Star Trek Voyager - Insomnia
by Elli- archivist@parisnights.de

Disclaimer:
As everyone may already know Paramount and Viacom own the Star Trek universe and everything The PTB have created for it, which unfortunately includes Tom Paris, B'Elanna Torres and all the other characters in the various series.
The story as well as Ensign Bruckner belong to me.

Archiving:
Please do not archive without my express permission.

Author's note:
Insomnia is a part of the Rebirth Saga

I had the idea for this saga long ago, but for the integrity of the series I changed a few details.

Summary:
Set almost at the end of season six.
After a run in with some aliens, Tom Paris finds himself in a viciousn cycle of work and no free time. Rated PG.
 
 

Insomnia
Elli
 

Tom Paris quietly walked down the Corridor, leading to sickbay. Since the incidence with the Liari many crewmembers had needed medical attention, and even weeks afterwards there were still patients in sickbay and many reports to be made.

So Tom had to pull double shifts on the bridge and in sickbay, barely having the time to eat or sleep not to mention spend some time with B'Elanna. If he wasn't in the pilots seat or in sickbay or writing reports for both departments he gave lessons in the simulator.

It was really frustrating. Earlier it had always been B'Elanna, who didn't have time because of her engineneering duties, now it were his duties that were denying them their time together. It just didn't seem fair.

Following this train of thought he entered sickbay.
"Good morning, Ensign Paris" , the doctor greeted in an awfully cheerful tone of voice, "you look tired,... too much partying on the holodeck ?"

Paris didn't say anything to that. He was way too tired considering he had just came from a night-shift on the bridge.

"Mornin' Doc", he said instead and turned around to do his job.

The doctor raised an eyebrow in a Vulcan manner, but didn't comment on the pilot's atypical behavior as he watched him treat the patients.

*****

Seven entered sickbay shortly before Tom's duty shift would end.
"Doctor, I have a slight headache." she complained, eyes on the floor.

"Ensign", he called Tom, who was just adjusting one of the biobeds,"Could you help Seven with her headache, please."

"'Course", he replied without motivation.

Tom went over to Seven and pressed a hypospray against her neck to stop her headache.

"Ensign, are we still sceduled for the flight simulation tomorrow?", she asked, eagerly expecting an answer, but at the same time trying to surpress this eagerness.
"Yeah, sure we are." After saying that he diverted his attention to Ensign Burgner, a fellow pilot, who had sprained her ankle.

"See you at 1600 hours, Ensign Paris." she said and walked out of sickbay briskly. Tom couldn't even confirm her statement.

*****

Captain Kathryn Janeway aimed the phaser at the disk flying past her, she didn't miss her aim, but now it was easy for Seven of Nine to make a good shot also.

But Seven missed and Janeway won the game.

She and Seven had played Velocity on the holodeck for over an hour now and in the last year Seven had become a lot better, she had even beaten her a couple of times, but today her game had been off. She hadn't even won a single round.

"Seven, what's wrong." Janeway said. "Your mind surely was not on the game."

"I am sorry Captain, I was distracted." Seven stated looking like she didn't want to reveal anything, like she did't want to talk about it at all. Janeway chose to ask nonetheless.

"Distracted? What's on your mind, Seven"? Not receiving the answer she wanted she tried something else.

"I'm asking you as a friend not as a captain, ... What's bothering you ?"

Janeway eyed Seven curiously. Something was wrong, she could smell it. She had never seen Seven like that.

If she would have to give it a name, she would call it despair mixed with fear, a combination she had never seen in Seven before. She seemed to have an emotional conflict.

Several seconds later Seven confirmed the Captains musings.
"I am unaccustomed to feeling this way, these emotions, Captain. I think I know what they are, but I am not completely sure, nor do I want it to be true,... It would make everything very difficult."

"What is it, Seven. You can talk to me. Tell me about it. I'll listen."Janeway offered.

"I am not sure, but ... I think I have fallen in love, Captain." Seven explained.

"But that's great", Janeway was enthused.
Seven had come a long way since she had been disconnected from the collective. This statement proved that she was on her way to become completely human, and altough the Borg woman had not yet told her who this love was directed to, her best guess was that it was Harry Kim, the Ensign stationed at ops.

Seven had spend most of her time with him and Harry had taken much time to befriend the Borg.

He would certainly be stunned if Seven admitted it to him.

It would take time, but with Harry's help Seven would understand the meaning and the importance of love and everything that came with it.

This was a major break-trough.

Only seconds later Janeway saw the pained look on Seven's face.
"What if he doesn't return my feelings", she asked.

"What makes you say that, Seven..., you should tell him how you feel, otherwise he may never tell you how he feels,he may think that you're not ready yet, that you're not ready to feel love, that you don't know what it is...since you were Borg", the Captain explained.

"You mean one might think I would not reciprocate."

"Something like that, yes." The captain was pensive for a few minutes, then she continued to speak. "I think you have to make the first move, tell him how you feel, you have to get it out in the open", she suggested, "Only then you'll know if he shares your feelings."

Seven thought about this for a few minutes. She wasn't sure what the captain said applied for her but she didn't want to destroy her mentor's good mood. She gave her an answer she was sure would satisfy he commanding officer.

"Maybe you are correct, maybe it is the best thing to do, ... I will think about it."

Janeway smiled, she knew she couldn't ask more of Seven than to consider it.

"When do you want to play again?", she asked.

I have not decided yet. I will tell you when it will be convenient for me,... thank you for the match, captain."

With that she left the holodeck, leaving a surprised but nonetheless delighted Kathryn Janeway behind.

*****

After a long duty-shift in engineering B'Elanna Torres was lookingforward to some relaxation.

She was hoping her plans would include a certain blue-eyed pilot.

They hadn't spend much time together since the run-in with the Liari and B'Elanna missed him terribly. She couldn't even remember the lasttime they had spend some quality time together. The last time she had seen him was at a briefing five days ago. It was infuriating.

Thinking about it more,  she made up her mind.

"Torres to Paris".

"Paris here", a tired voice called over the com-line.

"Tom, you sound tired, is everything allright?" She knew what his answer would be, but asked him anyway.

"Yeah, I'm fine, just a little tired, that's all."

B'Elanna wasn't convinced, but didn't say anything either, she knew he wouldn't tell her if anything was wrong.

"Do you have the evining off,... we could go to the holodeck."she suggested instead, hoping they could spend some time together.

"Iím sorry BíElanna, but I have the night shift on the bridge."

"The night shift!? But you just had a double shift in sickbay,... this is crazy, Tom. Canít someone else do it." Torres fumed.

"Lanna, you know we're a little short- handed right now, I have my duties."

"Tom, we never see each other." She said remembering a time when she had been the one working too much. He had stated the same thing then.

"You need to take a break sometime. Please Tom, ...have you talked to the Captain about this?"

"Not yet,... but I will, I promise, see you later. Paris out."

"Yeah, see you."
 

Torres frowned irritatedly. She knew Tom was busy right now and he also knew that he didn't want to disappoint the Captain since he wanted to make it up to her, because of the incident on the waterworld, which resulted in his demotion, but B'Elanna couldn't help wanting to spend more time with her lover.

*****

After a long and uneventful double shift in sickbay Tom finally grabbed the opportunity to talk to the Captain.

"Captain, do you have a minute?"

"Of course, Tom."
The Captain was emersed in her work and didn't really look at the man
standing in front of her.

"What can I do for you?" Janeway asked still studying her datapadd.

"Mm, I wanted to talk to you about the duty roster,... I was thinking, maybe you could reduce my shifts either in sickbay or on the bridge...I..."

Before Tom Could finish the sentence, the Captain interrupted him.

"Tom, you know that I need you ar both your posts right now, with all the people still in need of medical attention and the Mutari Cluster making the piloting difficult, I can't relief you of any of your duties."

"But Captain", Tom started, wanting to  tell her about his increasing  headache, his raising fatigue and his problems concentraiting.
About all the endless hours he had spent in the simulator lately and the lonley nights, filling out reports, but he refrained from doing so.

He remembered that he was still on probation, because of the incident with the Moneans, that he still needed to regain the Captains trust and respect.

"No buts, Tom, I need you at your posts and that's final."

"Yes Mam", he retaliated and left for the messhall to have some dinner.

On his way there, various crewmembers greeted him, but he didn't answer, he was just too tired.

His headache was increasing with every step he took.
Suddenly confusing images appeared in his head.

They seemed like memories, but none he could recall.

They were coming so quickly, like flashes, he couldn't focus, he had to lean against a wall. Faces, known and unknown, situations he had never seen before swam trough his head.

A vase shattering into a million pieces, all flying into different directions. An exploding console, a phaser fireing. A woman with light brown hair, smiling at him, he had never seen before. A Piano playing. The sad and silent melody blending with the screams of fear.

He couldn't disentangle the pictures, nor make out what they meant. It was  just too much for him to take in all at once.

But as sudden and as quickly as the images had come they stopped and he found himself back in Voyager's corridor.
And everything left was a dull throbbing in his head.

He ignored it and continued going to the messhall.

He considered telling B'Elanna about the images, or consulting Tuvok, after all he was a telepath and those images could have been telepathic communications, but dismissed bothe options immediatetly.

His fatigue was probably just catching up with him, no need to call the docor and waste important rescources.

It most likely was just a sideeffect of his insomnia and all the stress pulling double shifts.

So he entered the messhall to get some food before he was due in sickbay.
As he sat down, Neelix came over from the Counter and gave him some food. "Are you allright, Tom, you look a little pale, " he noted concerned.
"I'm fine, just a little tired."

After Neelix left Seven joined him at the table.

She felt a little awkward, as she sat down but Paris didnít notice her hesitation. She rolled the food around her plate, not saying anything. Not that she knew what to say anyway.

But Tom then noticed her unchracteristic behavior and asked him what was wrong.

"No, Iím fine, Ensign. I was just... thinking about something." She said not finding the courage to say anything else.

He raised an eybrow, but didnít comment any further since he respected her privacy.

He had to smile nonetheless. Obviously Seven was becoming more human every day.

In a far away corner of the mess hallwas Shokar Norad, the hunter, pretendingto have a deep conversation with Marcos Cavelle and the Delany sisters.
He was observing his victim.

Things were going smoothly.
******

On his way back to the bridge, he was stopped by Ensign Brecker, who asked him if they would still practise in the flight simulator the next day. But Tom didnít know if he had time.

"Maybe, I canít tell yet. Look, Iíve really got to go, or Iíll be late for my shift, which would really please the Captain, mind if I tell you later, Chris?"

"N...No, of course not. Iíll see you later then", she stammered.

Nodding, he disappeared into the corridor.

Chris entered the messhall shortly after her conversation with Tom.

The Delaney sisters were seated across the room chatting amiably.
Propably about Men, Chris mused, snorting disgustedly.

She hated the twins, mostly because Megan had laid her eyes on Tom and was almost undressing him all the times she looked at him.
She couldnít bear sitting next to them for more than a second.

She went looking for another free place to sit.

The only other free seat available seemed to be the one at the table Seven occupied, alone.

She didnít look very inviting, but Chris sat down next to her anyway.

Seven of Nine was staring at her still untouched food, appearently being deep in thought.

They ate in silence until Harry joined them to ask Seven to a dinner- date.

Chris noticed that Seven was reluctant to answer, she seemed to be weighing her options.

"Iím afriad I canít make the time," she refused.

But Chris then asked Harry to sit down and Harry took the offered seat gratefully.

"So, howís it goiní , Chris? still secretly admiring Mister Anonymus?", Harry asked, wanting to tease her, and wanting to know more.

And Chris knew, it was common knowledge, that she was in love, but as to who it was no one seemed to have a single clue.

And I always thought I was so obvious about my attraction to him, Iíve loved him for such a long time and no one even noticed.

"Ha, ha..., thatís so funny. You just want to trick me into revealing something to you about it, but I wonít tell you anything", she said ,knowing Harry became even more curious with each second.

"May I make a few guesses, then?", he asked.

"Go ahead." she said michivously.

"Okay, give ma a hint," he begged.

"Mm", she pouted her lips, "well, heís good looking heís caring, copassionate, you get the picture,... the only bad thing about it would be that half of the female and even some of the male crewmembers have it in for him, even..." she looked at Seven suggestivly, who was still eating not at all interested in their conversation.

Harry cast a look at Seven, he gulped. Seven was in love? Where was he in the picture?

Seven, who had not heard their conversation, tried to do something the Doctor thaught her to do. Pick up a coverstional gambit that interests one of your listeners. And Seven knew the rumors.

So she asked:" Did you have any luck in obtaining the object of your desire, Ensign".

Chris laughed. "Oh, Iím getting closer every day. And Iíll leave the rest to Harryís imagination."

After putting the rest of her food into the recliner, she left the messhall, leaving a smiling Harry and a confused Seven of Nine behind.

For some time there was an almost unbearable silence at the table.

Harry couldnít stand it, he had thought she liked him too. He desperatly wanted to cut the tension.

Captain Janeway had just entered the messhall and was now talking to Neelix.

Neelix was propably complaining about her eating habits again.

Shifting his attention back to Seven he asked her again.

"So, what about that dinner."

Although Seven tried to look everywhere but him, Harry tried to catch her eye, desperatly wanting to find out what she was thinking.

He wanted to be with her and his affair with Tal had only increased this need, but he had the feeling she didnít reciprocate, that she was even hiding something from him. Then it struck him, the way she was reacting to him, her behavior towards Ensign Brecker.

"Seven, this guy Chris was talking about, youíre attrated to him, too, right.?"

He tried not to sound accusing, but he couldnít quite keep the regret and the disappointment out of his voice.

After all this time, all the time he had tried to help her integrate herself into the crew, to regain her sense of individuality, she didn't return his feelings at all.

He knew he was being unfair, that he couldnít ask her to have feelings for him, even if only as compensation for all his efforts, he didnít have the right to feel angry about it, but he did.

Seven turned her head away and looked out of the window.

"Iím sorry", she just said.

It was then that Harry realized, that Seven really wished she did love him and that she had realized, that Harry had a crush on her.

But she couldnít just turn off her feelings.

"I understand. Iím not even going to ask who it is or why you know Chris is attracted to him, too, or half the ship, for that matter."

"I guess I didnít like the fact that others were interested in him, too, although I knew that I could never have him. I was jealous." She admitted.

"I see,...  he does he not know, that youíre in love with him?" He stated.

"No, and I wish for it to stay that way" , she said.

Knowing she wouldnít comment any further on the matter, Harry took his tray and left the table.

Janeway, who had witnessed, the whole conversation, headed over to Sevenís table and sat down.

Curiosity getting the better of her she didnít even greet the Ex- Borg, but came right to the point of her concern.

"Did you tell him", she asked, like a best friend who was waiting for the best jucy gossip, being happy for her friend.

"No I didnít", Seven answered in the same manner and by that shattered Janeways mood.

"But you had the chance to do so and you didnít, why? Are you that afraid of the answer? Janeway demanded to know.

"Why do you think, that I had a chance to talk to him? When did you make that conclusion, Captain? I didnít see any opportunity and I havenít even decided wether or not to tell him." She explained.

Janeway considered what Seven had just said. Eyeing Seven critically, understanding suddenly dawned on her face. Itís not Harry? And all this time I thought...

"So itís not Harry .?" She asked, although it sounded  more like s statement than a question.

"Harry?" Seven asked obviously not understanding the Captains implications.

"Mm," Janeway started to say something, but Seven interrupted her.

"You thought it is Ensign Kim. ... Now I understand."

"Iím sorry Seven, I really believed it was Harry. He is interested in you and, well I thought maybe something would happen between the two of you. I honstly believed, that you shared his feelings."

She explained, looking down at the table, feeling really ashamed of herself.

But Seven soothed her feelings of remorse, reassuring her that she could not have known. "I didnít give you any reason to believe anything else".

"No you didnít. But if itís not Harry, than who is it", she asked curiosity getting the best of her.

"I donít know if I should tell you", she said.

"Seven, I respect your privacy, but why not?"

"Heís already with someone",Seven stated matter of- factly.

"Oh", Janeway just said, there wasnít anything else she could say.

But who is it. She pondered the issue for quite some time and came to a conclusion, that she didnít like at all.

"Itís not Tom Paris, is it?"

******

His feet were heavy, as was his head and his entire body for that matter, but Tom Paris kept walking his destination shrinking with every step.

ĎSleepí, his mind screamened repeatedly, like a mantra, over and over with every step he took.

He stopped in front of the turbolift doors on deck seven.

He waited for the lift to stop by and pick him up, swaying on his feet. He didnít think he could hold on much longer...

After an eternity the lift halted and the doors opened and... standing before him was an angel he hadnít seen in a long  time, at least that was how it felt to him.

A week without seeing her more then half an hour.

An entire week he thought staring at the godess.

BíElanna was wearing an equally dazed expression on her face.

They were both aprehensive, but Tom entered the lift.

They stared at each other for a long time.

No words were spoken. They didnít need any.

The sexual tension was amazingly high. It was like a ritual, with a gostly atmosphere.

BíElanna assessed Tomís appearence. He looked as if he was about to collapse, she realized.

She wanted to tell him to go and see the doctor, but Tom put his finger over her lips and embraced her.

Feeling his arms around her she circeled her arms around his back, craving for his touch.

They stayed this way until the turbolift stopped on Tomís deck, shattering the silence that covered them like a veil.

They looked at each other longingly once again.

Tom got out of the turbolift, but not without giving BíElanna a long kiss goodbye.

After Tom left BíElanna continued her trip.

"TOM", was all she said, astounded by his appearence yet again.

*******

BíElanna Torres stomped down the corridor angryly.

The short encounter with Tom in the turbolift had shown her just how much Tom had been working these past few days.

His tired complexion had burned itsself into her brain.

She stopped in front Chakotayís quarters and pressed the door- chime.

"Come in", her mentor called from inside and BíElanna entered.

The Commander was sitting at his desk, going through some reports.

As he heard her enter, he looked up. "Hello, BíElanna", he greeted her, "Whatís up"?

He noted her mood the moment he saw her. She seemed to be upset about something, upset and angry. Not a good sign. He would have to watch out...

"Since youíre responsible for the dutyroster and assignments, thereís something I want to talk to you about." She stated flatly.

This was worse than upset and angry, Chakotay realized.

He was unable to explain her mood. He tried a simple approach. "BíElanna, what is it"?

"I want you to reduce Tomís duty shifts." She demanded cooly.

"What?! BíElanna, you canít honestly believe Iím going to do that."

I should have known it has to do with Tom. Itís always about Tom.

No?! Why not? Have you even seen Tomís roster?"

BíElanna was screaming now, but Chakotay  seemed to remain unimpressed, although his anger at Tom was growing with every second.

"I canít say that I know the shift plan of every crewmember on this ship, no, but I know Iím always fair when arranging them!!!

Chakotay was screaming now, too.

"Okay, if you donít want to help me...". BíElanna started walking to the door.

"I am not responsible for your freetime, BíElanna,if you want to spend more time with Tom, make the time, I canít and I wonít rearrange the duty roster for your own personal enjoyment.
It is most egoistic of you to ask me something like that. Who gave you the idea"? he ranted, not knowing the reason for BíElannaís visit. It was probably Paris, he mused.

And although BíElanna understood Chakotayís thoughts, she was too angry to tell him she was worried about Tomís health.

"Ok, if you donít want to listen, Iíll leave",she said and left his quarters leaving a stunned, yet angry Chakotay behind.

*****

Shortly after meeting BíElanna in the turbolift, Tom Paris entered his quarters.

His head was still heavy and it felt as if sledge hammers were pounding in on it with unimaginable force.

ĎRestí

ĎSleepí

His body screamed, but his mind wouldnít let him.

He lay down on the bed and waited for the peaceful oblivion of sleep to claim him, but it didnít come.

"Insomnia", he sighed. "Maybe I should really go see the Doc." He muttered.

He shook his head.

"The Conn- Report", he remembered suddenly.

"Where the hell did I put the damn padd? Where? ...Great, now Iím talking to myself. Ah, there it is!"

He picked up the padd and began to write, but his mind wouldnít come up the words.

Determination crossed his features. He threw the padd onto his bed and left his quarters to go to sickbay.

Itís really time to see the Doc...

The pounding in his head grew louder and heavier and his skull began to throb, suddenly the images returned also, now accompanied by screams and voices, thousands of voices, blending together, ununderstandable.

It was unbearable. He his head and continued going to sickbay, trying to ignore the ever increasing pain.

He clutched the wall, wanting to steady himself. He couldnít see because of the pain.

He tried to walk, but an almost welcomed blackness engulfed him and Tom Paris fell to the ground, unconscious.

*****

"I found him in the corridor on deck six. We had an appointment on the holodeck. Ensign Paris to give me another lesson in the simulater and when he didnít come, I asked the computer for his location. It was on deck six and thatís where found him", Seven of Nine explained to Janeway, while the Doctor examined Paris.

She was still shocked. After waiting in the holodeck for some time she had gone to look for him and the sight of seeing him lie face down on the floor had nearly stopped her breathing.

After calling an emergeny beam- out, she had sprinted to sickbay to see what was wrong with him.

And although Janeway knew Seven needed some consoling right now her eyes lay solely on Tom Paris.

As the Doctor injected a hypospray into Tomís neck, Janeway turned to him and asked him about Tomís condition.

"Has he been pulling double shifts lately", the Doctor answered her question with a question.

"Yes, just like everyone has, why? She asked impatiently, she wanted to know what the Doctor was getting at.

"Can I see hiss duty roster?" he saked, stretching her patience to the limit.

"What? Why do you want to see the roster?, she asked.

The Doctor studied Jane way for a second, realizing she really didnít understand. He looked at the tricorder, he was holding in his hand and gave a short summary of Tomís condition.

"Sleep deprivation, malnutrition and an anomalous, yet unconcerning reading from his brain."

"How", Janeway asked.

"Thatís what I want to know, and thatís why it is imperative that I get Ensign Parisí Duty roster imediately, this way I can probaply exclude one possible cause for Mister Paris symptoms."

"Seven, go to Chakotayís quarters amd get Tomís roster, please", Captain Janeway asked the Borg.

Seven nodded, and left.

The Docter looked at Janeway, than at Seven.

"He should have come to me, or at least tell you, then this wouldnít have happened", the Doctor stated.

"He did. He tried to talk to me but I didnít listen. I told him that I needed him at his posts." She sat down on a chair, looking dumbfounded.

"Why didnít I notice anything"?

*****

While Janeway and the Doctor conferred in sickbay, Seven entered Chakotay's quarters to carry out her assignment.

"Commander, the captain sent me to get Ensign Paris duty roster", she stated.

After she noticed the questioning look he was showing, she explained what happened to Paris, how she had found him in the corridor, unconscious.

Chakotay pondered this. After BíElanna had been to his quarters some time ago, he had been extremely angry at the pilot, for heíd believed Paris had sent the engineer to speak in his favor, but now it turned out that BíElanna had just been concerned about Tomís well- being. After all this time, the countless times he saved your life, you still quetion his motives, Chakotay, has he not proven himself to you? Has he not changed?

*****

Chakotay entered Sickbay, shortly after that, data padd in hand.

Seven was not with him anymore she had needed to go to the cargobay, to regenerate. And although she did not have to do it as often as she used to she still needed the energy her borg alcove provided sometimes.

He looked for Tom, who was lying on a biobed. While the doctor was working on him, the captain watched.

He cast a quick glance at the padd in his hands, then he stared at the occupied biobed again. He hadnít dared to read what was on the padd, afraid of what was there. Afraid that Parisí collapse was his fault. Afraid to hear that BíElanna had been right and that he didnít notice Parisí deteriorating health.

Captain Janeway was pacing in sickbay while the Doctor was making test after test. Not uttering a word Chakotay handed the padd over to the Doctor.

Janeway who had quit her pacing was now stnding near them and spoke up suddenly, though sullenly ,deep in her own littl world. Chakotay knew she propably didnít even realize they were there, too.

"He visited me yesterday, in my readyroom. He requested I shorten his duty shifts. Ididnít listen."

She paused and Chakotay wanted to say something but the Captain beat him up to it. "I didnít see how ill he was, hell I didnít even look at him." Her voice sounded monotonous.

"Donít blame yourself, Kathryn. You had an extremely busy and stressful week and I for one didnít see it either."

Kathryn looked at him wanting to know what he meant by that.

"BíElanna came to my quarters last evening. She wanted me to rearrange Tomís shifts and assumed he sent her to me, because he didnít have the guts to do so himself,seems BíElanna noticed Tom was in bad shape and wanted to help him and I honestly believed Tom and BíElanna just wanted to have some fun together."

The Doctor waved them over to the terminal he was working on, then.

"Did you see this roster?, he asked.

"No, not yet." The Captain stated quietly.

"This roster is a nightmare. If he always appeared right on time, and I know he was always in sickbay, he had about five hours two hours sleep per day in the last two weeks. He did not have time to finish his reports during his shifts and since no report seems to be missing, he did it during those two hours. Normally a break takes place for at least an hour, Mister Paris had only ten minutes, which means he had to run from the bridge to sickbay every time to be there on time. It also means that he had no time to eat. He also gave some lessons in the simulator during that time, they had been scheduled long before and therefor could not be canceled.... I think that explains the lack of sleep and the malnutrition."

It was quiet for some time as the Doctorís words sank in.

"Will he be alright? Janeway was concerned and still felt guilty.

"Yes he will. He just needs some rest and food. I recommend a week off for him." The Doctor stated, glancing at Paris quickly.

"What about that anomulous reading from his brain youíve detected", she asked concerned.

"Oh, thatís nothing to worry about, just s side- effect of the stress. Heís okay." The Doctor explained.

"I see."

"Anyway itís important to reduce his dutyshifts to a tolerable level, which means we have to reduce them dramatically. Only three double shifts a week and no more working triple shifts. Even before the incident with the Liari, he was working way too much. Since his release from the brig after you demoted him, to be precise. And the hours he put in even before both of these occasions were too much. He should not be allowed to work more than sixty hours a week. And only four lessons in the simulator."

"Are you saying that Tom Paris is a workaholic?" Chakotay asked, not really believing what he was hearing.

"Well, he has workaholic tendancies. He just knows better how to hide them than others."

Suddenly Kathryn Janeway understood everything and felt guilty all over again. "He wanted to redeem himself." She felt guilty all over again.

*****

Tom Paris was sleeping soundy for the first time in weeks. The Doctor had given him a sedative, so his recent insomnia was no longer plagueing him.

The door chimed unexpectedly, ripping him from the save confines of his dream. A dream where the disurbing images he had seen earlier, were not intruding. A dream about the woman he loved most. She shared his feelings completely.

But the bellís beeping sounds kept penetrating the veil that held th dreamworld and the waking world apart, creeping into his still tired mind, waking him slowly.

He rose from the bed and made it to the door on autopilot. After pressing a button, the door opened to reveal the object of his dreams.

"BíElanna, what are you doing here?" he asked, dazed.

"I know I shouldnít be here, that you are supposed to be sleeping, but I really needed to see you...", she explained, her face shining with anticipoation.

Tom smiled and gestured for her to come in.

"Iím sorry I didnít have time for you lately but you know..." he tried to explain, only to be stopped by Torres.

"I know, Tom. Iím working too much sometimes, too... Just donít let it happen again."She smiled at him.

"Yes,Mam", he said the way only he could, but a little too quickly for BíElannaís taste.

"Tom, I mean it. Next time tell someone, donbít hesitate to call the Doctor." Tom shook his head yes.

"Are you hungry, BíElanna? Iíve got lots and lots and lots of replicator rations left. We could have a real feast." Tom suggested.

"Tom, I am indeed hungry, but... not for food." She ran her hand across his cheek seductively, making her intentions clear.

"How could I resist?" He gazed at her, a soft smile on his lips.

His lips decended on hers and they shared a passionate kiss. Her hand reached into his collar and she pulled his shirt over his head, revealing his muscular chest. She pulled him onto the bed, while he was unzipping her uniform- top.

Tom sighed contently, whispering her name.

She pressed him down on the bed, pinning his arms behind his head.

Enjoying herself tremendously, she dinít notice Tomís body stiffen.

While BíElanna roamed over his body, Tomís throat constricted and an overwhelming sense of fear consumed him.

He didnít know what was wrong with him. Just that this had to stop.

As BíElanna started working on Tomís pants, she suddenly found herself on the floor. With a quick, jerky move, Tom had flipped her over.

He was standing now, staring at her, panting.

"Tom", BíElanna asked confused.

But Paris didnít answer. He stormed out of the room leaving a shocked BíElanna on the floor.

*****

Finished Octobre 27, 1999

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