Being alone
~ Amy ~


During "Once upon a time"

Disclaimer- Paramount owns all. I have nothing witty to say so I'll leave it at that...

"Stay here with the Doctor, Naomi, botany is very interesting.." Neelix smiled at the disbelieving frown on Voyager's youngest crew member. 

" Uh-huh." She looked disdainfully at the small holoprojector the holo-doc sometimes used for slides. Suddenly she looked up at Neelix, hope gleaming in her small eyes, 

" After this can we go to the Holodeck?" She clasped her hands in front of her, anxious for the answer. 

" Sure, I'd love too. Have fun Naomi!" Neelix patted her head and exited through the large, gray door. As soon as the doors whisked behind him his shoulders sagged and his smile disappeared. Naomi Wildman, his goddaughter, was about to lose her mother, and she had no idea. He wanted to tell her but what was he supposed to say?? 

*Sorry Naomi but your Mommy is buried under 50 kilotons of rock and we can't dig her out.* 

That wasn't acceptable. He still was holding out hope that Janeway would get that shuttle out and spare him the pain of telling that precious little girl she had lost her only parent. He turned, a frown marring the usual cheery face, and directed himself towards engineering, hoping against hope that they had found them. 

When the doors to engineering parted Neelix was drawn into the dim, pulsing lights and flurry of activity. He quickly heard the loud and commanding voice of the chief engineer. Normally it was a bit too controlling for Neelix but today it reassured him, making him realize that the best of the best were looking for Naomi's mother. He approached B'Elanna as she punched in some odd command into a bulkhead. She looked tired, drawn. However she looked up as he approached and attempted a small smile. 

" Neelix, what a surprise. How can I help you?" B'Elanna motioned for him to come up to the elevated level she was on. 

" Actually Lieutenant I was wondering if you've located the shuttle." Neelix crossed his fingers behind his back, something he had learned from Tom Paris on some seemingly doomed away mission. 

" Sorry Neelix, " B'Elanna gave a deep sigh, " We're trying as best we can." Neelix's face fell. B'Elanna went on, 

" How's Naomi taking it??" The engineer looked up, genuine concern in her dark orbs. 

" Um," Neelix paused. " She doesn't know yet." 

" Doesn't know? Why in hell not?" B'Elanna's brow creased. 

" Because Lt. I don't think its best to tell her yet, I'm still hoping for a happy ending." His tone was curt and abrasive, something most people wouldn't dare use with the half-klingon.

" Why not? That's rather selfish Neelix, not telling a child where her mother is. I know I would have wanted to know." 

" Well Ms. Torres you're not her, nor are you her guardian. And I am not being selfish! When you were her age you didn't have to know how it was to be alone, have to deal with the prospect of losing your only parent!" Neelix self-righteous speech reached the far corners of engineering and the rest of the crew scattered, afraid of her response. Neelix, noticing this, suddenly shrunk back. Whatever had possessed him to say that? When B'Elanna finally raised her eyes from the console they were slightly wet, not close to tears but she was obviously upset. Neelix had never felt so stupid. 

" You know what Neelix? You're right, I never did face her situation of losing a dear, loving parent. I never had one." Neelix's eyes narrowed, he knew little on B'Elanna's past. 

" What do you mean?" <[? " What I said. I never had a real parent Neelix. When I was Naomi's age my father had walked out and my mother had begun the beatings that sent me through years of emotional and physical trauma. I never did face the thought that my mother would leave me, she already had, if not physically then emotionally. She hated me Neelix." She paused and took a breath, giving Neelix a chance to absorb these horrendous details of her youth. " No Neelix, I never thought my mother would die, I was afraid she'd kill me. And about being alone Neelix, yes, I do understand that very well. I've been alone my whole life. I raised myself Neelix, " She let out a bitter chuckle, " Maybe that's why I turned out so screwed up. Once my teacher in kindergarten mentioned love in class I went up and asked what that meant. I had never heard it before. " Her eyes grew more and more mistier, had it been anyone else he would have been sure she was about to cry.

" I'm sorry B'Elanna, I didn't mean..." he was cut off, 

" I want to find them as much as you do Neelix. Believe it or not I have someone down there that I love. More than anything else. Someone I know loves me back. I'm trying Neelix, as hard as I can." Her voice began to waver, 

" But Neelix if your happy ending doesn't happen I guarantee you that Naomi will be ok. Not at first, that would be way too much to ask, but if you're there; if we're all there; for her she'll get better. Neelix, we all love her, support her, and adore her. She has something I never did, a supportive family that will always be here. Hold her as she cries Neelix; be there when she down and all will work out. We can't ever replace her mother but she's going to need you to be strong." B'Elanna's voice finally gave and she covered her mouth. Neelix was silent as she recovered her control, 

" Now I have to beam down to search; remember what I said." With that she left, calling for the alpha team to follow her, already shouting orders. After she left and engineering was back to the quiet, dim buzz of activity Neelix hung his head, turned, and walked out.

Not the greatest ending but it'll do. Te Gusta?? You like?? Email me with any comments please!