get him some water.

His hand shook as he took the glass from me. "Thanks, Har. I-I guess I'm in a bit of a state."

"What happened, Tom? What made you hit him?"

"I don't know. It just happened. I felt...threatened. I know. I know. You don't have to tell me how stupid it was. Is he all right?"

"We don't know. He was taken away."

"Of course he's all right," B'Elanna said, giving me an angry look. "He wasn't hit that hard."

Tom gave a sigh of relief. "I don't really remember what happened after I hit him. I remember everyone shouting and the Captain...., oh God, the Captain. The look on her face!"

"She's not very happy at the moment," B'Elanna told him. "She's trying to talk to the ambassador. He's severed our trading agreement."

"Oh, no! It's all my fault. We need those supplies. Especially in engineering."

"Don't worry about that at the moment."

"How can I not worry about it B'Elanna? We're sunk without them."

"I'm sure the Captain will be able to smooth things over with the ambassador," I said. I didn't believe it for a second but Tom had enough on his mind.

"What's she going to do to me?" he almost whispered. "She wouldn't put me in the brig again, would she? Chakotay said she was going to."

"I'm sure, once she's cooled down a little..." B'Elanna started to say, but he jumped up from the couch.

"I can't go back there. I can't."

"Tom, maybe you should tell her what happened. Why you reacted that way down on Yaran," B'Elanna said.

He shook his head vigorously. "Never!"

"I'm sure she'd understand."

"Never," he almost screamed.

I tried as well. "Tom, if she doesn't understand what happened, she's going to throw the book at you."


"Tom, you don't know what you looked like down there. You were completely out of control. The Captain is definitely going to wonder about your reaction. What are you going to tell her?"

"I don't know; but not the truth."

"She's angry at the moment, but once she's calmed down she's going to start thinking about it all. She might even guess some of it."

"That's a chance I'll have to take, because I'm not telling her. I can't tell her."

He stubbornly refused to change his mind and B'Elanna and I could do nothing but worry.

Chakotay called us to the bridge shortly afterwards and Tom assured us that he would be fine. He would get himself under control before the Captain went to see him. I dreaded to think what would happen then.


"Harry," B'Elanna said as soon as we'd left Tom's quarters. "We have to do something. You saw him. We can't let the Captain throw him in the brig."

"We don't know she's going to do that."

"Well I do. She threw him in the brig for thirty goddamned days for following his beliefs. He acted with honor and courage and..."

"And he disobeyed her direct orders," I cut in before she could launch into the speech I'd heard so many times before.

"And she tried to damn well kill him for it," B'Elanna screeched at me.

"I'm sure she knew that Tuvok wouldn't directly fire on Tom. He wouldn't stop and she..."

"You are so blind to her! What is the matter with you? She sure as hell overreacted the last time and I know she will again."

"Why are we arguing?" I asked as we stepped into the turbolift. "You know I was just as upset with her as you were."

"I know. Bridge!" B'Elanna ordered the lift. "But it sounds like you're defending her."

"I'm just trying to point out that you're looking at things in the worst possible light. We really don't know what the Captain will do."

"I'm scared, Harry."

I swallowed. I'd never heard B'Elanna say that before. "Me too."

We arrived on the bridge to find Chakotay waiting for us. "The Captain is beaming back up shortly. She wants to speak to the two of you. You can wait in the ready room."

"What do you think she wants with us?" I asked nervously as soon as the doors closed shut behind us.

B'Elanna paced around the room like a caged animal. "I'm not sure. That's one of the problems with her at the moment. She's so unpredictable."

"She's depressed. She blames herself for stranding us out here. It's all really been getting to her lately."

"She told you that?"

"No, of course not. She just hasn't really been herself since the void."

"Humph! I've been declared officially depressed and you don't see me acting like that."

I bit my lip not to say anything to that and said instead, "She cares about Tom."

"Only when he's doing what she tells him to," B'Elanna said bitterly. "She doesn't like it when he goes against her wishes."

I didn't like to bad-mouth the Captain when we were standing right there in her ready room. It felt...funny. "Do you think she wants to talk to us about the way Tom acted?"

"Maybe. Harry, I think we should tell her what's been going on."

"We can't do that."

"We don't have to tell her everything. Just why he reacted like that. We'll tell her about the Kazon and Zio."

"I don't think we should. You heard what Tom said. He doesn't want her to know."

"No; he said he can't tell her. He didn't say we couldn't."

"He made me promise not to tell anyone."

"Well he didn't with me."

"But he would expect you to keep his confidence."

"I have never been so scared as I was when we walked into Tom's quarters and saw him like that, Harry. I thought my heart was going to stop."

I nodded. I knew what she meant.

"I don't think Tom's going to be able to get himself under control this time," she continued. "He's falling apart."

"But he trusts us."

"I know, Harry. But if I have to choose between Tom's mental well-being and revealing a few of his secrets, I'll choose his mental well-being every time."

"Trust is very important to Tom. He has a real issue with it."

"Harry, could you ever forgive yourself if we let Janeway throw him in the brig and he loses it completely? Could you live with yourself knowing that we could have prevented it?"

I shook my head. She was right. Tom was on the verge of a complete breakdown and I would never forgive myself if that happened because we stood by and did nothing.

"You don't have to do this, Harry. I'll talk to Janeway alone."

"What do you take me for? If we're going to do this, then we do this together. But we only tell her about the Kazon. That should be enough."

B'Elanna nodded. "You're right, it should be."


When the Captain entered the room it was obvious immediately that she had calmed down. I was relieved to see it.

"Did you manage to talk to the ambassador?" I asked her anxiously.

She gave a rueful smile. "Not yet. He's had me cooling my heels. He finally sent word to me that I can speak to him in two hours. I decided to come back up to the ship to wait."

"Why did you ask to see us?" B'Elanna asked her quietly.

"While I've been down there waiting, I've been doing some serious thinking. About Tom."

I nodded. I had known she would.

"The two of you are very close to him. I was hoping you'd know why Tom reacted the way he did. I have my suspicions and they're very disturbing."

I looked at B'Elanna and she looked at me. Both of us waited for the other to speak.

The Captain cleared her throat. "I see that you do. I was praying that I was wrong, but it seems that I am not. I'm speaking to you because I know Tom won't tell me anything and quite frankly he needs help."

We both nodded at that.

"It was Akritiria, wasn't it?"

I felt the color drain from my face. I didn't dare look at B'Elanna.


And so we sat there and told the Captain more than we had planned to. B'Elanna did most of the talking, but I made no attempt to stop her. She only told the Captain the bare facts, although I doubted if Tom had told her any of the vivid details anyway.

The Captain was extremely upset. She blamed herself for the whole Kazon incident. She understood when we impressed upon her the need to keep our betrayal of Tom from him.

She promised to never tell him. She said she would talk to him, hoping that he would confide in her, but she wouldn't let him know that she knew.

After she spoke to the ambassador and managed to get our trade agreement restored, she went to see Tom. He told her nothing and she confined him to his quarters for one week as punishment so that he would not become suspicious.

She told us to keep an eye on him and that she would be too. If he showed any signs of instability she would be forced to take action, telling him that there was obviously something troubling him and she wanted him to speak with Chakotay.

The week that Tom spent in his quarters B'Elanna and I were still allowed to visit him. If he thought it was a little unusual he never said anything.

After the first day he seemed to pull himself together and started acting more like his old self. B'Elanna and I told ourselves we had done the right thing and that everything would now be okay.


The very first day that Tom was back at the helm, I realized that everything was not going to be okay. The Captain was watching Tom, just as she had said she would. Even from where I stood I could see the pity and worry shining in her eyes.

Tom didn't notice it at first, but I knew without a doubt that he would. I went to B'Elanna and told her that we couldn't hide from Tom what we had done.

She disagreed, saying that we just had to keep our heads. I couldn't. I began avoiding him, which of course made him suspicious.

I wanted to tell him, thinking it would be better for Tom to hear it from us instead of working it out for himself. I was scared of his reaction, either way.

And then, of course, he did find the worst way possible. Tom's stay in the brig had seriously compromised his ability to suppress everything bad that had ever happened to him.

He was still dealing with what happened on Yaran; he couldn't cope with any more. The thought of counseling and the fear that he would have to face his secrets were too much and he felt he had no one to turn to. It pushed him over the edge.

I should have spoken to him before the brig. I should have let him know that I knew his secret. That it made no difference to me whatsoever. Now it was too late.


I sigh as I come back to the present. Wishing I'd done things differently, isn't going to change anything. I make up my mind. I'm going to go and see Tom right now. I need to see that he's okay.

I've also decided something else. If Chakotay is going to have any chance of helping Tom at all, then he needs to know everything that I know. If that means that Tom will never speak to me again, then that's the chance I must take. He's my friend and I'm the only one that can help him.