No Regrets - Part 41
by T'Pam

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


*Tom's POV*

"About time," I say, pushing myself off the bunk. I'm rather
glad of the interruption actually.

"Come with us."

We start to walk out of the cell, but their spokesperson steps
in front of me. "Not you. Just him."

Chakotay is pulled roughly out of the door.

"Where are you taking him? What are you going to do?"

"We have been perfecting the serum. It should work now."

"And what if it doesn't?"

"Then, perhaps he will die."

"Damn you!"

"There's no need for this," I hear Chakotay saying from outside
in the corridor. "I'm sure we can discuss this reasonably and
come up with a solution that will be mutually beneficial."

"There is no need for discussion. We will give you the serum
and you will tell us the truth or you will die. It's very

The door closes in front of me and the light is immediately
extinguished. I can't hear anything else.

Oh gods, please don't let the serum kill Chakotay. Let him be
all right.

Why did I act so stupidly to him before? Why didn't I talk to
him? Tell him what was wrong? When he told me how much he was
attracted to me, how much he cared about me, why didn't I tell
him that I feel a lot more than that for him? Why didn't I tell
him how much I love him and that I need to know if he feels that
way about me?

I wanted him to say it first, that's why. I didn't want to put
that sort of power in his hands until I knew he was willing to
admit it too. Only he won't. Damn him!

He's admitted to being jealous of Harry and told me he has deep
feelings for me. That should be enough. Why isn't it enough?
It shouldn't be necessary for him to have to say the words; I
know how he feels about me. I'm not a mushy kind of a guy and
neither is he.

So what's the problem? Is it because I've never been in a
relationship with a man before and I'm not sure how it would
work between us? Would things be equal? My previous thoughts
of just how one-sided it could be between us come back in full

And Chakotay's right. Things *do* get out of hand between us
very quickly. One minute everything's great and the next, all
hell *does* break loose. I really want things to be easy, and I
can't see that happening with Chakotay.

Now it may be too late anyway. The serum may kill him and
I'll always regret not taking my chances with him.

No, I won't think like that. Chakotay will be fine. He'll come
back and he'll be fine. I won't believe anything else. I curl
up on the bunk, resisting the urge to give in to my fears, and
close my eyes and wait.


Something makes me sit up and open them again. To my surprise,
there's a very dim light glowing. Not enough to truly see by,
but it's there, providing some form of comfort for me. That's
strange. Very strange.

Chakotay said these people didn't appear to be as bad as they
first seemed and it looks like he may be right. "Thank you," I
call out softly. Of course, that means that the cell's
monitored, or our life signs are or something. They seemed to
know I was distressed.

I can't worry about that now. If they *have* been listening to
us or watching us, we haven't been talking about anything they'd
be interested in anyway.

My eyes scan the cell, looking for a monitoring device, but the
light really is too dim to see anything. I climb back off the
bunk and begin to search around in earnest. I don't even know
what I'm looking for exactly, but it's better than lying around
worrying about Chakotay.

The other times the light's been on, although brighter than
this, I'd been too busy eating to notice much except the
obvious. As soon as my search becomes a little more detailed
the light goes out and I curse loudly.

"If I promise to behave and stay on the bunk, will you turn it
back on?" I call out. There's no answer, not that I'd expected
one, and with a sigh I give up and lie on the bunk once more.

It's a long time before Chakotay's brought back to me. It's
hard to tell how much time is going by, but my instincts tell me
it's been hours.

They dump him on the bunk and then put a tray of food on the
floor next to him and turn to leave.

"How much longer is this going to continue? Did you get what
you want?" I ask bitterly.

"Not yet. But soon."

"Is he all right?"


"Damn you! What do you want from us?"

They leave without answering, thankfully leaving the light on.

Chakotay groans softly and I kneel beside him. "How are you

He opens his eyes and looks up at me. "Sleepy, actually."

"What happened?"

"I don't remember." I help him sit up. "The last thing I
remember is standing outside the cell door, telling our hosts
that we could work things out. One of them pressed a hypospray
against my neck and the next thing I knew, I was waking up

I hand him a dish from the tray, and taking the other for myself
perch on the bunk next to him. It's leola root again, but I'm
too hungry to be fussy.

"I think I should tell you," I say between spoonfuls. "This
cell is being monitored."

"Are you sure?"

"Almost one hundred percent. A couple of interesting things
happened while you were gone."

"Go on."

"They put a light on for me and then turned it off when I became
a little too nosy."

"They put a light on for you? Did you ask them to?"

"No, that's the thing. I was..." I hesitate. Do I really want
to admit to Chakotay that I was upset? He'll want to know why

"What, Tom? What were you?"

"I was a little upset, okay?"


"It was no big deal," I say hastily.

"You didn't like being left alone in here, did you?"

"No, that wasn't it."

"How upset did you become, Tom?"

"I wasn't hysterical or anything," I say angrily. "I wasn't
crying or screaming, I was just... a little upset, that's all."

"Oh, Tom." He squeezes my arm, his face creased in concern.

I grit my teeth in annoyance. He thinks I'm talking about
my claustrophobia. I thought we'd sorted this all out. I knew
it wouldn't be that simple. He's so pigheaded, I shouldn't be
surprised. I'm sick of arguing about it. Let him think what he
likes. And why do we argue so much, anyway? Why do I get so
stirred up?

If it was Harry insisting on thinking I was still
claustrophobic, I'd probably laugh about it. I'd even be
touched by his concern. Why can't I feel like that with
Chakotay? Why can't I just accept it as a sign that he cares
for me?

He's trying to protect me, I know, and in some ways the idea is
appealing, but I absolutely hate his stubborn refusal to listen
to me. He's determined that he's right. I don't think he'll
ever change.

"Tom?" he queries, interrupting my musings.

"What? Sorry, what was I saying?"

"You were telling me that they put the light on for you."

"Oh, that's right. It was only a very dull glow, but I'm sure
they meant it to be comforting. As soon as I was feeling a
little better, I decided to take advantage of it and I started
investigating the cell. That's when they turned it back off
again. I don't know if they could see what I was doing or not,
but it seems a little suspicious."

"You may be right, but I don't understand why they hit you in
the head with the door if they can see us or hear us. Why
didn't they know where you were?"

"I hadn't thought of that."

"Were you able to discover anything during your search?"

"Didn't get much time, and the light was a lot duller than it is
now. I can't really see that there *is* anything to discover.
It's just that I can't help wondering why they insist on keeping
us in the dark most of the time. It's almost as if there's some
reason they don't want us to be able to see."

"I think they're trying to keep us off guard. The constant
darkness is definitely affecting us."

"I guess so," I say vaguely, my eyes scanning the room
carefully. Sure enough, the light goes out immediately. "We
haven't finished eating yet," I yell.

"I think that proves it. It seems our discussion has them

"Hmmn!" I grunt thoughtfully. "It took them long enough to turn
off the light, if that's what it was. They turned the light out
as soon as I made it obvious I was checking out the cell."

Our tray isn't collected after we finish eating, even though I
call out that they can take it away now. Yep, we definitely
have our captors worried.


*Chakotay's POV*

I don't like the thought of somebody listening to everything
we've said and done in here. Although we haven't done anything
too compromising, some of our conflicts have been a little
personal. It's embarrassing to think that somebody heard them

I shake the feeling away. I have more important things to worry
about. I'm starting to wonder if these people intend keeping us
like this indefinitely. Perhaps we're an experiment of some

I try to calculate how long we've been held captive, but it's
impossible to gauge. Less than two days I would think, so it
will be some time before Kathryn and the crew realize we're in
trouble. And when they do, will they be able to find us and
mount a rescue?

I have serious doubts of that happening. From the time we were
captured, we've been moving. I'm a pilot, and although I don't
have the feel for the helm that Tom has, I know when I'm on a
moving ship. And this one is moving.

Tom is convinced that it's a sleek, smooth ship and it's moving
rapidly. I trust his judgment. This means that we would have
covered a huge distance before Voyager even starts looking for

If Tom and I have any hope of escape, I think we're going to
have to do it ourselves. I just wish I knew how.

Tom is obviously having trouble coping in here. He's managed to
stay in control of his claustrophobia so far, but how much
longer can he continue to do so? I'm worried it's all going to
get too much for him.

If he panics, will our captors use that against him? Will they
try to exploit his phobia? I have to keep an eye on him; try to
keep him calm.

I suddenly realize that we've both been quiet for a long time.
That may make Tom nervous. He needs to hear my voice. He needs
something to focus on.

"Tom?" I whisper. "Is everything all right?"

I hear him sigh. "Why wouldn't it be?"

"I was just making sure."

"Well, I wish you'd stop it. I'm fine. I'm not about to
freak." He sounds agitated.

"Just stay calm..."

"I'm calm."

"You don't sound it."

"Well... I am."

"You're shouting, Tom. That's not the way a calm person

"How the hell can I stay calm with you constantly at me like

"I'm concerned, that's all."

"I am not going to panic."

"If you stopped shouting, I may be a little more inclined to
believe you."

"That's it!" he yells, throwing himself against me. I fall
sideways on the bunk and he lands on top of me, shaking me
furiously. "How many times... do I have to say... that I'm not
damn well... claustrophobic in here, you... thickheaded...
bullheaded... lunkheaded, ox? I have it... under control. Why
won't you listen to me?"

His voice cracks a little and I realize just how much my
stubborn refusal to believe him is hurting.

"I'm sorry," I try to say, as he continues to shake me. He
stops abruptly and I can feel his hot breath on my face. "I'm
sorry, Tom."

"I just wish you'd believe me about the claustrophobia," he says
softly, his voice wobbling a little. "I'm so tired of telling
you that I'm not going to panic."

I don't know what to think. Tom certainly sounds convincing.
He obviously believes he has it under control, and if he didn't,
wouldn't he have panicked by now? I may be undermining
everything he's managed to achieve by insisting to believe he'll
eventually panic.

"I've been a fool," I say quietly. "I was worried about you, but
that doesn't excuse the way I've behaved."

"That's right, it doesn't," he says gruffly.

Without another thought, I reach up and pull his head down to
mine, fumbling and then finding his lips in the dark. I kiss
him soundly, putting everything I feel into the kiss.

He seems startled at first, his lips slack against mine, but
then responds eagerly, running his hands through my hair. As
the kiss deepens, he suddenly stiffens and pushes himself away.

"Chakotay, that's not a good idea. You seem to be the one who
has a problem with control."

"I apologize. You're right, that wasn't a good idea, especially
considering we're being monitored."

"Monitored or not, it still wasn't a good idea."

"I'm not going to regret it."

He remains silent and I reach out to touch his arm. "Tom, you
can't keep denying you have feelings for me."

"I'm not denying it, Chakotay. I've never denied it," he says

"But you don't want to act on those feelings."

"That's right."

"I don't understand."

He refuses to explain his reasoning and I finally drop the
subject when I realize I'm upsetting him even more. If...
no... *when* we get back to Voyager I intend to discover
exactly what is stopping Tom from giving in to his feelings,
exactly what it is he's afraid of.

We sit quietly. I don't want to provoke Tom by letting him
know that I'm still worried about him. I can't help myself,
despite the fact it appears Tom really *has* conquered his
phobia. Whether he has or not, he needs me to remain controlled
and stable. I can't let him get to me the way he always does.

"I'm so sorry, Tom," I say at last. "Perhaps, since the
Doctor's been so successful with you, I should seek his help
too? When we get back to Voyager he may be able to regress me
back to discover why I'm such a... what did you call me? A
thickheaded, bullheaded, lunkheaded, ox?"

"I thought you were born that way," he answers with a sniff.

I sigh. "That's right. I forgot."

He says nothing to that.


He remains silent and I sigh again. Perhaps there's more
than one thickheaded ox in here?

I decide to keep my observation to myself.

To be continued in part 42.