Nighttime Consolations
    By Liz

B'Elanna's idea of cheering up a friend goes terribly awry. Set sometime after or around "Basics." (I'm not particular.) Rated R.

NOTE: This story is also online in a much prettier format, although some users have noted difficulty in accessing the page.  The url is

So out of the blue Tracy S. offered me a wonderfully useful beta. Thanks, doll! I am also dedicating this to BR, who has the distinction of receiving more drunk emails from me than anyone else I know.

Disclaimer:  This story and website are in no way affiliated with Star Trek: Voyager, and are in no way meant to infringe on the copyright and trademarks of Paramount Studios, a Viacom Corporation. All characters, barring those created specifically by the author for her own sole use, are (c) Paramount/Viacom and are used here without permission.

*     *     *
When her alarm sounded at 0700, B'Elanna thought her head would explode.  This couldn't be the same sound that woke her gently, morning after morning with a soft humming noise to lull her out of sleep.  It was far too cruel for that.

"Red alert?" she moaned before actually realizing what the sound was.  When she did figure it out, she took the hyperspanner that was lying atop her bedside table and rammed it through the keypad that controlled both the alarm and the lights.

Silence.  Plus an echoing headache and no light in the room beyond the default 5 percent illumination.

B'Elanna Torres was hungover.

Worse yet, the ship's inertial dampers were malfunctioning, or else she was still a little drunk.  She also had a duty shift beginning in less than an hour.

And with any luck, she would also have a hypospray hidden somewhere that could get her back to healthy sobriety before she had to be in engineering.

A vague memory of talking with Chakotay last night seeped through the pulsing ache in her head and stomachs.  And then stumbling back through the corridors by herself...  Oh, no.  Who had seen her?  She would catch hell for this!

B'Elanna forced herself to her feet.  It was will power alone that kept her standing, and biology alone that prevented last night's fun from exiting her secondary stomach.  She forced herself to walk to the replicator and punch in the command for a cup of hot, black coffee.

The replicator buzzed at her.  "Improper command codes," the computer informed her.  "Please try again."

She tried the sequence again.

Buzz!  "Improper command codes.  Please try again."

B'Elanna whimpered in defeat.  Miserably, she leaned a hand on the replicator tray to prevent herself from simply giving up and passing out on the floor.

Her hand bumped against something.  A padd.  She picked it up and turned it on, squinting at the bright lettering in the dark room:

Compliments of your friends.  Cheers!
-Tom and Harry

P.S. The hypo's on your desk.

The ENTER key was blinking, so she pressed it.  A cup of steaming raktajino materialized before her.

Before seizing the cup, B'Elanna closed her eyes for a humiliating moment as she suddenly recalled everything that had taken place last night.  And she wasn't sure whether to be angry, humiliated, grateful... or something more.

*     *     *

The night before B'Elanna's disastrous morning, Chakotay was sitting alone in his quarters, angrily minding his own business.  He wasn't a man who got angry often, but when he did, people had reason to be afraid.  Worse, there was no one to be angry at right now besides the stack of mission logs through which he was sorting one by one, occasionally getting so frustrated that he would throw one across the room.  Hell.  To hell with them all!

Seska, a Cardassian witch who'd slept with him to discover his secrets.  Lon Suder, a homicidal maniac.  Tuvok, a Starfleet spy, who, with Janeway and Paris, had planned a whole deception around him to capture yet another unfaithful Maquis.  Nobody was who they seemed.

The door chime sounded.  "Go away!" he snapped uncharacteristically.

It chimed again.  He didn't answer, and continued stewing in his anger among the mission logs and briefing reports until the doors opened to reveal B'Elanna, kneeling by the access panel with a loose wire in one fist.

"Damn it, B'Elanna," he griped.  "Do you want to be put on report?"

"Sure," she replied, "if it gets you talking to me."  She straightened up and grabbed a small, heavy bag from where it sat on the floor beside her.

"You'd make a pretty bad shrink," he told her grumpily.

"I'm not your counselor.  I'm your friend and I have a bottle of wine I've been saving for a time like this," she said, entering his quarters and looking around.  "Nice mess."

"Torres, I don't need you coming in here to cheer me up."

"Who said anything about cheering *you* up?"  She removed the wine bottle from its sack the moment the doors closed.  "I've had a lousy week.  I could use the company, not to mention a few drinks with a friend."

Chakotay smiled a little in spite of himself.  "Isn't that more up Tom Paris's alley?"

Her joking manner suddenly vanished.  "What's that supposed to mean?" she said defensively.

"Oh, nothing," he said, unable to resist the temptation to goad her just a little, despite his bad mood.  "I had just thought that after all the time you two have spent together lately, that maybe..."

"Maybe nothing," she finished for him.  "Lieutenant Paris and I are friends.  He's helped me out once or twice.  But that doesn't mean a thing."

"I'm sure you're right," Chakotay said, lying through his teeth.

B'Elanna stormed off to get two glasses.  "I just thought you might want to talk," she grumbled.

"And drink."

"Yes.  Don't look at me like that.  I've had this bottle for a long time now.  We can sip it slowly if you're worried about 'losing control.'"

"Me?  Lose control?" Chakotay deadpanned.  "I was more worried about you."  He eyed the bottle, thinking that maybe the interruption wasn't so bad after all.

She laughed, pouring the wine.  "Chakotay, you should know by now never to challenge a Klingon to a drinking contest."

He picked up one of the glasses and clinked it against hers.  "Half-Klingon.  Bottoms up."

An hour later, a bottle emptier, and after a lot of talking, Chakotay was beginning to feel his drink.

"And you'd think-you'd think, wouldn't you," he demanded, "that I might have a few brains, enough to pick at least one person on that ship I could trust."

"What about me?" B'Elanna pointed out.  "D'you think I'm about to suddenly turn into a Cardassian spy?"

"At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised."

"You can trust me, Chakotay."  Then she snorted. "Hell, maybe not.  I thought Seska always seemed like a good friend.  What an act.  I fell for it completely."

"You weren't the one screwing her, off and on for more than a year," he said morosely.  Yet despite himself, he was feeling a little better about life.  "B'Elanna, what's in this wine?  Half a bottle never makes me feel this good.  I was joking about you being a spy.  You're not trying to poison me, are you?"

"Don't be ridiculous," she said and shrugged.  "The wine's a gift from Sicarus, that planet where we tried to make that trajector send us back to the Alpha Quadrant.  You know, where all those people bent over backwards for us?  One of them gave me a bottle of wine before we got kicked out."

"The Sicarans?" he said, sitting up quickly.  The room seemed to bounce in front of his eyes from the sudden movement.

"Okay, so it's a little strong.  But it tastes good.  Relax."

"Do you have any idea what they put in this stuff?" Chakotay asked.

"No," she admitted.  "Don't worry.  Tom said it's safe.  He an' Harry tried to get me to share their bottle before all that mess with Seska began."

"B'Elanna, get back to your quarters.  Now."  He got up and began rooting through his drawers.

"What did I do?"

"There's an ingredient in Sicaran wine that causes the alcohol to have a time-delayed reaction," he explained.  "But when it hits, it hits hard and fast."

"And it's hitting now?" she guessed.

He nodded, tossing clothes out of his drawers and onto the floor.  Where was the thing?  He tried all of his drawers before he found the hypospray.  Which was empty.  "Oh, hell."

"Your anti-tox serum is out?"

"Gone after last week's poker match."  He looked at her. Her cheeks were pretty flushed.

"We can get more from sickbay," she said.

"I don't want anyone finding out about this," Chakotay said urgently.  "Get out of here, and go drink some water."

"I'm not going through the corridors alone!" she said, panicking in her increasingly buzzed state.  "What if somebody sees me?  I'll do a site-to-site transport."

"And have that show up on the energy expenditure logs?"  He ushered her out of his quarters.  "Thanks for the drink, B'Elanna.  Just be more careful next time, okay?" He gave her an encouraging pat on the arm, just like he would do on the bridge or in a staff meeting-and then closed the door in her face.

It was without a doubt the alcohol that was preventing either of the senior officers to recall that not only was it B'Elanna (the chief engineer) who monitored the energy expenditure logs, but that it was Chakotay (the executive officer) who was in charge of disciplinary action, and so they had nothing to worry about.

Regardless, B'Elanna soon found herself walking as evenly as she possibly could through the corridor to the lift.  "Only two decks away.  Only two decks away," she repeated under her breath.  She could do this.

*     *     *

"I'm telling you, Harry, you just need to work on your approach, and that spike of yours will break through any defense."

"I thought you said the point of beach volleyball wasn't the game," Harry shot back as they exited the hologrid.

Tom laughed.  "Okay, you've got me there.  Our competition was pretty hot."  He had a thought.  "Hey, we should get a few more people in there next time.  Might make it more fun."

"Sounds good to me.  What about Ayala?  He seems like he'd have a few good moves."

Tom punched the button to summon the lift.  "Yeah, if you don't mind a few trips to sickbay afterwards.  I was thinking maybe some of our female crewmates might want to join us.  I can think of a few who might be willing."  He thought for a moment.  "I bet Torres has a few good moves up her sleeve."  He hoped he sounded casual when he said it.

Harry scoffed.  "You want to talk about trips to sickbay?  I think B'Elanna would  cause more than her fair share."

"You don't know that."

"Uh-huh," Harry said.  Tom got the distinct impression that his friend was secretly laughing at him, but pride prevented him from pursuing it.

That, and the fact that the turbolift was already occupied when it arrived.  "Hi, B'Elanna," Harry said.  Tom flashed her a quick hello grin, shoving his thoughts into the back of his mind.

B'Elanna averted her eyes and coughed.  "Hi, Harry," she said carefully.

Tom checked himself to see if he had something disgusting hanging out of his nose.  No, nothing.  What was her deal?  "Everything okay, Torres?" he said.

"Yes!" she said vehemently, then shut up again.

Tom wrinkled his nose, and looked at Harry, who was doing the same.  He took another sniff.  Was that...  Yes, it definitely was.  He'd been in enough bars and taverns to know that smell.

"Harry," he said, "how many beers did you have tonight?"

"Just a couple," the ensign said defensively.  "Same as you!"

They both looked at B'Elanna, who had clamped her mouth shut and was not looking at either of them.  Fortunately for her, the turbolift arrived at deck nine and the doors opened before they could say anything more.

At which point, B'Elanna walked right into the doorframe, eliciting a sharp Klingon curse.  Tom and Harry both reached out to steady her.

"Whoa, B'Elanna," Tom said.  "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she snapped, pushing their arms away.  To her credit, she only weaved a little.  "I'm just... heading back to my quarters."

Tom and Harry exchanged another glance.  "Maybe we should walk you home," Tom suggested tactfully.

B'Elanna was about to protest when Crewman Telfer rounded the corner on his way to the turbolift.  Recognizing her predicament, B'Elanna quickly agreed.

Telfer nodded nervously to the three officers, then eyed them curiously as they edged their way carefully out of the turbolift.  "Is everything okay, sirs?" he asked.

"We're fine, Billy," Harry said confidently as B'Elanna weaved in place.

Tom shrugged.  "Just a little head-on collision with a volleyball.  She'll be fine."

B'Elanna nodded.  "Volleyball," she reiterated.

"Oh," Billy said.  "It could be space sickness, though," he offered helpfully.  "I feel nauseated like that a lot.  I even get light-headed.  The Doctor has a great remedy for-"

"Thanks, Billy," Harry said.  "We'll be fine."

"Okay.  Have a good night, sirs."

B'Elanna hurried as best she could away from the turbolift, with Tom and Harry in close proximity.  "Oh, no. This is terrible."

"B'Elanna, what's wrong?" Tom said quietly.

"I just remembered.  I've gotta get to engineering!" she said, attempting to turn around.  "The warp core!  I'm supposed to recalibrate the injectors by tomorrow night!  I can't get it done in-"

"B'Elanna, we'll take care of whatever needs to be done in engineering," Harry said.  "Right now, you need to get to your quarters."

"You can't tell me what to do.  You're an ensign."

"And you're drunk," Tom hissed.

"I am not!"

"Yes, you are," Tom told her, grabbing her by the elbow.  "Come on.  Just a few more meters."

She struggled marginally as Tom and Harry ushered her the rest of the way.  They placed her in front of her doors.

"What?" she asked, confused.

"Open your quarters," Harry said.  "We don't have your codes."

"Oh."  B'Elanna tried once and got a harsh buzzer in response.  She cursed and punched in a different sequence, then on the third attempt her doors opened.  Tom resisted the temptation to commit her codes to memory as he and Harry helped her inside.

"Okay, Torres," Tom said, realizing exactly where they were.  "Here's where we part ways."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, sleep tight!" Tom said, letting go of her arm.

She promptly fell onto the floor.  Hard.

"Ouch!" Harry said sympathetically.  "You okay?"

"I'm fine," she mumbled as her friends helped her back to her feet and in the direction of her bed.

"What in the world have you been drinking?" Harry wondered.

"Who says I've been drinking?"

"B'Elanna," Tom said sternly.

She sat down clumsily on the bed.  "Just a little of that Sicaran stuff.  You know."

Harry and Tom shared a wince.  "How much?"

B'Elanna looked up at Tom, her eyes wide.  Then Tom noticed a change in her expression, as if an idea had suddenly presented itself to her.  "Not nearly enough," she said, her voice a little lower.  One corner of her mouth curled up as she looked at Tom carefully.

"Huh?" Harry said.

Tom looked at B'Elanna.  She leaned back on one hand and crossed her legs.  If it were anyone else on the ship, Tom might have called it, well, seductive.  And he seemed to be the target.

"She's really out of it," Tom said nervously.  "B'Elanna, do you have a tricorder in here?  A *tri-cor-der*?"

"Mmm.  Maybe."  She raised an eyebrow.

"Great," Harry said.  "Just great.  I'll go look in her bathroom."

"Harry!" Tom said.  "Don't go in there!"

"Why not?"

"Harry, just don't."  Tom was far from blind, and even in the dim lights he could see a distinctively predatory glint growing in B'Elanna's eye.  Just what he needed.  A drunk and horny Klingon who would undoubtedly have a hangover bad enough to kill him later for whatever he could possibly attempt tonight.  And he felt a powerful desire not to care about that right now.

All the more reason not to let his chaperon out of site.

"Relax, Tom.  She can't even stand up." Harry disappeared into the bathroom, ignoring his protests.

"What's the matter, *Par-is*?" B'Elanna purred, accenting his name in a strangely Klingon way.

"Nothing's the matter," Tom said.  "Yet.  Why don't you just lie down and tell me where your de-tox hypo is?"

"My what?"

"Don't tell me you don't have one."


He shook his head.  *Amateurs.* "B'Elanna, just lie down, and we'll take care of it."  Tom put his hands on her shoulders to gently ease her away from him.

"Realllly?" she said huskily.  B'Elanna seized his hands in hers and lay back, jerking him forward and onto her.  The bed bounced once with their combined weight.  "Take care of what?"

Just where he had wanted to be for quite some time: lying on top of B'Elanna Torres, his face inches from hers, and feeling her breath against his neck, not to mention a sizeable erection getting underway as she willingly hooked one leg around his thigh.

But oh, what bad timing this was.

Harry reemerged from the bathroom and stopped short.  "Well.  Maybe I should leave the two of you alone," he said sarcastically.

"Harry," Tom gasped, "don't you dare leave this room without me."

"What are you afraid of?" B'Elanna challenged.

Tom declined to answer her. Instead, he carefully untangled himself from her body-lock and backed away from the bed. B'Elanna resisted at first, but then rolled onto her side and began burrowing into the pillow.

He could see Harry looking at him resignedly.  "I found the tricorder," Harry said. "That is, unless you'd rather we skip that and just..."

"Shut up, Harry!" Tom growled. "I'm not getting close enough to scan her right now.  And for that matter, neither are you."  The only thing worse than risking the wrath of B'Elanna Torres and ruining his friendship with her tonight would be watching Harry do it in his place.

Harry rolled his eyes. "So what are you suggesting? We just leave her here?"

"I've heard worse ideas."

"No way," Harry stated. "I remember our bottle of Sicaran wine too well to do that to her.  We should at least find her a de-tox hypo."

"I'll replicate one from my account," Tom said. "And then we'll get the hell out of here."

"Whatever," Harry said.  "But if she complains about a headache tomorrow, I'm telling her what you said."

"Fine," Tom said, already standing at the replicator.  Together, he and Harry prepared a hypospray and set it on her desk, then made sure to leave a short note.

In no time, B'Elanna had fallen asleep. That was fine by Tom!  If only his eyes weren't drawn back to her curves every two seconds... Did Starfleet give out medals for resisting temptation?  What about taking a cold shower under extreme duress?

Tom threw one last look over his shoulder as they left B'Elanna's quarters.  Hesitating briefly, he looked around furiously, since this would likely be the only time he'd ever see her quarters from the inside. Tom wondered how much of tonight she would remember by tomorrow. And how much she would regret.

And if, by any chance the gods might grant, he might ever get back on that bed with her again in this lifetime.

He really hoped so.

*     *     *

And so in the morning, B'Elanna reached for the de-tox hypo as if it were the elixir of life, and injected the sweet relief into her bloodstream.  It was a few minutes before the effect took hold, so miserably, B'Elanna crawled back into bed to wait.

What had she done to herself last night?  Would Tom and Harry say anything?  If Tom let loose one word of this, she would have his hide hanging on her wall as a trophy.

All the same, she had to admit that it would be a waste of a good hide.  She'd rather have his hide, flesh, bones, and everything else intact and back where they were last night, without the screaming headache this morning.  Drunk or not, it had felt *good.*

Was she being crazy to think that?  B'Elanna felt her face burning in the near-total darkness.  Did last night uncover just how deep her desires ran, despite her efforts at denial?  And was it really Tom, or just a long-unsatisfied sex drive that made her humiliate herself like that?  Come to think of it, she had to admit that Tom had been a perfect gentleman to her, despite her throwing herself at him like a targ in heat.  Unless he was so repelled by the idea that it was no real effort to decline...

B'Elanna forced herself out of bed and stumbled back to the replicator for the raktajino.  Looking at the padd one more time, she smiled despite herself.  "Cheers," indeed.

She had no idea if last night was something that was best forgotten, or if there was even the slimmest possibility that it could lead to something more besides snickers and insinuations.  Or if she even wanted it to go somewhere.

Stranger things had come to pass. Why not this?

~ fin ~

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