By: Riley Mackenzie (email@example.com)
Date: May 15, 2000
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, I‘m just borrowing them for a little while.
Summary: Just how far would the crew go to find out someone‘s secret?
Archive: Fine with me, just please tell me where.
"Delaney to Nicolette."
Taking one last look at her sleeping charge, Ensign Sue Nicolette, exited Tom Paris‘s bedroom. Walking into his living area, she made sure the door slid shut behind her before answering the hail.
"What do you mean, well, what?"
Sue smiled at her friend‘s obvious annoyance. Jenny Delaney had been bugging her since they found out that Sue would be spending her shift monitoring Paris‘ condition in his quarters- The place any warm blooded female longed to be, mused Sue.
"Jen, what can I do for you?" Sue asked, astutely ignoring the sigh of frustration that could be heard over the open comm line. If not for the fact that the room‘s owner was out cold in the bedroom, and had one very possessive half-Klingon girlfriend, she would have thought her dreams had come true.
"Did you find out?"
Remembering what Jenny was after, Sue rolled her eyes and exclaimed, "You have got to be kidding."
"Of course we‘re not kidding."
"What do you mean we?" Sue asked suspiciously.
"Well, when word got out that you were going to be babysitting..."
"I‘m not babysitting," Sue exclaimed, throwing her arms in the air in exasperation, "Paris is on some heavy, experimental medication and the Doctor didn‘t think it wise for him to be left alone...."
"...plus the fact that sickbay‘s been over run with cases of the flu..."
"...or food poisoning..."
"...the Doctor didn‘t want to take any unnecessary risks with Paris‘ health, after all, one never can tell what the side effects of some of these Delta Quadrant remedies could be..."
"Okay, okay, we get the message, geez Sue."
"Just so you understand that I‘m not sloughing my shift away."
"Who was that? Simmons, is that you?" Sue questioned incredulously, recognizing the sarcastic voice of Voyager‘s crudest and meanest security officer. It was one thing to be having this conversation with Jenny Delaney, but Karen Simmons. Sue began to plot ways to get back at her friend for this.
"Never mind that right now," Jenny quickly intervened not wanting to lose this opportunity they had, especially knowing how much Sue disliked the security officer, "back to why I commed you, a few others decided that they wanted in on the bet and I saw no reason not to include them."
"I never said I‘d do it."
"Ah, come on Sue, what better time to find out."
"You dated him, Jen, why didn‘t you find out then?"
"I didn‘t know about it then."
"Jen, everyone knows you spent plenty of time in his bedroom, how could you not have known about it?"
"There‘s no need to get snotty about this. Besides, we didn‘t spend that much time in there."
"Uh uh," Sue could hear the wounded tone in her friend‘s voice, but was in no mood to apologize.
"Anyway, you seemed pretty eager to find out this morning."
Shaking her head, Sue again wondered how she got herself into this mess.
"Look, Jen and whoever else you have down there, I am not going to do it. He‘s a superior officer.."
"..He‘s an Ensign, just like you.."
"..And he‘s a member of the senior staff. I have no desire to spend time in the brig because you talked me into snooping around his quarters."
"Sue, no one is going to know about this, so how could you wind up in the brig?"
"Janeway has ways of finding out about things like this. And if she doesn‘t, Chakotay or Tuvok do. Besides, with your big mouth, there‘s no telling how many people already know."
"I swear, I only told one or two people."
"Right. Why don‘t I believe you?"
Pacing around Tom‘s living room, Sue tried to come up with something that would get her out of this mess. Yes, she wanted to know as much as everyone else, but she didn‘t want to be the one doing the snooping to find out.
"All right, how ‚bout this..."
"What do you mean no, you don‘t even know what I was going to say."
"Yes, I do," responded Sue, "And no, I‘m not letting anyone in here unless they‘re the Doctor or the Captain or the Commander or Torres or Kim," Sue ticked off her fingers as she mentioned each name, "Forget it Jen."
"You know, you could be a little bit more helpful here. I know you want to know if its true, just like the rest of us."
"That‘s besides the point. The Doctor has placed me in charge of this patient and I have no intention of destroying his faith in me."
"You don‘t even like the Doc!" Jenny exclaimed, trying not to let on that she was getting desperate. Never before had Sue held out this long against her. Usually the girl just caved in, just to shut her up. "Besides, whatever happened to the fun, adventurous Nicolette we all used to hang around with?"
"She grew up and got tired of all the dares. Nicolette out."
"So, are you in?"
"Are you sure about this, Carey?" Voyager‘s next to youngest crew member, Gerron Tem, asked skeptically.
Joe Carey took on a wounded look, "You doubt me?"
"No offense there, Carey," Gregor Ayala stated, coming to his young friend‘s defense, "But you really think Nicolette will go through with something like this?"
"With Jenny Delaney hounding her, you think she wouldn‘t?"
"Well, you do have a point there," Chell conceded, his blue head nodding in agreement with everyone else‘s. Everyone knew Jenny‘s whining was infamous and her scheming and manipulation legendary. Nicolette didn‘t stand a chance.
"Okay, I‘m in," Ayala stated.
"Anyone else?" Carey asked, knowing full well that no one was going to pass up on the opportunity to find out one of Paris‘ more intimate secrets, that is if all the rumors were true and there was a secret to be had.
"Not that we don‘t trust you or anything, but, who‘s keeping the book?" Mitchell asked.
"Simmons is holding all the bets," hearing everyone‘s groans of protest, Carey quickly added, coming to the woman‘s defense, "Come on, Simmons is an honest person.."
"Honesty‘s not the problem," Chell again voiced everyone‘s thoughts, "That woman‘s just plain mean."
"No argument there," Carey agreed knowing full well that there was no way to dispute the facts, but this was a bet and everyone knew that Simmons could be trusted to keep the pot safe, "So, I ask again, who‘s in?"
"Delaney to Nicolette."
"Come on Sue, you know you want to do this."
Sue said nothing, hoping Jenny would get the hint.
"You can‘t avoid talking to me forever."
"I can try."
"Come on, Sue, I said I was sorry for telling anyone else. What more do you want?"
"For you to leave me alone."
"And I‘ll do that, just as soon as you find out."
"Jen, who cares if Paris sleeps with a teddy bear."
"First off, it‘s not a teddy bear, well at least if rumor holds than it‘s not a teddy bear, but that‘s beside the point, second, and this is most important, this is our one chance to get something on Paris that we can torment him about."
"Why would you want to torment him, I thought he was your friend?"
"This has nothing to do with friendship, this is our chance to get him back for all the things he‘s done to us over the years."
"So this is about revenge."
"I can understand wanting to find out to put an end to all the wild rumors running around about just what it is that Paris sleeps with, other than our chief engineer, but I have no desire to be a part of revenge, of any kind, against anyone."
"You can‘t be serious?! He‘s pulled just as many pranks and jokes on you as he has on the rest of us. How can you not want to get back at him?"
"Jen, there is no one on this ship who has been on the receiving end of as many jokes and pranks as you have been and not just by Paris."
"I think I‘ve been insulted."
"No need to think about it. Look, I‘m not going to do it. So just forget it. Nicolette out."
Heaving a martyred sigh, Sue closed her eyes and hit the data padd she was holding against her forehead. Every fifteen minutes for the past three hours, Jenny had been comming her to pester her and it was really starting to grate on Sue‘s nerves. But she had to admit, she hadn‘t thought that she could have held out this long against her friend‘s pestering.
Smiling, Sue decided that she was having too much fun refusing to give into Jenny‘s demands. Repositioning herself on the couch, Sue went back to studying her medical texts with renewed willpower. There was no way Jenny was going to get what she wanted.
Not this time.
"Don‘t play games with me, Delaney," Simmons warned, her hands on her hips and her most intimidating look on her face, "Did Nicolette find out?"
"Not yet, but I‘m working on it," Jenny added hastily.
"Working on it, huh," Simmons remarked while folding her arms across her chest, "Just how is it that you‘re working on it?"
"Look, I know Sue, there‘s no way she can hold out for too much longer," Jenny stated with an over abundance of confidence, "She will give in and do it."
Simmons rolled her eyes, "You better be right about this, Delaney, or you‘ll answer to me."
As the security officer stalked off, Jenny released the breath she had been holding. That was one person she didn‘t want mad at her. With renewed determination, she began to plot just how she was going to get Sue to do what she wanted her to do.
Hearing his name, Ensign Harry Kim turned away from the padd he held in his hand and greeted his unexpected lunch companion, "Hey B‘Elanna."
Not waiting for an invitation, B‘Elanna Torres dropped her tray on the mess hall table and slid into the chair across from Voyager‘s Operations officer, "What is this?" she asked, eyeing the pile of purple leaves and small, bright orange balls suspiciously.
"I didn‘t want to know, so I didn‘t ask. It‘s not bad though," Harry reassured her, "Just keep a glass of water handy. Neelix really spiced it up."
"What else is new."
"So, how‘s Tom doing?" Harry asked as B‘Elanna leerily placed one of the orange things in on her fork and began to inspect it.
"Better. The Holo Doc had him moved to his own quarters, something about his program combusting if he had to keep Tom in sickbay all day, unconscious or not. I‘m on my way there after I‘m done eating," she responded, finally placing the morsel of food in her mouth and tentatively chewing it.
"So what exactly happened, anyway?" Harry and several members of the crew had been enjoying a nice, quiet swim on the uninhabited planet they had found when the crew was recalled to the ship, not one of them happy that their shore leave had been cut short.
Sounding a bit perturbed by the whole incident, B‘Elanna explained, "Turns out that out of the entire crew, Tom‘s the only one allergic to the local insects. He was bitten by one of them while we were hiking and had an immediate reaction to the stupid bite. I have never seen anyone break out in so many huge, ugly, oozing bumps so fast in my life. He was literally covered, head to toe with them."
"Yeah, ouch," B‘Elanna nodded sympathetically, remembering the look of shock and then pain that had crossed her lover‘s face. "And then, come to find out, there was nothing on Voyager that could counteract the bugs‘ venom. The Doc had to hunt for a remedy on the planet."
"At least he found one."
Dropping her fork, B‘Elanna pushed the tray of food away, unable to stomach the taste of the bizarre dish. "Not soon enough. He took forever to find one, leaving Tom in agony for hours. I swear, I think he did it on purpose, taking so long to find something. Just so he could make Tom suffer."
"Come on, B‘Elanna, the Doc wouldn‘t do that, not even to Tom."
Rolling her eyes, B‘Elanna reluctantly had to agreed. The Doctor‘s code of ethics were embedded in his program, and no matter how much he said Tom annoyed him, he did work as quickly as possible to find something that would work. Deciding it was time to change the subject, she picked up her glass and asked, "So, what‘s the latest?"
"The latest gossip, the latest betting pool, the latest whatever," B‘Elanna elaborated. She had noticed that most of her engineering crew had spent the morning gathered in groups talking softly, which no doubt meant that something was going on. And curiosity having gotten the better of her, she wanted to be in on the secret. Maybe it was something that she could entertain Tom with later, if he was awake later.
"Well, uh, I‘m not sure that anything‘s going on, exactly. Why do you ask?"
Harry fidgeted in his seat as B‘Elanna leaned back in her chair and gave him the look, the one that said she knew he was lying and he‘d better come clean for his own good.
Seeing the look, Harry cursed his inability to hide anything from his friends. One would think that after more than five years in the company of Tom Paris he would have learned how to be a little bit more devious by now. Knowing that he would just be in more trouble later if B‘Elanna found out he had known and didn‘t say anything to her, Harry decided to just come clean and tell her. After all, he wasn‘t involved, he just knew about it. She wouldn‘t kill him just for knowing about it, would she?
Setting down his fork, Harry took a deep breath.
"Tuvok to Mr. Kim."
"Sorry, B‘Elanna, got to go," Harry jumped out of his seat, saying a silent prayer that his life had been saved, as he quickly grabbed his tray and dumped its contents and ran out the door.
B‘Elanna shook her head, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth as she watched Harry practically trip over his own feet trying to get away from her. It had to be something really good if Harry was trying that hard not to say anything. Heaving a sigh, Voyager‘s Chief Engineer decided she wasn‘t hungry enough to waste replicator rations on something edible.
Picking up her tray, she dumped the uneaten meal and headed to Tom‘s quarters with the hope that he was finally awake. She was going to talk to him about his hidden talent of finding trouble in the most benign places and situations. Not that she was angry with him, she in fact loved him dearly, she was just really tired of having her time off disrupted by trips to the sickbay.
"How many times do I have to say it, no no NO!"
"There‘s no need to shout, Sue," Jenny tried to calmly quiet her friend down. Glancing around the mess hall, she simply flashed one of her ‚I‘m being such a good girl‘ smiles at all the questioning stares before pulling Sue forward to lean across the table. "I don‘t mean to make this sound desperate, but have you given any thought to what is going to happen to me if you don‘t come through here?"
"What, you‘ll lose this stupid bet?" Sue hissed sarcastically, getting more than a little tired of Jenny‘s badgering. She knew she shouldn‘t have taken Torres up on her offer to watch Tom so she could go get lunch, she should have just replicated something within the confines of his quarters. Where she was safe.
"No, how about that I‘ll be dead. Killed in the prime of my life."
"Oh please, would you stop being so melodramatic."
"I‘m not, I‘m being absolutely serious."
"What are you talking about?"
"Yeah, Simmons," Jenny reiterated as she quickly scanned the room for the mammoth woman, "And I quote, ‚Delaney, you‘ll be sorry if you‘re messing with me‘."
"Nothing more than you deserve. Why did you even tell her?"
"I didn‘t. I‘m serious," Jenny defended herself as Sue rolled her eyes, "I was talking to Megan and Simmons overheard. Next thing I know the woman‘s starting a betting pool. I swear, I was just going to torment Tommy some, I wasn‘t going to use it against him for anything like this."
"Uh uh, why don‘t I believe you?" Finally realizing that she was leaning on the table, almost nose to nose with her best friend, Sue pulled out of Jenny‘s grasp and sank back down into her chair.
She watched as Jenny again apprehensively scanned the mess hall.
"Tell me, Jen, just how is it that you always seem to get yourself into these messes?"
Sue shook her head, wanting the headache that had crept up on her, and the entire day, to just go away.
"So," Jenny began tentatively, "You‘ll be my friend and help me out here?"
Covering her face, Sue counted to ten. How she had survived all these years and still remained this woman‘s friend she would never be able to figure out.
"Is that a yes?"
Having confirmed with Jenny Delaney that Sue had finally agreed to help them out, Simmons began in earnest to get bets taken before the discovery was made. Although Sue and Jenny had both promised to keep the news a secret until that night, when the announcement could be made to the majority of the betters, Simmons knew that of all people, Jenny Delaney couldn‘t keep a secret, not about anything.
As Simmons hunted through the corridors for any takers, Commander Chakotay silently watched, waiting for the best time to step in. Betting was strictly prohibited under Starfleet protocols and as Voyager‘s first officer, it was his duty and responsibility to see to it that all betting pools were suspended and all the guilty parties properly punished.
"Just a moment, Commander."
Stopping in mid step, Chakotay turned to face his commanding officer, amazed that she could sneak up on him so easily. "Captain?"
"I see no need to put a stop to this just yet," Captain Kathryn Janeway stated, a smile playing at the corner of her mouth. One she tried unsuccessfully to hide behind her perusal of the data padd in her hand.
Arching an eyebrow, Chakotay appraised his superior and friend, "Kathryn, you wouldn‘t be condoning this for, say, personal reasons now would you?"
"Absolutely not," Kathryn stated with feigned disgust, "I simply see no reason to put an end to something that has so obviously pulled the crew together and given them something to focus on, other than work. Especially given the fact that they recently had their shore leave so unduly disrupted."
Folding his arms across his broad chest, Chakotay couldn‘t hold in the smirk at the Captain‘s attempted justification.
"You want to get back at him."
"Please, Commander, why on earth would I want to get back at Mr. Paris?" Disgustedly, Kathryn turned and walked down the corridor.
"It wouldn‘t have anything to do with that bit of news Mr. Paris found out about you," Chakotay asked while falling in step beside her, "You know, the one when you were a lowly, naive ensign at Starfleet Academy?"
Kathryn balked at his assumption, but one look at his face told her that there was no way she was going to be able to hide the truth on this one.
"All right, so maybe I wouldn‘t have a problem with seeing Tom just a little bit embarrassed. A little humility never hurt anyone."
"Present company included."
Chakotay tried not to laugh at the scathing look Kathryn threw at him.
"I‘d watch it if I were you, Commander."
"Yes, ma‘am," Chakotay responded, knowing when best to end their little sparing matches, "If you‘ll excuse me, Captain, I believe my services are needed elsewhere."
Janeway acknowledged her First Officer‘s leaving with a simple wave of her hand, her mind now focusing fully on the information on the data padd.
Nodding at her dismissal, Chakotay turned to leave and then stopped, "Captain, just how long do you want me to overlook this particular incident?"
"Long enough to get the necessary information, Commander," Kathryn replied without missing a step. Paris definitely deserved a little embarrassment, especially after what he had done to her.
Sitting on the couch in Tom‘s living room, Sue cursed ever having met and becoming friends with one Jenny Delaney.
How was she supposed to let this news get out? It was one thing that Tom slept with a teddy bear, that whole idea being cute. But this?
Sue shook her head.
How by the stars was she supposed to let it get out that Tom Paris slept with a doll?
It would humiliate him. Sue couldn‘t do that, not even for Jenny.
Sue cursed again. It had taken all of ten minutes searching for her to find the sought after item carefully tucked away at the back of Tom‘s closet. To say the least, she had been stunned. Why had she let Jenny talk her into this? Why had she allowed herself to be manipulated into even searching for it?
Making up her mind, Sue quickly and quietly returned the doll to its hiding place. There was no way she was going to let this information get out. No way.
"What do you mean you couldn‘t find anything?"
"Come on, Jenny, it was after all just a rumor. There was no proof that Tom ever slept with a teddy bear."
"What am I supposed to tell Simmons?"
"Tell her the truth, no teddy bear was found in Tom Paris‘ quarters. The question has been answered, the rumor put to rest."
"You really think she‘s going to believe that?"
Sue was trying hard not to let her frustration get the better of her. After all, wasn‘t the bet whether or not Tom owned and slept with a stuffed animal? She had told them he didn‘t, that should have taken care of it. But for some reason, Jenny wasn‘t letting it drop.
"She‘d better believe it, it‘s the truth."
"Maybe I could get one of mine, and we could say it was his..."
"Are you insane?!"
"I‘m thinking of my future here," Jenny exclaimed.
"You can‘t lie about this, Tom would never forgive you."
Sue waited for Jenny to respond. She had to make sure the rumor was stopped and nothing further was said. After all, what if someone else were to finagle their way into Tom‘s quarters and find out his secret, someone that had no concern for him, someone that wouldn‘t mind hurting him. No, for his sake, she had to stop this here and now.
"I guess you‘re right."
Sue let out the breath she hadn‘t realized she was holding.
"This is the right thing to do, Jenny, for Tom‘s sake."
"You‘re right, Sue, thanks for trying," Jenny stated after a moment‘s pause, "See you for dinner?"
"Sure, Nicolette out."
As Jenny signed off, Sue collapsed back on the couch, content with herself. She had not only put an end to one obnoxious rumor, but had saved her friend‘s reputation. The day was looking up.
Standing over the prone figure of Tom Paris, Sue shook her head at the people spread through out sickbay. She should have known something was up when Ensign Carter had called to tell her she was wanted in sickbay. After all, Ensign Carter wasn‘t even on duty today.
"Is that your complete statement, Ensign, ‚You didn‘t think this would happen‘?"
As the Holo Doc treated her punctured foot, Jenny Delaney glared at Voyager‘s Chief of Security.
"It was an accident, Commander," Jenny tried to explain without giving anything away, especially something that would get her into trouble, "I was helping Ensign Carter who was covering for Ensign Nicolette who had been called down to sickbay."
"Ensign Carter is a trained medic, you are not. Why would your help be required, especially given the fact that the patient was unconscious?"
"I had stopped by to talk to Sue, I mean Ensign Nicolette, and decided to wait. So I guess I really wasn‘t helping Ensign Carter, more just passing the time while I was waiting for Ensign Nicolette to get back."
"Then what was your reason for being in Ensign Paris‘ bedroom?"
Jenny tried not to let her building nervousness and frustration show, "We thought we heard a noise, so we went to investigate?"
Tuvok raised his eyebrow in typical Vulcan fashion. "What noise?"
"I don‘t know a noise?"
"Just a noise?"
"Yeah, just a noise," Jenny wanted to scream. The plan had been a simple one, get Sue out of Tom‘s quarters and do the looking for herself. For some reason, she doubted Sue and needed to check for herself.
"So you accompanied Ensign Carter into Ensign Paris‘ bedroom to investigate?"
"And then," Jenny paused finally looking toward the unconscious forms of Ensigns Paris and Alisa Carter, the latest victim of what was turning out to be a great disaster.
Alisa had readily agreed to helping Jenny get Sue out of Tom‘s quarters if for no other reason but to be able to say she‘d been in them. Once Sue was out of the way, they had gone directly to the bedroom to begin looking for the rumored stuffed animal. Not more than two minutes into the search, Alisa had been distracted by a Klingon ritual knife that she‘d found on Tom‘s dresser, fascinated with its intricate design.
Needless to say, when Tom had awoken, unexpectedly, Alisa had been startled. Unfortunately, she also lost control of the knife and its sheath, the knife embedding itself into Jenny‘s foot and the solid metal sheath hitting Tom in the head.
"And then?" Tuvok prompted.
"Oh, and then Tom woke up and startled us."
"Yeah, startled us."
Tuvok‘s eyebrow rose higher as he contemplated whether or not it was possible for Jenny Delaney to give a straight answer.
"Report," Captain Janeway demanded as she strode into the sickbay, her first officer matching her pace as they moved toward Tuvok and the others.
"I am still attempting to ascertain exactly what transpired, Captain," Tuvok stated, never taking his eyes from Jenny. He could tell she wasn‘t telling him everything and he had no intention of leaving until she had.
"Ensign Carter is fine," the Doctor began as he ran the regenerator over Jenny‘s foot, "I sedated her as she couldn‘t stop screaming when she was beamed in. Ensign Delaney has suffered a puncture wound to her left foot, which luckily did not cause any permanent or serious damage. Both can be released when I am finished here."
At the name of his most troublesome and frequent patient, the Doctor snorted in disgust and rolled his eyes. "Mr. Paris had his forehead split open and has suffered yet another concussion. I swear, it‘s a miracle that man‘s able to function normally with how many times his head has been bashed about."
Ignoring the Doctor‘s outburst, Janeway turned to her security officer, "What happened?"
"It would appear as though Ms. Delaney and Ms. Carter were in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Is that so, Ensign?"
Jenny cringed at her Captain‘s scrutiny. "Yes, ma‘am."
Finishing with the regeneration, the Doctor shut off the machine and picked up a nearby tricorder. "Everything seems to have healed nicely, Ensign, you can leave now. Do not put any unnecessary pressure on your foot for another twelve hours."
With that, the Doctor, a scowl on his face, turned and headed to the biobed where Tom had been placed. Sue moved to the side to allow the medical officer to work, thankful that no one had been seriously hurt. As for Jenny, she‘d deal with her later.
"This was nothing more than an accident, then?"
"So it would appear, Captain, however, I have yet to question Mr.
Paris. He has not yet regained consciousness."
"I‘m sure, Mr. Paris will agree that this was an unfortunate incident, Commander."
Tuvok again raised his eyebrow at Janeway‘s assumption.
"I will know when I have questioned Mr. Paris," Tuvok stated, none to happy that his Captain was taking this situation so lightly. Not that he was looking for there to be more, but it was obvious that Ensign Delaney was not telling him the complete truth. And then there was the rumor that had been floating around and the betting pool that had been started because of it, both of which had Jenny Delaney‘s hands all over them.
"Send me the report when it‘s complete."
Inclining his head, Tuvok acknowledged his commanding officer‘s dismissal. "Ensign Delaney, I will expect both your‘s and Ensign Carter‘s reports on my desk by morning."
Jenny watched the man leave as she slid her foot into her now ruined sock and shoe. Somehow, she was going to have to face Simmons and hoped she lived to tell about it.
"Is there anything you would like to add, Ensign?" Captain Janeway asked, the expectancy evident in her voice.
Shaking her head, Jenny moved to the edge of the biobed and stood up. "Sorry, Captain." Taking one last look toward Sue, Jenny noticed the disappointment on her friend‘s face and knew that she was going to have to do a lot of groveling to make up for this fiasco.
Heaving a sigh, Janeway looked toward Tom Paris. Somehow, she was going to get him back, it was only fair.
She missed the smirk on her first officer‘s face as he watched her.
Somehow he knew she wouldn‘t find this as amusing as he did.
"So, what did the Doc say?" B‘Elanna asked as she finished getting ready for bed and moved out of the bathroom.
"That I have an additional twenty-four hours on sick leave," Tom answered as he watched the woman he loved move about her bedroom, picking up their clothes that had been haphazardly strewn about. "He also told me that my head must be full of rocks as I managed to survive yet another concussion with nothing more than a headache to show for it."
"You were lucky," B‘Elanna stated, her voice full of concern, "Just think if it had been Simmons that had thrown something at your head."
"Come on, B‘Elanna, it was an accident. Besides, I doubt that Simmons would have been scared at me waking up unexpectedly," he stated with a patented Paris grin, trying to put the woman he loved at ease.
Seeing that there was nothing else to occupy her concerned energy as she folded the last piece of clothing and placed it on the chair by the closet, B‘Elanna made her way to the bed and her waiting lover.
"I know you have a hard head, Tom," B‘Elanna stated as she climbed on the bed and snugged into his arms, "I just worry that one day your luck‘s not going to hold out and you‘re going to be seriously hurt."
Pulling her close Tom rested his cheek against the top of her head. "Not going to happen. Besides, it was worth it to see the look on Jenny‘s face. Boy was she surprised when I woke up and asked her what they were doing."
"You‘re terrible, Tom," B‘Elanna stated, finding it hard to hide her own smile.
"Hey, I‘m not the one that started that bet or the rumor," Tom defended himself.
"No, you just decided to make the most of it."
Tom couldn‘t deny that. He had awoken that morning and had overheard Jenny badgering Sue and found he just couldn‘t pass up the opportunity to make things a little interesting. It was just dumb luck that he had replicated that doll as a birthday gift for Naomi Wildman the week before. Of course, he hadn‘t planned on being beaned in the head, but it was worth it.
"Oh, I almost forgot."
Extracting herself, B‘Elanna leaned over the side of the bed and brought out a worn and much loved stuffed toy.
Grinning, Tom sat up straight as B‘Elanna tossed him Tommy the Tugboat, an oversized stuffed toy that his grandfather had given him on his second birthday.
"Thanks," Tom said as he held the tugboat in his hands and checked it out for damage.
B‘Elanna sat and watched, amazed at the emotions that crossed her lover‘s face. She knew the toy meant a lot to him, but she could never get the full story as to why. As she watched him, she hoped maybe soon he would trust her with that bit of his past.
In the meantime, she‘d help him hide it from the crew. After all, it wasn‘t any of their business, just her‘s.