The Power of Love: Missed Chances
By Erin Alpert

"Erica, is that really Tom?" Kim whispered.
"I think so," she replied.
"Tom!" Harry called.
Paris looked up, smiled, and came to see them.
"What are you doing here?" Erica questioned.
"I came to see B'Elanna, and to tell her I got an assignment on Deep Space Nine, from Starfleet."
"You did? That's great!" Kim was ecstatic.
"Yeah, now, let's go tell 'Lanna. Where is she?"
Erica and Harry exchanged worried glances, and Paris knew something was wrong.
The shuttle was crowded, and was broing enough to drive anyone insane. Torres looked from side to side, desprate for someone to talk to. To her left sat a middle-aged man. Grey hair, slight wrinkles, but not over 65, human years.
"Hello," Torres said.
"Hi," the reply was dry.
"I'm B'Elanna," she needed to talk to someone.
"My name is Mark."
"Mark?" she nearly choked out, * Mark? Wasn't that Kathryn's old boyfriend? *
"Yeah. You have a problem with that?"
"No. I'm sorry, I had, I have a friend, who had a boyfriend named Mark, but that was seven years ago, it couldn't be you."
"Oh, that's weird, I had a girlfriend who, seven years ago, dissapeared, on Voyager."
"Yeah, it's a ship that got lost in the Badlands seven years ago. I thought everyone knew about it."
"Oh, I don't only know about it, I was on it!"
"Then you probably know her."
"Who was she?"
"Captain Janeway."
And not a single word was spoken for the rest of the trip.

"She what?" Tom exclaimed.
"I told you, she went to go see if she could find you on Earth," Kim explained for the second time.
"But Earth is huge, she'd never find me!"
"I guess, she believed in the power of love," Erica noted.
"I guess so."

It felt weird to be on Earth again. Torres never really imagined she'd come home. Home? What did that word really mean? Is home where you used to live? Or is it where you want to be? With who you want to be with? Torres had always thought of the Alpha Quadrent as home, but then again, she had always thought Tom would be there with her. She probably would have missed a lot had Janeway not destroyed the array. She would have probably been captured by Starfleet sucuriety. But, most importantly, she never would have met Tom. That would
have been terrible. And Chakotay would have never fallen in love with Kathryn, another tradgic thing.

Starfleet hadn't changed much since she last saw it. But, now, it was late, and B'Elanna was devoted to seeing Tom tonight. There was a woman at the front desk, like a secretary.
"Hello, how may I help you?" she asked.
"Well, i'd like to see Tom Paris," Torres attempted to be calm, yett a little excitement seeped through, but that soon faded.
"I'm sorry Miss, he isn't here."
"What!? Where is he?"
"I'm sorry Miss, that informatuion requirs further sucuriety clearnce."
"Well, can I at least have a shuttle back to DS9?"
"I'm sorry Miss, the last shuttle left ten minutes ago, you need to find a place to stay for tonight."
It only took Torres a moment to figure out who she would stay with.... someone she hadn't seen in a long time.....

Quark's was a good place to sulk, as Tom soon found out.
"Hello. Mind if I join you?" the voice was female, one Paris barely knew, "Yeah, whatever," he didn't look up to see her.
"You're new on the station, right?" she asked.
"Yeah," he was still staring at the table.
"Well, welcome aboard. I'm Commander Dax. And you might be?"
"Tom Paris."
"Well, Tom Paris, I'd say you are a little sad or troubled by... something."
"Good guess.... hhow'd you know?"
"Well, you haven't looked up from the table since I came."
Tom looked up, Dax, Jadzia, if he remembered correctly, was very beautiful, but didn't compare to B'Elanna at all.
"You have that look in your eye."
"What look?" Tom was a little nervous now.
"You miss someone, who is she?" She waited for an answer, but only got silence, "that's the same look Sisko says I get when Worf leaves."
Paris's ears perked up, "Worf? That's a Klingon name? Right?"
"Yeah, first Klingon in Starfleet. Why?"
"'Lanna went to Starfleet Acadamy for two years."
"Oh. Who is she, and what does this have to do with the first Klingon in Starfleet?"
"Huh? Oh... yeah.. B'Elanna, she's my....." Paris paused, he couldn't think of the right word, but Dax got the picture.
"B'Elanna, that's a Klingon name."
"I know."
"Some how, I can't picture you and any Klingon."
"'Lanna, she's only half Klingon."
"Oh. That makes more sense. Now tell me, why do you have that look in your eye?"
"She's gone."
"Gone? Where?"
"She thought I was there, and I was, but I came back here, because she was here, but by the time I came back, she had left."
"Ouch, sounds like trouble. Well, just stay here, she'll come back eventually."
"I hope so."
Dax looked aroundm then quickly noted, "Oh, gods, i'm late, see you around."
Paris held up a hand as if saying, * good-bye, but i'm too busy to talk right now. *
And he was, he kept hoping she was right.

):+) <== Ro Laren (cool hair, huh?)

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