Painful Memories
By A'Lehsen Paris

Written: Early (?) 1999

Summary: B'Elanna has a dream about being ridiculed on Kessick IV. A short story meant to express the way I think B'Elanna felt back then. (Okay, so maybe it's a little bit like fluff, but it has a serious topic: the way a victim of racism or prejudice feels.) It has no real time set, but the dream takes place when B'Elanna is about 15 years old.

Disclaimer: They belong to Paramount/Viacom, not me. You know the drill. I wish they could be mine though.

R: G

B'Elanna Torres ran through the thick trees, her feet pounding across the hard ground. Her breath started to become harsh, but she ignored it. Her destination was close, she knew from experience.

Finally, it appeared before her, a break in the trees at first. As she neared she saw the tall, rocky bluff that was her goal. B'Elanna climbed up.

At the top of the bluff, she dropped with liquid grace to the hard surface. The view before her always calmed her and made her think. There was a vast forest on her right, with a green-blue river winding its way through it. On her left was the beginning of one of Kessick IV's many small mountain chains.

They had been at her again, the kids from school. At fifteen, none of them possessed the words "diplomacy" or "tact" in their vocabularies.

Why did they insist on doing this to her? First all of those cruel remarks about her Klingon heritage, then the silence. She hated their silence more than the remarks, which she could ignore.

She always felt like dirt after they were done with her. Their taunts, their blank gazes, and the whispering behind her back were driving her crazy!

Why couldn't they realize that she was a person, too? She was a real, living being, with emotions, thoughts, and a soul. Maybe they just needed time...

Another part of her, the part she was starting to despise, whispered in her mind. *Show them how strong you are,* it said. *Teach them a lesson they'll never forget!*

*NO!* she thought back. *I won't let you bully me! Using force would only make things worse!*

*Fine. But fighting fire with fire is a human tradition, isn't it?*

*I don't care! If I fight them, it would prove that what they say about me is true. I won't, I won't, I WON'T!!!!*

* * * * *

B'Elanna bolted upright, shaken from the dream by her own thougt. She felt a few bitter tears slide down her cheeks, and she roughly wiped them away. Even now, ten years later, the memories of her childhood and adolesence still had the power to hurt her.

"B'Elanna?" Next to her, Tom woke up and pulled her into his arms. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Just a bad dream, Tom. Go back to sleep," B'Elanna told him gently. She snuggled down into his embrace and smiled. Things were different now. She had friends, and a wonderful man who could drive away all of her painful memories just by loving her.

The End......

So, what'd you think? Let me know.