No Regrets - Part 28
by T'Pam

Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.


*Tom's POV*

I shake my head in disbelief. What the hell just happened?
What the hell did he say?

'You should be with Harry, not me.' It takes a few seconds for
the words to register and when they do I almost laugh in
disbelief. Chakotay thinks I'm in love with Harry too. What is
it with everyone?

He closes his eyes, as if the very sight of me is abhorrent to
him, and the urge to laugh dies instantly. This is serious.

Slowly sitting up from my prone position on the floor, I try to
swallow the huge lump that's suddenly formed in my throat. He'd
rejected me. Shit! I mean, I *have* been rejected before,
but... shit!

Chakotay opens his eyes and stares at me as I attempt to sort
out all the jumbled thoughts swirling around my head. I can't
speak. The lump's still there, blocking any chance I have of
telling him he's wrong. I'm not in love with Harry.

"You should be doing this with him, not me," he continues to
explain, using that patient tone he seems to reserve especially
for me. The slightly patronizing one that always makes me
clench my teeth and fight the urge to lash out.

"You're in love with each other. I see it in your eyes whenever
the two of you are together."

Bullshit! He might be seeing that in Harry's eyes, but he's not
seeing it in mine. It's not possible. It can't be. I mean,
I'd know if I were in love with Harry. Now wouldn't I?

"Things got out of control, Tom. I know you didn't really want
that to happen."

What the hell would he know? I admit, I'd been a little
surprised to realize that I was lying on top of him with my
trunks down around my knees. But, as soon as it'd registered
properly, I was more than ready to continue.

And he'd certainly wanted it, hadn't he? For a few brief
moments, until sanity returned, he had anyway.

He stands up carefully, watching me the whole time. I remember
the gentle way he'd rolled me away, pulling my swim trunks back
up to cover me, and I cringe with embarrassment. The memory
causes the lump in my throat to ache painfully and my eyes start
to sting.

That's all I need... to start bawling in front of him. That
would *really* convince him that I'm out to milk every drop of
sympathy I can get. I scramble to my feet, keeping my eyes on
the floor.

"I'm so sorry for what I said, Tom," he continues. "I know it
was unfair. I shouldn't have said any of that. Things really
do seem to get out of hand between us, don't they?"

He's waiting for me to answer, but I can't. The threatening
tears are still too close to the surface. Surely I've humiliated
myself enough for one day?

"Tom? I don't know what to say. I'm sorry about what happened
just then. It was all my fault; I initiated the whole thing. I
should never have kissed you like that."

"Then why did you?" I ask hoarsely. He looks a little surprised
that I've finally spoken.

"I told you. Things got a little out of hand. Please accept my
apologies," he says, his voice stiff and rather formal. "I
would never forgive myself if I'd spoilt any chance you and
Harry may have to be happy together."

"You're assuming rather a lot." That's good coming from me, I
know. My voice is rather shaky but I continue anyway. "I'm not
in love with Harry. We're..."

"It's obvious."

"It can't be," I deny quickly, finally able to look at him
again. "I should know how I feel, now shouldn't I?"

He looks away and shakes his head. "You've been confused

"Not *that* confused. I still know how I feel. I'm not in love
with Harry. I came here tonight to tell you that it's *you* I'm
in love with."

"Me?" His face pales. "But you don't even like me."

"That's not true. I've always respected and admired you. Ever
since the lift I've done nothing but think about you. I think
about what happened and I want it to happen again. I..."

"Don't, Tom. Don't do this." He steps back away from me.

"Don't say something that you can't possibly mean. You're even
more confused than I realized."

I can feel my face paling also. "No, I'm not."

"You say you respected and admired me. That's not the same
thing as liking someone. You couldn't possibly like me and
believe all those things you accused me of."

I feel as if he's slapped me in the face. "I apologized for
that." Is this his way of punishing me? Turning me away for
misjudging him?

"If B'Elanna hadn't set you straight, you'd still be believing
all of it though, wouldn't you?"

"I... I don't know," I mumble. I'd been having doubts, hadn't
I? I can't remember now. And isn't he right, anyway? How could
I even think those things about him? I couldn't possibly care
for him and believe all that shit in the first place.

He's right. He's always right. And I've just made a complete
ass of myself. I cringe as I watch him pace around the room,
running his hands through his hair.

So, does this mean he believes all that shit he said to me? He
really *does* think I was milking the situation for sympathy?

What sort of a person does he think I am? The answer to that is
obvious. I've always known his opinion of me isn't very high,
but this confirmation is more painful than I ever could have

I see it all now. He got carried away in the heat of the moment
and then tried to get rid of me by trying to convince me I was
in love with Harry. Only, I screwed that all up, didn't I?

I told him I was in love with him. The last thing he'd want is
a sudden declaration of love from me. I've probably offended
his sensibilities or something. No wonder he looks so troubled.

He's obviously trying to figure out a way to let me down gently.
The ultimate, honorable first officer to the core. My humiliation
is complete.

The least I can do is make things easy for him.


*Chakotay's POV*

Tom said he was in love with me. It'd been hard to take in. I
didn't want him to say something he might not mean. I had to
stop him when he tried to tell me how much he wanted me.

I'd been scared that I would throw caution to the wind and pull
him into my arms once more. And what would have happened after
our passion had been spent? If Tom had realized his mistake?
Would there have been bitter recriminations? There would
definitely have been regrets.

Tom says he's done nothing but think about me since the lift,
and that's what worries me. He didn't like me before that; I
know he didn't. I'd like nothing more than for him to love me,
but unfortunately I think he's confused. How can he love me
when he doesn't even like me?

He certainly hasn't acted as if he's in love with me. He's
behaved that way with Harry. And I'd been so sure he was in
love with Harry. I'd seen it in his eyes. Hadn't I?

B'Elanna had been convinced also and she knows Tom better than
anyone. She said he was blind to his feelings, so I want to be
sure. I want to be absolutely certain before I declare my
feelings for him.

I know it's wrong. Tom's taking all the chances here, not me.

He's opened himself up to me and my pride won't let me do the
same. It's an unprincipled thing to do and I've always prided
myself on my principles.

I feel slightly sick at the thought. How can I behave this way?
I can't let him take all the risks here. It's time for me to
take some too.

I should tell him that I love him too, and explain that what
happened in the lift happened because I've been attracted to him
for a long time. He needs to know how I feel.

We don't have to rush into anything, there's plenty of time.

We'll take things slow, giving Tom the opportunity to sort out
his feelings where Harry and myself are concerned. I just have
to explain this to him. I'm sure he'll agree it's the best
thing to do, all things considered.

His voice stops my troubled pacing. "I think I've just made a
total fool of myself."

I wait, finding it difficult to breathe.

"You're right. I thought I was in love with you, but you've
made me see that I was wrong. I guess I've romanticized what
happened in that lift to a certain extent. My memories are a
little hazy about the whole thing, actually. You're the first
guy I've ever done anything like that with, and I think I was
being a little naïve. I don't have to tell you that though, do I?"

I shake my head, unable to respond in any other way. He's just
confirmed everything I'd been secretly worried about.

He clears his throat before continuing. "My relationship with
B'Elanna was kind of crazy at the time, too. We'd had an
argument the night before and my emotions were in turmoil. I
felt as if she didn't want me anymore. You made me feel wanted
and needed. I'm sorry I turned it into something more."

Thank the Spirits I didn't get the chance to confess my feelings
to him. To think, I'd been on the brink of admitting all to
him. Confessing that I'd been in love with him for months and
wanted nothing more than for him to feel the same way about me.
I can only imagine how much more confusion that would have
caused him.

He stands for a few more moments, looking at me awkwardly, and
then turns away. "I'd better go."

I nod. "Of course." I know I should say something to him, but
I have no idea what.

He turns back to face me as the door opens. "I hope I didn't
embarrass you."

"You didn't embarrass me at all," I say softly.


"Goodnight," I whisper. And he's gone.

I want to race after him. Tell him to come back. Tell him I
love him. But I won't do that, of course. What would be the

Instead, I make my way sadly to bed.


*Tom's POV*

That seemed to go rather well. I've walked away relatively
unscathed. I made a fool of myself, but he seemed to buy my
explanation. So what if he thinks I'm a totally pathetic,
naïve idiot? He can just add that to all the rest of the less
than flattering things he already thinks about me.

I don't care. And I'm *not* going to start blubbering. I do
have some pride left. Not much after that little fiasco, but
some. I refuse to wander around the ship bawling my eyes out.

I'll wait till I get back to my quarters to do that, but I don't
feel like going back there. I don't know what I want to do.

He didn't say anything, but I don't know what I expected him to
say. Was he supposed to sigh with relief? Was he supposed to
say, 'You made a mistake? Thank Gods for that?' But it would
have been nice if he'd said something.

It doesn't matter, though, because I don't care. It's probably
better that he didn't say anything, because if he *had* said how
relieved he was I don't think I could have handled it.

I should have listened to B'Elanna, of course. She hadn't
wanted me to go back to Chakotay and I shouldn't have. I just
ended up making such a mess out of everything.

What had Chakotay said? I was even more confused than he
thought I was. B'Elanna told me I was confused too. I think
they're right. I'm totally, completely confused.

Maybe what I said to Chakotay was true. I'm really not in love
with him. My explanation for why I thought I was may be true.
I know that's what B'Elanna believes. Maybe that *is* what

All I can think about is the way Chakotay made me feel as we
made out on the floor. I'd been ready to do anything for him...
anything. And he pushed me away, rejected me.

I told him that I loved him and he'd rejected that too. Refused
to believe me. Virtually told me it wasn't possible. I can't
remember ever feeling this hurt from a potential lover's
rejection before.

Harry would never hurt me like this. He cares about me. He
loves me. He's always loved me. He'd never hurt me the way
Chakotay has. If I should be in love with anybody, then it
should be Harry; it shouldn't be Chakotay.

When have I ever really known how I feel? I'd thought I was in
love with B'Elanna. I'd deluded myself about that for a long
time. Maybe I'm wrong about Chakotay too. And if I'm wrong
about Chakotay, am I wrong about Harry?

Everyone keeps telling me I'm in love with him. Am I? Am I in
love with Harry and just too blind to see? I hadn't thought so,

Despite the fact I'd promised him I'd never barge in unannounced
again, I do just that. The steady sound of his breathing tells
me he's asleep as I stand over him, peering down in the

The smooth plains of his face look innocent and trouble-free, and

I have to stifle the urge to run my fingers through his hair.

He's such a good person. A decent person. He deserves so much
more than what life's dealt him so far.

Tears well in my eyes as I stare down at him. It's all so
simple for him. He's in love with me. He's known it right from
the start. Why can't it be that simple for me?

Curling up in the chair next to his bed, I let the tears run
freely. Why can't I be in love with Harry? Everything would be
so easy if I was. And I need things to be easy.

I don't want an explosive relationship like the one I had with
B'Elanna. I want things to be gentle and smooth and... easy.

I guess I want Harry. I want the type of relationship I know I
could have with him. I want to be in love with him. All of a
sudden I want that very much.

To be continued in part 29.