Title: Too Much To Take (11/?)
Author: CatHeights
Pairing: K, T, (C/P implied)
Rating: PG-13 this part. This is a slash story. If reading about a
relationship between two men disturbs you, read no further.
Feedback: I would love to hear your thoughts, e-mail me at
Archive: Cha_Club, ATPS, Paris Nights. Anywhere else, just ask first.

Spoiler Warning: Barge of the Dead; Extreme Risk; Nothing Human.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all rights to Star Trek Voyager, its characters,
and the Voyager episodes referred to in this story. The story idea is mine,
but I am doing this just for fun, no money to be made.

B'Elanna looked at the pad Vorik had handed her with satisfaction.
The final stages of the installation were going exactly as she had planned.
Her stomach growled and she figured she could spare a few minutes to grab some
lunch. Her staff was well ahead of schedule. The last few days had been
crazy, but it had been a challenge which she was all to happy to tackle.
Everything was running smoothly. Confident that things were under control,
she started to head out of Engineering.

Just as she was about to turn the corner, she heard a bit of
conversation that stopped her in her tracks.

"I'm telling you, he isn't sleeping well. Something big definitely
happened between the two of them."

She recognized the voice. It was either Megan or Jenny Delaney.

"Meg, I'll give you that Tom is obviously mad at Chakotay. I don't
think anyone on the ship would argue that one with you, but otherwise he looks
fine to me."

Well that solved that question. It was obviously Megan and she knew
the other person was Sue Nicoletti. What the heck were they talking about
though? Tom mad at Chakotay?

"Well then look closer. There are circles under his eyes. You
never see him at Sandrine's anymore, or for that matter in the mess hall,
except in the morning with Harry," Meg said.

"Maybe he's still upset over B'Elanna. It was only a few days ago
that they broke up," Sue said.

"Oh I think he's upset over that, but I heard there's a bit more to
it," Meg said as she dropped her voice lower. B'Elanna was close enough that
she still had no trouble hearing. "I heard that Tom found out that while he
and B'Elanna were dating, her and Chakotay had an affair. What do you think of

B'Elanna's previous contentment faded in an instant, her anger
erasing it as if it never existed. She had heard enough.

"I think you shouldn't believe everything you hear," she said coldly
as she walked around the corner. Sue's mouth dropped open, and Meg's eyes
widened as the Chief Engineer glared at them.

"Smearing the good name of one's senior officers is never a good
idea. I suggest you find a better source of intelligence, because there
isn't an ounce of truth to the lies you are spreading. Even better, I suggest
you refrain from spreading such gossip. Sue, there is plenty of work left on
the repairs. If I'm not giving you enough work, I'll be glad to rectify the
situation. Meg, if Astrometrics is leaving you with so much free time, I'll
be sure to talk to Captain about some cross-training for you. We don't want
anyone to be bored. Now both of you get back to work."

"Yes, sir," Sue said not meeting B'Elanna's eyes. She quickly
darted away, wondering just how long the Chief would make her life miserable.

"Sorry, sir," Meg said as scurried out of Engineering. She should
have known better than to share gossip in B'Elanna's domain.

B'Elanna glared at the two women until they were out of her sight.
As her anger started to fade, she began to mull over what she had overheard.
While she despised gossip, she had learned that often there was a small grain
of truth in it.

She had spent the last few days happily buried in Engineering. Had,
in fact, welcomed all the problems that came with the new parts. While she
didn't regret her and Tom breaking up, at times, the loss still hurt more than
she wanted to admit. The installations gave her something to throw her mind
into and a reason to give herself some space.

She sighed. Had she done it again? Got so caught up in herself
that she ignored what was going on with Tom. She had sworn she would be a
better friend. Had she failed so quickly? She had to wonder if the truth in
the gossip was that Tom still looked haggard. She had assumed that after they
spoke, the dreams would fade, but maybe they hadn't.

Her stomach growled and she decided getting lunch was still a good
idea. As B'Elanna headed to the mess hall, she wondered how Chakotay had
gotten pulled into the gossip mill. It seemed odd to her. Maybe Tom looked
exhausted enough that Chakotay had taken notice and tried to talk to him.
She could picture Tom rebuffing the Commander's efforts. While if Chakotay
thought something serious was going on with Tom, he wouldn't give up. If Tom
didn't want to talk, she could see him getting mad at Chakotay. Chances were
that was probably exactly what had happened. All the more reason for her to
start paying attention to what was going on with Tom. The last thing she
wanted was for Tom to add to his troubles by pushing the Commander too far.

B'Elanna had planned to just grab lunch and bring it back to
Engineering, but as she stopped to make her selection, she noticed Harry
sitting alone. If anyone would know what was going on with Tom, it would be
Harry. Besides, it had been days since she had had the time to really sit
down and talk with him. Everything was under control in Engineering; surely
she could spare the time to take a break. She grabbed her lunch and headed
over to Harry.

"Long time no see," she said as she placed her tray down across from

"B'Elanna, sit down," Harry said pleasantly surprised. "I didn't
think you'd surface from Engineering for at least another day."

"I figured my staff could briefly spare me. Besides, like I said
this morning, we're ahead of schedule. Not to mention, I can think of at
least one member of my staff who should be working harder than normal on the
installations." Her mouth twisted in a vicious grin as she thought of Sue
Nicoletti. Even though she knew it was Megan Delaney and not Sue spreading the
gossip in this case, she knew Nicoletti was responsible for spreading her own
share of gossip. A little extra work never killed anyone.

"Which member?" Harry asked, curious.

"Never mind," B'Elanna said. She had no intention of repeating that
bit of gossip unless she had to. First she was going to find out what Harry
knew about Tom, and if he wouldn't spill anything to her, than she would see
what his reaction was to the gossip she had heard.

"I haven't seen you really, since..." Harry's word's faded off for a
moment and then he continued. "How have you been?"

"Busy finding perfect solutions," she quickly replied meeting his
eyes. "But I don't think that's what you meant. What you were trying to say
is you haven't seen me since Tom and I broke up, and how am I handling it."

Harry nodded wondering if she would say she was sick of the question
or if she would just say she was fine and then change the subject.

"I've kind of made sure I didn't have a whole lot of time to think
about how I feel, if you know what I mean. Still, I have to admit it's nice
to be able to sit next to Tom at a staff meeting and not be angry with him.
At least now we can hold a conversation without one of us yelling. It's just
odd knowing that we're not a couple anymore. I can't quite explain it. I
know it's what is best for the both of us, and I can already see our
friendship starting to heal, but there's an awkwardness, a sense of loss, that
I think we'll just have to ride out until it fades." She shrugged as she
looked at him.

Harry was completely surprised. He hadn't expected B'Elanna to be
so honest and forthcoming. He had to admit that ever since she had returned
from Klingon Hell, or wherever her mind had really taken her, she had been
different. Calmer, more confident. He liked the change, liked it a lot. He
was glad to see her more at peace with herself. Her behavior over the past
couple of months had scared him at times. It was good to see that she had
managed to pull through her personal crisis.

Still, her answer to his question bothered him. He had held on to a
slight hope that his two friends would get back together. Hearing her
response, he realized there really was no hope. When he had finally gotten
Tom to talk about how he felt about the breakup, his responses were similar to
B'Elanna's. There was no anger from either of them, no overwhelming desire
to make it work, just a hope that at some point they could again be good
friends. He guessed he had to face the truth; Tom and B'Elanna just weren't
meant to be.

"Time, I guess is the cure for everything," Harry said and B'Elanna
gave him a small smile.

"You know, besides at meetings, I haven't seen much of Tom. How is
he?" B'Elanna asked carefully studying Harry's face.

"He's getting by," Harry replied vaguely.

"Is he still having the dreams?" she asked, knowing that Harry
would never give her any answers without knowing how much she knew. She could
read Harry like a book. He would tread carefully in any conversation with
her, never revealing anything he thought Tom would want to remain private.
Harry would never consciously betray a confidence; he was too good of a friend
to do such a thing. Still, while he might be reluctant to tell her something,
she always knew where she stood with him, something she greatly appreciated.
Talking to Harry was never the minefield that it could often be with Tom.

Harry was relieved to hear her mention the dreams. Tom hadn't told
him exactly what he had said to B'Elanna, and he was wary of talking about
something Tom might not want discussed. By the time Harry had finally managed
to get Tom to tell him what was going on, Tom had been an emotional mess, and
Harry had had to drag each bit of the story out of him. It had taken two
hours before Tom even mentioned Chakotay. Harry still wasn't sure if his
friend had told him the whole story. One never was with Tom.

"I think it's possible, but I'm not sure. He told me about the
dreams, the ones with you and Caldik Prime, but he hasn't mentioned the dreams
since then, and when I ask, he just says he's sleeping fine."

B'Elanna made sure her face didn't reveal anything when Harry
mentioned Caldik Prime. Tom had never said a word to her about also having
dreams of the accident. She could feel a familiar frustration build within
her. Tom rarely told one person everything. You always had to piece things
together. She had always been someone who loved to fix things, solve
problems, but you couldn't find solutions without all the pieces. Tom never
gave her the pieces, never gave anyone the pieces. If she had known he was
also dreaming of Caldik Prime, she wouldn't have assumed the nightmares would
fade after their talk. She felt like sighing.

"What did he say to you about the dreams when you talked to him
before we broke up," she asked.

Harry looked puzzled. "What do you mean? Tom didn't tell me about
the dreams until after you two broke up. I couldn't get him to even speak to
me before that."

"But, Tom told me he talked to someone. I figured…" her voice
dropped off. Chakotay, that's who he talked to, she thought. Things were
beginning to make sense.

Harry looked at her warily. He didn't like the expression on her
face. It was the look she had when she was trying to solve an engineering
problem. The one that said I will not stop until I have the answer. This time
he really hoped she wouldn't figure things out.

"Harry, has Chakotay talked to Tom? Maybe noticed that Tom looked
tired or something and tried to get him to talk," B'Elanna said noticing that
Harry had started to squirm at her question. She was on the right track.

"No, not that I know of. Why?" Harry said trying to look innocent.
He hated being in this position. He didn't like lying to B'Elanna, but even
worse would be the look on Tom's face if B'Elanna found out the truth.
Silently, he cursed Chakotay.

Harry was lying and she knew it. It was written all over his face.
She decided it was time to share the gossip she had heard. She was sure it
would get a reaction from him. "No reason. It's just that I overheard Megan
Delaney and Sue Nicoletti gossiping a bit ago, and it made me think." She
couldn't help the sneer that twisted her face as she remembered the

Harry looked at her sympathetically. "You know they were bound to
gossip. Don't let it get to you. It's not worth listening to."

"Oh don't worry, it's not getting to me. It's just that what they
said was a bit odd." She made sure she was looking directly at Harry before
continuing. "Meg was telling Sue that Tom looked tired and they both said
that Tom was mad at Chakotay." She watched Harry's eyes widen slightly at the
mention of Chakotay's name. "Here's where it gets very weird, they said Tom
was mad at Chakotay because he had found out that Chakotay and I had an affair
while Tom and I were still together. What do you think of that?"

She watched Harry go very still. She was right. Whatever was
currently bothering Tom had more to do with Chakotay than her. A vague
suspicion was starting to build in her.

At this moment, Harry truly wanted to strangle the Commander. Tom
had had enough problems without Chakotay adding another to the stack. He
still couldn't understand why Tom wasn't in the least bit angry with Chakotay.
He had taken advantage of Tom's momentary weakness, and made B'Elanna's never
speaking to Tom again a possibility.

Harry wondered if Chakotay had done it on purpose, hoping to destroy
all chances of Tom and B'Elanna reconciling. Tom had thought that idea
ridiculous, but Harry wasn't so sure. He had known for a long time that
Chakotay was attracted to Tom. When he was on the bridge, he had seen the
stares and glances the Commander shot Tom's way. He had thought it all
harmless, even a bit amusing at the time. Now he wished he had warned Tom.
Still, a part of him, said that Tom was right, Chakotay just wasn't the type
to try to sabotage a relationship. That realization didn't calm his anger
though. He still blamed this whole mess on Chakotay. If Tom refused to be
angry than Harry would be angry for him. Right now, though, he needed to make
sure B'Elanna didn't notice his anger toward Chakotay.

"I'd say that they should be ashamed to be saying such things about
their senior officers," Harry said trying to sound indignant.

"Oh, don't worry, they'll be sorry," B'Elanna said savagely. She
started to ask another question of Harry but then decided against it. It
really wasn't fair to press him for information. Harry was just being loyal
to Tom and the last thing she wanted was to force Harry into inadvertently
telling her something that would betray Tom. That would just hurt both of her
friends. She had gotten enough information for the moment; enough to start
her mind wondering exactly what was going on between Tom and Chakotay.

"So, how come Tom isn't having lunch with you?" B'Elanna asked.

Harry let out his breath and gave a small prayer of thanks for
B'Elanna's changing the subject. "He said he had some stuff to do back in his
quarters. He also told me he wouldn't be able to meet me for dinner. Except
for breakfast, he pretty much skips the mess hall."

B'Elanna knew Chakotay was rarely seen in the mess hall grabbing
breakfast. He preferred to meditate. She found it very interesting that Tom
would go to the mess hall only when he was positive that Chakotay wouldn't be

"Do you know if he's eating at all?"

"I think he is, some. Probably not as much as he should, but I
don't think he's starving himself or anything like that," Harry said.

"He'll be in the mess hall tonight for dinner," B'Elanna said her
eyes glinting with determination.

"B'Elanna," Harry said warningly.

"Don't worry. I'll be nice. I'll comm you once I've picked up Tom
and we're heading to the mess hall, and you can meet us here," she said her
tone indicating she was not going to listen to any of Harry's arguments.

Harry gave in with a sigh. He was sure Tom wasn't going to thank
him for B'Elanna showing up to drag him to dinner. "Fine. Good Luck."

B'Elanna stood and gathered her tray. "Well I've been gone long
enough. I'll see you tonight." She started to walk away but then turned
around and said, "I've missed you. You know the past few months have been
crazy and I really haven't seen you much. We should do this more often."

Harry's smile widened. "Yeah, we should. I'll catch you later."
He watched her stride out of the mess hall, her head held high and her mind
probably already back in Engineering. He would be seeing Tom at dinner
tonight. He was sure of it. B'Elanna wouldn't take no for an answer. Harry
chuckled. B'Elanna was one determined woman. A quality he found very