Afflicted by Herself

Summary: P/T, Angst. Rated PG-13. A short story. Set around ĎExtreme Riskí. BíElanna muses on her life at the time.

Disclaimer: Star Trek and all the names contained therein are owned by those all-powerful people at Paramount.

By Daffnie (trekdimension@yahoo.com)

=/\=

I never wanted to be with him, ever, before I found out how similar we were. He was always a womanizer, but he became *my* womanizer. I couldnít even begin to explain that to anybody. It wouldnít make any sense to them. But Tom was what I depended on to survive, to help me through this hell that I created. At first, he was always oblivious to it, never aware of my pain. I learned to hide it so well that I myself began not to remember that it was there. Only, when I stared at Tom with the pain so obvious in my eyes, he just smiled. Sometimes I wished he would have noticed, but it was always more comfortable for me to keep it from his knowledge. I donít want to hurt him. I loved him too much. I wish he knew that.

I always blame myself when something bad happens, even when I know that I had nothing to do with it. I blame myself for all my friends being slaughtered, though I wasnít there. I just feel as though I abandoned them somehow. Maybe if I had gone on another ship besides the Liberty, like I had planned to from the beginning. This wasnít supposed to be my life. Iím not supposed to be here. I should have died with them...or I should have stayed on that ship when that Cardassian Gul invaded it. When he killed the Bolian pilot. I should have died then, by the hands of that damned Cardassian. Atleast it would have been honorable.

I donít dare speak of these thoughts to anyone. They scare me, and if I told Tom or Chakotay, theyíd be scared, too. That canít happen. Their lives arenít plagued with guilt or pain or fear, and I donít plan on sharing my guilt and pain and fear with them. I tried to keep a journal once, about these feelings. It didnít last long because I was so paranoid that someone would discover them, so I tore them up into pieces. I wrote in notebooks, an archaic way, really, but somehow it felt better to write my fears on paper instead of typing it into a padd. It seemed more...fulfilling.

The need for physical pain came soon after I was told that all the Maquis were dead and their dreams died with them. What would happen to those unfortunate planets in the demilitarized zone? I chose to find out, so I made a holoprogram.

The Cardassians invaded the small colony, and I was one of the few who survived the initial attack. Then, they stormed all that we had left (which included a few half-burnt huts and some phaser rifles). I watched as everyone else fell dead around me. I was shot myself, and no matter how good the pain felt, I craved more. I threw my rifle off to the side and attacked the last Cardassian left with a knife. I was struck down, beaten, and then shot once again in the leg. Thatís when I ended the program, afraid that someone would hear my screaming and discover what I was doing to myself.

I fixed my wounds with a regenerator, and whenever I walked, I was constantly reminded of the pain. It was oddly comforting, and so from then on, I wanted more. It became an obsession...that is, before Chakotay found one of the programs I created.

People had been talking about me before, and they often asked me if anything was wrong. Of course, I would never admit what I felt. Then Chakotay came to me and wondered how I was doing, and I thought that it was just another expression of a vague concern that spread around the ship somehow. I denied that I was bothered by something, but he was too smart. He dragged me to the holodeck and showed me each of my programs.

I shrugged. What was the big deal? So what if I chose to hurt myself? As long as it didnít cause harm to anyone else, I couldnít find any wrong in it. Chakotay thought otherwise. He demanded to know why I did this, and I finally spilled out all the emotions that had been chewing away at my mind like acid ever since he told me my friends were killed.

I was sent to the captain, and I had to explain everything over again. I know she didnít care, because I saw it in her eyes. They werenít filled with compassion. Instead, she seemed angry. She yelled at me! That was so infuriating. How dare she do that to me?

Tom became concerned as well, and I separated myself from him purposely. He didnít need to know, and I didnít feel like explaining it a third time. He found out from Chakotay, anyway, and then he told me something I never knew.

He told me that he once had similar experiences. I didnít believe him, but he convinced me. When he was younger, after all his friends were killed because of him, he was exactly like me...confused, depressed, inflicting pain upon himself, and on the desperate edge of being suicidal.

I suddenly was aware once again that he was only the person I could depend on. Tom let me vent my anger on him, and it helped. Iím not so sure if it helped him any, with me throwing insults that were never meant to be for him, but I think it somehow made our bond stronger. Iím so grateful for him. He literally saved my life, because I know that if the horror didnít stop there, I would have gone to further extremes. And then, who knows...

~*~

Fini

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