Rights and Reconciliation: Love Is All We Need
By A'Lehsen Paris

Written: July 1999

Summary: B'Elanna's POV. B'Elanna's reaction to the Doctor's results, then after a good night's sleep, B'Elanna goes to breakfast. After breakfast, B'Elanna goes to her quarters because she forgot a report, and there's--guess who. No, I won't make you guess. It's Tom! He asks her if they can talk, and on the story goes from there.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager and the crew. I'm just writing the story. None of the characters are mine, so I'd just like to say that I'm not trying to infringe on any rights.

Rated: PG (adult language)

B'Elanna laid back against her pillows and sighed. She was so very happy! The Doctor had told her earlier that everything was going very well. There was no indications that the baby would be anything other than well- formed and healthy. And it would be a boy! A little boy who might grow up to be an engineer, just like his mother. She wouldn't force it on him, of course. But she could dream.....

That night she did dream, of a young boy with dark hair and blue eyes and his father's smile. When she woke up, B'Elanna remembered the dream, and she also remembered that Tom had been there, too, and they had been a family.

B'Elanna was determined not to get depressed, and she was equally de- termined to stop thinking about Tom so much. Even if it sometimes seemed like she couldn't help herself, she had to, for the sake of her sanity.

* * * * *

B'Elanna got to the Mess Hall relatively early for breakfast. There were only a few crewmembers there, and they studiously avoided looking at her. She knew why, of course. The rumor mill was still abuzz with the news of the break up, even then, weeks later. Voyager wasn't the largest ship, so when something happened it was news for months.

She sighed and went to find Neelix. He was cooking something that she was sure would normally have revolted her, but which smelled delicious at the moment.

"Hello, Neelix," she said just loudly enough to be heard over the sizzling of--whatever it was.

Neelix turned and beamed at her. "B'Elanna! Good morning! Did you sleep well last night?" he asked.

"Yes, I did, actually," she said with an answering smile. "What are you making? It smells wonderful," she said as she leaned over the counter to get a better look.

"It's going to be dinner. It's a dish called klesh-ta," he said. "It has to cook for six hours, first frying, then baking. A very complicated recipe."

"I'm sure it is. So, what's on the menu for me today?" B'Elanna changed the subject. Her stomach was informing her that it wanted food, and it wanted it right now!

"Well, I thought I'd mix some of what the Doctor recommended, for a little variety, you know," he said.

"Whatever you want, as long as you make it fast. I feel as if I haven't eaten in days!" she said.

"With the way you ate last night, I'm surprised! You must have gained at least a few kilos from all of that," Neelix said bluntly as he prepared her breakfast.

"I might have, but it won't show for a while, thankfully," she said casually. B'Elanna knew that Neelix was curious about how little she had gained compared to how much she had been eating lately. She thought wryly to herself that it would show too soon for her liking, but didn't mention that out loud.

"Here you go. Enjoy!" Neelix said. He passed her a plate of something green and purple. She didn't ask any questions, she just took it and the cup of juice he offered and found a nice quiet seat in a corner.

B'Elanna read a book she had found on parenting in the computer's data- base as she ate. It was very informative, written almost ten years ago by a leading counselor in Starfleet.

Her food seemed to vanish almost instantly, although she had read five pages by the time she was finished. She reluctantly stopped reading and went to put her plate and cup in the recycler.

"Goodbye, Neelix," she called as she headed for the door.

"Goodbye, B'Elanna. I'll see you at luch!" he said cheerfully.

B'Elanna was halfway to Engineering when she remembered the report on the warp core she was supposed to give to Chakotay that morning. Grumbling a little at her own forgetfulness, she made her way back to her quarters.

When B'Elanna reached her corridor, she thought she smelled...no, it was impossible. Only Tom wore that cologne, and he had made a point of not being anywhere near her until yesterday in Sickbay, which he'd had no control over.

B'Elanna turned the corner and stopped. He was there, lounging against her doorway as if he belonged there. Worse, he had seen her, so she couldn't back down now. Dammit, she thought. Why today?

She irritably stalked toward him, wishing that she could wipe that innocent look off of his face and knowing that she wouldn't.

"Tom, what are doing here?" she asked curtly. She brushed past him and entered her code.

"B'Elanna, I want to talk," Tom said.

"It's a little late for that, isn't it? I thought you said all you wanted to me weeks ago," she answered. She nearly swore when he barged in after her.

"Look, Tom, I don't have time for this. I have to get a report to Chakotay ASAP, then I have to be in Engineering. Maybe we can talk later, okay?" she asked as she went over to her desk and rumaged through the four padds laying there until she found the one with the report she had been looking for. She put the padd she had been reading in the Mess Hall down, and turned to face him.

"B'Elanna, I really don't care. I *need* to talk to you," he said in a voice that said he meant to get his way. In an odd contrast, his eyes showed a vulnerability that she could hardly believe in.

"Why now, Tom? I'm trying to get my life back to a level as close to normal as possible, and I've almost succeeded. Why do we need to talk now?" she asked him angrily.

"Because I realize what an ass I've been. Please, B'Elanna, hear me out," he pleaded. He reached for her hand and she backed away, afraid of what his touch would do to her.

"You have five minutes," B'Elanna heard herself say. It wasn't what she had meant to say. She had thought that she didn't want anything more to do with him, but somehow, she had been wrong.

"Can we at least sit down?" he asked.

"All right," she said warily. They sat down on the couch, and B'Elanna couldn't help but remember another time when he had talked to her like this, two years before, the day she had admitted her love for him. The memory made her feel like a fool right then.

"B'Elanna, I was hurt when I found out how you lied about my father's message. I got angry, and I acted like a fool. You were right when you said that I was acting just like my father. I hate to admit it, but you were right," he said earnestly.

B'Elanna didn't believe what she was hearing. "Tom, what made you come to this miraculous decision?" she asked him sarcastically.

Tom sighed. "A lot of things. Mostly, because I've been miserable without you. I can't stop thinking about you, B'Elanna. I still love you," he admitted.

"But you don't trust me," she stated.
"Dammit, I'm never going to be able to live that one down, am I? Listen, B'Elanna, I know I said that, but it was just my anger talking. I do trust you. I'd trust you with my life," he said. B'Elanna read the conviction in his eyes. "Can you give us another chance?"

B'Elanna sighed. "I don't know. You really hurt me, Tom. What I did... maybe it wasn't right, but I hated to see you hurt. Maybe I didn't have the right to protect you from that, but I did anyway. If you can't forgive me for that....well, then it's hopeless, isn't it?" She had to make him under- stand.

"I do forgive you. I know that you were trying to help. But if we are going to try again, it's going to have to be on an equal basis. We'll have to share everything. No big secrets like that. Can we?" Tom held out his hand.

B'Elanna looked into his eyes. This was what she wanted, she knew that as well as she knew that she'd always be an engineer. She placed her hand in his. "We can try," she said with a small smile. This wasn't as hard as she had thought it would be.

Tom stood up and pulled her into his arms. He didn't kiss her, he just held her so tightly that she could hardly draw a breath. She hugged him back, relieved that it was over. Almost, a little voice inside her whispered, and it was right. She still had to tell him about the baby.

B'Elanna pulled back a little. "I really do have to go now," she said reluctantly.

Tom nodded. "All right." He let her go.

"There's something else I have to tell you, but I don't have time. When does your next shift end?" she asked as they walked to the door.

"2400. I get night shift tonight," Tom said with a grimace.

"Meet me for breakfast?" she asked.

"Sure. 0700 sound good?" he suggested.

"Yes. We can eat here," she added. They exited her quarters, and Tom stopped her from turning with a hand on her arm.

"B'Elanna, I love you," he said quietly.

"Oh, Tom." She couldn't manage anything else. It was the first time he had actually said the words, and she was sure that she could never be happier than she was at that moment.

Tom leaned down and kissed B'Elanna gently. It was no more than a brush of his lips, but to her it meant everything. He drew back and smiled at her.

"I love you," she said. They exchanged another smile and a quick kiss, and then turned and walked in seperate directions. He was on his way to his quarters, and she had to get the report to Chakotay.

B'Elanna got onto the turbolift and said, "Deck Two." She found that she was smiling, and the realization made her smile even more. It was a wonderful day, and she had the feeling that the next day would be even better.

Go to next part- A Sense of Completion

Am I torturing you enough? I promise, one more, just one. Everything will come to a nice little finale. Isn't this the way it's supposed to be? Anyway, tell me what you thought! Love it? Like it? Hate it?