Disclaimer: Tom, B’Elanna and all Voyager characters and settings are the property of Paramount Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended but this story is mine. The song "I Do Cherish You" is my favourite song from my favourite band, 98 degrees. Feedback is more than welcome and can be sent to <email@example.com>. Feel free to post my stories anywhere as long as you keep this disclaimer and my name attached. Thanks!
Summary: Takes place at the end of the Voyager episode "Thirty Days." A look at what it may have been like when Tom and B’Elanna finally got to see each other after a month apart. Spoilers.
Rated: PG 13
Dedicated: to all of the awesome girls at the Deck 9 Section 12 Message board, Kat for her terrific beta-reading, Lark for the use of her site, and especially to Monica, for her constant support and friendship. And to all of my non-trek friends who took time out of their busy schedules to read my story even though they probably couldn’t care less about Voyager....thanks guys! Pam:)
In honour of Tiny
***To Hold You***
A "Thirty Days" Epilogue
Tom Paris straightened his collar and gave himself the once-over before exiting his quarters, apprehensively. Although he’d spent more hours alone with B’Elanna than he could count, this wasn’t just any other date. He hadn’t seen her in thirty days and he intended to make tonight very special for the two of them. He had spent over an hour reprogramming the replicator to produce an amazing outfit and had spent nearly all of his rations on the wine. He checked the chronometer. He figured that he had about fifteen minutes before the time that he was *ordered* to meet B’Elanna.
On his way to her quarters, he stopped by the Hydroponics Bay to pick out the most beautiful flower that he could find. The plant variety, Macticia Evola, was a stunning blossom, of a magnificent red colour. Similar to a rose but more defined, with a twisting deep green leaf spiraling down the stem and not a single thorn. He lifted one of the exotic blooms gently from the flower bed and breathed in the strong scent. The aroma was simply enchanting. Romantic yet bold; perfect for B’Elanna. Cradling it as if it were the most fragile commodity in the universe, he turned and headed for her quarters.
B’Elanna stood back and surveyed her reflection in her full length mirror. Though she, for the most part, liked what she saw, she couldn’t help but feel a bit self-conscious. She had never had the utmost self-confidence but tonight she was feeling particularly ill at ease. She regretted having turned her request for Tom to meet her into an order. Of course, she had meant it in good humor but what if it had really hurt his feelings? He *had* responded with an enthusiastic "Yes Ma’am" but she still felt badly. She turned and walked over to gaze out the view port at the passing stars and after a few moments, tensed as she felt two strong arms encircle her waist. She looked down and placed her hands over his, noticing the beautiful flower in his right hand. He held it up and she accepted it carefully, bringing it up to her face and inhaling deeply, "Mmm, Tom, it’s beautiful." She looked up at him and gazed into his mesmerizing blue eyes for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime. His arms were still holding her tightly, as if afraid to let go. She spun around in his grasp and threw her arms gently around his neck, "I missed you so much," she breathed, reveling in the feeling of his hands on her lower-back and the proximity of his remarkably attractive form. She closed her eyes and smiled for the first time in a month, breathing in his enticing scent.
"B’Elanna, I missed you too. More than anything." All he wanted was to touch her - every part of her - and to stare into those captivating brown eyes of hers. Until now, he hadn’t realized just how much he needed to be with her.
B’Elanna’s expression-filled eyes turned dark as she explained to Tom why she hadn’t come to visit him. "The Captain wouldn’t let me see you. Harry had to practically beg her, just for a few minutes and she outright refused me. I believe her exact words were, ‘Ensign Paris is in the brig, not on shore leave. You’ll see him when he’s released. Dismissed.’"
"Well, I’m out now...so you can see all you want of me," he whispered, calming her with his double entendre. Their lips met, briefly, until B’Elanna pulled back.
"For ‘ordering’ you to meet me. I shouldn’t have pulled rank the first chance I had to talk to you." The look on her face broke Tom’s heart. He hadn’t been the least bit offended.
"B’Elanna, you were just kidding around. I didn’t even think twice about it. Besides, it wasn’t exactly an order I didn’t want to follow."
B’Elanna felt an immense feeling of guilt wash away from her, replaced by a sense of gratitude. "Thank you," was all she could manage as she gently pulled his face closer to her own. They kissed again, the passion building. They simply allowed the many varied emotions to travel through them unchecked. Trust, hope, and relief floated through their spirits. However, these were not the only emotions overcoming their thoughts. Accompanying them were residual feelings of pain, nervousness, and regret caused by their time apart and the grim circumstances surrounding this reunion. All of these powerful emotions, as well as many more undefinable ones raced through their minds at once as their bodies made contact. But one emotion was stronger, drowning out the rest. That compelling emotion was love. Both Tom and B’Elanna felt it now, more than ever before. They didn’t pull apart for several seconds. When they were finally able to break the kiss, Tom wrapped her in his strong arms, letting their body language say what their words could not. The clumsiness of words could confuse the issue, when there was no need for them. They didn’t always have to state their feelings for each other, they knew. Eventually, they both took a step back, though neither of them were quite prepared to part hands.
"B’Elanna, you look...stunning," Tom exclaimed, his voice nearly catching in his throat. She was wearing an astonishing dress that she knew to be his personal favourite of a dark purple velvet and fell just above her knees with a slit going up to mid thigh. The ensemble had a particularly revealing quality, unlike her usual formal attire, and clung softly to her figure. It was no wonder why it was a favourite of the helmsman. The shoes she wore were slinky black sandals with three inch heals, extenuating her slender legs. She had even spent additional rations to get her hair done. The soft, dark locks were twisted up in pearl barrettes and fell in soft spirals to the nape of her neck. In addition, the soft light from the window illuminated her pretty features. Other accessories that she wore included a pair of diamond earings that Tom had given her on one of their first nights together and a matching diamond necklace. She knew she looked good and had always enjoyed Tom’s reaction to her on the rare occasions when she’d worn this dress. But she was quickly distracted from the way Tom's eyes ran up and down her body when she noticed, for the first time that evening, what he was wearing. He was dressed in a pair of black pants and a dark blue silk shirt. The shirt had small pearl buttons and lighter blue threads that caught the light from the dim room and deepened the stunning blue of his eyes. The loose pants hugged softly to his body and were accompanied by a handsome pair of black, soft leather shoes. B’Elanna had never seen him wearing this particular outfit before and couldn’t help but find him even more alluring than usual. She wasn’t sure whether it was the clothes, his body after a month of working out in the brig, his scent, or simply the way that he looked at her. Perhaps it was all of those things put together. But, whatever the cause, B’Elanna was unable to take her eyes off of him. She looked him up and down one time to many - Tom noticed her appreciative glance and winked at her, blue eyes sparkling in a teasingly deliberate fashion.
B’Elanna could feel herself blush and was suddenly thankful for her darker complection. *Time to turn the attention away from me,* B’Elanna thought. "Well," she began, clearing her throat and taking a step closer to him, "Thank you very much but...I’m not the only one who looks stunning tonight." Then, in a throaty whisper and standing even closer to him, she added, "You look spec-tac-ular," she pronounced each syllable with extreme accuracy and licked her upper lip in a way that caused Tom’s heart to race. She let a satisfied smile appear on her face. *Now who’s blushing,* she thought to herself, noticing the expected rosy glow creep up his fair cheeks.
"Um, spectacular?" Tom repeated. He could feel himself beginning to lose control. *Is it hot in here?*
B’Elanna nodded, now leaning completely against him and looking directly into his roving eyes with her own dark ones, "Oh yes, Tom. Incredible." Tom swallowed hard as he felt her eyes burning into him until he was finally able to tear his eyes away. He turned slightly, momentarily wondering if she could read his thoughts when she did that. *It sure as hell feels like it!* His subtle yet deliberate movements were not lost on B’Elanna and she had to bite the inside of her mouth to avoid laughing out loud at his obvious discomfort. She decided she’d given him enough punishment for his silent teasing and slowly pulled away from his body. *I can always resume this particular type of torture a little bit later.* she thought with a self satisfied smirk. Taking his hand, she led him toward her living quarters, "Ready to eat?" she whispered. She gingerly placed the beautiful flower in a small vase and set it down in the centre of her coffee table.
He grinned, relieved at the change of subject, "You bet I am. I haven’t had a decent meal in over a month!"
"You’ll love what I replicated. The finest dining in the Delta Quadrant. Did you bring the wine?"
"Chateau Beaucastle Chardonnay, 2242. Finest wine in Voyager’s data banks."
"Tom, you must have spent a fortune in replicator rations," B’Elanna exclaimed, secretly flattered that this night seemed to mean as much to him as it did to her.
"You’re worth it," was his simple yet meaningful reply.
She caught his hand and waited until she had his full attention, "No, Tom...*we* are worth it." He said nothing but nodded sincerely in agreement. He walked with B’Elanna to the small, oval dinner table set up in the middle of her quarters. The display itself was beautiful. B’Elanna had been meticulous when setting the table, placing each dish, glass and utensil just right and adding all she could to keep the look of simple elegance. The table was decorated with two candles in the centre. These were the only light sources in the room except for the faint starlight streaking by the window at a steady warp six. B’Elanna placed the beautiful flower in a small vase and set it carefully in between the two candles as Tom poured the wine and uncovered their plates. He took a deep breath, inhaling the delicious smelling meal, "This is really wonderful, B’Elanna. *Almost* too good to eat."
"Almost," she agreed. She lifted her glass and prepared to make a toast, "To us. May our lives be filled with love and contentment." The gesture was simple but more than adequate. They lifted their glasses to each other before taking a sip. B’Elanna closed her eyes as the delectable wine went gently down her throat. There was a comfortable silence for a few minutes while the couple ate.
"So...what’s been going on around here. Anything interesting?" Tom asked.
"Just the usual. To tell you the truth I haven’t been out much lately. Harry and I ended up working opposite shifts all month, and there are very few people that I really do anything with without you, so I didn’t do too much socializing while you were detained. I went to the holodeck a few times, played a couple of rounds of Velocity. I actually played one game with Seven of Nine. I’ve got to give her credit. She’s really come a long way. And, other than that...I spent most of my time in Engineering...trying to keep my mind off you." She smiled shyly but with all sincerity.
"Well, if it makes you feel any better...I couldn’t stop thinking about you either," Tom whispered. She could feel a pleasant warmth flood through her body at the sound of his close whisper and the feeling of his breath on her neck. She smiled and he continued, "So, what’s the rumour mill been like, lately?"
"Well, if you mean regarding you, it’s been pretty quiet. Most of the crew is on your side. Even Chakotay thinks that the Captain’s sentence was too harsh. He agreed that you broke the rules but he also thinks that she should have settled for a formal reprimand and maybe one punishment or the other, not both. Hell! Even Seven of Nine told me that your sentence was ‘excessively acrimonious’. When I asked her to elaborate she said that she disagreed with the Captain’s decision regarding your punishment and felt that it should have been far less ‘tyrannical’."
Tom couldn’t help but laugh softly at B’Elanna’s impression of Seven. "And what about the Captain," Tom asked quietly, "How does she feel about all of this?" He let his worried gaze fall to his plate before forcing himself to look B’Elanna in the eye.
"It’s hard to tell. She’s been a bit distant lately. I’ve only seen her on the Bridge and once or twice in the Mess Hall with Chakotay. Personally, I think she missed you just as much as the rest of us did. I also doubt that she enjoys the many looks that she’s been getting from the crew lately. I mean, everyone from both Starfleet and the Maquis believe that she was overly harsh with you. I just hope things get back to normal soon."
"Me too. People have got to realize that none of this is the Captain’s fault. I disobeyed a direct order and nearly got both myself and Riga killed. She handled the situation the best she knew how." The thought of losing the Captain’s trust affected Tom more than he was willing to admit. But his attempt at a cavalier attitude was betrayed by the honesty in his eyes.
B’Elanna reached out and took his hands in hers from across the table, "Tom, you aren’t a criminal. You were trying to save an ocean. A civilization! Besides, it’s partly my fault anyway. If I hadn’t put ideas in your head in the first place, none of this would have happened." She stopped for a second before quietly adding, "I just wish I could have been in there with you."
Tom grinned, "Well, I guess you *do* have quite an influence on me," he grinned before adding, "and you weren’t the only one who wished that you’d been in there with me. That particular thought crossed my mind on more than a few restless nights."
B’Elanna returned his playful smile, "So, what would you like to do now? We could just relax here for a while or, if your in the mood for it, I have the holodeck booked for the next four hours."
"You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?"
"Well, tonight’s very special, don’t you think?"
"Yeah. Then afterwards we can come back here or to my quarters for the rest of the evening."
B’Elanna smiled, "Sounds perfect. Let’s go." They got up and walked towards the door, pausing only to blow out the candles. Tom placed his hand gently on B’Elanna’s back as they walked slowly to the turbolift.
They were silent for the short ride, wrapped up in shared, yet unspoken thoughts about the rest of the evening. Unfortunately, the two of them were equally distracted during their short walk through the corridors and didn't notice the three crew members rounding the corner in front of them. Tom was snapped harshly out of his reverie when he bumped into one of the oncoming crew members, a certain Commander Chakotay. He was accompanied by a young engineer, Crewman Geoffrey Shepard and was quickly followed by Seven of Nine.
The first officer came to a stop and couldn’t help but smile at the blushing couple, "In a rush?"
"Sorry, Commander," Tom apologized, running a hand through his hair, "I guess we weren’t really watching where we were going."
"That’s alright, Mr. Paris. I wasn’t paying much attention myself...Enjoy your evening."
"Thank you," they replied in unison.
He started to walk off and then turned around again, "By the way, B’Elanna. You look beautiful."
B’Elanna smiled shyly, "Thanks, Chakotay."
Seven observed as Chakotay walked away and the crewman who had been walking with the Commander turned to B’Elanna, "You really do look quite lovely, Lieutenant." She nodded her thanks and Mr. Shepard turned and ran to catch up to Commander Chakotay. B’Elanna looked up at Tom who appeared to be on the verge of jealousy and grinned.
"Hey,"she whispered provocatively into his ear, tenderly kissing his ear lobe, "You know you’re the only one for me."
He turned, their lips meeting briefly in a teasingly tender kiss. The two stopped suddenly, however, noticing that Seven was still eyeing them inquisitively.
B’Elanna crossed her arms over her chest, "Can we help you?" she asked, incredulously.
"It is...curious," answered the puzzled ex-Borg.
"What is?" Tom asked.
Seven’s cortical implant lowered as her face took on an even more bewildered expression. She opened her mouth, as if to answer but quickly shut it again, "I must...research the events which I have observed," she paused, briefly, "Have a...pleasant evening." She turned and walked away quickly in the direction in which she had come. Tom and B’Elanna watched as Seven walked into a turbolift. As soon as the doors closed they turned to look at each other, bemused.
"Guess she’s just...curious," Tom said.
"Right," B’Elanna answered, her voice overflowing with sarcasm.
"Come on. Let’s get to the holodeck." They continued walking, "So, did you have anything in mind?"
"There was one thing that I worked on while you were unavailable."
"A new program?"
"Yeah, I had some free time on my hands and thought I’d put it to good use. So, I did some research and came up with something I thought you’d like."
"Mmm hmm, I know how fond you are of 20th century Earth, so I tried to incorporate a few things from that era. I did, however, keep many of our modern day luxuries and tried to make it as original as possible. It’s really quite unlike anything in the Alpha Quadrant. I hope you enjoy it. Of course, it’s not as perfect as most of your creations."
Tom smiled, appreciating how B’Elanna could make him feel truly loved. "Sounds like you put a lot of work into this, B’Elanna. I know I’ll love it. Besides, any time spent with you is worth while."
She looked up at him, once again finding herself lost in the seemingly endless depths of his sparkling eyes. "Thanks, Tom. I feel the same way." They reached the door to the holodeck and stopped. "Ready?" Tom nodded in anticipation. "Computer, activate program Torres/Paris Alpha one."
As the holodeck doors opened, Tom could feel hot sunlight beaming down on his face. He took in the beautiful and realistic sights and sounds of the program. It was amazing. They were on a dirt road surrounded by forest on both sides. The trees were massive, with brilliant blue leaves, unlike anything Tom had ever seen before and there was a clearing about five hundred feet up ahead. There was a small, glistening lake, sparkling in the sun's rays and birds could be heard singing softly within the shelter of the blue trees.
"B'Elanna, this is amazing!" Tom exclaimed in complete sincerity.
She smiled, "I'm glad you like it. Now, come on." She took his hand and led him off to the side. There were some clothes lying on a colourful rock. "Here, put these on," B'Elanna said, handing him the clothes "I'll be right back." Tom nodded and watched as B'Elanna left the vicinity. Then he turned his attention to the clothing in his hand. It consisted of a royal blue swimming suit and a loose, white tank top. He quickly changed into the clothes, hoping that he wouldn’t get a sun burn from the scorching rays. B'Elanna was back momentarily, wearing her own bathing suit and a see through top. Tom grinned at her skimpy two piece.
"Not leaving much up to the imagination, are we Lieutenant?"
B'Elanna bit her lower lip and swallowed a laugh, "Well, if you'd like me to change back..."
"Oh, no. That's not necessary!" Tom replied, a little too quickly.
She grinned, "Alright then, shall we go?"
She took his hand, once again, and they walked until they came to the clearing. There was a light picnic of berries and other fruits set up on the green grass.
They walked over and sat down on the large blanket, breathing in the fresh air and basking in the radiant sunlight. B'Elanna reached into the basket in the centre of the blanket and pulled out a bottle of something. Tom began to worry again. As much as he loved an occasional sun-bathe, he knew his fair skin probably couldn't take it without a burn. He wondered why B’Elanna had turned off the safeties but decided there was no sense in complaining about it since his sunburns weren’t usually too bad from the holodeck. "What is that?" he asked her, regarding the tiny bottle in her hand.
She smiled and ran a finger over his cheek, "Sun screen, Paris. We both know how sensitive your skin is." She gently kissed where her finger had been. Tom, though maybe just a little embarrassed, was relieved that she'd remembered his tendency to burn.
"You really did think of everything, didn't you?"
"Well, I try....now, take off your shirt."
"Yes, ma'am," He answered playfully, liking the sound of her demand. He complied and she squeezed a little bit of the liquid into her hand. Tom tensed slightly as the cold sunblock made contact with his warm skin but loved the feeling of B'Elanna's hands massaging his tired muscles. B’Elanna smiled inwardly, taking a moment to wonder whether or not Tom had caught on to the fact that the safeties had been turned off for a reason. Why rely on the safeties when she could take the time to massage Tom with sun screen and enjoy herself in the meantime? After she finished his back, shoulders, arms, and chest, B'Elanna handed Tom the bottle. He put some on his face and then turned to B’Elanna.
"Thanks. Your turn." B'Elanna knew that she wouldn't burn, but couldn't resist the chance to have Tom rubbing the cool sun screen onto her back and shoulders. She quickly shed the shirt that had been draped overtop of her bikini and sat down in front of Tom. He gently laid her down onto her stomach and worked his expert hands over her back, shoulders, legs and thighs. When he stopped, he couldn’t help but concede to B’Elanna’s soft cries of protest, "Feel good?"
B’Elanna closed her eyes, "Oh, God, yes, Tom. Stop now, and I’ll kill you!"
"Well," he answered, laughing softly at her threat while trying to ignore exactly what the sound of her tantalizing voice was doing to him, "If you insist." He cleared his throat at the sound of his unexpectedly high voice.
After a few more minutes of intimately massaging B’Elanna’s tired muscles, Tom stopped and gently pulled her into a sitting position, barely managing to ignore her further pleadings for him to continue.
"Thanks, Tom. That was wonderful," she said, regretting that the lovely massage was over.
Tom stopped splashing in the shallow lake when he felt B’Elanna wrap her arms around him from behind. He took her arms and led her around until she was in front of him. He ran a finger along her jaw line and kissed the water off her eyelids, "You.....are so beautiful." He said, with so much conviction in his voice that it caused her heart skip a beat.
She reached up and gently brushed back his dripping blond hair, leaning up to kiss his forehead. "You’re perfect," she breathed. Tom pulled her in close to his body and kissed her neck, slowly working his way up to her lips. B’Elanna sighed in contentment as their lips met, tentatively at first, then with more heat and passion. His right hand trailed from her thigh, slowly up her body until resting lightly on her cheek. B’Elanna had her left arm over his shoulder and was gently twirling a piece of his damp hair in her fingers. Her right hand rested on his chest. After several blissful moments, the two reluctantly parted and walked slowly out of the water to dry off in the warm sunlight.
After lying in Tom’s arms for a while, B’Elanna looked up at him, eyes gleaming, "I have a surprise for you."She stood up and held out her hand for him to accompany her, "Come with me." He took her hand and she lead him into the woods. They walked through the beautiful blue forest until they reached and to a large Oak-like tree with a door in the middle of it. Tom gave B’Elanna a puzzled look. "Open it," B’Elanna prompted. As Tom opened the door and B’Elanna pulled him through, he was amazed at the scene that greeted them. They were no longer in the tropical, blue forest, but were in the middle of a ball room dance floor, among hundreds of dancing holocouples. The room was extremely elegant. Complete with hardwood floors, beaded tapestry, and large crystal chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling. It didn’t take Tom more than a second to realize that their attire had changed as well. Instead of the bathing suits which they had come in, they were dressed in the fancy clothing which they had originally entered the holodeck in.
"There’s more?" Tom asked in amazement.
Managing to overcome his surprise, Tom looked at B’Elanna, question in his eyes, "Sweetheart, how in the world did you manage this?" he gestured to their clothing.
She smiled, "I had the holodeck computer take a picture of us when we walked in, and programmed it to automatically place a holographic representation of these clothes appropriately around our energy signatures when we entered this part of the simulation."
Tom couldn’t believe it, "Wow, B’Elanna......that’s unbelievable! How did you ever come up with that idea?"
B’Elanna shrugged, "I’m an engineer. It’s my job to come up with ideas." She grinned. It wasn’t easy to impress a programming master, and she knew it.
"Shall we dance?" Tom asked her, bowing dramatically and holding out his hand to her.
B’Elanna giggled softly, "I thought you’d never ask." They walked out to the dimly lit dance floor and found a place in the middle of all of the other couples to step into each others’ arms and relax into the embrace. B’Elanna had her head on Tom’s heart, listening to its steady rhythm as they danced. "It is so wonderful to be in your arms again," she told him, "to breathe in your scent and hear your heart beating."
Tom didn’t know what to say. For the first time in his life, he was speechless. Instead of trying to talk, he pulled her closer, and buried his face in her hair, breathing in the sweetly familiar scent of her lavender shampoo. After the song ended, B’Elanna broke the loving silence that had overcome them and addressed the computer, "Computer, play selection Torres Four." Tom was surprised to see the many holocharacters disappear as the song began. He leaned down and his eyes closed as B’Elanna captured his lips in hers once again. He listened closely to the words of "I Do Cherish You", recognizing it as one of his favourite songs from his twentieth century musical data base. They both smiled into the kiss before simultaneously pulling as close to each other as their clothing would allow. Tom was still smiling as a thought entered his mind. *This is the perfect moment.*
Later that night, Tom awoke, expecting to see the forbidding walls and ceiling of Voyager’s brig. The joy that surged through his body at the site of his own quarters and the beautiful feeling of the woman he loved resting peacefully against his chest, almost made him laugh out loud in contentment. Not wanting to wake B’Elanna, he settled for a smile and a tender kiss on her forehead. She sleepily raised her head to look into his entrancing eyes.
"It feels so nice waking up next to you again. I missed you," she whispered against his heart.
"I know. I never want to be apart from you again. I love you."
"I love you too, Tom. Sweet dreams."
"Sweet dreams, B’Elanna." He pulled her into a comfortable embrace and watched as her beautiful brown eyes, so full of love for him, could no longer hold his gaze. One thought ran through Tom’s mind before he joined her in a peaceful slumber......he had been wrong before. *This* was the perfect moment. He finally let his body be consumed by sleep, never wanting to be away from B’Elanna again.
As she felt his body relax completely, B’Elanna smiled in her semi conscious state. *This is perfect* she thought. *Just to hold you.*
I would *love* to hear any comments, good or bad, that you have on this or any of my stories.