CPR: The Chakotay/Paris Realm


Warning: Angst alert!!!!!

No Regrets - Part 26
by T'Pam

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

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*Chakotay's POV*

"Bastard!"

I gape in astonishment. Tom Paris is standing in my doorway wearing nothing but a skimpy pair of bathing trunks. He looks incredible and I'm powerless to stop my eyes from feasting upon him.

He's panting heavily, almost as if he's been running, and my gaze locks onto his chest, the urge to reach out and touch those damp little curls undeniable.

Finally, I tear my eyes away and look up to his face. He's flushed, and his eyes are narrowed into slits, his lips a thin angry, line.

Numbly, my mind belatedly registers his greeting. "Pardon?" I say, rather stupidly.

"You set the whole thing up," he yells in response. Luckily, there's no one in the corridor to witness whatever the hell is happening here.

I reach out and grab his arm, pulling him into my quarters. As he stumbles inside, he glares at me and twists his arm out of my grasp.

I swallow before asking, "What's wrong?" He's so close to me that our chests are almost touching.

"What's wrong?" he repeats. His voice rises a little. "What's wrong? You must have known B'Elanna would tell me. She felt she had to talk to me about this little proposition."

He practically spits the last couple of words out. I step back away from him and find I can breathe a little easier. I just need to keep some distance between us.

"She told me she would. I take it you're not happy about it?" I ask quietly. Why the hell did he call me a bastard? None of it was my idea. Does he think that I had something to do with it? That I talked B'Elanna into it, or something?

"No, I'm *not* damn well happy about it." His breathing is still rapid and I can't help noticing that he's flushed all over. I see his fists clench and unclench at his sides.

"Well, it seems to be what she wants," I say as gently as I can. I'm still trying to fathom why Tom is here. He's obviously very upset about the thought of B'Elanna with Tuvok. I suppose it's understandable, in a way. But he seems to be angry with me. "You think I talked her into it, don't you? I can assure you that's not true. I told her it was a decision only she could make."

"Why?" Tom's voice chokes a little and he takes a deep breath to control himself. "Why proposition her like that? She deserves more."

"B'Elanna doesn't look at it like that. She sees a need that she can fulfill. And she cares enough to want to do it."

"You are un-fucking-believable, you know that?"

"Tom, she's happy with her decision. Don't spoil this for her. She wants your understanding and support."

My words are not having the soothing effect I was hoping for. Tom appears to be even more agitated and he's having difficulty speaking.

"Tom, I think you need to calm down a little. I honestly don't understand why you're so riled up. Your reaction..."

"Fuck you!" Tom yells suddenly. "How am I supposed to react? You wanted her for yourself all along and took advantage of me to get her. You saw your chance in that lift and you took it. You knew B'Elanna and me were on the verge of breaking up and you decided to make sure it happened."

I stare at him speechless, too shocked to fully comprehend what he's saying.

"I see it all now," he continues, no longer shouting. He's hissing out his accusations now. "You pretended to warn Vorik about gossiping, ensuring he was even more suspicious than he was before. Then you tell me that Harry's in love with me, hoping that I'll turn to him and away from B'Elanna. There was still a chance we might have got back together again."

I shake my head, wordlessly.

"Don't try to deny it," he almost screams at me. "Just to make sure we didn't, you decided to tell B'Elanna what had happened in that lift, making her think I needed more in a relationship than she could give me, and deliberately making her feel sorry for me. Then you walked around the ship looking like the poor, misunderstood, friendless Commander, and B'Elanna was hooked."

I choke for oxygen and realize that I haven't drawn a breath since he started his tirade. I take in a lungful of air with a deep gasp, and then another, but Tom doesn't seem to notice. He's determined to continue with this completely ridiculous theory.

"It didn't take long to reel her in, did it? But you still weren't completely sure she was ready to move on, so you told her that Harry and I were in love. I don't know what you told her when you propositioned her, but it must have been damn good, because she talks as if she's practically going to be saving your life or something."

My legs are weak, I don't know if they'll support me, so I lean against the wall. Everything Tom has said is starting to sink in now.

"You really think I would do that?" My voice is so low that it's a wonder he can even hear me. "You think I could be capable of all that?"

I'm gratified to see hesitation on his face, but then he nods resolutely. "Yes."

"Perhaps you even think I rigged the lift?"

The hesitation is more pronounced. "No. I think you just saw a golden opportunity and grabbed it."

"I see." I'm starting to shake now, but it's not with shock. The shock is receding and in its place a fierce anger is beginning to build, the intensity so strong that I'm afraid of what I might do.

"I think you'd better leave." My voice is unexpectedly quiet, belying my emotions.

"You owe me the truth," he says stubbornly.

"I owe you nothing. Believe what you want." I can hear the bitterness in my tone. "Now, get out."

"Tell me I'm wrong." Tom's voice is a choked plea, but I refuse to look at him.

"Get out!"

The door slides closed and I sink to the floor, my anger dissolving in an instant. That he could think that of me! That he could believe that of me!

Why didn't he just reach in and rip my heart from me? The result would have been the same. Is it even possible to still live and feel this dead inside? I stay there on the floor, unable to stand, and begin to rock to and fro.

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*Tom's POV*

I rush blindly down the corridor, not exactly sure where I'm going. Why didn't he deny it? Why didn't he tell me I was wrong? Why didn't he tell me my accusations were crazy?

I try to remember what he looked like while I accused him. I'd been too worked up to notice. Waiting desperately for him to tell me it wasn't true. Only, he didn't. He didn't!

He'd looked stunned at first, as if he couldn't comprehend what I was saying, I remember that. But what about after? He'd looked angry, bitter. Had there been hurt and bewilderment on his face before that, though? Or am I just hoping? Hoping for any sign that I was wrong?

My steps falter and I half turn around. Should I go back? Apologize? The more I think about it, the more sure I am that he'd looked hurt.

I shake my head. Even if I'm wrong, it wouldn't matter to Chakotay. Why would he care what I think? He won't lose any sleep over it. He's probably having a laugh about it now. And anyway, that's if I'm wrong. If I'm right, he's probably having a laugh about that too.

My eyes sting a little at the thought and I turn back around, realizing how stupid I'm being. It's getting late, time to turn in. Only, I don't feel like turning in. My insides are still churning. Would Chakotay really have done all those things I accused him of? It doesn't seem possible.

I need to talk to somebody about this. I'll never sleep tonight until I have this all in its proper perspective. I know Harry will have already gone to bed, but I'm sure he won't mind. He'll help me to see everything clearly and rationally. I head for Harry's.

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*Harry's POV*

I moan with delight as I imagine Tom running across the court and then jumping up to hit the beach ball. He turns to look at me, winking mischievously. I wink in return.

The ball lands at his feet with a plop and he makes a great show of bending down and picking it up. I moan once more as he lifts the ball above his head and turns to face me, wriggling his hips suggestively.

I sigh with pure pleasure as he gyrates before me, naked and glorious, and my hand speeds up excitedly. He'd slowly slid his swimming trunks off some time ago to play beach volleyball nude, just for me.

He'd do anything for me. Anything!

"Oh, Tom!"

"Harry."

His voice is soft and sensual as he humps the air, everyone stopping to watch his performance.

"Harry," he says once more. His voice is so near to me that I feel as if I could reach out and touch him.

"Tom," I pant, pumping frantically. I'm so close... so close.

"Harry! What are you doing? Oh my god! Shit! I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

It's like a bucket of ice cold water's been thrown over me. I sit up, desperately peering through the almost complete darkness, to see the object of my desires heading for the door.

"Tom!" I cry out in horror, clutching the sheet around me to hide my now rapidly dwindling erection. "Oh, Tom!" My voice is a high-pitched wail.

He stops and turns. "I'm so sorry, Harry. That'll teach me to come in unannounced. I'll never do it again, I promise." He clears his throat. "I'll leave you now. God, I'm sorry."

"Tom!" It seems to be the only thing I can say. I'm incapable of uttering anything else.

"It's okay, Har. We all do it. I'm just so sorry I... um... interrupted you. I didn't think. I guess telling you to carry on is a little out of the question." He forces out a small chuckle, but I can't respond.

"I'm so embarrassed." There, I *can* say something else. I can even utter other noises now, too. It's a sort of strangling, choking sound, but when I breathe in, it turns into a sob. The sobs increase and Tom, forgetting his embarrassment of only moments ago, races over to me.

He sits on the side of my bed and hugs me tightly. "Please, Harry. It's nothing to be ashamed of. This is all my fault for barging in like that. Can you ever forgive me?"

I nod against him and try to control my breathing. I can't believe that one of my greatest fantasies is actually coming true and I'm too upset to enjoy it.

I'm sitting here naked in Tom's arms while he pats my back and smoothes my hair, wearing almost nothing himself, and all I can think about is how to stop crying.

"Would it help if I told you, I know how you feel?" he asks quietly. "My father barged in on me one day, only it was worse, much worse."

"Oh?" My tears are forgotten as my curiosity is piqued.

"It's a rather sordid story. Are you sure you're up to it?" He forces out another small chuckle and I groan and punch him lightly on the arm, before pulling away from him and wiping my face with the sheet.

"Tell me."

He fumbles around in the dark and then hands me some tissues so I can blow my nose. "Okay. My Dad walked in on me and my best friend, Charlie. We'd been fooling around, looking at some pictures he'd managed to get hold of and talking dirty. You know what it's like when you're fifteen. Anyway, we were lying on my bed and it didn't take long for our hands to do the talking, if you know what I mean. Dad must have been passing my bedroom door when we both yelled out almost at exactly the same moment. He burst in, thinking we were killing each other."

"Oh my god. What happened?"

"He just stood there looking down at us. We gazed back at him in horror, frozen in place, our hands still wrapped around one another. The door was wide open and I remember worrying that my sisters might walk past and see. He then cleared his throat and said in this really dry tone of voice he hoped we'd remember to wash our hands before coming down to dinner."

I choke with laughter. "He didn't?"

"Oh, yes, he did. He also suggested we should find something to do as we were obviously desperate for some exercise."

"I can't even imagine what my father would have done if he'd caught me doing something like that. I think he would have fainted actually."

Tom joins in my laughter and I feel so much better. I reach across and squeeze his arm. "Thanks."

He's silent for a moment and then sighs. "I'd better go."

"Oh, okay." As he attempts to stand, I reach out once more. "Tom, why did you come here in the first place? I mean, you must have wanted something."

"It doesn't matter now. I just wanted someone to talk to. I was feeling a little restless." He sounds worried now.

"Oh? Is something wrong?"

"Not really. At least... no... it's fine."

"It doesn't sound like it. You might feel better if you talk about it."

"No, it's really late now. I'll let you get some sleep."

"I don't think I'll be able to sleep right now, anyway." I can feel myself blushing again.

"Harry..." Tom stops and gets up from the bed, stepping away slightly. "Harry..." He hesitates again and I can feel my heart start to beat furiously in my chest. Whatever Tom wants to say to me can't be good. He's having a lot of trouble getting started. "I think... no... I'm sure, I just made a big mistake."

"What do you mean?"

"I just... damn it!" I can hear him pacing and then he sits down in the chair next to my bed. "I just accused Chakotay of all sorts of stuff and I think I was wrong about some of it. At least, I don't know, maybe I was right about his motives, but..."

I wait patiently, my heartbeat slowing somewhat. This isn't about me, it's about Chakotay.

"Harry..." I hear him take a deep breath and I wonder why we're still sitting here in the almost complete dark when one of us could have asked for some illumination. The darkness had suited me at first, but now I wouldn't mind seeing Tom's face.

"Harry, I don't know how to say this, but... um... you whispered my name. I thought you knew I was here, but... you moaned my name again just as I realized what you were doing. I don't... I don't want to embarrass you... It's just that I need to know why you did that."

Oh my god! What can I say?

"Harry, please be honest with me. You were thinking about me while you touched yourself, weren't you?"

Oh god! Oh god!

"I thought Chakotay was trying to keep me away from B'Elanna, but he was right, wasn't he? You do have feelings for me, don't you?"

Now would be a good time to start crying again, only I can't. I can't do, or say anything. Now I'm grateful for the dark, but I can't hide the truth any longer.

"Yes," I whisper hoarsely.

"Were you ever in love with B'Elanna?"

"No. It's only ever been you."

Tom sucks in his breath. "I thought..."

"I know and I'm sorry. I didn't want you to find out. I didn't want things to change between us."

"They won't change, Harry."

"Of course they will. They can't possibly stay the same now. You're going to pity me and then you're going to feel awkward around me. You won't be able to bear being near me because I'll make you feel uncomfortable." My voice is flat and emotionless. I've thought about this so many times in the past that it's like I'm reciting some memorized passage.

"Harry, that's not going to happen. I won't let it happen."

"It'll be beyond your control."

"Bullshit! I'm not going to pity you. I'm flattered... honored that you feel that way about me."

"Don't! Spare me the platitudes. I don't want to hear how you don't deserve someone as wonderful as me to love you. Or what a great honor I've bestowed upon you and how I'll meet somebody very special one day who'll love me as much as I'll love them. It's all so much crap," I hiss bitterly.

"I wasn't going to say that." His voice is so quiet that I can hardly hear him.

"I think you'd better go now."

He doesn't answer, just quietly gets up and leaves. As the door closes behind him, I moan softly. Our friendship is over, finished. Why, when I can cry so easily, can't I shed any tears now?

But, I'd known this would happen one day. I'd prepared myself for it. I moan once more.

No Regrets - Part 27
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Tom's POV*

I walk slowly out of Harry's quarters, feeling dazed and confused. Harry's in love with me. And I hadn't seen it. Not at all. If I hadn't walked in on him tonight, would I have ever guessed?

I can't believe how blind I've been. But Harry's wrong. I won't let things change between us. His friendship's too important to me. *He's* too important to me.

So, the fleeting thought I sometimes had, that *I* was the naive young ensign, turns out to be true. Harry's slight warning earlier this evening, telling me I didn't know him as well as I thought I did, was true too.

Do I really know anybody? I'd thought I'd known B'Elanna. I'd thought I'd known Chakotay too. I'd never imagined he could be capable of the things he's done. *If* he's done them. There's a small niggling voice in the back of my mind insisting my whole theory is insane.

I reach my quarters and stop in surprise as B'Elanna steps out.

"Tom, what are you doing here?"

I look around the corridor in surprise. "I live here, don't I?"

She shakes her head. "You're impossible. I thought you must have been at Harry's."

"I was," I say sadly.

She steps back inside and I follow her in.

"I brought your clothes back from the holodeck and decided to leave them on the couch over there. I didn't think you'd want everyone speculating on why you'd left them at the beach."

"Oh, yeah, thanks."

"What are you doing wandering around still in your swimming trunks? And why the hell did you take off like that in the first place? You were talking crazy. Saying stuff about Chakotay breaking us up and him wanting me for himself. Are you out of your mind?"

"I don't know," I mumble.

She ignores me. "Tuvok thinks your overreaction to the thought of us being together may be because you still have some residual feelings for me. I told him what I thought of that little theory, because I know it's not true."

"Tuvok? Why were you talking to Tuvok about all of this?"

"Why shouldn't I? It does concern him too."

"What? How?"

She frowns at me. "What do you mean, how? Are you all right? Did you hit your head or something? Maybe we should go to sickbay."

I wave away her concern. "I'm fine. I just don't understand what's going on around here anymore. Nothing makes any sense. You talking to Tuvok..."

"Listen, Tom. You'd better get used to this whole thing between Tuvok and me, because it's going to happen. And I have a feeling that after it's over, the two of us are going to be very close. You just can't go through something like the ponn farr and not be."

"Ponn farr? Tuvok and you? Oh my god!" I sink down on my couch and look up at her in horror.

"Tom, what the hell's the matter with you?"

"Tuvok propositioned you?"

"Of course. Who did you think I was talking about before? Chakotay?"

I gulp and look down at the floor. It's official. I *am* crazy.

"Tom! You didn't? Kahless! You did! Tom, how could you think something like that?"

"Shit! He doesn't want you. And he was right about Harry and... and... Oh shit! What have I done?"

"Maybe you'd better tell me."

"I accused him of..."

"What?"

"I said he took advantage of me in that lift, and made sure what had happened was gossiped about by keeping Vorik curious. I accused him of making sure we didn't get back together again by telling you what had happened and pushing me towards Harry."

"I see. And did he deny your accusations?"

"No, he was angry, I think."

"That's understandable. I'm a little angry with you too. How you could even think..." She shakes her head and sighs loudly.

I stand up and head for the door. "I'll save you the trouble of kicking me out."

"What?"

"Three for three. First Chakotay, then Harry, now you."

She grabs my arm. "Tom, these are your quarters."

"Oh, yeah."

"Harry kicked you out? Why?"

"He was embarrassed."

"What for?"

I hesitate for a moment, but then blurt it out. "He's in love with me."

"I know. I think I'm going to have to have a little talk with the boy. He's in love with you and you're there in his quarters dressed, or should I say, *not* dressed like that and he asks you to leave?"

"It's not funny, B'Elanna. He was really upset."

"So what happened? Why'd he kick you out?"

"Isn't it obvious? I found out. He got mad about the whole thing. I'd started that whole speech about how honored I was and how wonderful he was and he naturally told me to leave. I don't blame him. It's the last thing he wanted to hear, of course."

"I agree, but I don't understand why you did that. Why didn't you tell him how you really feel? Don't tell me you're still denying it."

"I'm not in love with Harry, B'Elanna."

"Yes, you are, Tom. I just can't believe you still won't admit it. Poor Harry!"

"I know. But you're wrong. I wish I *was* in love with him. I really do. But I'm not."

"You can be such an idiot sometimes, Tom."

"I know and I'm sorry."

She pulls me into her arms and hugs me tightly. "Just be happy."

"I think I've messed up any chance of that. I have to apologize to Chakotay for everything I said earlier tonight."

"Chakotay?" She pulls away from me to stare up at me instead. "You have feelings for Chakotay?"

At my nod she drags me over to the couch and pushes me down into it. "Since when? Don't tell me, I can guess. The lift? Oh, Tom! Don't you see? Chakotay's the first guy you've ever done anything like that with, isn't he?"

"I guess so. Unless you want to count when I was a kid and my best friend and me used to jerk each other off?"

"No, I do not want to count that," she says firmly. "Anyway..." She clears her throat. "What was I saying?"

"You think I'm mistaking that special first-time rush for genuine feelings."

"Aren't you?"

"No. I'm not some naive kid, B'Elanna."

"You can be sometimes. And you haven't exactly been yourself, lately. Just look at all the crazy assumptions you've been jumping to. I think you're confused."

"I know I've been acting crazy, but a lot of that's to do with my feelings for Chakotay." I jump up abruptly. "I have to sort this out tonight."

"Where are you going?"

"To see Chakotay. To apologize and to tell him how I feel."

"It's after midnight."

I ignore her and head out the door. She races after me, so I make a dash for the turbolift in case she tries to stop me.

As the doors close behind me she yells, "You could at least put some goddamn clothes on."

~^~

*Chakotay's POV*

Somehow, I've managed to pick myself up off the floor and am now roaming restlessly around my quarters, too wound up to sleep.

Tomorrow I'm going to have a little talk with Tom Paris and set him straight, and then I'm going to ignore him for the rest of my life.

The chime on my door sounds and I look over in surprise. Who the hell can that be at this hour? I don't feel like talking to anyone. All I feel like doing is strangling someone. It would give me great pleasure, actually.

The chime sounds again and I go over there impatiently. They can come back tomorrow. I don't care who the hell it is.

I open the door and gasp in surprise. Tom's standing there and he's still not wearing any goddamn clothes. What the hell is he trying to do to me?

"What do you want, Paris?" I say gruffly. "If you're here for round two, I'm just not interested."

"I'm here to apologize," he says softly. "Can I come in?"

Dressed like that? Sounding like that? Not a good idea. Not a good idea, at all.

I step back and wave him inside. What am I doing? I'm going to regret this. I know I am.

Making sure I keep some distance between us, I eye him cautiously. "I take it you've discovered your mistake?"

He nods miserably. "I just spoke to B'Elanna. I don't know what to say. I'm so sorry."

"You know the thing that really gets to me in all of this is the fact that you could believe me capable of that sort of manipulation in the first place," I say, my resentment a tight knot in my chest.

"I know. It was crazy."

"It was more than crazy, Tom. It was downright insulting." I can feel myself getting more worked up by the second. "Well, at least I now know what you really think of me."

"No. I don't think that at all."

I ignore him. "You obviously think I'm some sort of ruthless bastard that will do anything to get what he wants."

"No."

"I resent the fact that you're acting like some lily-white virgin and I'm the big bad wolf that took advantage of you. You could have stopped what happened in that lift. You wanted it as much as I did, so why don't you admit it?"

"You're right, I did."

That stops me cold. "You admit it?"

"Why shouldn't I? But, I'll tell you something, Chakotay. I have *never* acted like some lily-white virgin and I really resent the implication."

"What's this whole, 'poor little Tom' act been all about then?"

"What 'poor little Tom' act? What are you trying to say?"

"Everyone treated me like I'd practically raped you or something."

"Are you saying I encouraged them to think that?"

"Didn't you?"

"No, I damn well did not," Tom shouts. "Who do you mean by everyone, anyway? There are only four people on board that know what really happened."

"That's right. And they all treated me like I was scum. You know how B'Elanna and Harry reacted, and I've had to put up with the Doctor's biting sarcasm ever since. As for the Captain..."

"That's not my fault," he yells. "You're the one who's been insisting all the way through that you took advantage of me and I was completely blameless. You're the one who said all that, not me. Now you're blaming me because they believed you? You really *are* a bastard, you know that?"

"So everyone keeps telling me," I yell in return. Some part of me knows I'm being unfair. Right up until tonight Tom has always denied that I'd taken advantage of him. He'd insisted that it was mutual and had been vehement in his refusal to lay charges. I know this, but the desire to retaliate and hurt him as much as he hurt me is too strong to resist.

"You know what I think?" I shout, stepping closer to him in my fury. "I think *you're* the one who saw a golden opportunity and took it. *You're* the one who's been taking advantage and milking this for all it's worth ever since. You soon realized just how much potential there was to gain everybody's sympathy. Poor little Tommy. Poor little victim."

Tom's face drains of all color and I tell myself I may have gone too far. Before I can react, Tom throws himself against me, screaming something in Romulan. The impact sends us both crashing to the floor and I barely have time to put up my arms to form some type of defense before Tom starts to hit out at me furiously.

He's screaming insults at me in Klingon now, with a few words of English thrown in here and there. Summoning up every bit of strength I possess, I bring my hands up to grab his shoulders and flip him off of me. Immediately rolling over and onto him, I pin his arms over his head and then sit up over his stomach to give myself some leverage.

Just in time, as he begins to thrash wildly beneath me trying to throw me off. My position gives me an advantage and his movements become even more desperate.

"Calm down!" I yell hoarsely.

His response is to buck even more furiously beneath me, but I just tighten my hold, determined not to let him go until his temper's under control.

Looking down at the flushed body under me, there's no way I can curb the pleasure that's coursing through my veins. I have this body, this glorious body, beneath me, and the sudden adrenaline rush the thought creates races straight to my groin.

Tom's frantic squirming is beginning to weaken, and before I can even think about what I'm doing, I lean over and capture his mouth with mine.

His struggles cease immediately, and after a few stunned seconds his lips yield to my insistent demands, and his mouth begins to move under mine. Our tongues are soon entwined around one another, battling for supremacy.

With a groan, I relax my hold on his arms and pull my mouth away to greedily begin sucking and then nipping at the hollow of his neck. I can't get enough of him, of the taste of his skin, or the feel of his chest rubbing against my shirt.

I move down lower, moaning in need, and am rewarded by a jolt of pure electricity as our groins meet. He arches up against me and I thrust back desperately.

Suddenly he rolls me over and it's me lying beneath him as he suckles at my neck and then moves up to nibble on my ears. I can't stop moaning as he runs his tongue along the side of my jaw and then moves in for another soul shattering kiss.

Tom moans loudly into my mouth as I squeeze his buttocks and then start to run my fingers up and down his spine in light feathery touches. Not enough to truly tickle, but he squirms against me and deepens the kiss.

Hooking my thumbs into the band of his swimming trunks, I begin to slowly slide them down, over his ass. My fingers push at the skimpy trunks as we continue to kiss and Tom helps me in my task by lifting his groin up off of me so that I can reach under him to slide the material over his penis.

He whimpers at the sensation and then rests his erection gently against my troused thigh. Running my fingers over the soft, smooth, bare skin of his ass, I savor the sensation, before cupping the cheeks in my hands and starting to knead them gently.

Tom's breathing has turned into small gasps for air and it suddenly dawns on me that I've got far too many clothes on. Far too many!

We're still kissing, and I don't want to take my hands from Tom's ass for a moment, but somehow I have to free my own painful erection from its confines. "Tom," I mumble into his mouth. "My pants. Please help me. Undo them."

I have to say it twice before I get any reaction. Tom stiffens above me and the kiss stops abruptly. His eyes are wide and he looks down on me in amazement. I can almost hear the words, 'What the hell am I doing?' rolling off his tongue.

And suddenly, as if the meaning of the words finally register in my brain, I think the same thing. What the hell am I doing? What the fuck do I think I'm doing?

Tom closes his eyes and settles against me once more, his hands reaching down to the fasteners on my trousers, his mouth sucking on my neck. He's obviously decided to continue, but the spell's broken for me.

I gently roll him away and pull his trunks back up and over him instead. Sitting up, I stare into his incredulous eyes. "I'm sorry, Tom. That should never have happened."

His mouth opens and closes as he looks at me in bewilderment.

"This is wrong," I continue. "You don't even like me. You'd regret this afterwards and I don't think I could live with myself. You should be with Harry, not me."

I close my eyes on Tom's stunned expression.

No Regrets - Part 28
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Tom's POV*

I shake my head in disbelief. What the hell just happened? What the hell did he say?

'You should be with Harry, not me.' It takes a few seconds for the words to register and when they do I almost laugh in disbelief. Chakotay thinks I'm in love with Harry too. What is it with everyone?

He closes his eyes, as if the very sight of me is abhorrent to him, and the urge to laugh dies instantly. This is serious. Slowly sitting up from my prone position on the floor, I try to swallow the huge lump that's suddenly formed in my throat. He'd rejected me. Shit! I mean, I *have* been rejected before, but... shit!

Chakotay opens his eyes and stares at me as I attempt to sort out all the jumbled thoughts swirling around my head. I can't speak. The lump's still there, blocking any chance I have of telling him he's wrong. I'm not in love with Harry.

"You should be doing this with him, not me," he continues to explain, using that patient tone he seems to reserve especially for me. The slightly patronizing one that always makes me clench my teeth and fight the urge to lash out.

"You're in love with each other. I see it in your eyes whenever the two of you are together."

Bullshit! He might be seeing that in Harry's eyes, but he's not seeing it in mine. It's not possible. It can't be. I mean, I'd know if I were in love with Harry. Now wouldn't I?

"Things got out of control, Tom. I know you didn't really want that to happen."

What the hell would he know? I admit, I'd been a little surprised to realize that I was lying on top of him with my trunks down around my knees. But, as soon as it'd registered properly, I was more than ready to continue.

And he'd certainly wanted it, hadn't he? For a few brief moments, until sanity returned, he had anyway.

He stands up carefully, watching me the whole time. I remember the gentle way he'd rolled me away, pulling my swim trunks back up to cover me, and I cringe with embarrassment. The memory causes the lump in my throat to ache painfully and my eyes start to sting.

That's all I need... to start bawling in front of him. That would *really* convince him that I'm out to milk every drop of sympathy I can get. I scramble to my feet, keeping my eyes on the floor.

"I'm so sorry for what I said, Tom," he continues. "I know it was unfair. I shouldn't have said any of that. Things really do seem to get out of hand between us, don't they?"

He's waiting for me to answer, but I can't. The threatening tears are still too close to the surface. Surely I've humiliated myself enough for one day?

"Tom? I don't know what to say. I'm sorry about what happened just then. It was all my fault; I initiated the whole thing. I should never have kissed you like that."

"Then why did you?" I ask hoarsely. He looks a little surprised that I've finally spoken.

"I told you. Things got a little out of hand. Please accept my apologies," he says, his voice stiff and rather formal. "I would never forgive myself if I'd spoilt any chance you and Harry may have to be happy together."

"You're assuming rather a lot." That's good coming from me, I know. My voice is rather shaky but I continue anyway. "I'm not in love with Harry. We're..."

"It's obvious."

"It can't be," I deny quickly, finally able to look at him again. "I should know how I feel, now shouldn't I?"

He looks away and shakes his head. "You've been confused lately."

"Not *that* confused. I still know how I feel. I'm not in love with Harry. I came here tonight to tell you that it's *you* I'm in love with."

"Me?" His face pales. "But you don't even like me."

"That's not true. I've always respected and admired you. Ever since the lift I've done nothing but think about you. I think about what happened and I want it to happen again. I..."

"Don't, Tom. Don't do this." He steps back away from me. "Don't say something that you can't possibly mean. You're even more confused than I realized."

I can feel my face paling also. "No, I'm not."

"You say you respected and admired me. That's not the same thing as liking someone. You couldn't possibly like me and believe all those things you accused me of."

I feel as if he's slapped me in the face. "I apologized for that." Is this his way of punishing me? Turning me away for misjudging him?

"If B'Elanna hadn't set you straight, you'd still be believing all of it though, wouldn't you?"

"I... I don't know," I mumble. I'd been having doubts, hadn't I? I can't remember now. And isn't he right, anyway? How could I even think those things about him? I couldn't possibly care for him and believe all that shit in the first place.

He's right. He's always right. And I've just made a complete ass of myself. I cringe as I watch him pace around the room, running his hands through his hair.

So, does this mean he believes all that shit he said to me? He really *does* think I was milking the situation for sympathy? What sort of a person does he think I am? The answer to that is obvious. I've always known his opinion of me isn't very high, but this confirmation is more painful than I ever could have imagined.

I see it all now. He got carried away in the heat of the moment and then tried to get rid of me by trying to convince me I was in love with Harry. Only, I screwed that all up, didn't I?

I told him I was in love with him. The last thing he'd want is a sudden declaration of love from me. I've probably offended his sensibilities or something. No wonder he looks so troubled. He's obviously trying to figure out a way to let me down gently. The ultimate, honorable first officer to the core. My humiliation is complete.

The least I can do is make things easy for him.

~^~

*Chakotay's POV*

Tom said he was in love with me. It'd been hard to take in. I didn't want him to say something he might not mean. I had to stop him when he tried to tell me how much he wanted me.

I'd been scared that I would throw caution to the wind and pull him into my arms once more. And what would have happened after our passion had been spent? If Tom had realized his mistake? Would there have been bitter recriminations? There would definitely have been regrets.

Tom says he's done nothing but think about me since the lift, and that's what worries me. He didn't like me before that; I know he didn't. I'd like nothing more than for him to love me, but unfortunately I think he's confused. How can he love me when he doesn't even like me?

He certainly hasn't acted as if he's in love with me. He's behaved that way with Harry. And I'd been so sure he was in love with Harry. I'd seen it in his eyes. Hadn't I?

B'Elanna had been convinced also and she knows Tom better than anyone. She said he was blind to his feelings, so I want to be sure. I want to be absolutely certain before I declare my feelings for him.

I know it's wrong. Tom's taking all the chances here, not me. He's opened himself up to me and my pride won't let me do the same. It's an unprincipled thing to do and I've always prided myself on my principles.

I feel slightly sick at the thought. How can I behave this way? I can't let him take all the risks here. It's time for me to take some too.

I should tell him that I love him too, and explain that what happened in the lift happened because I've been attracted to him for a long time. He needs to know how I feel.

We don't have to rush into anything, there's plenty of time. We'll take things slow, giving Tom the opportunity to sort out his feelings where Harry and myself are concerned. I just have to explain this to him. I'm sure he'll agree it's the best thing to do, all things considered.

His voice stops my troubled pacing. "I think I've just made a total fool of myself."

I wait, finding it difficult to breathe.

"You're right. I thought I was in love with you, but you've made me see that I was wrong. I guess I've romanticized what happened in that lift to a certain extent. My memories are a little hazy about the whole thing, actually. You're the first guy I've ever done anything like that with, and I think I was being a little naive. I don't have to tell you that though, do I?"

I shake my head, unable to respond in any other way. He's just confirmed everything I'd been secretly worried about.

He clears his throat before continuing. "My relationship with B'Elanna was kind of crazy at the time, too. We'd had an argument the night before and my emotions were in turmoil. I felt as if she didn't want me anymore. You made me feel wanted and needed. I'm sorry I turned it into something more."

Thank the Spirits I didn't get the chance to confess my feelings to him. To think, I'd been on the brink of admitting all to him. Confessing that I'd been in love with him for months and wanted nothing more than for him to feel the same way about me. I can only imagine how much more confusion that would have caused him.

He stands for a few more moments, looking at me awkwardly, and then turns away. "I'd better go."

I nod. "Of course." I know I should say something to him, but I have no idea what.

He turns back to face me as the door opens. "I hope I didn't embarrass you."

"You didn't embarrass me at all," I say softly.

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight," I whisper. And he's gone.

I want to race after him. Tell him to come back. Tell him I love him. But I won't do that, of course. What would be the point?

Instead, I make my way sadly to bed.

~^~

*Tom's POV*

That seemed to go rather well. I've walked away relatively unscathed. I made a fool of myself, but he seemed to buy my explanation. So what if he thinks I'm a totally pathetic, naive idiot? He can just add that to all the rest of the less than flattering things he already thinks about me.

I don't care. And I'm *not* going to start blubbering. I do have some pride left. Not much after that little fiasco, but some. I refuse to wander around the ship bawling my eyes out. I'll wait till I get back to my quarters to do that, but I don't feel like going back there. I don't know what I want to do.

He didn't say anything, but I don't know what I expected him to say. Was he supposed to sigh with relief? Was he supposed to say, 'You made a mistake? Thank Gods for that?' But it would have been nice if he'd said something.

It doesn't matter, though, because I don't care. It's probably better that he didn't say anything, because if he *had* said how relieved he was I don't think I could have handled it.

I should have listened to B'Elanna, of course. She hadn't wanted me to go back to Chakotay and I shouldn't have. I just ended up making such a mess out of everything.

What had Chakotay said? I was even more confused than he thought I was. B'Elanna told me I was confused too. I think they're right. I'm totally, completely confused.

Maybe what I said to Chakotay was true. I'm really not in love with him. My explanation for why I thought I was may be true. I know that's what B'Elanna believes. Maybe that *is* what happened.

All I can think about is the way Chakotay made me feel as we made out on the floor. I'd been ready to do anything for him... anything. And he pushed me away, rejected me.

I told him that I loved him and he'd rejected that too. Refused to believe me. Virtually told me it wasn't possible. I can't remember ever feeling this hurt from a potential lover's rejection before.

Harry would never hurt me like this. He cares about me. He loves me. He's always loved me. He'd never hurt me the way Chakotay has. If I should be in love with anybody, then it should be Harry; it shouldn't be Chakotay.

When have I ever really known how I feel? I'd thought I was in love with B'Elanna. I'd deluded myself about that for a long time. Maybe I'm wrong about Chakotay too. And if I'm wrong about Chakotay, am I wrong about Harry?

Everyone keeps telling me I'm in love with him. Am I? Am I in love with Harry and just too blind to see? I hadn't thought so, but...

Despite the fact I'd promised him I'd never barge in unannounced again, I do just that. The steady sound of his breathing tells me he's asleep as I stand over him, peering down in the semi-darkness.

The smooth plains of his face look innocent and trouble-free, and I have to stifle the urge to run my fingers through his hair. He's such a good person. A decent person. He deserves so much more than what life's dealt him so far.

Tears well in my eyes as I stare down at him. It's all so simple for him. He's in love with me. He's known it right from the start. Why can't it be that simple for me?

Curling up in the chair next to his bed, I let the tears run freely. Why can't I be in love with Harry? Everything would be so easy if I was. And I need things to be easy.

I don't want an explosive relationship like the one I had with B'Elanna. I want things to be gentle and smooth and... easy.

I guess I want Harry. I want the type of relationship I know I could have with him. I want to be in love with him. All of a sudden I want that very much.

No Regrets - Part 29
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Harry's POV*

I'm not sure what wakes me, but I sit up in bed and listen carefully. I can hear the sound of heavy breathing, and feeling a little frightened, I call out for the lights.

Tom's curled up in the chair next to my bed, his head bent low, and I jump in surprise. "What are you doing there?"

He doesn't answer, and I realize that something's really wrong with him. He seems to be gasping for air. "Tom?" I scramble to the side of the bed and reach across to grab his arms.

Finally, he looks up at me, and I'm startled to see there are tears streaming down his face. He looks completely wretched as he tries to control his breathing so that he can speak.

"I'm so mixed up, Har."

Fresh tears flow down his face, and my alarm increases. "What's wrong?"

"I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't know who I am or how I feel," he says between sobs. "I think I'm crazy."

"You're not crazy," I say firmly.

I don't know what's going on, but I honestly thought I'd never see Tom in my quarters again. Even though he'd insisted things wouldn't change between us, I hadn't allowed myself to believe it.

Something terrible must have happened, because I've never seen him this upset before. Looking over at the time, my eyes widen in surprise. Less than two hours ago, Tom had been sitting here comforting me. He'd been his usual strong, supportive self. What could have happened to affect him so drastically?

I'm starting to worry that he's going to make himself sick, and leaning towards him, I give his arms a little shake. "Please tell me what's happened, Tom."

"I shouldn't be here. I'm sorry. I'll go."

"Tom, please talk to me. Tell me what's wrong."

"Nothing's the way it's supposed to be," he says brokenly. "Everything's such a mess."

"What is, Tom? What are you talking about?"

"I made a big mistake tonight, Harry. I thought I knew how I felt... but now... I don't think I did. I'm so confused..." His voice breaks and he ducks his head once more.

"I wish you'd tell me what happened," I say softly.

"I can't. I don't want to hurt you."

"It hurts me to see you like this."

He shakes his head and pushes himself up and out of the chair. "I shouldn't have come here. I'd better go."

I still have hold of his arms and refuse to let him go, standing up from the bed instead. Completely forgetting my state of undress, I pull Tom close to me. He doesn't resist, simply leaning against me letting me support him.

Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, it registers that I'm standing here, completely naked, with an almost equally naked Tom Paris in my arms. However, I'm too worried about him for it to mean what I know it should.

I don't think Tom's even realized our situation as I hear him take great gasps of air in his battle to regain some control. I caress his back gently and wait for him to calm down.

"Harry." His voice is muffled against my shoulder. More of a whisper than anything else. "I want..."

His voice breaks off, and I wait for a few moments before prompting him. "What, Tom?"

"You're such a good person, Harry. The best friend I've ever had. I want it to be more."

My hand stops caressing his back and I push him away a little so that I can see his face. "What are you saying?"

"Both B'Elanna and Chakotay think I'm in love with you and too blind to see it. I think they're right. I think I *am* in love with you."

I stagger back against the bed, sitting down with a bump, and taking Tom with me. "You what?"

"I love you, Harry."

"Y-You do?"

He's sprawled halfway across my lap and attempts to sit up, his stomach brushing against my groin as he does so. My body may not have reacted to Tom's closeness before, but now it's more than ready to. I'm mortified to feel myself growing hard as Tom struggles awkwardly to sit next to me.

I wonder if I should throw myself under the covers, but it's a little late for that. There's no way to hide what's happening to me anyway.

"I'm sorry," I say weakly, as Tom stares down at my rapidly swelling erection. I stand up quickly, intending to go and get my robe, but he grabs my arm and pulls me down on the bed again.

"Tom..." I start to say, but he leans forward and gently touches my lips with his. There's no way I can stop myself from responding as his mouth begins to move over mine. Boy, can he kiss! I mean, I'd always thought he could, but I'd never imagined it would feel this good.

I moan with disappointment as he tears his mouth from mine. "I've been such a fool," he chokes out, and I have to shake my head to clear it. "I really do love you, Harry."

I don't know what to say. I'm finding it hard to breathe all of a sudden. Tom loves me? He's finally seen the truth. I feel like pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. This is exactly what I'd always fantasized. And it's happening. It's really happening.

Now that the rather heady excitement from Tom's kisses has abated to some degree I can think a little clearer. Something isn't right. As much as I'd love for it to be true, I find myself doubting Tom's words.

Why am I feeling the way I am? Why haven't I thrown myself into his arms again? Why isn't my heart pounding with excitement? Why aren't I crying hysterically with happiness? I mean, after all, I've dreamed of this day for so long.

Why haven't I done something other than just sit here looking at Tom in stunned disbelief?

I want it to be true. I want it desperately, but something isn't right. Something happened tonight after Tom left me and I need to know what it was.

~^~

*Chakotay's POV*

I can't sleep. That whole scene with Tom keeps playing out in my head. Each time, his sudden reversal sounds less believable.

A lot of what he said *did* pass through my mind, I admit, but now that he's said it, it seems less and less likely. He's not a naive kid. He may not have been with a man before, but he's definitely experienced.

How long had I paced around in front of him trying to decide what to do? He'd just told me that he loved me. I'd argued that he didn't even like me. How long had he stood there, probably feeling more and more foolish by the second?

Long enough to decide to salvage some pride? Knowing Tom, that's exactly what happened. Why didn't I follow my sudden impulse to race after him?

I'd been so sure he was in love with Harry. But, as he pointed out, he'd know if he was. They've always been close. Was I seeing things that weren't there? Was B'Elanna?

What have I done? Has my reluctance to admit my feelings ruined everything? Can I explain it all to Tom? Will he let me?

I can't wait until morning to try and fix this. It might be too late. I have to see him now. I know it's late, but I have to go to him. If I'm wrong, and Tom really did mean what he said, then my pride will suffer, but was does that matter? Because if I'm right - and I'm sure I am - then...

I dress quickly and make my way to Tom's quarters. There's no answer to my chime, but the computer tells me he's in there. I hesitate and then press the chime again.

Perhaps he's asleep, although I would have thought he'd find that difficult. I thought, like me, he'd be up and pacing around.

There's still no answer and without giving it another thought I override his lock and walk in. The room's dark and eerily silent. "Tom?" I call quietly.

Refusing to stumble around in the dark I call for lights, and am dismayed to see no sign of Tom. The bathroom? Is he there?

I knock softly, but there's no answer, and a quick search soon proves he's not in there either. Looking around his quarters, I see his clothes folded in a neat pile on the couch, his comm badge sitting squarely on the top of them.

Of course! All Tom was wearing was his swim trunks. He didn't have his badge on. Where the hell is he though? It's almost two o'clock in the morning. Where can he be at this hour? And how can I find him? Without his comm badge it's going to be difficult.

Is he sitting in an observation lounge somewhere? Or the mess hall? Maybe he's gone to the Delta Flyer. The computer soon tells me that there's no one in the observation lounges, mess hall, or Delta Flyer. There's no one in the shuttlebay even. Sickbay? No. As ridiculous as it sounds... my office? No.

Damn it! Where is he? Perhaps he's wandering aimlessly around the ship. In his swim trunks? I doubt it. But where can he be?

If I'm correct and Tom does love me then he would have been upset when he left. Where would he have gone? B'Elanna? He'd been talking to her earlier. Would he have gone back to her?

They're even closer now than when they were a couple. He may have wanted someone to talk to.

I slap my comm badge. "Chakotay to Torres."

It takes a few moments for her to answer. "Torres here."

"B'Elanna, is Tom there with you?"

"Tom? Why would Tom...? What's happened? Where are you?"

"I'm in Tom's quarters and he's not here. I was hoping he was with you."

"Well, he isn't. The last I saw of him he was going to see you. That was hours ago."

"He did. I'm sorry. It doesn't matter."

"Of course it matters. Stay right there. I'm on my way."

"That's not necessary."

"Just shut up and wait for me."

I pace around Tom's quarters looking for a clue. He's not with B'Elanna. Would he have gone to Harry? How do I feel about him going to Harry? Not very good, actually.

But, the question is, would he have gone to Harry? Knowing Harry's in love with him, would he have gone there to talk about what happened between the two of us? I can't imagine it.

Tom would never hurt Harry that way. That's, of course, if Tom's ever believed that Harry's in love with him. He may not have.

But what if he did? What do I do? I'm still trying to decide whether to comm Harry when B'Elanna arrives. Her hair's in complete disarray, her t-shirt back to front, and she's frowning fiercely. "What's going on?"

"I'm just wondering if he may be with Harry."

"I wouldn't have thought so. Things are a little awkward between them at the moment."

"They are?"

"Very. And that's all I'm saying. Now, what the hell happened? Tom was supposed to be coming to you to apologize..."

"He did."

"And? Obviously something else happened."

"Things got a little out of hand between us. I said some things I shouldn't have said..."

"What sort of things?" She growls softly, stepping towards me. "Damn it, Chakotay! What the hell did you do?"

"It's not what you think," I say quickly.

I find myself telling her everything. She hits my arm furiously when I tell her I'm in love with Tom.

"Why the hell didn't you tell me? I wouldn't have broken your jaw if I'd known that."

"How could I tell you? I didn't want to come between the two of you. You were having enough problems as it was."

"You should have at least told Tom. You let him think he was some sort of convenient rubbing post for you. That wasn't right."

"I know. I didn't know how he'd react if I told him how I felt. I kept trying to convince myself it was only attraction; it wasn't anything deeper. I told myself I didn't want to put him in the position of having to choose between us or confuse things between you even more. I didn't want to hurt you like that."

"But I don't understand why you didn't tell me after we broke up. All those times I spoke to you about Tom and Harry. I would never have said any of that if I'd known how you felt."

"I realize that."

"You lied to me, Chakotay. I asked you more than once if you had feelings for Tom and you denied it each time."

"I'm sorry, but I didn't feel as if I could tell you. You wanted Tom to be with Harry."

"You're wrong, Chakotay. I didn't want Tom to be with Harry, I thought that's what *he* wanted. I just wanted him to be happy. I wouldn't have cared who he was with.

"Okay, that's a lie. I don't think I'd have liked him to get it on with Seven, but anybody else would have been fine. I thought he wanted to be with Harry because of the way he acted, and I was happy that he'd found someone who loved him as much as Harry did.

"I didn't realize he was doing all of that for my benefit. I don't really understand it all, but he was trying to get us together for some reason. He didn't explain all that properly."

"So you don't think he's in love with Harry?"

"Not after what he said to me tonight... no."

"But Harry's in love with Tom. I'm sure of it."

"You're right. Harry *is* in love with Tom. Tom only found out tonight. That's why things are so awkward between them and why I don't think Tom would have gone to Harry."

"Then where is he? He would have been upset and confused when he left me. I have no idea what he would have been thinking."

"That makes two of us. I never know what's going on in that crazy head of his."

"You don't think he'd do something silly, do you?"

"That depends on what you mean by silly. Tom doesn't always think things through rationally. We're going to have to find him. I'm surprised he didn't come to me, actually, but I'm wondering if he may have gone to Neelix."

"Neelix?"

"They're very good friends."

"I know that, but..."

"Not being able to go to Harry and for some reason not wanting to come to me, Neelix is the obvious answer."

"I suppose so," I say doubtfully.

"Unless, of course, he went to the Captain."

"The Captain? I really don't think..."

"Maybe not, but we can't afford to dismiss the notion. Let's go. I don't think we should be comming all over the place looking for him. We need to be a little more discreet. And by the way, before I forget. You're a damn fool."

"I know," I say sadly.

No Regrets - Part 30
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Harry's POV*

I watch Tom as he struggles for composure once more and decide that no matter how much I want him to love me I need to know what happened.

I dread saying it, but I have to. "I thought you had feelings for Chakotay."

He stiffens and turns his face away. "I was wrong. I thought I did, but I didn't. I've been a total idiot where he's concerned."

"Why?"

"I confused my feelings, mistook what happened in that lift. Made it into a lot more than it really was."

"You went to see him, didn't you? When you were here before, you said something about making a mistake, accusing Chakotay of all sorts of stuff. Tell me about it."

He finally does and I'm a little shocked at the accusations they made to each other. He hesitates and I have to practically force him to tell me the rest. They almost had sex, but Chakotay stopped it.

I can feel myself getting worked up at the thought. And what sort of a fool is Chakotay? I would never reject Tom like that. Never hurt him like that.

The man's a complete idiot. He refused to believe that Tom was in love with him. Rejected him emotionally as well as physically.

Why he did it, I don't understand. I'm sure he's in love with Tom too. He doesn't deserve him, however. Tom's theory as to why he thought he was in love with Chakotay makes sense and I'm just glad that he's seen the truth.

"Just because you've realized you're not in love with Chakotay doesn't mean you have to be in love with me, Tom," I feel I have to point out.

"I know that, Har, but I want to be. I want the type of relationship we could have together. I want it more than anything."

"You do?" I'm breathless again. Are my dreams going to come true after all? Is it possible?

"Harry? You said... you said, you had a lot more experience with guys than girls. I want you to show me."

"What?" I squeak.

"Show me some of this experience you have. Make love to me."

Spots dance before my eyes and my heart pounds furiously in my chest. I can't believe this is happening. All of my dreams, all of my fantasies, everything I've always wanted can now come true. He wants me to make love to him. I almost whimper at the thought.

"I need this, Harry," he whispers. "Please, love me."

I reach up, stroking his face with the tips of my fingers and he turns towards my hand and starts to kiss and nibble at my palm. I'm so excited I start to tremble.

Tom's eyes travel over my body, slow and sensuous, causing small sparks of excitement to ignite in the pit of my stomach. His eyes travel to my groin and linger on my penis as it swells once more in response to the intensity of his gaze.

"Show me what you want me to do, Harry," he whispers hoarsely.

Something makes me hesitate still. "Are you sure, Tom?"

Tom stands up before me, his eyes locked onto mine, and slowly slides his swimming trunks down to the floor. "Yes, Harry," he says huskily. "I'm very, very sure."

With a gulp, I reach out and pull him back onto the bed, laying him down across the sheets. He looks up at me as I perch above him, his eyes wide and trusting, and I'm lost. All my doubts erased.

I want so much, where do I start? I kiss him passionately... deliriously, all my pent up desires unleashed. He responds hungrily, moaning into my mouth.

"I want to show you everything, teach you everything," I gasp out, longing to kiss him all over, longing for him to kiss me in the same way. I yearn to suck and nibble at his body, and have him do the same to me. I want to take him and have him take me.

I desire everything and finally... finally, I shall have it.

~^~

*Tom's POV*

What have I done? What the fuck have I done? Weren't things bad enough? Why the hell did I do that? What the hell was I trying to do?

I hadn't been thinking straight and now what? I know for an absolute fact that I'm not in love with Harry now. My lip trembles at the thought. What am I going to do? Start bawling again? It's all I seem to be able to do tonight.

Poor, poor, Harry. I'd wanted to be in love with him. Wanted it desperately. I'd even fooled myself into believing it for a little while. But just as you can't fall out of love with somebody just because you want to, you can't fall *in* love with them either.

I'd wanted someone to love me, and want me, and care about me, and I'd taken advantage of the fact that Harry did. And I'm so sorry now. *So* sorry! He doesn't deserve this.

How can I tell him the truth? How can I tell him that I don't love him? It'll destroy him. How can I do that to him?

He's strangely silent as he lies beside me, eyes staring up at the ceiling, the same as me. He's probably thinking about how wonderful life's going to be from now on. And I'm going to have to ruin his dreams.

I cringe and close my eyes. What do I say? How do I say it?

The silence between us stretches and I start to feel very uncomfortable. I should get up and go to the bathroom. Clean up a bit. I'm sweaty, and sticky, and covered in semen. But I don't want to be the one to make the first move. I don't want to be the one who has to speak first.

I open my eyes and turn my head, so that I'm looking directly at him. Maybe that will make him turn towards me and he'll say something.

But he doesn't. He continues to stare up at the ceiling, a slight frown on his forehead. The frown makes me wonder. Maybe he isn't thinking about how wonderful life's going to be, after all.

I stare up at the same spot he is and find myself questioning what just happened between us. Maybe Harry isn't as thrilled either. The sex had been... different. Just as I'd expected, of course. I knew it would be different with a guy.

It'd been exciting... well, to tell the truth, the thought of it had been more exciting than the actual deed, really. By the time I'd figured out I was more turned on by the thought of what we were doing than what we were actually doing, I'd been ready to come. So it hadn't mattered anyway.

It just hadn't been as... fulfilling, as I'd thought it would be. It felt like something was missing. And that's why I know I don't really love Harry. After the first flush of excitement Harry's kisses had felt... strange, a little weird even. Almost as if... and this is going to sound crazy because I don't have a brother, so I wouldn't know what it's like to kiss one anyway, but... that's what it felt like. I was making out with my brother.

His promise of showing and teaching me everything made me feel panicky. I knew, with absolute certainty, that I didn't want Harry anywhere near my ass. And I didn't want to go anywhere near his, either.

Thankfully, I hadn't had to worry about that. Harry had been intent on bringing me off with his hands and mouth and had been more than happy when I reciprocated.

Harry sighs deeply and rolls over to face me. I swallow nervously. If he tells me how wonderful it was and how much he loves me, I'm going to burst into tears. I just know I am.

~^~

*Harry's POV*

I lie on my back, staring up at the ceiling, wondering just what *exactly* I'm going to say to Tom.

Our mating, starting out so frantic and desperate, had been... fairly ordinary, actually. I know that sounds harsh, but... what can I say? It was nothing like the way I'd always dreamed it would be. Nothing like the way I'd fantasized.

It wasn't because Tom's inexperienced either. He has a very talented mouth and is incredibly receptive to the slightest touch. The sex should have been fantastic, and in the beginning, I'd thought it would be.

But somehow, it hadn't felt quite right. It's hard to explain exactly, and how do I explain it to Tom? There had been something missing. Passion, but no flame. No something extra that makes good sex great.

Oh hell! The truth is... it hadn't been good. It had been okay sex made good because Tom and I care about one another.

And that's all it'd been. No fireworks, no earthquakes and certainly no cries of ecstasy. We'd both come without any problems but, afterwards, it just felt flat... empty... disappointing.

It wasn't what I'd expected, and I don't think it was what Tom had expected either. The worst part of the whole thing was when we kissed. After the first couple of intensely passionate kisses, it had felt... funny when we kissed. I know this is going to sound weird, but it felt almost like I was kissing my brother or something. Except, of course, I don't have a brother so I wouldn't know what it's like to kiss one anyway.

Lying here, staring up at the ceiling, another revelation has crashed down upon me. It's exactly the same as all those times when I was a child. The wanting was better than the getting. Once I'd been given what I wanted, I never really wanted it anymore. For six long years I'd wanted Tom. Craved him desperately. Now that I had him, I no longer wanted him.

I frown as a growing horror starts to crawl around inside me. I'm not in love with him. Maybe I never was. Maybe it was lust all along. If Tom had gone out with me that very first night, I probably would never have fallen in love with him.

He was unattainable and that pushed all my buttons. My horror escalates. I'm a terrible person. Truly awful. How can I treat Tom like that? How can I? He's such a wonderful person.

I care about him, I care about him a lot. He's the best friend I could ever have and I'll always love him. Always! I'm just not in love with him. And I feel so bad about it! So bad!!!!

How can I tell him? What can I say? 'Hey, Tom? You'll never guess what? Now that you've finally discovered that you're in love with me, I've just figured out I'm not? What a joke?'

Oh, yeah. Very funny. Tom doesn't deserve that. I'm despicable. That's what I am. I just took advantage of the fact that he was emotionally distraught, so that I could have sex with him, and now I'm going to tell him I don't really love him.

Does the darkness within me never cease? I'm about to hurt Tom terribly, and I know for an absolute fact that as soon as B'Elanna finds out she's going to come and hurt *me*. And I won't try to stop her. I deserve it. Poor, poor, Tom.

With a deep sigh I roll over to face him, determined to do what must be done. I'll be as gentle as possible, but I have to tell him the truth. No more evasions, or half-truths, or lies.

"Tom?"

"Yes, Harry?" His voice is as soft as mine, and he rolls over so that we're lying face-to-face.

"I have to tell you that..."

"I have to tell you something too," he interrupts me.

"No, let me tell you first," I say desperately.

"Harry, I want you to know that you're the best..."

"Tom..." I say hastily, sitting up suddenly. I can't let him declare his feelings for me. Once said, there'll be no turning back. The awkwardness between us will be too insurmountable to climb. "Don't say anything else."

He sits up too and puts his hand on my arm. "I have to, Harry."

"No. Before you say anything, I have to tell you something."

"Let me finish," he says in frustration.

"No!" My voice is sharp... too sharp, and he turns me around to face him.

"Harry, please don't be like this. I..."

"I have to say this first," I say quickly. "Just shut up and let me."

"Harry..."

"Shut up, Tom."

"Harry!"

"I mean it, Tom."

Tom grits his teeth and then waves his hand at me. "Go ahead."

I take a deep breath. "What we just shared was wonderful. It was amazing, incredible even, but..."

"It was?" Tom's voice cracks a little. He looks astonished.

"It wasn't?" I ask tentatively.

"Oh... yeah. It was. Of course, it was."

"You didn't like it?"

"Harry, what are you saying? I came didn't I?"

"So did I, so that doesn't mean anything."

"It was... What do you mean by that? You didn't like it either?"

"Of course I liked it. It was... *either*? Ah ha!!! So you *didn't* like it?"

"I didn't say that. It was *you* that said... whatever the hell it was you said."

"Don't put this on me. You started it by looking so astonished when I said how good it was."

"Me? You're paranoid. I was surprised, that's all."

"What the hell were you surprised about?"

"Nothing. I just thought it would have been... different, that's all."

"Different?"

"Not so... not so..."

"Bland?"

"Heh! I didn't say that. I didn't even mean that."

"Yes, you did. I can tell by your face."

"I did not. Stop putting words in my mouth."

I open my mouth to argue once more and then stop. What the hell am I doing? He's right. The sex hadn't been very good. And I'm supposed to be ripping Tom's heart out and stomping it into the ground, not arguing about who said what about the sex anyway.

Tom looks as guilty as I feel. "I'm sorry, Har. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

"You didn't hurt my feelings," I try to reassure him.

"Harry, I'm sorry, but I have to say this. Making love to you felt strange. It didn't feel right."

"That's exactly the way I feel."

"It is?"

"I felt like I was with my brother or something."

"Me too. Shit! What a mess. I'm so sorry, Harry."

"There's nothing to be sorry about, Tom. I'm the one who's sorry. Having sex with you is probably the best thing I could have done. It's finally put everything in its proper perspective."

"It has?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry, Tom, but I'm really not in love with you."

"You're not? Are you sure?"

"Positive. The sex just felt too weird."

"That's for sure. I really am sorry we did that though, Har."

"I'm glad we did, but for you... well, it probably wasn't such a good idea."

"No. I'm fine. At least now I know I'm not in love with you."

"You're in love with Chakotay," I say quietly. I guess I'd known it all along. Which makes what just happened even more despicable.

His eyes cloud over. "I don't want to talk about him. He obviously doesn't feel the same way."

And that's what I don't understand. I was sure he did. I'd been *so* sure. "He's an idiot."

"He made me feel so fucking stupid."

"He's an ass." I'm going to have to talk to him, because I know I wasn't wrong.

"Harry, what am I going to do? Everything's such a mess," Tom says miserably.

"Right now you need to get some sleep. We both do."

He nods tiredly and lies down once more. "I guess I should clean up and get out of here."

"You're not going anywhere," I say firmly. "You can sleep here." I'm really worried about him. He's so depressed. Climbing out of bed, I make my way to the bathroom and bring back a couple of washcloths so we can clean up a bit.

"We'll worry about this in the morning," I tell him quietly, sliding back in beside him once more.

"It's okay, Har," he sighs. "There's nothing you can do, anyway."

But that's where he's wrong. There's plenty I can do. I can talk to Chakotay. He's too stubborn to admit how he feels, but I'll make him. The two of them are in love and belong together. I intend to make it happen. It's the least I can do to make it up to Tom for having sex with him. The very least.

No Regrets - Part 31
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Chakotay's POV*

"Our rather discreet inquiries don't seem to be working," B'Elanna says in frustration.

We've been quietly searching for over an hour and have gone back to the mess hall to discuss what to do next. "We've now managed to alert half the ship that Tom's missing," B'Elanna continues. "I don't know why we didn't just make a ship-wide announcement and be done with it."

Neelix leans forward eagerly. "We could still do that. Just ask anyone who's seen him to report here to us, or better still, if he's with them to bring him here."

"I don't think so," I say rather stiffly. "I don't think Tom would appreciate that."

"I don't think he's going to appreciate any of this," B'Elanna says dryly.

"If you don't mind me asking, why *are* we searching for him?" Neelix asks cautiously, looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I'd already bitten his head off when he tried to ask earlier. He'd insisted on coming with us, even though I wouldn't tell him what was going on.

"I need to speak with him," I answer shortly.

"Well, yes, Commander, I understand that. I just don't understand why it can't wait until morning. I'm sure that Tom will be here for breakfast, just like he always is, and even if he isn't, he'll show up for his duty shift. You said yourself that you don't think anything has happened to him. I mean, you're not worried about his safety or anything are you?"

"It's rather complicated to explain. I just don't want to wait until morning to talk to him."

"Technically, it *is* morning, Commander. I still think..."

"Neelix," B'Elanna interrupts. "Chakotay and Tom had a... slight misunderstanding and Chakotay wants to smooth things over as soon as possible."

"Oh dear, oh dear. Why didn't you say so? Was Tom upset?"

"We're not really sure, but we think so. All I know is that when we *do* find Tom, I'm going to strangle him for causing me to worry like this."

"Well, I know when I first suggested it you said he wouldn't be with Harry, but I really think that's where he is."

"Normally he probably would be," B'Elanna tells him, while I shake my head. "Things are a little awkward between them lately, however, and Tom wouldn't feel that he could go there."

"Awkward? Oh dear, oh dear! Have they had a misunderstanding too?"

"Not exactly. I just think they would be a little... uncomfortable around one another at the moment."

"I see. Well, of course, you know him better than I do, but I still say he'd go to Harry. That's one place you haven't checked you know." As we both open our mouths to speak, he hurries on. "I know, I know. That's because he wouldn't be there. I still say we should check to be sure."

"Maybe he's right, Chakotay. We haven't checked with the Captain either," B'Elanna points out.

"I didn't want to worry her. I'm sure he's not with her."

"If a member of my crew is missing, then I think I should be informed, Commander."

We all jump at the Captain's sudden appearance in the doorway. She comes over to stand next to me, hands on her hips, staring down on me in disapproval.

"It's not that he's missing," B'Elanna explains hurriedly. "We just don't know where he is."

"How did you hear about this?" I ask in confusion.

"Vorik came to see me."

"Vorik?"

"He's on duty in engineering and heard you were searching for Tom. He wasn't sure whether he should relay the information he had or not. He thought it might be considered as gossip."

"He shouldn't have woken you up in the middle of the night, Captain," Neelix says, slightly scandalized.

"I'm afraid that's my fault. I told him if he ever had trouble deciphering what was or was not gossip he could come to me day or night and I'd help him to clarify it. I didn't think he'd take me quite so literally, of course."

"Does this mean that Vorik knows where Tom is?" I ask.

"Yes. So do I for that matter. Vorik saw him go into Harry's quarters. I'm assuming he's still there."

Damn! I don't like the idea that Tom's been with Harry all this time.

"I thought so," Neelix says smugly.

I frown at him in annoyance, but he merely stands up beaming around at us all. "Now that that little mystery's been solved, would anyone like something to eat?"

"It's half past three in the morning," B'Elanna protests.

"We could all have an early breakfast."

"No, thank you," we all say at once.

"So, now that you know where he is, what are you going to do?" B'Elanna asks me.

"I don't like the fact that he's been with Harry all this time," I answer fretfully. "Why hasn't he gone back to his quarters by now?"

"Maybe he's sleeping there. Harry's slept at Tom's when he's been upset before, he may be returning the favor."

"But Harry's in love with Tom; Tom shouldn't be sleeping there," I protest.

Neelix thumps the tabletop with his palm. "I thought so."

"He's probably too upset to think about things like that," B'Elanna says, ignoring Neelix.

"Upset?" Kathryn says, a dangerous edge to her tone. "Why is Tom upset?"

"Because Chakotay's a damn idiot."

Kathryn turns to me for an explanation but before I can say anything, B'Elanna scrapes her chair back and stands up.

"Listen, I have an idea. I'll go and see what's going on with Tom and Harry. They may be still talking, but I think I'll find the two of them asleep. I'll wake Tom up and bring him back here to talk to you. Don't worry, I'll carry him if I have to. Meanwhile, you tell the Captain how stupid you've been." She races away before I can open my mouth.

The Captain sits across from me and folds her arms over her chest, her expression clearly stating she expects a full explanation. I sigh in resignation.

Neelix hurries over to the kitchen. "I'll put the coffee on," he calls over his shoulder. "Don't say anything until I come back."

I'm barely finished the shortened version of tonight's happenings when B'Elanna returns, looking rather subdued. Tom isn't with her. She falls into the seat beside me.

"Was Tom there?" I ask anxiously.

She nods. "He was asleep."

"He refused to come and speak with me, didn't he?" I can't really blame him, of course, but...

"I didn't ask him to. I'm sorry, Chakotay," she says softly, suddenly squeezing my arm. "It seems I was right all along. Tom *was* in love with Harry after all. Oh, Chakotay, I'm so sorry. So terribly sorry."

"Are you sure?" It's the Captain who speaks. I'm finding it too hard.

"Absolutely. They're in bed together, snuggled up sleeping."

"Well that doesn't mean Tom's in love with Harry."

"No, Captain. You don't understand." She avoids looking at me. "They're naked and the place reeks of sex."

I find it difficult to breathe all of a sudden. "You're certain?" I manage to choke out.

She squeezes my arm once more and then taps her nose. "I'm a Klingon, remember. Besides, the wash cloths on the floor sort of gave it away."

I stand up abruptly, refusing to look at the three faces staring up at me in concern. "I'd say that's rather conclusive," I say quietly. "If you'll all excuse me..."

"Chakotay, are you all right?" Kathryn asks worriedly.

"I will be. I had my chance and I messed it up. I don't want any of you to say anything to Tom about this. I want your words." They all nod solemnly. "It's best this happened this way. At least Tom realized how he felt before I could confuse matters even more. I know he'll be happy with Harry."

"Oh, Chakotay," Kathryn says sadly. "I don't like to think of Harry being hurt, but I hate to see you hurting like this too."

"I'll be fine, Captain. If it's all right with you, I'd like to take tomorrow off, but after that I'll be able to carry on normally."

"Take all the time you need, Chakotay."

"I'd rather keep busy, Captain, but thank you."

I leave with as much dignity as I can.

"Shit!" I hear B'Elanna exclaim.

"I couldn't agree more," Kathryn adds.

~^~

*Harry's POV*

I'd been determined to speak with Chakotay as soon as possible this morning, but he wasn't on the bridge. The Captain said he had some work to catch up on and couldn't be disturbed.

I've felt frustrated and on edge all day, wanting to fix things for Tom and being thwarted in my effort. I'm really worried about him. He refused to eat any breakfast or lunch and it doesn't seem he's going to attempt dinner, either.

B'Elanna finding us in bed together this morning - or maybe it was still last night - hadn't helped things either. I'd woken up suddenly to see her standing over us, a strange look on her face. Tom had been burrowed in against me, his head resting on my shoulder, his arm flung over my chest.

She'd put her fingers to her lips and whispered quietly. "Don't wake him up, I just wanted to be sure he was all right. Obviously he is." Backing out of the room, she'd continued. "Way to go. I'm so happy for both of you."

I'd blushed scarlet as I realized what she meant. Sitting up hurriedly to try to explain it wasn't exactly what it looked like - well it was, but it wasn't - I'd woken up Tom. She blew us both a kiss and disappeared out the door.

I'd tried to talk to her as well today, but she'd been strangely unavailable too. Damn it! All I want to do is straighten things out. Why is it so damn hard?

Tom's still playing around with his food, and I've eaten as much as I'm going to, so I suggest we leave. Just as we walk out the doors, the Captain walks in.

"Tom, Harry." I'm surprised to see a decidedly forced smile on her face.

"Captain," we say in unison.

"Finished already?"

"We thought we'd have an early night," I answer, as Tom looks dolefully down at the floor.

"I see." Her smile stretches, but somehow it doesn't reach her eyes.

"Goodnight," I say awkwardly. Tom doesn't say anything.

"Goodnight, gentlemen."

I can feel her eyes watching us as we leave and I feel uncomfortable all of a sudden.

"Tom, is it my imagination or did the Captain seem a little strange?"

"I didn't notice," Tom mumbles gloomily, stepping into the turbolift and leaning back against the wall.

"Well, she did. I'm sure of it."

"Maybe she's had a bad day. Harry, why do you think Chakotay wasn't on the bridge today?"

"The Captain said he had a lot of work to do."

"You don't think he was avoiding me, do you? I've probably embarrassed the hell out of him."

"I'm sure he'll be there tomorrow." He'd better be, because I intend to talk to him, no matter what.

Tom wants to go to bed immediately so I leave him to it and make my way back to my quarters. I don't really feel tired, although I know I should, but I'm not sure what to do with myself. A message is waiting for me. Greg Ayala wants me to meet him in Sandrine's for a drink.

I read the message one more time, racked with indecision, before finally making up my mind. A drink would be nice, and I like Greg a lot. The invitation is a pleasant surprise. I wonder if I should change out of my uniform, but he's probably been waiting long enough as it is.

Greg's with a whole bunch of guys when I get there and I go over and join them. The others gradually drift away until it's just the two of us and we talk quietly for some time.

He tentatively asks me about my feelings for Tom, and before I can stop myself, I find I'm telling him all about my infatuation and the things it made me do. I even tell him about last night and how we found out we weren't in love. He's so quiet and easy to talk to. "Have I shocked you?" I ask worriedly.

"A little, I think. But I can't help feeling glad you're not as na´ve as you look."

"I'm not na´ve," I protest and he grins at me and winks.

"So I've discovered. And Tom and you really are just friends?"

"I don't know if 'just friends' is the right way to describe it, but we're not going to be lovers, that's for sure."

He gives a small smile before frowning in concern. "Is Tom going to be all right? He looked rather miserable today. Maybe this all hit him rather hard?"

"No, he's not miserable about us. I can't tell you about that, but believe me, he feels exactly the same way I do."

"That's good enough for me," Greg says, suddenly taking my hand in his. "I really like you, Harry. I'd like for us to be more than just friends, too. Do you want to go out tomorrow night? I've found a holoprogram I'd like to show you."

"Are you sure? I'm not a very nice person, Greg."

"I happen to think you are. And I wouldn't have asked you if I wasn't sure."

"You won't have a problem with Tom? He'll always be important to me."

"I know that, and I don't have a problem with it. I think I'd like to talk to Tom, though, just to be sure that he feels the same way you do."

"He does," I say earnestly.

"Good. There's no reason we can't go out then, is there?"

"No reason at all," I say with a smile. I can't wait to tell Tom. I know he'll be as pleased as I am.

~^~

*Chakotay's POV*

I've stayed in my quarters all day, trying to come to terms with what happened.

B'Elanna came to see me for a few minutes this morning before some trouble in engineering had her scuttling away. She's found herself in a rather awkward position. Extremely happy for Tom and Harry, but at the same time, terribly upset for me.

Kathryn feels the same way, although she's not as happy for Tom and Harry as B'Elanna is. She told me she thinks Tom's made a mistake, and as much as she'd hate to see Harry hurt, she thinks Tom would be better with me.

Neelix has also shown his concern for me, by constantly plying me with food all through the day. He seems to be under the impression my unhappiness will cause me to wither away.

Trying to point out that I won't starve to death in just one day, fell on deaf ears, and I found myself eating everything he brought me, much to his delight.

His concern has been touching, however, and talking to him has helped. He's proven to be a very understanding and sympathetic listener.

And now I realize that that's what I need. I need my friends around me. Greg Ayala and some of the old Maquis group. They're often in Sandrine's at night.

The computer confirms that Greg *is* there, so I decide to go down and join him. He's always been a good friend. I'm sure he'll be able to help cheer me up a little.

No Regrets - Part 32
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Tom's POV*

I can't believe I'm awake again already. I've been asleep for just over an hour. Sighing heavily, I climb out of bed and pace around my quarters, feeling more than a little restless.

Today had been almost unbearable. First, I wake up to find myself lying naked in bed with Harry, and before I can wrap my mind around what I did, there's B'Elanna, blowing kisses to us from the doorway.

What she was doing there, I don't know. However, it must have been obvious to her what had happened. I would have preferred no one else knowing what Harry and I'd done, but I could tell from the look on B'Elanna's face that it was too late for that.

She probably thinks she was right all along and I *am* in love with Harry. At least I know I can trust her to be discreet. I tried to talk to her today, to set her straight, but there was some sort of crisis down in engineering and she was too busy.

Harry and my friendship is still as strong as ever, and I'm very, very grateful for that. I made a terrible mistake that could have ruined everything, and although Harry is glad we slept together, I'm not. I took advantage of his feelings for me. That it's all turned out all right in the end is pure luck.

I just wish I could do something about my feelings for Chakotay and everything would be fine.

Deciding that I'm too unsettled to try to go to sleep again, I head out the door and make my way to Sandrine's to unwind a little. Just to be safe, I ask the computer Chakotay's location. He's still in his quarters, so at least I won't run into him.

~^~

*Kathryn's POV*

It's been a rather upsetting day. Poor Chakotay! I hate seeing him so upset, but I'd hate to see Harry upset too. I don't think he could handle it as well as Chakotay.

Not wanting to retire right away I head down to Sandrine's for some company, and as I walk in the door, the first thing I see is Harry sitting at a table with Greg Ayala. To my complete shock they're holding hands, and Harry is definitely flirting.

Harry? Harry is two-timing Tom? The very first day they're together? I can't believe it. But it's happening right before my eyes.

Their heads are almost touching as they whisper to one another. Harry is blushing and looking up at Ayala coyly. Rage engulfs me as I watch Harry's innocent-seeming face. I would never have thought him capable of this. He's been in love with Tom all these years, and now that he has him, he can treat him like this?

Intending to leave, I turn around abruptly, and to my dismay, come face to face with Tom, standing in the doorway.

"Captain, fancy meeting you here."

"Tom! I thought you were having an early night."

"Couldn't sleep and I was sick of prowling around my quarters."

"It's rather crowded in here," I say quickly. "Why don't we go for a walk instead?"

He looks at me in surprise. "A walk?"

"Why not? Or are you embarrassed to be seen with your Captain?"

"Of course not," he says gallantly. "That would be very nice." If I can maneuver him out the door right now, he'll never realize Harry was here. "Where did you want to walk to?"

"Oh, just around," I answer vaguely, leading him out the door and sighing with relief.

We almost bump into Chakotay as we enter the corridor. I can feel Tom stiffen next to me and Chakotay pales significantly.

"Commander, what are you doing here?" I ask, not knowing what to say.

"I felt like a change of scenery," he says softly, keeping his eyes on me and away from Tom.

"You're going to Sandrine's?" I say nervously.

"Just for a little while. Excuse me." He passes us and enters the holodeck and I stand there rooted to the floor. Tom doesn't seem to want to move either.

"Can we take a rain-check on that walk?" I ask quickly, hoping that he won't follow me back inside.

"Sure," he says quietly and then, thankfully, hurries away. I race back into Sandrine's to find Chakotay just inside the doorway, glancing around the room.

"Where's Tom?" he asks.

"He's gone back to his quarters. Why don't we go for a walk? It's so crowded in here." It'd worked for Tom, maybe I can get Chakotay out of here the same way.

"A walk?" he repeats. "You want to talk to me?"

"Yes, yes, I do," I say quickly. He still hasn't seen Harry. My luck's holding.

He crooks his arm towards me. "Very well."

I sigh with relief and take his arm, but he suddenly goes rigid as he stares straight at Harry and Ayala, flirting unashamedly.

"What the hell?"

"Let's go," I say hastily, trying to turn him around.

He pulls away and steps further into the room, his eyes narrowing dangerously. "Did Tom see that?"

"No. At least, I don't think so. I got him out of here before he could."

My heart sinks as Chakotay pushes past me and stalks angrily across the room.

~^~

*Chakotay's POV*

I can't believe what I'm seeing. Harry - the weasel - Kim is flirting with Greg Ayala. Tom and he have been together for less than twenty-four hours and he's already straying.

The prick. The totally unprincipled little bastard. I'd always known he was more than he pretended, but I'd thought all he ever wanted was Tom. So what's this all about? Now that he has Tom, he doesn't want him anymore?

A blind rage fills me and all I want to do is knock his teeth down his throat. Without even realizing what I'm doing, I shove Kathryn out of my way and move in for the kill.

I've almost reached him when a hand grabs my arm and jerks me around with surprising force. It's Kathryn, half my size, glaring up at me angrily.

"There will be no scenes in front of the crew," she says in a voice colder than ice. "You're the first officer on this ship and you'll behave that way. Is that clear, Commander?"

I try to jerk my arm away, but her grip is like iron. "Am I making myself understood, Commander?"

"Yes," I force out. "So what am I supposed to do? Let him treat Tom like that?"

"It's not our business. It's between the two of them."

"How can you say that? You know how I feel about Tom."

"Yes, I do. And I'm not saying you shouldn't talk to Harry, but killing him isn't the answer."

She lets go of my arm and I take a deep breath to steady myself. "I wasn't going to kill him. I was just going to hurt him a little."

"Not in front of the crew. You have your position as second in command to maintain. How do you think the crew would feel if they suddenly saw *me*, mad with rage, attacking ensigns all over the place? Don't you think their confidence in me as their leader would falter, just slightly?"

"Probably," I say, trying to get the image of Kathryn going on a wild rampage out of my mind. "But I'm not their leader."

"If anything happens to me you will be."

I frown at the thought and she gently leads me away. "I'm just as shocked as you are to see Harry acting like that, but we have to remain calm."

The likelihood of that happening is zero as somebody taps me on the shoulder, and to my utter disbelief, I turn around to look straight into the innocent-looking face of Harry Kim.

"Commander, I hope now isn't a bad time, but I really need to talk to you. It's about Tom." I can't believe his audacity and I hear Kathryn suck in her breath behind me.

"I've been wanting to talk to you all day," he continues. "Can we go somewhere private?"

"That's a good idea," I say through gritted teeth.

"No!" Kathryn says sharply, stepping out from behind me.

"Captain?"

"I think *I* would like to speak with you in private, Ensign."

"You would?"

"Harry asked to speak with me," I tell her calmly.

"And I don't think that's a good idea at the moment. *I'll* handle this."

"You, Captain? Begging your pardon, but this is a personal matter between..."

He gets no further as Kathryn grabs his arm and propels him from the room. Marching down the corridor she keeps a firm grip on him the whole way. I follow along behind.

"Captain, is something wrong?"

"Not a word, Ensign. We're going to my ready room. Chakotay, you're going back to your quarters."

"I am?"

"Yes," she barks. "I'll speak to you later."

~^~

*Harry's POV*

I watch in utter confusion as the Captain and Chakotay argue about whether he should come with us or not. I don't understand any of this.

What the hell does the Captain think she's doing? All I wanted to do was talk to Chakotay. Tell him he was wrong about Tom and me. I wanted him to know that Tom's in love with him and there's no reason why they can't be together.

I don't like the way she keeps calling me 'Ensign', either. She sounds as if she's furious with me, but I have no idea why.

Chakotay *is* furious and stomps off angrily as the Captain leads me into the ready room. She still has hold of my arm in a death grip, and her mouth is a thin, angry line.

"Sit!" She practically throws me into the couch and I watch her nervously as she paces around the room. Why the hell is she so mad at me? What have *I* done?

"I thought you were having an early night."

"I-I was," I stammer, completely bewildered by the statement. What does *that* have to do with anything?

"So, what happened? You were bored?"

"I... I didn't feel tired and Greg Ayala invited me to meet him for a drink."

"And, without a moments hesitation, you just met him?" Her voice rises incredulously.

"Well... I did think about it for a while." What the hell?

"You were holding hands, don't try to deny it because I saw you."

"I don't understand. Isn't... isn't that allowed?"

She stops her pacing to look at me in astonishment. "Allowed?"

"I don't think that's very fair, Captain." I can feel myself becoming a little outraged now.

"Fair?" she hisses at me angrily.

"I'm sorry, Captain, but it isn't. You didn't say anything about public displays of affection, and if we're not supposed to then you should have said so."

She looks at me completely stunned, but I'm feeling righteously indignant now. Not only did she mess up my chance of speaking to Chakotay, she's mad at me for something that isn't even my fault. *And* she hurt my arm!!

"I mean, I know you said you wanted the senior staff to set an example. And we had to think very seriously and carefully before we entered into a relationship, but... you didn't say we couldn't hold hands in public. I just think you should have clarified our boundaries a little more."

I have the satisfaction of seeing the Captain speechless before she steps up to the couch and leans down over me. "And here I was not wanting to see you upset. I really don't know you at all, do I?"

"I don't know what you mean, Captain. You're acting like I've done something really wrong and I haven't."

"Most people would disagree with you there, Harry. You were flirting quite blatantly with Greg Ayala and that really *is* a bad example to set for the rest of the crew."

"It is?" I say, completely astounded.

"Of course, it is."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know you weren't allowed to flirt."

Annoyance flashes across her face and I honestly don't know why. How am I supposed to know all this stuff if she doesn't tell us? Is this a rule just for the senior staff? You couldn't possibly enforce it ship-wide.

"Harry, it seems I'm going to have to spell it out. I know about you and Tom and I can't allow..."

"Me and Tom?" I can feel all the color draining from my face. I think I'm about to faint. "You know what we did last night?"

"Yes, Harry. I'm still finding it hard to believe that you could get together with Tom and then try and cheat on him so soon. I can't allow that type of behavior."

How'd she find out? B'Elanna? Why the hell did B'Elanna tell the Captain? Talk about embarrassing! The Captain knows Tom and I slept together. I can feel the flush creeping up my neck and flooding over my face.

"You've been with Tom for less than twenty-four hours. What sort of message is *that* sending to the crew?"

All of a sudden her meaning penetrates my crowded thoughts. "Oh, no, Captain. You've got it all wrong. Tom and I aren't together," I gasp out.

"You aren't? You didn't sleep together last night?"

"Well... yes... but..."

"Harry, don't lie to me. B'Elanna found the two of you together and I trust her instincts, not to mention her nose."

"B'Elanna had no right to blab that all over the ship," I say angrily.

"She didn't."

"She didn't? Then how...?"

"We were looking for Tom last night. We were worried."

"We?"

"Chakotay, B'Elanna, Neelix and myself. We're the only ones who know about the two of you. No wonder you want to keep it secret, if this is the way you intend to behave."

Chakotay? Chakotay knows that Tom and I slept together? He knows that we had sex? Oh no! Oh no!! Oh... shit!!!!

No Regrets - Part 33
by T'Pam

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

~^~

*Harry's POV*

I watch, horrified, as the Captain paces around the room angrily. She knows Tom and I had sex. Even worse, so does Chakotay. How can I talk to him and tell him he was wrong about the two of us being in love now? How can I get he and Tom together now that he knows?

This wasn't supposed to happen. Chakotay will never understand. Never! Shit, shit, shit!

"I'm not impressed with your behavior, Harry," the Captain continues, bringing me back to awareness. "Did you think you could keep it secret? How's Tom going to react when he finds out? And believe me, he will. You know what this ship is like, and you were making rather a spectacle of yourself."

"But..."

"I will *not* allow you to hurt Tom like that. He doesn't deserve it." She begins to pace back and forth in front of me in her fury.

"But, Captain..."

"I'm very upset with you, Harry."

That's for sure. I can't remember her ever being this angry with me before. But, it isn't what it seems.

"Captain, you don't understand..."

"You're damn right I don't. Tom is going to be devastated."

"No, he won't. He won't be upset at all. You see..."

"Of course, he will," she snaps at me before I can explain. "He's very vulnerable underneath that easy-going persona he likes to project. I thought *you*, of all people, would know that."

"I do," I say hastily, and hurry on before she can interrupt me again. "But Tom and I aren't together the way you think we are."

"You're not?"

"No. We realized last night that it wouldn't work between us."

"Is that why Tom looked so miserable today?"

"No, that was something else. I can't tell you about that, so please don't ask me."

She stops her pacing and stares at me disbelievingly.

"It's true, Captain. Please believe me. We're not in love with one another. Honestly. You can ask Tom. As soon as we had sex, we knew." I blush as I realize what I've just said.

The Captain stares at me blankly so I continue. "We're not in a relationship and I'm not cheating on him with Greg, if that's what you think."

"You're not?"

"No, Captain. I could never, ever do something like that."

"I'm glad to hear it, but are you telling me that you've been in love with Tom all these years and now that you've had sex, you no longer are?"

My blush turns into a raging fire. "I know how that sounds, but it wasn't right between us."

"What do you mean?"

"You want me to tell you about it?" I don't think I can do that. She *is* the Captain, after all. I can't believe we're having this conversation in the first place.

"You don't have to give me all the vivid details," she says dryly. "I just need to understand what happened."

"Well... it was like he was my brother or something, and Tom felt the same way."

"I see." A look of relief washes over her face and she smiles brightly. "Now I understand. And it doesn't even surprise me really."

"Well, it did me."

She gives a small laugh and I watch her suspiciously. She's far too happy about all of this. "I'm sure it did. And Tom's all right about it all?"

"He feels the same way I do. But, he's really sorry we did it. He says he took advantage of my feelings for him, but *I'm* the one who took advantage of him. Deep down I knew he didn't really know what he was doing. He was so mixed up..." I stop suddenly, horrified that I'm about to betray Tom's confidence.

The Captain sits down on the couch next to me and pats my hand. "Oh?"

It's obvious she wants me to explain, but I can't. And I find myself wondering why she's so involved in the whole thing. She really seemed upset that Tom might be hurt.

"Tom was very upset last night, wasn't he?" she asks softly.

"Yes," I answer carefully. There can be only one reason why the Captain is so involved in all of this. I've had my suspicions for quite some time, of course, but I never thought she'd come out in the open.

She squeezes my hand tightly. She's a lot stronger than she looks and I wince in pain. "You know, Harry, I think you're right. You *did* take advantage of Tom. He was vulnerable and upset, and you slept with him knowing that."

She releases my hand and I shake it gingerly. "I'm not a very nice person," I mumble quietly, completely convinced now. She's in love with Tom herself. Her love has always been pure, though. As long as Tom was happy, so was she.

That's why she came down on B'Elanna so hard, so many times. She could see she was hurting Tom. And that's why she's treating me like this. She thought I was going to hurt Tom too.

"I'm sorry," I mumble miserably. "I know I should have stopped it. But at the time, all I could think of was how long I'd loved Tom. How long I'd wanted him and I wanted to believe so badly that he loved me too."

"I understand, Harry," she tells me, squeezing my hand gently this time. Of course, she does.

"I feel so bad about everything."

"Well, Harry, I think that maybe you should."

~^~

*Tom's POV*

I can't believe my luck. After ensuring Chakotay wasn't at Sandrine's I run into him face-to-face. Not that he even acknowledged my presence, but the whole experience was very disturbing.

Thankfully, the Captain decided to follow him back into Sandrine's and that meant I could be on my own. I'm not sure what's going to happen if this is the way I'm going to react every time I see him.

Stepping into an observation lounge and glancing around, I feel immensely relieved there's no one else here. I just want to gaze out at the stars and not think about anything.

I stand here for some time before turning around and deciding to head back to bed. To my horror I see Chakotay in the doorway. How long has he been standing there quietly watching me? What's he doing here?

"Tom, can I talk to you for a few moments?"

The last thing I want to do is talk to him. Why can't he leave me alone? I lean back against the railing and wait nervously.

He clears his throat. "I know I upset you last night, and..."

"Forget it," I interrupt hastily.

"I can't. You went to Harry and I..."

"Shit!" I exclaim, straightening up from my slouched position. He knows about that? Goddamn you, B'Elanna! "That's none of your business," I say frostily, wishing I could get the hell out of here, but knowing I'll have to push past Chakotay to do it.

The very last thing I wanted was for him to know that his rejection of me had caused me to go and throw myself foolishly at my best friend. As if he didn't pity me enough. Damn it all anyway!

"Tom, Harry isn't what he seems."

"What?"

"He's conniving... manipulative..."

"Harry wouldn't even know the meaning of the word." What the hell is going on here?

"That's where you're wrong. He's a lying, cheating little snake, and..."

"What the fuck are you talking about and why are you trashing Harry like this? I won't stand here and listen to this shit."

I go to shove my way past him, but he grabs my arms. "I saw him with Greg Ayala, Tom."

"Let go of me."

"Did you hear what I said? He was with Greg and it was *not* just an innocent drink."

I struggle to get free. "So what? Will you take your hands off me or do I have to call security?"

"Tom, are you even listening to me?" he shouts in my face. "The two of you were together last night, screwing your asses off, and now, not even twenty-four hours later, Harry's trying to get into Ayala's pants."

So that's what this is all about. He thinks Harry's cheating on me, and he blames himself for pushing me towards Harry in the first place. He feels sorry for me. Poor, dumb, Tom, finally realizing he's in love with his best friend only to have him cheat on him the very first day.

I manage to break free from his grip and push him against the wall. I don't want his pity. I won't let him feel sorry for me.

"For your information," I say icily, "Harry and I are not together."

"But you..."

"Yeah, we fucked last night. All night. We humped our brains out and it was the best sex of our lives. And whenever either of us want mind-blowing sex, we'll do it again. Other than that, we're free agents."

I don't know why I said that. I just can't stand the thought that Chakotay pities me. Harry probably wouldn't be very impressed with me, either.

I hurry out the door and bump straight into a figure standing on the other side. "Greg!"

"I came looking for you. I wanted to straighten a few things out, but it appears that won't be necessary. I've heard all I wanted to know."

Oh Shit!!!!

"So, you and Harry are going to be 'fuck buddies'?" Greg says quietly, hurt evident in his tone. "He lied to me. Told me the two of you had had a rather ordinary time of it last night and wouldn't be doing it again."

"He told you that?" My voice ends in a squeak. I can't believe Harry told him. That was personal, between us, no one should know about it. He must really like Greg to have told him and now Greg thinks... Oh fuck!!!

"It seems our seemingly innocent Mr. Kim will say anything to get what he wants, Greg," Chakotay says from behind me. "He probably thought you wouldn't be interested in sharing him with Tom, no matter how flexible their arrangement."

"I'm not," Greg says flatly.

Shit! Shit! Shit! I'm going to have to tell Ayala I just lied my ass off to Chakotay. I can't let him think Harry deliberately deceived him.

"What other lies did the little weasel tell you?"

"Shut up, Chakotay," I hiss. "Greg, we need to talk."

"I don't think he lied to me," Ayala answers Chakotay. "Everything he told me was fairly self-defamatory."

"That was probably his way of making you feel sorry for him. Listen, we've been friends for years, Greg, long before the Maquis. And as a friend, I'm telling you, Harry Kim can't be trusted."

"Chak, you've always been a good friend, and you've given me some sound advice in the past, but I really like Harry. I trust him. Some of the stuff he told me wasn't very nice. He wanted me to know what he was capable of."

"I know what he's capable of," Chakotay says fiercely. "Just about anything."

I turn on him furiously. "What is your problem? Harry hasn't done anything."

"You can say that after discovering this?" he asks incredulously.

"I've discovered nothing," I yell in frustration. "Harry didn't lie to Greg. *I* lied to *you*. I didn't want you to feel any sorrier for me than you do already."

"I don't feel sorry for you, Tom."

"Bullshit!" I turn my back on him to face Ayala again. "I'm sorry, Greg. If I'd known you were there I would never have said any of that."

"Is it true though?"

"No, I was lying."

"So, Harry and you aren't going to be 'fuck buddies'?"

"No," I say in a small voice, wishing Chakotay would go away.

"And you're definitely not in love with Harry, either? I don't want to step on any toes, but I'd really like to pursue a relationship with him. I just wanted to be sure you'd be okay about it."

"Thanks, Greg, but it's fine. Truly. I'm happy for you both."

"You're sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Certain in fact. I think Harry deserves some happiness after all these years."

"I'll make sure he gets some," Greg says with a smile.

"I don't believe I'm hearing this. Greg, I don't think you realize just how conniving Harry can be."

"Chak, I know you care about me and I appreciate your concern, but Harry's been brutally honest with me. I know everything he's done. It was wrong, turning people away from Tom like that, but if Tom can forgive him then that's all that matters."

"Turning people away from me?" I repeat in bewilderment. "What people?"

"All those people who were interested in you those first few years we were out here."

"Those first few years were hell for me. Everyone hated me."

"No, they didn't. Not everyone, anyway. But Harry made sure they stayed away from you."

"How?"

Greg frowns at my question. "I... I thought he confessed everything to you."

"Not this, he didn't."

"Shit! I'm sorry. He was so open with me, I just assumed..."

"Tell me everything he did, Greg."

"I think you'd better ask *him*, Tom."

"I'm asking *you*."

"No, Tom. I've obviously said too much already."

"What if I make it a direct order?" Chakotay asks. I'd almost forgotten he was there.

"Then I'll have to disobey you, *Commander*. I'm not saying anything else."

"Shit," I swear, turning around and heading towards the turbolift. Chakotay and Ayala are hot on my heels. "I don't need company," I say furiously as they step in behind me.

"I don't want you to hurt Harry," Greg tells me quietly.

"He can hurt him if he wants to," Chakotay hisses fiercely.

"No. He was mixed up, confused..."

"That's shit, Greg, and you know it. Harry deserves everything he gets and I'm going to make sure he gets it."

"I won't let him be hurt."

"And I won't let you stop Tom."

"What the hell do you have to do with this anyway, Chakotay? It's none of your business."

"It's none of yours either."

"Bullshit! Harry..."

"Is a conniving little bastard."

"Take that back!"

"No! It's true."

"Chakotay! What the hell is the matter with you?"

"What the hell's the matter with you? You're the one trying to protect Harry - the weasel - Kim, even though you know what he's done."

"We may have been friends for years and you may be my commanding officer, Chakotay, but if you don't shut up, you'll be sorry."

"Is that a threat?"

"As a matter of fact... yes."

"Oh, for fuck's sake," I yell. "Will you two stop it? This is between Harry and me and you can both stay the hell out of it."

Thankfully, the lift stops and I hurry out, surprised when they don't follow.

"Tom!" Chakotay calls, but as I turn around the lift doors close, and I see Greg grabbing hold of Chakotay's arm.

I shrug. They can have a fight to the death on the floor of the turbolift if they want, I have a certain so-called best friend to see. And I'll make him tell me everything he's done over the past six years. Everything.

I key in Harry's access codes and charge into the room, yelling out loudly, "Harry, you and I have to talk."

There's no answer and it doesn't take long to figure out that Harry's not here. Damn! I'd just assumed he was in his quarters. Is that why Chakotay and Greg hadn't followed me? They knew he wasn't?

The computer informs me Harry's in the Captain's ready room. What the hell's he doing there? Maybe he has the chance of an away mission or something. I wish I did. I'd love to get off the ship for a few days.

I sit down on Harry's bed and decide to wait. He has to come back here some time.

No Regrets: Volume Six

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