Author's note: From the second I first heard this song, I knew it was
P/T. I didn't realize that Krystal (Kate) of the Ites had used the song
for a story till I had this half written. Forgive me, Kate!! :)
Disclaimer: Paramount owns it, kids. You know it--I know it. The
Backstreet Boys own their song. The story and Scott Martin are *mine.*
This story was begun before "Pathways" was released--so forgive the
discrepancies. No copyright infringing intended. Don't sue--all you'll
end up with is an Erin Bear, a Titanic poster and my Nolan Ryan
Rating: PG-13 - adult situations hinted at and an itty bit of language.
Thanks: The Backstreet Boys for their lovely song. Briahlen--my sister
and closest friend, and the whole gang of P/T Fever for putting up with
this past year. :) And of course to Juli, Niomi, Ronda, Voyagerbabe,
Amanda and Lesa for beta-reading. Also, thanks to Joe and Layne for
helping me through second paragraph writer's block and Rachel for
helping me with the "Doc chat" scene. :)
Summary: "Vis a Vis" coda. Steth's words bring back memories B'Elanna
would sooner leave buried.
Dedication: To Voyagerbabe, for helping me totally rewrite the
beginning--and other things too. :)
As Long As You Love Me
B'Elanna sighed softly and closed her eyes. She lay on top of Tom,
sprawled in the backseat of his '69 Camaro. There was barely room for
the both of them, but she didn't mind. Her cheek rested against his
chest and she could hear the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. She had
never felt more content.
Tom was silent even though he had a thousand questions on his mind, but
he didn't want to break the moment. He ran his fingers through her
silky raven hair as though inspecting every strand. He knew he would
never tire of holding her like this.
She shifted slightly and sighed again. He moved his hand from her hair
to lightly caress her spine. She murmured his name and softly kissed
"I love you," he whispered tenderly.
For a long moment, she was silent, then she expelled a deep breath and
he felt her tremble. "I was afraid you'd never say that to me again."
"Oh, *be'nal*," he murmured, hugging her closer. He felt terrible that
he had hurt her--and furious with Steth for making it worse.
"It's all right," she whispered. She trembled again, then let out a
deep breath. "I'm all right."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure." She lifted her head and he reached up, cupping her
cheek in one hand.
"Just remember that I love you no matter what, B'Elanna."
"I know," she said softly.
As he pulled her down to kiss her, B'Elanna knew that he meant what he
said, ever though her mind still harbored shadows of the doubts that she
hated. She knew she still couldn't tell him about that incident fifteen
"Although loneliness has always been a friend of mine
I'm leaving my life in your hands
People say I'm crazy and that I am blind
Risking it all in a glance
How you got me blind is still a mystery
I can't get you out of my head
Don't care what is written in you history
As long as you're here with me."
(Two days later)
*You're a real disappointment to me, you know that?*
B'Elanna squeezed her eyes closed and tried to block out the words.
The memories were returning to haunt her again.
*I don't know what I ever saw in you.*
Two voices, the same words. The first voice--she didn't even want to
think about him. The second--Tom's beloved voice--and it made her sick.
*I must remind myself that that wasn't Tom--it was Steth.* That calmed
her a little.
"Chief? Hey, 'Lan!"
B'Elanna's head snapped up. She saw Joe Carey standing in the doorway
of her office. "You okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine. Just wasn't paying attention, I guess. What did you
Joe pointed to the wall chrono. "Beta shift ended an hour and a half
ago." He looked at his good friend closely. "You're sure you're all
She nodded again, then rose. "You go ahead and take over." She gave
him a weak half-smile. "See you later."
Joe stared after her as the doors to Engineering whispered closed
behind her. He could tell something was bothering her, but knew he
couldn't force her to talk about it.
*Maybe she'll talk to Tom about it,* Joe thought as he got back to
B'Elanna turned right upon leaving Engineering, heading for the
turbolift. All she wanted was a warm shower and then sleep. Maybe a
good night's sleep would help.
She turned a corner and saw a flash of silver. Without warning, a
barrage of memories assaulted her.
*A sleek silver hovercraft. . . .*
*Tanyat Cliffs. . . .*
*The feeling of a kiss, first warm and tender, then savage and hurting.
. . .*
*The sound of tearing cloth. . . .*
*The face, hovering above her own, grinning maliciously. . . .*
*The struggle--the fight to escape. . . .*
*The final scream of one plunging to their death. . . .*
*"Curse you to hell, you Klingon bitch!"*
She desperately tried to take in a breath--and couldn't. The sight
before her eyes was not the corridor of a starship, but the face of the
one who was trying to hurt her. "No!" she gasped out. Terrified, she
struggled to breathe. Finally, her strength gave out and she tumbled to
the corridor floor, seeing another flash of silver before everything
Slowly, she swam to consciousness. When everything came into focus,
she realized she was in sickbay. The Doctor, Tom and Seven were all
gathered around her. *What is she doing here?* she thought fuzzily.
"Welcome back, Lieutenant," the Doctor said dryly.
"'Lanna, are you all right?" Tom lightly stroked her hair, his eyes
filled with worry.
She nodded and tried to sit up. Tom helped her, keeping one hand on
"How long. . ."
"We encountered each other in the corridor," Seven spoke up. "You
looked at me, stopped abruptly and then began to hyperventilate, as
though you were--" Seven paused, searching for the right term.
"--afraid. I asked you if you were malfunctioning. All you said was
the word 'No!' in a panicked tone of voice, and continued to
hyperventilate; 47 seconds later, you lost consciousness. I called
Sickbay and we were beamed here."
B'Elanna realized that Seven had most likely saved her life, because if
she had not been in the corridor, she might have suffered worse injury.
She raised her gaze to Seven's. "Thank you, Seven," she said softly.
Seven raised an eyebrow. "Thanks is irrelevant, but you are welcome,
Lieutenant." With that, she turned and left.
B'Elanna watched the blond ex-Borg depart through the sickbay doors.
The lights seemed to make the implant beside her right ear shine and
once more, there was a flash of memory--the glitter of a river--and a
crumpled form at the bottom of a canyon. . .
"Öback to your quarters," the Doctor finished.
B'Elanna gave him a blank look. "What?"
"I said you don't need to stay here any longer. Mr. Paris can take you
back to your quarters."
She nodded and slid off the biobed. Tom put an arm around her waist
and led her out of sickbay.
She was unnaturally silent all the way back to her quarters. Tom keyed
in her door code and once inside, sat her down.
"Do you want me to get you anything?"
She shook her head.
"Do you want me to stay here with you?"
"No, I'll be fine."
He tilted her face up to look into her eyes. "Are you sure?" He
lightly stroked her cheek with his thumb.
She drew away from his touch. "Go," she whispered.
Stunned, he left. And she cried.
Voyager sailed silently through space at full impulse. She was not as
brightly lit, since it was night according to ship's clock. With the
exception of the night crews on the bridge and down in engineering,
almost everyone was peacefully asleep.
In her quarters, B'Elanna tossed and turned on the edge of sleep,
enveloped in a disturbing memory. . . .
*"I'm leaving, Mother!" sixteen year old B'Elanna yelled.
"Where are you going?" K'Lerra demanded of her daughter.
"I told you, I'm going for a run. I'll be back by dark."
K'Lerra eyed her daughter, then said "Very well."
Without another word, B'Elanna hurried out the door and took off at a
swift run in the direction of Kessik's mountains.
*At least I escaped the 50 questions routine*, B'Elanna thought as she
picked up speed. She had told the truth, partly. She was going for a
run--and she was going to meet Scott Martin.
She hadn't dared tell anyone about Scott--her mother would throw
another of her legendary fits, and she had no close friends to confide
in. But he had been talking to her at school--and eventually, gotten
the courage to invite her on today's hike. He had offered to pick her
up, but she declined, not wanting her mother to see him.
Within 20 minutes, she had made it to the cliffs. As she came up the
rise, she could see the light glint off Scott's silver hovercraft parked
nearby. He climbed out as she approached.
"Hey," he greeted her. He took her hand in his and led her up to the
guardrail. She looked over the edge, down 200 feet to the bottom of the
canyon--where the rain-swollen river flowed.
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
She nodded in agreement. "It is."
"I wasn't referring to the river view."
She blinked in surprise and turned to look at him, unsure she had heard
right. He leaned closer to her. His lips touched hers gently. She
leaned into him, inwardly ecstatic, her mind screaming 'He likes me!'
But suddenly the kiss became rough, hurting. She tried to pull away,
but Scott grabbed her hair and attempted to hold her still. At last,
she jerked free.
"What are you doing?!"
Scott twisted her arm behind her and dragged her against him. He
grinned down at her maliciously. "Giving you what I know you want."
"What are you talking about?!"
"All you girls are easy--I know how you are. And you,
especially--after all, you have Klingon blood in you." He tried to
unbutton her blouse and she struggled, causing it to rip halfway down.
"Hold still and I know you'll like it."
"Maybe your human girlfriends are sluts, but I'm not. I don't just
give myself to any boy."
"I find that hard to believe." With that, he started to drag her
towards the hovercraft.
Both furious and frightened, B'Elanna fought him. She had her Klingon
strength on her side, but Scott was strong, being both captain of the
high school's Parisseis Squares team and a wrestler as well. For every
step that she gained, he gained one back. She knew that if he got her
to the hovercraft, she wouldn't be able to get away. That thought made
her struggle even more fiercely.
"You know, you're a real disappointment, B'Elanna. I thought you'd
behave better than this."
Scott attempted to trip her as he dragged. Finally, he succeeded and
came crashing down on top of her. The blow dazed her, but with her last
vestige of strength, she flung him away from her.
Scott went flying and hit the guardrail. B'Elanna leaped to her feet
and prepared to flee when Scott got up, but apparently she had
underestimated her strength, for he not only hit the rail, he slipped
between the rails into the canyon below. He tried desperately to grab
hold of the rail, but missed. His final scream hit her like a ton of
"Curse you to hell, you Klingon bitch!!"
Far below, there was a sickening thump, then a splash. Numbly, she
walked to the edge and looked over. The river gleamed like a silver
ribbon cutting through the canyon, the form of the body beneath the
water marring its smoothness. . . .
She stared down at the sight until her mind snapped back to reality.
She had killed him. The fact that she had defending herself wouldn't
matter to those in authority. And her mother would be beyond furious.
Fear choking her, she fled, praying that no one saw her. She ran back
towards the city, hiding for a couple hours in a small copse of trees.
She made it home late and got yelled at, but this time, didn't care.
Scott's body was discovered three days later 1,000 meters downstream.
His death was ruled as accidental and there was never any knowledge of
his attempted assault of B'Elanna. Only B'Elanna herself knew--and
managed to keep her terrible secret buried in the farthest reaches of
her mind--until a few days ago. . . .*
"I don't care who you are
Where you're from
What you did
As long as you love me
Who you are
Where you're from
Don't care what you did
As long as you love me."
A restless Tom was slowly pacing his darkened quarters. He was still
upset over what had happened six hours ago.
*What more did Steth do to her?* The very thought tore at him--that
while his consciousness was trapped in another body, Steth had most
likely shattered B'Elanna's fragile trust in believing in love.
He had to see her--talk to her, regardless of the time. He left his
quarters and walked to hers. However, once there, he hesitated. It was
awfully late. Should he wake her? *Maybe I should just wait till
Then suddenly a shriek broke the silence. It had come from inside
B'Elanna's quarters. Tom swiftly keyed in the door code and ran inside
to her bedroom. There, he found her in a tangle of sheets.
"'Lanna, wake up!"
"*Nooo!* Let me go! It wasn't my fault! I was just trying to get
He grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "B'Elanna, wake up!"
With a gasp, B'Elanna sat up straight, eyes wide.
"Love, it's all right," he soothed, tenderly smoothing her tangled
For a minute, she relaxed into the warmth of his arms, reveling in the
comforting feeling. Then as the memory of the dream came back, she
slowly pulled away.
"Go," she whispered. "You shouldn't be near me anymore."
"What are you talking about?"
"You shouldn't be near me. . . .go, Tom. Please."
Tom felt his heart breaking, but he slowly released her. "Just
remember, if you want to tell me what's wrong, I'll be there to listen."
He touched his lips to her brow ridges, then slowly walked out.
B'Elanna buried her face in her pillow and cried herself back to sleep.
"Every little thing that you have said and done
Feels like it's deep within me
Doesn't really matter if you're on the run
It seems like we're meant to be."
The next morning, a troubled Tom went to his sickbay shift. But he
couldn't concentrate. He was lucky that there were no serious cases,
just texts to review.
At the end of his shift, he started to make his escape, but the Doctor
"What is it, Doc?" he sighed.
"You seem upset. I wanted to know if I could help."
"No--there's nothing you could do." Tom turned to leave.
"Tom, I'm asking as a friend."
He looked at the Doctor, then away. "B'Elanna and I are
having--problems. Something's bothering her--but she won't confide
The Doctor looked thoughtful then shook his head. "Well, psychology is
not my field of expertise. Will she talk to you at all?"
"When she isn't avoiding me, she sidesteps my questions."
The Doctor shook his head again. "If she won't confide in you, then
she'll have to figure it out for herself."
Tom sighed. "I guess you're right." *And I'll worry about her the
whole time.* "Thanks, Doc."
Tom looked back.
"I know that it won't seem like much, but be there for her."
"I will. Thanks, Doc."
He left sickbay and down to the lift, his mind in a turmoil. He had to
talk to her.
"Computer, location of Lieutenant Torres."
"Lieutenant Torres is in her quarters."
Before he could change his mind, he took the lift up one deck and
headed for her quarters. Stopping before her door, he ran the chime.
He walked in anyway. "We need to talk."
Seeing him, she scowled at him, then retreated to her spot by the
viewport, refusing to look at him.
"B'Elanna, please--talk to me. I know you're hurting--let me help
She shook her head vehemently. "You can't help a murderer."
Tom was taken aback at this statement. "Murderer?? What are you
"Just what I said--I'm a murderer."
Perplexed, he moved closer. "Would you mind explaining what you mean?"
She was silent for a long minute, then turned to face him. It was then
that he saw the sheen of tears in her eyes. She went to speak, then
closed her mouth, her gaze darting about uncertainly before it all burst
out in a rush, her words punctuated with choked sobs.
"When I was--sixteen, I knew a guy. His name was--Scott--and he
pretended to like me. I met him one--day up at the cliffs--and
Tom moved forward quickly and enveloped her in his arms. "Let it out,
love. Just let it out."
Her voice rose into hysterical tones. "He tried to--drag me to his
car--threw me down--I flung him off and--he--fell through the
rails--into the canyon river. I murdered him--murdered him!! No
one--they never found out--it was--me. For weeks, I was--so--afraid
"He told--me that--he didn't know what--he'd seen in me--that I--wasn't
behaving--and kept--sneering--at me! The l-last thing--he did--was
"When Steth said--that he didn't know--what he'd--seen in me, I was--so
afraid of--it being--Scott all over--again. Except--that
I--was--l-losing you." She buried her face against his chest.
He wrapped his arms around her. "Oh, B'Elanna," he murmured into her
hair. He didn't feel the need to say anything more, just let her cry it
out while he held her close.
As her tears slowed, he tilted her face up. "All right now?"
She nodded, then shook her head. He ran his knuckles lightly over her
cheek, brushing away the remaining tears. "Not really. I've tried to
keep this hidden away--for so long. But when Steth said--what he
said--it all came back." She trembled again.
"'Lanna, you're not a murderer. You were defending yourself and the
death was an accident. It's not murder." He hugged her closer.
"But it *is* my fault. My actions caused a person to die!"
"So did mine."
She stopped in her tracks. "Caldik Prime."
He nodded, then looked away.
"Tom, I'm sorry," she whispered, moving back to embrace him. "Here I
am going on about my own problems, and forgetting what kind of memories
this conversation must be bringing back for you."
"I'm sorry, too," he murmured, burying his lips in her hair. They were
silent for several minutes before he spoke again. "But we have to
remember that the past is the past, and we can't change it--no matter
how much we'd like to. I've learned that myself. I love you, and as
long as you love me, that's all that matters."
B'Elanna looked into his eyes and saw the intense love that shone in
them. His love for her.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you, my 'Lanna. I always will."
"I've tried to hide it so that no one knows
But I guess it shows--
When you look into my eyes,
What you did and where you're comin' from
I don't care, as long as you love me, baby.
I don't care who you are
Where you're from
What you did
As long as you love me
Who you are
Where you're from
Don't care what you did
As long as you love me."
Legal B.S. up top. Paramount owns Steth, too, and they can damn well
have him!! :) Copyright 1998 by Cheile. Feedback is much appreciated.