Tommy's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day, by Brenda S. Antrim. (c) 1995, all rights not retained by Paramount retained by the author. Paramount owns the universe but the fantasy is mine ... which is a good thing, since I'm broke and if they sued all they'd get would be debts. Now, as to the nasty rotten day our Lad's been having ...
He should've known. The beeper didn't go off. He hadn't slept real well, and when he finally did doze off he was right in the middle of a doozy of a dream having something to do with a Bajoran femme fatal in a long silk gown and an Orion slavegirl on a very short leash when Chakotay suddenly showed up and grabbed him by the ear. He woke up with a start to realize he was almost a half hour late waking up.
Then, the 'fresher sort of burped at him, and the one lousy replicator ration he allowed himself, to start the day with a truly necessary cup of strong black coffee, handed him ... grapefruit juice. He hated grapefruit juice. Not enough sugar to mask the taste, and not a drop of caffeine to jumpstart his nervous system. Ick.
Then his hair. True, he had a rampant case of bedhead, but that was normal in the morning. It usually worked it's way out by the time he got through in the 'fresher, but that morning, the 'fresher hadn't cooperated. And neither had his hair. He'd tried ruthlessly taming it with a brush, and when that didn't work he grabbed the mousse to glue the stuff down. Except, well, he hadn't had his coffee, and by the time he realized he was spreading hand lotion in his hair, it was ... a little too late. He'd toweled as much of the glop off as he could, then gave up and stuck his head under the faucet. So now it was standing at attention in little tufts all over his head. And there wasn't a bloody thing he could do about it unless he wanted to be late for his shift, which he really, really didn't want to be.
The turbolift glitched. Did B'Elanna really HAVE to run the diagnostics right when he was trying to take a shortcut? Sure, the aft turbolift wasn't often used, but that was why he used it ... didn't want to have to wait for it to stop at all those other levels ... so he was late after all. And the Captain's censuring look would have been okay, but then she saw his hair... and he liked her smile. He really did. Just not under these circumstances.
He'd managed to make it nearly two hours into his shift when the snickering started to get to him. Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer and stalked over to Harry to find out what was going on. The kid could never hold out on him. And he didn't this time.
Great. Shirt was on inside out. And there was hand lotion on his collar.
He was distracted, and the sexy Ensign over on the Nav controls hadn't helped any. He'd been trying to impress her for weeks, had really felt like he was starting to get somewhere, then this happened. It was enough to make an optimist drink. So he sulked, not that he would ever admit to it, and tried to ignore the comments from Chakotay about the odd aroma in the air. He knew he smelled like aloe and mint. And grapefruit, since he had been expecting COFFEE in that cup and when he'd slugged half of it down the instinctive reaction had put the other half all over the counter (and partly on him), and he hadn't had time to change because he'd been running late and the 'fresher...
So when the Captain ordered a complex series of practice maneuvers he just knew what the efficiency ratings would show. Yuck. So now he had a permanent blush to go with the hand lotion and the grapefruit juice. Wow. He hadn't had his ears chewed like that since ... well, a VERY long time.
Finally managed to escape for lunch, after being assigned extra duty hours to "improve his concentration," as his Captain had rather sarcastically informed him. Harry sat next to him out of pity, he just knew it. On days like these he didn't have any friends. Except ... Neelix. Who was all right except ... he thought Tom needed cheering up. And God help anyone Neelix thought needed cheering up because Neelix cheered people up by cooking for them. He managed to keep the smile pasted on until the little Talaxian had bounced back to the kitchen, just knowing it looked more like rictus than a real smile, before the obnoxious smell from the purple, brown and pink mass moving sluggishly across his plate overcame his enforced politeness and he made it to the head just in time to lose what little grapefruit juice he'd managed to keep down. Mercifully, Harry managed to put the tray in the waste recycler before Neelix noticed the problem, but that meant on top of the bad hair day and the fumblefingers at the con and the juice on his chest, he was starving to death and didn't have a ration to his name because he'd lost them to Tuvok the night before. Why had he ever taught a Vulcan to play pool? And who'd've thought he'd turn out to be a pool shark??
The afternoon was survivable, mainly because he kept his head down and his tail covered. Harry did ask him, sotto voce, why he was cowering, but a quick glare sent him back to his console. Just what he needed. Jokes from the kid. The smell of aloe and grapefruit was really getting to him. Finally, finally, his shift was over, and he managed to escape to his quarters. The 'fresher still hadn't been fixed. Guessed it was low on the priority list for B'Elanna ... ha! Sure, the engines were important and they were still trying to fix all of the shuttles that they had left, which was few enough after Chakotay got done with them, not to mention his own not-quite elegant landing with Neelix, but it wasn't HER 'fresher that was broken, or it would've been gotten to sooner than this... So, he decided to borrow Harry's. After all, the kid was out in the holodeck climbing mountains or something, so he wouldn't be bothering anyone. Got in there, got the yicky lotion out of his hair FINALLY, got the last sticky stains of juice off his skin ... and realized he forgot to bring anything to change in to. So he wrapped a towel around his middle and stalked into Harry's bedroom, was going to borrow something and return it when he got back to his own room.
Guess it wasn't mountain climbing after all.
No wonder she hadn't been interested in him. The kid had a prior claim.
So he found himself standing in the corridor holding his stained, sticky clothes, trying to apologize to Harry through the firmly closed door, hair going every direction at once, boots clutched against his chest and a not- nearly-big-enough towel sliding away from his tummy, when the Captain and Chakotay came down the corridor. He dropped his boots. Lost his towel. Muttered a short prayer to whatever Deity was watching that he not lose his grip on the wad of uniform that was the shield to his modesty. And growled, very softly, when he heard the gales of laughter they finally let out after rounding the far corner.
Very Bad day.
After gathering up everything he'd dropped, he clumped as quickly as he could down the corridor and around the corner, trying to ignore the fact that his towel was drooping and he looked like he'd stuck his fingers in an electrical outlet. Finally, finally, he darted into his room and privacy -locked the door behind him. Feeling like an idiot, but determined to do it anyway, he checked under the bed to see what else might be waiting for him, then dropped everything in the middle of the floor and crawled into bed. What a gawdawful day. As he rolled over and snuggled into the blanket, he rolled up against something he hadn't been expecting ... a warm body. Two voices, one tenor and one alto, both strangled with shock, rang out in unison for the lights, and he found himself staring into B'Elanna Torres astonished face. Wrapping the blanket securely around himself, he ignored the rest of his things and ran for the door, forgetting the privacy lock and slamming, hard, directly into the non- opening doors. Sitting flat on his tailbone in the middle of B'Elanna's quarters, he tried to shake the dizziness out of his head and wondered if this day would ever end. This terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day... and thirty minutes later, after Tuvok had been persuaded by a now calm B'Elanna that it had been an accident (he still couldn't believe she had believed him) and he'd been allowed to gather the tattered remains of his dignity around him and limp off to bed, he couldn't quite believe it was finally over.
Terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day.
In the darkness, the 'fresher burped.