Author's note:  K'Laya is pronounced "keh-lie-ah".  So far, no one has
written B'Elanna's backstory, so I'm taking a shot at it.  This is
alternate third season, since I began it waaaay back last April.  Thanks
to Paramount for creating Voyager, and to Roxann for all her hard work
that makes B'Elanna who she is.  And extra thanks to Chris Dionne, the
gentleman pirate, for beta-reading this and putting up with my
impatience, anxiety, endless questions and all the rest.

by Cheile

        K'Laya stared out the window at Kessik's rising half-moon,
rocking her infant daughter in her arms.
        People here resented her, her family had disowned her, but what
did she care?  Like Juliet in that old human tale, she had given up
everything, but unlike that tragic tale, K'Laya was alive.
        K'Laya was not ashamed that she had given her jinaq, herself, to
a human man.  Because she cared for him deeply, even loved him.
        K'Laya looked up as he walked into the room.
        Raul Torres smiled down at his wife.  "Are you getting tired,
K'Laya?  I'll take her."
        "No, I'm not.  Actually, I find this peaceful-for a human
        Raul laughed.  "Always comparing, aren't you?"
        K'Laya shrugged.  "Old habit.  Does it bother you?"
        "No, it just amuses me."
        "Raul, are you happy?  With me, I mean?"
        "Why wouldn't I be?"
        "Well, I'm the only Klingon here."
        "Prejudice doesn't matter, K'Laya.  As long as you're happy,
that's all that matters to me."*

        (Five years later)
        **"As long as you're happy, K'Laya, that's all that matters to
        **False promises.  Lies**, K'Laya thought angrily as she flung a
small mirror against the wall.  It splintered into a thousand shards.
        **"Prejudice doesn't matter, K'Laya."**
        **All a lie.  He never cared-about me-or that child he gave me,
        The child.  In her blind rage, the very thought of her daughter,
*Raul's* daughter, made her temper flare anew.  She remembered others
who lived on Kessik saying how horrible she looked.  Not long after
their comments got back to Raul, he left.
        **Everything was fine before the child came.  It's her fault
Raul left.**
        K'Laya had never intended to think that, especially about her
child, but her fury-induced mind took over.  Her eyes narrowed.
        Flinging aside a crystal bell, not even noticing it break, she
stormed from her bedroom and down the hall into her daughter's room.
        The small girl looked up from her dolls, puzzled.  "Mommy?"
        K'Laya's gaze darted around the room--and landed on the
priceless antique Lladro figurine that Raul had given the child for her
third birthday.
        "What is that doing out?!" she demanded of her daughter.
        "That's the statue Daddy gave me."
        "I know that.  What is it doing there?"
        "S'where I always leave it."
        "I told you to get rid of it."
        That one simple word fired K'Laya's rage beyond control.
Crossing the room, she snatched up the statue and flung it at the wall.
        *"Noooo!"* the little girl screamed.
        But it was too late.  On impact with the wall, the porcelain
        K'Laya whirled around and left.
        Left behind in her room, five-year-old B'Elanna Torres burst
into tears.  The last thing she had to remember her daddy by was now

        (Two years later)
        An excited B'Elanna skipped to school.  Normally, she wouldn't
have been so excited about school, but today was her seventh birthday.
The teachers always made a big fuss about birthdays....

        **"I hear we have a birthday girl today."  Miss Cockerham, the
teacher, smiled at red-haired Kimberly Clair.
        "Today you're seven, is that right, Kimberly?"        Kimberly
        "Well then, we'll have to sing 'Happy birthday', won't we,
        Miss Cockerham counted to three, and the singing began....**

        *Happy birthday to me,*  B'Elanna thought as she entered the
classroom and sat down at her desk, pushing her lunchbox into the small
spot reserved for it.  When Miss Cockerham called the class to order,
she leaned forward expectantly.
        "Today we'll start with reading.  Get out your books and turn to
page 28."
        At recess, she tried to talk to Brianne Handeland, but Samantha
Kerouack, the second-grade snob, pushed her out of the way.  B'Elanna
was angry, but she pushed it aside.  She had more important things to
worry about--like her birthday.
        All through the day, she waited.  But it never came.
        When the bell rang, B'Elanna departed toward home, slightly
disappointed.  The class hadn't sung to her and no one had even wished
her happy birthday.  She sighed and blew her bangs off her forehead,
then just as quick, pushed them down again.  She had to stop doing
that--it was the only way to hide her brow ridges.
        A giggle from nearby distracted her.  She turned and looked back
the way she'd come.  No one was there.  Shrugging to herself, she
continued on, but hadn't gotten two feet when a shadow fell across her.
B'Elanna looked up--straight at Samantha Kerouack.
        "What do you want, Samantha?"
        Samantha was silent as she regarded B'Elanna.  Then she heard
footsteps behind her.  She turned--and there was Nicole Lambert.
Eventually three others--Jami Sharp, Lindsey Kimball, and one B'Elanna
didn't recognize--had joined Samantha.
        "Is this her, Sam?" the unfamiliar girl asked.
        Samantha reached over and pushed away B'Elanna's bangs,
revealing her brow ridges.  "Told you."
        The girl nodded.
        "Grab her, Nicole," Samantha said.
        B'Elanna had no time to react before Nicole pinned her arms
behind her.  Samantha stepped closer.  Her hand flashed out, slapping
B'Elanna hard.  Then Jami slapped her, followed by Lindsey.
        "Let me go!" she shrieked.  "I didn't do anything!"
        "Ha!" Samantha snorted.  "We told you never to come back, but
you keep coming back.  No one else in the class wants you around, you
little-half Klingon freak."
        Jami and Lindsey continued slapping her, though sometimes she
was able to avoid the blows.
        "Stop it!" B'Elanna screamed.  "It's my birthday!  Let me go!"
        "We know!" Samantha laughed.  "Happy birthday, little freak!"
        B'Elanna continued to struggle, even as they slapped her,
pinched her, pulled at her hair, her dress, ripping it.  A few more
seconds and it would be completely ruined.
        When Samantha reached up, preparing to rake her nails across
B'Elanna's face, something inside B'Elanna snapped.  She let out a
furious scream and struck at Samantha's hand.
        "Now she's fighting!"  Samantha looked surprised.
        With every ounce of her Klingon strength, B'Elanna broke free of
Nicole.  The others tried to grab hold of her, but it was too late.  Her
rage had pushed her over the edge.
        Now Samantha and her friends were the ones trying to avoid the
blows.  B'Elanna struck out at whoever was closest---ripping Jami's
dress, knocking out Nicole, scratching Lindsey.  Those three taken care
of, she spun around to face Samantha.
        Samantha had been confident at first.  But now she saw the
blazing fury in B'Elanna's eyes.  She began to back away.
        "We didn't mean it...." Samantha began.
        B'Elanna lunged at her.
        Samantha screamed as she was flung to the ground.  She tried to
struggle away, but couldn't.  She managed to get to her knees, where she
sat shaking, her hands in front of her face, trying to ward off the
blows.  "We didn't mean it!  We didn't mean it!" she shrieked.
        "Lying *patoQ*!" B'Elanna screamed.  "Apologize and prove it!"
        "And what?" Samantha asked.
        B'Elanna grabbed a handful of Samantha's flaxen hair and jerked
her so their faces were inches apart.  "And then I won't kill you."
        Samantha's eyes bugged out and when B'Elanna released her, she
ran for her life.*

        (Five years later)
        The fact that she had to go back to school was bad enough, but
Samantha and her friends only made it worse.
        For history class, Erin Gray brought in an antique hand-sculpted
tatue of a pirate standing at the bow of his ship.  The light, subtle
colors reminded B'Elanna of the statue her mother had broken and she
wondered to herself if the pirate statue was a Lladro as well.
        Erin had left it sitting on the table at the front of the room
while the class went for their five-minute break.  But when the class
came back, the statue was gone.  Since no one had been in the room, the
teacher assumed that someone from another class had snuck in and hid it
elsewhere in the room, but Samantha immediately accused B'Elanna.  Since
B'Elanna knew she hadn't taken it and that Samantha most likely had as a
means to get her in trouble, she shut Samantha up with one punch to the
face.  Of course, Samantha hit right back and started a full-scale
fight.  When three of the teachers were able to stop it, both girls were
suspended for the next week.  And as luck would have it, both mothers
showed up at exactly the same time.
        "Can't you ever keep that brat of yours under control, K'Laya?!"
Audrey Kerouack demanded, her voice a lot louder than anyone in the
principal's office wanted to hear.
        K'Laya looked down her nose at Audrey.  "Is it my fault that
your daughter is a lying thief?" she asked calmly.
        "How dare you call Samantha such names!"
        "And how dare that little slut provoke B'Elanna.  Every time she
has gotten into trouble, it because of your precious Samantha.  If you
ever thought about teaching her true manners and a little honor,
B'Elanna would never be in trouble.
        "Samantha can do what she wants.  That little half-breed has no
right being here."
        "And if I were lacking honor, I would slit your daughter's
throat.  Lucky for her, I am not."  With that, K'Laya grabbed B'Elanna
roughly by the arm and dragged her out.
        Once they were home, K'Laya immediately turned around and
slapped B'Elanna hard across the face.  "Can you never stay out of
trouble?!  I don't think you know how!"
        "It's her fault!  She won't leave me alone and the teachers
won't do anything about it!"
        "Of course not.  Why would they want to defend you?"
        "I hate you!" B'Elanna cried, trying in vain to hold back tears.
"You've never cared about me!  All you care about is your damn honor!"
        K'Laya struck her again.  "It's worth more than you!  I wish
Raul had never gotten me pregnant with you!"
        "It's your fault Daddy left!  You drove him away!"
        K'Laya's blow knocked her to the floor.  Not having the strength
to rise, B'Elanna lay in a heap, her tears falling uncontrollably.
        "You're nothing but a worthless little patoQ who should never
have been born.  Now get out of my sight."
        B'Elanna fled to her room, threw herself on her bed, and
eventually cried herself to sleep.*

        (Eight years later)
        As much as it pained her, B'Elanna was beginning to think that
her mother may have been right when she had told her that she would
never fit in at the Academy. Thinking back to the night she left Kessik,
the last words she had spoken to her mother had been in anger.
        "What did you think you were doing?! You know you can't possibly
fit in with those humans!" her mother had yelled when she saw the
acceptance letter from the Academy. "How dare you do this without even
discussing it with me first!"
        B'Elanna had done it to make her mother proud of her, because
not just anyone could pass the Academy entrance exams.  Not everyone
could meet the high standards required.
        "I did it because--" she began
        "Because of Raul! You did it to follow in his footsteps!"
        "Mother! No! It wasn't--" B'Elanna cried, her pain evident in
her voice.
        "Get out!" K'Laya snarled, her voice icy. She turned her back
before continuing. "You are not my daughter. Go! Go chase after the
father who abandoned you!"
        She hugged her pillow close, refusing to break down into tears.
She had sworn on that night, as she'd run crying from the only home
she'd ever known, that she would never cry again. She rocked silently
from side to side as her grief overcame her. Her mother had been right.
She didn't fit in. Her temper constantly caused her to get
into trouble. And the incident the previous evening would be the end....

        **B'Elanna was full of glee. There was an awards ceremony for
the underclassmen tomorrow night.  And not only was she getting
recognition with the decathlon team, Professor Dionne had recommended
her for the Engineering award--and they'd chosen her!  She had to tell
        Ignoring the stares of the seniors, she ran all the way from
Cochrane Hall to the dorms.
        "Derek," she called, keying open the door to his quarters.
"You'll never guess what Professor Dionne--"
        She was shocked to find Derek tangled in a passionate embrace
with another girl.  A fully human girl.
        "Oh yes, Giselle, like tha--B'Elanna!"
        "How could you?!?" she screamed.
        The other girl, who B'Elanna assumed was Giselle, quickly moved
away from Derek, and at least had the grace to look mortified.  Whereas
Derek sat up and eyed her scornfully.  "You really thought we were a
serious couple?"
        B'Elanna shook her head, trying to convince herself that this
was all a dream.
        "I only wanted you for your body, and to see if the rumors are
the Klingon sexual prowess are true. You know what? They're not.  Either
that or your mother never taught you right--"
        The next thing she remembered was being pulled off him by four
other cadets. She stared in horror at what she'd done, at Derek's
broken, bleeding form, then fled.
        When her door opened, she assumed it was Security, and
was surprised to see Giselle standing there.
        "What do you want?"
        "I've come to help you," Giselle answered. "You've got to get
out of here."
        "Why would you want to help me?"
        "Because what he did to you was wrong. It was unfair, but that
won't matter to Security. You've got to get off-planet quick, before
they start investigating. So far no one's said anything, because they
believed Derek deserved it, but once Derek comes around--" she left the
sentence hanging.
        "I've nowhere to go," B'Elanna whispered.
        "I can get you to a friend of mine in the Bajoran sector.  She
can help you.  Get enough for a short trip together.  You have to get
out of here!"***

        (Three months later)
        Chakotay slowly walked the night-darkened streets of the Meran
colony, which was on the outskirts of Federation territory.  He was
taking a risk, but he wasn't wearing his uniform, so it didn't matter.
        **And no one here knows that I'm Maquis anyway.**
        He was suddenly grabbed from behind.
        **Well, maybe almost no one.**
        He tried to twist away and found it almost impossible.
        "Don't fight--or I'll kill you," a voice hissed."
        Was he hearing wrong or did that sound like a *female* voice?
        "What do you want from me?" he asked.  "I don't have anything."
        "Do you have a ship?"
        "I have one, even if it's not much of one," Chakotay said wryly.
        "Don't start with me.  I don't take kindly to creeps."
        "What did I do to you?  I'm sure I don't know you."  Chakotay's
mind was racing.  Maybe if he could keep her talking, he could break
free of her iron grip.
        "What's it to you?" the voice demanded.
        Chakotay took that second to duck and wrench himself free, then
grabbed onto a wrist with one hand and pressed his other arm against her
ribs, into a wall.  A sliver of moon appeared, revealing the face of his
        It *was* a girl.  She was petite, with tangled raven-dark hair
and furious, flashing chocolate eyes.  But what surprised him most were
her gentle sloping brow ridges, evidence of her Klingon heritage.
        "Let me go!" she protested.
        "Not until you tell me why you attacked me."
        "I don't have to tell you anything!"
        "How about if I get the authorities?"
        "You wouldn't!"
        "I would," he said pointedly.  Was he mistaken or did he see
fear in her eyes?
        "Look," Chakotay said, softening his tone.  "If you need help, I
can help you.  Just tell me what you need."
        "With anything?"
        "With most anything.  I have my ways."
        The girl was silent for a minute.  Finally, she spoke.
        "Take me with you when you leave."
        "I'm already involved with someone."
        "Not like *that*," she said contemptuously.  "But I want off
this wretched colony.  Just get me on your ship."
        "I guess I can arrange that."  He slowly released her.  "Where
do you want to go?  Earth?  Arteria?  One of the Simerian colonies?"
        "I don't care.  Just drop me off somewhere.  I can fend for
        "That's obvious," he chuckled.
        The girl smiled so quickly Chakotay nearly missed it.  "Lead the
way," she said.  "The sooner I get out of here, the better."
        They started walking.
        "I'm Chakotay," he said suddenly.  "And you are--"
        "What does it matter?"
        "I should at least know your name."
        "B'Elanna.  B'Elanna Torres."**

        (Six months later)
        "Red alert!  Get us out of here, Ayala!"
        "Aye, sir."
        The Cardassian cruiser was hot in pursuit, but Ayala was the
Laurentia's best pilot, and he could outfly them any day.
        "Strengthen the shields, Seska."
        "You got it."  Seska, a young Bajoran woman, grinned at
        "Fire phasers, Ayala.  B'Elanna, give her all you got."
        B'Elanna nodded distractedly, her mind three steps ahead of
Chakotay's, as quickly adjusted settings and rerouted power to key
        Five minutes later, the Laurentia had sped ahead, leaving a
wounded Cardassian ship behind.  Once they were safely away, Chakotay
grinned.  "Good work, everyone.  Seska, go ahead and take a break.
Gerron can relieve you."
        Seska hopped up, pausing only to kiss Chakotay, then hurried off
the bridge.
        Chakotay stepped up to where B'Elanna was, lightly touching her
shoulder.  "You go ahead and take a break, too.  You deserve it."
        "I'm fine, Chakotay."
        "You've gotten five hours of sleep in the past three days.  Go
        "All right," she sighed.  Getting up, she left the bridge.

        B'Elanna's eyes snapped open.  She hadn't thought she'd fallen
asleep.  Rubbing at her eyes, she sat up.  "Computer, what time is it?"
        "0210 hours."
        Fourteen hours!  Why hadn't someone awoken her?
        The doors opened suddenly.
        "You're finally awake," the Bajoran girl smiled.
        "And I should have been up hours ago."
        "Chakotay told me to tell you he doesn't want to see you back on
duty until 1230 hours tomorrow."
        "Tomorrow!  What the hell does he expect me to do then?!"
        "I've rested."
        "B'Elanna, you're exhausted.  You haven't slept in four days."
        "You're right," B'Elanna finally agreed.
        Kerana Cerise looked down at her roommate.  She'd joined the
Maquis to fight the Cardassians, who had murdered her mother and placed
her sisters in labor camps.  But she had never expected to find a person
she could practically call her best friend.
        She was still unsure why B'Elanna had joined the Maquis.  At
first, Seska had thought that B'Elanna was competition for Chakotay's
attention, but B'Elanna made it clear that she had no interest in
        Sometimes Kerana wondered if that were true, because often
times, B'Elanna would glance at Chakotay and Seska with what looked like
a hint of jealousy or wistfulness in her eyes.
        "You should get some sleep, too."
        "I will.  Computer, lights out.  'Night, B'Elanna."
        "'Night, Cerise."
        On her own bunk, B'Elanna turned over and tried to get
comfortable.  Her second-to-last thought was that she wished Seska would
shut up about how sweet Chakotay was to her.  Her last thought was why
should she care?  Relationships always made her miserable in the
end--she didn't need one.  She would do fine alone.**

        (Three years later)
        B'Elanna hated this day.  Almost as much as she hated the Day of
        According to Earth calendar dating, it was March 16, but it was
the day, thirteen years ago to the day, that she'd run from the Academy.
Giselle had been true to her word, even giving her enough credits to get
to Bajor.  But she had only stayed long enough to get ahold of herself,
and then had gone wandering from place to place--until she met Chakotay.
        She had managed to go the past five years without thinking about
Derek's betrayal.  She hoped that she could make it this year, too.  Now
if only Tom Paris would stop distracting her, she could get her day over
        She didn't hate him anymore.  She had seen past his know-it-all
attitude to the person beneath.  They were friends now.  Of course, that
didn't mean that his arrogance still didn't annoy her.
        Like right now.  He kept trying to persuade her into going
sailing with her on the holodeck after she'd already told him no.
        "Just come with me, will you?" he said, catching her up in her
office, where no one else could hear.
        "I said no," she repeated crossly.  "I just want to be left
alone, all right."
        "Why are you in such a dark mood today?"
        "I'm not in a dark mood."
        "Yes, you are."
        "No, I'm not."
        "Yes, you are.  C'mon, cheer up."
        "What if I don't want to?"
        "You're acting like someone died or something.  What's wrong?"
        When she didn't answer, he stepped closer to her, laying a hand
gently on her shoulder.  "What's bothering you?" he asked, softening his
voice.  "Is there anything I can do to help?"        She shook her head.
        "There must be something I can do."
        "What you can do is leave me alone," she snapped.
        "Not until you tell me what's wrong."
        Furious, she spun to face him.  "You want to know?" she choked.
"Fine, I'll tell you.  Thirteen years ago, I nearly killed a man who I
thought loved me.  He betrayed me. I had to flee the Academy, one step
ahead of Security. Now you know--so leave me alone!"  She stormed away,
fighting tears, leaving a speechless Tom behind.*

        (Several hours later)
        **Why did I tell him?!  I never told anyone, not even Chakotay!
Why is it that I want to tell him everything?**
        B'Elanna anxiously paced her quarters, struggling to hold back
tears.  She had sworn to herself to never, never tell anyone about the
humiliation she'd suffered at Derek's hands.  And then
she'd blabbed it to Tom Paris, of all people!
        **Idiot, idiot, idiot!  Why did I tell him?!**
        The door chime sounded.
        "Whoever it is, go away!"
        The door opened, revealing Tom.  He stepped inside.
        "I said, go away, Tom.  You're the last person I want to see."
        "I'm not going to let you push me away this time, B'Elanna. You
need to realize that not all men are like that. I need you to know that
I'm not like that. No matter what the rumors say, I'd never do that to
any woman, and definitely not to you."
        Her tears came back as she turned her back on him.  "I don't
need you--I don't need anyone."
        "B'Elanna."  He tilted her chin up so she had to look into his
        B'Elanna was drawn into the blue depths.  She wanted him.  Oh,
how she wanted him.  She desperately wanted to be held in his arms, to
have him take away her pain and her fear.
        "'Lanna, let me prove it to you," Tom said softly.
        ** Derek, calling Giselle's name.**
        His hands reached up, caressing gently.  His eyes were locked
with hers.
        **"I only wanted you for your body."**
        He gently lay her down, moving to lay beside her, stroking her
hair and softly kissing her brow, cradling her in his arms, holding back
until she had let go.  She was trembling.  He whispered reassuringly to
        "B'Elanna, my beautiful B'Elanna.  I won't leave you. I love you
and I'm here."  His lips brushed across her forehead.  "Sleep now.  I
won't leave you."
Exhaustion overcame her.  Slowly, she drifted to sleep.


        Three hours later, she awoke.  Sliding out of the warmth of the
bed, she slipped her nightgown over herself, then went to the window to
look out at the stars.
        "I see you’re up," came the soft voice from across the room.
        She turned to see Tom standing in the doorway that separated the
front room of her quarters with her bedroom, his eyes dancing with love
and passion.
        "What are you doing dressed?" he teased.  "I’m not done with you
        Pretending to be mad, B’Elanna put her hands on her hips and
threw him a Janeway glare.  "Is that so?"
        "It is."
        "You’ll have to catch me first."
        Hearing the challenge, he lunged at her.
        Laughing, she sidestepped him.  He followed.
        She leaped over her bed.  He scrambled after her.
        "You’re never going to catch me," she declared.
        "Oh, really?"
        "Yes, really," she flung over her shoulder, running for the
opposite side of the room.
        He chased her around and around until they were both laughing.
Finally, she made the mistake of jumping over her bed when he was
nearby.  He turned suddenly and grabbed her wrists.  "Gotcha!"
        Her foot slipped and she fell back onto her bed, carrying him
with her.  A quick tug brought the gown slipping to her waist and he
leaned down, his tongue circling one taut peak.
        A shudder went through B’Elanna at the gentleness of his touch.
Her hands went to his hair, holding him there.
        "Beautiful," he murmured huskily as his mouth left the one
breast to capture the other.  "B’Elanna, you’re so beautiful."
        She believed him.  How could she not when it was whispered in so
gentle a tone, when the same love shone in his cerulean eyes, when with
every kiss, every caress, he told her again and again?
        The nightgown fell to the floor.  Pulling her closer, he rolled
them over, so that he was beneath her and began to rock her gently, his
arms wrapped around her waist.
        Soon, the fierce shockwave that had been building became too
much for her to take.  When he began trailing soft, teasing touches over
the ridges of her spine, B’Elanna lost all hold on reality.
        "Tom--Tom!  *qaSah, tIqwIj*!" she cried.
        Murmuring to her, he held her close as she slowly floated down
from the summit.  She lay her head on his shoulder, fighting the tears
that wanted to fall.
        "Can I ask you something?"
        "What about?"
        "Your father."
        That was a subject she’d never discussed with anyone before, not
even Cerise.  But Tom loved her---and she trusted him.        "Go
        "What’s the last memory you have of him?"
        B’Elanna tried to think.  All she could remember was her parents
fighting, then he was gone.  Her mother storming into her room, flinging
her precious Lladro statue at the wall---the last thing she’d had to
remember him by--because K’Laya had already destroyed everything
        "My father gave me a statue for my third birthday--of a human
girl and a kitten.  It was a Lladro--a priceless handcrafted antique.  I
don’t know where he found it, but it must have cost him a fortune.  A
few days after he left, my mother came into my room and yelled at me,
then threw the statue at the wall, breaking it.  It was the last thing I
had had from him, because she’d already thrown out everything else."
B’Elanna felt her tears begin to fall.  "I hated her for that.  My
father was at fault, but she took it out on me, blamed me.  She said it
was my fault he left."
        "You know that’s not true," he said softly.
        "I know now," she whispered, raising her head to look into his
        He kissed her softly and stroked her hair.
        Wrapped in his loving arms, she fell asleep once again.


        (A week later)
        B'Elanna opened the door to her quarters.  She was exhausted,
and though she would have loved to take Tom up on his invitation to go
on a moonlight walk, she was just too tired.
        She walked in and at first, refused to believe her eyes.
        A small porcelain statue of a little girl holding a kitten sat
on her desk.  But it wasn't just any porcelain statue.
        It was a Lladro.
        More than that, it was the exact same Lladro that her father had
given her, the exact same one her mother had broken.
        With a shaking hand, she reached for the statue, tears welling
up in her eyes.
        Footsteps sounded behind her and she was wrapped in a warm pair
of arms.
        "Surprise," Tom said quietly.  "It may not be the one your
father gave you, but now you have it back in a way."
        She turned to face him.  "How--where--"  She could barely get
the words out through her tears.
        "I can't bring back the real one, but I could at least do this."
He wrapped her in a tight hug, Lladro and all.  "Your happiness is
important to me, B'Elanna."
        She looked up at him.  "I love you, Tom."
        "I love you, too."  He bent his head to kiss her, a gentle kiss
that soon grew passionate.
        "Hold on," B'Elanna said breathlessly, breaking away.  She
looked at the Lladro for a long minute, then carefully set it down on
her desk and returned to Tom's arms.  He lifted her up and carried her
to her bedroom.

        (Several hours later)
        B'Elanna lay under her blankets, wrapped snugly in Tom's arms,
her cheek resting on his chest, listening to his heartbeat and deep
breathing as he slept.  She raised her head to look at him.
        "I love you, Thomas Eugene Paris," she whispered.  Leaning over,
she brushed her lips against the bite mark on his cheek.  Then she set
her head down on his chest, closed her eyes and allowed herself to
succumb into a peaceful, dreamless slumber, snuggled in her mate's arms.

Legal B.S.  Paramount's characters, my story.  K'Laya, Raul Torres,
Samantha and Audrey Kerouack, Brianne Handeland, Jamie Sharp, Nicole
Lambert, Lindsey Kimball, and Kerana Cerise are my characters.  The
Lladro statue (pronounced Yadro) described above is part of the Nao
collection.  These wonderful figurines are handcrafted in Spain.
Comments, questions, that stuff of the sort?  Email me: