Title:  The Birthday Boxers
Author:  Julie Evans
Contact:  Juli17@aol.com
Series:  Voy, "Scenes From a Marriage"
Rating:  PG13
Codes:  P/T
Summary:  Tom finds out what B'Elanna got him for his birthday.  So
he thinks.  Part of the "Scenes From a Marriage" series.

Disclaimer:  Star Trek and its characters are the property of
Paramount/Viacom.  I am borrowing them for fun only not profit.

Archiving:  This story may be archived to the ASC, PT Collective
Archive, and BLTS.  All others please ask the author for permission.

Timeline note:   This story is set early in the seventh season, shortly
before the episode "Inside Man."

"The Birthday Boxers"


Tom shook his head as he walked into the Mess hall.  He still couldn't
quite believe it.  Maybe it was a little presumptuous of him, but he'd
expected something more...well, more.

"Hey, Tom."

Tom nodded to Harry, who was seated at one of the nearest tables with
a half-finished plate of food in front of him.

"Ah, Tom.  You're just in time for my Raktaran stew."

Tom paused at the counter as Neelix began ladling a steaming mix of
meat and vegetables on a plate.

"I know this is one of your favorites," Neelix said as he continued
filling the plate, showing no signs of stopping.

"Uh, that's good, Neelix," Tom said quickly.

"Okay."  Neelix added a roll and handed the plate to Tom.  "Enjoy."

"Thanks," Tom replied as he took the offering.  Raktaran stew actually
was one of his favorites, and certainly one of Neelix's more successful
culinary efforts.  And he appreciated the gesture.

"Oh, and by the way, Tom..."

Tom looked at Neelix questioningly.

Neelix smiled broadly.  "Happy birthday."

"Thanks, Neelix."  Tom smiled back wryly.  "But I'm getting to that age
where I'd just as soon forget I have a birthday."

Neelix chuckled.  "I know that feeling well," he commiserated, patting
Tom on the arm.  "There's plenty more Raktaran stew if you want a
second helping to drown your birthday sorrows," he called as Tom
moved away.

Harry grinned as Tom sat down across from him.  "You really wish
everyone would forget your birthday, Tom?"

Tom shrugged.  Most of the crewmembers he'd worked with today had
wished him a happy birthday.  Even Seven had remembered.  Though
she would remember of course.  He'd just been surprised that she'd
considered it significant enough to mention.  With over a hundred and
fifty crewmembers on the ship, there was a birthday every day or two,
sometimes more than one.  Tom shared his own birthday with
Mortimer Harren of all people.  "Oh, you know how it is, Harry.
Another birthday is just a reminder that I'm getting up there in years."

Harry chuckled.  "No kidding.  So you must be glad we're in the middle
of the biannual refit and inventory.  No one has much time to think
about anything else.  Though I thought the pizza was a nice gesture."

Tom nodded in agreement as he took a bite of the stew.  The senior
officers had spent their lunch break going over several bridge refit
modifications, and the captain had replicated pizza in honor of his
birthday.  B'Elanna had missed it because she'd been hip deep in work
in Engineering.

"And you'd still be a little offended if no one noticed at all," Harry

Tom looked up.  "Yeah," he admitted.  "I guess I'd be offended if
certain people didn't notice anyway."

"So, is B'Elanna coming for dinner?" Harry asked.

Tom shook his head.  "She's got at least another couple of hours to go
in Engineering.  She left early this morning, and I haven't seen or talked
to her all day."  They'd barely had time to say good morning to each
other the last two days.

Harry shrugged.  "I'm sure B'Elanna knows it's your birthday.  She
probably has some little celebration planned for later tonight."

"Probably," Tom said, though he wasn't so sure.  This week she'd
worked such long hours that they'd done little more than fall into bed
and sleep once she'd gotten home.  "I know she got me a gift."  He
forked some more food.  "Boxers."

Harry's eyebrows rose.  "Boxers?"

"Boxers," Tom repeated.

"Hmmm..." Harry murmured.  He cleared his throat a little and
concentrated on his food.  "Well, that is a useful gift."

Tom's eyes narrowed.  "For her last birthday I gave her a dozen roses,
and took her to dinner at a little trattoria in Capri."

"Really?" Harry asked.

"Yes, really," Tom replied, looking at Harry sharply.  "Do you think I
just program Captain Proton and hockey simulations?"

"Of course not," Harry said.  He grinned.  "I know you're an incurable
romantic at heart, Tom.  By the way, how do you know B'Elanna got
you boxers?"

Tom blinked at Harry's quick change of subject.  "She left a datapadd
on the table this morning.  The notation on the screen said  'Tom.
Birthday.  Boxers'."  He saw Harry's curious look.  "Before you ask, I
wasn't snooping.  I thought it might have data on it that she'd need in
Engineering today."

Harry nodded.  "Boxers, huh?" he said after a moment.  "That is kind of
grim, but it could be worse."  He smirked.  "She could have gotten you

"Very funny," Tom muttered.

"It's just the natural course, Tom," Harry said, giving him a sympathetic
look.  "You'd better get used to it."

Tom looked suspiciously at Harry.  "What does that mean?"

"You're married now," Harry clarified.  "Romantic gifts give way to
underwear, and socks, and sweaters."  He shook his head sadly.  "I've
seen it happen before."

Tom frowned.  "I'd never give B'Elanna underwe--"  Well, technically
he had given her underwear.  But it had been lingerie--underwear with
another purpose.  "Anyway, the romance doesn't have to go just
because we're married, Harry.  We still have fun together--"

"Tom," Harry interrupted.  "I was just kidding.  If the holodeck wasn't
offline for the refit, I'm sure B'Elanna would have programmed
something for your birthday."

"Actually, we used up the rest of our holodeck time this month on the
Gaedis Prime program," Tom said.  They'd finally managed to get
there, seven weeks after B'Elanna had planned that original weekend,
though only for a day and a night, and it had taken all their combined
resources to do it.  "But it was worth it."

"See, it's not so bad," Harry said encouragingly.  "That could be
considered an early birthday celebration.  As for the boxers..." he
shrugged, and his lips twitched.  "Maybe they're really cute boxers,
with Captain Proton laser guns on them, or bat'leths, or bunnies..."

Tom glared at Harry, and then speared some more food.  "I think I'm
sorry I started this conversation."

Harry grinned back.  "I'm not.  But unfortunately, I have to cut it short."

'What a shame," Tom muttered.

Harry stood and picked up his plate.  "I have the night command."

"Have fun," Tom said.  Then he spoke again as Harry started to move
away.  "Harry..."

Harry turned and looked at him.

"About what I said...it's been a long week.  I didn't mean anything

"I know."  Harry clapped Tom on the shoulder.  "This conversation was
just between you and me.  What else are friends for, after all."

"Thanks," Tom replied.  "Oh, and thanks again for the datachip of  'The

"You're welcome," Harry said.  "I don't know anything about the
content, but according to the database it's from the 'golden age' of
television."  He grinned.  "At least the title is appropriate."

Tom smiled.  "I'm sure I'll--we'll like it."

Harry nodded.  "Good night.  Oh, and happy birthday...old man."

Tom rolled his eyes at Harry's parting humor, and watched his friend
leave.  He had just taken another bite of stew when his commbadge

"Paris here."

"Ah, Mister Paris.  What are you doing at the moment?"

Tom sighed.  He didn't need telepathic abilities to know exactly what
the doctor wanted.  "I'm eating dinner.  And I'm off-duty, Doc."

"I'm finishing up the supply inventory, and since you aren't doing
anything *important* I thought you might come to Sickbay and assist
me for an hour."

"Doc, it's my birthday--"

"Oh.  Right.  I supposed this means you're having a celebratory dinner
and evening with B'Elanna."

"Actually she's in Engineering right now, but--"

"Ah, so you are free at the moment."

The doctor put a certain emphasis on the word "free," and Tom
wondered just what he was implying.  "Doc, what's that supposed--"

"This will only take an hour.  And I'll apply the time toward your
monthly hours in Sickbay."

Tom hated it when the doctor came up with these last minute duties.
On the other hand, B'Elanna wouldn't be home for another two hours
by her estimation, which left him at loose ends.  He didn't want to sit in
their quarters alone, or to watch Harry's gift without her.

"All right, Doc.  But only for an hour, right?"

"An hour it is," the doctor agreed over the commlink.  "I'll expect you
directly.  Oh, and happy birthday, Lieutenant."

Tom sighed as the link closed.  "Yeah.  Thanks."


The doctor was good to his word, and a little over an hour later Tom
walked into his and B'Elanna's quarters.  The lights were dimmed, as
they always were when neither of them was present.  He walked
through the living area, and it wasn't until he reached the bedroom that
he realized he wasn't alone after all.  Warm light spilled though the
open bathroom door.  B'Elanna must have gotten out of Engineering
earlier than she'd expected.

"That you, Tom?" she called.

Though she could sneak up on him, and did often, he rarely could do
the same to her.  "Yeah."

"I'll be out in a minute."

"Okay," Tom said as moved around the bed to the closet.  He quickly
stripped away his uniform jacket.  Then he kicked off his boots, and
shimmied out of his pants, feeling much more comfortable and
unfettered in his t-shirt and boxers.

At the thought of boxers he looked down at the black silk ones he was
wearing at the moment.  He wondered what kind he'd have to add to the
collection now.

"How was your day?" B'Elanna asked from the bathroom.

"Fine," Tom replied.  He sat down on the bed.  "Busy, with the refit.
And the doc nailed me for an extra hour in Sickbay this evening."  He
stretched his back muscles.  An extra hour of moving inventory from
shelf to shelf while the doctor did the "difficult" job of computing the
results on a datapadd.

"It was never-ending in Engineering," B'Elanna said.  "Shaun Mulcahy
had problems with the impulse drive realignment.  The warp core
diagnostic kept pinpointing a false matrix input error.  If Joe hadn't
volunteered to stay later and rerun it again once we'd found the
problem, I still wouldn't be here.  Oh, I'm sorry I missed the pizza

"It wasn't exactly a party," Tom replied.  "Just a working lunch."  His
voice softened.  "But I'm sorry you weren't there."

"I did get you something for your birthday," B'Elanna said.

Tom stretched out on the bed.  It felt good.  "Boxers?" he asked

B'Elanna's head appeared around the bathroom doorway.  She looked at
him searchingly, eyes narrowed.  "Did you read my datapadd, Tom?"

Tom realized his mouth had gotten ahead of his brain again, but he
could hardly deny it.  "Yes.  But I couldn't miss it, since you left it right
on the table.  I thought you might need it in Engineering today, so I
glanced at the screen--"

"Okay."  B'Elanna said in a surprisingly mild tone.  Her head
disappeared again.

Tom's brow furrowed.   He wondered now why she'd left the damned
thing on the table this morning when she hadn't needed it in
Engineering.  It hadn't been there last night--

"Well, now you know," B'Elanna spoke again from the bathroom.  She
sighed loud enough for Tom to hear her.  "I had limited options since
the holodeck is offline and we've all been working near double shifts
with the refit.  I didn't have much time to plan anything.  Sorry."

Tom frowned.  He certainly didn't want B'Elanna to think that some
material gift for his birthday was really that important to him, even if
he'd groused about it to Harry.  "It's okay, B'Elanna.  I'm happy just to
have some free time together tonight."  He meant that.  It had been a
long day, and now he finally had a chance to relax in his quarters, with
his wife.  He had nothing to complain about at all.

"If you're sure..."

"B'Elanna, as long as you're here I don't need anything else to make my
birthday perfect," Tom said sincerely.  Then he amended, "Though I
can always use another pair of boxers."

"Well...about those boxers, Tom..."

Tom watched B'Elanna step out of the bathroom, but it took his mind a
moment to fully register what he was seeing.

"They weren't for you, exactly."

B'Elanna was wearing a pair of black silk boxers...and nothing else.
The boxers rode low on her hips just below her navel, and Tom
swallowed as she walked toward him, her hips swaying and her breasts
bouncing lightly as she moved.

He also noticed belatedly that she was holding something behind her
back.  She kept one hand behind her as she sat on the edge of the bed
facing him.  "You like?"

As if she had to ask.  Tom cleared his dry throat.  "Yes.  It's a...um, nice
look on you, B'Elanna."

"Is it?"  B'Elanna wiggled her hips a little.  "I never realized boxers
were so comfortable.  I think I'll have to start wearing them more

"I won't object," Tom told her resolutely.

B'Elanna smiled.  "No?"

Tom shook his head, and then eyed B'Elanna's boxers critically.
"Those look very...familiar," he said, glancing down at the boxers he
was wearing.  He suddenly recalled that B'Elanna had tossed him this
particular pair as he'd headed for the shower this morning, right before
she'd left for Engineering.  They weren't what he usually wore with his
uniform, but he hadn't paid much attention since he'd been preoccupied
with thoughts of his full day of work ahead.  It occurred to him now
that maybe B'Elanna hadn't simply reached for the nearest available

B'Elanna flicked a finger at the waistband of his boxers, and grinned.
"These always were my favorite."  Then she turned away and opened
the small drawer in the bedside table.  Tom watched curiously as she
took out several candles, lit them with a small lighter, and set them on
the table.  The room was still very dim and the light from the candles
gave everything a warm golden glow, including B'Elanna.

She reached under the bed next, and his eyebrows rose as she produced
a bottle of wine.  She uncorked it quickly and set it on the bedside table
too.  Then she rummaged one more time in the drawer.  She pulled out
several foil-wrapped squares he recognized as the Belgian chocolate
she had a particular fondness for, and she placed those next to the
candles to warm.

Finally she turned to him again and gave him a warm smile.  "There,"
she said with satisfaction.  "Candles, wine, chocolate, and..." she
extended a hand and retrieved something from behind her back with a
small flourish.  "This."

She held a small glass vial in her hand.  Inside was some sort of
iridescent fluid that shimmered as her hand moved.  It looked
familiar...but he couldn't place it.

B'Elanna saw his puzzled expression and sighed.  "Last week, when we
were in the Gaedis Prime program, Tom?  That row of vendors at the
crystalline beach..."

"Oh."  He remembered now.  "The short, round guy who was selling
lotions and massage oils..."

B'Elanna smiled.  "Exactly.  Massage oils with special properties."  She
turned the vial in her hand and twisted off the small cap.  "This
particular one has certain chemicals in it that activate the nerve
receptors on the surface of the skin to produce a...physical reaction."

"Physical reaction?"  Tom looked at the vial uncertainly.  That was a
broad concept.

B'Elanna held the open end over his chest, and the liquid pooled at the
edge of the vial, but it didn't spill over.  "Try it."

Tom touched it gingerly with one finger.  It was smooth and oily, and
after a moment it made his finger tingle in a warm and very pleasant
way.  In a rather stimulating way, in fact.  His eyebrows rose as he
imagined how it would feel on the rest of his skin.

"I may have been too busy today to acknowledge your birthday until
now, and my resources may have been limited, but I am an engineer."
B'Elanna's lips curved.  "I do know how to make the best use of those

No kidding.  Tom glanced at the items on the bedside table and at the
vial in her hand.  "I certainly can't think of a way I'd rather end my
birthday," he said softly.

"That's good," B'Elanna replied.  "Because with all the long hours
we've been putting in recently I've decided that we could both use a
really good massage."  Her eyes glittered.  "A full body massage."

Tom's smile was slow and anticipative.  "Who goes first?"

B'Elanna set the vial aside, and a moment later she was straddling him
with her knees pressed into the mattress.  "You are the birthday boy,"
she reminded him drolly.  She gripped his t-shirt and pulled it over his
head, scraping his pecs lightly with her nails as she did so.  Then she
retrieved the vial and held it over him again, this time letting just a
small drop of the oil fall on his bared chest.

A small, pleasurable shiver went through Tom at the sensation, and at
the wickedly seductive smile his wife gave him then as she said in a
soft, husky voice, "Let's celebrate."


The end --you'll just have to imagine the rest ;-)