Author’s Note: This takes place a number of months after " Extreme Risk." This is a P/T/K hurt-comfort story, rated NC-17 for some naughty parts. If any of this offends you, or you are underage, please do not read it. (Does that about cover it for everybody?)
Paramount owns it all. Always has, always will. I accept this.
Party of Three
B’Elanna Torres hated bioneural gel-packs.
Well, no, that wasn’t exactly true. She actually liked the gel-packs very much. They were quick and smart, or at least they enabled her ship to be quick and smart.
What she hated was when a gel-pack went stupid, rupturing and spreading itself all over her precious conduits, shorting out systems and being a general pain in the ass until it could be replaced.
And what she hated MOST was that the damned things invariably chose to explode at the most inconvenient times, such as during a party on the holodeck.
Tom and Harry had written a new program, based on a couple of different beaches Harry had visited as a youth. There was a beautiful crystal clear lake with a white sand beach, lots of natural vegetation, woodland birds and small animals, and hiking trails.
There was also music, food, lounge chairs, a volleyball net, a couple of hammocks, and a gazebo furnished with chairs and tables near the water’s edge where folks could sit out of the sun and watch the goings on. A few canoes and rowboats and a floating dock rounded out the scene.
If you closed your eyes and leaned back just so, you could almost believe it was the real thing, it was that well done.
Captain Janeway had decided, after weeks of nothing but the cold vacuum of space, that it had been far too long since the crew had partied together, so she put her ship on automatic pilot and ordered everyone to the holodeck for a little R & R. Since it was pretty much unheard of for the captain to do this, no one hesitated to follow her orders. To the waterfront they went, and everyone was having a great time.
So when the gel-pack blew, hardly an hour into the festivities, it was a major bummer. Not only did it cause the lake to fade, but one canoe simply shimmered right out of existence, leaving its occupants to fall toward the holodeck floor, only to end up soaked and sputtering when the lake made a sudden reappearance.
"Aw, shit," B’Elanna spat, when she heard the two in the canoe shriek and turned her head in time to see them bobbing in the water. She plunked her glass down onto the table and stood. She knew without consulting the computer what had happened.
"Let me go fix this." She was turning to leave, when she felt someone grab her arm.
"B’Elanna, why don’t you let Vorik or Nicoletti handle it? They can change a gel-pack same as you." Tom’s voice held a pleading note she didn’t care for simply because she was still having a hard time believing anyone would want her company as much as he did, even after all this time.
"Tom," she pulled gently, "I’ll only be a second, okay? "
He reluctantly released her arm, knowing she’d go no matter what he said. "Okay. But hurry back."
* * *
One thing that had changed during Voyager’s four-odd years in the Delta Quadrant was the captain’s strict attention to Starfleet protocol. With regard to uniforms, she wasn’t as hard-assed about them as she originally was. Certainly, she did require uniforms be worn while on duty, but after that she wasn’t so tough. She had even conducted one or two staff meetings out of uniform herself, since they had been held at times other than during her own scheduled shift.
She also no longer required a person don a uniform if they were called unexpectedly to duty.
Thus was the reason B’Elanna Torres was climbing a ladder in a vertical Jefferies tube, a fresh gel-pack swinging from her teeth, tools to make the repair gripped in one hand – dressed in a one-piece ruby swimsuit and nothing else.
The repair was routine, something she had done plenty of times before, so she was not paying a bit of attention to the task at hand, that of climbing the ladder. Ascending at a steady pace, she was instead thinking about getting back to the party, listening to the gentle sound of the tiny bells on the ankle bracelet Harry had given her. The exact placement of her bare feet was not even close to the forefront of her mind.
When she lost contact with the ladder and began to fall, all she heard was tiny bells.
* * *
"Tom, Harry, where is B’Elanna?" Kathryn Janeway’s voice held only curiosity as to the location of her chief engineer. Tom, Harry, and B’Elanna had, as of late, been joined at the hips. Seeing the two men without her seemed strange.
"We were just wondering that ourselves, Captain," Harry answered politely. "She went to---" Tom smoothly took up the conversation, another thing they had been doing lately—sharing thoughts.
"---replace the gel-pack that’s probably causing this." He waved his arm absently at the flickering sunlight and missing lake. " But, you know, that was over a half hour ago, and the lake is still missing." He turned a worried look to Harry. "She never made it to the repair site."
Harry was on his feet before Tom finished the sentence. Tom tapped his commbadge twice lightly and then spoke her first name—a personal page. No response.
"She’s not answering, Harry. Let’s go." He slapped his badge in the normal manner to hail the computer.
"Computer, location of B’Elanna Torres."
:::B’Elanna Torres is in Jefferies tube 24, on platform seven.:::
They were out the exit before Janeway could say another word.
* * *
B’Elanna rose to consciousness with great effort, as if she were being dragged to awareness from someplace very, very deep. She opened her eyes and quickly closed them as a wave of nausea swept over her. Heart pumping, she swallowed hard, kept her eyes shut, and began an assessment of her situation.
Where am I? What happened?
Okay. She took a tentative breath, feeling pain catch in her throat, and remembered all at once what happened, thus answering her first question. She had fallen a fair distance from the ladder in the Jefferies tube on her way to replace a gel-pack. She was sprawled on her back but it did not feel as though she had hurt her back necessarily. That she had been injured somewhere was certain and she figured it was pretty bad, since she was drenched in sweat and her stomachs were threatening to give up the party food she had just eaten. She was a little afraid to open her eyes again for fear her stomachs would carry out their threat. No matter. She had to see what was wrong.
Carefully, she lifted her eyelids. Whoa, no good. The nausea flared victorious and she gagged, turning her head in time to avoid choking. Although it was nasty, she actually felt a little better. She shifted her head from the mess and tried to sit up.
The pain struck her like a Klingon knife to her spine, but the nausea did not return, so she ignored the pain and continued to try to sit up. Halfway there she froze, staring at her left leg in horror, thankful her stomachs had emptied themselves already. She fought the dry heaves, and felt the chill of adrenaline surge through her.
Her left leg was broken below the knee. Not merely broken, but splintered, twisted, a piece of bone sticking well out of torn skin, her foot bent opposite the way nature intended. Blood was everywhere and she could see it still escaping her.
Though she could still clearly remember the months she had spent trying very hard to hurt herself on the holodeck, that kind of behavior was no longer on her personal agenda. She had no desire whatsoever to be alone and injured in the bowels of Voyager.
Fighting a rising panic, she searched the tiny space for her commbadge, which had come off her swimsuit during her descent. Instead of the commbadge, her eyes fell on the gel-pack and she gagged reflexively.
The pack had torn just as severely as the skin on her leg, its guts mixing with her blood, creating a viscous swirling puddle of dark and light. The Fates, unwilling to provide her any sort of respite, then directed her eyes to something she couldn’t identify at first, but when it came to her, her empty stomachs lurched violently and her vision swam.
It was the diminutive bracelet, still fastened around her ankle.
That was it. That was all her brain cared to assess. She collapsed, unconscious before her head hit the platform.
* * *
"Oh my god. B’Elanna?" Tom’s voice, rising, edged with panic, from a distance.
She stirred, consciousness finding her once again deep inside herself, pleading with her to come awake. No, no. She only wished to be left alone, relatively pain free, to sleep. She could hear a pinging sound and recognized it as footfalls on ladder rungs.
Ladder rungs? Blackness surrounded her again.
"B’Elanna!" Tom cried again, closer, a little more forcefully. "Jesus Christ, Harry, look at her! We’ve got to get her to Sickbay, have to call the captain." He was turning in circles, fighting panic, trying to think what to do next, all the Holodoc’s field medic training going right out the airlock.
"Easy, Tom, easy." Harry, trying to be both paramedic and comforter, did not waste time looking at Tom, but knelt beside B’Elanna. For whatever reason, he was not panicked. At least not now, not yet. He did not see any sign of B’Elanna’s commbadge, so he yanked off his own, squeezed it none too gently and gingerly placed it on B’Elanna.
"Kim to the Doc."
:::Mr. Kim, are you all right?:::
"No. Yes. Beh---." He swallowed hard and tried again. "B’Elanna---she’s not. She---she---was going to replace a gel-pack in Jefferies tube 24 and she must have fallen. She’s unconscious and her leg’s badly broken and it looks like she’s lost a lot of blood and I think she threw up and she’s got no color, Doc, none, and I guess she’s in shock and it looks---it looks real bad, Doc. Bad."
Tom had come to his senses enough to report to the captain, who said she would meet them in Sickbay. He came to kneel down at B’Elanna’s left side. He was rocking, mumbling her name, running his hand over the soft ridges on her forehead, into her hair, begging her to hear him.
Thankfully, accidents of this nature did not happen very often within a starship environment, but when they did, shock was usually quick to overwhelm those involved.
The Doctor knew all three of them were in trouble, knew he had to get them out of there quickly and safely, before the panic simmering in Tom and Harry reached its boiling point. Deleting every inflection from his vocal subroutine, he attempted to make himself sound as "holographic" as possible.
Though the Doctor did not realize it, he did not sound much different than any human doctor might have sounded when trying to keep an already bad situation from becoming worse.
:::Has the bleeding stopped?:::
Harry cast his eyes to Tom, who looked down at B’Elanna’s leg, looked back, and shook his head.
:::All right. I’m going to initiate a site-to-site transport to Sickbay for all of you. Just sit tight and wait for it, okay?:::
* * *
Consciousness found B’Elanna without having to dig so deeply this time. She began to surface, remembering dreams, or at least what she thought were dreams. Dreams filled with a lot of hurried, focused, activity, the sound of clattering tools or something, hushed voices, deadly serious tones, skilled hands touching her.
She thought she heard Harry and Tom and the Holodoc, but they were far away and she could not understand what they were saying. She wanted to sit up, to see what was going on, but for some reason the captain would not let her rise to a sitting position. She could hear Janeway clearly, saying, "No, B’Elanna, no. Lie still now."
But she had to sit up.
She snapped awake, opening her eyes to a world of excruciatingly bright light. A gurgling sound escaped her as she reared up from the biobed.
Strong arms immediately grabbed her, held her securely, kept her from moving even a centimeter further.
"Lieutenant Torres, that is not advisable." She continued to struggle. The Doctor raised his voice. "Lieutenant, can you hear me? "
She stopped struggling and sucked in lungful of air, noticing that he did not remove his arms from around her.
"Do you know where you are?"
"Yes. In Sickbay. How long have I been here? Can you turn the lights down?"
"Good, you’re lucid. Perhaps now you will consent to lying quietly on the bed like a good girl. I would hate to have to sedate you again after all the hours you’ve already spent unconscious." He added, "You ’ve been here 24 hours. Computer, dim lights."
She allowed him to press her back onto the biobed. He stepped back, took up his medical tricorder and began to scan her.
"Do you remember what happened?"
"Yes, I fell in the Jefferies tube."
"Lieutenant, you did more than simply fall. I’d say if Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Kim hadn’t found you when they had, you might have found yourself knocking at the gates of Sto’Vo’Kor."
He closed the tricorder and turned his attention to the tray of instruments next to the bed, continuing in his usual toplofty tone. " But, thanks to their quick discovery and my excellent medical skills, you’ll be as good as new in, say, six weeks."
His time frame registered. "Six weeks? Doc, you gotta be kidding! I can’t be stuck in here for six weeks! I’ve got work to do! " She went to throw her legs over the edge of the bed and felt a pain like nobody’s business shoot straight up from the heel of her left foot to her head. From there it tried to blow open a hole in her skull. She gasped, a fine sheen of sweat coating her, heart rising to thump in her throat. Easing herself flat onto the bed, she lay perfectly still, releasing the gasp slowly and evenly, afraid even this tiny bit of movement would bring back that horrendous pain.
Hearing the bed whistle in alarm, the Doctor turned his attention back to B’Elanna in time to see her face drain of color. He took a rare moment to make a tiny adjustment to his bedside manner subroutine, placing his hand on her lower arm.
"B’Elanna, listen to me. You may not be dead, but neither are you ready to run a marathon. You sustained a concussion, myriad cuts and bruises, vast blood loss, and extremely severe fractures to both the tibia and fibula of your left leg. As I said, Tom and Harry found you just in the nick of time.
"I’ve already taken care of the concussion, the cuts and bruises, and, thanks to the donations of a number of fellow crewmembers, replaced your lost blood. However, the fractures are something even my outstanding medical abilities cannot repair in one sitting, and not without the help of Mother Nature.
"Your leg will need time to recover from the trauma, as will the rest of you. To that end, I have pinned the bones in place and put a cast on your leg. This cast must remain for a period of four weeks, during which time you will not move." He arched his eyebrow to emphasize his next point. "Particularly not in the manner in which you tried to move a few moments ago.
"I admit this procedure is rather primitive, but sometimes the old methods work the best. Four weeks in the cast will give your leg time to rest and you time to gain strength. After that, it will be a simple matter of routine surgery to fully repair the bones, along with dermal regeneration, and after another two weeks of therapy, you should be fine."
She listened with growing apprehension to what would be her immediate future. How could she not move for, what did he say, four weeks? And then another two weeks of therapy after that?
Well, that cinched it. She did hate the gel-packs.
* * *
After two weeks in Sickbay, B’Elanna had finally convinced the Doctor that she would be better off spending the balance of her immobilization in her own quarters. She was, in fact, doing exceptionally well, given she had zero patience for the very thing she was supposed to be doing. Tom and Harry had visited her every day since the accident and were present when she began her negotiations for release. They were, of course, included in the deal.
"I promise, I will not move from the bed. Haven’t I been good these past two weeks?"
"Of course you have. Only because I’ve been keeping a close eye on you and threatened you with medieval traction if you didn’t behave."
"C’mon, Doc," Tom chimed in, "Harry and I will watch her like hawks. We’ve already got our schedules all worked out with Chakotay and the captain. Look." He shoved a PADD under the Doctor’s nose, who took it and studied it for a moment. He returned it to Tom and looked at B’Elanna.
"Very well. You are released to your quarters for the next two weeks. Lieutenant Paris, Ensign Kim, as you know, she is doing splendidly. If you do anything at all to interfere with this, I will personally see to it that you both spend the rest of the trip back to the Alpha Quadrant cleaning the waste recycling units." He crossed his arms in front of his chest, huffed, and jerked an eyebrow up into his nonexistent hairline.
Harry nodded mutely. Tom gave him a mock salute and his usual smirk.
With B’Elanna on an anti-grav gurney, she, Tom, and Harry made an odd but happy procession to her quarters.
* * *
In his office later in the week, Chakotay sat behind his desk, the captain in a chair opposite the desk. It had taken some time, but Chakotay had managed to make Janeway understand that in spite of what had happened, it would still be better for crew morale if she kept to her more-casual attitude about uniforms, rather than reinstate a full dress code.
B’Elanna’s fall was what it was, an accident. He assured Janeway that he planned to speak to B’Elanna about it when she was back on duty, but for the most part, he didn’t feel as though such a drastic measure need be taken. Out here on their own, it was important that every effort be made to keep crew morale high. Although she was the captain, he cautioned her that it would not sit well with her crew if she were to take a step backwards on the uniform issue.
Of course, he was willing to keep an open mind. If B’Elanna said her lack of uniform was the direct cause of her accident, then he would reconsider and he would make sure the crew understood why. At this, the captain finally relented.
They moved to another subject, as Chakotay picked up the PADD on his desk and again studied the schedule on it, shaking his head. Janeway noticed this and questioned him.
"I don’t know," he said, giving her that lopsided grin of his, "I would never have considered the three of them could work it out so well. I guess what you suspected that day in the holodeck is true."
"What?" she responded, "that the three of them are, uh, the three of them?"
"Yep." He dropped the PADD with a clatter onto his desk.
"Oh, I don’t see where it’s such a stretch, though I would guess for the time being their main focus will be on getting B’Elanna on her feet again.
"But really, Chakotay, if you think about it, Harry and B’Elanna had been good friends before she and Tom ever became interested in one another. Considering there are few taboos in Klingon society, particularly when it comes to sexual matters, I would think a menage a trois would be no big deal to B’Elanna. Tom certainly would think it was great, and Harry, well, Harry might need some convincing, but I’ll bet he’ll come around."
She grinned, and she got a full bedimpled smile and that sweet tilt of his head in return.
* * *
If Janeway had really been a betting woman, she would have won a bundle. Her musings about the trio in B’Elanna’s quarters was right on the money, even if the trio itself did not quite know it yet.
B’Elanna spent the last two weeks before surgery being waited on by Tom and Harry. They were relieved occasionally by someone from Engineering, but mostly it was just Tom and Harry. The schedule allowed for one or the other of the men to be present at all times, and sometimes both of them. It did not take B’Elanna more than half a day to become very grateful to have them around.
As two weeks shortened into less than one, the pain subsided to the point where it no longer took her breath away when she shifted herself, a testimony to the healing power of the human/Klingon body, but she still could not move without feeling some kind of discomfort. She never realized before just how much even a yawn could affect a leg.
Of course, it was unrealistic to think she could remain abed every second. Certainly, there were matters of personal hygiene to attend to, which was why they had kept the anti-grav bed. Sonic showers were quite the event, and even the brushing of teeth became an exercise in dexterity to try to keep the toothpaste from slopping all over the bed, the boys, and B’Elanna herself.
Other matters of very personal hygiene simply could not be taken care of by anyone but B’Elanna, even though Tom graciously offered to assist. He knew she was feeling much better when she tried to pop him for his offer.
B’Elanna had been spending her days in virtual Engineering, via the computer that Harry had hooked up beside the bed. Harry realized she was feeling better when he heard her bellow at Mulcahey and then at Vorik. She was ranting at her crew just as efficiently as if she were down there in person. The only difference was she did not see Susan Nicoletti cross her eyes or Joe Carey stick out his tongue.
Of course, she wouldn’t have seen those kinds of shenanigans even if she had been in Engineering.
Truth be told, her crew was devoted to her and missed her very much. After living through one day of frightening uncertainty and too many weeks entirely without her, they were all very glad to hear that unmistakable alto voice raised in command once more.
* * *
On the night before she was due back in Sickbay for surgery, she began to feel itchy, her thoughts sliding to how nice it would be to have a shower, a real water shower. She wasn’t sure how she had managed to arrive at this subject, because there certainly hadn’t been much talk about water that day in Engineering. Coolant, yes. Water, no.
Nevertheless, she wanted a shower, and knowing she couldn’t have one only made her want it more.
"Damn," she whispered under her breath, pounding her fist on the bed.
"B’Elanna, what’s wrong?" It was Tom. He was standing in the doorway to her bedroom, a tray of food in his hands.
She started. It had become so familiar to her, having either Tom or Harry there, that she sometimes forgot they were there.
"Oh, nothing, Tom." She sighed and then looked back up at him, scratching a non-existent itch on her upper arm. "I want a shower, a real shower, with soap and water and everything. You know?"
He stood there a moment, gears turning in his head, until a rather wicked smile crossed his lips.
"Would ya settle for a sponge bath?"
"A sponge bath, Bella. That’s where I wash you right there in your bed with a sponge and water."
She thought a moment about that.
"Harry’s due back."
"Um, yup, know that."
She thought another moment and squirmed.
Tom saw the squirm and knew he had her. Even before she actually agreed, Tom had backed out of the doorway, set the tray on the dining table, and headed for the bathroom. He returned moments later with a small tub of warm scented water and a big soft pink sponge.
* * *
This was where Harry found the two of them when he walked into the bedroom after his shift.
Harry knew Tom and B’Elanna were a couple, had known it almost before they did, but since they had always been very discreet about their displays of affection, it didn’t affect the way the three of them were friends. He never truly realized just how much of a "fifth wheel" he was until he set his eyes upon the scene before him.
At that moment, he was nowhere near making the connection between himself and the fact that they were not being discreet.
B’Elanna, naked except for panties, was facing him on the bed, the cast carefully supported by a pillow. Tom was behind her, appearing to be just as naked from what Harry could see, rubbing a damp sponge serenely across her back. He was also placing kisses in the hollow of her neck and running his free hand around the front of her, leaving little wet trails. She was moaning softly, face flushed, arms reaching up behind her to weave her fingers into Tom’s hair. The room was warm, humid, and was filled with the odor of arousal.
It was abundantly clear that they had been at this for a while. Harry’s head was screaming at him to get a move on, but his feet were frozen to the floor. He must have made some kind of noise, although it never registered with him.
"Harry." B’Elanna had opened her eyes to see Harry standing there, looking like he wished to be anywhere but.
"Harry," she repeated, smiling. She felt Tom shifting behind her, dropping the sponge into the tub. He started kissing down the line of faint ridges that defined her spine, keeping his head low, allowing her to do the talking.
"Harry, come here." She held her arms out, but he shook his head, still not understanding.
"No, I don’t think so, B’Elanna." He actually turned away.
Raising his head, Tom spoke, surprising Harry into turning back. " Harry, Harry, do you think we would do this now, knowing you were due back, without planning on inviting you in?"
Harry Kim was no virgin, but he could count his sexual encounters on one hand. Those encounters had always been the one-on-one, male-to-female variety.
Tom and B’Elanna were his friends. He was genuinely sorry he had walked in on them, but he couldn’t shake the sting of being the single guy out. It never occurred to him until right then that they would not consider him a fifth wheel, that they would want him to join them.
Connection finally made, Harry Kim found himself at a strange and wonderful place. He realized he was on the threshold of something unknown, but he also realized he loved these two people very much, trusted them, wanted to be with them. He had no idea whether or not this sort of thing was an unknown for Tom or B’Elanna, but that didn’t matter so much to him. In spite of what he had felt earlier, he knew he did not want to be anywhere else but here.
He stepped up to the bed, to B’Elanna’s outstretched arms, allowing her to begin opening the closures of his uniform as he sat down gently beside her. Closing his eyes, he reached out tentatively to touch her, and she hissed softly and arched towards his questing fingers. His body jerked in response and he felt another pair of hands weaving into his hair. Opening his black, almond eyes, he fell deeply into a pair of bright, dancing blue ones.
Before permitting another thought, Harry stood quickly and shrugged free of his loosened clothing, toeing off his boots at the same time, and sat back down next to B’Elanna on the bed, his eyes never leaving Tom’s. Tom’s fingers immediately returned to their place in Harry’s hair, curling behind his head and drawing him close enough to place his lips against his cheek, moving with tender kisses around to his mouth. Harry’s sharp intake of breath when Tom’s lips touched his was a great indication of how nervous he was, but his immediate return pressure further indicated that he was not about to let it cripple his growing desire.
Twisting himself more fully into Tom’s arms, Harry opened his mouth and let Tom’s tongue explore delicately the sensitive area between his teeth and lips. He allowed his mouth to soften and felt Tom immediately deepen the kiss in response, deciding it was actually not much different than the kisses he had received from Libby. With his eyes closed as they were, he wondered for a moment what all the shouting was about regarding male-to-male bedroom activity.
But when Tom moaned into his mouth, a decidedly masculine sound that vibrated in the back of Harry’s throat and carried straight down to another part of his anatomy, he suddenly had a good idea of what all the shouting was about.
He felt a pair of hands on his shoulders, massaging. And he heard a low, pleased, feminine growl. B’Elanna. He had forgotten about B’Elanna. Tom slowly stretched out on his back on the bed, taking Harry with him, and B’Elanna continued to rub his back and shoulders.
It felt like heaven.
After a momentary rearrangement on the bed, Harry felt B’Elanna at his left, carefully insinuating her right thigh between the legs of both he and Tom, putting all of her weight upon it, and felt her capable hands continue their massage. Straddling him thusly, she lowered herself onto the uppermost part of Harry’s thigh, rocking forward and back slightly. He jumped at the feel of the warm, sticky wetness, pulling his mouth from Tom’s.
"Harry?" Tom asked, running his fingers through Harry’s hair, and looking at him with concern, "Are you all right?"
"Yeh---yeah, I am. I, uh, am. Mm---B’Elanna, that feels good. You feel good."
B’Elanna chuckled softly and continued her rocking motion, bending over and adding her lips and teeth to his back. She nibbled and kissed in a random pattern all over his upper back, moving her hands over as much of him as she could without losing her precarious balance, occasionally sweeping forward at his pelvis to tangle her fingers into the edges of his pubic hair. Every time she did that, his penis jumped against Tom’s stomach and Tom smiled against Harry’s lips.
It was a unique circle of sensations.
At one point, B’Elanna straightened and groaned in clear frustration, lifting off Harry slightly, leaning even further to her right.
"Hey, babe, whatcha need?"
"Heh, Tom, touch me. I can’t do this without you tonight."
Tom pulled his right hand away from where it had been resting against Harry’s ribs to settle up onto the wiry black curls that covered B’Elanna’s sex. He dipped his middle finger into the slick folds and touched her clitoris on the first try. With practiced ease, he began to swirl his finger around it, her natural lubrication making a deliciously wet sound against it.
B’Elanna snarled in supreme satisfaction the moment his finger touched her. "Oh, that’s it, lover, that’s it. Don’t stop, don’t stop." She began to move with renewed purpose against his hand and Harry’s thigh, leaning heavily on her arms, digging her nails into his back. A sharp, tingling pain alerted Harry to the fact that she was drawing blood, and his penis stiffened further at this knowledge.
Tom chose just that moment to work his other hand down between them to grip Harry, to pull in familiar fashion. Harry at once began to shudder. B’Elanna began to shudder.
Beneath them, Tom had never felt so exhilarated, so intensely in touch with his body, so sexually charged, even though no hand was actually touching him. As he felt B’Elanna tense for release, he yanked harder on Harry, and his fingers danced faster in the wetness that now consumed them. For one silly moment, he imagined himself in an X-rated version of his Captain Proton holodeck program (Space man first class, indeed!) And that was all it took.
"Oh my GOD!"
In spite of all the weight on him, his hips rose from the mattress and he came in short, hot spurts, dripping onto his stomach. Then he heard B’Elanna’s choking climax and felt her cum wash over his hand. In the very next instant, Harry, moving desperately above him, stiffened briefly, and came into his palm with a resounding exhalation.
They lay on top of one another in a heaving, sweaty mass until Tom couldn’t take it anymore.
"Guys? Can you move off me, please? I’m runnin’ out of air under here." There was a stirring and then bodies separated, stretching out beside one another on the bed. B’Elanna’s cast was hanging over the far edge of the bed. Heartbeats slowed, breathing returned to normal.
"Jeezus." Who said it was anybody’s guess.
* * *
The next morning, the odd procession of two weeks earlier retraced its route back to Sickbay, only now there was something decidedly different, more intimate, about the way the three carried themselves.
B’Elanna was on the anti-grav gurney, as before, and the men were to either side of her, but Tom’s hand was resting lightly on her thigh and Harry had her left hand in his right. The rich contentment emanating from all of them could be felt by passersby, and it was immediately recognizable (by those who were inclined to recognize these things) that the Tom and B’Elanna relationship had increased by one.
It would not have been a lie to say that the gossip began before the turbolift closed on them. In addition, later that evening in Sandrine’s, Jenny Delany settled her bet with Samantha Wildman—and she was not the only one engaged in ration transfer.
* * *
Tom and Harry hovered over the Doctor until he threatened to lock them in a supply closet if they didn’t give him the space he needed. He knew he should never have agreed to allow them to stay in the first place, but the look on their faces as B’Elanna’s eyes slid closed under the affects of the anesthesia was so heartwrenching that he decided it wouldn’t hurt to let them stay. After all, B’Elanna was well-rested and her leg had been healing perfectly. This final surgery would be only somewhat more complicated than fixing a bone after a hoverball mishap.
It occurred to him that he might be getting soft and briefly considered making a permanent adjustment to his bedside manner subroutine in order to avoid this sort of thing in the future. But when Tom and Harry obediently moved away to sit on a biobed at the other side of the room, he thought better of it.
Humming softly, the Doctor set to it.
* * *
"B’Elanna? B’Elanna, can you hear me?"
"Geez, Tom, would you stop? And don’t touch her. Didn’t the Doc say not to disturb her, to let her wake up naturally?"
"Yeah, but he’s not here and we are, and it’s been two hours. He said two hours, didn’t he?"
"What he said was ‘Give her at least two hours.’ Would you like me to replay the Sickbay log for you?"
"No, I would not like you to replay the Sickbay log for me," Tom sniped in return. "And keep your voice down, would you? You wanna wake her up?"
Harry was reduced to stuttering. "But---but, Tom, I thought that was your goal!"
"Shh! What did I just---"
B’Elanna had, of course, come awake as soon as she had heard Tom’s voice, but she kept her counsel, amused at this exchange, and relieved, very relieved to feel nothing in the vicinity of her lower left leg. She was well again, and Tom and Harry were still fussing over her.
B’Elanna Torres was, at that moment, one very contented woman. But before the two hanging above her could come to blows, she decided to intervene. She opened her eyes and smiled up at them.
They immediately quit their inane bickering.
"B’Elanna!" In unison.
"Hi, guys. How’s it going? Am I allowed to sit up this time?" She began to rise anyway, figuring she’d be told if she was wrong.
"Huh? Oh, yeah!" Tom squealed, reaching out to help her up. "Yeah, the Doc said you should try to stand right away. He said the surgery went fine and the worst you’d feel was soreness when you began to work the muscles in your leg again. Okay. You ready?"
B’Elanna nodded once, taking her bottom lip in her teeth in anticipation, moving both legs slowly over the edge of the bed. Tom and Harry took a hand on either side of her, their opposite arms snaked firmly around her waist as she slid gingerly from the bed. Her stockinged feet touched the floor together, but her left leg collapsed completely. The boys held tight and kept her from falling, obviously prepared for this possibility.
"Whoa, B’Elanna!" Harry cried, grinning. "Doc said you’d need some therapy, remember? Well, guess who your therapists are?"
"Now, there’s a surprise," she commented dryly. With their arms still securely around her waist, she freed her hands and draped one arm across each set of shoulders, hefting herself to her feet again. This time she allowed most of her weight to fall on her right leg. Gaining her equilibrium, she carefully eased some weight onto her left leg. It held for a second, but it hurt, and then it buckled again. B’Elanna growled in both frustration and pain.
"I think that’s quite enough for now, Lieutenant," the Doctor’s voice rose behind them. He approached the trio as Tom and Harry lifted B’Elanna back onto the bed. The Doctor continued, handing a PADD to Tom.
"Exercise routine. It includes a lot of walking and swimming, as well as a daily session in the jacuzzi. You will know, B’Elanna, when you are ready to dispense with the therapy and get on with your life, but as I said, you should give yourself two weeks. And I expect to see you at least once more at the end of that time."
His glance took in all three of them. "Do you anticipate any problems with this?"
Tom, B’Elanna, and Harry had already exchanged a brief but delighted look at the Doctor’s mention of the jacuzzi, so they merely answered his question now.
"No, sir." In unison.
* * *
The party of three seen leaving Sickbay a while later were in a decidedly more jovial mood than they had been two weeks prior, although they were moving at a considerably slower pace.
* * *
At a meeting the next day between Chakotay and Torres, it was determined without question that the cause of B’Elanna’s accident was not her lack of uniform, just her lack of attention, which she assured him would never happen again.
No dress code was reinstated, to the immense relief of the crew, some of whom were working in Starfleet-issue t-shirts even as the word came down.
* * *
In the months that followed, Tom, B’Elanna, and Harry continued to engage in deliciously personal encounters, though they never really discussed the nature of what they had together or what their future should be. That they were enjoying each other’s intimate company went without saying, but they hesitated to analyze it too deeply for fear they would crush the fragile triangle they had created.
They continued to maintain separate quarters and held that it was enough that their relationship was satisfying to all involved and put no one in harm’s way. And it was enough, at least in the months that followed.
After that, it began to not be enough, at least for one side of the triangle, and he finally mentioned it during a morning meal they were sharing in his quarters. They were seated in their usual manner: Tom and B’Elanna together on one side of the table, Harry directly across from them, centered between them.
"Uh, Tom, B’Elanna, I have something I want to say, and I really hope you guys will understand." He looked at both of them and then looked away, a frown of uncertainty knitting up his eyebrows, in spite of his best effort to keep his features neutral.
Since Harry usually wore his heart on his sleeve, along with pretty much everything else, it was easy enough for Tom and B’Elanna to see what was coming, but they kept silent and let him say it, knowing for sure it would take him a while.
"It’s not that I don’t love you two, I do. And it’s not that what we’ve---had---together hasn’t been a whole lot of fun. It’s just that--- that---I’ve been thinking---and, I know, I know, we’ve already decided it wasn’t good to think about this too much, but--but, I think it would be better for me, for us, if I--I, if we, sort of, uh, stopped, uh---if we---uh---man, after all we’ve done together, you’d think this’d be the easy part! stopped---having sex."
He visibly sighed and looked up in time to see Tom and B’Elanna exchange a glance before turning their gaze back to him. B’Elanna spoke first, reaching across the table to take Harry’s hand. It was clear that the two of them were expecting this and were not going to argue with him about it. Nevertheless, Harry saw B’Elanna’s eyes go bright with tears.
"Harry, my sweet Starfleet," she said, smiling wistfully, "I’m not going to lie and say I want what we have to end, but neither will I lie and say I didn’t see this coming. But I respect your decision, and if that’s what you want, then that’s what we’ll do." She blinked, but no tears fell.
Tom echoed her words, though his effort to sound chipper seemed forced to Harry’s ears, even though he referred to Harry by his own ridiculous pet name, shortened from his reference a while back to Harry being a ‘squeaky clean’ ensign. That Harry allowed this was itself a testimony to the depth of his feelings for Tom.
Tom rolled his shoulders and scooted forward in his seat, adding softly, "Hey, Squeak, we’re always gonna be friends. He snorted and shook his head, grinning. "Christ, like we’ve got a choice on this starship? B’Elanna and Harry smiled in agreement as Tom continued. "Even if we did have a choice, we’d always choose to be friends, right?
"Right." In unison.
Without doubt, there would still be plenty of issues for all three of them to work through, not the least of which was just plain heartache, but it was clear they had started down the right path.
If any three in the universe could enter into this sort of relationship and then end it with the original friendship still intact, these three most certainly could.
* * *
The starship Voyager continued her immutable journey towards