Part 5 - see disclaimers in part 1

"B'Elanna," Chakotay sighed, looking at the
furious woman half in her robe, and the
stunned man sprawled at his feet. "Tom didn't
know what he was doing."

"Oh, didn't know what he was doing? He walked
in on Tuvok and me! Don't tell me he didn't
know what he was doing! If the two of you
can't control him, lock him up in the brig!"
B'Elanna screamed, metaphorical steam coming
from her ears.

"He actually didn't, B'Elanna," the Captain
stated as Chakotay began to haul a disoriented
Tom to his feet. "He has memory loss after
what happened yesterday. He's lost about a
year and a half worth of memories."

"Ah," Tuvok responded from the doorway of the
quarters he shared with B'Elanna, "that
explains Mr. Paris' presence here. At that
time, he still had a romantic relationship
with B'Elanna, although it was very near
the end."

"I think he just came to see you because he's
confused, B'Elanna. He didn't mean to upset
you," Chakotay said, looking Tom over with a
critical eye to see if the pilot had any new
injuries due to his encounter with the enraged
engineer. Tom said nothing, simply staring
at the corridor floor.

"I'm sorry, B'Elanna, Tuvok, truly. Tom was
upset at what the Doctor had to tell us about
his memory, and he bolted. We will take care
of it from here. I'm sure Tom didn't mean to
cause you any trouble, as Chakotay said, he
was just confused," Kathryn said, seeing
B'Elanna beginning to calm down.

"Humph. Well, he just gave me a reason to
change my door code," B'Elanna said, partially
mollified. Tuvok took her by the arm and drew
her back into their quarters, leaving the other
three officers in the hall.

"Tom. Tom, look at me," Kathryn said, taking
his jaw in her hand and pulling his face up
to hers as he refused to respond. "I know
you are very confused right now, and I know
it made sense to you to go and talk to B'Elanna.
But you and B'Elanna broke up about a year
and a half ago, probably just after the
period where you have lost your memories.
The two of you have barely spoken since then.
So she was bound to react badly when you
walked into her quarters like that."

"Actually," Chakotay said, chuckling.
"I would have loved to have seen the
look on her face."

"No, you wouldn't," Tom muttered, once
again looking at the corridor floor.
"I thought she was going to kill me."

"Tuvok wouldn't have let her," Kathryn said.

"He wasn't doing much to stop her -- what is
that? Tuvok and B'Elanna?" Tom said, finally
looking up at the two.

Kathryn laughed and said, "It took us all by
surprise, Tom. Trust me. Now come on, Chakotay
and I have to catch you up on a year and a half
of ship's gossip."

Kathryn headed to her quarters, knowing that
Tuvok would take the bridge from the Gamma shift
without being told, so that they would have
time to deal with Tom. She glanced behind her
to see that Chakotay had a firm hand around
the upper bicep of their erstwhile runaway,
and she smiled. Tom would not have another
chance to bolt until they had talked some
sense into him.

When they arrived at her cabin, she motioned
both men towards the couch. Tom sat, but in
the corner, turned almost halfway so that his
back was wedged into the corner of the divan,
so obviously a defensive gesture that Kathryn
almost cringed.

Chakotay had sat on the same couch, but had
wisely given Tom space. Kathryn chose to sit
across from them both, rather than crowd Tom.

"Tom," she began, "I know this is difficult,
and no, we cannot fill you in on every moment
of the last year and a half. But we can try.
Do you know how sad you were when you broke up
with B'Elanna? It about broke my heart. But
that came later -- we didn't even know when we
sent you on that away mission."

"Away mission?" Tom said cautiously. For some
reason, that rang a vague bell.

"Do you remember the crash at all, Tom?" Chakotay
asked, watching the pilot closely for any

"You mean Caldik Prime?" Tom said, his mask
slipping firmly in place.

"No, not that crash. When you crashed on that
planet with the ammonia atmosphere in the
Delta Flyer."

Tom's face was blank.

"You were on board with Ayala, Sam Wildman,
and a few others. You had been doing a planetary
survey and were heading back to rejoin us when
you hit a subspace pocket that disabled the Flyer,
forcing you to land," Kathryn said, watching
Tom closely. Tom simply shrugged.

"Well, let's just say it wasn't easy on any
of you, you especially Tom," Chakotay said.
"And we had a hell of a time finding the Flyer,
and then getting all of you out. But for your
medical skills, and your command abilities,
keeping everyone from panicking, I'm not sure
anyone would have made it."

Tom glanced sideways at Chakotay. "Are you
sure you are talking about me?" he said

"Yes, Tom, he is," Kathryn said with a smile.
"It was after that mission that the three of
us started to get together. You were having
dreams, of shuttles going down -- certainly
understandable. And you were so sad over
B'Elanna, and the fight you had had with the
crew while aboard the Flyer. Chakotay and
I were very worried about you . . . " she
trailed off, not sure if she was having any

"So what happened then?" Tom said, glancing up
at her for a moment, and then returning his
gaze to the floor. He was tense, practically
curled into the corner of the couch, as
self-protective a posture as he could
get. Kathryn felt like shaking her head.
The defensive posture he was exhibiting now
was worse than when the three of them began
to come together.

"Nothing special happened, specifically,"
Chakotay said, beginning to pick up the
narrative again. "But the three of us began
eating meals together, spending time together,
the two of us having dinner here with Kathryn.
And the more we spent time together, the more
compatible the three of us seemed."

"I just have trouble believing that," Tom muttered
to the floor.

"So did I, at first, Tom. But you know what?"
Chakotay said, grinning. "You are a good
facilitator. Do you know what I mean?"

Tom shook his head, glancing up again for a
moment through lowered lashes at the Commander.

"What I mean is, Kathryn and I used to fight
if we spent too much time together. Probably
why our relationship went nowhere -- we both
have very dominant personalities," Chakotay
smiled again, seeing that Tom was becoming
interested despite himself.

"But it was different with you around, Tom.
It was like you could see our spats coming
before we did, and you would make a joke, or
a wisecrack, or do something to completely
distract both of us. And you never tried to
challenge either of us -- you were content
to let both of us make the decisions. A third
person with an aggressive personality? It
would never have worked. But somehow, with
you, the dynamics of our relationship
changed," Chakotay said, trying somehow to put
the magic Tom had brought them into words.

"Chakotay is right, Tom," Kathryn said, leaning
forward with earnestness. "And I think you
found something with us that you were looking
for. I think you went to B'Elanna because she
was strong -- and she is, but not in the way
you needed. Chakotay and I, if we promised
to do something with you, if we made a
commitment to you, we kept it. Even if we
had work, we found a way to keep a promise
to you. We didn't abandon you in favor of
work. I know that is something that came
between the two of you. And Chakotay and I
realized early on we had to be emotionally
honest too. And we forced you to be. If I
was mad at either of you, I told you -- and
there were occasions I really let the two of
you, or either of you, have it, once we were
in private. But we never let it fester, to
come between us."

Chakotay shook his head at the memories.
"We did have a few screaming matches.
And I think we scared you a few times, but
you soon realized that it didn't mean we
were walking away -- just the opposite,
that we were willing to stick to this,
to work things out. And once we all realized
our commitment to each other, you seemed to
relax and open up to us."

Tom had finally looked up, seeming rapt at the
confessions of the other two. "It seems like
you were describing everything wrong between
B'El and me, and that you did the opposite."

"It wasn't quite that easy, Tom," Kathryn said,
smiling. "At first it was really just dinners
and things, mostly because Chakotay and I were
worried about you and you didn't seem to have
anyone else keeping an eye on you. But then
the three of us began to enjoy that time
together, to actively find excuses to spend
time together."

"So how did I get brain zapped?" Tom
ventured, looking down at the floor again.
Kathryn thought in a crazy aside to herself
that she must have chosen a much more
interesting carpeting that she had previously

"As we started to tell you, Tom," Chakotay
said, "we sent you down early with Harry for
shore leave. We were going to join you as soon
as Tuvok and B'Elanna got back. You and
Harry were shopping in one of the Cattani

"The Cattani have a common devise they use
that functions somewhat like the early
virtual reality equipment of the 21st Century,
Tom," Kathryn said, taking her turn as narrator.
"It works as some sort of visor that fits over
the eyes, and it interacts with the
neurological system, feeding images and
sounds and whatnot straight into the brain.
Harry said you had called it an individual
holodeck, and were dying to try it."

"And I did?" Tom said, drawing farther back
on the couch.

"Unfortunately, yes. You immediately started
to have a seizure. You almost scared Harry
to death. We had just beamed down to join
the two of you in the bazaar. Chakotay
grabbed you to keep you from hurting yourself,
and I had us beamed immediately to sickbay."

"The Doctor thought at first, obviously, that
just the immediate events surrounding your
use of the visor would be lost, because of the
neurological shock," Chakotay said. "He ended
up sedating you. Your system needed the rest,
but he thought you didn't need to be in sickbay,
so we just brought you back here. We thought
you'd be reassured when you woke up with us
in the morning."

"Only it didn't exactly happen that way, did
it?" Kathryn said, with a sarcastic bent to
her voice. "And now here we are."

"The question really is, I guess, Tom, what
do you want? We certainly want to pick up
where we left off, but we realize it won't
be so easy for you. So how do you want to
handle this?" Chakotay asked, and he and
Kathryn waited with bated breath.