(A "Before and After" twist)
by Cheile

Summary:  What if the Krenim attack from "Before and After" really happened
as Kes remembered it?  Set a week after the attack, an insight on Tom's thoughts.
His point-of-view.

This story is dedicated in memory of Matthew Armstrong.  Matt, we know you're
watching over us.

        A week.
        Can it only be a week since the Krenim attack?  Since my life fell apart?
        A week.
        Only a week ago I was the happiest conn lieutenant in the Delta Quadrant.
I had my position, my friends, and my love.  But now, I don't have anything.
        I guess that's not true.  I still have my rank, and most of my friends.  But
my beloved has been taken from me.
        I'm not the only one in this situation.  The Captain died, too.  She and
Chakotay were involved, so he probably feels like I do.  But he can't have as
much pain as me.
        It hurts to say her name, to even think of her.  But she is all I can think
of.         Only a week ago, she was with me, alive, healthy, and for the first
time in her life, happy.  Only a week ago, I held her in my arms and looked
into her dark eyes.  It seems like yesterday.
        I had been on the holodeck, talking to Kes, when she came running up,
apologizing for being late.  I pulled her close to kiss her, and Kes looked a
tad mortified.  (I guess the Ocampa don't show much affection in public).
Those few seconds were too few.  B'Elanna barely got a chance to greet Kes,
when the Krenim began firing on the ship.  The Captain called us to battle
stations.  We hurried for the bridge.  I thought it funny that Kes was coming
with us, but I supposed it was in case anyone got hurt so she could assist
them to sickbay if the transporters went down....

        *The turbolift doors opened.  I ran for the conn.  B'Elanna dashed to the
engineering station and began frantically trying to reroute power--most likely
to get us the hell out of there.
        None of us could figure out how the Krenim's torpedoes were cutting right
through our shields.  Kes somehow seemed to know and she and the Captain
went to the engineering station to help B'Elanna.
        Another shot was fired and I tried to avoid it, but it was too late.  The blow
struck the ship full force.  A horrific explosion sounded behind me and I turned
just in time to see Captain Janeway and B'Elanna being flung across the bridge
from the force of the blast.
        My heart dropped.  Would they be all right?
        Kes ran to them, checking for pulses.  She looked up at Chakotay, sorrow
in her eyes.  "They're dead."
        They couldn't be, my panicked mind thought.  Kes had to be wrong.
        Leaving the conn, I dashed over, cradling B'Elanna's head in my hands.
I felt frantically for a pulse, for her heartbeat beneath my fingertips.  There
was none.
        "B'Elanna!" I screamed.  "B'Elanna, no!"  A huge knot began twisting in
my stomach.  B'Elanna, dead.  It couldn't be.  This all had to be some horrific

        But it wasn't.
        It was the horrible reality.
        B'Elanna, dead.  My heart breaks at the thought.  At first, I couldn't
conceive the idea, wouldn't believe it.  She couldn't, couldn't, be dead.
She was my only love, my other half, my soulmate.
        We were engaged.  At first, she didn't believe that I would want her......

        *"You said you had a surprise for me."  B'Elanna was sitting in a chair in her
quarters, eyeing me.  "So where is it?"
        Up until now, I had been calm.  But the second she said those words,
I became a bundle of nerves.  Would she believe me?  Would she laugh at me?
        "I'm waiting, Paris," she teased.
        We had been going out for some time, since the incident where Vorik had
the pon-farr and tried to mind-meld with B'Elanna, which somehow got her
Klingon blood fired up.  Of course, she wouldn't even consider Vorek--and decided
that I was the one who had to help her.  We didn't go that far--she fought Vorik
and got it out of her system.  But since then, our relationship had grown--to the
point of now, which in 20th century terms would be "going steady".  But I wanted
more than that.  I wanted her to marry me.
        Pushing back my fear, I began.  "Well, we've been together for a while now--and
I think that we should do something a little different."
        For the slightest instant, I thought I saw tears in her eyes, but then they
were gone.  "You want to break up with me."
        I was shocked.  "Absolutely not," I exclaimed.  I got to my feet and reached
for the box I'd hidden behind her vase of orchids from Kes' garden earlier.
Then I went back to her, handing her the box.  She looked confused, until she
opened it.  Her eyes widened in surprise.  Slowly, she removed the contents--a
ring with a small diamond set in gold, two tiny amethysts on each side of the
        "What is this for?" she asked.
        I dropped to one knee before her and took her hand.  "B'Elanna Torres, will you
marry me?"
        She blinked, then raised her eyebrows.  "You're not serious, are you?"
        "Of course I'm serious!" I exclaimed.  "What do you think the ring's for?"
        "This is an engagement ring?"
        Several emotions flashed across her face.  Surprise, confusion and then
sadness.  "You can't be serious.  Why would you want me?"
        "Because I love you."
        She snorted.  "Oh, now that's a good one.  The great Tom Paris, in love with
me--a half-Klingon freak."
        "You're not a freak!" I said.  Impulsively, I took her hand in mine and the
ring in the other.  She raised her eyes to mine as I slid the ring on.  "You're
beautiful--and I love you."
        The sadness in her eyes had given way to hope.  I cupped her chin in one hand
and leaned forward to kiss her.  Tentatively, she kissed me back, still unsure.
When we broke the kiss, I looked deep into her eyes, those beautiful dark eyes.
They were full of tears, and slowly, one fell, followed by more.
        "Shh, B'Elanna," I said softly, kissing her tears away.  "I understand."
        "I'm sorry," she whispered.  "And yes, I'll marry you."
        I cradled her close and gently stroked her hair.  I never wanted this moment to

        It did end.  At that point, I never wanted my happiness to end.  I never
thought it would.  I had B'Elanna.  I wanted nothing more.
        Even now, I still remember every detail--the softness of her raven-dark hair,
her fiery Klingon temper, the love in her dark eyes, the sound of her laughter,
the taste of her kiss, the way she felt in my arms......
        Never for a moment did I think that I would lose her.
        Kes has been a great comfort.  This past week, I almost lost my will to live,
but she has pulled me through.
        "Dying yourself won't help any, Tom," she'd chided gently.  "Keep living--and
remember her."
        It seems almost impossible to do as Kes said, but she is right.
        But today seems hardest of all.
        B'Elanna had asked the Captain to be her maid-of-honor, and Chakotay was going
to give her away.  In the beginning, some had thought that she and Chakotay were
involved, but the truth is that Chakotay's affection for her was a protective
older brother-type.  She thought of him as such.
        Since both the Captain and Chakotay were part of the group, Tuvok, as
Lieutenant Commander, would have performed the ceremony.
        Today would have been our wedding day.

Legal B.S.  Paramount's characters, MY story, based on the episode "Before and
After".  All readers have permission to cry. :)  Copyright May 21, 1997, by
Cheile.  Comments and otherwise, mail to