Only Here
Part 4 (Final Part)

Rating for this part: PG-13
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 (though I’m not sure you would want to) ?

The Doctor said I should record my thoughts in my log.  I suppose it will help keep my thoughts straight.  I just hope that he doesn’t go and read it.  I know he has the authorization but I’d rather not have him reading this; he knows too much already. Long pause before continuing.  The last two days have been a blur.  I remember [aggravated sigh] I remember thing that I would rather have forgotten.  Memories of my childhood and….my father keep returning.  My time on Hiracus with Charlie.  He didn’t really do anything but that bastard and his cronies scared the shit out of me.  I’ve had a couple of flashbacks to Auckland and Caldik Prime.  Auckland wasn’t so bad except for the occasional beatings, but those I was expecting somewhat.  Caldik Prime……sometimes I wish I could forget that, but I’d rather not.  Caldik Prime was my biggest mistake.  Not lying about it, but the fact that I took three lives, three friends. 

I wake up from those dreams and I don’t feel scared but intensely saddened.  I wish I could bring them back but I can’t and no matter what I do nothing will change that.  I don’t want to forget them or what happened but I don’t want to relive that moment every night in my dreams.  I know this probably sounds stupid but every time I have a hallucination of a dream I’m afraid that I won’t wake up from it.  Half the time I actually believe that I’m seven and on Hiracus or that I’m back at Caldik Prime!  I almost always rely on somebody else to bring me back to the present and every time it gets harder to come back.  I don’t want to relive my life!  Nobody else may understand and I hope that they never do.

In sickbay the Doctor was on the verge of a discovery.   One of the compound that he was working with partially neutralized the hallucinogenic agent and another one that he had found would relieve the intensity of the fever if not cure it.  He commed Tom and told him to report to Sickbay.  It was best that they start treatment as soon as possible.  Tom’s physical health was deteriorating but more worrisome was his mental health.  The Doctor probably knew more about Tom than anybody else on the ship.  What most people do not know is that the body itself is the best medical file there is.  Every break and scrape is recorded somewhere and all it takes was a good doctor to be able to find and interpret them.  And the Doc was an excellent Doctor.

The doors to sickbay opened and Tom walked in and sat himself on a biobed without a word.  The Doctor ran a tricorder over him to check Tom’s latest condition.  There wasn’t much of a change his temperature was still far to high, blood pressure far too high, erratic brain patterns in the area of his memories and it looked like Tom wasn’t eating enough.  The doc put the tricorder away and refrained from giving Tom a lecture on his eating habits and taking care of himself.  He’d probably given that lecture to the man on the biobed so many times that he could probably recite it from memory. 
“I’ve found a compound that will lessen the fever.” He pressed one hypo to Tom’s neck. And the picked up another one.  “This one should stop the hallucinations.”  He pressed that hypo to Tom’s neck.  Tom was silent.  The doctor looked at him carefully.  Both of his hands tightly gripped the edge of the biobed until his knuckles where white.  His head was tilted down looking at his feet that dangled off the side of the biobed.  “Mr. Paris?”  The Doctor was wondering if he was experiencing another flashback.  He picked up a tricorder and scanned him but it didn’t provide him with any answers.  He tried another scan.
“I’m sorry doc.  What where you saying?”  Tom said.
“What happened just now?”  The doctor asked and closed the tricorder.
“I just zoned out for a minute.  Lot on my mind.”  The doctor accepted that answer.  Tom had probably doing a lot of thinking lately.  The doctor explained to him, again what he had just put in his system. 
“I’d like you to remain in Sickbay so I can monitor your progress.” Tom nodded and lay down on the biobed, mentally preparing himself for a long stay in Sickbay.  The Doctor walked away and began softly singing.  Tom just rolled his eyes.  Yup, a very long stay.

Late the next day.  Tom was sitting up on his biobed where he had stayed most of yesterday and through the night.  He was reading a data pad while the Doctor looked over the results from the last scan that he had run.
“Doc I’m feeling much better.  Can I go back on duty now?”
“The last thing that you need is to put any unnecessary stress on your body.”
“Flying in a straight line is not stressful Doc.”  Tom said.
“I’ll speak with the Captain.”  The Doctor said and returned to his scans.

“He did well on the holodeck simulations.”  Janeway said.  She was in Sickbay with the Doctor discussing Tom’s return to duty.  Tom had taken simulator test and had passed.  He didn’t do as well as he had been before but he’s been sick. 
“I don’t think that he is quite ready to return to duty.  He still has to deal with the psychological effects of the hallucinations.  His concentration will not be as good as it once was until the medication has had time enough to complete its work.”  The doctor said.
“What do you suggest?”
“Very light duty no more than half a shift a day on the bridge and that is the absolute maximum, though no duty at all is my recommendation.”

In her ready room Captain Janeway called for the person to enter.  Tom Paris strode in.
“Captain, I’d like to ask you something.” She nodded for him to continue.  She was certain of what he would ask. “Why won’t you let me go on duty?”
“It’s the recommendation of the CMO-”
“But I took the test!  I passed it!”
“Yes, you did but your performance wasn't up to your usual standards.” She told him calmly.  Tom’s current state could be called anything but calm.
“I’m a little sick but I’ll be better soon.”
“And when you are you’ll be back at the helm, but not yet.”
“So that’s it.  I’m sick for a while and I’m not allowed to pilot anymore!”
“You’re blowing things out of proportion.” Janeway warned him.
“You may as well cut off my hands, for all the use I’ll be to you!” he exclaimed.  “I have to pilot, Captain.”
“The Doctor reports that you’ve still been experiencing so mild hallucinations.”
“Mild is the important word.”
“And what happens when you have one during a battle, when we can’t risk having a pilot at the helm who is only flying with half his mind-”
“I’m still a good pilot!”
“But you’re not good to me if you’re not at your best.”  Tom was silent.  “Work through whatever’s bothering you and you’ll be back at the conn in no time.”  She said gently.  “Dismissed.”
“Easier said than done.” He mumbled to himself as he left.

For the next little while Tom was ordered to see Chakotay, the unofficial ships’ councillor.  Nothing ever happened in the sessions though.  Oh, sure they talked, but never about anything important.  Tom always jumped around the issues and never answered any questions.  As the sessions wore on Tom became better and better at diverting questions.  He was more his old self than ever and was giving Chakotay a sample of what he had given Harry and B’Elanna the morning of the ill-fated mission that started this whole mess. It seemed like Tom Paris was back to his old self.

Not long after Tom was put back on full duty.  The toxins in his blood stream had been neutralized thanks to the Doctor and he was in perfect health, physically.  Despite Harry and B’Elanna’s questions he would still never talk about his past, whether it be about the kidnapping, his father, or his time in Auckland-those topics where off limits.

“No!” his own strangled cry woke him from sleep.  A thin film of sweat covered his body and his sheets where twisted in his limbs.  Several shaky breaths later he got up and went to his washroom.  Splashing dome water on his face to wake him up he looked back into the bedroom at his chronometer.  0513 was the time it displayed.  About five hours of sleep he thought to himself.  Back to the status quo it seems. 

He walked back to the bed and lay back down hoping that he’d be able to get a few more hours of sleep.  Garbled images flashed through his mind every time he closed his eyes.  He wouldn’t be getting anymore sleep tonight. He got up. “I’m never going to sleep again.” It was an idle threat but compared to what sleep brought it seemed like the lesser of two evils.  He walked to the window of his quarters and watched the stars slip by.  Everything was back to how it was before.  He looked back at the bed briefly.  Seventy-thousand light years away and not even here could he escape what haunted him.