No Regrets - Part 31
Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.
"Our rather discreet inquiries don't seem to be working,"
B'Elanna says in frustration.
We've been quietly searching for over an hour and have gone
back to the mess hall to discuss what to do next. "We've now
managed to alert half the ship that Tom's missing," B'Elanna
continues. "I don't know why we didn't just make a ship-wide
announcement and be done with it."
Neelix leans forward eagerly. "We could still do that. Just
ask anyone who's seen him to report here to us, or better still,
if he's with them to bring him here."
"I don't think so," I say rather stiffly. "I don't think Tom
would appreciate that."
"I don't think he's going to appreciate any of this," B'Elanna
"If you don't mind me asking, why *are* we searching for him?"
Neelix asks cautiously, looking at me out of the corner of his
eye. I'd already bitten his head off when he tried to ask
earlier. He'd insisted on coming with us, even though I
wouldn't tell him what was going on.
"I need to speak with him," I answer shortly.
"Well, yes, Commander, I understand that. I just don't
understand why it can't wait until morning. I'm sure that Tom
will be here for breakfast, just like he always is, and even if
he isn't, he'll show up for his duty shift. You said yourself
that you don't think anything has happened to him. I mean,
you're not worried about his safety or anything are you?"
"It's rather complicated to explain. I just don't want to wait
until morning to talk to him."
"Technically, it *is* morning, Commander. I still think..."
"Neelix," B'Elanna interrupts. "Chakotay and Tom had a...
slight misunderstanding and Chakotay wants to smooth things over
as soon as possible."
"Oh dear, oh dear. Why didn't you say so? Was Tom upset?"
"We're not really sure, but we think so. All I know is that
when we *do* find Tom, I'm going to strangle him for causing me
to worry like this."
"Well, I know when I first suggested it you said he wouldn't be
with Harry, but I really think that's where he is."
"Normally he probably would be," B'Elanna tells him, while I
shake my head. "Things are a little awkward between them
lately, however, and Tom wouldn't feel that he could go there."
"Awkward? Oh dear, oh dear! Have they had a misunderstanding
"Not exactly. I just think they would be a little...
uncomfortable around one another at the moment."
"I see. Well, of course, you know him better than I do, but I
still say he'd go to Harry. That's one place you haven't
checked you know." As we both open our mouths to speak, he
hurries on. "I know, I know. That's because he wouldn't be
there. I still say we should check to be sure."
"Maybe he's right, Chakotay. We haven't checked with the
Captain either," B'Elanna points out.
"I didn't want to worry her. I'm sure he's not with her."
"If a member of my crew is missing, then I think I should be
We all jump at the Captain's sudden appearance in the doorway.
She comes over to stand next to me, hands on her hips, staring
down on me in disapproval.
"It's not that he's missing," B'Elanna explains hurriedly. "We
just don't know where he is."
"How did you hear about this?" I ask in confusion.
"Vorik came to see me."
"He's on duty in engineering and heard you were searching for
Tom. He wasn't sure whether he should relay the information he
had or not. He thought it might be considered as gossip."
"He shouldn't have woken you up in the middle of the night,
Captain," Neelix says, slightly scandalized.
"I'm afraid that's my fault. I told him if he ever had trouble
deciphering what was or was not gossip he could come to me day
or night and I'd help him to clarify it. I didn't think he'd
take me quite so literally, of course."
"Does this mean that Vorik knows where Tom is?" I ask.
"Yes. So do I for that matter. Vorik saw him go into Harry's
quarters. I'm assuming he's still there."
Damn! I don't like the idea that Tom's been with Harry all this
"I thought so," Neelix says smugly.
I frown at him in annoyance, but he merely stands up beaming
around at us all. "Now that that little mystery's been solved,
would anyone like something to eat?"
"It's half past three in the morning," B'Elanna protests.
"We could all have an early breakfast."
"No, thank you," we all say at once.
"So, now that you know where he is, what are you going to do?"
B'Elanna asks me.
"I don't like the fact that he's been with Harry all this time,"
I answer fretfully. "Why hasn't he gone back to his quarters by
"Maybe he's sleeping there. Harry's slept at Tom's when he's
been upset before, he may be returning the favor."
"But Harry's in love with Tom; Tom shouldn't be sleeping there,"
Neelix thumps the tabletop with his palm. "I thought so."
"He's probably too upset to think about things like that,"
B'Elanna says, ignoring Neelix.
"Upset?" Kathryn says, a dangerous edge to her tone. "Why is
"Because Chakotay's a damn idiot."
Kathryn turns to me for an explanation but before I can say
anything, B'Elanna scrapes her chair back and stands up.
"Listen, I have an idea. I'll go and see what's going on with
Tom and Harry. They may be still talking, but I think I'll find
the two of them asleep. I'll wake Tom up and bring him back
here to talk to you. Don't worry, I'll carry him if I have to.
Meanwhile, you tell the Captain how stupid you've been." She
races away before I can open my mouth.
The Captain sits across from me and folds her arms over her
chest, her expression clearly stating she expects a full
explanation. I sigh in resignation.
Neelix hurries over to the kitchen. "I'll put the coffee on,"
he calls over his shoulder. "Don't say anything until I come
I'm barely finished the shortened version of tonight's
happenings when B'Elanna returns, looking rather subdued. Tom
isn't with her. She falls into the seat beside me.
"Was Tom there?" I ask anxiously.
She nods. "He was asleep."
"He refused to come and speak with me, didn't he?" I can't
really blame him, of course, but...
"I didn't ask him to. I'm sorry, Chakotay," she says softly,
suddenly squeezing my arm. "It seems I was right all along.
Tom *was* in love with Harry after all. Oh, Chakotay, I'm so
sorry. So terribly sorry."
"Are you sure?" It's the Captain who speaks. I'm finding it
"Absolutely. They're in bed together, snuggled up sleeping."
"Well that doesn't mean Tom's in love with Harry."
"No, Captain. You don't understand." She avoids looking at me.
"They're naked and the place reeks of sex."
I find it difficult to breathe all of a sudden. "You're
certain?" I manage to choke out.
She squeezes my arm once more and then taps her nose. "I'm a
Klingon, remember. Besides, the wash cloths on the floor sort
of gave it away."
I stand up abruptly, refusing to look at the three faces staring
up at me in concern. "I'd say that's rather conclusive," I say
quietly. "If you'll all excuse me..."
"Chakotay, are you all right?" Kathryn asks worriedly.
"I will be. I had my chance and I messed it up. I don't want
any of you to say anything to Tom about this. I want your
words." They all nod solemnly. "It's best this happened this
way. At least Tom realized how he felt before I could confuse
matters even more. I know he'll be happy with Harry."
"Oh, Chakotay," Kathryn says sadly. "I don't like to think of
Harry being hurt, but I hate to see you hurting like this too."
"I'll be fine, Captain. If it's all right with you, I'd like to
take tomorrow off, but after that I'll be able to carry on
"Take all the time you need, Chakotay."
"I'd rather keep busy, Captain, but thank you."
I leave with as much dignity as I can.
"Shit!" I hear B'Elanna exclaim.
"I couldn't agree more," Kathryn adds.
I'd been determined to speak with Chakotay as soon as possible
this morning, but he wasn't on the bridge. The Captain said he
had some work to catch up on and couldn't be disturbed.
I've felt frustrated and on edge all day, wanting to fix things
for Tom and being thwarted in my effort. I'm really worried
about him. He refused to eat any breakfast or lunch and it
doesn't seem he's going to attempt dinner, either.
B'Elanna finding us in bed together this morning - or maybe it
was still last night - hadn't helped things either. I'd woken
up suddenly to see her standing over us, a strange look on her
face. Tom had been burrowed in against me, his head resting on
my shoulder, his arm flung over my chest.
She'd put her fingers to her lips and whispered quietly. "Don't
wake him up, I just wanted to be sure he was all right.
Obviously he is." Backing out of the room, she'd continued.
"Way to go. I'm so happy for both of you."
I'd blushed scarlet as I realized what she meant. Sitting up
hurriedly to try to explain it wasn't exactly what it looked
like - well it was, but it wasn't - I'd woken up Tom. She blew
us both a kiss and disappeared out the door.
I'd tried to talk to her as well today, but she'd been strangely
unavailable too. Damn it! All I want to do is straighten
things out. Why is it so damn hard?
Tom's still playing around with his food, and I've eaten as much
as I'm going to, so I suggest we leave. Just as we walk out the
doors, the Captain walks in.
"Tom, Harry." I'm surprised to see a decidedly forced smile on
"Captain," we say in unison.
"We thought we'd have an early night," I answer, as Tom looks
dolefully down at the floor.
"I see." Her smile stretches, but somehow it doesn't reach her
"Goodnight," I say awkwardly. Tom doesn't say anything.
I can feel her eyes watching us as we leave and I feel
uncomfortable all of a sudden.
"Tom, is it my imagination or did the Captain seem a little
"I didn't notice," Tom mumbles gloomily, stepping into the
turbolift and leaning back against the wall.
"Well, she did. I'm sure of it."
"Maybe she's had a bad day. Harry, why do you think Chakotay
wasn't on the bridge today?"
"The Captain said he had a lot of work to do."
"You don't think he was avoiding me, do you? I've probably
embarrassed the hell out of him."
"I'm sure he'll be there tomorrow." He'd better be, because I
intend to talk to him, no matter what.
Tom wants to go to bed immediately so I leave him to it and make
my way back to my quarters. I don't really feel tired, although
I know I should, but I'm not sure what to do with myself. A
message is waiting for me. Greg Ayala wants me to meet him in
Sandrine's for a drink.
I read the message one more time, racked with indecision, before
finally making up my mind. A drink would be nice, and I like
Greg a lot. The invitation is a pleasant surprise. I wonder
if I should change out of my uniform, but he's probably been
waiting long enough as it is.
Greg's with a whole bunch of guys when I get there and I go over
and join them. The others gradually drift away until it's just
the two of us and we talk quietly for some time.
He tentatively asks me about my feelings for Tom, and before I
can stop myself, I find I'm telling him all about my infatuation
and the things it made me do. I even tell him about last night
and how we found out we weren't in love. He's so quiet and easy
to talk to. "Have I shocked you?" I ask worriedly.
"A little, I think. But I can't help feeling glad you're not as
naïve as you look."
"I'm not naïve," I protest and he grins at me and winks.
"So I've discovered. And Tom and you really are just friends?"
"I don't know if 'just friends' is the right way to describe it,
but we're not going to be lovers, that's for sure."
He gives a small smile before frowning in concern. "Is Tom
going to be all right? He looked rather miserable today. Maybe
this all hit him rather hard?"
"No, he's not miserable about us. I can't tell you about that,
but believe me, he feels exactly the same way I do."
"That's good enough for me," Greg says, suddenly taking my hand
in his. "I really like you, Harry. I'd like for us to be more than
just friends, too. Do you want to go out tomorrow night? I've
found a holoprogram I'd like to show you."
"Are you sure? I'm not a very nice person, Greg."
"I happen to think you are. And I wouldn't have asked you if I
"You won't have a problem with Tom? He'll always be important
"I know that, and I don't have a problem with it. I think I'd
like to talk to Tom, though, just to be sure that he feels the
same way you do."
"He does," I say earnestly.
"Good. There's no reason we can't go out then, is there?"
"No reason at all," I say with a smile. I can't wait to tell
Tom. I know he'll be as pleased as I am.
I've stayed in my quarters all day, trying to come to terms with
B'Elanna came to see me for a few minutes this morning before
some trouble in engineering had her scuttling away. She's found
herself in a rather awkward position. Extremely happy for Tom
and Harry, but at the same time, terribly upset for me.
Kathryn feels the same way, although she's not as happy for Tom
and Harry as B'Elanna is. She told me she thinks Tom's made a
mistake, and as much as she'd hate to see Harry hurt, she thinks
Tom would be better with me.
Neelix has also shown his concern for me, by constantly plying
me with food all through the day. He seems to be under the
impression my unhappiness will cause me to wither away.
Trying to point out that I won't starve to death in just one day,
fell on deaf ears, and I found myself eating everything he
brought me, much to his delight.
His concern has been touching, however, and talking to him has
helped. He's proven to be a very understanding and sympathetic
And now I realize that that's what I need. I need my friends
around me. Greg Ayala and some of the old Maquis group.
They're often in Sandrine's at night.
The computer confirms that Greg *is* there, so I decide to go
down and join him. He's always been a good friend. I'm sure
he'll be able to help cheer me up a little.
To be continued in part 32.