By Jane Griffen- JaneG100@rocketmail.com
Copyright October 1998
Author‘s Note: When I saw the previews for Extreme Risk, I was going to write my own episode before it actually aired. Well, I didn‘t write fast enough. But here‘s the very first part of it . . . You might say that High Risk is the sequel to it. I wasn‘t even going to post this, but I thought I might as well :)
Disclaimers: Paramount owns Voyager, Tom Paris, and B‘Elanna; I own the story.
B‘Elanna Torres stood facing the window in her quarters and sipping some water, looking out the window and up into the sky. Well, really the space outside her window, but she still liked to think of it as the sky. After all, it technically was. She remembered when Voyager had been in the void. There had been no stars, and she had never been able to get used to it.
When B‘Elanna had been a little girl on Kessik, before her father had left, they had used to go out onto the porch at night and he would point out different constallations or planets to her in the sky. At night, if she couldn‘t get to sleep, her father would always tell her to count the stars. Truth be told, it worked every time she couldn‘t fall asleep.
Voyager had entered the void, and there had been no stars at all.
She had rarely gotten any sleep; she had nearly gone crazy out of boredom. Her Enginering staff weren‘t the only people who had been stir-crazy. Torres frowned as she remembered the times she and Paris had fought; the fights had been daily. He would say something, or she would comment on something, and then they would start arguing. Looking back on it, it all seemed pointless. But after the first month, a seed of doubt had started to blossem inside her mind. Now she doubted that their relationship would ever amount to much. And the last thing she wanted was to be hurt.
Again. she thought, frowning even more. Thinking back to when Tom had commented that he had seen something, and the Doctor‘s sarcastic reply, she smiled as she remembered. Then she frowned yet again. She needed to have a talk with Tom, and she knew that she was going to break his heart.
But it‘s better this way. she assured herself as she deposited the empty cup back into the replicator. *That way we won‘t be hurt further down the road.* But she was still caught up in anxiety as she headed for Tom‘s quarters.
The doorbell chimed, and Tom looked up from the datapadd he had been reading. He was supposed to be writing a helm report, but he had opted for readingn the next volume of the Captain Proton series. After all, he could write the report later. "Come in." he called, stretching as he stood up.
The doors opened to reveal B‘Elanna Torres, and Paris quickly put the padd down. "What‘s wrong?" he asked as the chief engineer entered his quarters. She wouldn‘t meet his eye, and he immediately felt a sense of dread sweep through him. He had a feeling that he wasn‘t going to like what she was going to say.
"Why is something always wrong?" Torres asked sharply, placing her hands on her hips.
Tom frowned. "Well, for starters, you don‘t exactly look like the happiest person on the ship. At least we‘re not back in the void." he said slowly.
B‘Elanna didn‘t smile. Instead a thoughtful expression crossed over her face. She looked down at her hands. "That‘s what I‘ve been thinking about."
Paris raised an eyebrow. "And?" he asked, sensing that she wasn‘t finished.
"And I‘ve been thinking a lot about us lately." she admitted softly, tilting her head up so that she was looking straight at him. Pained, she turned around and faced the window. "Tom, what do you see out there?"
Tom walked over to her, not sure what she was getting at. "I see..." his voice trailed off. "Stars. Millions of stars. Too many stars for even the sensors to count. And I see blackness. Pure blackness, only marred with shining stars." He turned to scrutinize the cheif engineer, who was staring out the window. "What do you see?"
Torres turned to him with a pained look on her face. "I don‘t know." she said haltingly, shrugging slightly. Frowning, she walked away from the pilot until she was a safe distance away from him. "Tom-" her voice cracked and she shook her head. "Tom, this isn‘t going to work out."
The words hit him like a ton of bricks. "What-"
"Tom, please, just listen." B‘Elanna lifted up her hand when Tom started to talk.
Paris nodded slowly, and Torres began to pace around the room. She turned back to Tom. "Tom, I‘ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, about us." The helmsman nodded.
"And we have to face it. This isn‘t going to work. We‘re too different. We-" she paused and shrugged her shoulders.
The chief engineer frowned. "I‘m tired of being ‚B‘Elanna‘d, Tom. I‘m sick and tired of it. Look at the way we acted when Voyager was stuck in that void! We were at each other‘s throats constantly! We never stopped fighting! Is this what love does to you?" she asked, raising her voice.
"You just now figured that out?" He knew the minute the words were said that he shouldn‘t have said that.
B‘Elanna‘s eyes flashed. "There you go again! Everything‘s a joke to you! Even me!" she added, after a pause.
Tom felt like he‘d been shot. "You know that‘s not true." he said sternly. His gaze softened as he stepped towards her, "B‘Elanna, I love you." Torres nodded, a tear running down her cheek. "I love you, to." she said. Her hand inches away from touching his cheek, she jerked back. "Love isn‘t all you need in a relationship, Tom, and you and I both know it."
Paris shook his head, stunned. "But B‘Elanna-"
"Tom, I‘m sorry." B‘Elanna replied, swallowing hard. "I‘m so sorry, but we‘ve got to face the facts sooner or later. We‘re just too alike."
Paris‘ eyes watered. "Oh, B‘Elanna." he whispered, hugging her hard.
He was mildly surprised that she let him. "We could try to-"
"Try to what?" Torres looked up at him, shaking her head. "We‘ve tried so hard already, Tom, and frankly it‘s not going to work out. This relationship is never going to work out!"
"How can you say that?" Tom asked, incredulous, as he shook her gently. "After everything we‘ve been through?" he demanded.
B‘Elanna looked up at him. "All right. Sakarri." she spat the word
out viciously. "Chemical imbalance. On my Day of Honor, seconds away from death. Tom, when you look at the facts-"
"You keep going mentioning facts. Since when is our relationship based purely on facts?" Tom demanded.
Torres shook her head. "You know exactly what I mean, Tom." she commented. "Do I?" Paris shot back.
"Damn it, Paris, I love you! Do you know how hard it was for me to actually come here and say it?" Torres cried out, tears welling up in her eyes. She blinked them back.
Tom didn‘t say anything for a second, then he smiled sadly. "Yeah." he whispered. B‘Elanna edged towards the door, still not turning away from him. "I‘m so sorry, Tom." she said. Then she was gone.
"I‘m sorry, too." he whispered, but it was too late. She had alreadly left the room.
Copyright October 1998 by Jane Griffen; original disclaimers apply; send feedback at JaneG100@rocketmail.com
Yes, I am still a P/Ter, you guys!!!