SUMMARY: B'Elanna is ill and needs caring for. Tom immediately steps in, but can she learn to trust him and let their relationship grow?

Set anytime after season 3 in the early stages of their relationship.


DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns Star Trek, I am merely playing with their toys because they are better than mine. I promise to return them when I have finished and I'll try not to do too much damage. Paramount will have to pay for any necessary therapy afterwards since I am not allowed to make any money out of this. The music comes from The Corrs album Talk on Corners and B*Witched's album, and this is stating the obvious, but I don't own them either, I just liked them. All this is for fun and to get across an important message in a fun, happy, romantic way :o)


AUTHORS NOTES (Please read this bit, it's important): Most of this story is written from personal experience. You may recognise this illness as ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). It takes place over a much shorter period of time than usual because it will be curable by then. This is also my way of telling the world what this illness was really like, and how it makes you feel both physically and emotionally.


Archiving is fine as long as you let me know. This story is mine and I'm taking all the credit for it! :o)


Please send all questions, comments, etc to


DEDICATION: I want to dedicate this story to everyone who has ME/CFS and all the wonderful people at AYME who have helped me so much. And of course to Roxann and Robbie who such a wonderful job that we can't resist playing with these characters as well.

I also want to say also a big thanks to Lori and Becky for beta reading for me.




By K'Elanna


B'Elanna lay in bed staring up at the ceiling, she had scrutinised every millimetre of her bedroom. She was bored and fed up, she didn't know what to do with herself, she didn't have the energy to do anything and she couldn't sleep either. It was ridiculous. She was completely exhausted and yet she couldn't sleep, her mind wouldn't stop spinning, and when she did get to sleep she had the strangest dreams she had ever had in her life. The events were normal enough but they all got jumbled up and people ended up in the wrong places, however hard she tried she couldn't make any sense of them.


Everything had been alright up until a few months ago, when her life had been turned upside down. After an away mission she discovered that she had caught some weird virus from the alien planet. The Doctor said he couldn't cure it, it would just take time, how much was still a mystery and patience was not one of her strong points. Now she could hardly do anything, her muscles were so weak she could barely walk unaided, she was in pain all the time, he couldn't do much about that either. She'd spent the first two weeks in sickbay but she'd hated it so much and been so miserable that the Doctor had finally agreed to let her back to her own quarters as long as there was someone to look after her. It was so frustrating, one day she had a normal busy life and the now she felt like she barely had a life at all. There was one thing that kept her going, Tom. He was wonderful, he had done so much for her. Tom had immediately volunteered to look after her, he spent as much time as he could in B'Elanna's quarters, he helped her to get up, got her dressed, got her to the bathroom and around her quarters. He did everything her could to make her life easier and more bearable. It wasn't just the essential things it was the other things he did that were special. If she was in a lot of pain, something that happened frequently, he would give her a massage with soothing and calming oils that usually relaxed her so much that she fell asleep or he would run her a bath and sit in the bathroom with her. There were also the hours they spent talking, sharing stories about their childhood's and telling each other things they had never told anyone else before. They had learnt to trust each other and had both let down their guards. He was also the reason she couldn't sleep, whatever she thought about it always came back to him. If she started thinking about engineering she thought about the warp core, its colour, that blue, it was the same colour as his eyes and before she knew it she was thinking about Tom again. She just couldn't seem to get him out of her mind. Their relationship was growing and they were falling in love.


It was strange really because at first she had hated the idea of anyone doing anything for her. It was a sign of weakness to accept help. That was what she had always been taught, and she wasn't comfortable with it. She certainly wasn't comfortable with anyone helping her to dress and undress, seeing her naked and completely exposed. She thought she would feel very vulnerable with someone like that, but came to the conclusion that it was marginally better than living in sickbay and having the Doctor do it. But it wasn't a problem, Tom put her at ease, he wasn't embarrassed, he didn't stare, he was totally matter of fact about it, yet loving and gentle at the same time. He didn't do anything to make her feel uncomfortable.


It had done one thing for them though, there were no secrets between them anymore, there couldn't be. Tom had done everything, he'd seen everything, he knew everything, she couldn't keep anything from him even if she wanted to. But Tom was wonderful, he knew she wasn't happy about sharing everything with him, or anyone else for that matter. He had told her right from the start that since he was going to learn every little intimate detail about her it was only fair that she learnt everything about him. It was an intriguing prospect to say the least, no one else on the ship would be willing to do that for her. She couldn't imagine Kathryn helping her dress, Chakotay helping her to the bathroom. Geez, just the thought of it made her stomach turn itself in knots. Yet Tom made everything almost fun, being swept of her feet by that gorgeous man with those amazing warp core eyes if she couldn't walk fast enough or if it hurt too much. Wow, it was...breathtaking! B'Elanna mentally hit herself when she realised where her mind was wandering yet again, no wonder she couldn't sleep, she couldn't get Tom out of her tortured mind. It was just that she never felt embarrassed whatever she had to do in front of him, since he always did it as well, no matter what. Well, within reason of course, there were some things that were physically impossible, since he was a man. *Oh and what an amazing man, he is absolutely gorgeous, that fair hair, those muscles and of course those ice blue eyes.* She mentally shock herself when she realised she was doing it again. *For goodness sake B'Elanna, he's just a man, get a grip! There are about 75 men on this ship, you spend most of your life with them, he's just like them. One man of 75. No. No he's not, he's one in a million. No he's not, he's Thomas Eugene Paris, not like any other man in any other galaxy .* She finally gave up trying to fight herself, it was a hopeless battle, and let her mind wander wherever it wanted to go. Where that was was pretty obvious, Tom Paris. They had so much fun together. He certainly took her mind off her problems and helped ease the boredom of being trapped in her quarters not having the energy to do anything. Watching Tom take a shower or have a bath could make the most severe pain more bearable and keep her amused for a long time, simply by sitting in the bathroom with him. He didn't even seem to mind, he was happy to do anything that would make the woman he loved feel better.


The problem was Tom had to be on duty tonight. There was no one else who could do the job without colliding the ship with the asteroids and debris from all the other ships that had failed to make it through this belt. They had decided to go through it as going around would take too long. It was 03:00 now and she probably wouldn't see him until the afternoon, or late morning at best. Until then Janeway and Chakotay were keeping an eye in her between them. She wasn't to keen on that. She suddenly realised that was the real reason she couldn't sleep and wished her mind would go back to Tom. She was really worried about embarrassing herself.


* * * * * * *


At 07:30 Janeway walked in with some slop Neelix called breakfast. She put it down on the table and went through into the bedroom. B'Elanna had considered pretending to be asleep, but decided that she'd just be woken up and delaying the inevitable would not help matters anyway. Instead, at a moment when her mind decided to work in a normal, rational way she devised a cunning plan. Alright so normal or rational probably weren't the best words or the truest either.


"Hi B'Elanna," she smiled, "I got you the most edible"


"Thanks. I think...Any leola root?"


"For the first time this week, no."


"Well that's encouraging. I guess I'd better eat it then."


"Come on then," Kathryn said as she helped B'Elanna into the living area,"be brave, it's not that bad. Tom ate it without complaining!"


"Well it must be good then!" B'Elanna laughed sitting down and taking a cautious mouthful.


Seeing that B'Elanna was alright and seemed quite bright this morning Kathryn left her in peace after telling her in her best mothers voice that she would be back to check she'd eaten it all and get her dressed.


Dressed by the Captain! Okay so she was more than a Captain she was a good friend as well, but not that good! She really couldn't handle that, she decided, she had to do it herself. All of it. She had to, however much she liked and trusted Kathryn Janeway there were limits, and this was one of them. She might be very ill but she still had a certain amount of dignity and she was not going to let anyone other than Tom see her in that sort of undignified state. She had spent half the night trying to figure out what to do if this happened and had finally gotten some sleep after coming up with a plan. Instead of her usual jeans and top that she could curl up comfortably in she would get a loose fitting dress out. Then all she would have to do was get out of her pyjamas and slip the dress over her head. Simple, hopefully, as long as she could make it to the bedroom. She had decided though, that if she was going to accomplish this she would have to go without her underwear. She knew she didn't have the strength to fiddle about with that as well, her arms wouldn't even reach round to her back if she wanted them to. But going without underwear, however uncomfortable, had to be better than having the Captain helping her do it up. The only problem was explaining it might be a bit difficult if she got caught, but she would have to deal with that problem later if it arose. She couldn't imagine anyone giving her a hard time at the moment, it would just be very embarrassing.


* * * * * * *


After half an hour B'Elanna had managed to get herself reasonably dressed. She was completely exhausted and still needed to get in the bathroom, but that would have to wait.


By the time Janeway returned to check on her she found the young woman fast asleep on top of her bed, laying in a strange position like she was about to fall off. Kathryn gently moved her into the bed and couldn't help but laugh when she realised what B'Elanna had done. She wasn't really that surprised, B'Elanna's Klingon half was very proud. But what was funny was that she realised she would probably have done exactly the same thing in B'Elanna's position.


* * * * * * *


B'Elanna woke several hours later. Something felt wrong. Then she realised what she was wearing, or more to the point, what she wasn't wearing. She sat up and looked at the chronometer beside her bed. It was 12:30, Tom would finish soon and then everything would be alright.


Sure enough a few minutes later the door opened and Tom walked in. He burst out laughing the moment he saw her sitting on the edge of the bed.


"What's so funny?" she demanded.


"Well,I...I just thought that dress looked better when you...had something on underneath it," he laughed.


"Oh," she said feeling her face going red.


"I thought you'd try something but I didn't think you'd go this far to stop the Captain doing anything more than bringing you breakfast. She's been checking in on you all morning, she was really worried you know." B'Elanna smiled uncomfortably, he knew her a little too well at times. "Well it looks like I've got a lot of work to do here before we go and delight the Doctor with our presence. Where shall we start?"


She looked at him relieved. "Defiantly the bathroom, then I think some decent clothes might be a good idea."


* * * * * * *



B'Elanna sat in front of the mirror glaring at her skin. Her strength seemed to be coming back but this virus was really playing games with her body, and the latest target was her skin. She had spots. Spots! She was an adult, teenagers got spots. *What is this thing doing to me? First it makes me feel like hell, as if that wasn't bad enough, now it's decided to make me look like hell as well! I look like...I don't know what I look like. A speckled targ looks better, at least they don't have volcanos over their faces threatening to erupt with all that ugh. I can't even cover them up now that my skin's got so sensitive. Whoever heard of a Klingon with sensitive skin?!*


"I hope you weren't thinking of squeezing those, B'Elanna." Tom said as he walked through into her bedroom.


She spun around to look at him."Squeeze them? Are you serious? They're disgusting...but, yes, the thought had crossed my mind, if that would get rid of them." She turned back to the mirror and continued to glare at the spots on her face, giving them a look that would make any of her engineers afraid for their lives. The spots didn't respond though, they just continued to sit there happily.


"Oh it's not that bad B'Elanna. Spots are common things, all teenagers get them, I had them."


"Huh, well that does make me feel better. In case you hadn't noticed I'm not a teenager anymore and nor do I want to be! Whoever said your school-days or teenage years are the best of you life was one of the biggest liars ever. I can't think of a worse time in my entire life. Anyway most normal people can have spots treated, I can't."


"But then you've always liked to be different, haven't you.The Doctor told you it was too risky to treat them with the mess your body's in at the moment and moaning about it isn't going to help."


"I know, I know," she sighed,"but I'll moan if I want to, it's comforting. Every time I go into the bathroom they're there staring at me, laughing at me, tormenting me every time I go past the mirror."


"They're just spots B'Elanna, you make it sound like they're lifeforms whose sole purpose in life is to torment you and make you miserable."


"They are, aren't they?!"


"No they're not, come on lets go and get some dinner."


"No way."


"Why not?"


"I am not going anywhere looking like this," she declared.


"It really isn't that bad B'Elanna," he said trying to sound convincing.


"It is, and I'm sure every teenager in the universe has been told that for centuries!"


"Well you're in good company then, aren't you?"


"I'm not going!"


"Oh yes you are!"


"You sound like my mother!"


"Alright look at it this way then. The Doc said you've got to start eating more, if you start loosing weight again he'll make you eat in sickbay, and you'll have to have that nice fatty milk shake you were on before."


"Ugh, that stuff was foul!" B'Elanna exclaimed remembering the drink she'd been forced to have in sickbay.


"I've solved the problem," Tom announced a few minutes later after taking something brown and rustling out of the replicater. He moved closer to her and put a brown paper bag with holes in it over her head. She spun round and hit him, hard.


"That's not funny Tom, it's mean!" she said trying not to giggle and failing.


"I know, but at least it cheered you up. Come on lets go I'm starving."


"I know, but everyone's going to be there, aren't they?"


"It's only a few people, Neelix thought it would cheer you up to see everyone again and the Doc thought it would be a good idea too."


"Oh, so you've been planning this behind my back," she accused.


"I wouldn't put it quite like that, but yes."


"I can't. I can't face them."


"'Course you can, they're your friends. Anyway you'll have to sooner or later."


"I'll go with later, thanks."


"No you won't. Why can't you face them? It's not those stupid spots again, is it?"


"No, just forget about the spots. I just can't."


"I don't get it B'Elanna. You used to love parties."


"Yes, USED to, when I was normal, before I ended up like this. I can't really explain it. I guess I'm just fed up with all the fuss and the attention."


"Everyone cares about you, that's all it is, they're just pleased to see you up and about."


"I know, I know, and it's very nice that I have so many people that care about me. I just wish they could leave me alone for once. I can't cope with that many people all at once."


"So let me get this straight. First you don't want to go because of a few spots, and now you're telling me it's because of all the fuss."


"Um hmm."


"So are you ready?"


"Oh Tom," B'Elanna whined.


"Don't 'oh Tom' me, I'm not giving in this time. We're going."


"You sound like my mother again. Aw, can't you just tell them I'm too tired?"


"No, because I know you're not, you can't use it as an excuse. We're going and we're going now, so are you ready?"


"I suppose so," she sighed reluctantly.


"That's the spirit. We'll come back when you've had enough, we don't have to stay long."


"Huh, now where have I heard that before?"


* * * * * * *


One thing B'Elanna had become very good at recently was hiding how she really felt. If she felt pretty awful she could usually cover it up and no one would realise, except Tom. She couldn't often hide it from him because he had spent so much time with him and he knew her so well that she didn't even bother trying anymore. The problem was when she felt really bad, she didn't have the energy to keep up the mask and would visibly wilt. It would probably be more sensible to say she wanted to go before it got that bad, but for some reason she just couldn't, however much she wanted to. She usually kept looking at Tom in a certain way and hoped he got the message and suggested they left. It was silly really, why couldn't she just say she was tired and wanted to go?


That's what happened in the mess hall. Once all the fuss was over it was great to see people again. Some she hadn't seen for two months, since she first got ill. By 19:30 she really wanted to go but couldn't make herself say anything.


It was now 23:45 and she was laying in bed going over the events of the evening. By 20:00 she had felt her control slipping away, and all she wanted to do was cry. She had enough trouble controlling her emotions as it was, but that was usually her temper, not tears. That seemed to be all she could do now, whether she was angry, frustrated, upset or something happened and she just couldn't handle it, she started to cry. It was usually over silly little things. It just all built up and then suddenly she would breakdown in tears. That was what had happened in the mess hall, she couldn't even remember exactly what it was now. Someone had made a comment and that was it, she couldn't stop herself, she started crying like a baby in front of all those people. The people she worked with who were much more used to seeing her screaming with rage, none of them had ever seen her cry and they didn't know what to do. They all knew how to handle her temper: you stayed as far away as possible, it was as simple as that. It was like she had turned into a completely different person, she'd lost her self confidence and she was crying. She was crying. B'Elanna Torres was crying in front of a room full of people and no one could stop her, not even herself.


Tom had been brilliant as always, he had discreetly cleared the mess hall of everyone but Kathryn and Chakotay, who had stayed with B'Elanna while he got rid of everyone else and tried to calm her down. She was sitting at the table with her head buried in her arms so no one could see her face, but it was still obvious she was crying.


Tom had had to carry her back to her quarters and get her into for bed, even then she had got herself so worked up she was still sobbing when he sat in the bed with her. Eventually they both fell asleep in her bed. Not that she was bothered to wake up and find Tom in the bed with her. She felt so contented laying there in his arms, even thinking about what had happened at dinner somehow didn't seem so bad. Her thoughts drifted back to the man whose arms she was laying in and she fell asleep again.


* * * * * * *


Several hours later Tom awoke to find himself in bed with B'Elanna who was thrashing about and screaming, her hair has soaked and she felt very hot. It took him a few seconds to work out how he got there. However in that time B'Elanna suddenly hit out so hard that he fell out onto the hard floor with a bump, moments later B'Elanna landed on top of him. They both screamed in surprise, it was dark and Tom hadn't expected to be kicked out of bed let alone have B'Elanna fall on top of him as well. She was still asleep but started attacking him with almost as much force as she would when she was awake.


"B'Elanna! B'Elanna!" he yelled trying to wake her. "It's alright, you're safe."


Her eyes instantly opened at the sound of his voice. "Wha...What's going on?" she asked sleepily.


"You tell me, I wake up to find you hitting and kicking me, then you kick me right out of the bed and land on top of me."


"Oh. I must have been dreaming again. Sorry. Are you alright?"


"I think so. But are you alright?"


"Um...well...laying in your arms certainly helped me sleep," she grinned.


"I'm happy to do it every night as long as you're not going to keep attacking me."


"I'd like that, but I can't promise anything. Maybe we should get a bigger bed."


"Great. I'll see to it later. Right now we might as well get some breakfast."


The smile quickly vanished from B'Elanna's face. "Not in the mess hall, please. Not after last night."


"No, don't worry, I meant from the replicater."


"That's alright then. I can't face them just yet."


"It really wasn't that bad you know."


"Wasn't that bad?! I started crying in front of everyone! How much worse could it have been?"


"It could have been a lot worse. Nobody's going to think any less of you. Now just forget about it and have a shower you're soaking wet. I'll see to the important bit, getting the food." She just sat there looking into his blue eyes. "Well go on then, you can't sit on me forever."


"Okay I'm going."


* * * * * * *


Tom sat in the living area with a bowl of cereal on his lap watching the tiny holographic tropical fish he had gotten for B'Elanna, hoping they would be soothing, give her something interesting to look at.


B'Elanna stood in the doorway of her bedroom with a towel wrapped around her looking at Tom. She knew in her mind what she wanted to say. *Are you going to eat that or just sit there staring at the fish?* But as ever the connections between brain and mouth were poor and like everything else in her brain the message got a little scrambled along the way, and that was not what came out. Unfortunately she actually said, "Are you just going to sit there eating the fish?"


Tom looked up at her and started laughing hysterically, so did B'Elanna. She ended up on the floor clutching her sides, she laughed so much it hurt and Tom wasn't in a much better state. Finally he managed to say, "No, I'm not going to try and eat holographic fish, I don't think they'd be very filling." And with that they started laughing again.


Neither could do anything when Harry walked in to find them both collapsed with laughter. "Whatever's going on here?"


"My brain's not working this morning," said B'Elanna between giggles.


"What? You're not making any sense."


"A slight slip of the tongue, shall we say." Tom added helpfully.


"What ever did you say to end up in this state?"


"I meant to ask Tom if he was going to eat breakfast or just sit there...there staring at the fish. It just came out a bit wrong. I asked him if...if...if he was eating..."


"She asked me if I was going to sit here eating the fish," Tom finished for her.


"What's wrong with that? A lot of people have fish for breakfast."


"They're holograms, Harry!"


"Oh, I see" he said and started to laugh as well.


B'Elanna finally calmed herself down once she realised that she had almost lost the towel she was wearing and quickly disappeared into the bedroom to get dressed.


"So, Harry, what did you want?"


"I've got the things you wanted for tonight."


"Great," he took the pad from his friend. "This is going to be perfect."


"The amount of work you put into this it should be."


"What should be?" B'Elanna asked emerging from the bedroom.


"It's a surprise." said Tom. "You'll find out tonight."


* * * * * * *


"Oh it's gorgeous Tom. Where are we?"


"A village called Morgan Porth in Cornwall, England on Earth, used to be a popular holiday spot. This is a real beach, I went there once when I was a kid. The best place I've ever been. Come on take your shoes off."


"I didn't think it was this warm in England."


"It's not. I turned up the temperature for you, I made the sea a lot warmer too, it used to be freezing."


"Thanks," she said as they walked across the soft warm sand. It wasn't like anywhere she had ever been before, the sand was so soft beneath her feet she was almost sinking. They got about half way to the sea when it started to become wet. The tide had left little pools a few centimetres deep all over the beach, they had been in the sun for a long time and were lovely and warm. It was a very relaxing place surrounded by high cliffs, just what she needed after last night. The warm, wet sand felt wonderful under her feet, it was like they were being massaged every time she took a step. It was much nicer than her usual physio she did in the gym on a treadmill.


They paddled along the waters edge for a while and came to a stop on a large rock so that B'Elanna could rest and dip her feet in the water at the same time.


"I think you're very over dressed for the occasion," Tom mentioned suggestively.


"Well since you wouldn't tell me what the occasion was how was I supposed to know what to wear? Anyway jeans and t-shirt seem to be quite appropriate, so what's the problem?"


"People don't usually swim or sunbathe in that many clothes."


"Oh don't they?"


"No they don't."


"And I suppose you have the perfect outfit for me."


"As a matter of fact I do." With a mischievous grin on his face he produced a tiny bikini.


"Now I know why you wouldn't tell me where we were going. I'd have worn my swimming costume, it's nowhere near as revealing as that..."




"Haven't you seen enough of my body recently?"


"No, I could never see enough of you. Anyway to help you dress I can't really get a good look and I can't stare at...OW! B'Elanna that hurt!" he yelled as she playfully elbowed him in the ribs and muttered "Pig."


"Alright, I'll wear it for you, as long as nobody else sees."


"Oh, I love you."


"No, I think you love this bikini, if you can call it that, there's hardly anything to it."


"You know some people don't wear anything at all on beaches."


"Yeah,well I do, so don't push your luck."


"Come on are you going to get changed or not?"


"Well I don't seem to have much choice in the matter do I?"


"No you don't, so get on with it."


"Okay, okay. I'm going."


"You don't have to go anywhere."


"Oh yes I do."




"I don't trust you."


"What do you mean you don't trust me? I thought we didn't have secrets anymore."


"That's not what I meant. The sort of mood you're in I wouldn't be surprised if you ran off with all my clothes, including that bikini."


"I don't know where you get such awful ideas from. I would never dream of doing such a thing," he said trying to look innocent.


"Oh no, not you," she replied sarcastically.


B'Elanna emerged from behind the screen a few minutes later wearing the bikini. She wasn't sure you could actually call it a piece of clothing, it didn't exactly cover much and left very little to the imagination. Exactly why Tom chose it.


"B'Elanna! You look..."


"Go on. Awful, stupid?"


"No. More along the lines of amazing, gorgeous, stunning. The most beautiful woman I've ever seen." She looked at him dubiously. "I mean it."


"So as I'm wearing practically nothing you look somewhat overdressed now," she said looking at his jeans and shirt, "not to mention hot. I'm surprised you can stand this."


"It's alright for you though. I did get the temperature right, didn't I?" he said striping off his clothes to reveal a little pair of swimming trunks, much to B'Elanna's delight.


"It's perfect. All of it."


"I'm glad you like it. I put a lot of time and research into getting this just right for you. Now can we get in the water, I'm boiling." Before she could reply Tom scooped B'Elanna up in his arms with ease and headed for the sea.


It was nice to see her smile again. Tom hadn't seen her this happy for a long time. He knew she loved the beach and the water, and it seemed to help her forget her problems. He didn't think he'd ever seen her this relaxed either. His plan had worked even better than he thought it would.


They were laying in the warm sand enjoying the sun and drying off after messing about in the water for a while. "I love you," he whispered softly in her ear.


She grinned. "No I told you before, you love this bikini."


"Umm, I love you in it."


"I'll bet you do."


"I love you in anything, though that is especially good. It shows off all your curves."


"It shows off everything."


"And what's wrong with that? You're gorgeous."


"Humph," she grunted.


"You are," he insisted knowing her self confidence was still pretty low and he truly believed it anyway. B'Elanna was the most beautiful woman he had ever met. She was amazing in every way. "And have I mentioned how much I love you recently?"


"You've been telling me that all afternoon."


"So do you believe me?"


"Do you think I'd still be here if I didn't?"


"No, and I would probably be in sickbay right now with a broken nose or dislocated jaw or something worse."


"You should be careful what you say. Klingon mating rituals can be very painful you know."


"Mmm, I know."


"I love you Tom."


"So about these Klingon mating rituals...are you suggesting what I think you are?"


"You can work that out for yourself."


"Oh, I was getting hopeful," he said playfully.


"I told you to be careful what you wished for," she said as their mouths met in a passionate kiss...


* * * * * * *


"Tom wait," a voice yelled down the corridor as Tom left their quarters. B'Elanna was still asleep and probably would be for a while after what had happened last night. Last night, a weary smile crept over Tom's face as he remembered the events of the previous evening.


"Tom are you listening to me?" The voice pulled him away from his thoughts.


"I'm listening Harry."




"Well what?"


"Well what's the answer?"


"What's the question?"


"I thought you said you had been listening to me."


"I was more or less. Mostly less. I'm a bit distracted, that's all."


"A bit? You look like you're on another planet."


*Hmm, a planet with just me and B'Elanna. Risa perhaps, oh just think of the possibilities*






"The holodeck program you were designing for B'Elanna. Did it work?"


"Well that depends what you mean by work."


"Did it relax her, help her feel better?"


"I think so."


"What do you mean you think so?"


"She's asleep at the moment."


"That doesn't really answer the question. What happened? I want details Tom."


"We walked along the beach. We went swimming..."


"And," Harry prompted, eager to know exactly what had been going on between his two friends. He knew they had gotten very close recently, he just wasn't sure how close since neither was giving anything away.


"And...we had a very enjoyable time together."


"I said details Tom. Did anything happen?"


"Do you really expect me to answer that?"


"So something did happen," he grinned as they entered the turbolift.


"Alright. Yes. Something did happen."


"So are you going to tell me what?"


"Don't even go there Harry. If B'Elanna even suspected I'd said anything she'd probably kill me!"


They reached the briefing room and took seats on opposite sides of the table. A few minutes later Janeway began the meeting.


"Alright first things first, Tom how's B'Elanna?"


"Um...I don't know."


Janeway frowned. "Don't tell me you two have had another fight."


"No, no. She's still asleep." Tom had a feeling he was going to regret saying that.


"Asleep? I thought the Doctor's orders were that she was to get up at the same time everyday."


"They are."


"Then why is she still in bed?"


Tom felt himself going red. "Lets just say it was a busy night," he said hoping that would be enough to get the subject changed quickly, or failing that a hole would open in the deck and swallow him up.


Janeway smiled trying not to laugh at him squirming. "Okay Tom, I think we'll leave it there."


The rest of the briefing past as a blur. He had trouble keeping his mind on anything but B'Elanna. Her warm chocolate eyes, her beautiful features, the delicate ridges on her forehead. The feel of her thick, shinny hair and soft bronzed skin. She was absolutely gorgeous, he couldn't think of anything more beautiful.


* * * * * * *


Chakotay caught up with Tom in a corridor after the briefing. "Hot date last night, Tom?" he teased.


"Look, I'm not going into what happened between me and B'Elanna last night for you or anyone else."


"Hey, hey, calm down. What you two get up to in your own time is nobody else's business. I just wanted to say that whatever might be going on between you two, I'm happy for you."


Tom stared at him blankly for a moment, he hadn't expected to ever hear anything like that from Chakotay. "Thanks. It means a lot to hear you say that."


"But just you be careful. B'Elanna is very special to me and if you ever do anything to hurt her you'll have me to answer to."


"B'Elanna's very special to me as well and I would never do anything to hurt her. Besides if I did do you really think there would be enough of me left for you to do anything with?"


They both laughed. "No! But I'm warning you anyway!"


"I've got to get going. I'm going to check on her now."


* * * * * * *


Tom walked into the bedroom, B'Elanna was still asleep although he was sure there was a faint smile on her face. He carefully sat down on the bed next to her and gently ran a finger over her ridges whispering about how beautiful she was and how much he loved her.


Slowly the smile on her face grew. Tom didn't notice and when she whispered "I love you too" he leapt off the bed, suddenly embarrassed that she'd heard him.


"Why didn't you say you were awake? You scared me."


"Sorry. I wanted to hear what you were saying."


"How much did you hear?"




"Well I meant it. And I meant everything I said last night as well."


"I know you did, so did I."


"You don't regret what happened then?"


"Of course I don't. I love you more than anything else in the universe. What happened last night would never have happened if that wasn't true."


The sat holding and kissing each other for a while.


"So what about tonight then?" she asked.


"What about tonight?"


"Stupid question. What do you think?"


"Are you sure you're up to it?"


"I don't know, I thought maybe we could have a quiet dinner for two and an early night."


"Nice and gentle and romantic hey?"


"Maybe." she said with the same grin he had seen the night before.


"What do you mean 'maybe'. I thought you meant early night as in going to sleep earlier than we did last night."


"I did."


"Then what does 'maybe' mean."


B'Elanna didn't answer.


"Come on stop teasing me."


A mischievous grin came over her face along with a glint in her eyes. "I never said what might happen in the time between dinner and sleep."


Tom smiled as well "No you didn't, you have plans for that as well?"




"Will you stop saying maybe."


"No, I like to keep people guessing."


"Well you're stating to drive me mad, how am I supposed to wait that long."


"I drive you mad do I?"


"In every way."


"Good, that's what I like to hear. Now you've got 10 minutes to get to the bridge or you're going to have some rather embarrassing explaining to do."


"What like I was too busy kissing B'Elanna to turn up on the bridge on time?"


"You want to say that in front of everyone do you?


"Not really, people are starting to realise what's going on anyway, I bet the rumour mill's gone into overdrive already."


"And you're not going to give them anymore to talk about by being late. What we get up to in private is up to us, it's not supposed to be the main topic of conversation throughout the ship."


"Well you did want all the fuss over your illness to stop."


"Yes, but I wanted all the attention to go away not to have everyone speculating about what we may or may not be doing when we're alone together. Now get going you're down to 5 minutes, I don't want to give them anything else to talk about. I'll make the arrangements for tonight, you just be here by 18:00."


"Yes Ma'am, I'm just not sure I can stand to be away from you that long."


"Tough, the longer you're away the more fun we can have later. Now GO!"


"I'm going, I'm going. I love you. Good bye!" he yelled as he ran out of their quarters.


* * * * * * *


Opened my eyes today

And I knew there's something different

Saw you in a brand new way

Like the clouds had somehow lifted

And if yesterday I heard myself saying these words

I would swear it was a lie


I don't know why but suddenly I'm falling

Was I so blind

I was loving you all the time

Now I'm hopelessly addicted

Helplessly attracted


I'll make a wish this day

And I'll send it to the heavens

That we will always stay

Entwined like this forever

And though the world may change

Coz nothing stays the same

I know we will survive


I don't know why but suddenly I'm falling

Was I so blind

I was loving you all the time

Now I'm hopelessly addicted

Helplessly attracted

Naturally we acted


Hopelessly addicted

Helplessly attracted

Chemically reacted

Naturally we acted


* * * * * * *



B'Elanna was laying on her bed looking really fed up.


"What's wrong, B'Elanna?" Tom asked. He was starting to worry about her, since the relapse a week ago she seemed to be getting increasingly depressed.


"Nothing" she replied staring up at the ceiling so she wouldn't have to look at him.


"I don't believe you" he said moving to the edge of the bed. She rolled over to the other side.


"Come on, tell me."


"I did. Nothing." she tried to sound threatening but failed as her voice cracked giving her away. "Now leave me alone."


"You don't mean that" he said sitting down on the edge of the bed and putting a hand on her waist. She turned over to look at him, she hadn't meant to, it was instinct, she always reacted to his touch. She looked up at him trying to blink back the tears that were clouding her vision.


"Come on, sit up." She did and fell into his arms, head resting on his chest and tears spilling down her cheeks.


She laid on him for a while and when she had calmed down Tom pulled away and gently wiped the tears from her face with his hand. "Now are you going to tell me what all this is about?"


She took a deep breath "I don't know...everything I guess."


"Like what."


"Life. My life...Huh. If I still have one that is."


"What do you mean 'if you have one'? You have me, don't you?"


She smiled, that was true. Whatever happened she had Tom.


"So come on, be more specific."


"You want a list?"


"Yes. You'll feel better to get it off your chest."


"Okay. I'm so tired my stomach hurts and I feel sick. I can't sleep properly, my temperature keeps going up and down ridiculously. I can't concentrate on anything, I can't remember anything, my brain feels like it's been completely scrambled. My head feels like it's going to explode. And the Doctor can't even do anything for any of it. I've never felt this dreadful in my entire life. I don't know if I can go on like this. I don't think I can take much more of this."


"You'll get through this, you're a strong person B'Elanna. Stronger than all of us, especially now. Look at what you come through, it takes a lot of strength to cope with what you have and never give up. You're a true fighter, you've got a lot of spirit and you're an inspiration to us all. You'll get through this, it's just a bad patch. I'll always be here for you.


"I know you will."


"You know there's good in everything, everything happens for a reason, believe in fate."


"You mean this happened to bring us together?"


"Maybe, but there are other reasons as well. Look at how much stronger you are, we both are. It's changed your outlook on life. You don't get so stressed out about things that aren't worth the effort, you're more laid back, you value everything more. It's changed both of us in a way. Somebody once told me that there's a rainbow in every storm, you just have to look for it. I thought it was a load of rubbish at the time but I can see it now. Even in something this awful there's something good."


She looked up at Tom, he had changed a lot in the last few years and even more so in the last few months, she looked into his eyes. "I've found my rainbow. I love you so much Tom."


* * * * * * *



What did she know anyway. She didn't have any idea what it was like to feel exhausted all the time, it wasn't her fault she had gotten the two things confused and wasted four hours work and put the ship in danger. She had no right, no right coming in there and relieving her of duty. She knew what she could and couldn't do. No one else, no one else understood. It wasn't fair. She was fine. She didn't care if she never saw any of them again. Someone else could do her job a lot better than she could. Joe Carey could, he should have been given the job in the first place. He wouldn't make such stupid mistakes. A first year academy cadet wouldn't make such an obvious mistake. She was useless, useless. She picked up the nearest vase and hurled it across the room.




"Watch it will you" Tom said stepping in the door an narrowly avoiding being hit by the objects B'Elanna was throwing across the room. "What the hell happened?"


"What do you want?"


"I came to check you were okay."


"I'm fine. Now get lost before I start throwing things at you."


"I'm not going anywhere."


"You will if you know what's good for you."


"I've never been good at looking after myself, not when someone more important needs me."


"Fine. Go kiss Janeway's boots then. I don't need anyone."


"So that's what all this is about, Janeway relieving you of duty?"


"She had no right to do that. What gives her the right to decide what everyone else can and can't do?"


"She's the Captain, she has every right. And besides she was right. You've been over doing it, you could cause a relapse."


"See. I knew you'd side with her."


"I'm on your side B'Elanna, we all want what's best for you..."


"Like hell you do."


"What is wrong with you? We're trying to help you. Stop you doing more damage to yourself."


"You don't know what I can and can't do. You don't know what it's like. You don't know anything, none of you do. Nobody really cares about me, nobody wants me. You just all want me out of the way. Out of your lives. If you leave me in here forever you can just forget about me, pretend I never existed."


"I'm not listening to this. Just calm down B'Elanna, you know none of that's true." He could see the tears in her eyes, she looked awful. He walked out of the room leaving her curled up in a ball on the settee, and went to run her a bath. The only thing that might calm her down once she had got herself in such a state.


* * * * * * *


B'Elanna stepped out of the bath into the towel Tom was holding out for her. She had finally gotten a grip of herself. The Captain was right in what she had done, they were trying to do what was best for her whether she liked it of not.


She stood in Tom's arms and let him gently rub her dry.


"Feel better?" he asked carefully.


She gave him a weary smile "Yes. I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said I just..."


"Shhh. It doesn't matter."


* * * * * * *


"Janeway to Torres"


B'Elanna sighed "Yes Captain"


"I want to see you in my ready room."






"Alright I'm on my way."


She walked towards the door and went through it before Tom could stop her.


Out in the corridor Chakotay turned the corner heading for his quarters and stopped dead as B'Elanna left hers wearing only a towel. He ran to catch up with her.


"B'Elanna wait. Where are you going?"


"I can't stop I got to see the Captain."


"Um, don't you think you should put some clothes on?"


B'Elanna gasped and turned bright red, then dashed back into her quarters.


* * * * * * *

PART 5 - Two months later


Tom and B'Elanna were walking bare foot arm in arm along the beach watching the sun set, he had said he had a romantic evening planned and she had been looking forward to it all day. It wasn't what B'Elanna had been expecting, it was even better. They stopped at the rock, the same one they had done many times in the last few months. It had become a very special place for both of them, even in the middle of so many problems it was somewhere that they always felt happy and content. But there was something extra special about tonight and B'Elanna couldn't work out what it was. She felt better than she had in a long time, things were finally getting better, she was even able to go down and do a bit in Engineering when she felt up to it. The sun set was beautiful, but there was more to it than that.


Tom put his arm around her "I found this in the computer, it's a 20th century Irish ballad, listen to the words. Computer play music entitled Like The Rose."



Every little word

With every lesson learned

I think I know why hearts are made of stone

Every little pain

Fans a bitter flame

Nothing stops me loving you


Can't you see that we belong

Oh how I want it to be

So tell me that you feel the way I feel


Baby like the rose

Oh darling you put colour in my life

Baby take my heart forever

Cause I don't wanna be afraid

No no


Turn another page

The story will never fade

Sleep with thoughts of you until daylight

And when you're far away

Forever love will stay

Keep this loving feeling deep inside


Can't you see that we belong

Oh how I want it to be

So tell me do you feel the way I feel


Baby like the rose

Oh darling you put colour in my life

Baby take my heart forever

Cause I don't wanna be afraid

No no


Cos you're the colour in my life

Like the rose



At the end of the song Tom got down on one knee. He looked deep into B'Elanna's chocolate brown eyes and gently took her hand.


"B'Elanna we've come through so much together and I love you so much more than I've ever loved anyone. Will you marry me?"


Tears welled up in B'Elanna's eyes as she gazed into Tom's.


"Oh Tom. Yes." she managed to say before the tears came streaming down her face.




* * * * * * *


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