by Kat

Rating: PG

Summary: Response to Jenn's challenge. Tom and Seven are trapped on the holodeck in "Night" and go uninterrupted…what do they do with themselves?

And look…no angst! J Or much description…but, hey, it's dark.

* * *

"It's really dark."

{Trapped, on the holodeck, in the dark, with Seven of Nine. There were better conversation starters.}

"That is the second time you have made that statement. There is no light source currently operating in the holodeck. It is dark."

"Glad you agree with me."

{Trapped, on the holodeck, in the dark, with Seven of Nine who seems to be pissed as hell, yup, there were definitely better conversation starters.}

"There is no point in my disagreeing with you, Lieutenant. It is dark. It has been dark for the last fourteen minutes and thirty-seven seconds as a result of you dropping the flashlight and it being damaged irreparably. We have been sitting here engaged in idle banter ever since."

"Well, that depends on your definition of 'idle banter'…"

"Mr Paris, are you nervous?"

{Trapped on the holodeck with Seven of Nine playing 'let's psychoanalyse' there were better conversation starters, there were better things to do…}



{Like answering the question.}

"Then why do you insist on talking excessively? I am aware that it is dark. I do not require clarification. It is…redundant."

{Never had a personality flaw been put so succinctly. Redundant. It was redundant. Oh for the day when she just told him to 'shut up'…}


"You are not."

{Trapped, on the holodeck, in the dark, with Seven of Nine believing you not only to be nervous, redundant but insincere as well…}

{Maybe things went wrong when I tried to explain the 'secretary' part…}

"Seven," he sighed. "Get up on the wrong side of the alcove this morning?"

{What are you trying to do? Sweep her off her feet with your sparkling range of one liners?}

"I do not get up on a 'side' of the alcove."

"Seven, it was just a figure of speech…"

"I am aware of that."


{Trapped, on the holodeck, in the dark, with Seven of Nine, the hardest person on the ship to insult, insulted. Nice going, Paris, real smooth…}

Silence followed, unsurprisingly.

"So, Seven any plans for later?"

{If all else fails turn on the charm…}

"Lieutenant, is this relevant?

"No. Humour me anyway?"

{Be endearing, be light, dig your sorry butt out of that hole…}

"I will…humour you. I have to consume a nutritional supplement at 1900 hours and will begin regeneration at 2100 hundred hours. That is the sum of my evening's activities."

"Sounds exciting."

{Did I just say that?}

"It is not what you would term 'exhilarating' no, but it is efficient."

{I just said that.}

"I don't know, there's a lot to be said for the quiet life."

"Do you have plans, Lieutenant?"

{Now she's going to think I'm a hypocrite. This just gets slowly better and better…}

"Not really. Harry and B'Elanna are both on beta, not that they really have to be…"

"You do not wish to take extra shifts?"

{She really doesn't know me at all.}

(I think I like that about her.}

"Well, I wish I could, flying though the great black abyss really appeals to me on a base and primeval level."

"Sarcasm. A low form of wit."

{Ouch, that hurt.}

"Hey, if it works, run with it."

{And that was lame.}

"It is not amusing."

{Metaphorically, she's raised the spike heel, aimed for my gut, kicked, impaled and twisted…}

"Okay…well if that's the way you feel…"

"You do not need to 'perform' to me, Lieutenant."

{Okay, resist the urge to take that completely the wrong way…}

"I didn't realise I was."

"You do not need to occupy me."

{Ahh, I see, Seven-speak for 'leave me the hell alone'…It's okay, I can take a hint…or three.}

"But do you want occupying?


{Ahh, that old Paris charm, I've still got it, like I was never away…}

"Whatever you want, Seven."


"I wish you to make me laugh."

{…but that.}


{Impressive, Paris…a grand career as a mimic awaits…}

"Yes, I wish you to solicit that involuntary response from me."

"I'm not so sure…"



{I guess I never could say no to a beautiful woman…}

"But you don't find the Doc funny?"


"Well, actually, for that matter neither do I…"

"He says that his humour is an acquired taste…"

{Acquired is one word…}

She seemed to shuffle slightly, straightening herself and turning towards him in the dark.

"I am ready. Make me laugh."

{Stop piling on the pressure already…}

"Okay, erm…a piece of string walked into a bar."

"A piece of string?"

{Why do I get the feeling that this is going to take a while?}


"This is figurative?"

"Uh huh."


"And the barman says, 'we don't serve string.'"

"Why does the bar not serve string?"

"Because…I don't know, it's part of the joke."

"The landlord is prejudiced, biased against the string?"

"Yeah, I guess…"

"That is important to the joke, to make it amusing?"

"Look, the string doesn't really care…Never mind the string…"

"I wish to hear more about the string."

{What do you want? It's life story…}

"The string joke is bad."

"Then you cannot make me laugh?"

"I didn't say that…"

"You believe you can succeed?"

{Inspiration is a beautiful thing…}

"Seven…are you ticklish?"

He reached out, blindly, trying to find her. On contact he ran his fingers gently over the fabric of her catsuit…just above her corset…

"I do not know…I…uh…ah…"

{She's cracking…}


{Just a little higher.}



"Lieutenant, that is not my abdomen…"

Because, officially, Tom Paris had the worst luck in the quadrant…the lights flashed on. He looked at his hands. She was right, that wasn't her abdomen.


And that was B'Elanna.