Standard Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters and all things related to Star Trek. This is just my interpretation.
By K’Lara (email@example.com)
P/T Rated PG-13 Takes place directly after “Blood Fever” and explains how Tom knew exactly how to deal with Tuvok’s Pon Farr experience in “Body and Soul”.
“Be careful what you wish for Lieutenant,” Torres said as she walked away from the one person who could still throw her off balance.
Those words were still ringing in Tom’s ears when he entered the briefing room later that morning. Did that mean she cared about him a little? Maybe one day she would finally let him in. That thought kept him going throughout the briefing on warp coils and refits. Janeway must have known he wasn’t feeling too well because she never tried to draw him into the conversation.
Tom was relieved when the meeting broke up. It took him a moment to realize that they had been dismissed. He waited until most of the officers, including the captain, had left the room and stood up. Tuvok said, “Mr. Paris, I would like to speak to you.” Tom turned to him.
Tuvok waited until the doors closed. “How are you feeling?”
Tom looked down at his feet the back up to Tuvok’s eyes. “It’s starting to get to me. One minute I have no trouble staying focused, then the next moment I’m thinking about things I shouldn’t be, and it’s happening on the bridge.”
Tuvok scanned him with a tricorder. “It has begun. It would be logical for you to take the next few days off, Lieutenant, so you can recuperate.”
At that, Tom turned a little red in the face. “What will you tell the captain?”
“The truth. According to my tricorder you are suffering from the Takarian Flu. Mr. Paris you are hear-by relieved of duty until you feel better. If you need any assistance, I will be glad to assist you.” Tuvok started out the door. Tom turned to see him exiting.
Ten minutes later Janeway was in her ready room in front of her starview window when the buzzer rang. “Come.”
“Tuvok, what’s is it?”
“I had to relieve Lieutenant Paris of duty. He is suffering from the Takarian Flu. He should be back on duty in a few days.”
“Is it that bad?” she asked, having heard of the illness, but not remembering when.
“Usually not, but he is just starting to enter the feverish stages. It would be best to separate him from the crew in the event that he is contagious.”
Janeway thought for a moment then nodded her head. “Very well. Keep me informed.”
“Harry, have you seen Tom?” B’Elanna asked. It had been two days since the debriefing and Torres hadn’t seen Paris since.
“No I haven’t, but he should be in his quarters. He wasn’t feeling well after the briefing two days ago, so Tuvok relieved him of duty.”
“Tuvok did? Why wasn’t it the Captain?”
“The Captain wasn’t on the bridge when Tom started feeling sick. I don’t think Tom requested it. You know how he is, but Tuvok ordered him to rest.”
“When is he due back on duty?”
“Well that’s the strange part. Tom never saw the Doctor. Tuvok relieved him for up to seven days. Chakotay has redone the schedule through next week. I didn’t think there was much that could get Tom away from his station. I haven’t seen him since the briefing, as far as I know he’s staying in his quarters.”
“I think I’ll stop by after my shift and see how he’s doing.”
“Mr. Paris, your symptoms are getting worse. It might become necessary to go to sickbay,” Tuvok said. He had stopped by Paris’s quarters to check on him.
“Sir, I would really prefer this to stay out of my official medical file, if it is possible.”
“Your biochemical levels are not coming down. You may want to consider the Doctor’s approach and try out the holodeck; perhaps ritual combat might be the solution. I took the liberty of scheduling you some holodeck time. Your confinement to quarters now includes the holodeck.”
“Thank you, sir.”
As Tuvok turned to leave he said over his shoulder, “and Mr. Paris if the symptoms persist, I will order you to sickbay.”
When B’Elanna’s shift ended she headed to Tom’s quarters. She wasn’t sure if he was sick or not, but after the conversation in the turbolift, she wasn’t about to let him hide. As she got to the door she tapped the console to announce herself. There was no answer. “Computer, locate Lieutenant Paris.”
“Lieutenant Paris is in Holodeck 2.”
She thought that was strange since Harry had said he was sick. She was just going to have to find out what was wrong. B’Elanna turned around and headed for the holodeck.
As B’Elanna entered the holodeck she realized the cave around her looked familiar. Tom wasn’t near the front of the cave so she started walking deeper in. She turned the corner and finally found him. “Tom…?” B’Elanna asked. He was sitting on the edge of the cave wall, staring blankly at the wall in front of him. Approaching slowly, so as not to startle him, B’Elanna repeated herself. “Tom?”
Still not receiving a response, she reached out a hand to touch him. At her touch, he flinched away. “Don’t.” He shook his head and looked at her. “Please, don’t,” he pleaded.
“Tom, what’s wrong?”
“Please, just go away.” He shook his head, then tried to explain, “I just need to be left alone for awhile.” He looked away.
“Tom, are you alright? You don’t look good.” In fact, he looked very ill.
“I’m fine,” he stated half-heartedly.
“You don’t look fine. I think you have a fever. You’re pale and flushed. We need to get you to Sickbay.”
“No! I’m fine. Please, just leave.”
“I can’t do that. Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing is wrong! This is a normal allergic reaction that just has to wear off.”
“Allergic reaction to what?”
“Lieutenant, please, just leave me alone.”
“Fine, I’ll call the doctor and have him come here to look at you then.” Tom caught her hand before she could tap her combadge.
“B’Elanna, I didn’t tell the Doc, and I don’t want him to know. I will be fine. I promise. This just has to work itself out. I’m off duty for the next couple of days. By the time I have to report back, this reaction will have worn itself out.”
“Okay, Paris, out with it. What’s wrong?”
“There is nothing wrong. This is a normal reaction. It will wear off in time.”
“If you haven’t seen the doctor, then how do you know that?”
“I… I just do. Please?”
“I can’t do that, Tom. I’m your friend. We help each other. Remember? I know you haven’t spoken to Harry, or the Doctor, so if you don’t talk to me, who will you talk to?”
At the limit of what little patience he had been able to maintain, Paris shouted, “I talked to Tuvok, okay?”
“Tuvok? What would he—” she broke off as her confusion cleared. “It’s the Pon Farr, isn’t it?”
Closing his eyes in defeat, Tom answered, “Yes.”
“But how did you—” She broke off. “You got it from me, didn’t you? When I—bit you?”
“Look, I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. It will go away in its own time. Please, just leave me alone.”
“Tom, what are you going to do? I don’t think this is the way to handle this. I really think you should see the Doctor. Maybe there is something he can do for you.”
“No there isn’t anything he can do, and I won’t see him for this. I don’t want this in my medical file. I really just want to be left alone. I know what’s happening to me. Tuvok explained it to me down on Sakari when we were looking for you. He was very clear on what exactly is happening to me. I spoke to him again yesterday about it, and there is nothing that can be done. This just has to work itself out, but I really need to be alone right now. The feelings you told me about, I am experiencing first hand and the last person I need to be near right now is you.”
He took a deep breath and looked her straight in the eye. “B’Elanna, you are the one person that is not safe around me right now. At this moment it really is hard to resist these feelings and I just need time to sort it all out. So, please, just let me work this out in my own way.”
At a loss for words, B’Elanna stood up and started to walk away. Out of sight of Tom, she leaned up against the wall in frustration. This was all her fault. She remembered the feelings, remembered the bite. Tom hadn’t said anything at the time and very little later. Except for the conversation in the turbolift and the debriefing later on that day before they left orbit around Sakari, she hadn’t even seen him. How long had he been feeling this way? He was so composed in the turbolift, until he started their conversation. Then a few hours later in the briefing room, he seemed a little distracted, tired maybe.
Tuvok had the bridge the morning after leaving Sakari. Harry said Tom had been distracted, and that Tuvok, in a rare moment of compassion, had relieved him of duty. That was two days ago, and no one had seen him since. Tuvok had relieved him of duty because of the flu, and Janeway didn’t question the order.
Now she knew what was going on. Janeway had to have some idea, or she would have questioned the order by now. But why hadn’t the Doc seen to him yet? He had to have been wondering about Paris’s ‘flu’. It just didn’t make since, unless Doc had an idea of what was happening and for once decided to be delicate about it. After having been infected with the Pon Farr herself, she could just imagine the feelings that must be running through him. The doctor had explained that the Pon Farr only had 3 cures and if left unchecked could kill a person. Back on Sakari, she defended herself in ritual combat against Vorik. Maybe if Tom had taken her place, he wouldn’t be infected now. Then again, she would still be and that would mean….
Shaking her head of that thought, she had to wonder what to do at this point. She couldn’t just leave him alone. The most important thing she remembered from her time in the caves was having Tom always there. It had been such a relief when he found her. The fact that he remained even when she kept pushing him away meant a lot to her. She was pushing him away in self-defense and out of fear of hurting him. Could he be doing the same?
This really wasn’t something anyone else would understand. He couldn’t talk to Harry about it. And what if he didn’t get better? With that thought in mind, she grabbed the holodeck med kit then turned around and walked back to where she left Tom.
He wasn’t there. “Tom?” Looking around, she walked deeper into the caves, praying he was all right. Of course this was the holodeck so if the safeties were on he couldn’t be hurt, but she had no way of knowing how far the Pon Farr had progressed. And it was all because of her.
A few moments later she found him on the surface sitting among the ruins. “Tom?”
“B’Elanna? What are you doing here?” he asked in confusion.
“Looking for you. Don’t you remember?”
“No.” He shook his head. “How did we end up back on Sakari?”
“We’re not. We left Sakari’s orbit three days ago. You don’t remember?”
“We’re on the holodeck. You programmed this simulation.”
He shook his head as if to clear it. “Why?”
“I’m not quite sure. How are you feeling?”
“I’m a little dizzy. I don’t remember coming in here though.”
B’Elanna flipped open the medkit and pulled out the tricorder. She started scanning his bioreadings. She wasn’t a trained field medic, that was Tom’s job, but she knew the readings weren’t the best. “Tom, I need to get you to Sickbay. This isn’t good. Your running a fever, and the chemical levels in your body are critical.”
“No, I don’t want to go.”
“Lieutenant, either you walk there on your own or I’ll carry you.”
“B’Elanna, I’m fine, just leave me be.”
“Come on Paris, let’s go. Now.” She pulled him up to a standing position and started dragging him toward the exit. After a few minutes of following her, Tom started to shake, then tried to pull his hand out of her grasp. “Stop fighting, your going to Sickbay whether you like it or not.”
It took a few minutes to reach Sickbay. By the time they arrived, B’Elanna was really starting to worry. His symptoms were getting worse, and he was having trouble remembering what was happening. She had to repeat herself several times. As the door opened, Tom tried once again to get away. B’Elanna tightened her grip.
The Doctor turned at the sound of the doors opening. “Ah, Lieutenants what brings you to my domain?”
B’Elanna looked around they room. As far as she could tell they were alone. “Lieutenant Paris isn’t feeling very well. I was wondering if you would mind double checking my readings.” She handed him her tricorder and then moved off to help Tom sit on the biobed. “Tom, take a seat and get comfortable, you’re not going anywhere until I tell you to.”
“Would you quit worrying, there is nothing wrong, I feel fine.”
At that comment the Doctor looked up from the tricorder readings and shook his head. “Actually, Mr. Paris, you are very ill. If these readings are correct, you’re condition is critical.” He saved the information, and then reset the tricorder. After running the med scan again the Doctor said, “The readings are even worse this time. I won’t be sure until I run a few more scans, but I believe you must be suffering from the same chemical imbalance that Lieutenant Torres had. This appears to be a very contagious condition. It's a condition that I don’t know much about. Lieutenant Torres would you mind watching the patient. I believe I need a second opinion.”
“I promise Doc, he won’t go anywhere.”
“Indeed. I will leave him to your tender mercies then,” he said as he walked into his office.
“B’Elanna, I said I was fine, just let me go. I promise to go straight to my quarters,” Tom said.
“Sorry, Lieutenant. A friend wouldn’t let you leave here in the condition you’re in.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just tired; it’s been a difficult week. Why don’t you just let me go to my quarters and get some sleep?”
“Not until the Doc clears you to go back to your quarters. Why don’t you lay back and relax?” She looked up as the Doctor entered the room.
“How is our patient doing?” he asked her.
Paris answered, “I’m fine. There’s no reason for me to be in here.”
“I disagree. So does Lieutenant Tuvok, by the way. He will be here in a moment.” The Doctor took a deep breath and asked, “So Mr. Paris, just how long have you been feeling like this?”
Tom looked at the floor as he answered, “About three days.”
“Three days? Why didn’t you inform me?”
“I’ve been handling it, Doc. I talked to Tuvok; let him know what I was feeling. He explained what was happening and told me how to ‘cure the problem’ in the most logical fashion.”
Tom glanced up at Torres, then back at the floor. If he could possibly be anymore flushed, he would have been. “To fight Vorik for my ‘mate’.”
Torres turned a little pink at that. “So that is what you were doing on the Holodeck? That’s why you recreated the caves.”
“Yes, but I never engaged the program.” The three people in Sickbay looked up as Tuvok walked in.
“Excuse me,” the Doctor said as he went to talk to Tuvok.
“Why did you never engage the program?”
“You’ve made it pretty clear that you aren’t interested in me as anything other than a friend. Down on Sakari, you refused to let me defend you and so I didn’t feel I had the right to bring you into this situation.”
“But I wouldn’t have been.”
“Yes, you would have. I won’t do that to you it just wouldn’t be fair. So I didn’t run the program.”
Across the way in the Doctor’s office, Tuvok observed the two Lieutenants, while the doctor discussed the matter. “It’s obvious Mr. Paris chose to come to see you. You knew what was wrong, but didn’t feel the need to inform me. He is unfit for duty in the condition he is in. I should have been informed.”
“Doctor, I relieved him of duty at the end of his shift 3 days ago for medical reasons. He will not be returning to duty until I find him fit. He requested it himself. Apparently he was unable to concentrate on his duties.”
“And what reason did you give the Captain?”
“He has all the symptoms of the Takarian Flu.”
“The Takarian Flu? How did you come up with that? Is it the standard Vulcan euphemism for the Pon Farr?”
“That was my assessment of the situation, without having a medical tricorder to assess the situation.”
“And the Captain accepted this explanation?”
“As I have had the Takarian Flu before, she decided I was informed enough to make that assessment, yes.”
“So why was I not informed of his illness?”
“Mr. Paris expressed a wish to keep this illness private. He didn’t want to bring attention to himself.”
“I see.” The Doctor thought for a moment. “Very well, if Mr. Paris agrees to let me help him treat his case of the Takarian Flu, I see no reason to discuss this matter further. Will that be satisfactory, Lieutenant?”
“Very well. One can hope that treating a human with a Vulcan chemical imbalance is easier than treating a Vulcan.” With a sigh he asked, “Is there any advice you can give me?”
“Although it is not unheard of for humans to get this condition, there is no precedent for treating it.”
“Other humans have had this before?”
“There have been several interspecies marriages between Vulcans and humans. However these are private matters that are only discussed among family members, so there would be no data on that.”
“Perhaps not, but I will see what I can find. If there is no apparent solution then I will try to alleviate his symptoms. He seems to be handling it well, better than the others it seems, if he has known about it for three days. I just wonder why it took so long for the symptoms to show up.”
“Humans have a higher tolerance for the condition. Only someone they are emotionally close to can infect them. This is the first time I have ever heard of the condition being passed between two species of non-Vulcan decent.”
The Doctor looked up to see Torres in the doorway, her face drained of color. She turned quickly and walked away.
B’Elanna walked back over to where Tom was lying on the biobed. He had been asleep for a while. She pulled up a chair and made herself comfortable. If duties in Engineering didn’t call her away, she would stay here for a while. After all, it was her fault he was suffering from this. If she hadn’t bit him---
Shaking her head to clear it, she closed her eyes and tried not to remember that time on Sakari. In her mind things were a little foggy, but she remembered the incredible feelings she felt. It was an unusual feeling, but surprisingly not unwelcome. She really cared about him. If the incident proved anything, it was that he truly cared about her. He had admitted his attraction to her, but still wouldn’t act on the feelings. Surprisingly enough, Tom had always been the perfect gentleman. Even before Sakari, she had begun to realize that his image was a fraud.
She wondered if that image was his protection against getting hurt. He played the part of an irresponsible playboy well, but B’Elanna had come to realize it was just that, a part. When had he started to build that shell around himself? Tom never talked about his past. It was a part of him, made him who he was, but he didn’t want to talk about it.
Several times in the last few days she thought about those moments in the cave when Tom protected her from herself. Would she have been angry with him if things had turned out differently? She wasn’t sure herself, but Tom never let it go too far. And if Vorik hadn’t shown up when he did? Chakotay said Tuvok had ordered Tom to ‘treat’ her. For Tom sake and her own, she was glad Vorik had interrupted. It wouldn’t have been fair to Tom if she had ended up hurting him later.
Tom had told her that he was attracted to her. If Tuvok was right and humans could only get this from someone they were emotionally involved with, then Tom had to care for her more than he said.
“You overheard the Doctor and I talking.” Tuvok had come up behind her after she walked away from the Doctor’s office.
She nodded, “Did you suspect this would happen to Tom?”
“Yes, Lieutenant.” He paused. “Would you mind coming with me?”
B’Elanna shrugged. She followed him into the Doctor’s office. “Doctor, would you mind if I used you office to talk to Ms. Torres?”
“Go ahead. I will go check on my patient.” He turned and left the cubicle.
“Lieutenant, when you were on the planet, after you altercation with Mr. Paris, I went to Ensign Vorik and asked him about the incident in Engineering. He explained what happened. From that, I realized you must have received the Pon Farr from the physical contact Vorik made with you. After discussing Vorik’s condition with the Doctor, Chakotay and I went planet-side to find you and assist Mr. Paris with Neelix. I knew at that time that it was very possible for you to have transferred your condition to him. When I was briefing him about this condition I warned him of the side effects. He was aware of them before you were lost in the caves together. My orders to him before Vorik appeared were based on my determination that Mr. Paris had contracted this same condition from you and that it would be in both your best interests to continue on the path you were on.”
“If you knew this would happen, why did you let me take Vorik’s challenge, instead of Tom?”
“As Lieutenant Paris was not yet displaying any symptoms, I could not be certain that he had been infected. It is unheard of for two non-humans to pass the condition between each other, although it’s not physically impossible. Therefore, it was logical to let you take the challenge, for both you and Ensign Vorik.”
“So what do you think Tom should do now?”
“I believe that is a topic for me to discuss with Mr. Paris.”
“He is in this situation because of me. He didn’t walk away from me, and I’m not walking away from him, Tuvok. So you’ll just have to tell both of us.”
Tuvok considered her words. Coming to a conclusion he said, “I will discuss your request with the Doctor and the Captain. Until they agree to allow the interference, I cannot discuss this with you.”
“Tuvok, you will discuss this with me if Tom allows it.”
“My suggested solution would require you to request time off. Is your department stable enough to permit that?”
“We’ve finished repairing the ship. Unless we go to battle in the next few days, everything should be able to stay together.”
“Very well. I will discuss it with the Captain. Until then, consider yourself off duty. However you choose to spend that time, Lieutenant, is up to you. I will see you here in an hour.”
“Thank you,” she said softly. She turned and walked back to Tom’s biobed. The doctor glanced up from the consol he was working at. In a rare moment of empathy the Doctor brought a chair over so she could sit next to Tom. The pilot was still unconscious on the bed. “Has there been any change?”
“His brain waves are starting to level out a little. In the next few hours those levels will fluctuate and spike. If those waves get too high, he could die.”
“Is there anyway to help him?”
“All we can do is wait. He will have to resolve it on his own, as you had to. The symptoms will be erratic, as you know, and he will need help adjusting to those feelings. At least he will have the comforts of Voyager to make it easier on him. He was awake and lucid for a few moments and asking for you. He should come around in the next few minutes.”
“Will you release him to his quarters?”
“Considering what happed with Vorik I really don’t think that is a good idea. However, I know Mr. Paris hates to be confined here.” He paused. “I suppose—that is—if someone were willing to stay with him—I could be persuaded to release him, if he wears a cortical monitor.”
B’Elanna gave a little half-smile. “Tuvok has already relieved me of duty, so I volunteer.”
“You do understand just what it is you are volunteering for?”
“Yes, Doctor, I do.” She stood up. “I have to take care of a couple things in Engineering. Will you call me as soon as he shows signs of waking up?”
“Of course Lieutenant. And I thank you. I was not looking forward to having another difficult patient confined to Sickbay.”
“Your welcome. I’ll be back in a little while.”
“Okay, Tuvok, what’s going on? First Tom, and now B’Elanna? You want to tell me what is going on?”
“Mr. Paris became ill on Bridge duty three days ago, so I relieved him of duty. Ms. Torres requested sometime off-duty for personal reasons, so I granted it.”
“You know how hard it is to run this ship when one of my senior officers is out sick, but loosing two at the same time? That wouldn’t be very logical—unless there is something your not telling me. What is it?”
“Mr. Paris is suffering from symptoms of the Takarian Flu. Ms. Torres asked to be relieved of duty to assist the doctor in treating him.”
Janeway thought for a moment. “If I’m not mistaken, the Takarian Flu is that mysterious illness you had about three years ago?”
“That is correct, Captain.”
“Then am I also correct in assuming Tom got it from B’Elanna, who got it from Vorik?”
She bit her lip, straightened up, and shook her head. “So what is his prognosis?”
“The doctor wished to brief you on the Lieutenants condition himself.”
“I see. Well, since you have weighed the decision already, I see no reason to interfere. I will discuss the situation with the Doctor. Until then, please keep me informed.”
“Doctor to Lieutenant Torres.”
“Mr. Paris is about to wake up. I thought you might like to know.”
“I’ll be right there.”
Tom was just starting to sit up when she arrived in Sickbay. “Tom. How are you feeling?”
He looked up at her, turned a little red, and then looked down at the Biobed. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Did the Doctor say when you could get out of this place?”
“He said that since there isn’t anything he can do for me here, I can go as soon as the Captain approves.”
“So how are you feeling?”
“Dizzy. Tired.” He closed his eyes and shook his head. Taking a deep breath he said, “What brought you to the Holodeck?”
“Harry and I were talking. He mentioned that you were off sick, so I can to see how you were. I didn’t expect to find you in the Holodeck. Why didn’t you tell me what happened?”
“I didn’t want you to feel like this was your fault.”
“But it was.”
Tom looked up into her eyes. “According to Tuvok, this fever can only be passed if there is some feeling between both of us. I’m hoping that feeling isn’t hate on your side. On mine I know it isn’t. I care about you. I’ve never had a friend like you. I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid of your reaction.”
“Tom, I—I’m not sure what it is I feel, but I know its not hate. I’m worried about you. You shouldn’t have let this go on for so long.”
“Ah, Mr. Paris, your free to leave,” the doctor said as he left his office. “You will wear this cortical monitor,” he said as he started to apply the device over the nerve bundle behind the left ear. “You must remain confined to your quarters, sickbay, or Holodeck 1 at all times, and someone must remain with you at all times.”
“Lieutenant Torres has volunteered to stay with you. The Captain has approved her time off. Your only other option is to stay here in sickbay—and I know how much that idea appeals to you.”
“I really don’t—“
“Tom, don’t argue. I have already made the decision. Engineering can survive without me. Doctor when will you release him?”
“He can go now. Just keep me informed. Here is all the information I have. Please, keep him out of trouble.”
Fifteen minutes later Paris and Torres entered his quarters. “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll get you something to eat.”
“B’Elanna, as much as I appreciate this, you don’t have to do this. I’ll be fine. This will wear off soon.”
“Actually, I’m under orders to be here Lieutenant. I’m here until the Doctor releases you to return to duty. Now sit down!”
Tom shook his head as he sat on his couch. “Yes, ma’am.”
“What would you like to eat?”
“Actually, I’m not really hungry. Replicate whatever you would like for yourself, but not me.” As he finished talking, the doorbell rang. “Come in,” Tom said, expecting Harry to be at the door. He looked up as Janeway entered holding a tray of food that must have come from Neelix. Captain—I,” Tom started to stand.
“That’s quite alright Lieutenant. There’s no reason to get up. I just wanted to see how you were. Neelix heard you had the Flu and made you tomato soup. He said it’s a favorite of yours. How are you doing, Tom?”
“I’m fine, Captain.” Behind his back B’Elanna just shook her head and rolled her eyes, but Janeway got the message.
“Well, get some rest. Do what B’Elanna tells you to and I’ll see you on the bridge soon.” With that, Janeway turned and walked out the doors.
Sighing in defeat, Paris said, “Come sit down and eat with me. There’s enough here for both of us.”
“Fine.” She sat down next to him on the couch. “Eat.”
After several minutes of silence, B’Elanna looked up at Tom. He was feverish again. A hard racking shiver shook his frame, and he lay back against the couch. She decided he needed a distraction. “Tom, besides programming bars on the holodeck, what do you do to relax?”
“I listen to 20th century music and watch something called television on a PADD.”
“It’s a two-dimensional projected image on a flat glass screen from within the box.” He closed his eyes, shook his head as if to clear it, and then continued, “I’m not explaining this very well, but if you ever take me up on that Holodeck offer, I’d be willing to show you. I’ve made a program of a 20th century retreat that includes a television and radio. There was a lot of neat music to come out of that time period. If you ever get bored when you're off duty I wouldn’t mind showing you---“ he broke off as another shiver shook his body.
B’Elanna realized he was finished with his dinner, picked up the tray and put it in the recycler. “Tom, I think you should lay down for a few minutes. Perhaps if you get covered up with some of the blankets you will warm up.”
“I’m fine. Besides, I couldn’t sleep right now anyway. This feeling has every nerve ending in my body screaming.”
“I’m sorry for the pain I caused you. If I could go back and prevent it—“
“B’Elanna, its not your fault. Like you said, you were under the influence of some weird, Vulcan chemical imbalance and what you said wasn’t you, so your not responsible. Since I can’t go anywhere, and somehow you got confined to my quarters with me, I think it would be best if we forgot how sick I am, and just talked. That is--- if you don’t mind.”
“Sounds good to me. What do you want to do, then?”
“Well, I could show you the new holoprogram I’m working on, but I think you would find it boring.” He thought for a moment. “Actually, I do have something I’m working on and I could really use your advice on it. I’ve been working on the specs for a new shuttlecraft. Not quite like the Cochran project, but close. One that could be used for longer away missions. It’s really just busy work, but I would like your input on it.” He stood up to get the PADD and almost fell.
“Tom!” She reached up to catch him. “Sit down, I’ll get it.” A moment later she handed him the PADD. “Here you go. This is impressive; when did you start working on it?”
“After the Warp 10 flight. I was just toying with some of our research, trying to put it to better use. It seemed quite wasteful to put so much effort into the project, only to throw all the work out. I got the idea for this while I was sitting in Seska’s brig. It gave me something to do to pass the time. I know we will never have the resources, but ship design has always been a hobby of mine. When I was at the Academy I started working on a new hull design. I always hoped my father would like one of the designs I created. This hull configuration was designed to be sleek and smooth at extreme velocities. I never expected to have a reason for a long-range shuttlecraft, but this one would definitely come in handy here in the Delta Quadrant. Maybe one day we will have the resources to build it.”
He paused as a wave of nausea moved across his body. Taking a deep breath, he turned to Torres. “B’Elanna, I don’t think this is such a good idea. Maybe I should just return to sickbay,” Tom said, even though he dreaded the thought. More time with the Doc was not necessarily a good thing.
“Paris, I’m not going anywhere, so quit trying to get rid of me. Let me see that PADD.” Looking over the display in front of her, she said, “Your idea could work. We would need to increase the dilithium reaction and enlarge the warp manifold. With a few modifications the shuttle should have no trouble-sustaining warp 9. I’m impressed. You’ve put a lot of work into a theory that we might never have the supplies to build. Would you mind if I reworked the engines a little. I have a few ideas that might improve your systems.”
“Please go ahead. If I ever present this idea to the Captain, I want it ready for production. I don’t think I’ll ever mention it, but I still want it to be a complete idea.”
“Let’s see. The shield modifications would work under more stress. They look good. Sensors seem to be a little weak.” She stopped talking as she read the complete schematic. “Paris, this is really good. I think you should take it to the Captain as it is.” She looked up at the pilot only to find that he had gone to sleep sometime during her review. Shaking her head, she got up, adjusted him so he was more comfortable lying on the couch, and went over to the bed. She grabbed a blanket and covered him with it. He looked so young and innocent when he was asleep!
Seeing him this quiet and vulnerable was a shock. He always seemed so confident. The time she spent with him both in the caves of Sakari and in the Vidiian mines made her realize there was a lot more to Tom Paris that he ever let on. Maybe she should have taken him up on the offer for time in the Holodeck together. At the time she was afraid he would get to know her so well he wouldn’t want to see her again. When Harry and Tom were arrested and sentenced to the Akritarian prison, she wasn’t sure if he would come back alive. Then when Voyager did manage to rescue them, it was touch and go for a while as to whether or not Paris would make it.
After a few more moments of reflection she looked back at the PADD. Paris had change a lot since his brief time with the Maquis. Perhaps it was the time in prison, but she didn’t think so. He’d always been very protective of her, even before he spent time at Auckland.
“Doctor to Lieutenant Torres.”
Torres tapped her badge. “Torres here.”
“How is Mr. Paris?”
“He’s asleep at the moment Doctor.”
“I will be there in a few minutes to check on him. His cortical readings seem to be returning to normal. He might be out of danger. Notify me if the situation changes or if he wakes up.”
She sat back on the edge of the bed. Paris’s quarters had always been sparsely furnished, so except for the couch, there was nowhere else to sit. “Stop! Let go of me!” Tom shouted in his sleep.
“Tom—” B’Elanna got up and went over to his side. He was suddenly feverish again. The chills racking his body were hard to watch. She shook his shoulder trying to wake him. Reflexively he reached out, grabbed her arm painfully and dragged her down. As she fell forward, she unbalanced him and he fell forward on top of her. Looking into her eyes he started to kiss her. For a moment she kissed him back. He brushed his hand against her hair and she realized where she was. “Tom—stop.” He blinked, took a deep breath and sat back, now completely awake.
He was blushing as he stood up and leaned down to help her off the floor. “Sorry about that. I—that is—I didn’t realize—“ his face turned even more red.
“Tom, its okay, I understand completely. I know what you’re going through. That’s why I volunteered to stay with you, rather than have one of the Delaney sisters who really wouldn’t understand. I know how strong these feelings can be. They’re overwhelming. Please don’t be embarrassed. That’s what friends are for.”
“I don’t know if we should be here, alone. ”
She smiled at him and asked, “Are you telling me I’m impossible to resist?”
He looked at her seriously and answered, “Yes.”
“Tom, you are perhaps the only human I know who can resist these feelings. You have managed to resist me, even when I was making that impossible. The Doc thinks he might have a serum soon that should help counter act the chemical changes. . Tuvok said he was surprised at how well you are coping and he thinks you should try meditating a little, to help with the feelings. And I would say when this is all over, perhaps you should try teaching me how to sail, maybe on Lake Como?”
He stopped and thought about it for a moment. “Alright. But no Vorik or Harry, just the two of us.”
“Just the two of us and a nice bottle of Merlot.”
“It’s a date.” Realizing what he said, he started to explain—“I mean—”
B’Elanna smiled and said, “—that it’s a date.”
Just as they started to get comfortable, B’Elanna’s badge chirped. “Doctor to Lieutenant Torres.”
“Can you bring Mr. Paris to sickbay, I think I’ve found a treatment.”
“We’re on our way.”
They arrived in sickbay to find Lieutenant Tuvok behind one of the medical consoles with Kes at his side. The Doctor walked out of his office and handed Tom a blue gown and pants. “As soon as your ready Mr. Paris, we can begin.”
“Right. We’ll the twins are always telling me blue is my color. Be right back.”
As he walked out of the room the doctor turned to Torres. “This is a untried treatment and from what Tuvok and I have determined, Tom will experience a very emotional roller-coaster in the next several hours. He might want you to leave and it will be up to you, but I think you should stay.” He paused, then put his arm on her shoulder and took her away from the others. “B’Elanna, if this doesn’t work there will only be one solution. I might be wrong in asking this, but I think you are the one who should be here if that were to happen. You know what he’s going through and you know if this doesn’t work it might kill him.
“I won’t go anywhere Doctor.”
Just then Tom came back into the room. “Okay Doc, where do you want me?”
“On the second biobed, just in case I have a real emergency I won’t have to move you.”
“Gee, thanks Doc.” As Tom walked over to the biobed he started shaking again. “Doc, I think that fever’s starting again.” Tom sat on the edge of the biobed as the Doctor ran a tricorder over him.
“The cycle is starting to peak again. It’s happening faster this time. We have to hurry if we will resolve this the easy way. Otherwise, you have to go with Tuvok’s option. We’ll try my solution first. As soon as treatment is underway Tuvok and Kes will leave and as long as Lieutenant Torres stays with you I will release you to your quarters, as long as you promise to call me if my services are needed.
As he had been speaking Tom’s condition had gotten worse and the Doctor wasn’t sure the Lieutenant even heard him. The Doctor looked at Torres and said, “It will take about six hours for the chemical imbalance to subside once he’s started responding to treatment. It may not work at all and you might have to resort to the final option Lieutenant He must wear this cortical monitor at all times. It will reactivate my program if there are any problems.” He turned to Kes who had come up behind him and applied a hypospray she gave him to Tom’s neck. “This won’t counteract the imbalance, it should accelerate the progression so that he can maintain his strength through the end. Like trying to break a fever. He won’t be in control of his emotions.”
“I understand Doctor. I promise not to break his jaw.”
“Doctor, Mr. Paris’s biosigns are fluctuating.”
The Doctor walked over to the console Tuvok was monitoring. “Okay that’s your cue to leave. B’Elanna call me if you need assistance. I have programmed this PADD with information on what might happen in the next few hours. You will want to read it as soon as possible.” He handed her a PADD.
“Tom, would you like to lay down?” B’Elanna asked as she sat down on his couch. They had managed to make it back to his quarters quietly, and only Harry had passed them. If Torres didn’t know better she would have sworn Tuvok had cleared the deck. Although that wouldn’t be very logical to upset ship operations just to keep Tom from being embarrassed.
“No, I… if I do that… I feel like my skin is crawling and laying down just makes it worse. Is it cold in here?”
Although B’Elanna hadn’t really noticed, her Klingon physiology allowed her to be comfortable in warmer rooms anyway. “Computer raise temperature by 5 degrees. Tom can you tell me a little more about this shuttle you’re designing?”
“Well I have to come up with a better shield design still, since the one I have won’t withstand constant pressure, but I intended for this ship to survive an ocean landing, maybe even take a glide in Lake Tahoe when we get home. It would be two decks with a full medical emergency room and science lab. With modified weapons it could be turned into an assault vessel. The idea is that since we are stuck out here there may come a day---” he paused to catch his breath. “There may come a day when we need such a shuttle. Our class 2’s and 9’s can’t do what we need them to do and we rely to heavily on the transporter.”
He started shaking even harder. “That’s it Tom, sit down!”
“Is that an order?”
“Yes Lieutenant it is.” She thought he would argue with her. Instead he just wiped his forehead and sat back on the bed. “Why don’t you lay down? I can turn on some of that music you like.”
“I think for the first time I wish that I had a Television.”
“It was a box with a projector inside that showed old moving pictures. Almost every home had one.” He shivered. “I think I will try lying down. Perhaps it will help me warm up.” He went into the bathroom and changed into his favorite blue T-shirt and shorts, then went to the bed, sat down and scooted up to the top of the bed. He pulled the covers out from under him, and then lay down on the bed. In moments he was asleep.
B’Elanna stood up and walked over to the bed. Tenderly she tucked the covers in around him. Looking around for something to occupy her mind she walked over to his computer terminal and asked the computer to display files about televisions. The schematic didn’t seem that complicated. Maybe one day she might try to reconstruct the device. Perhaps she could find one of those ‘soaps’ that Kes and Neelix had liked so much when they were in the 20th century.
Starting to feel a little tired too, Torres lay down on the couch and was asleep in a few minutes.
She wasn’t sure at first what it was that woke her, but she realized almost immediately that she was in Tom’s quarters. Looking around, B’Elanna realized that Tom was still asleep. She got up and walked over to his bed. He was starting to wake up. His body was covered in sweat. At first she thought that his fever had broken, but it hadn’t, he was still very hot to the touch. According to the Doctor, the next few hours would be the turning point.
“Tom?” He opened his eyes to look at her.
“Yeah?” He shook his head and sat up. “How long have I been out?”
“About five hours. I was asleep too. How are you feeling?” She sat down on the bed next to him.
“A little groggy. I’m itching all over.” He looked straight into her eyes, leaned forward and started to kiss her. For a moment she closed her eyes and leaned into the kiss. He tasted so good.
She shook her head to clear that thought away. Leaned back and opened her eyes. “Tom we have to stop. This isn’t what either of us want right now.”
Opening his eyes he said, “You’re right. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“It’s alright. I do remember how it feels.”
“B’Elanna it isn’t the Pon Farr. I have been attracted to you since that day in the Terikoff Belt. Those feelings have only gotten stronger in the last 3 years. They probably won’t go away and… when this is all over, I would like to take you sailing on Lake Como.”
“You know I never did thank you for saving my life that day. I was only trying to play a joke on you, but if you hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here. I missed you after you got caught and I blamed myself for it.”
“I knew you would never have gone on that fool hardy run if I hadn’t been injured. And according to the doctor who arrived, I would have died if it hadn’t have been for you. I never did thank you for saving my life, and now you’ve done it so many times that I wonder if you aren’t my guardian angel.”
“There isn’t anything angelic about me. You know that.”
“That’s what you want people to believe. We both know that you look out for Harry and I. And I am grateful to the powers that be that it was you in those caves with me, both times.” She put her hand on his cheek. “And maybe one day the timing will be right. But Tom, for now, we’ll start with a sail on Lake Como.”
“That would be nice.” He stood up and walked over to the wall. It was one of the few times he wished for bigger quarters. Janeway had offered him larger quarters when she promoted him, but he had already begun to feel at home here. Now though he wouldn’t mind having something else visual to look at besides B’Elanna. Stars might have been able to distract him form the way she made him feel. Who was he kidding? Nothing really distracted him. He knew when she entered a room. Just like now, he could feel her presence in every pore of his being. She was so precious and she didn’t even know it. And he wanted her. NOW.
As, he walked back over to the bed; B’Elanna noticed that predatory gleam in his eye. It was amazing that with all the women he had chased, she had never seen that look in his eyes before. “Tom—” She didn’t get a chance to finish her sentence before he had pushed her down to the bed and started to kiss her. She could tell that the fever was raging again and this was it. He had reached that point of no return. If the fever didn’t break soon he would die.
And that wasn’t something she could live with. Having made her decision she kissed him back with all the pent up passion the last week had left vibrating between the two of them. She flipped him over so that she was on top and smiled down into his face. He smiled back with that look that told her at that moment she was the only thing in his world. She leaned down and began a heart felt kiss. He leaned forward to unzip her jacket. After her jacket was off she pushed him back onto the bed and kissed him again. He had just started to caress her breast when suddenly he tensed up and shivered.
When B’Elanna looked down at him her heart stopped. He looked dead. “Tom? Tom! Are you alright?” She felt for a pulse. It was there, and strong. She got up and grabbed his medical tricorder from his shelf. She ran the wand over him and checked the readings. Everything seemed normal.
She tapped her badge, and asked Tuvok to come to Tom’s quarters.
Tuvok arrived a few minutes later. Tom was still lying on the bed asleep. Tuvok leaned over him to check his pulse. “I can’t wake him up,” B’Elanna told him as she handed Tuvok the tricorder.
Tuvok looked at the readings. “The blood fever has been purged. He will live. I would suggest he be allowed to sleep for the next several hours. You might want to stay. He will be disoriented when he awakens and he might want to discuss his feelings.”
“Then I will stay with him.”
“Call me if I can be of any assistance.”
“I will.” As Tuvok left, she pulled the covers over Tom then sat down on the bed next to him. Leaning over him she pushed back the hair that had fallen over his eyes. “Next time Paris, nothing better stop us,” she whispered, hoping there really would be a next time.
“Mr. Paris will make a full recovery, Captain. I expect him to be back on duty in two days.”
“That’s good to know. And Lieutenant Torres?”
“She will be back on duty tomorrow.”
“Very well. Maybe we can finally finish the warp coil refit.”
“Lieutenant Carey has most of the refit done. When she returns to duty Ms. Torres will just need to verify the installation and finalize the diagnostics.”
“You know Tuvok, sometimes I wonder about this Takarian Flu. It only seems to happen around Vulcans.”
“Yes Captain, it is a strange coincidence.”
Janeway looked at the Vulcan who seemed to be almost embarrassed. “Don’t worry my logs won’t even mention this ‘little’ epidemic.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
“Tell Chakotay he can return the duty roster to normal.”
When Tom awoke, he felt like he had had a little too much to drink and he had the mental cobwebs to go with it, but he didn’t remember replicating anything. Looking around, he saw Torres sitting at his desk. She looked up at him as he stood. “Hey sleeping beauty, how do you feel?”
“Like I was up too late at Sandrine’s but I really don’t remember being there.”
“You weren’t. Tom do you remember last night?”
He remembered kissing her, and removing her jacket, the rest was a blur. “Not really. I think … we were on the bed and… I kissed you, unzipped your jacket, but---” He was turning the cutest shade of red. “I don’t remember anything else.”
“That’s when your fever broke. Nothing happened. Well, almost nothing. You did ask me to go sailing with you, and I did accept. So you might want to dust off your programming skills. I expect you to meet me tomorrow at 1900 hours, holodeck 2, complements of Lieutenant Tuvok.”
She stood up and walked to the door. “And Tom—don’t keep me waiting. Casual dress only, Lieutenant.” And she sauntered out the door, leaving a very confused pilot behind.