Breathe by Lady Shadow

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Part of the Livejournal H/C Bingo challenge. Prompt: rape/recovery. Unfortunately, I never did finish the challenge, but some of the one-shots are worth it. Please mind the warnings.

Breathe Title: Breathe Author: Lady Shadow Fandom: ST:V Pairing(s): P/Tu, Tu/OMC Disclaimer: The following is a work of fanfiction. It is based on the ideas, settings, situations and characters of the television show “Star Trek: Voyager.” The author of this work of fanfiction neither owns nor claims to own the aforementioned ideas, settings, situations and characters. They are the sole property of the creators and owners of “Star Trek: Voyager” and all other legal associates. This fanfiction is written for entertainment purposes only and no profit is made from the writing or publication of this piece. No infringement of any rights, copyright or otherwise, is intended. Original plot and characters are © Lady Shadow, 2009. Summary : He was seriously beginning to hate the term “explorers” Status: Complete Series/Title/Pos? Y/The Blind and the Blind/1 Sequel/Title? Y/Catharsis Prequel/Title? N Warning(s) : NonCon Genre(s) : Angst Author's Notes : Part of the H/C Bingo contest. Prompt: Rape/recovery. Beta : Self Word Count: 3663 Breathe

He wondered why he couldn't have been more mediocre. He failed at a lot of things – in fact, he sucked at most things, and would have killed to take a step up to 'mediocre' there. But he used to think his piloting was his saving grace – in a lifetime of failures, of being sub-par, Thomas Eugene Paris was a peerless pilot. If he'd been a mediocre pilot he would have never been cashiered out of the fleet, would have never been picked up the Maquis, and would have therefore never been saved from prison by Kathryn Janeway and catapulted 70,000 light years from home.

Consequentially, he would also not be sitting in another stinking cell on an another alien planet with only the dubious hope of rescue to keep him from going insane.

Tom let his head fall forward and tried to breathe through his mouth. He'd never liked the combined scent of mildew and metal.

“How long do you think we're going to be here?” he asked finally. He tried to sound like he wasn't whining.

Tuvok cocked an eyebrow and considered the situation. “We have been in captivity for approximately twelve hours. We will doubtlessly be deemed missing in an hour or less. From that point, Voyager will likely discover our ion trail and track us to this planet with a reasonable degree of speed.”

“Which doesn't answer the question,” Tom pointed out.

“No, it does not,” Tuvok agreed.

Tom banged his head lightly on his knees and tapped his fingers against his ankles. Their space was abysmally small; he was pretty sure that his closet back on Voyager was a little bit bigger. Their space was further confined by the one cot and the bucket in the corner that he didn't even want to contemplate.

“Are they just going to leave us in here?!” Tom demanded finally. He didn't really like small spaces on good days. This was not a good day.

Tuvok made a tiny noise that Tom chose to interpret as a sigh, even though the vulcan would probably deny it. “We are an unknown quantity at present,” Tuvok pointed out. “The most logical course of action would be to quarantine us from the general prison population until we are better classified.”

“Yeah, yeah, logic is all well and good, but I swear I'm going to explode if they leave us locked in this closet until Voyager gets here.” Really, Tom felt that he was being very optimistic.

“It is physically impossible for you to explode from boredom, Mr. Paris.”

“God, you've been alive forever, and dealing with humans forever and you haven't figured out the sarcasm thing yet?”

“In actuality, your statement was a hyperbole.”

Tom glared at him. “Well, excuse me for forgetting those sixth-grade English lessons.”

“Certainly.”

Tom let his forehead crash back to his knees with a groan. “Why me?”

“Mr. Paris, rather than wallowing in self-pity, perhaps you could devise something more productive to apply yourself to,” Tuvok suggested. He was sitting cross-legged on their single cot and Tom was wedged against the opposite wall. He rolled his eyes and made a grand gesture with both hands in the limited space.

“You're right, Tuvok! I should really look at this as more of an... administrative holiday! While I've got all this free time on my hands, I'll just work on those new engineering schematics!”

“That, while a far better example of sarcasm, is no more constructive than striking your forehead against your knees.”

Tom glared at him dully. “And what would you suggest, sir?”

Tuvok shifted on the small cot, adjusting his legs so one was pulled against his chest and the other hung over the side of the metal shelf. “Join me,” he invited, and it was more of an order.

Tom would have refused, except that his tailbone was hurting and his ass was asleep. He levered himself up slowly and shook his legs out, wincing when his knee popped. He stretched his back and finally fell to the cot. The cushion was little more than a blanket spread over a solid sheet of metal, but the elevated position was at least marginally more comfortable than being jammed up against the wall.

“Concentrate on the sound of your breath,” Tuvok instructed.

“Are you going to try and teach me how to mediate? I've got to warn you, that's been tried before-”

“Concentrate on the sound of your breath,” the vulcan repeated implacably.

Tom grumbled under his breath, but closed his eyes and tried to do as Tuvok said. His breath sounded harsh, like wind pushing against canvas.

“Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.”

Tom's mouth twisted into a grimace, but he took a long breath in through his nose and tried not to gag on the smell. This place was probably hosed down and left to mold after the last inmates were moved. At least, Tom hoped it was hosed down, and the dump wasn't underground or something.

“Feel your lungs as they expand... feel the muscles in your abdomen contract and expand.... concentrate on the sound of your breath.”

Mediating was never attractive to Tom. Meditating was akin to being trapped in his own head, and that was easily the last place in the universe that Tom Paris wanted to be. He shifted on the cot and tapped his thumbs against his knees while he tried to concentrate. Maybe if he concentrated enough just on the breathing, on hearing his own breath, he could block out the horrible stench and stop thinking.

“Balance is the root importance of everything,” Tuvok's soothing voice intoned. “You must be balanced in body and mind. You must find quiet, Mr. Paris.”

Like that was going to happen. He covered up his derisive snort with a cough and tried to get a little more comfortable.

“Awww, how cute.” There was a momentary lag while the universal translators filtered the words.

Tom let his eyes pop open, perversely grateful for the escape from the quiet. There were three humanoid men leaning indolently against the bars. From their dark green uniforms and shiny black boots, Tom guessed they were guards of some variety. He tried to keep the disgusted look off his face, but their skin was the color of a two-day old bruise and their eyes bulged slightly from their heads. All in all, not a very attractive people.

“They are colored pretty, aren't they?” one commented. He threaded his long arms through the bars and leaned forward while he examined them. “You two look lonely in there.” His purple lips stretched into a leer. “Would you like some company?”

“Only if you want your face rearranged,” Tom muttered.

“What was that?” The guard straightened up, his lips twisting into a scowl. “Sounded to me like an invitation. What do you boys think?” They laughed like typical lackeys. Thousands of light years, and no one seemed capable of a little more imagination.

He reached to his hip and brought out a key. The lock turned with a bone-jarring shriek and Tom shuddered. Tuvok remained passive beside him and Tom started thinking of ways to get out of what he was pretty sure they were getting into.

“I know you're both pretty excited for the company,” their jailor said with a sickly smile, “but don't jump up and down for the attention, now.”

Tom went through a mental checklist of their chances of rushing the guards and getting out of the cell. They weren't too high with the limited space. Plus, they'd both been blindfolded when they were taken off the transport ship and tossed into this hell hole, so he had no idea what the outside of the cell looked like.

“Which of you two lovelies wants some attention first, hm?” he asked, maintaining his polite tone.

Tom glanced at Tuvok. The man may as well have been a statue for all that he reacted. Tom sighed and shifted on the mattress, prepared to at least get in one good kick to the groin before they were overwhelmed.

“It is unwise to engage in sexual activity with a member of an unknown alien species,” Tuvok announced in the ensuing silence. Tom felt like groaning. Chatting with these types of people never did any good. If anything, they would just get ticked off for having their stupidity pointed out.

After contemplating Tuvok's advice for a moment, the first laughed. The other two joined in once they were sure it was okay. The leader reached forward and ran the pad of his thumb down Tuvok's cheek. The contrast of his putrid yellow skin against Tuvok's dark complexion made Tom feel ill. The desire to reach out and snap that disgusting thumb right off the disgusting man's hand was almost irresistible. Tuvok didn't deserve to be touched like that. He was better than that, above that.

Tuvok didn't so much as flinch.

“Baby, I won't be unknown for long.” He cracked a horrid grin and Tom couldn't restrain himself any longer. He surged up from the cot, caught the creature's arm and shoved him into the hard metal wall. Tom managed to smash the alien's head into the metal once before he was thrown against the bars. Another of the guards reacted immediately, winding an arm through the bars and around Tom's neck to pin him there.

The leader spat on the floor and gave Tom an ugly glare. “I was going to give us some privacy, but since you care about him so much, you can hold him while I fuck your buddy here within an inch of his pitiful life.” He brought a knee up into Tom's groin and the world exploded in stars. He gagged and sought to draw his knees upwards. Tears pricked at his eyes and he drew in great gulps of stale, wet air.

“Since I'm such a nice guy, I'm going to give you a choice, mister dark and silent. Bend over like a good little boy and you and I can have some nice gentle fun... or, if you're not feeling up to it, we can take your friend here off for a little party elsewhere. The guards' barracks is a lot nicer than this shithole.” He leered and grabbed Tom's face, forcing their faces together in something that was supposed to resemble a kiss. Tom would have bit him, but his jaw was being expertly crushed and he couldn't move it.

Tuvok stood slowly and the guard whipped out a crude but effective-looking weapon. He stood at the ready, but Tuvok only spread his arms in a kind of invitation. Tom groaned and the guard smirked. He straightened up and replaced the weapon in his belt.

“Your friend's got the right of it, here,” the guard said with a leer. He elbowed Tom once in the gut and then pried his friend's arm off Tom's throat.

“Tuvok-!” He was struck again and his protest was lost as the air left his lungs in a painful grunt.

“Sit the fuck down and be a good little boy. Believe me, pretty little angel, you'll get your shot.” He grabbed Tom by his throat and flung him to the cot. Tom caught himself and rose slowly until his back was against the wall. He glared murder at their captor, who only grinned back. “I like to see that fire,” he told Tom with a self-satisfied smirk.

Tuvok remained silent and passive as those grotesque hands ran over his body. The guard wasted little time in yanking Tuvok's pants down. He fondled the man appreciatively and bile rose in Tom's gut. He didn't know what was making him more angry; that it was happening, or that Tuvok was just standing there and letting it.

Tuvok stepped compliantly out of his pants when pushed to do so and moved around the cot with self-contained grace.

“So tell me...Is this pretty little thing your fuck buddy, hm?” the guard asked as he shoved Tuvok down. Tuvok caught himself on both hands and then lowered his chest to the cot. He was forced by space constraints to lay his head in Tom's lap and Tom felt his hands clench into furious fists.

“I think he must be... ready as he is to defend you. Must not like it when someone else touches his property, huh?” He was talking to Tuvok, but his eyes were glued to Tom's enraged face. He made sure Tom was watching as he sucked on his own fingers and then trailed them over Tuvok's skin, down through the cleft of his ass.

“Nice and relaxed, just like an old pro,” the man said, and it sounded like a compliment.

Tuvok jerked forward slightly as those disgusting digits penetrated his body.

“But tight like a virgin.” He grinned. “Maybe that's what's got your dander up, hm? You haven't had this yet? I'll tell you how it is.”

Tom could feel Tuvok's breath warm and slightly labored against his thighs. He thoughtlessly curled his hands around the vulcan's head, as if he could somehow protect him. What he could do to make this better? What could he say? 'It's going to be alright'?!

“That's right, angel, comfort him... talk him through it.”

Tom bared his teeth at the creature, and the guard only laughed. “Stop it,” Tom growled through clenched teeth. “You can have me instead. Just stop.”

“What would I want with you, difficult thing you are, when I've got a tight willing hole right here?” He didn't give any more warning than that. His hips jerked forward and Tuvok went rigid in Tom's lap.

Tom cursed, and then again when Tuvok's hands fisted in the thin mattress. The vulcan tried to relax and didn't make a sound of protest, but his hands didn't unclench. Tom thoughtlessly reached out for them and held them tightly. Tuvok squeezed his fingers hard enough to make the fragile bones creak, but Tom wouldn't say a word. He curled his body over Tuvok's head so he didn't have to watch, so Tuvok couldn't possibly see.

“These are my hands,” Tom whispered, squeezing his hands back, trying to give him something to hold on to. “Concentrate on my hands.”

Tuvok nodded shakily against him and he continued to whisper stupid nonsense while the metal cot creaked and rocked. He thought he was going to break when Tuvok finally released a little distressed noise. His body was shaking and Tom could do nothing for him. He continued to talk and Tuvok suppressed his whimpers.

There was a sudden jerk and Tuvok let out a startled exclamation of pain.

“What is meaning of this?!” a new voice roared.

Tom lifted his head slowly. A new man was standing in the cell doorway. His big body was made to seem bigger yet by the small space, and no one could have mistaken the look on his face for anything but unadulterated rage.

“Take these men to confinement!” he snapped over his shoulder. “I'll deal with you later,” he promised in a dark voice. Other guards rushed forward to cease their struggling compatriots, and they disappeared out of line of sight.

Despite being their apparent savior, Tom trained a stoney glare on him. The newcomer glanced down at Tuvok and winced. His expression softened as he looked up at Tom.

“Do you understand me?” he asked gently.

Tom considered not answering him, but Tuvok nodded and pushed himself up on shaking arms. Something strange in Tom made him want to wrap his arms around the vulcan and protect him.

Fat lot of good my protection has done us so far, he thought miserably.

Tuvok turned over slowly and sat gingerly on the mattress.

“You have my... sincere and utmost apologies,” the new man said. He sounded sincere enough, distressed and frightened enough, but Tom wasn't inclined to trust this sort of thing. “There is nothing we can possibly do to make this up to you...” He made a gesture and a stout female with her face covered in a wrap slid into the cell. She carried a basin of what looked like clean water and had pressed white cloths draped over her arms.

“Please, clean yourselves,” the man offered. “Your people have arrived to collect you. Once you are...decent, we will return you to them with our heartfelt apologies, and whatever amends we can make.”

“That will be... unnecessary,” Tuvok said. The new guard gave them a wary look. He didn't know Tuvok well enough to be able to detect the waiver in his voice, the little lift that sounded to Tom like border-line hysteria.

Unsure of what else to say, the man withdrew. The woman deposited her burdens and scurried out quickly, leaving them alone. For several long seconds, there was silence. Tom wanted to rave at him for being an idiot, he wanted to slap him. He wanted to offer him some comfort and didn't know how.

“Thank you, Mr. Paris,” Tuvok whispered finally. His head bowed slowly and his eyes drifted closed. “I would thank you further not to discuss this incident.”

“Tuvok – you have to see the doctor! You could be hurt or...” He stopped, because he didn't even want to contemplate what that creature could have been carrying.

“I will see the doctor. I will, however, request that the captain not be notified.”

Tom could understand that. He nodded slowly, and miserably promised, “I won't say anything.”

“I am indebted to you, Mr. Paris.” He moved slowly to gather the cloths and the basin. His hands shook and Tom pretended he didn't notice. He reached out and took the soft cloths and water from him. Tuvok didn't protest, but turned over and hid his face in his forearms.

Seeing the damage made Tom's anger boil up anew. He couldn't stop himself from hissing, “Why did you do that?!” He didn't expect an answer, and was therefore a little shocked when Tuvok's upper body lifted slightly from the mattress.

“I am far better able to control my physical and emotional responses than you are, lieutenant. I was the logical choice. Furthermore, I am your commanding officer and thus responsible for your safety.”

“Bet I out lap you on experience,” Tom snapped without thinking. Tuvok's head tipped, but he didn't respond and Tom let it drop.

*~*

The captain met them in the transporter room with a worried frown creasing her brows. Tuvok stood up to her concerned expression with typical vulcan stoicism. She drew them aside with a furtive glance tossed back at their escort – the same man that had pulled the guard off of Tuvok.

“Were you hurt, either of you?” she asked quickly, seemingly unconcerned that one of the aliens was within earshot. She did at least take the precaution of lowering her voice.

Tom could practically feel the alien's anxiety as he waited for their answer.

“No,” Tuvok answered simply.

Janeway searched first his face and then Tom's. When she seemed unable to pick up any kind of falsehood -why she thought there would be any was anyone's guess- she nodded. “Both of you report to sickbay for a routine examination. Debriefing can wait until tomorrow when you've both had a chance to rest.”

She gave them a bitter, apologetic smile. It wasn't as if she could have predicted that her away team would be captured on a routine scientific scouting mission, but then... it seemed to happen a lot, one way or another. Maybe she was starting to get as tired of the term “explorer” as Tom was.

Janeway dismissed them with a nod and they eased passed her into the corridor. As the doors were closing, her 'diplomatic voice' drifted back to them, plying her charm to their potential trading partner.

They were silent as they navigated the corridors to sickbay. Once inside, Tuvok ordered the doors locked and pulled himself onto a biobed.

“May I ask why you've felt the need to take it upon yourself to lock my doors, Mr. Tuvok?” the doctor asked with his usual frostiness.

“I require private medical attention,” Tuvok answered.

“Which is exactly why you've locked Mr. Paris in with us, I suppose. That makes perfect sense.”

Refusing to rise to the bait -as if he would- Tuvok merely replied, “Mr. Paris is aware of the condition and will also require a medical workup.” He explained the situation with succinct dispassion. Only Tom seemed to be able to detect the tiny fissures in his vulcan armor. It made him feel like something was squeezing his chest.

The doctor recovered from his shock quickly. His concerned expression was smoothed away and he stated, “I will consent to your request for privacy if and only if nothing serious or life-threatening is found in your blood stream. There are a myriad of diseases and parasites-”

“I am aware, doctor. Please conduct your scan.”

For once, the doctor was silent and did as he was asked. He drew blood samples from them both and announced that they would have to stay over night under surveillance. Tom turned away politely when the doctor had Tuvok lay down so he could regenerate the damage.

He was shocked to feel Tuvok's hand catch his as he turned away. If the doctor was shocked as well, he didn't let on. Tom turned back as casually as he could and twisted his hand to lace his fingers with the other man's.

Tom ignored the hum of the regenerator and concentrated on the sound of Tuvok's breath.