No Regrets - Part 43
by T'Pam

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


*Chakotay's POV*

I bolt up in concern, my hands reaching out for him. "It's
okay, Tom. I'm here. I'll help you. Deep... oomph...!!!"
He hits me in the chest.

"I knew it. You *were* awake," he hisses.

"Ow... Tom! That hurt."

"You were pretending to be asleep," he accuses.

"That was for *your* sake. I didn't want you to feel awkward."

"Well, thanks a lot. Now I really feel awkward."

"I'm sorry," I apologize, deciding that I can never do anything
right with Tom.

"The only thing I can think, is that you're rolling over in your
sleep," Tom says suddenly.

"That must be it," I agree. "I've always been a rather restless

"That explains it then."

I remain silent. It doesn't explain his enthusiasm for
snuggling up against me, but I decide I'd better not mention

We take it in turns to use the bathroom facilities and then sit
quietly on the bunk. Despite my attempts to start a
conversation, Tom remains curiously silent.

"Is everything all right?" I finally ask, thinking he's probably
angry with me for believing he may panic. "You're very quiet."

"I've just been thinking about what happened in here before."

I swallow, getting ready to try and explain that he caught me
unawares. I hadn't had time to think things through.

"Our captors didn't come back and get the tray."

"Oh!" I sigh in relief. "I hope they're still going to bring
us in something to eat. I'm rather hungry."

"Now that you've said that, I'm sure they will."

"I've been wondering if they have some way of seeing us, even
in the dark."

"Maybe. It's certainly a possibility."


"What's wrong?"

"I don't like the thought of them watching everything I do.
Some things are very personal."

"I can't say I'm too happy to have an audience every time I go
to the bathroom either."

"Spirits! I hadn't thought of that."

"Well, what were you thinking about then?"


He gives a small snort of laughter. "Have you been beating the
meat while I've been asleep?"

"Beating the meat?" I repeat incredulously.

"Jacking off. Masturbating."

"I know what it means. I just can't believe you'd say that.
There may be people listening, in case you've forgotten."

"I haven't forgotten. Well... have you?"

"No, I have not," I almost shout, my memories of earlier coming
back in full force. Damn him! I know I'm blushing furiously,
and even though Tom can't see it, perhaps they can. "That's not
an appropriate topic..."

"Lighten up, Chakotay, or I'm going to have to start calling
you, Tuvok."

"Tom!" I say warningly.

"What's it matter? They've already heard me confess that Harry
sucked me off."

"Tom! That's enough."

"Hey! I'm just trying to liven up our conversation. Make it
more interesting for them."

"Well, I'd prefer a change of topic."

He says nothing to that and I find it impossible to say anything
either. I'm very conscious of the possibility of our captors
listening in, and can think of absolutely nothing to say that
won't show how annoyed I am with him at the moment.

So much for the warm companionship we'd shared before going to
sleep. I should have known it couldn't last.

My annoyance quickly abates as Tom remains silent and I can't
help sighing and moving around a little. I'm starting to feel
restless. "I suppose they'll try to question me again. I wish
I could remember what happens. I hate not knowing what they're
doing to me."

"Hmmn!" Tom murmurs distractedly.

"My stomach's rumbling; I'm so damn hungry."

"Hmmn!" Tom murmurs again.


"Sorry, I've just been thinking," he says slowly, sounding as
if his thoughts are far away.

"You said that before. About anything in particular this time?"

"This whole situation actually. There are some things that
don't make sense."

"As far as I'm concerned, none of this makes sense," I retort.
"Keeping us in here like this is ridiculous."

"I suppose so," he mumbles, his mind obviously drifting once

He stays silent after that and when the door finally opens, and
our captors enter with another tray of food, he remains on the
bunk eyeing them closely.

They take our empty tray and leave quickly, refusing to answer
any of my questions. I'm grateful they've left the light on
again, although it's much dimmer than usual.

Tom takes a bite of fruit and I can just make out his grin in
the semi-darkness. "At least the food's good. Better than we
get on Voyager really."

"I wouldn't say that," I protest.

"Speaking of Voyager, why don't we just tell these people what
they want to know about it, and then maybe they'll let us go?"

"There's nothing we *can* tell them," I say warningly. What the

"Sure there is," he says carelessly, finishing off his piece of
fruit and taking another one.

What's Tom up to? Surely he knows we're being monitored. We
can't take the chance that they may be listening to us.

"There's plenty we can tell them," he says loudly. "We can
tell them about the wonderful people on board. They already
know about Harry, of course. Remember him?" he shouts at the
ceiling. "He's the one that went down on me."

"Tom!" Is he trying to provoke me?

"What? What else do you think they'd like to know, Chakotay?"

"Tom, no more. I mean it."

"You don't like me talking about Harry, do you?"

"I told you why before... and this is not something I intend
to discuss with a probable audience. Now, shut up!"

"It really bothers you, doesn't it? What would you say, if I
told you I really didn't enjoy the whole thing very much? For
all Harry's self-confessed experience with guys, he really
didn't do anything much for me. I don't think he's had as
much practice as he pretends."

"That's enough, Tom," I yell infuriated.

"You know," he drawls, completely ignoring me. "Comparing the
two, I'd have to say that B'Elanna, despite the fact that she
gets a little too excited with her teeth, gives a much better

"That's it," I yell, throwing myself against him, gagging him
in the process. What the hell is the matter with him? Why is
he acting like this? Why is he being such a total little shit?

He grunts and tries to push me away, but I hold onto him grimly.
We struggle furiously, each of us trying to gain the upper hand,
and I decide that knocking him out is a pleasant option.

The door opens while I'm still wrestling with him, and our
captors enter. We struggle to our feet. I'm red-faced, but
Tom merely smiles at them smugly.

His smirk apparently has the same effect on the guard coming
in to collect our tray as it always does on me, because it
elbows Tom out of the way rather viciously.

"Hey!" he says, rubbing his side.

Another of them, standing in the doorway, steps inside and
pushes Tom roughly onto the bunk. When he attempts to stand,
he's pushed back down again, gritting his teeth when his head
connects with the wall. That was a little uncalled for.

Tom glares up angrily at the two of them, but they say nothing,
leaving quickly and slamming the door. The light blinks off

"What the hell is going on with you?" I hiss angrily. "You made
me miss most of my breakfast."

Tom brushes past me in the dark and begins to kick at the door.

"Tom, give it up," I say tiredly.

"Let us out of here," he yells.

"Tom, it won't do any good. What the hell is the matter with

There's silence for a few moments and then his assault on the
door becomes more frantic and he begins to yell repeatedly that
they have to let him out.

"Tom, for Spirits sake..." I reach out and try to grab hold
of him but he twists from my grasp.

"I have to get out. I have to get out," he moans.

"Tom?" I don't understand. He's panicking, but he's not
supposed to be panicking. He had this beat. I believed him
when he'd been so insistent. Perhaps telling me about it all
has caused him to regress again. Damn it!

"Tom," I plead. "Don't let it consume you like this."

He'd been acting so strange. I should have guessed. I should
have seen this coming. I wince as I hear him banging his way
around our tiny cell, his breathing coming in ragged sobs.

I reach out once more to hold him, but he pushes me away, his
cries becoming louder and even more frantic as he scrambles

I'm finally able to capture him by the arms, pulling him
against me tightly, when the door opens and four guards pour
into the room, bringing the light with them.

"It's okay now, Tom, it's okay," I try to soothe, hugging him
closely as he struggles in my arms. I'm worried about one of
the guards, who has a hypospray in its hand, and is advancing
towards us.

Tom's eyes are trained on the guard as it reaches out and
presses the instrument into his neck. He sags immediately
against me, his eyes still fixed on the guard, and I help him
onto the bunk, laying him down gently.

I'm surprised when he smiles up at me and winks, just before
his eyes close as the sedative takes effect.

"He has a condition which I'm sure you're aware of, considering
you've been listening to us," I say, turning to our audience.
"Could you at least leave the light on until he's feeling a
little more settled?"

The guard who seems to be in charge, watches us for some time
before nodding. "We are monitoring your life signs. We are
not listening to you, or watching you."

"I find that hard to believe."

"We try to respect your privacy at all times."

"Your idea of privacy and ours may be a little different."

It shakes its head and turns to herd the other three, who appear
reluctant to leave, out of the cell. I hardly notice them, my
concern for Tom overwhelming me.

He'd had a panic attack, despite his assurances that he'd
overcome his phobia. Despite the fact that I was keeping a
close eye on him, too. I'd let him get to me again, instead of
looking after him the way I'd promised myself I would.

I lie on the bunk next to Tom, and pull him into my arms,
cradling him closely. I don't care if he does feel awkward, or
embarrassed, or uncomfortable when he reawakens. He belongs in
my arms and that's where he's staying.


It's not that easy, of course. As soon as he wakes, he attempts
to pull away. I hold on tightly. "How do you feel?" I ask

"I'm not sure. Let me go."

"I think you should stay here."

"I need to think, and... I... can't... do... that... like...
this..." he says between struggles.

I almost fall off the bunk, as he pushes at me to let him go.
He manages to break free and tries to crawl over me. I grab him
once more.

"Chakotay, will you stop being such an asshole?" he yells in
fury. This isn't exactly what I'd had in mind. I don't know
why I thought we'd be able to just stay wrapped around one
another. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

"If you don't let go of me right now, you'll be sorry," he

"Fine," I say, letting go abruptly, no longer feeling in the
least romantic or protective towards him. I watch him stagger
from the bunk and crouch in the opposite corner.

"Why do you keep fighting me?" I growl in frustration.

"I told you; I don't want to get involved."

"That had nothing to do with getting involved. You panicked
and I was trying to make you feel better. Nothing more. I'd
try to comfort anybody who reacted as severely as you did."

"I can just see you snuggled up here with Chell."

"I would certainly try and do all I could to comfort him if he
needed it."

"Will you stop it? You are so full of shit. You kissed my
forehead, don't try and deny it."

"All right then, I won't."

"Well, I don't think you'd be kissing Chell's forehead."

"You're probably right."

"And your hands."

"What about my hands?"

"Were you touching my ass while I was unconscious?"

"No, I was not," I reply indignantly. "And, Tom, you seem to
have forgotten one very important thing. You had a panic
attack, and we're going to have to deal with it."

"They left the light on," he says suddenly.

"I asked them to. I thought you might appreciate it when you
woke up."

"I do. Thanks."

He stays quiet for some time and I'm not sure if this is a
good or a bad thing. As the silence continues I begin to worry.
Tom stays in the corner, his head bowed, as still as a statue.

I decide to go into counselor mode. I want to try and avoid any
more panic attacks if possible. "Tom, we have to talk about what

"No. It's okay. There's no need," he murmurs.

"There's a very big need. I'm worried it may happen again."

"If they turn the light off, it probably will," Tom says loudly,
looking up at the ceiling.

"We have to find ways of helping you to cope, Tom. If you feel
the panic starting to overwhelm you again, you need to stay in

"It's okay; I'll be fine. It's not going to happen again."

He sounds so confident, but I'd like to know how he can be after
what happened just a few short hours ago. "You lost it
completely, Tom. I don't want that to happen again."

"Don't worry, it won't." I'm surprised to hear the soft, gentle
tone of his voice. I'd expected impatience. I'm even more
surprised when he smiles at me warmly.

He stands up from his crouched position in the corner and then
steps over to sit next to me on the bunk, squeezing my arm.
It's almost as if *I'm* the one who needs reassurance.

I close my eyes in disbelief when he leans forward and kisses
me gently on the lips and then whispers into my ear, "I'm sorry
about before. I just had some things I had to think about.
Can we start all over again?"

"From where?" I croak.

"From when I first opened my eyes would be best, I think."

The next thing I know, I'm lying on the bunk and Tom is
burrowing in beside me. "Hold me," he whispers.

I don't need any urging, but I'm still a little stunned by the
reversal. I cradle him close, however, and he settles down with
a deep, contented sigh.

"Whatever they gave me sure makes you tired," he mumbles.

"Try and get some more sleep then."

"I will. I'll be all right now. You don't have to worry. I'm
not going to panic again, I promise."

"I'm glad to hear it. I don't know if *I'll* be all right
though. I have to tell you, Tom, I don't understand this. One
moment you're pushing me away and the next you're asking me to
hold you."

"I'm sorry. I know I'm sending out mixed signals."

"I know you still have feelings for me, so why are you being so
insistent on not becoming involved? Is it because I'm a man?
Is that the reason?"

"No, of course not."

"It's just that I know you've never been in a relationship with
a man. Does the thought make you nervous?"

"No, at least not in the way you mean. I wonder how every day
life would work between us."

"That happens in all relationships."

"I know."

"If it's not because I'm a man, is it because I'm your
commanding officer?"

He's quiet for a few moments. "In a way."

"Tom, I would never let that interfere with our relationship."

"That's easy to say until something happens. And, anyway, how
do you know I wouldn't be the one to let our relationship
interfere with the command structure?"

"You're a fleet brat. You know how to separate duty from
off-duty. No, that's not it. You don't really trust me to do
the same. That's what's wrong, isn't it? You think I'll still
try to be in charge when we're off-duty, don't you? You think
I can't separate Chakotay from the commander."

"Can you?"

"It's been a long time since I've had to, but I hope so. I
can see that my behavior over the past few months must have
reinforced any doubts you had concerning me. I've been
bloody minded, arrogant and a total ass. You've just spent
two years with B'Elanna, who was constantly trying to take
charge. Constantly trying to be the dominant partner in your
relationship, and you don't want to go through all of that with
me. That's what's wrong, isn't it?"

"That's some of it," he says softly.

"Tom, I don't know how to convince you that it wouldn't be like
that with us. Despite appearances to the contrary, I'm not like
that. I could never be happy in a relationship if it wasn't
based on total equality. If you truly don't want to take a
chance with me, I'll respect your wishes. You know I will, but
I need to know the reasoning behind it."

"You've guessed most of it. I was worried things would be
uneven between us and I'd end up in a similar relationship to
the one I was in with B'Elanna, except this time the shoe would
be on the other foot, so to speak."

I'm not exactly sure what he means by that, but before I can ask
him he continues. "I just couldn't go through that again,
especially not so soon. I want an easy relationship and you're
anything but easy."

"I could say the same about you."

"I guess you could."

"We don't have to rush into anything. We can take things slow.
I don't want there to be any regrets between us, Tom."

"Neither do I."

"If... I mean... *when* we get back to Voyager, I'd like to
discuss this with you properly. Will you give me a chance to
prove to you how much you mean to me?"

He yawns loudly. "I like the sound of that."

So do I and I smile happily. *When* we get back to Voyager.
I'm determined we will.

Stroking Tom's cheek gently, I wonder just what exactly our
captors plan to do with us. We can't stay in here indefinitely.
I think if they were going to hurt us, they would have done so
by now. I still believe I may be able to talk them into setting
us free.

Tom snuggles against me, sighing contentedly and I lie there for
some time, just enjoying the relaxed feeling between us. It's
perfect. Everything's perfect. At least, it would be if we
could disregard our imprisoned status.

Minutes later, Tom's sound asleep. I kiss the top of his head,
and with a contented sigh of my own, close my eyes tightly.

To be continued in part 44.