BETRAYAL
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. This part contains some rather disturbing child abuse scenes.
It's not graphic, graphic - if you know what I mean, but it may still upset some readers. It upset me. If you think this might offend you - please don't read it. This man is one sick puppy, or should that be - I'm one sick puppy to think up this sick puppy. Whatever! You've been warned!

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

Betrayal
Part Five

~^~

I keep my face averted and try really hard to gain control. The Captain keeps her hand on my shoulder and with her other hand passes me a box of tissues. I wipe my face.

"I'm sorry, Captain," I mumble.

"There's nothing to be sorry about," she tells me. "Do you want to talk about it now?"

I shake my head. "I'm sorry, Captain, but I can't. I just can't."

"Will you talk to Harry or B'Elanna then? They're very worried, Tom."

"There's nothing to say. I'll be all right, Captain."

"I doubt that, Tom. I can't let you back on duty until you start to address some of these issues."

I sit up angrily. "You're going to keep me off duty?"

"I don't see that I have any choice in the matter."

"Well, thanks a lot for your understanding."

"I do understand, Tom. I wish you'd try to understand my position. I honestly don't think that you're in any fit state to fly the ship. I'm trying to respect your wishes here. I could order you to seek help, talk to a counselor of your choosing, but I can't order you to speak."

"I don't want to talk about any of it."

"I know, Tom. I'm hoping you'll change your mind. I'm not a trained counselor, but I'm willing to listen. I promise that whatever you tell me will be between the two of us."

I shake my head.

"I understand, Tom. You probably wouldn't be comfortable confiding in me. And that's fine. But you've already confided in Harry. He's not a trained counselor either. But he cares about you and sometimes it helps just to talk."

"I can't trust Harry," I yell, jumping off the bed. "I only told him the bare necessities as it was and he talked about it with B'Elanna. And the same goes for her. She discussed the stuff I told her with Harry. And then they both told you. Don't you see? I can't trust them. I don't know what they'll do."

"And you don't feel comfortable confiding in me, so where does that leave us? Would you talk to the Doctor? He's come a long way in the past few years."

She was right...he had, but he wouldn't understand about this. "I couldn't. I don't think he'd understand."

"Well, I know you're not going to like this, but I believe you should speak to Chakotay." As I begin to shake my head, she holds up her hand. "There are some parts of this that I really think only he can help you with. He's seen some terrible things in the Maquis. The Cardassians are quite brutal. I think he would understand."

"No. I knew you'd tell him."

"He IS my first officer. But no, I'm not going to tell him. I'll simply tell him that you have some serious problems you need to talk about. What you tell him is up to you. Whatever you say to each other will remain between the two of you."

I shake my head once more. "Just give me a day to pull myself together, Captain. I'll be fine."

"I'm sorry, Tom, but I meant what I said. I can't let you back on duty. It's now up to you. You know where I am if you change your mind."

"You're blackmailing me," I shout as she heads for the door. "Either I talk or I can't fly."

She stops at the door and turns around. "I'll check in on you later." And then she's gone and I'm left in turmoil. I don't know what to do.

The Captain's forcing my hand and I hate her for it. I consider my options. I can get away with a few days off duty, but pretty soon people are going to question where I am, what's wrong with me.

What the hell does it matter what people think? But it does. The Captain's right. I really do have an issue with acceptance. And if she's right about that, then she's probably right about the rest of what she said.

But can I deal with all of it, without letting out my secret? Perhaps if I talked about the Kazon and Akritiria and stayed right away from my childhood. Any mention of my childhood would be kept simple.

Could I do it? And whom would I speak to about it, anyway? Not the Captain. Some of it is too embarrassing. It's bad enough knowing that she knows. I couldn't tell her anything more.

Tuvok? He might do a mind meld or something and find out more than he should. I couldn't risk that.

The Doc? I just can't picture it somehow. He's a different person than he was three years ago, but I still can't imagine talking to him about this.

Chakotay? I dismiss the idea straight away, but then stop. Things are different between us than they used to be. Ever since I took Voyager back from the Kazon and rescued everyone from their exile, he's treated me with respect.

I can still send his blood pressure soaring without a lot of effort, but most of the time we get on fairly well. He's spoken to me on more than one occasion, concerning my behavior and he's always been gentle and understanding. And the Captain's right, he's definitely seen the seedier side of life.

I'm pretty sure I can get away with not even mentioning my childhood to him. There would be no need. He's already made up his mind years ago, that I'm a spoilt brat. He thinks that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth that I deliberately spit away. He wouldn't bring up my childhood, I was sure.

I'm tired. I lay back down on the bed and close my eyes. Maybe when the Captain comes back later today, I'll tell her I'm willing to speak to Chakotay, after all. I have to get back to the conn. Only flying will bring me the peace I need.

I don't want to think about what has happened in the past and I definitely don't want to talk about it. Why did the Captain have to interfere like this?

Because she cares. I know that's true and I guess I must look as awful as I feel. Is it even possible to look as awful as I feel? I'm exhausted.

I need to sleep, but I don't want to dream. I don't want those memories coming back to me again. It's all in the past and it should stay there. I don't want to remember what happened.

I don't want to think of James Manning and the utter terror I faced every day I was with him. The nightmare that was my life for those five weeks, which seemed more like five years.

Despite my fears I slowly drift off to sleep.

~^~

"Come here kid."

I'm eight years old again and I'm back on the shuttle with James Manning. He's smiling at me, telling me I'm cute. Telling me I look like Lizzy. I'm scared. His smile is mean and I want to go home.

I wanted to be in my room...safe. I wanted Lizzy to come and get me and take me home. I wanted my Dad. Especially, I wanted my Dad.

"Come here kid."

I didn't move. He might pull my hair again, or slap my face or something.

He frowned. "I said...come here."

I shook my head and stepped back instead. His frown increased.

"You really need to learn to do as you're told. Come here... now!"

I stood there, too scared to move. I couldn't go to him. I just knew he was going to hurt me. But if I didn't go, he was going to hurt me for disobeying him.

He got up out of his seat and came over to me. I backed up against the wall of the shuttle, with nowhere else to go. He loomed over me, his eyes glittering in anger. "It seems I'm going to have to teach you how to behave."

He bent down and picked me up, carrying me back to the pilot's seat. I struggled and kicked. He laughed. "You really have been allowed to run wild, haven't you?"

Sitting down again, he threw me across his lap, face down. I struggled to get up, but his hand held me down. "I'm going to have to punish you, Tommy. This is your own fault. Remember that. You have to learn, Tommy. You have to learn to do as I tell you to. It's very, very important that you do as you're told."

His hand came down on my bottom...hard. It stung and I struggled even harder. He smacked me again and this time I cried out with the pain. Fighting furiously to get free, I cried out again as his hand landed once more. Again and again his hand came down, faster and faster...harder and harder. I kept on struggling, crying out as each blow landed.

"Do you understand now, Tommy? You have to be good. You have to do as I tell you," he ground out, in time to the blows. "Does that hurt, Tommy? Can you even feel it?"

My bottom felt numb and I was crying in great hitching sobs.

"Will you be good now? Will you?" He pulled me up and shook me a little.

"Yes," I managed to gasp out. "I'll be good. I promise."

He nodded and placed me back in the co-pilots chair. "Stay there."

I didn't move. I didn't dare. I watched him as he moved us out of orbit and set course for somewhere. "Where are we going?" I sniffed.

"We're going home," he said with a smile. Home? Was he taking me back to Earth? Back to my parents? I sat up hopefully.

He looked across at me then. "Not to your home, Kid. To my home. I'm sure you're going to love it."

I didn't want to go to his home, I wanted to go to mine. I watched the stars streak by through the view port. As soon as we reached his home, I was going to tell someone that he'd taken me away. Then he'd be sorry.

I stared at him as he put the ship on autopilot and leaned across to me. "I don't know about you, Kid, but I'm hungry. Do you want something to eat?"

I shook my head.

"Now come on. You're a growing boy. You have to eat. How about some macaroni and cheese? All kids like that."

I shook my head again. I just wanted to go home.

He reached out and grabbed my hair, pulling my face up close to his. I gasped at the sudden pain. "I said, you have to eat." His voice was slow and mean. "Now, are you going to eat some macaroni and cheese or do I have to shove it down your throat?"

"I'll eat it," I said breathlessly, my throat choked with tears.

He let go of my hair and jumped up quickly. "Good boy." He headed over to the replicator. "I have a secret recipe my mother used to make. I know you're going to love it."

I gulped. My scalp ached. I rubbed it carefully. He turned around to look at me and smiled. "Would you like some juice to drink?"

I nodded, hesitantly. "I'll bet you're hungry too," he went on. "I was always hungry when I was your age."

He came back carrying a huge plate full of food. I swallowed nervously. "Now, I'm sure you can eat all this. Don't disappoint me."

I swallowed again. There was no way I could eat all that. If I didn't, would he get mad again? Would he punish me? I looked up at him, scared.

He laughed and ruffled my hair. "Relax, Tommy. I was just joking. This is for both of us. We'll share."

He handed me a fork. "Eat up, before it gets cold."

I took a mouth full. He watched me intently as I chewed and swallowed. "Isn't that the best macaroni you've ever tasted?"

I nodded, still not daring to speak.

"My mother was a wonderful cook," he said. "She's dead now, you know. Pity. She would have loved to meet you. All she wanted was some grandchildren."

I continued to chew and swallow and he smiled in approval. He leant over once more and ruffled my hair again. "You know, I like the name Tommy. It's cute. You can keep it if you like."

I looked at him, puzzled. What was he talking about?

"Yes," he went on. "Tommy Manning. I like that. It has a nice ring to it." He tapped me on the shoulder with his fork. "I now dub you Thomas James Manning. Do you like your new name?"

"I'm Thomas Eugene Paris," I answered in a small voice.

He shook his head. "Not anymore. You're my son, so you should have my name."

What was he saying? I wasn't his son. "No," I said.

He laughed. "Yes. Don't you see? You're the son Lizzy and I would have had if she'd married me like she was supposed to. I'm sure he would have looked just like you. It's the least Lizzy can do, don't you think? She owes me you."

"No," I said again. He frowned and I winced waiting for the slap. It didn't come.

Instead, he lifted me onto his knee and stroked my hair. "You don't understand, Tommy. This is the way it has to be. You are now my son."

"No," I said. "I'm Thomas Eugene Paris."

He held me tightly and whispered in my ear. "Thomas Eugene Paris drowned on Bracas V. You are now Thomas James Manning. Is that clear? Or will I have to hurt you?" He pinched my arm...hard.

"I don't care," I yelled, struggling to get away from him. "I don't want to be Tommy Manning and you can't make me."

He wrenched my arm behind my back and pulled on it until I cried out. "I told you not to yell at me. It shows a marked lack of respect. I'm not ever going to tell you that again. Got that?"

I nodded breathlessly and he let go of my arm. "Now let's try this again. You are my son. Thomas James Manning."

"No," I whispered, trying to be brave.

He sighed loudly. "It looks like we're going to have to do this the hard way. Do you want me to hurt you? Is that what it is?"

"No," I answered shakily.

He dropped me to the floor and then stood looking over me. "I think you do. You're just like Lizzy. You want me to hurt you."

"I don't, I don't," I cried frantically.

"You and your precious Lizzy. You're both the same. Well, how about if I go and kill her? How would you like that?"

I opened my mouth and then closed it, too scared to speak.

"You think I won't? You think I can't? I can, you know. Look how easy it was for me to take you. I can do it again. This time I'll take Lizzy and bring her here and then you can watch me kill her."

Speaking very softly, he picked me up once more and placed me on his knee. "I'll get my knife. I have a huge knife here, Tommy. It's long and very, very sharp." He stroked my face as he practically whispered the words. "You know what I'll do with it? I'll slash Lizzy's throat with it. Ear to ear."

I cried out in horror.

"She'll die, Tommy. And it will be all your fault. Just because you wouldn't pretend to be my son."

I whimpered in fright.

"Is that what you want, Tommy? Is it?"

"Please don't kill her," I whispered, terrified.

"Well that's up to you, Tommy. All you have to do is call me Daddy and I won't hurt her. It's such an easy thing to do, isn't it?"

I couldn't answer. I couldn't call him 'Daddy', I just couldn't. But I didn't want him to hurt Lizzy. He sighed and stood up, throwing me over his shoulder.

"I thought you cared about her more than that. Think about it for a while. Let's see if you've changed your mind after we've both had some sleep."

He took me over to the back of the shuttle and opened a trunk. "I think this might be the best place for you." He lay me down in the trunk and picked up the lid. "Don't worry, Tommy, you won't be alone in there. My uncle stays in there. He died some time ago. He's more of a skeleton now really, but I'm sure he'll look after you." He closed the lid.

It was dark and I couldn't move. I felt around beneath me. I was lying on top of something. It felt like bones. I screamed and pushed on the lid, but it wouldn't open.

The skeleton was alive and it was going to get me. I could feel it reaching it's arms out to grab me. I'd never been so scared in all my life. I screamed in terror as I felt a bony finger touch my neck.

Losing all control, I wet my pants and wailed at the top of my lungs. He still wouldn't let me out. I screamed and screamed and screamed. I screamed and cried so hard that I made myself sick, vomiting up all the macaroni I had eaten. I was still screaming when he finally opened the lid and pulled me out.

He shook his head at me and wrinkled his nose in disgust. "What a mess. You stink." The stench of urine and vomit was pretty overpowering. He cuffed me over the ear, but I was crying so hard that I hardly felt it.

My whole body shook with my sobs but I couldn't stop. He dragged me over to the bathroom cubicle and told me to clean myself up, while he cleaned out the trunk.

It took me some time, because I couldn't stop crying, but I finally managed to undress and get in the shower. He then came and took away my filthy clothes and handed me a pair of pajamas.

Once I had them on, he led me back to the pilot's chair and pulled me up onto his lap again. He stroked my hair and I shivered in fright.

"I'm sorry I had to scare you like that, Tommy," he said softly. "Let's hope I never have to do it again. You have changed your mind, haven't you, Tommy? You are going to be my little boy, aren't you? You are going to call me Daddy?"

I hesitated, but the thought of the trunk terrified me. "Yes, Daddy," I said.

His eyes gleamed brightly. "You don't know how happy that makes me, Tommy." He gave a huge sigh and hugged me to him, kissing the top of my head. "Now go to sleep. We'll be home tomorrow."

I laid in his lap for some time until I was sure he was asleep and then I carefully crawled off onto the floor. He moved a little but didn't wake up. I wanted to be as far away from him as possible.

~^~

Quietly creeping over to the back of the shuttle I searched around for a blanket. Staying well away from the trunk, I squatted down on the floor and curled up into a ball. Pulling the blanket over me, I shut my eyes and tried to go to sleep.

I awoke some time later as he shook my shoulder. I opened my eyes to see him frowning down at me. "What are you doing over here, Tommy?"

I swallowed nervously, waiting for him to hit me. He didnít. He just shook his head. "Didnít you want to stay with me?"

"I couldnít go to sleep," I babbled. "I didnít want to wake you up, so I came over here."

I saw his hand coming down and I winced, waiting for the strike. He stroked my hair instead. "Youíre a very thoughtful boy," he said with a smile and I relaxed a little. "I thought that you might have felt you were too big to sit on my knee. You donít think that, do you?"

I didnít know what to say. I didnít like sitting on his knee and I didnít want to sit on it ever again, but if I said yes, would he be mad? I decided to play it safe and shook my head.

He beamed at me. "Thatís good. I didnít think so either, especially after the terrible upset you had yesterday. Poor little thing. That trunk really scared you didn't it? You needed some comforting after that."

"But youíre the one that hurt me and put me in there," I said, before I could stop myself. I cowered back, knowing he would strike me now, for sure. But he still didnít. He just laughed.

"Thatís right. I had to teach you a lesson. Iím quite sure Iíll have to put you back in there again, too."

At my horrified look, he laughed even harder. "Donít panic. Iím not going to do it now. Todayís a special day. Letís have some breakfast. Are you hungry? How about some pancakes? This is going to be a wonderful day."

I nodded, just happy that he hadnít hit me. He went over to the replicator and I stood up and went over to the bathroom.

"Where the hell do you think youíre going?" he suddenly yelled.

I stopped dead and turned around slowly. "I-I have to go to the bathroom," I stammered.

"Did you ask me for permission?"

"N-No. I'm sorry."

"You don't ever walk away from me. You got that?"

I nodded my head vigorously. "I-I'm sorry."

"So ask!"

"May I go to the bathroom?"

He grinned. "Sure. But hurry up. You donít want your pancakes to get cold."

"Yes, Sir," I answered.

He frowned. "Donít call me Sir, Tommy. Call me Daddy." He sounded mad.

"Yes ..." I hesitated. I didnít want to call him 'Daddy'. I hated him and he wasnít my Daddy. His frown got even fiercer. "Yes, Daddy," I finally said.

He nodded. "Thatís better. Now be quick."

I hurried away, wishing I could lock myself in the bathroom cubicle and he could never get me out.

I was as quick as I could be, but he was still frowning when I came out. "You took your sweet time," he said angrily.

"I-Iím s-sorry."

"Get over here and eat. This is supposed to be a special day. I donít want you spoiling it."

We ate in silence. He was still glaring when we finished. "Clean up the mess. I have a course to lay in." He turned to the helm controls and I quickly did as he said.

When I was finished putting the empty plates and everything back in the replicator, I turned around to see him watching me. "Come here, Tommy."

I did not want to go to him. More than anything I did not want to go to him, but my feet slowly walked forward. I was too scared not to.

He held out a parcel to me. "Iíve got a present for you. I replicated it while you were in the bathroom. I told you today is a special day. It's the start of our new life together."

My throat tightened and I had to bite my lip not to cry. I didn't want to start a new life. I wanted to go home. I wanted my Mom and my Dad. I wanted them to come and take me away.

He waved the parcel in front of me. "Go on, take it. It's a birthday present."

I didn't want his stupid present and it wasn't my birthday. But I didn't say anything, too scared of what he might do if I did.

He frowned at me and waved the present once more. "What's the matter with you? Take it."

I took the parcel from him and he smiled in delight. "Go on... open it."

Carefully, I unwrapped the parcel not knowing what to expect. It felt kind of soft and squishy. I pulled out a stuffed toy. It was a weird looking thing and I wasnít exactly sure what it was meant to be.

"So, what do you think? Do you like it?"

"Itís very nice," I said politely. "Thank you very much."

He frowned. "You donít like it."

I shivered. "Yes, yes I do." I hugged it to me to prove my point.

He still continued to scowl. "I don't think you do. Or do you think you're too old to play with dolls?"

I looked at the toy in surprise. This was a doll? It didn't look like a doll to me. Besides, my father would never let me play with dolls. I had never even had a teddy bear.

I didn't want to say that to him though. I didn't think he'd like it. "I've never had a doll before," I said instead.

"Not even a bear to help you sleep at night?"

I shook my head. I'd never really wanted one.

"You donít know what that doll is, do you?"

I started to tremble and shook my head.

"Itís Trevis. You know, the tree monster from the Flotter stories. I never liked Flotter. He was too goody-goody. I always liked Trevis."

I didnít really know what he was talking about. My father had never let me interact with the Flotter stories, either. He didnít approve of them.

"Donít you know Flotter?"

I shook my head. "Iím sorry," I began. "My father doesnít let me...". Thatís as far as I got, before his fist came out and punched me in the face.

I went flying backwards, hitting my head on the floor as I fell. He was standing over me in seconds, picking me up and shaking me until I thought my head was going to roll off.

"Iím your father," he yelled at me. "Only me. No one else. Donít you ever forget it."

"Iím sorry. Iím sorry," I screamed as he began hitting and punching me wherever he could. The blows rained down constantly and there was nothing I could do to avoid them.

He then lifted me up and threw me into the trunk again, slamming down the lid before I even realized what was happening.

"You can stay in there all day," he yelled. "And this time Iím going to put some spiders in there to keep you company."

I screamed until I was hoarse, but he wouldnít let me out. I could still feel the skeleton beneath me and it felt like things were crawling over me. I continued to scream, even though my throat was raw.

I pleaded with him to let me out, but he just laughed. Then everything went quiet and I thought that he had gone. I was all alone in this dark, scary place and he'd left me in there.

My cries became even more frantic, but no help came. There was no air and I was going to die.

*

I donít remember a lot after that. My first clear memory is lying in a bed in a strange room and realizing that I was no longer in the trunk, or on board the shuttle.

I sat up slowly, hoping to see my mother or father or Lizzy. Anyone other than him. HE was there, though. Sitting in a chair next to the bed.

"So, you're finally awake. I thought you were going to sleep forever, Lazybones."

I shuddered as I looked at him. "Where are we?"

"Home. We've been home for two days. Unfortunately, you've been sick. But now that you're all better we can get to know one another."

He smiled at me. "I thought we might go fishing today, Son. How does that sound?"

I bit my bottom lip. I didn't want to go fishing with him. I wanted to go home. My real home. Not this place.

"Well?" he said impatiently. "Do you want to or not?"

"I donít know," I whispered.

"There are plenty of things we can do. I donít have to start work for another two months. We have plenty of time to get to know one another. If you don't want to go fishing today, we could go on a hike, or a picnic. Iíll let you decide."

I looked at him in fear. What was happening? Why was he doing this? Why was I here?

He sighed as he waited for me to answer. "Hurry up, Tommy. I haven't got all day."

Not sure what was going to happen, I opted for the picnic. He seemed pleased with my decision. I had no idea where I was, but I was hoping there would be some other people around. Someone that I could ask for help.

We picnicked along the banks of a river. It was very peaceful and under other circumstances I probably would have liked it. I did see some other people, but they were too far away to ask for help. I felt better though, knowing there were others around, and we werenít alone on this planet.

That night, I waited until I was sure he was asleep and then I crept quietly out of my bed. He was lying on the other side of the room, so I had to be very careful. All I could think of was sneaking away.

He didnít stir as I opened the bedroom door and slipped out of the room. I breathed a sigh of relief and quickly grabbed the jacket he had given me. I put it on and then picked up my boots and headed for the main door.

It was locked. I tried every window. They were all locked too. I began to panic as I ran into the bathroom. Maybe I could get out of the little window in there. But it was locked too.

Feeling thoroughly dejected, I headed back to the bedroom. Iíd have to try to escape when we were out hiking or something.

I stopped short when I saw he was standing in the bedroom doorway. "Were you trying to leave me, Tommy?"

I gulped. "No, Sir."

He stepped up to me and slapped my face...hard. "I told you to call me Daddy. I wonít repeat myself."

"Iím s-sorry, D-Daddy."

He crossed his arms over his chest and looked down at me. "What were you doing, if you werenít trying to leave me, Tommy?"

"I had to go to the bathroom."

He slapped me so hard that I fell to the floor. "Donít lie to me. Do you think Iím stupid? Since when do you go to the bathroom, wearing your jacket? Not to mention, carrying your boots."

I looked down at the boots I was still clutching in my hand and then climbed back up to my feet.

"Go and put those boots back by the door and hang your jacket up."

I did as I was told.

"Now, get here."

I went over to him reluctantly. "Now, Iíll ask you again. Were you trying to leave me?"

"I want to go home," I mumbled.

"You are home."

I didnít say anything. I just waited for him to hit me again.

He sighed. "Why donít you like it here? Itís a beautiful planet. I give you everything you could possibly want. Why are you being so ungrateful?"

"I don't like it here," I said suddenly. "You're always scaring me. You hit me and hurt me all the time."

"Thatís because you have to learn how to behave. Now, Iíve explained all of this to you before. When you be good I don't hurt you, do I? You've been brought up wrong and I have to fix that."

"I want to go home," I said again.

"I told you, you are home. I hate it when you make me repeat myself. When are you going to listen to me, Tommy?"

He grabbed me by the arm and his fingers dug into me painfully. "Youíre stubborn, arenít you? Just like your mother. She never did what she was supposed to either. Lizzy was always a wild one."

"Lizzyís not my mother," I yelled, struggling to get away from him.

"See, there you go again. What was one of the first things I told you? One of our first rules? You donít yell at me...not ever."

He dragged me into the bedroom and pushed me onto the bed. Rummaging around in a drawer, he pulled out a thin piece of cord. It made a whipping sound as he lashed it through the air.

Scampering back on the bed, I watched fearfully as he came towards me. "After Iím finished with you, youíll never yell at me again, will you, Tommy?"

~^~

I wake up suddenly and jump up from the bed again. I do not want to remember any of this. Iíd managed to forget it all. Why couldnít it remain buried?

I shouldnít be thinking about this. This was all because the Captain had made me remember the kidnapping. Talking about it hasn't helped. Just like I knew it wouldn't. It had made things worse. Now I couldn't get these childhood memories to leave me alone.

What the hell am I going to do? I'm shaking and pacing around the room. I'd made a decision, hadn't I? I'd talk to Chakotay. I would discuss what the Kazon did to me and let him think he'd made me feel better.

I could do that. I could pretend. I've done it before. I've learnt how to make counselors think they're helping me. I had to learn all that when I was a kid. This will be no different.

Chakotay will be easy to fool. He hasn't even had a lot of practice at counseling and he doesn't really know me at all. His preconceived opinion of me will help me here.

I just have to pull myself together. Fool him, fool the Captain and get back on with my life. Get back to the helm. That's the only place where all of this will go away.

I go over to the bathroom and splash some cold water on my face determined to make this work. It worked before. It will again. I can do this. I know I can.

Standing in the doorway of the bathroom I look at the shambles my room is in. With a sigh I begin to clean up the mess.

End Part Five