Only Here

Part 3

Rating for this part: NC-17 (talk about child abuse and stuff)
Category: P, P/T Angst
Disclaimer: The characters in this story belong to Paramount.  No infringement intended but the story is mine.
Archiving: Feel free to archive anywhere but please tell me if you do.?
Author’s note: If you have any ideas about other topics to put in the story let me know!  Always interested in suggestions!

Six year old Tom Paris lay on the floor of his room trying not to let the pain get to him.  He sat on he floor and was huddled in a corner bruised and bleeding.  It had never been this bad before.  He felt like he wanted to die just to end the pain.  Everywhere hurt.  Tears began to stream down his face.  He tried to stop crying but it was useless.  He would never have let the Captain see him crying.  It would only make him angry.  He was careful not to make a sound that would attract his father’s attention.  He eventually cried himself to sleep. 

Tom awoke with a start.  He wanted to sit up but he felt too weak.  His vision was unclear.  He could make out a form approaching him.  With more effort than should have been necessary he managed to focus his gaze long enough to see B’Elanna.  He closed his eyes trying to figure out what was going on.  He couldn’t remember.  He was expecting to wake in a hospital.  That was where he remembered waking after that night.  He suppressed a shudder.  He felt a hand on his shoulder and a soft voice calling him. 

“B’Elanna?” he asked, still not sure about where he was.
“That’s right.” She said softly.  “How do you feel?”
“Tired.” He whispered. “What happened?”
“Don’t you remember?  The mining mission.”  Tom began to remember. 
“The last thing I remember was sitting at the helm doing repairs.”
“You collapsed and we brought you here.  You needed to rest.”  She watched him carefully.  He didn’t look any worse than he did when he collapsed.  That had to be good.  But then again he didn’t look any better.
“The shuttles moving.” He said, more to himself than to her.  B’Elanna looked at him in amazement. How did he know that?  The ship wasn’t vibrating at all.  They had passed through the atmosphere of the planet hours ago and that was when the shaking was.  How could he tell.  Tom was far too out of it notice B’Elanna’s confusion.  He could just tell.
“Any sign of Voyager?”   B’Elanna shook her head.
“Not yet but I’m sure that they’re looking for us.” She tried to reassure him. He smiled weakly and closed his eyes.  Just a couple of hours Tom.  Hold on, B’Elanna thought.  She made sure that he was comfortable and went back to her station.

On Voyager they were indeed looking for their lost shuttle and its crew.  They had received the distress beacon hours ago and had gone to the planet where the team was supposed to be.  They had not found anything even though they were running continuous scans to locate the shuttle.  Finally all their effort paid off.  “Captain I’ve got a vessel on long distance sensors.” Harry said. “It’s the shuttle.” He said with excitement. Two of his good friends were on that shuttle.
“Helm set a course, maximum warp.  Harry send them a message that were coming.” Janeway gave out the orders to her crew.

Half an hour later Tom had been beamed to Sickbay while the rest of the away team brought the shuttle into the bay.  Janeway had gone to the shuttle bay to see Lt. Torres.  They had been told that Tom was seriously ill but they did not elaborate on his condition during their brief communication before landing.  Janeway was going with B’Elanna to sickbay to check on Tom while Dell and Farley walked with them to get their own injuries healed.  When they arrived Kes and the Doctor were discussing something while a very pale Tom Paris lay unconscious on the main biobed.  “Doctor, What’s Tom’s condition?” Janeway asked.  The doctor approached them and ushered them into his office.  Kes went to take care of Dell and Farley.
“Stable at best.” He said with a sigh.  Janeway and Torres didn’t think he was programmed to do that.  Something must really be wrong.
“What did they do to him?” Torres asked, always the impatient one.
“Lt. Paris shows evidence of being mildly beaten but more concerning is the foreign agents in his system.  One of these agents was attacking his organ tissues causing cell rupture and internal bleeding.  We’ve been able to stop the bleeding and neutralize that agent but there are others that are causing other problems.  One is causing a high fever and delirium.  Kes and I have not been able to find a medication that will counteract the effects or destroy it.”  The frustration was evident in his voice.  Torres and Janeway didn’t think that he was programmed for frustration either.
“Has he woken up at all?” Janeway asked looking through the glass to her sick pilot.
“No, and I don’t expect him to wake until sometime tomorrow.  He lost a lot of blood and I’ve sedated him so he’ll sleep through the night.”  Janeway nodded and told the doctor to keep her updated on Tom’s condition before she left.  Torres stayed in the doctor’s office.
Talk of sleeping and sedation reminded her about the conversation she had with Tom late in the Mess Hall.
“Lt. Is there something else?” The Doc asked her.  B’Elanna had been gazing at a point on the floor.
“Doc do people dream when they’re sedated?”
“I don’t know, possibly. Why do you ask?”
“Just…wondering.”  She looked at Tom’s form on the biobed and hoped that he wasn’t dreaming.  She let Kes fix injuries and went to her quarters to change into a clean uniform.  The senior staff minus one where meeting in a few minutes and she had to put together a small report.

“What did they want?” Harry asked
“I don’t know.  Tom was the only one who had any direct contact with them.”
“Why did they pick Paris?” This question from Chakotay.
“Before we came to, He took our rank insignias off our collars so as the only ranking officer the must have thought he would have the most information.” 
The room was silent for a little while as it sunk in what Tom had done for the other members of the away team.
“Are your captors aware of your escape?” Tuvok asked worried that they would be looking (excuse me Vulcan’s don’t worry)- concerned for the safety of the ship.
“Yes but we managed to evade them by hiding on a planet.  They went right past us in the opposite direction of our current position.” B’Elanna said.
“We should leave the area just in case they decide to search in the other direction.” Janeway said “Our business at the trading station has been concluded.  Let’s not wait to find out what those people wanted.” Janeway dismissed the Senior officers telling Torres that she had the rest of the day off.  B’Elanna took the opportunity to go to Sickbay to check on Tom.

She didn’t expect to find him thrashing on the biobed while Kes and the Doctor tried to wake him from whatever horrible dream he was having.  The sedative was too strong and the Doctor had to resort to giving him another drug to wake him.  Tom’s eyes flew open and gazed at the ceiling unseeing.  He may be in sickbay but his mind was in the past, reliving an old nightmare.  A nightmare he thought he could escape.

The Doctor and Kes were trying to get him to respond but with no avail. B’Elanna rushed to his side pushing the Doctor out of the way.  “Tom!” she shouted. “Tom look at me!” she cupped his face and forced him to look at her.  “Tom you’re safe here.” She said softly.  He blinked.  He tried to separate what he was seeing with what he was hearing.  In front of him was Owen Paris beating him something it was moving too fast for him to see but he was hearing B’Elanna’s voice telling him he was safe.  He was so confused but decided to cling to the voice hoping that it would make everything go away.  He blinked several times trying to change the image before him but it remained the angry Owen Paris. 

Tom saw his father raise the object ready to swing down again and it all came back to him.  He was nine.   His work wasn’t good enough.  He was such a disappointment to everybody.  He had failed everybody.  A bat.  It was his wooden baseball bat that Owen was beating him with.  He remembered what happened next.  The bat would come down and hit him and the world would fade away.  A tear escaped and rolled to were B’Elanna’s hand held his face. “I’m sorry.” He breathed before passing out.  B’Elanna didn’t move for a while.  What just happened?  What was Tom seeing that caused him so much distress?  She stepped back and let the Doctor examine him.  She was lost in thought for a long moment before racing out of Sickbay.  She had to talk to Harry.  He was Tom’s best friend maybe he knew something.

Harry had just gotten off his shift and was going to see how Tom was doing.  When the doors to the lift opened on deck five B’Elanna Torres came crashing into him. “Hey Maquis.” He said with an amused smile.  When he saw the look in her eyes the smile faded.  “What’s wrong?”  She didn’t answer.  She pushed him back into the turbolift and called out for deck nine. 
“We have to talk Harry.”  She didn’t say anything else until they were in her quarters.  “Harry how well do you know Tom?”  she asked the moment the doors closed.
“Better than anyone on the ship.”  He said instantly.
“That’s not saying much.”  B’Elanna muttered. 
“What do you mean?”
“It just occurred to me that nobody really knows Tom.  How often do you talk about family.” 
“We talk about family sometimes.”
“Yours or his?” 
“Mostly mine.”  Harry paused in thought. “Actually we never talk about his family.”
B’Elanna sighed and collapsed onto her couch. 
“Do you know anything about Tom’s father?” she asked quietly.
“Admiral Paris?”  Harry sat in a vacant chair.  “No, only from what I’ve heard.  From what Tom’s said though, they must not have had a very good relationship.”
B’Elanna was silent for a while.  “Did you know about Tom’s nightmares?”
“No.  He has nightmares?  About what?”
“I don’t know but so much has happened to him…take your pick.”
“Did he tell you this?”
“No I came to this conclusion with the little information he accidentally let slip.”  She thought back to the night she talked to Tom late in the mess hall. 
“Tom’s the only one who can answer what ever questions you have B’Elanna.  I don’t know that much about him.” Harry said.  It was hard for him to admit, but he didn’t know Tom as well as he thought.  He didn’t know what made this man tick, what caused him to make the decisions that shaped his life. 

The next morning in Sickbay the Doctor was speaking to a very groggy Tom Paris.  “Mr. Paris do you know where you are?”
“Sickbay.” Tom replied after a short pause.  Tom was still lying on the main biobed in the blue sickbay pyjamas.  Kes was in nearby monitoring his bio-reading. 
“Are you still having difficulty sleeping?”
“I never said I was having difficulty sleeping.” Tom said.
“You didn’t have to.  The tricorder told me you were sleep deprived.”  Tom closed his eyes.  He had avoided the Doctor for a long while and now he couldn’t.
“Kes could you check the experiments in the lab, please.” Kes nodded and left the main part of sickbay.  The Doctor looked at the patient before him in front of him.  One of his most frequent patients actually but also a friend.  The Doctor knew what it was that Tom was hiding from his friends and what he could not come to terms with.  The evidence was in the medical files and exams.  The Doctor had never brought up the topic with Tom since it had never affected him outwardly and Tom had never come to him to talk about it even though he had offered.  Now it seemed there was no avoiding the topic.  The recent events that Tom had been involved in here in the Delta quadrant and brought back old memories that he had buried.  “Mr. Paris….Tom, are you having nightmares.”  Tom just turned his head away from him.  “And that’s why you won’t take any sleep aids.”  Tom’s silence was enough of an answer.  “What are the dreams about?” Tom didn’t move.  “I can’t help you if you don’t co-operates Tom.” 
“I don’t want your or anybody’s help,” Tom said, finally looking at the doctor.
“Are they about your abuse as a child?” The Doctor asked softly.  Tom stared at the doctor in shock //How did he know?//  “The medical exams.” The Doctor answered the question that he knew Tom was thinking about.
“Doc, I can handle this.  I’ve managed my entire life, today, tomorrow and the days after until the day I die won’t be any different.”
“Under normal circumstances I might agree with you but your body is under ever increasing amounts of stress due to the fever.  Until Kes and I find something that will help, I’m afraid it will only get worse.”  Tom was quiet for a moment.
“Can I leave Sickbay?”  The doc nearly sighed.  He knew Tom didn’t have much of an affinity for Sickbay and had anticipated that question.
“Since I can’t do anything for you here and since you’re not contagious you may leave to your quarters.  Eat only replicated food, Mr. Neelix’s creations may have adverse affects with fever causing agent.  I’ll have your rations increased. You are off duty until further notice.” The Doc informed him.
“Thanks,” Tom said wearily as he sat up.
“Should I comm Ensign Kim or Lt. Torres to help you back to your quarters, or Kes could–”
“Doc, I can handle it.”  Tom said as he planted both feet on the floor.  He was feeling a little light headed but his quarters where only two decks up.  He could make it.  He changed out of the blue gown and left.

A few minutes later Tom arrived in his quarters.  He didn’t even bother calling for lights.  He made it to his couch and lay down.  He didn’t want to sleep, in fear of another episode like the last but he felt to dizzy and too tired to do anything.  Unwanted memories began surfacing.  Voices and feelings invaded his mind.  He shook his head desperately trying to control his thoughts. 

The chime of his door startled him.  He called for the person to enter.  Harry Kim walked into the dark room.  He called for fifty percent illumination.  He saw his friend laying on the couch.  Tom sat up and greeted him.
“Hi Tom.” Harry said as he took in Tom’s condition.  Hair messy, Eyes glassy, forehead sweaty and shivering.  “How are you feeling?”
“Lousy.”  Harry sat on the couch.  “Cold actually.”
“It must be the fever.” Harry deduced.  “You should be getting some rest.”
“I am.  I’m not doing anything.”  Harry noted Tom’s reluctance to go to sleep.  B’elanna may be right about Tom having nightmares. 
“Have you eaten?  We could go to the messhall and grab lunch.”  Harry suggested.
“Can’t. Doc’s orders.  We could, however replicate something.  My rations have been increased so it on me this time.” 

Tom and Harry enjoyed their lunch together but Tom’s condition seemed to be getting worse.  By the end of the meal Tom was hardly responding to anything Harry said.  Tom was still shivering and sweating more.  He wanted to call the doctor but Tom had told him that the Doc couldn’t do anything for him.  ‘Yet’ Harry added.  It sounded like Tom was giving up.  He had never known Tom to be a quiter before and wondered what was wearing down his spirit. 
“You should try and get some sleep Tom.”  Tom didn’t respond.  Tom was staring blankly at the table top. “Tom!” Harry called.  Still no response. He walked over to where Tom was sitting and place a hand his shoulder and called his name again.  Tom jumped out of his chair knocking it over in the process. “Tom?”  Harry called softly.  He was getting more worried.  Tom’s eyes rested on Harry who was slowly approaching him.  His eyes a were a dull blue.  Harry swore that Tom was trying to remember were he was.
“Harry?”  Tom asked soflty
“Yeah, Tom, it’s me.”  Tom leaned against to the wall and slid to the floor.  He let out a relived sigh.  Harry walked over to him. “Tom what’s wrong?”
“I thought…I thought I was somewhere else.”  His voice wavered. 
“Hiracus II,” he breathed out.  Harry was confused.  The Hiracus system was just outside the boarders of the federation.  The people their didn’t want anything to do with the Federation and no matter what happened they were against the idea of joining.  Anytime the Federation was close to getting them to join the people or Hiracus would do something drastic to undermine any support that the federation had gained.  The Federation gave up some time ago trying to get these people to join.  What was the son of an Admiral doing in such a conflicted system?
“Well don’t worry you’re on voyager now. Whatever’s there can’t get you here.”  Harry was curious as to what had caused Tom such stress but thought it better to let Tom get over his affliction before bringing up the topic.  He couldn’t deal with emotional trauma right now; the physical was bad enough thanks to the virus.

Harry helped Tom to his bed.  Tom smiled once he had his wits about him again.  “Thanks Harry.  I can take from here.”  Harry didn’t think that it was a good idea to leave Tom alone right now the hallucinogenic properties of the virus or whatever it was, was making it harder for Tom to separate reality from memories.  “I’ll be fine Harry.”  Tom tried to reassure him.
“Alright, but don’t hesitate to call me or anybody if you need something.”  A minute later Harry left Tom’s quarters after he got Tom to promise that he would get some rest.  Tom had no intention of sleeping but he lacked the strength leave the soft comfort of his bed.  Slowly, despite his intentions, sleep over took him and the nightmares over took the dreams.

Later that day the Harry sat alone in the Mess Hall eating a late dinner.  He had visited Tom before he came to the galley.  He found Tom thrashing on his bed trying to defend himself from whatever was happening to him in the dream.  When he finally woke him it took Harry five minutes to convince Tom that he was on Voyager.  Harry had left when Tom had dozed off again.  He called the doctor but the Doc didn’t have anything new to report; still searching was the bottom line. 

Harry looked up when Commander Chakotay sat down across from him.  Chakotay rarely sat with Harry.  It’s not that he didn’t like the Ensign but he noticed that having his commanding officer sit with him usually made Ensign nervous.  Today however the mess hall was very busy and Chakotay noticed the pensive mood of the other man and had decided to sit with him.  May be he could help.
“Penny for your thoughts.”
“If it’s alright with you I’d rather not share.” Harry said looking at his plate. 
“It might help with whatever’s bothering you.”  Harry shook his head. 
“I don’t think that you’d be up to helping me with this,” Harry smirked a bit as he remembered the times when Tom and Chakotay teased each other on the bridge.  The two of them had let bygones be bygones, but they were far from being good friends.  Casual acquaintances yes, friends, getting there.  Tom always seemed to be able to annoy Chakotay and Chakotay always seemed to bring out Tom’s self-defences. 
“Try me.” Chakotay challenged.  As unofficial ships counsellor he had dealt with a lot of different problems. There was nothing that he couldn’t handle.
“Tom Paris.”  He stood corrected.  No response from the Commander was forthcoming.  “I told you.”  Harry said “I need someone who knows a lot about Tom or at least knows more than I know.”
“Well here comes that very person.” Before Harry could ask who he was talking about, Captain Janeway sat down at their table.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything she said seating herself next to Chakotay.
“Not at all Captain.” Chakotay said.
“Harry how’s Tom doing?”
“He’s not any better.  A little worse actually.  The delirium is increasing.  Nightmares, forgotten memories, hallucinations; but the Doctor hasn’t found anything that could help him.”  They were all silent until Harry asked Janeway a question.
“Captain do you know why Tom would have been on Hiracus at some time.”  The slightly startled expreesion on her face told them that she did know and that it was something that they had to discuss privately.  They left the mess hall for the Ready Room.

“How did you know that Tom was on Hiracus?” Janeway asked once they all sat.
“When I was with Tom he thought that he was on Hiracus and it caused him a lot of distress.”    Janeway thought for a moment about how she was going to explain what happened.
“You both know of the conflicts betweedn Hiracus and the Federation.” They both nodded and she continued. “Captain Paris was on to the people that worked on the coalition of the Federation and Hiracus.  He would have succeeded had it not been for a few Hiracus citizens.  Eight days before the Hiracus government was supposed to meet with the Federation leaders Captain Paris’ son went missing.  Tom was seven at the time when he was kidnapped.  I never got the details as to what transpired and they were never released to the press but twelve days later Tom was left on a small planet just inside the federation boarder.  The people that kidnapped him sent a message to Starfleet notifying them that Tom was on the planet and Tom was found and returned to his family.”
“What happened to him while he was there?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know.  None of the reports disclosed any detailed information and I’ve never heard Tom or Owen talk about it.  Hiracus never joined the Federation and the Federation stopped trying.” 
“Did Tom tell you something about what happened Harry?” Chakotay asked.
“No, but I got the distinct feeling that whatever it was Tom wants to forget it.” 

B’Elanna rang the chime to Tom’s quarters.  She didn’t get a response but she knew Tom was in his quarters.  She used her engineering command codes to get past the lock and entered his quarters. There was little illumination and she walked in carefully to avoid bumping into anything.  She heard a soft sound and followed it.  Tom was in bed.  He was mumbling and moving trying to get away from whatever was in his dream.  B’Elanna went over to him.  Trying to wake him from whatever nightmare he was having.  After a few minute of trying Tom awoke.
 He bolted upright in his bed.  The sheets had been thrown to the floor long ago and to sat there breathing heavily and drenched in a cold sweat.  He ran his hand through his hair.  Voyager, he was on Voyager.  Sighing in relief he turned his attention to B’Elanna.
 “Hey.” He whispered. 
 “Hey yourself.  Are you alright?” she asked in concern.  Tom looked like he was getting worse.  What was the Doctor doing?  Tom looked paler than he had earlier and weaker.  This illness was winning. 
 “I’m… okay.” Tom replied weakly.  Tom was shaking slightly.  B’Elanna noticed the tremor that ran through him.  He lay back down on the bed trying to calm himself.  He soon found that he was getting sleepy again but he did not want to risk having another nightmare. 
 B’Elanna noticed his eyes droop but he seemed to be fighting it.  “Go to sleep Tom.  You need the rest.”
 “No…I…don’t want to sleep.” He was running from whatever it was that was haunting his dreams. 
 “Think about something else.  Something that make you happy.”  She absently ran her hand through his soft hair.  His eyes fluttered and he struggled to stay awake.  He took B’Elanna’s advice and thought about things that comforted him.  Piloting Voyager, his friends, Harry, Kes, Neelix, B’Elanna. A smile touched his lips and he drifted into slimber.  B’Elanna wondered what it was that put the smile there.  She stayed for a few more minutes and then left Tom’s quarters. 
 That night he slept free from nightmare and old forgotten memories.  Free from the past that haunted and plagued him.  Thinking mostly about a one fiery, beautiful half-klingon Engineer.

End Part 3

Finally finished! Yay!  Part four…yeah… I’ll get right on that.
Same as always:  comments and constructive criticism ?