Title: Too Much To Take (12/?)
Author: CatHeights
Pairing: C/P, K, T
Rating: PG-13 this part. This is a slash story. If reading about a
relationship between two men disturbs you, read no further.

Feedback: CatHeights@yahoo.com
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.

End of Part 11

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

And now..

Part 12

The afternoon in Engineering slipped by, as time usually did when she
was working on a project she loved. B'Elanna soon found herself striding
purposefully toward Tom's quarters. He was having dinner tonight with her and
Harry in the mess hall, no matter what he currently thought his plans for the
evening were. No wasn't an option, and if she was lucky, she might be able to
at least get a few hints as to what was going on between him and Chakotay.

Not thinking, she started to key in the codes to Tom's quarters. She
halted, her hand in mid-air, as she realized what she was about to do. Her
hand dropped limply; she didn't have the right to just enter anymore. Besides,
the codes probably weren't even the same.

She took a deep breath and shook off the momentary discomfort she felt.
It was an honest mistake, she told herself. When you had been with someone
for a while, you developed habits with each other that weren't going to
instantly disappear. She raised her hand again and pressed the chime to his

The door didn't open; instead, Tom's voice called, "Go away, Harry. I
told you I'm not going to the mess hall tonight."

"It's not Harry. Open the door, Tom," B'Elanna said.

The door slid open, and Tom stood there looking at her with surprise.
"B'Elanna, I'm sorry. I thought..."

"I know, that I was Harry," she said with a wry grin. "I got that
point. Can I come in?"

"Of course," Tom said moving aside to let her enter. He gazed at her
in concern. "Is everything all right?"

"Everything's fine. I just stopped by on my way to the mess hall.
Figured that maybe you might want to join me."

Tom looked at her suspiciously. "Harry put you up to this, didn't he?"

"No one puts me up to anything. I did have lunch today with Harry,
though, and the topic of your avoiding dinner in the mess hall came up."

"I'm not avoiding dinner. I have work to do, and I told Harry that,"
Tom retorted.

"Bullshit. You know I'm not believing that story."

Tom glowered at her.

"Oh, come on Tom. I've barely seen you all week. I've been buried in
Engineering. Have dinner with Harry and me. It'll give us all a chance to
catch up."

"I have work to do," Tom said stubbornly.

"That's my line, not yours," she said sitting on his couch and leaning
back. Arms behind her head, she gazed up at him and suddenly felt awkward.
How many times had she sat on this couch, in just this position, gazing at Tom
with a seductive smile on her face? Willing him with her eyes to come over
to her. She never said a word each time she played this game. Tom had caught
on quickly. He would try to stare her down, hoping to make her get up and
come to him, but she always won. He tired of the game easily, willing to give
in to get what he wanted. She pushed the memory from her mind. It was a game
she wouldn't be playing again, at least with him. She moved her arms from
behind her head, resting them on the couch instead.

Tom was gazing at her warily. "What are you doing?"

B'Elanna gave him a bland look. "Getting comfortable while I wait
until you're ready to go to dinner."

Tom looked at the ceiling and sighed heavily. Sometimes, B'Elanna
drove him insane and this was one of those times.
Meanwhile, B'Elanna was gazing at him critically. Yes, if you looked
closely, you could see circles under his eyes, but they were faint. In all
the time she had known him, Tom often had trouble sleeping, so a faint
darkness around his eyes wasn't unexpected. He looked fine, but she wanted to
be sure.

"Tom, are you still having those dreams?" She asked softly.

He looked over at her surprised by the change in her tone. "Not
really. I'm sleeping fine." It was mostly the truth too. While the dreams
hadn't completely disappeared, their frequency had decreased, and they no
longer haunted him when he was awake. However, while his nightmares seemed to
be disappearing, he was having more and more dreams about Chakotay. He was
frequently waking with the strong desire to find the Commander, continue that
kiss and take things much, much further. Then his mind would picture
B'Elanna's brown eyes gazing at him in anger and disappointment. There was
no way he was having a discussion about dreams with B'Elanna. He might as
well just agree to going to dinner. At least it would get her off the current

"You're not going to leave until I agree to go to dinner, are you?" he
asked in a put upon tone.

B'Elanna just crossed her arms, tilted her head, and narrowed her eyes
at him.

"Sorry, silly question. Of course you're not. Fine, I'll go to dinner.
Obviously, I'm not getting any work done," he said sticking to his story.

B'Elanna bounced off the couch. "Took you long enough. Let's go, I'm
starving. Let me tell Harry." She tapped her combadge, "Torres to Kim."

"Kim here."

"Harry, Tom and I are heading down to the mess hall now. Why don't you
meet us there?"

"Uh, how's the atmosphere?"

"You're a dead man, Harry," Tom called out.

Harry chuckled over the link. "I'm scared. Somehow I think I'll
survive. See you both there. Kim out."

Tom rolled his eyes and they made their way out of his quarters and to
the turbolift. "Deck Two," B'Elanna said. The brief ride passed in
companionable silence. Ever on time, Harry was waiting for them outside of
the mess hall.

Tom pretended to glower at him. "Harry, the next time you run one of
your holoprograms, make sure you look over your shoulder--often."

Harry laughed. "Thanks for the warning, of course if I find anything,
you might want to start doing the same."

"Is that a challenge?"

B'Elanna held up her hand. "Can we get food first, and then you two
can finishing threatening each other and making bets on who is better at

Tom chuckled and looked at Harry, "I think she might be getting a bit

Harry gave him a smirk that widened as B'Elanna gave a small growl and
headed into the mess hall. The two men followed her, chuckling.

Tom was smiling as he made his selections from among tonight's mystery
food choices. He wasn't going to admit it to Harry and B'Elanna, but he was
kind of glad they had dragged him to dinner. He was tired of avoiding
Chakotay and spending all his time thinking about what he had done to
encourage the Commander. At least if he ran into Chakotay tonight, B'Elanna
and Harry would be here to act as a buffer. He let himself relax, enjoying
the company of his friends.

B'Elanna chose a table, and Tom sat down next to Harry and across from
her. He took a bite of his dinner, ignoring its strange orange color. He
swallowed, a little too salty, but not bad considering some of the stuff
Neelix served. He took a drink of water, before saying, "So Harry, was that
a challenge? Do you think you're a better holoprogrammer than I?"

"Yes," Harry said smugly.

B'Elanna rolled her eyes. "Okay, whatever you two dream up, if you
blow a single holo-emitter, I will kill you both. I don't care which one of
you is responsible."

"Ah, B'Elanna we would never do anything that would damage one of the
holodecks and cause you more work. Now would we, Harry?" Tom said looking
innocent. Harry nodded grinning and trying to appear just as innocent.

B'Elanna shook her head and laughed. "Remind me some time to run a
report of just how many times one of you has been responsible for a problem
with a holodeck."

"No need to do that. We wouldn't to make more work for you," Harry
said laughing. He was enjoying the banter. It was nice to be able to
casually joke and tease again. For a while, every comment either B'Elanna or
Tom said had an edge to it. Jokes weren't jokes, but digs, and comments were
direct accusations. He had missed the three of them being able to just hang
out and relax.

They ate dinner in between exchanging jokes and ideas. When they were
almost finished eating, Tom asked B'Elanna how things were going with the
final installations.

"No problems and moving along very quickly, particularly now that I
have one member of my staff working twice as hard so that I won't kill her for
spreading rumors." She took a bite of food and then swallowed hard, realizing
what she had just said. Damn. Harry was glaring at her.

"What rumor?" Tom asked looking concerned.

"Nothing, just a bit of nonsense," she quickly said, putting her fork
down. She had been so pleased with herself that she had gotten Tom to join
them for dinner and that he was enjoying himself. She didn't want to ruin his
mood by telling him what was being said. She had a feeling that he wouldn't
take it well.

"What are they saying?" he demanded. In his concern, he laid a hand
lightly on her arm.

Trying to buy herself some time, B'Elanna glanced away from Tom and saw
Chakotay standing at the entrance of the mess hall, staring at their table.
She doubted he even noticed her gaze, as his eyes seemed to be focused on
Tom's hand resting on her arm. He paled, turned around, and left the mess

The look she had seen on his face; she recognized it, but had never
seen it on Chakotay. It was the look of someone who thought they had just
lost the one thing they cared about most. Her vague suspicion turned into
certainty and the pieces of the puzzle snapped into place. Chakotay was in
love with Tom.

"B'Elanna, hey you still there? Are you okay?" Tom asked wondering
why she wasn't answering him. He noticed he still had his hand on her arm.
He blushed slightly, and removed it.

"What? Sorry, I just remembered one more thing I need to check on in
Engineering. I must have drifted off. What were you saying?" B'Elanna asked
distractedly. She needed to talk to Chakotay now, while his defenses were
down. If she waited, she'd never get the truth out of him--and she wanted

"The rumor. What was it about?" Tom said frowning.

"Really, Tom it was nothing. You know I really should get back to
Engineering. Check up on things. I remembered some checks that might need to
be redone. Sorry. Tom, thanks for keeping us company. Harry, I'll catch you
later." She stood and picked up her tray.

"B'Elanna, are you sure you're okay?" Tom asked worried.

She smiled at him, "I'm fine, just obsessed with these installations.
I'll see you later." She walked out of the mess hall, leaving Tom and Harry
looking puzzled.

With a sinking feeling, Tom wondered exactly what sort of gossip was
spreading through the ship. He had a feeling that when he found out, he was
going to be far from thrilled.