Space of Seconds

~ Amy ~

Disclaimer: All Star Trek characters and references belong to Paramount. No questions in my mind of that... The song is by Jennifer Paige and a lovely one at that. 

Rating: PG or maybe G...little kissing, no big deal

And to the story...

Don't mistake the silence 

And take my distance as a sign....

*Will they ever grow up?* B'Elanna Torres watched her two best friends roll with laughter across the table with her customary half smile. She looked down at her empty plate. She hadn't eaten much, settling for a salad over Neelix's attempt at a traditional Vulcan dish. Tuvok hadn't seemed to eat much of Neelix's concoction either. Yet, he had been polite enough to accept the eager Talaxian's attempt to honor Tuvok at his promotion ceremony. Harry had finally stopped his laughter and grinned across at B'Elanna. She gave him a small smile and then looked over at the helmsman who was still red in the face. Tom Paris, the man she nearly died beside in the middle of space, the man she loved, the man that knew she loved him. And the man who obviously didn't return those feelings. They hadn't spoken since she had so bluntly admitted her feelings, seconds before death. 

There's only one heart that's confused 

And it's most likely mine

What was she supposed to say? B'Elanna turned her head away from Janeway's direction, who was relating her story about Tuvok to the room. B'Elanna knew her eyes must look far away and inattentive, better if she pretended to be absorbed in the contours of her plate. Again she thought of how she could remedy the rift between her and Tom, more for the reduction of her growing humiliation. How was she to bring it up? 

*Sorry, Tom, that I told you I loved you....* B'Elanna couldn't think of a way to bring it up that was anyway less awkward and stunted. 

I always make the rules and I change them all the time

She could tell him she didn't mean had been a mistake she had made as she was near death. But that wouldn't work, she decided, she had used that excuse during the pon farr. It would be a lie anyway, she had meant it, with all her heart. Why was this happening!? Then it hit her, it was no wonder, Tom had grown tired of her, just like every time she opened her heart. It was torn apart. B'Elanna's head hung a little at the thought. She had missed her chance. And now she was humiliated and disappointed. She looked up at the clapping of hands. The sight of Janeway pinning on Tuvok's pip made her stand with the rest of the room. She smiled, she clapped, she pretend to forget what was ripping apart her heart as she stood there, in a room of happy people. 

Always stayed a step ahead

Until you looked in my eyes

Then she absently looked across the table into warp core eyes, fastened on her with an intensity that scared her. Her heart stopped at the look of contained passion in them as she felt her breath catch. She was so sure he hadn't returned her feelings, but those eyes...

My thoughts are frozen

Can't ya hear me screaming inside

Her mind whirled and her breathing sped up quickly. She quickly went up to Tuvok and patted him quickly on the back. She managed to mumble a semi-intelligent word of congratulations. She made a quick assessment on the fastest way through the crowd to the exit and immediately took it. Even though she didn't turn to look, she knew Tom was behind her and the dreaded conversation would quickly be taking place.

As you come closer

Don't know where to run this time

She made it out the exit, completely aware of the impending exit of her object of dangerous affection. She felt like panicking, she wasn't used to this absolute terror of what he might say. There was no where to go and before she could even take a deep breath the doors opened and once again her eyes locked with the passion filled blue depths. 

I feel weak, I'm never weak

I always know what to say

She was speechless, totally and completely at his mercy. And she hated the sensation. It was unlike anything she had felt in a long time, if ever. She was never this weak. 

Don't look at me, 

I can't speak

How did you get to me this way?

*How did he get to me like this?!* Her mind screamed, every instinct in her body urging her to run.

" B'Elanna." Her name, she looked up into his eyes, though her heart begged her not to. They were too disarming, wrecked too much chaos on her raw emotions. 

" Tom." She couldn't even begin to think of a more intelligent response. He began to speak again and B'Elanna picked up on the uncertain tone in his voice. It sounded at the same time hopeful and cautious. 

" This is ridiculous.." She unconsciously stopped listening, her mind, so paranoid as it was, tried to convince her he meant her love for him was ridicious. Trying to get her to leave, save her heart from this tangled roller coaster, her barriers, installed in childhood, going up. Then she heard the painful sounding notes in his voice. 

" I know we were seconds away from death, suffering from oxygen deprivation, so you probably didn't mean it." Her head shot up, her eyes again locking with his. This time his eyes were fearful, expectant. She couldn't let this be her scapegoat, she had to be truthful or she would never forgive herself. 

" No," she cleared her throat," I meant it. But I understand if you don't reciprocate those feelings. We can just pretend it never happened." She was babbling, like a blundering idiot. She mentally chastised herself. Yet she looked up into his eyes, her heart on her sleeve, her emotions raw and open. Only a year or two ago she wouldn't have trusted this man with anything, now she was trusting him with her fragile, beaten heart. 

It would be so easy if you made just one mistake

Then I wouldn't feel the way I do

And I'd say its fate

She felt his hands on her arms and her breath again caught in her throat as he pushed her against the wall. 

" Shut up...." The kiss to follow was brief but the most passionate she had had. Her heart seemed to explode with a mixture if relief and passion. Her arms snaked around his neck; his hands found their way to her face. She didn't know what was happening or what it meant. But in her heart, for the first time in a long time she felt whole. 

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