No Regrets - Part 42
by T'Pam

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


*Chakotay's POV*

The silence continues and I can feel myself becoming drowsy.
I wonder if I should suggest lying down. I'm not sure how Tom
would react to that. Perhaps I should just lean against the
wall and give in to the overwhelming urge to close my eyes.

I would like to lay with Tom, but considering his feelings at
the moment, I doubt he'll want to do that. I shouldn't have
kissed him, of course. He's right about that. Knowing he has
feelings for me but refuses to do anything about them is just
too damn frustrating.

He's worried I'll hurt him again and who can blame him?
Assurances can only go so far and I haven't exactly acted the
way I should have. Even now, I'm still not listening to him,
my desire to protect him overriding my good sense.

Why do I feel this overwhelming need to take care of him? It's
out of all proportion when you consider the type of man Tom is.
He's emotional, yes, but he's also tough, resilient and strong.
He doesn't need me to protect him.

"I don't think the Doc could help you anyway," Tom says
suddenly, making me jump. "I mean, if you're born a certain
way, then what hope is there?"

"What?" I struggle back to awareness.

"I said the Doc can't help you."

"Oh!" I'm confused and know I sound it as I try to follow Tom's

"Maybe he can give you a personality transplant or something."

"You're not exactly perfect yourself, you know," I say, before I
can stop myself. He's just trying to annoy me and I wasn't
going to let him do that anymore.

"That's for sure. And to make things even worse, I have panic
attacks," he says bitterly.

"Tom, if you say you're not going to have an attack, I believe
you. It may have taken a little longer for the message to get
through my thick head than it should have, but it finally has.
I'm sorrier than I can say for not listening to you before."

"So am I," he says, traces of anger still in his voice.

"I wish I could explain to you why I've been acting this way,
but I can't. I don't understand it myself."

Tom sighs, and I can hear him shifting around a little, but
doesn't say anything. He's quiet for some time and then
finally says softly, "Just so long as you believe me now."

"I do," I say quickly. "I'm glad that the Doctor's treatment
was successful and things worked out for you."

"Yeah... well... so am I. I really *am* over it, you know."

"I believe you. I really do." I find I'm curious about it
all, but wonder if Tom feels like talking about it. "I suppose
the treatment was as traumatic as the actual ordeal," I say

"No, it wasn't that bad actually. I had to relive the whole
stupid thing, but I felt more like an observer really."

"I'm still sorry you had to go through that."

"No, it's okay," he hesitates before continuing. "I can't
believe something so... silly, could have such an impact on

"Oh?" I wait hopefully, wanting him to continue but not
wanting to push him into revealing something he may be
uncomfortable about having me know.

He clears his throat. "At least it's all been put in its
proper perspective now. It was all blown completely out of

"I'm happy to hear that. Are you okay talking about this, Tom?
Can you tell me what happened, or would you rather not?"

"I haven't actually told anybody about it," he says slowly.
"Except the Doc, of course. It's so..."

I wait for him to continue, but when he doesn't I ask, "Would
you rather not have discovered the cause of your

"No, I'm glad I did. I was worried it was something so
traumatic I wouldn't be able to handle it. Knowing that it
wasn't is a tremendous relief. I guess the problem is, I feel
embarrassed about the whole thing."

"I see. If you'd prefer to keep it to yourself, I fully

"I... I don't know. No, I think I'd like to tell you. You've
told me things about your childhood. It's only fair."

"No, Tom. I don't want you to feel you're obliged to tell me.
I enjoyed talking to you about my family. More than I can
say. I haven't opened up to anybody like that before."

"That means a lot to me, Chakotay, but I want you to know that
I enjoyed listening to you. More than *I* can say. And I
*don't* feel obligated. I want to tell you. I really do. I
know you won't tease me unmercifully the way I suspect B'Elanna
would. She's been desperate to know, and every now and then
comes up with another theory. I almost told her the last time."

I'm ridiculously pleased that he trusts me this way, and
incredibly relieved that we're able to talk like this again.
"You have my word I won't," I say solemnly.

He takes a deep breath. "It happened a long time ago, when I
was just a kid." He pauses and I reach across and find his hand,
squeezing it in encouragement. He squeezes back.

"I know you're going to find this difficult to believe,
Chakotay, but when I was little, I was a great favorite with
adults. I was bright, eager, adventurous, and knew how to do as
I was told."

I can't help my snort of laughter. "You?"

He laughs too. "Yeah. Hard to imagine, I know. Things changed
as I grew older."

"I can imagine you as a small boy," I say softly. "I'll bet you
were damn cute too."

He's quiet for a few moments and I hope I haven't spoilt the
mood. I'm relieved when he chuckles. "They all seemed to think
so," he says smartly. "Unfortunately, it was my so-called
cuteness that got me into trouble. I was picked for the
starring role in the end of year production at Kindergarten."

"Now, there's an honor."

"Yeah, well, I didn't want the honor. We were doing a play
about a caterpillar and I was supposed to be the caterpillar.
All it really meant was that I had to wriggle around the stage
for a while, and then lie quietly in my cocoon until it was time
to emerge as the beautiful butterfly."

I choke a little and he cuffs my arm with his free hand. "I'll
have you know I made a stunning butterfly. At dress rehearsals

"I'm sure you did," I say, trying not to laugh. "So what was
the problem?"

"As I said, I didn't want to be the caterpillar. I wanted to be
one of the birds. Those kids got to pretend to soar through the
air and swoop down on me. As far as I was concerned those three
kids had the best parts in the whole play. All I was interested
in was flying."

"Butterflies fly too."

"That's what my Mom said. But it wasn't the same. I didn't
get to fly. I was just supposed to step out of my cocoon and
flap my butterfly wings a couple of times and then totter
happily off stage."

"So, what did you do? Stage 'Mutiny of the Butterfly'?"

"No. My teacher had her heart set on me being the butterfly
and so did Mom. Dad gave me a big lecture on duty and honor
and other stuff that went straight over my head, and then told
me I had to be the butterfly and that was the end of it. I
had a solemn duty to perform, and I'd be letting he and everyone
else down if I didn't do it. So, I did, but I wasn't happy
about it.

"I was supposed to crawl into the cocoon and lay there quietly
for a few seconds before letting myself out the back of it and
crawling unobtrusively off stage to put on my butterfly wings.
I had to then crawl back on stage and into the cocoon, making
sure the audience didn't see me. And... Hey Presto! A
caterpillar goes in... a butterfly comes out.

"The problem was, I sulked all the way through rehearsals and
didn't listen to the instructions on how to open the cocoon.
There was a little catch at the back I had to flick up. It was
the simplest thing in the world, but I didn't know it was there,
and due to some last minute glitches I didn't have to crawl into
the cocoon to test it out until the night of the performance."

"Oh, no," I interrupt.

"Yeah, you guessed it. Well, the first half went off without a
hitch. I wriggled around the stage the way a caterpillar does,
being attacked by all manner of creatures, while the teacher
narrated the story. The audience were all oohing and aahing
and laughing and saying how cute I was. Being a bit of an
exhibitionist I was enjoying it all immensely.

"I even sashayed around the stage a few times more than I was
supposed to and the teacher had to remind me to get in the
cocoon. The audience thought it was a huge joke, especially
when I winked at them before wriggling inside."

I laugh uproariously. "I wish I'd known you back then."

He chuckles in return. "Even if I do say so myself, I was
damn irresistible when I was four."

I want to tell him that he's irresistible now, but decide I'd
better not. He's made it perfectly clear he doesn't want to
hear me say things like that. "Go on," I urge instead.

"Well, I lay quietly for a while, thinking about how I would
star in every production all the way through school, and then
pushed on the back of the cocoon to let myself out. Of course,
nothing happened. I pushed harder the next time, but it still
wouldn't open.

"I didn't panic at that point. I did start to worry that I
wouldn't have time to get out and put my butterfly wings on and
then get back. All I could think about was being late for the
grand finale. How I'd be letting everyone down.

"I started to get a little desperate; no matter how hard I
pushed on the back it wouldn't open. I wanted to call for help,
but knew I was supposed to stay quiet. That's when I decided
that I'd have to wriggle out the way I'd come in.

"I didn't want to wriggle out feet first in case the audience
could see me, so decided to turn around. The cocoon wasn't very
wide, as you can imagine, and I was starting to feel panicky
concerning the time factor. Turning around wasn't that easy and
somehow I became wedged in sideways. The more I tried to
straighten up, the more stuck I became. That's when I really
started to get scared.

"The teacher, wondering where the hell I was by this time,
crawled behind the cocoon and hissed out to me. The audience
laughed in delight, realizing something was going on that
shouldn't be.

"I started to cry, because that wasn't supposed to be happening.
I was supposed to be putting my butterfly wings on and I was
ruining the whole play, because the teacher had had to come
on stage. I didn't want everyone laughing when they weren't
supposed to be.

"She was telling me to undo the catch, but by then it was too
late, I was stuck solid and my neck was hurting me from being
so scrunched up. I didn't care how much noise I made, I
wanted to get out of there, so started to scream for help.

"All the other kids must have gathered around as the teacher
took the back off the cocoon and tried to pull me out. It was
a very small opening and there was no way I was going to fit
through it sideways.

"She then decided she'd have to pull me out from the front. The
opening was a lot bigger. The problem was, I was too far back
and she couldn't reach me.

"The parents helping out backstage came out to help, all calling
out suggestions and some of the kids started to cry, saying they
were scared I was going to die because there was no air in the
cocoon so how could I breathe?

"There was plenty of air coming in from the front, of course,
but I started to worry that with my head pushed in against me
the way it was, the air wouldn't be able to reach me. Then
Joey, my best friend at the time, said very solemnly that
I'd probably have to stay like that, because even if they got
me out, they'd never be able to straighten me back up again.

"That thought terrified me and on top of the other kids yelling
out that I was going to die, I panicked completely and starting
screaming hysterically. The other kids joined in, convinced I
was in my final death throes or something. You can imagine the

"Anyway, they managed to turn me around and pull me out and Mom
and Dad were there to comfort me. As time went by, I forgot
all about it. But, those stasis chambers must have brought it
all back into my subconscious again."

"That must have been terrifying for you," I say in sympathy.

"It was at the time, but I'm all right about it now.

"I believe you. It's just a shame you didn't get to show
everyone what a beautiful butterfly you were."

He sighs dramatically. "Just imagine how different my life
would be now. I may have become a performer instead of a pilot.
Anyway, now you can understand why I don't want to tell
B'Elanna. I can just imagine her reaction to the whole
butterfly thing."

"What about Harry? I'm surprised you haven't told him."

"Harry came up with a theory, right from the start, that I must
have had a difficult birth or something. In a way, the whole
cocoon experience *is* a little like that, having to be turned
and pulled out. I couldn't face Harry comparing the two. If
you'd ever had to listen to his fond remembrances of life in the
womb, you'd understand."

"It seems I've missed out on something," I say in amusement.

"Believe me, you *don't* want to hear it."

"If you say so."

"I do. You know, the thing I like to remember whenever I think
about that whole incident now is the way my Dad held me. He
wasn't mad at me for ruining the play, or embarrassed that I'd
made such a fuss. He just hugged me tightly, saying that I was
safe, that he'd never let anything hurt me. It's one of my most
cherished memories now, so I'm glad the Doc could help me
remember it."

"I see what you mean."

We talk softly, although I'm so tired I can hardly concentrate
at times. I don't want to end our conversation. It feels too
good... too right. I never want it to end.

When I hear Tom starting to yawn, however, I suggest we lie down
and get some sleep. I tell him he can have the side next to the
wall, and although he doesn't say anything, he seems a little

I wonder how he reacted when he woke up to find he was snuggled
up against me last time? Perhaps he's worried the same thing
will happen again. I'm certainly hoping it will.

However, as soon as I lie down, I find my eyes closing of their
own accord. I'm too tired to stay awake. I battle sleep,
waiting for Tom to succumb, so that I can maneuver myself around
and have him in my arms once more.

His breathing is becoming deeper, steadier. It won't be long.
I just have to wait.


I wake up with a slight jump, disorientated for a few seconds,
wondering where I am. There's a body pressed in against my
back, arms wrapped around my torso and a face resting against my
neck. Tom!

How long have I been asleep? There's no way of knowing. Has it
been minutes or hours? Do I dare roll over and try to shift Tom
around? If he's been asleep for a long time, it might wake him
up. Then again, if he's only been asleep for a few minutes, it
might wake him up as well.

Do I risk it? I quite like the feel of being held against him
in this way, but would like to have him in my arms even more. I
decide to take the chance and move around slowly.

Tom mumbles a little and moves away. I curse quietly, but
finish my rollover. I'm no sooner on my back, when Tom throws
his arm over my chest and rolls over so that he's lying almost
on top of me, his upper half splayed across my chest.

His head nuzzles into my neck, his groin against my thigh, and
I take in a deep lungful of air. Spirits... he's hard. I can
feel his erection poking into my leg and my own penis begins
to throb at the thought.

I just stop myself from moaning aloud, the thought of reaching
down and touching him through his trousers, overwhelming. I
grow hard instantly, visions of fondling him swimming through my

I can feel a wet spot forming on the front of my pants and tell
myself to stop it. Calm myself down. Think about something

My thoughts center on Tom's penis resting against my thigh,
however. I can picture it in my mind. I can see my fingers
caressing him and imagine the look on his face, and the moans he
would try to smother. I swallow, smothering a moan of my own.

I have to get rid of this erection before Tom wakes up. Of
course, the easiest way would be to reach down with my free hand
and take care of it. I can't do that though. Tom's sprawled
all over me. I'd wake him up for sure. I can imagine his
reaction if he woke up to find me jerking off, while he lay
across me. I can't bear to think of it.

The thought of Tom's reaction dampens down some of my
excitement, but then I get a mental image of him whispering
seductively, 'Let me take care of that for you', and I'm harder
than ever.

Spirits, I need to gain control, but where Tom's concerned, I
have none. Everything was so good between us, I don't want to
ruin things. I rub my hand across my groin and almost sob in
frustration. I have to stop this. I'm becoming more aroused by
the second and this won't do. Oh Spirits! If only I could
touch myself.

I feel as if I'm about to burst through my pants leg. I need to
release my penis... now, it's so damn painful. But... I mustn't
think about bursting, or... or... releasing, or... oh Spirits!
Oh... shit! I'm going to have to take care of this. I'm going
to have to take the chance that Tom doesn't wake up. It's a
hell of a chance, I know, but the alternative is no longer

I fumble one-handed to free my swollen penis from its confines,
trying to move as little as possible so that Tom isn't
disturbed. I tell myself to be completely quiet, no moaning, or
groaning. I must remain silent, so that no one can hear...

The thought of our captors listening and watching, stops me
cold. What if they know what I'm doing? What if they can see
me? It may be pitch black in here for us, but they may have
some type of technology that enables them to see in the dark.

They could be watching me right now. They're probably sitting
there, eyes glued to the monitor, talking excitedly among
themselves. The thought is enough to cause me to soften and I'm
quickly able to get myself under control.

Thank the Spirits! Tom begins to move restlessly against me,
and it isn't long before I feel him sit up.

"Chakotay?" he whispers hoarsely. I'm not sure whether I should
let him know I'm awake. He's probably embarrassed that he woke
up laying across me like that. Perhaps I should pretend I'm
asleep. That might be best.

"Chakotay!" he whispers again.

I remain quiet, trying to keep my breathing even and steady.

"Chakotay!" his voice wobbles a little. "I... I don't think I
can take this any longer. I think I'm going to panic."

To be continued in part 43.