~~~~Brandy used to watch his eyes
~~~~When he told his sailing stories
~~~~She could feel the ocean fall and rise
~~~~She saw its raging glory

The next morning...

"What are you up to, Paris?"

Sitting cross-legged on his bunk, Tom looked up to see the Captain of the
Liberty. The dark-haired, tall man, with a tattoo on his forehead was
leaning against the arch that separated Tom's quarters from the narrow, main
corridor of the ship.

"Not much, Chakotay, just counting." He looked back down and continued his
task. "How much do you suppose a radiometric converter goes for?" Paris
asked casually.

Chakotay shrugged. "I'm not sure--perhaps forty to forty-five luma. Why do
you need to know? The Liberty doesn't use that technology."

"I know it doesn't. Looks like I'm short about six luma." Tom observed.
Taking a handful of the silver colored cubes, he put all the luma back into
a leather pouch and hung it around his neck.

"Where did you come up with all that money?" Chakotay asked. "Gambling

The pilot grinned. "A little, but only on sure things. Actually, I've been
doing some odd jobs here and there."

The Captain was interested and curious. Pulling a chair closer to Paris, he
straddled it and sat down. "What type of con do you have going?" he asked.

Tom adjusted the money pouch under his shirt so it lay flat and would go
unnoticed by Malac's resourceful pickpockets.

"I told you the truth, I worked for most of this."

Chakotay wasn't convinced, his eyes narrowed as he scrutinized the pilot.
"Then why do you need a radiometric converter? What's your game?"

"They really should install doors to the cabins," Tom grumbled. He looked
up to see that the Captain's expression had turned into a glower--the big
man wanted an answer. "Well if you must know, the radiometric converter is
for a lady I met."

A sly grin spread over the Captain's face. "This *lady* must work for an
unusual establishment, if it takes spaceship parts in trade for services

Tom shot up from his bunk and, grabbing the Captain by his shoulders, pulled
him up and out of his seat. "This lady is no whore!" he roared. "She's
beautiful, smart, and she's an engineer!" Blue eyes flashed with barely
controlled anger.

Chakotay's dark eyes popped open. He'd never seen Tom Paris move so fast on
his feet. "Hey, easy there," he cautioned hands raised. "I'm sorry I
didn't realize that this was something different. I guess for you do go to
this trouble she must be pretty special." {Say anything to get this hot-head
to calm down.}

Tom released the older man. "She is. Sorry I grabbed you. I just got
carried away."

"No problem, Paris," Chakotay said pulling his tunic top back into place and
adjusting his brown leather-like vest. "Just don't let it happen again."

Tom nodded once.

"But for spirit's sake, don't get involved with any of the local women.
It'll just spell trouble for you and/or them in the long run. We are in the
Maquis, Paris. When I sprung you out of that rat-infested prison, you
agreed to pilot for me. I'm holding you to that agreement."

"I haven't forgotten, Chakotay. Two years or until the fighting stops."

The Captain nodded. So far the arrangement had worked well, as least in one
respect. A finer pilot, he had never seen, but he wasn't about to tell Tom
Paris that. He was too cocky as it was, and the women falling all over
themselves to get near him didn't help.

"I know how lonely it can get, Paris," Chakotay sympathized patting the
young man on the shoulder. "But don't drag a woman into this mess. It
isn't fair for her to be wondering what's happening to you when you are out
involved in battles that you may not come back from."

"I'll try not to. I just wanted to help her out a little bit. Besides, it
gives me something to do and gets me off this ship." {Plus I think I'm
falling head over heels in love with her.}

"Be careful."

"I will."

* * * * * * *

It had been almost four days since Tom Paris had stepped foot into Mroki's
Place. This time he entered the establishment not following a pair of women
in, but in search of one who he knew was there. He had worked long hours
loading freight for one of the local transport companies. It had been hard
work without the benefit of anti-grav devices but it had been worth it, the
job paid very well. With his right hand, he patted the money pouch beneath
his shirt, and with the radiometric converter tucked under his left arm all
wrapped in brightly colored paper, Tom poked his head through the door.
Allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness, he scanned the room for
B'Elanna. Not seeing her, he wove his way around the tables and headed
toward the bar.

Alini spotted the Paris, and made a bee-line in his direction.

"Uliz! Uliz!" she called out

Tom turned at the sound, only to see the woman B'Elanna had referred to as
Alini approach him. She was alluring, dressed in a skin-tight purple dress
that emphasized her assets. Long, golden hair hung down past her derriere in
soft curls. She was the woman many men dreamed about--and she knew it.

"Welcome, Uliz," Alini purred seductively. The words dripped off her tongue
cooly, but their meaning was full of heat.

"Uliz?" The word didn't translate over his Maquis commbadge.

"Um, Uliz, is the name of one of the ancient Palmat gods," Alini explained
in a husky voice placing one well-manicured hand on his upper arm. "He was
the well-endowed God of Fertility." She tilted her head upward and lustily
smiled at the pilot.

Tom blushed and tried to move to avoid the bold blonde. He had come here to
see B'Elanna not be accosted by one of the hourly whores. Alini stood firm
through and pressed one long, purple painted nail up against the pilot's
chest and continued her explanation. "Most of us no longer worship this god,
but when we call someone by his name, it's considered a high honor. In
fact..." She leaned up against the tall man, her voluptuous breasts pressed
against his chest. "Because you remind me of Uliz, I'd be willing to let
you sample my *talents* for free." Alini's eyes were heavy with lust.

"Hey, I'm flattered, really I am. It isn't everyday I get called by a god's
name." Tom laughed nervously. "But I'm just not interested."

"Not interested? There are men that would pay dearly for what I'm willing
to give you!" Alini replied indigently. Tom could tell that Alini wasn't
used to hearing the word 'no' and it pleased him.

"Look, I appreciate the offer, really I do," Tom remarked. Last thing he
wanted to was to create an ugly scene that might reflect badly on B'Elanna.

The blonde wasn't about to give up. "Are you here to see *her*?" she asked.
Alini pointed toward the bar where B'Elanna now stood watching the exchange
between the pair.

"Yes. Yes, I am."

"I don't understand. What do you see in that half-blood?" she sneered.
"When you could have me?"

Tom bent his head down, his lips just centimeters from Alini's face. "I see
a woman that is more beautiful inside and out than you'll ever be." Alini
froze, not only from the words the tall man spoke, but because the cold,
blunt way they were delivered. It sent a shiver down her spine.

Grasping her upper arm firmly with his free hand, he forcefully pushed the
stunned woman aside so he could pass.

Tom Paris walked determinedly up to the woman that waited for him at the
bar. "B'Elanna, you're going on a break," he stated. "Let's get out of
here. And you..." The pilot turned a little to his right where the
bartender stood. "...will let this lady take her break without any
interruptions. I'll bring her back when either she or I am damned good and
ready." The bartender nodded, too stunned to speak. "If Mroki has any
problems with this..." Tom pulled out his leather money bag, and carefully
pulled out several luma and threw them on the bar. " can tell her
that I've paid for the privilege."

With the box still tucked under his elbow, he held out his free hand.
B'Elanna placed her own hand in it. Leaving the bar, the pair left behind a
bewildered looking bartender and one very jealous prostitute.

* * * * * * *

"Where should we go?" B'Elanna asked once they had left the bar.

"Any place," Tom replied. "As long as it's away from here and out of the
sun." Warm winds whipped around his tall body, slapping the gauze-thin,
tan-colored trousers against his skin. He'd learned shortly after his first
excursion on the planet, and after one very painful sunburn, not to wear

Kicking up dust clouds as they walked, a smile broke out on B'Elanna's face.

"I think I know just the place," she remarked. Grabbing his hand, she
pulled Tom along after her.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see."

B'Elanna dragged him through the throngs of people that were making their
own way through the streets, until she stopped in front of a small store.
Telling Tom to wait outside, she went in. Ignoring the circular motions the
store owner and other patrons made when their hands, B'Elanna quickly
selected several items, paying for them with a few hard-earned luma. With a
wary eye, the clerk placed the items in a cloth bag, handing everything back
to her. Grateful to have her business concluded, B'Elanna joined Tom outside
once more.

"Whatcha got in the sack?" Tom asked motioning to the bag B'Elanna had slung
over her right shoulder.

The half-Klingon grinned. "What do *you* have in *that* package?" B'Elanna
pointed to the gift Tom still carried under his arm."

"You first."

"You'll find out later."

"You're cruel"

"I am," she agreed. "Come on, follow me. The quicker we get there, the
sooner you'll find out."

"Get where?" Tom asked following the engineer down the street.

"You'll see soon enough."

B'Elanna held out her left hand which Paris gripped tightly with his right
and she pulled him along after her. B'Elanna led the way through throngs of
pedestrians until she finally slipped between two vacant buildings.
Skirting around the piles of rubble that lay between the structures, they
finally entered a worn path and that led to a sandy area strewn with large
boulders, leaving the city behind. B'Elanna led them on for several more
minutes before finally coming to a stop.

"Is this it?" Tom asked, looking at the boulders that surrounded them. It
didn't look like much.

"Almost. It's just ahead, but first I want you to close your eyes."

"My eyes?"

"For me?"

{Anything for you.} Tom did as bid and shut both eyes.

"Now keep them closed," she cautioned. He nodded, and they continued on.

Soon he began to hear sounds. It was the wind he determined, for it just
couldn't be...

"Okay, you can open them!"

Opening his eyes, Tom's face broke into a huge grin. Before the pair,
weaving around a few large boulders which provided some protection from the
suns' rays, was a wide, clear, blue stream.

"Where'd you find this?" Tom asked. He placed his package on the ground and
dropped to his knees near the stream's edge so he could touch the water with
his outstretched hand. He was happy to discover that the water--unlike most
of Palmat--was delightfully cool to the touch.

B'Elanna placed her bag on the ground as well and joined him. She was
thrilled to see how happy he was. "Actually, it was quite by accident. I
was out looking for sources of raw dilithium for my ship when I stumbled
across this stream. I'm really glad that you like it."

"Oh, I do. Very much."

"I thought we could have a little picnic here," B'Elanna explained.
Reaching into the bag, she withdrew a piece of cloth which she unfolded and
spread on the ground.

"Sounds wonderful, what can I do?"

"Well while I prepare the food, you could open the wine." she took a square
bottle from the satchel and passed it to Tom along with a bottle opener.

"Sure. No problem."

While the pilot worked on opening the wine bottle, B'Elanna took out the
food she had purchased--some fruit, cheese, and several small loaves of a
dark bread, as well as a pair of long-stemmed wineglasses that had been
carefully wrapped in strips of cloth.

With a pop, Tom opened the bottle. Sitting down beside her, he began
filling the glasses. Placing the bottle down, he passed one of the
wineglasses to B'Elanna and picked up the second for himself.

Taking the glass, B'Elanna smiled up at the pilot from her seated position.
She then brought it to her lips.

"Wait a minute, B'Elanna," Tom called out. "I think this calls for a

"A toast?"

"Yes." Tom shut his eyes momentarily, while he thought of the right words
to say that would reflect his feelings for his companion. Satisfied he
opened them. Clearing his throat and raising his glass he began. "To
B'Elanna, to the diamond in the rough I found on a wayward planet in the
middle of nowhere. I hope that we're always able to find each other."
Extending his arm, he clinked his glass with hers. "Your turn."

"My turn?"

Tom nodded.

B'Elanna pulled her glass towards her and fingered the rim with her index
finger, contemplating what to say. Finally, she held her glass up, the
suns' rays shone through the rose-colored liquid. "To Tom," she began and
smiled at him warmly before she continued. "Just a short while ago, he
entered my life and my world and made me shine with a happiness I haven't
felt in a long time."

Tom's lips curled upwards--not only at the compliment, but at the fact that
B'Elanna felt sure enough of herself and him to voice her thoughts.

"I hope we never lose touch with each other for..." She paused briefly and
swallowed down a lump in her throat. "...for if I lost you, I would be
losing my one true friend. I treasure our friendship." She reached out and
touched her glass with his. Bringing their glasses to their lips they drank
the alien wine, sealing the toast.

"That was lovely," he murmured, placing the glass down on the ground.
Leaning forward he cupped the back of her head with his hand. Pulling her
toward him, he brushed his lips against hers. Retreating slightly, he
looked into her deep soulful brown eyes and saw the sincerity that existed
within her. He kissed her one more time, tasting the wine on her lips, but
as far as Tom was concerned B'Elanna lips were sweeter. He then settled
back to his seated position. "Very nice," he declared. "Not too sweet or too
dry. It's a perfect selection." {Am I referring to the wine or the woman?
Maybe both}

B'Elanna drank again before she replied. "Actually, it was the only wine
they had that was within my price range that wasn't made from fermented

Tom laughed until his eyes watered. Wiping away the moisture he raised his
glass in her honor. "B'Elanna, that's one thing I love about you is your
honesty. I salute you." He raised his glass in her honor and drank again.

{Love? Figure of speech right?} B'Elanna smiled.

Paris could tell that she was uncomfortable with the compliment.

Time for a change of topic. "Cheese?" she asked. "Maybe with a slice of

He nodded and accepted the cheese and bread from her. "Tell me more about
yourself, B'Elanna."

B'Elanna nibbled on a small piece of cheese that she had wrapped in a slice
of the dark bread. She looked up at him. "Me? I've already told you about
me. I think it's your turn. Tell me how did you wind up in the Maquis?"

Tom leaned back on his elbows and picked at the bread popping little pieces
into his mouth. Lifting his gaze he saw that she was waiting for a
response. Should he tell her? If he did, how much should he say? Would
she judge him as dishonorable?

Leaning forward, B'Elanna covered his hand with her free hand and squeezed.

Reassured, Tom took another drink of his wine and then a large breath.
"Well, it's a long story, B'Elanna. You might be bored."

Picking up her wineglass, B'Elanna moved to the pilot's side. "I don't think
you could ever bore me. So tell me...please?"

Tom cleared his throat nervously. "Well it's like this, in a nutshell, I
graduated from the Academy, got too cocky one day after graduation and me
and three of my friends crashed into a little planet called Caldik Prime. I
survived, they didn't. I blamed them at first before my conscious got the
better of me and I finally admitted it was my fault--pilot error," Tom
laughed humorlessly and took a large gulp of his wine before he continued.
"So Starfleet cashiered me out of the service, and while I was roaming the
galaxy I wound up in one stink-hole of a prison. It was there on a dust
ball of a plant, a lot like this one, that my good captain found me and made
me an offer I couldn't refuse. Next thing I know I'm here." Tilting his
glass he drained the contents. Passing the glass to B'Elanna he moved to get

B'Elanna put the glass down beside her and gripped Tom Paris by his shirt
sleeve and pulled him back down.

"Where do you think you're going?" she asked.

He turned to her, his eyes devoid of any happiness. "I just told you how
dishonest I was, I can't believe you'd want me around any more. There is
nothing honorable in what I've done, B'Elanna. You should just let me go,
before we get any more involved."

"Just because I'm half-Klingon do you think my life has been all honorable?
Just because I have Klingon blood flowing through my veins doesn't mean that
I behave like a traditional full-blooded Klingon!" B'Elanna struck her chest
with her fist. "I'm a full- blooded woman above all else, Tom Paris. What
happened in your past doesn't matter to me. What matters is the man I have
come to know these last few weeks. I respect you, Tom; and I have come to
care for you a great deal." {Could what I feel be love? Can it happen this

Tom turned away, focusing on the stream. "You don't know what you are
saying, B'Elanna. You don't know what I've..." He stopped as the words
choked him. Above all else he didn't want to hurt this woman, a woman that
had come to mean more to him that he ever could have imagined when he had
first saw her at the bar. His stomach twisted at the thought that if she
knew all there was about him, he'd never see her again. {Is this what it
feels to fall in love? Could that have finally happened to me? I didn't
think it was possible.} Something deep inside me told him to take a chance.

"Well if you want to hear it, make yourself comfortable. And pour me
another glass of wine, my throat's apt to get dry with all this talking."

Tom sat down against one of the boulders. Seating herself beside him, legs
tucked underneath her, B'Elanna waited for the story to begin.

* * * * * *

"So that's when you returned to Earth?" B'Elanna asked. Tom, who by now had
shifted his position and now lay with his head on B'Elanna's lap, nodded.

Tom had already explained his trying time growing up with his father
scripting his every move. He'd even told her about the horrific accident
that had resulted in the deaths of three of his friends, and his subsequent
flight away from the scene and the truth. He hadn't expected the words to
come to his lips so easily, but he found it easy and comforting talking to
B'Elanna. He trusted her.

Looking down into the pilot's blue eyes they seemed focused on events that
had happened years ago and light-years away. B'Elanna brushed his hair away
from his forehead with her left hand, while her right clutched his right
hand for support. "Then what happened?"

"I went to Starfleet and told them what had really happened. I explained
that the accident was due to my inattention, that I couldn't live with the
knowledge I was responsible for their deaths." He focused again on her
searching for understanding and by the look on her face he knew he had found
it. "I told them everything. How I was imagining that this practice run
was actually a battle in space. How I pulled up at the last minute to avoid
impacting with the planet, and how my friends didn't have a chance to save
themselves. I-I still remember it all-- every explosion, every stomach
twisting moment." His voice choked. Reassuringly, B'Elanna squeezed his
hand. "There-there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of them,
B'Elanna." Blue locked with brown, B'Elanna could see the look of despair
that was expressed in their ocean depths.

"I believe you, Tom. It must have been just horrible."

He nodded and saw that B'Elanna didn't look reviled at what he had told her.
"If I had known you then, it wouldn't have been so bad. It would have been
easier for me, but ..." Tom paused and swallowed. " wasn't meant to be
easy. I deserved it all."

B'Elanna squeezed his hand again.

"After the court martial, I went back to Marseilles for a while. You know
that bar called Sandrine's I told you about earlier?"

"The one where you hustled pool and the bartender who took a liking to you?"

"Yeah, well I was there for a few weeks when I decided to try my luck away
from Earth. I hitched a ride on a transport ship that was headed for Vulcan
space. It sounded interesting, until the ship developed problems and we
ended up on a small planet. While I was trying to get some parts for the

"Get some parts?" B'Elanna questioned.

"Ok, steal some parts." She knew him too well already. "I got caught and
thrown into their rehabilitation center."


"Ah, prison," Tom corrected. "Quite a lovely place, a room with lots of
friends and all the rats you could eat--a home away from home. Then one day,
Liberty's good captain showed up. Apparently, someone from the transport
ship had told him that I was in jail. With the Maquis being desperate for
good pilots, the Captain didn't waste any time trying to bail me out. I was
a mess. I would have done almost anything to get out of that pit. All I
had to do was to promise to serve with the Maquis for two years." Paris
fought back memories of the fights, of competing with the others for what
rotting food they were given, and when no food was passed out he and the
others hunted for rats to gut and eat.

B'Elanna saw the bright blue eyes cloud over again with unpleasant memories.
"How much longer do you have to serve on the Liberty?"

Focusing again on her, chased away the waking nightmare. "About ten more
months. Then I'll have to make a decision--stay with the Maquis, or strike
out on my own."

"If it would get me off this planet, maybe I should join the Maquis? I'm
sure they could use a good engineer." {It also would let me stay close to

Tom pushed himself up and looked her square in the face. "No, B'Elanna.
It's not that I don't want you with me--believe me I do, but I don't want
you embroiled in the Maquis battles," he adamantly replied. "Palmat may be
a hole, but it's a safe hole. It's certainly better than winding up in one
of those rotten Cardassian prison camps." He shook that terrible thought
away. "I've heard terrible stories. I don't know what I would do if I
found out that..."

B'Elanna placed two fingers over his trembling lips to silence him. "Okay,"
she replied, "you convinced me. I won't run to the Maquis." She would have
said anything at the moment, to prevent him from looking so concerned for
her safety.

"I'll come back for you, B'Elanna," he promised when she removed her
fingers. "When my commitment is finished, I'll come back to Palmat. I'll
come back to you." {Where had that come from? What was he saying?}

B'Elanna looked stunned hearing his vow. "Tom," she whispered in awe not
knowing what else to say.

"Will you wait for me? If I come back, will you be here?"

She didn't know how to respond. She didn't know what it was he was actually
saying, or even if he knew what words were passing through his lips.

"I don't know what the future holds, B'Elanna. But something in my gut
tells me that my future and yours are..." He sought for the right word,
entangling his fingers through hers. "...meshed together. I can't believe
that we have found each other, only never to be reunited again. Trust in
fate." Ernest blue eyes examined her intently.

The words spoke truth to her heart and B'Elanna nodded. "I'll wait for you,
Tom Paris. When you are finished serving with the Maquis, I'll be here
waiting here for you to come back to me.

"Good." He visibly relaxed and B'Elanna smiled. It lightened his mood.
"Where were we?"

"Now about to tell me about your time with the Maquis?"

"Ah, yes. There's a lot to tell, but I think I'll save those stories for
another time. You really don't want to hear about how I out flew the
Cardies, do you?" he replied very nonchalantly.

With a shove B'Elanna pushed him off her lap. "Tom Paris, you're a tease!"
she yelled.

Laughing Tom pushed himself up on his elbows and faced her. "It's too hot
to talk, B'Elanna. We shouldn't let all this water go to waste. It's just
crying out for someone to swim in it."

"I don't know about you, Flyboy, but I didn't bring my swimsuit!"

Tom stood up and began pulling off his shirt to reveal a muscular chest
torso garnished with ginger-colored chest hair. B'Elanna's breath caught in
her throat at the sight. he was lean and muscular, she observed with
pleasure, but not that overly bulky shape that most Klingon men tried to

"You do have undergarments on don't you, B'Elanna?" Tom asked as he
unfastened his trousers.

"Um..." Words failed her when she saw him slip his slacks over his hips and
reveal his long legs and a pair of navy blue briefs.

"B'Elanna, we are both adults, and it's too damn hot not to enjoy this
moment." Tom stood before her, hands on his hips daring her not to join
him. "Are you going swimming with me or not?"

In reply to his challenge B'Elanna pulled off her top and slid out of her
shorts to reveal a matching black bra and panties, along with a well toned
and tanned body. Tom's mouth went dry and his palms began to sweat at the
sight he saw before him. To him she was perfect not only in character and
personality, but I also in physical appearance. B'Elanna Torres was a
compact bundle of feminine curves and athletic suppleness. From her full
breasts to the muscles that formed her shapely legs, Tom Paris, thought that
he must have died and gone to heaven. Or was it Sto-Vo-Kor? His erotic
thoughts were soon interrupted.

"Last one in is a grumpy Vulcan!" B'Elanna called out playfully and started
to sprint to the spring. Tom caught unaware, was soon left literally in the

Upon reaching the stream's edge B'Elanna launched herself into the air and
plunged into the cool water. Feeling a surge of water push up against her
she knew that Paris had, without hesitation, followed her in.

Diving deep, Tom swam underneath B'Elanna. With his eyes open under the
delightfully refreshing water, he spied a vision equally, if not more,
refreshing. Above him she swam, silhouetted against the sun rays which
penetrated through the water above. Her dark hair flowed behind her, her
tresses swirling with the movement of the water. Propelled along
effortlessly with her athletic body, she swam through the deep stream.

Rising beneath her, Tom placed his hands firmly around her waist and rose
towards the surface, his legs scissoring under him until he lifted her out
of the water. Surfacing below her, he inhaled deeply, enriching his lungs
with fresh oxygen before falling back into the water and pulling B'Elanna
along with him.

Feeling his hands clasped around her, B'Elanna was at first surprised and in
the next moment elated as Tom pushed her out of the water. Breaking the
surface, the half-Klingon breathed deeply before she joined him once again
under the surface.

Paris pulled B'Elanna's lithe body towards him under the water until finally
she was enveloped within the circle of his arms. Right where she belongs he
thought. He could see B'Elanna's laughing eyes as she focused on him, and
he knew that his face reflected the same joy she felt. Propelling her over
to where they had originally dove in, Tom found a perch on a shelf that
skirted the stream. Still holding her tightly, he stood up bringing both
their heads up out of the water.

"Tom Paris you're crazy!"

"Is that a complaint?" he asked, one eyebrow raised in mock disbelief.

In response, she kissed him boldly on his mouth. Tom could hear a soft
growl that emanated from B'Elanna's throat. It excited him and urged him
on. Pressing back toward her, he pressed her body up against the edge of
the stream and attacked her mouth. First nibbling on her lower lip before
he plunged his tongue into her mouth.

With hands encircling the pilot's waist, B'Elanna enjoyed the feeling of his
flesh as he continued to plunder her mouth.

Trailing away from the full lips, Tom worked his way across her cheek, and
down her sensitive neck until he reached her shoulders. Feeling her
inquisitive hands explore his back, he pushed aside her bra strap and kissed
and licked the flesh underneath.

Instinct drove B'Elanna on, she wanted this man like she had no other
before. Lowering her hands, she slid them under the waist band of Tom's

Feeling B'Elanna's hands beneath the material of his shorts surprised the
pilot at first, but he soon realized the implication of her actions.

"B'Elanna, if we don't stop now, there may be no going back," he warned.

{Let's see, I received my birth control booster shot two years ago. Didn't
I? Just before I left the Academy? Yeah, that sounds right. Should be
good for another three or four months.}

{Starfleet--yeah, just before I was cashiered. That's when I got my last
booster. I'm protected for another few months.}

Reaching down further, B'Elanna clasped his buttocks with her hands and
squeezed, pulling him toward her. His growing erection pressed against her.

Actions did indeed speak louder than words, Tom mused.

Deftly he removed her bra and flung it on the shore, her panties soon

Following his lead, she tugged at his briefs, pushing them down his legs
until he was able to step out of them. What followed was a frenzy of
passion. Both lovers wanted to show how much pleasure they were capable of
giving the other. Like a wild tiger B'Elanna growled encouraging the pilot
on to excite her more. With guttural cries of his own, the pilot sang his
song of fulfillment.

* * * *

Afterwards lying unashamedly nude in the shade of one of the boulders,
B'Elanna reflected on what had occurred in the water. With her head
pillowed on the sleeping pilot's shoulder, B'Elanna lazily ran her fingers
through his still damp chest hair.

A smile tugged at her lips as she recalled Tom's words to her. Warning her
that they still had time to stop if she wanted to. Her reply had been to
simply curl her legs around his waist and join with him. His eyes had
opened wide in both surprise and pleasure as she impaled herself on his

What had followed had been amazing--amazing and loud. Both had cried out as
they climaxed; him loud and primeval, and her a loud growl that emanated
deep within her body.

Trini had once told her when both partners experience their peak of passion
at the same time it was a sign of sexual compatibility. If that was true,
B'Elanna mused, then she and Tom Paris were *extremely* compatible. And if
the Klingon traditions were to be believed, the bite that she had given him
on his cheek just before the moment of release meant that the two of them
were more that just two people in need of sexual satisfaction. According to
Klingon tradition, they were mated. She'd have no other mate as long as she
lived. But that was something she wasn't going to reveal to him. With a
light touch she traced the crescent mark her teeth had made in his skin,
careful not to wake him. B'Elanna Torres wasn't going to be the one to tie
this pilot down, she vowed, she'd wait until he made that decision. The
half-Klingon grinned at the thought and drifted off to sleep.

In his dreams, Tom Paris relived their union in the stream. He recalled how
he'd been amazed when B'Elanna took the initiative to become one with him.
Rocking against her, she had met each thrust with her own. When he neared
his release he tottered on the edge of ecstasy, and when his lover
punctuated her own pending climax with a bite on his shoulder, his toppled
over into exquisite fulfillment. His ecstasy of their union shook him to the
core of his soul, and he knew that he had found the woman of his dreams. A
woman that he could carve a future with, if fate would allow. Smiling in
his sleep, his arms tightened around B'Elanna.