No Regrets - Part 39
Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.
Time passes slowly as we sit in the cell. The darkness is
oppressive and we try to take our minds off it by attempting to
come up with an escape plan that may have some chance of
It's not that easy, however, and after having to reject some of
Tom's more reckless proposals we lapse into an uncomfortable
I tried to point out to Tom that there was no sense in escaping
if we were killed in the attempt. He called me a 'chicken shit',
which I didn't appreciate, and has been sulking ever since.
The strange thing is, we're still sitting side-by-side on the
bunk, our hands clasped firmly in one another's. He's made no
attempt to pull his away, and neither have I. Holding hands
seems to offer us both some comfort in the all-consuming
Without warning the cell door opens and we both jump up from the
bunk. I'm more than grateful for the light that pours into our
A creature completely covered in fur enters, a weapon trained
directly on us in its hand. Another one enters behind it,
carrying a tray, and a third remains in the doorway, a weapon in
its hand also.
"At least they're going to feed us," Tom says lightly.
"How long do you intend to keep us here?" I ask.
"As long as it takes," the first creature answers.
"Could you at least leave some light on in here so that we can
see to eat?" Tom asks. "I hate to think of the mess we'll make
The creature gives a small nod. "Very well."
They leave quietly and I sigh with relief as a small light glows
on. It's not much, but at least we're not in the pitch dark
Tom looks down at the tray of food and drink suspiciously.
"This could be drugged."
"It could," I agree.
"Then again, they've already used a hypospray to drug you, so
why would they bother tampering with the food?"
"What do you want to do?" He turns to look at me.
"I think we're going to need to keep our strength up, so we'd
better take the chance."
Tom nods and picks up one of the bowls. "Some sort of stew."
We sit back on the bunk, the tray between us, and slowly and
carefully take a mouthful of food.
Tom screws up his face and swallows noisily. I'm sure the look
of disgust on his face is mirrored on my own.
"I don't believe this. There's leola root in this."
I nod in agreement, grimacing as I swallow. "Neelix did say
this was considered a delicacy in the delta quadrant. Many
races use it as a base ingredient because it's so nutritious and
"I can't believe this. Of all the peoples that could capture
us, we get caught by a race that uses leola root. I think I'm
going to be sick."
"I suggest you grin and bear it. It may be the only thing we
get to eat."
"I guess you're right. It's lucky I'm so damn hungry then,
He takes a sip of water and then another mouthful of stew. In
this way he manages to eat most of it and I do the same.
As soon as we finish eating, I focus my attention on our cell.
It's a lot smaller than I realized, the bunk taking up the whole
length of it. It's not very wide, either.
I turn to Tom and see that he's also taking in our surroundings.
Before I can say anything, the door opens and our captors come
in, this time to retrieve the tray.
As they leave, the light flickers off and we're plunged into
complete darkness once more. I reach out for Tom's hand in the
blackness, only to find he's no longer on the bunk.
"Why are they doing this? Why don't they just question us and
do whatever it is they have to do?"
I don't like the tone of his voice. He's no longer calm and
controlled. But, now that I think about it, he never has been.
Except when I was panicking about my loss of sight.
Most of the suggestions he made for our escape were completely
unworkable, which shows he wasn't thinking clearly, and then he
was very quiet. All during our meal he hardly spoke, the shock
of the leola root being the only exception.
I should have understood sooner, of course, but I hadn't
realized how small our cell was until a few moments ago.
Perhaps Tom hadn't either.
The last thing I need is for Tom to start panicking. He's
obviously been battling his rising hysteria the whole time we've
been in here, but now that he's seen the exact size of this cell
he can no longer control himself.
"Tom, come and sit down." I try to keep my tone soft and
reassuring. I hear movement and then a sudden bang. Another
one soon follows.
"Why don't you just question us and get it over and done with?"
he yells, banging on the door in earnest.
"Tom, they're trying to unsettle us," I say quietly.
"Well, guess what? It's working," he answers loudly.
"Tom, please come and sit down. That's not going to help. I
know you're feeling restless, but that's what they intend."
"A little," I admit. "But I'm determined not to give in to it.
Come and sit down and we'll talk. I'll try to help you keep
your mind focused. I'll get you through this, I promise."
He's silent for several moments and I wait hopefully for him to
"Chakotay," he finally says. "I'm feeling a little frustrated
at the moment, that's all. I don't like these mind games they
seem to be playing."
"Of course. Neither do I. Just keep telling yourself that and
you'll be fine."
"You think I'm going to have a panic attack, don't you?"
"Not if I can help it," I say firmly.
"Oh, for... Chakotay, I'm not claustrophobic in here. Okay?"
"That's good, Tom. Keep reinforcing that and I'm sure..."
"Chakotay! I mean it. I'm not claustrophobic."
"All right, Tom. Just don't get so agitated."
"I am *not* agitated," he shouts.
"You have to try and remain calm," I say, jumping up from the
bunk and groping around to find him in the dark. My hand
connects with his chest and I grab hold of his shoulders. "Deep
breaths, Tom. Take deep breaths."
"Shit! Why do I even bother?" he growls angrily, breaking free
from my hold and stepping away. There's a thud. "Ow!"
"Tom? Are you all right?"
"No, I'm not damn well all right. I just walked into the
goddamned wall. But I'm not about to jump all over you and
start rubbing up against you, if that's what you mean."
"That isn't what I meant," I say huffily, trying to dampen down
the disappointment that seems to be engulfing me at his words.
That's the very last thing that needs to be happening at the
moment. For all we know our captors could be monitoring this
cell, and besides that they could walk in at any time. Just
imagine if they walked in on us in the middle...
Why am I thinking like this? It's not going to happen. I seem
to have nothing but sex on the brain lately.
Tom pushes past me and I hear him sit down on the bunk. I
fumble my way over there as well. "Maybe we should try and get
some sleep," I suggest. "The bunk's wide enough for us both to
"If you think I'm curling up with you, you've got another think
coming," he snarls.
I sigh loudly. Tom's obviously going to be difficult. "We
could lie at opposite ends, but I can think of nothing worse
than having your feet in my face all night long."
"That goes for me too."
"Tom, will you just lie down and stop being such a pain in the
ass? I won't touch you, I promise."
"I think I'll sleep sitting up, thank you very much," he says
stiffly. It takes all my self-control not to reach out and
"Do what you want," I snap. "But move out the way, because I'm
lying down." I do exactly that, kicking Tom in the process. He
moves forward, away from the wall, and I manage to slide my legs
in behind him.
Now that he no longer has the wall to rest back against, I have
no idea how he thinks he'll be able to sleep. It's all so
stupid. There's plenty of room for him to lie beside me. And
he certainly doesn't have to worry about me trying anything.
The only thing I feel like doing at the moment is strangling
him, or knocking him senseless. That would be a rather simple
matter, judging by the way he's acting.
I'm surprised at how comfortable this bunk is actually.
Normally they're hard as a rock, offering no more comfort than
the floor. And our captors have supplied us with two pillows as
well. Very thoughtful of them.
I bunch one of them up under my head and push the other one at
Tom. "Here. I'm not exactly sure how you'll be able to use
this, sitting up like that, but it's all yours."
The pillow lands on my head with a thump. "You know what you
can do with that," he growls.
I feel him stand up. "Tom? What are you doing now?"
"If you must know, I need to use the bathroom facilities. Is
that all right with you?"
"Of course. Sorry I asked." I turn my face to the wall to
afford him some privacy. It's all rather ridiculous considering
I can't see him anyway, but I feel it's the decent thing to do.
I can hear him, however, which causes me to decide that I'd
better follow his example. As soon as he returns to the bunk,
I jump up. "I think I should use them too."
"Knock yourself out," he says dryly.
I almost do as I misjudge the distance and bang into the wall.
"A little to the right," Tom calls out heartlessly, while I
shake my head to clear it.
"Thanks so much," I say sarcastically, deciding that I *will*
strangle him when I get back to the bunk. However, when I
return, I discover Tom is lying down with his back against the
"What are you doing there?"
"Trying to get some sleep."
"Well, move over."
"Because that's where I was lying."
"So? There's plenty of room for you to lie in front of me."
"I don't want to lie in front of you. I want to..."
"What's the difference?" he interrupts.
"I was there first," I say childishly.
"So what? I don't see what the problem is. You wanted me to
lie down and I am. Why don't you do the same?"
Good question, and I wish I knew the answer. Perhaps it has
something to do with the fact I feel vulnerable lying in front
of him. That's ridiculous, I know, but I can now understand why
Tom was so reluctant to do it.
I lie down, telling myself that I'm being a fool, and try to
keep as much distance between us as possible without actually
falling off the bunk.
I lie there for some time, listening as Tom's breathing steadily
evens out. At least he seems relaxed enough to sleep. Once
I'm sure he's asleep, I move myself into a more comfortable
position, snuggling back closer to him.
This isn't how I'd pictured us sleeping together. Tom was
supposed to be cuddled against me, my arms wrapped protectively
around him. I wonder if Tom knew what I had in mind and that's
why he did this. I wouldn't put it past him.
I'm finally able to relax enough to start to drift off, my eyes
growing heavier and heavier. I'm about to sink into oblivion,
when Tom's arm suddenly snakes around my waist, and he nestles
right up against me, his face burrowing into the back of my
I'm sure he's still asleep. "Tom?" I whisper. There's no
Slowly and carefully, I roll onto my back, trying very hard not
to disturb him. He snuggles into my chest with a contented
sigh, throwing his arm across me and then wrapping one of his
legs around mine.
Spirits! He feels wonderful. This is even better than my
imaginings. I wish I could see him. Running my fingers through
his hair, I pray he stays like this and doesn't move away.
I close my eyes and imagine what he must look like now, so
innocent and childlike. So handsome, so incredibly... hot. No,
I'm too tired to think about that. Tell that to a certain part
of my anatomy.
I will myself to regain control, and then take a deep breath. I
must sleep. I must push all other thoughts from my head.
Easier said than done.
I wake up slowly, feeling comfortable and warm. I feel a little
disorientated, unsure of where I am and who I'm with. I'm with
somebody, that's for sure. I'm snuggled up against them
"Lights," I croak groggily, sitting up in surprise when nothing
happens. Memory returns and I groan. I remember where we are
and who I'm with. Shit!
"Chakotay?" I whisper. There's no answer, but is he asleep or
just pretending? If he'd woken up and found me cuddled against
him... It doesn't bear thinking about. "Chakotay?" I call
softly, not wanting to deliberately wake him up.
I decide to test him. I make my voice wobble, but still
whisper, just in case he really is asleep. "Chakotay, I can't
stand it in here another second. I think I'm about to panic."
I hold my breath, waiting for reassurance. It doesn't come. So
Chakotay really *is* asleep. Thank gods for that.
The reason I'd insisted on sleeping against the wall was so that
I could remain in control of the situation. As soon as I'd
fallen asleep, however, I'd ruined all that. I don't know how I
managed to get in the position I was in with Chakotay, but I'm
just relieved that he didn't wake up to find me like that.
I climb off the bunk as gently as possible, so as not to wake
him, the need to pee my first priority. Once finished, I grope
my way to the door and investigate it thoroughly, looking for
any weakness. I can't find anything. There's nothing on this
side at all.
I get down on my hands and knees, trying to figure out how the
damn thing opens. It swings inward, but I can feel no hinges of
any kind. There's not even a gap between the bottom of the door
and the floor. If there had been, at least a little bit of
light may have seeped in.
A slight rustling behind me alerts me to the fact that
Chakotay's waking up. "Tom?"
"By the door."
At that exact moment the door opens forcefully, knocking me in
the head and sending me flying backwards. As the light flows
over me, darkness descends.