Love and Honor
by Cheile

     "I'm glad--the last thing--I'll see--is you," Tom managed, struggling
against losing consciousness.
     B'Elanna was stunned, but his words gave her courage.
     "It's time you knew the truth."
     He looked at her, puzzled.  "Truth about what?"
     "I love you," she whispered.
     For a long, eternal minute, he was silent.  "You picked a great time
to tell me," he finally said.
     He was barely keeping his eyes open.  B'Elanna couldn't help it.  She
began to cry, very softly.
     Somehow, he managed to draw her into his arms and hold her there,
rubbing her back, though she could hardly feel it.
     Exhaustion suddenly overwhelmed her.  Her eyes closed, so she didn't
see Voyager approaching.
     "Voyager to Tom Paris.  Do you read?"
     Tom blinked.  It couldn't be.  But that was Janeway's voice--it was
no illusion.
     "Yeah," he managed to say, answering the hail.
     Seconds later, the hum of the transporter beam surrounded the pair,
returning them to safety.



     Sitting on the couch in her quarters, B'Elanna shivered.  Only hours
ago, she had been facing death, had seen death.
     She had survived.
     But one memory kept returning.  Telling Tom that she loved him.  She
had known that she couldn't push him away any longer, that he wouldn't
hurt her.
     Her door chime sounded, interrupting her thoughts.
     "Come in," she said, not taking her gaze off the stars out the
window.  It was probably Chakotay.
     She heard the door open and close, but still didn't turn to see who
it was.
     She got her answer a minute later when a gentle hand touched her
shoulder.  Turning, she met those unnerving cerulean eyes.
     Gentle.  Full of warmth.  Full of love.
     She had never seen so much emotion in his eyes before.  But she had
kept her secret hidden before now.
     She had been planning to say something, but now she couldn't.  She
was drowning in his eyes.
     *I love you, Tom Paris.  I love you.*
     "I know," he murmured.
     Only then did she realize that she had voiced her thoughts aloud.
     He cupped her chin in one hand, leaning closer.  "And I love you."
     His lips met hers, gently.  His arms went around her waist, drawing
her close.  Her arms went around his neck.  Tears formed beneath her
closed eyes as he deepened the kiss, reaching up one hand to lightly
stroke her hair.
     A minute later, he broke the kiss.  B'Elanna turned to look at him
and the image immediately blurred.
     "Shh," he said softly.  He cradled her close, brushing a kiss across
her brow ridges.
     For the longest time, she allowed herself to be held, simply held
close to him, her head on his chest, his heartbeat against her cheek,
his chin resting on the top of her head.
     "You know," he said after a while, "I don't think you have to go
through that ceremony to attain honor.  You have enough."
     He was right.  She had that--and more.
     "You're right," she said softly.  B'Elanna raised her head, dark eyes
shining.  "Love and honor.  Now I have both."

Legal B.S.  Our favorite couple and "Day of Honor" belong to Paramount,
but my story.  Copyright September 17, 1997, by Cheile.  Comments and
*nice* criticism to