No Regrets - Part 29
Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.
I'm not sure what wakes me, but I sit up in bed and listen
carefully. I can hear the sound of heavy breathing, and feeling
a little frightened, I call out for the lights.
Tom's curled up in the chair next to my bed, his head bent low,
and I jump in surprise. "What are you doing there?"
He doesn't answer, and I realize that something's really wrong
with him. He seems to be gasping for air. "Tom?" I scramble
to the side of the bed and reach across to grab his arms.
Finally, he looks up at me, and I'm startled to see there are
tears streaming down his face. He looks completely wretched as
he tries to control his breathing so that he can speak.
"I'm so mixed up, Har."
Fresh tears flow down his face, and my alarm increases. "What's
"I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't know who I am or
how I feel," he says between sobs. "I think I'm crazy."
"You're not crazy," I say firmly.
I don't know what's going on, but I honestly thought I'd never
see Tom in my quarters again. Even though he'd insisted things
wouldn't change between us, I hadn't allowed myself to believe it.
Something terrible must have happened, because I've never seen
him this upset before. Looking over at the time, my eyes widen
in surprise. Less than two hours ago, Tom had been sitting here
comforting me. He'd been his usual strong, supportive self.
What could have happened to affect him so drastically?
I'm starting to worry that he's going to make himself sick, and
leaning towards him, I give his arms a little shake. "Please
tell me what's happened, Tom."
"I shouldn't be here. I'm sorry. I'll go."
"Tom, please talk to me. Tell me what's wrong."
"Nothing's the way it's supposed to be," he says brokenly.
"Everything's such a mess."
"What is, Tom? What are you talking about?"
"I made a big mistake tonight, Harry. I thought I knew how I
felt... but now... I don't think I did. I'm so confused..."
His voice breaks and he ducks his head once more.
"I wish you'd tell me what happened," I say softly.
"I can't. I don't want to hurt you."
"It hurts me to see you like this."
He shakes his head and pushes himself up and out of the chair.
"I shouldn't have come here. I'd better go."
I still have hold of his arms and refuse to let him go, standing
up from the bed instead. Completely forgetting my state of
undress, I pull Tom close to me. He doesn't resist, simply
leaning against me letting me support him.
Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, it registers that
I'm standing here, completely naked, with an almost equally
naked Tom Paris in my arms. However, I'm too worried about him
for it to mean what I know it should.
I don't think Tom's even realized our situation as I hear him
take great gasps of air in his battle to regain some control.
I caress his back gently and wait for him to calm down.
"Harry." His voice is muffled against my shoulder. More of a
whisper than anything else. "I want..."
His voice breaks off, and I wait for a few moments before
prompting him. "What, Tom?"
"You're such a good person, Harry. The best friend I've ever
had. I want it to be more."
My hand stops caressing his back and I push him away a little so
that I can see his face. "What are you saying?"
"Both B'Elanna and Chakotay think I'm in love with you and too
blind to see it. I think they're right. I think I *am* in love
I stagger back against the bed, sitting down with a bump, and
taking Tom with me. "You what?"
"I love you, Harry."
He's sprawled halfway across my lap and attempts to sit up, his
stomach brushing against my groin as he does so. My body may
not have reacted to Tom's closeness before, but now it's more
than ready to. I'm mortified to feel myself growing hard as Tom
struggles awkwardly to sit next to me.
I wonder if I should throw myself under the covers, but it's a
little late for that. There's no way to hide what's happening
to me anyway.
"I'm sorry," I say weakly, as Tom stares down at my rapidly
swelling erection. I stand up quickly, intending to go and get
my robe, but he grabs my arm and pulls me down on the bed again.
"Tom..." I start to say, but he leans forward and gently touches
my lips with his. There's no way I can stop myself from
responding as his mouth begins to move over mine. Boy, can he
kiss! I mean, I'd always thought he could, but I'd never
imagined it would feel this good.
I moan with disappointment as he tears his mouth from mine.
"I've been such a fool," he chokes out, and I have to shake my
head to clear it. "I really do love you, Harry."
I don't know what to say. I'm finding it hard to breathe all of
a sudden. Tom loves me? He's finally seen the truth. I feel
like pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. This is
exactly what I'd always fantasized. And it's happening. It's
Now that the rather heady excitement from Tom's kisses has
abated to some degree I can think a little clearer. Something
isn't right. As much as I'd love for it to be true, I find
myself doubting Tom's words.
Why am I feeling the way I am? Why haven't I thrown myself into
his arms again? Why isn't my heart pounding with excitement?
Why aren't I crying hysterically with happiness? I mean, after
all, I've dreamed of this day for so long.
Why haven't I done something other than just sit here looking at
Tom in stunned disbelief?
I want it to be true. I want it desperately, but something
isn't right. Something happened tonight after Tom left me and I
need to know what it was.
I can't sleep. That whole scene with Tom keeps playing out in
my head. Each time, his sudden reversal sounds less believable.
A lot of what he said *did* pass through my mind, I admit, but
now that he's said it, it seems less and less likely. He's not
a naïve kid. He may not have been with a man before, but he's
How long had I paced around in front of him trying to decide
what to do? He'd just told me that he loved me. I'd argued
that he didn't even like me. How long had he stood there,
probably feeling more and more foolish by the second?
Long enough to decide to salvage some pride? Knowing Tom,
that's exactly what happened. Why didn't I follow my sudden
impulse to race after him?
I'd been so sure he was in love with Harry. But, as he pointed
out, he'd know if he was. They've always been close. Was I
seeing things that weren't there? Was B'Elanna?
What have I done? Has my reluctance to admit my feelings ruined
everything? Can I explain it all to Tom? Will he let me?
I can't wait until morning to try and fix this. It might be too
late. I have to see him now. I know it's late, but I have to
go to him. If I'm wrong, and Tom really did mean what he said,
then my pride will suffer, but was does that matter? Because if
I'm right - and I'm sure I am - then...
I dress quickly and make my way to Tom's quarters. There's no
answer to my chime, but the computer tells me he's in there. I
hesitate and then press the chime again.
Perhaps he's asleep, although I would have thought he'd find
that difficult. I thought, like me, he'd be up and pacing
There's still no answer and without giving it another thought I
override his lock and walk in. The room's dark and eerily
silent. "Tom?" I call quietly.
Refusing to stumble around in the dark I call for lights, and am
dismayed to see no sign of Tom. The bathroom? Is he there?
I knock softly, but there's no answer, and a quick search soon
proves he's not in there either. Looking around his quarters, I
see his clothes folded in a neat pile on the couch, his comm
badge sitting squarely on the top of them.
Of course! All Tom was wearing was his swim trunks. He didn't
have his badge on. Where the hell is he though? It's almost
two o'clock in the morning. Where can he be at this hour? And
how can I find him? Without his comm badge it's going to be
Is he sitting in an observation lounge somewhere? Or the mess
hall? Maybe he's gone to the Delta Flyer. The computer soon
tells me that there's no one in the observation lounges, mess
hall, or Delta Flyer. There's no one in the shuttlebay even.
Sickbay? No. As ridiculous as it sounds... my office? No.
Damn it! Where is he? Perhaps he's wandering aimlessly around
the ship. In his swim trunks? I doubt it. But where can he be?
If I'm correct and Tom does love me then he would have been
upset when he left. Where would he have gone? B'Elanna? He'd
been talking to her earlier. Would he have gone back to her?
They're even closer now than when they were a couple. He may
have wanted someone to talk to.
I slap my comm badge. "Chakotay to Torres."
It takes a few moments for her to answer. "Torres here."
"B'Elanna, is Tom there with you?"
"Tom? Why would Tom...? What's happened? Where are you?"
"I'm in Tom's quarters and he's not here. I was hoping he was
"Well, he isn't. The last I saw of him he was going to see you.
That was hours ago."
"He did. I'm sorry. It doesn't matter."
"Of course it matters. Stay right there. I'm on my way."
"That's not necessary."
"Just shut up and wait for me."
I pace around Tom's quarters looking for a clue. He's not with
B'Elanna. Would he have gone to Harry? How do I feel about him
going to Harry? Not very good, actually.
But, the question is, would he have gone to Harry? Knowing
Harry's in love with him, would he have gone there to talk about
what happened between the two of us? I can't imagine it.
Tom would never hurt Harry that way. That's, of course, if
Tom's ever believed that Harry's in love with him. He may not
But what if he did? What do I do? I'm still trying to decide
whether to comm Harry when B'Elanna arrives. Her hair's in
complete disarray, her t-shirt back to front, and she's frowning
fiercely. "What's going on?"
"I'm just wondering if he may be with Harry."
"I wouldn't have thought so. Things are a little awkward
between them at the moment."
"Very. And that's all I'm saying. Now, what the hell happened?
Tom was supposed to be coming to you to apologize..."
"And? Obviously something else happened."
"Things got a little out of hand between us. I said some things
I shouldn't have said..."
"What sort of things?" She growls softly, stepping towards me.
"Damn it, Chakotay! What the hell did you do?"
"It's not what you think," I say quickly.
I find myself telling her everything. She hits my arm furiously
when I tell her I'm in love with Tom.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me? I wouldn't have broken your
jaw if I'd known that."
"How could I tell you? I didn't want to come between the two of
you. You were having enough problems as it was."
"You should have at least told Tom. You let him think he was
some sort of convenient rubbing post for you. That wasn't
"I know. I didn't know how he'd react if I told him how I felt.
I kept trying to convince myself it was only attraction; it
wasn't anything deeper. I told myself I didn't want to put him
in the position of having to choose between us or confuse things
between you even more. I didn't want to hurt you like that."
"But I don't understand why you didn't tell me after we broke
up. All those times I spoke to you about Tom and Harry. I
would never have said any of that if I'd known how you felt."
"I realize that."
"You lied to me, Chakotay. I asked you more than once if you
had feelings for Tom and you denied it each time."
"I'm sorry, but I didn't feel as if I could tell you. You
wanted Tom to be with Harry."
"You're wrong, Chakotay. I didn't want Tom to be with Harry, I
thought that's what *he* wanted. I just wanted him to be happy.
I wouldn't have cared who he was with.
"Okay, that's a lie. I don't think I'd have liked him to get it on with
Seven, but anybody else would have been fine. I thought he wanted
to be with Harry because of the way he acted, and I was happy
that he'd found someone who loved him as much as Harry did.
"I didn't realize he was doing all of that for my benefit. I
don't really understand it all, but he was trying to get us
together for some reason. He didn't explain all that properly."
"So you don't think he's in love with Harry?"
"Not after what he said to me tonight... no."
"But Harry's in love with Tom. I'm sure of it."
"You're right. Harry *is* in love with Tom. Tom only found out
tonight. That's why things are so awkward between them and why
I don't think Tom would have gone to Harry."
"Then where is he? He would have been upset and confused when
he left me. I have no idea what he would have been thinking."
"That makes two of us. I never know what's going on in that
crazy head of his."
"You don't think he'd do something silly, do you?"
"That depends on what you mean by silly. Tom doesn't always
think things through rationally. We're going to have to find
him. I'm surprised he didn't come to me, actually, but I'm
wondering if he may have gone to Neelix."
"They're very good friends."
"I know that, but..."
"Not being able to go to Harry and for some reason not wanting
to come to me, Neelix is the obvious answer."
"I suppose so," I say doubtfully.
"Unless, of course, he went to the Captain."
"The Captain? I really don't think..."
"Maybe not, but we can't afford to dismiss the notion. Let's
go. I don't think we should be comming all over the place
looking for him. We need to be a little more discreet. And by
the way, before I forget. You're a damn fool."
"I know," I say sadly.
To be continued in part 30.