This is a sequel to legacy. It begins roughly around a month after Ensign Curtis tried to commit suicide, and assumes that Tom and B‘Elanna are still fairly new in their relationship. Paramount and Viacom are God and own the characters (with the exception of Wayne Curtis, Corey Michaels, Stacey, Gillian and Vanessa). I am not getting a single penny for this little burst of creativity of mine (even though I am a student and in need of a job. Job=$$$). At one point, Tom quotes some lyrics from Tori Amos‘s song ‚Little Earthquakes‘ off the album ‚Little Earthquakes.‘ It was used without permission; however, I have given it the credit that it deserves, in that I did not make it up (though I would not have minded). I am also not getting any money for promoting this album or song. This is what happens when you have absolutely no power for a week in the beginning of January, are in front of a fireplace and have absolutely nothing to do. As with ‚Legacy‘, please consider this to be an alternate universe, as it does not coincide with canon or "Mosaic," and "Pathways." Thanks go towards Nina, for beta-reading this story. Thanks Nina!
A. Blunt- email@example.com
Tom left the turbolift and walked into the corridor. It had been nearly a month since Ensign Curtis had tried to commit suicide. Tom had tried as much as possible to avoid the ensign. The…episode, had brought up too many unpleasant memories. He had deliberately taken an extra shift on the bridge with Curtis‘ latest check-up at Sickbay (in other words, that very day). The Doctor was annoyed with him for that. The EMH admitted that while he had been perfectly able to handle it alone, he now had an assistant to help him. Chakotay had come up to Tom afterwards, cornered him in the messhall, and asked why he was shirking off his medical duties. Then, when the First Officer accused him of having a problem with Curtis, Tom did not know how to answer that and remained silent.
How could he explain what he was feeling?
What he was going through?
What he went through?
Did he really want anyone to know?
No. No, he did not.
And he wanted to keep it that way.
He was not sure if it was his eyes that showed, or if B‘Elanna had talked to him, but Chakotay‘s expression softened. He explained to Tom that if the latter wanted to talk, he was available. Tom‘s eyes widened a bit in surprise at this gesture. He politely thanked the Commander, but said that he was fine. Chakotay raised his eyebrows, letting the pilot know what he thought of that answer. Tom only looked back. The First Officer left while reiterating his offer, and Tom went back to his reading. However, when he found that he could not concentrate on his food or datapadd, he got up and left for Sickbay. Now here he was, heading towards it. He did not know why, but he felt that he had to; something had told him that he must.
He stopped outside the doors, took a deep breath, and entered. Inside were the Doctor and Wayne Curtis. The latter was on a biobed, eyes shut tight. The Doctor heard the door swish shut and turned his head at the sound. His expression was a combination of a darkened one, and that of a bemused one.
"Ah, Mr. Paris. What impeccable timing you have. Please monitor Mr. Curtis for me." Paris approached the biobed. The Doctor gave the tricorder and went to his office.
Tom gave a weak smile. "So, how are you?"
Curtis snorted. "I sort of had a ‚relapse‘. I cut one of my wrists, quickly changed my mind about dying, and came here. The Doc is telling the Captain about this latest ‚incident,‘ right now."
Tom looked at the wrist Wayne pointed to. "What made you stop?"
Curtis looked surprised. "Commander Chakotay said that there were better ways of dealing with my problems."
Tom seemed slightly amused. "That‘s it? That‘s all?"
"Yeah, I guess. Why do you want to know? You‘ve been doing your damnedest to avoid me!" Tom flinched at this.
"Okay, I deserved that. Mainly because it is true. But that‘s it? Chakotay tells you not to do something and you don‘t do it?" Tom asked.
Wayne looked at him. "What are you getting at Paris?" Tom set down the tricorder and put both hands on the biobed. The Doctor saw this from his seat in the office and got up.
"C‘mon now. You have a mind of your own, don‘t you? Why don‘t you use it for once?" Tom said in disgust.
Wayne got mad at this. "I do have a mind of my own, you pinhead! And I didn‘t stop because of what Chakotay said!"
Tom sneered. "Yeah, right! Then why in hell did you stop?" Curtis fell silent so he continued. "What made you attempt suicide a month ago?"
"I was getting sick of everything. Here we are 65 years from home, and I‘m away from my kids. The Cardies killed my wife, and when I returned the favour, I became an outlaw."
Tom looked at him sympathetically. "Who‘s taking care of them?"
"My parents. I used to have messages smuggled to them. I still make messages to them," Wayne commented to the ceiling.
"So? You can give them to your kids when we get back."
Curtis looked at him incredulously. "Don‘t you get it?
We‘re not going to get back! I‘m not going to see my kids! I‘m not going to see them grown up, get married, or have kids of their own! Twenty-eight days ago was my daughter‘s birthday, and everything became clear to me! It‘s been four years! Four years since we first came here and how many lives were lost between the two original crews, and that of the one we have now? How many will actually survive the journey back? How many families have been torn apart?" he asked hotly.
"So, we‘re feeling sorry for ourselves," Tom surmised. The Doctor went by the door.
"Yes! I think that I have every right to feel sorry for myself! What‘s left that I have to live for?"
"Your kids!" Tom exploded, "Hope! You never know what may happen! Maybe it will be tomorrow, or next week, or even next month, which we may come across a wormhole or find another way home! You can‘t give up on hope. As long as we have that, we have to believe that we‘ll get back to the Alpha quadrant—and trust me, one day we will—there is no reason to kill yourself," Tom folded his arms together. "Besides, you forgot something. You will get to see your kids again. Sure, you‘ll miss their childhood and their weddings, but you will get to see them again. You‘ll get to meet your daughter or son-in-law and grandchildren. You will still have your family. That‘s a lot more than what most of us have."
"And how would you know?!? How would you know what I feel? Who went and made you some expert in the reasons for committing suicide?" Wayne yelled. Tom was getting a bit hotheaded now. He swiftly unfolded his arms, lifted his left hand, and pulled the arm of his uniform back. He then stuck his wrist in Wayne‘s face. Wayne could see a faint white line across it. His eyes opened wide in shock and raised them to Tom‘s. Tom then repeated the action with his other wrist.
"…How?…Why?" was all that was sputtered.
"Remember what I‘m like whenever someone mentions my father? How I tense up and try to change the subject as quickly as possible?" Tom asked. Wayne nodded. Tom grabbed a chair and sat down. He began to relay the story of what life was like when his mom was alive, of the relationship he had with his dad after her death, and of what happened when he was fifteen. Neither one heard the Doctor leave Sickbay, or push the Captain out as she was coming inside when the doors opened.
"Doctor, what is the meaning of this?" demanded Janeway outside in the corridor.
"As I reported to you before, Ensign Curtis did indeed try to commit suicide again." He stopped for a moment to let this sink in.
"And?" she prompted.
"Apparently he changed his mind and came to Sickbay. I treated him—physically that is. Mr. Paris is inside talking to him. I have a feeling that it may help Mr. Curtis," the EMH explained.
"How? He would not talk to Chakotay, what makes you think that he will talk to Tom?" The Doctor thought of what he had overheard. He also remembered what Mr. Curtis‘ reaction was when he saw Tom‘s wrists. While he himself had overlooked them during the various physicals and visits endured by Mr. Paris (and berated himself for that), he had an idea of what was on those said wrists. What he did not understand was how Admiral Paris was involved, but suspected that his role was not pleasant.
"It‘s not for me to say Captain. I would suggest that Commander Chakotay continue counselling with Mr. Curtis. However at the moment, he may find it easier to talk with the lieutenant."
Janeway raised an eyebrow. "You don‘t say?" She looked at the door to Sickbay. "What do we do now?"
The Doctor joined her gaze. He had a notion of what the Captain was thinking. He felt that she had gathered the implications of his statement. He now suspected of what had been behind the lieutenant‘s initial hesitation when originally treating the ensign, and for his recent behaviour. But he did not know whether the Captain meant Mr. Curtis…or Mr. Paris. Most of Tom‘s close friends—including the captain herself had been worried about him. This shed new light on the situation. And also, on maybe how to deal with it.
"I don‘t know," he simply answered.
Inside Sickbay, Tom was seated, telling Wayne everything.
He felt a little better letting someone else beside his sister know of the suicide attempt, why he did it, and what he was feeling at the time. He also felt a bit naked while doing so, but continued. Wayne was sitting upright on the biobed, eyes getting wider each minute. When he heard of what Owen Paris said to his son, he was disgusted. He could not imagine a parent telling their child that. He could also see that Tom—while in Sickbay physically—was really in the past, mentally. Remembering every single detail, every single thought, every single action, every single smell. It appeared that Tom did not really notice Wayne, and the latter was so engrossed that neither one heard the Doctor re-enter the room. It chilled both the Ensign and Doctor to hear of the fight, of what the Admiral said (Curtis felt sick and the Doctor thought that if he could, he would actually vomit), and of the ‚solution‘ that Tom had chosen to end his pain.
Tom was absently fingering the scars on his wrists when he got to the part of slitting them. Tears had started to come down his cheeks when he told of how Stacey found him in the bathroom following his ‚deed‘. Wayne could envision the horror she must have felt. Imagine, finding a member of your family in a state of dying…
Then it hit him.
Corey Michaels had found dying—a state that was self-induced. Chakotay had told him that he was part of a family on board Voyager, and that he would have been missed. He did not think so at the time, but now… He thought of Corey as a younger brother, and he knew that Corey considered him as such also. Wayne felt guilty for putting Corey into that position; of finding him, of realising that the person you thought of as a brother was dying, and knowing that he did that to himself.
But not knowing why.
He owed Corey an apology.
"And maybe also an explanation," Tom added. It was only then that Wayne realised he spoke that last thought out loud.
"That too," he agreed. Tom smiled at this. Curtis lowered his head momentarily before raising it. "How did you deal with it?" Tom thought this over before answering.
"Stacey. She kept crying while she was trying to stop the bleeding. I thought that as long as one person wanted me to live, wanted me to be around, I had to. For them. I soon added Gillian—my other sister—to the list. Later, I found more things to stay alive for; my friends, flying, climbing. I found that my will to live was stronger than anything else, despite what happened regarding Caldik Prime and prison . I found that I loved the sensation of being alive. Happiness, hurt, pain—physical pain that is. I don‘t like the emotional kind too much. Or the hurt."
Wayne gave a small laugh. "I can relate to that last part. So, what should I do?"
"You‘re asking me?" Tom asked incredulously.
"Well, from one basket-case to a former one, I figure that you know best," Wayne answered.
Tom snorted. "Yeah, right. I‘m infallible. That‘s why I make so many mistakes."
"You know what I mean."
"I do," Tom admitted shaking his head. "But I don‘t think that it will be right for me to give you advice. I don‘t know what‘s best for you. Hell, I don‘t even know what‘s best for me! And for the record, I still consider myself to be a quasi-basket case."
"But you went through an attempted suicide as me," Wayne pointed out. "Chakotay wouldn‘t understand, but you would."
"Because—as you so eloquently pointed out—I did the same," Tom retorted. "I can‘t tell you what to do. What we did was for was for different reasons. What may have worked for me, may not work for you. I definitely would not recommend it."
"The reasons for what we did were different, but isn‘t counselling basically standard—regarding the treatment that is?" Wayne asked.
Tom folded his arms. "I wouldn‘t know."
Wayne decided to try a different track. "You said that you dealt with what you went through because of your sister, right?" Tom nodded. "Then can I at least try something similar?"
Tom thought this through and shook his head. "No. I wouldn‘t try it. Besides you would have to find reasons for living on your own. And you would still have to continue counselling with Chakotay. But if you‘re insistent on it, talk to him and discuss this…tactic," Tom advised. "But he‘ll probably say the same as me."
"Can you at least tell me how to start? If he does give it the okay that is."
"What made you stop your second attempt?" Tom asked, after pausing for what seemed to be an eternity.
"My kids," came the immediate reply.
"Why?" repeated Curtis questioningly
"How was it that it was your kids that stopped you?" Tom clarified.
The ensign pondered at this. "Be… I guess because a part of me hopes that you are right; that we may find a wormhole one-day, that I will be reunited with my kids. Because I want them to still have a father."
Tom gazed at Wayne. "There‘s one—or two—reasons for living. Hold onto that tightly while you find more." Tom got up off the chair. He turned to Wayne. "But remember, talk with the Commander. Chakotay may surprise us and have an insight into what you are feeling."
"Fine, I will. I don‘t have much of a choice, do I?" Tom shook his head. "But would it be all right if I talk to you once in a while?"
Tom gave a small smile. "Anytime. But if you don‘t—and I find you here again—I‘ll force you to eat Leola root stew for a week!"
"Please, I have to deal with this. I don‘t need torture on top of it!" joked Wayne.
Tom reached for the thermal regenerator. "Would you like for me to make the scar disappear?" he asked while gesturing to Wayne‘s wrist. Wayne looked down at it and fingered the scar.
"What made you keep yours?" he simply asked.
"What is this twenty questions?" Tom joked. He saw that Wayne‘s mood was on the serious side, and changed stance. "To remember what I did. To remember what I almost lost. A reminder…not to do it again."
"To remember that you almost lost out on your life?"
"Among other things."
"My sisters, especially Stacey. For some reason, after that day, we became closer. Almost best friends in fact." Tom gave a small laugh. "I almost missed out on her life too; interrogating her prospective boyfriends, getting drunk with her, sharing my first blackout…"
"A moment to remember," interrupted the ensign.
"Trust me, I wish I would remember! One of her friends kept hitting on me afterwards." He cocked his head. "Then again, with my track record, I get the feeling that I don‘t want to know. Great kisser though."
Wayne laughed out loud. The Doctor took this as a good sign. "I bet that she said the same for you."
Tom blushed. "She did. You should have seen the way she kept coming on to me—talk about strong! And she also made certain…insinuations." Tom‘s face went redder with that last word.
Tom seemed embarrassed but continued. "When I asked Stacey exactly what had happened, she didn‘t know. And when she talked to Vanessa, she couldn‘t get anything…concrete out of her."
"But she got a rough idea," Wayne finished.
Tom went beet red. "Which is why I‘m not sure if I want to remember."
"Well, you know what they say about older women. They can be great teachers."
A sly smile came upon Tom‘s face. "True. Very true." Wayne raised his eyebrows in question. Paris deliberately ignored this. "Well?" he inquired instead, pointing the regenerator at Curtis‘ wrist.
"No. I want to keep it," the ensign decided. "I want to remember of how I almost deprived my children of a father, Corey of a brother, and this crew of a member of the family."
For the umpteenth time, Tom smiled and went to see the Doctor.
The Doc was sitting down in his office. He looked up as he heard Tom approach. "Ah, Mr. Paris, how is our patient?"
"You heard," Tom stated.
The Doctor looked insulted. "Lieutenant! What would ever make you accuse me of such a thing?"
"Your PADD‘s upside down." The Doctor looked at the PADD before him. When he realised that Tom was right, he gave an exasperated look and quickly turned it around.
"I‘m sorry. I know that it was wrong for me to do so, but I was curious. He has responded to you better than he has to Commander Chakotay."
Tom shrugged. "He can talk to me if he wants. I don‘t know what he‘s going through—and I can‘t claim to—but I can understand why he did it though. He should still see Chakotay though, as he‘s the closest thing that we have to a counsellor."
"I never realised that your relationship with your father was that…turbulent," the Doctor commented.
Tom gave a laugh of disgust. "Turbulent. That‘s one way of putting it."
The Doctor got up. As he left the office to check up on Ensign Curtis, he patted Tom‘s shoulder. He had a new respect for the lieutenant now. And also an insight of why Tom acted the way he did. He could not fathom a person going through that. No wonder the young man was so cynical, had a hard time of trusting others, and at times seemed older than he was.
Tom looked at the Doc as he left. He did not want the Doctor to know, but he now did. However, he also knew that he would not have to worry of the EMH informing the Captain. ‚Thank the gods for Doc‘s code of ethics,‘ he thought as he watched the hologram speak to Wayne. He hoped that Wayne would heed his advice and talk to Chakotay. And to live. He did not want to go through that again. To treat a patient who tried his hand at suicide, who wanted to end their life. He frowned at that. He did not know if he would be able to handle another one. Not only of treating them, but also of going through the emotions that accompanied it. Of remembering. It was too painful.
But for some reason, he felt a bit better. He did not know why he told Wayne. He would have to think about that. He went to join the two.
"I still want you here for observation for a few more days," the Doctor lectured. "If memory serves, I only released you not even two weeks ago and…"
"I know, I know. Then I do a fool-hardy stunt like this," Wayne finished.
"Besides," Tom put in, "It‘s regulations. A person may say that they are fine, that they are okay, but are really the opposite." Curtis nodded his head in agreement. If memory served him, that was what he said when he was released the first time.
"Good," the Doctor said as he took a PADD and entered data into it. "I also want to thank-you, Lieutenant."
Tom turned to the EMH. "For what?"
"You know," the Doctor replied cryptically. Tom nodded his understanding. Wayne looked at them in confusion as the Doctor left.
"He overheard," explained Tom. Wayne froze. "But don‘t worry, he can‘t tell anyone. You can thank whoever programmed his ethics for that. Besides, I have more to worry about than you. He knows of what happened to me."
"Besides you, the Doc and myself, no one else knows how…turbulent my relationship with my father was. The same can also be said of my suicide attempt," Tom explained.
"Not even B‘Elanna?" questioned Wayne. Everyone knew that the flight controller and the engineer were an item. Tom shook his head.
"No," he confirmed, "Not even B‘Elanna. Hell, not even Harry!"
Wayne was silent. "Maybe I shouldn‘t be the only one who should do some explaining. It‘s all over the ship that you‘ve been acting strangely, and that B‘Elanna‘s worried about you. Perhaps you should tell her why."
"Would you want everyone to know about what you did?" Tom retorted.
"No," admitted Wayne, "I wouldn‘t. But then again, B‘Elanna‘s not everyone."
"I know," Tom conceded. "It‘s just that, I‘ve been keeping this bottled up inside for so long, and life has taught me to trust few people."
"You can trust B‘Elanna."
"I know," Tom agreed, and he did indeed mean it. "It‘s just that, I don‘t like letting people…in."
"Apparently she did." Wayne observed. This caused Tom to look at the ensign in shock. Wayne noticed this. "She did, didn‘t she?"
Tom stood there dumbfounded. He then recognised that Wayne was right. Despite what he had said in his personal log almost four weeks ago, about letting others in slowly (or insinuated this), he had not followed this. B‘Elanna did get in. It seemed that she got in Big-Time. Well, he did say that he was going to let his friends in more. It was that he did not grasp just how much she got in until now. While he was thinking this, he began to realise that something else that Wayne said was correct. Looking back, he could see the concerned looks that B‘Elanna passed his way. He could also remember how many times he had tried to alleviate her questions, and changed the subject. At the time, he had found this a bit annoying, due to the fact of what he was trying to hide. But now… "Yes, she got in," Tom confirmed.
"Then tell her."
"I don‘t know how," came the soft reply.
Wayne paused. "I can‘t tell you how; you have to figure that out on your own."
Tom gave a small smile at this. It was basically what he told Curtis, albeit in a different context. "Next you‘ll be saying that I ought to talk to Chakotay."
"It wouldn‘t be a bad idea. After all, it may do you some good."
"Yes, but I‘ve had more time to deal with it than you have," Tom pointed out.
"Maybe. But how have you dealt with your problems?" Wayne knew that he most likely had Tom with that one.
"Maybe," Tom yielded. "But I don‘t know how she‘ll react."
Wayne remained silent. He knew that the pilot was not referring to talking with the First Officer, but to a certain engineer. Tom looked at the chronometer. Harry was still working with Seven on another project, and B‘Elanna would probably still be in engineering. His shift was over; and as much as he wanted to see that Wayne was okay, he had some thinking to do.
He turned to the male on the biobed. "Do you think that you‘ll be all right?"
Wayne looked at the lieutenant in surprise. "Uh, yeah. If I need anything, the Doc is here. Going to talk to someone?" he asked with a smile on his face.
"Going rock-climbing," Tom corrected. "Computer, is Holodeck two in use at the moment?"
Holodeck Two is presently not in use.
"Reserve it for Lieutenant Paris, time slot to begin in fifteen minutes," He turned to Wayne. "Have to change and grab my climbing gear."
"Going to have some fun I see," the ensign commented.
"Going to think. But if you want to talk—at anytime—don‘t hesitate to call me. Capish?"
"Understand?" Tom translated. He liked twentieth century slang, but sometimes forgot that others did not know it.
Wayne nodded. "Understood. Happy climbing, Lieutenant."
"Thanks." Tom left the biobed and went to see the Doctor.
"Night, Doc. Keep an eye out on Wayne, will you?"
"Naturally. I will notify you on any further developments—though talking to you, has seemed to help Mr. Curtis."
"I would appreciate that," accepted Tom. "Once again, good night."
"Good night, Mr. Paris," the Doctor replied. "Pleasant dreams."
"Tom," Wayne called out as Tom reached the doors, "Tell her. She‘ll understand." Tom nodded and went out into the corridor.
In his quarters, Tom quickly changed, got out his climbing gear and checked it out. After he saw that all was in satisfactory order, he left for the holodeck. Outside of it, he ordered one of his favourite climbing programs. After a few moments, the computer complied and the doors opened. As he went inside, he took in a deep breath. He had not only programmed in the smells associated with the great outdoors, but also of the nature surrounding him at the moment in minute detail—the trees, animals and lakes. It was all there. He could go hiking, camping and rock climbing. He used to do that a lot with his sisters and their friends. It annoyed Stacey‘s and Gillian‘s friends, having their younger brother tagging with them; but his sisters did not mind, and eventually their friends got used to his presence. They even found him useful and had to admit that he knew more about camping and rock climbing than they did. He walked for sometime before setting down his gear. After making sure that his equipment was safe once again, he set about in getting ready to go up.
"Computer, release all safety protocols."
Safety protocols are off-line
Tom smiled in satisfaction at the computer‘s response and took out his spikes. Wayne was right.
This part was fun.
After Tom had reached the top, he surveyed the beauty that surrounded him. He thought that he could never get enough of this, as he sat down and began to think. Think of Wayne, of what Wayne went through. Of what the Doctor and Wayne found out about him. He knew that he was ticked off with Curtis when he revealed his scars. He also realised that perhaps the ensign would feel a bit better, knowing that someone else had tried to do the same thing.
Then maybe some of the embarrassment would go away.
Tom remembered feeling that way a for a long time, after Stacey had found him. He also remembered that despite Stacey‘s assurances, he was afraid that she would tell someone else what he did. What he tried to do. Especially their father.
Gods, he was glad, surprised, and relieved that she never did that; that she kept her promise. He wondered how she dealt with the situation before her at the time.
*Gods Stacey, I‘m so sorry for putting you through that. I only hope that one day, you can forgive me* he thought, as he closed his eyes. He then thought of B‘Elanna.
He was in love with her. He had stated in his personal log earlier that he had to open up more, to learn how to trust more. Tom was not lying when he told Wayne Curtis that B‘Elanna had indeed gotten inside. She did have the power to hurt him. But as he also said in his log, he had to find a way to get beyond the hurt. Getting hurt was simply a fact of life. He had to deal with it.
But should he tell her?
Was Wayne right? After all, he had really just returned the advice that Tom had given to the ensign. In his heart, he knew that Wayne was right; that B‘Elanna was not just any person. She was the woman that he was in love with. A woman with whom he hoped that he would spend a long time with (and perhaps maybe for the rest of their lives). He had never felt this way about anyone before, not with this intensity.
But a part of him was scared.
What would she think if he told her what was bothering him? Of what he had done when he was a teenager? Would she think any less of him? Would she want to break off their relationship? Tom was afraid that this may happen.
And he loved her too much to lose her.
So, should he tell her?
"Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again," he murmured, remembering a song from his many twentieth-century collections. At times, he could not believe that he actually had a selection of songs to reflect his down-cast moods.
"Tom?" came a voice from behind. Tom opened his eyes and saw B‘Elanna walking up to him.
"B‘Elanna," he said startled, "When did you get here? How did you know where I was?"
B‘Elanna sat down in uniform beside him. "I just finished work and tried to reach you. When you didn‘t answer your commbadge, I asked the computer where you were. It said that you were here, so I came," she began to explain. "I hope that you don‘t mind, but I over-rode your privacy lock. I know that I probably deserve any ‚wrath‘ that I may have incurred, but I figured that you wouldn‘t mind. Do you?" Tom shook his head and she relaxed at this. "Anyway, I‘ve only been here for five minutes. I would have interrupted you earlier, but you seemed deep in thought," She looked off the cliff. "This place is beautiful."
"So, where are we?"
"The Canadian Shield—Northern Ontario. Not too far from Sioux Lookout, in fact," he answered. "I used to go camping there with my sisters every summer for about two weeks. It was fun." B‘Elanna nodded her understanding. Tom turned to her. "How did you get up here? The safeties are off and you have no gear with you."
B‘Elanna smiled. "I have my ways."
"Uh-huh. And how was the beam up here?" he asked smugly.
"The usual," she replied. She then realised that she gave away how she got there. At first she was a bit irked that he wrangled the answer out of her. Well, not really wrangling but…it was based on the fact that he knew her so well. At least better than most people. She then noticed a forlorn look appearing on his face. The same look that had been on his face for almost a month now. She softened her expression and moved until her side touched his. She laid her head on his shoulder and he put his on top of hers. "Tom, what‘s wrong?" she asked.
"What makes you think that something‘s wrong?" he asked automatically, already knowing the answer.
"You know. For a while now, you‘ve been in this pensive mood, and no one knows why. It frightens me to see you like this. And sad." Tom lifted his head. He took his hand and lifted her face to meet his.
"Frightens?" he asked, "Sad I can understand, but frightened?"
"I don‘t like to see you like this. You closed yourself off from me—you still are. I know that something is bothering you—that you‘re hurting. And that hurts me! Why won‘t you tell me? Gods Tom, I love you so much, that seeing you like this is tearing me up inside! I want to help! Don‘t you trust me?" she exclaimed with passion.
Tom took a deep breath. He clasped her hand into his, and intertwined their fingers. "I do trust you," he responded.
"Than talk to me! I want to help you with whatever is wrong," she implored with tears in her eyes. Tom stared off into the scenery before him.
Maybe Wayne was right.
Maybe she would understand.
He looked at their hands. "Something happened a few weeks ago, that made me remember something. Something, I really didn‘t want to remember. But that I can‘t forget."
"Go on," she urged with both her voice and eyes.
"I never had the best relationship with my dad growing up." He stopped for a moment. B‘Elanna wanted to tell him to continue, but something told her not to; that he would do so in his own time. He lifted his head to look at hers. He gathered strength from the determination on her face, her need to know, and from the love reflected in her eyes. He took another deep breath, exhaled and looked down at their hands, a bit uncertain of the reaction that he may get.
But not uncertain of what he had to do.
"I was fifteen…"