Standard disclaimer:  The Star Trek Voyager charactors, and the Star Trek universe that I borrow them from belong to Paramont/Viacom. The story belongs to me. You can link to my story if you want, just let me know first..

Pairing: P/T
Rating:  PG
Author: Peggy Schultz 
e-mail: or

Date posted: 08-09-01

Summary:  Alternate Universe, set sometime  in the early seventh season where B‘Elanna never told Tom that she loved him on the Day of Honor.  Chakotay realizes that there is more than friendship between Lieutenants Paris and Torres, but can he convince them before it’s too late?

Hidden Emotions

    Commander Chakotay stood outside of the quarters of Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres, trying to decide whether or not he should interfere or not.  He had watched his friend of many years, stare at Lieutenant Tom Paris when she didn’t think anyone was watching.  He saw the way she had smiled when he walked onto the bridge the other day, returning to duty after lunch.  He was sure that she had feelings for the chief helmsman, but he wasn’t sure if he could get the chief engineer to admit it to him or herself.  One minute the two of them were fighting to the point that he thought they would start throwing punches, and the next minute they were deep in conversation, smiling and laughing, and getting along. 

He had been there when Vorik had attempted to mate with B’Elanna and gave her the urge to mate.  She had chosen to mate with Tom Paris of all people.  Chakotay had no desire to see her mate with the pilot, knowing all to well the rumors concerning the Tom’s past.  But Tom refused to take advantage of her; for fear that it would destroy their friendship, when B’Elanna came to her senses.  Chakotay then began to gradually change his mind about the pilot, and the rumors that seemed to follow him. 

After the two lieutenants were forced to enter the Artic habitat to get away from the Nyrians, Chakotay saw them rematerialize embraced in each other’s arms.  Then when the Srivani Scientists’ had been experimenting on the crew, the two lieutenants were caught kissing by Tuvok, the Vulcan chief of security.  They both blamed the incident on the experiments. But Chakotay had begun to wonder if there was more to it than that, and began paying close attention to them over the years.

Lately, however, it had been more obvious that there was a definite connection between them, but neither one of them seemed willing to admit their feelings. 

“Come in,” B’Elanna called, after Chakotay had finally rang the door chime to announce his presence.  After the door slid open he walked into her quarters. 

    “Tom,” B’Elanna called from the direction of the sleeping area.

    “Um, no B’Elanna, it’s Chakotay.”

    “Chakotay,” B’Elanna said, walking out of the sleeping area, a hairbrush in hand.  “Tom is supposed to     bring his navigation report to me, and then we’re all going to meet in Sandrine’s to play pool,” B’Elanna said, and seemingly on cue the door chime sounded.  “That’s probably him now,” B’Elanna said, and stepped towards the door which then slid open.

    Lieutenant Tom Paris stood outside the door.  He was out of breath as he stared down the hall that he had just run through.  He turned towards B’Elanna, and held out a padd containing his report, with a smile.  “B’Elanna,” he said, “here’s the navigation report I promised you, right on time.”  He looked down the corridor and quickly said, “I have to go, I’ll see you and Harry at Sandrine’s,” he then quickly raced down the corridor in the opposite directionin which he was staring.

    B’Elanna smiled, and stood half in the hall and half in her quarters looking down the hallway in the opposite direction that Tom had just gone.  Chakotay watched her, and wondered what she was looking for; he was about to ask what was going on when he heard giggling, from out in the hall.

    “Hi, Aunt B’Elanna.  Did you see Uncle Tommy?” the unmistakable voice of Naomi Wildman asked.

    “He went that way,” B’Elanna said pointing in the direction that Tom had gone.

    “Thanks!” Naomi yelled, already running down the hall after the pilot.

    “What was that about?” the Indian commander asked.

    “Oh, today was Tom’s day to baby sit Naomi while Sam’s on duty,” the chief engineer said, running the hairbrush through her hair.

    “Paris, babysitting?” Chakotay asked.

    “Yes, he’s been doing it since she was a baby, Harry and I only recently found out about it.  He’s really good with Naomi, and the Borg kids too.  I know that you didn’t come here to talk about Tom, so what can I do for you?”

    “Actually, I did.  I was wondering what is going on between you and Paris?”

    “Going on?” she asked and raised an eyebrow in an imitation of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok.

    “You know what I mean B’Elanna, do you have feelings for him?”

    “He’s one of my best friends, Chakotay.  I don’t have feelings for him the way you think,” she said looking down at her feet.  Chakotay could always tell when she was lying because it was the only time that she wouldn’t look into his eyes.

    “That’s good, B’Elanna,” Chakotay said, knowing how to get her to admit her feelings.  “Because you don’t want to be in a relationship with him.  He’ll only hurt you in the long run.  He has no honor; he lost his honor the day he lied at Caldik Prime.  He betrayed the Maquis to Starfleet to get out of prison.  He’d only use you, and toss you aside when he's had his fill.  He belongs back in prison, and I don’t understand why the captain even lets him stay on board Voyager; let alone making him a lieutenant, and the chief helmsman.”

    “Chakotay, how could you say that?” B’Elanna asked, setting the brush on the nearby desk and taking a step towards her commanding officer.  “Tom, may have lied at first, but he later told the truth and got his honor back.  And as for his deceit towards the Maquis, he told me once that he thought the Maquis set him up.  I believe that he believed it and I could hardly blame him for wanting to get out of prison.  Chakotay he has saved your life and the rest of the crew numerous times.

    “Even if all the rumors about him are true, he’s not the same person who those rumors were about.  He has changed, you know since he has come to Voyager, the only woman that I know for certain that he had dated was Megan Delaney, and to this day they remain good friends.  I know that in the past six years since Harry and I have become good friends with him the only dates I’ve seen him go on a regular basis are his babysitting dates with Naomi.  Although I admit we did suspect that he was seeing someone, that’s how we found out what he has been up to.  Chakotay I’ve gotten to know him pretty good since coming to the Delta Quadrant, and I know he would do anything for his friends, even the crewmembers that he doesn’t know very well, or who had given him a hard time when we first arrived here,” B’Elanna told him.

    “Lieutenant, for someone who doesn’t have any feelings for Paris you defended him passionately.  I can tell when you lie B’Elanna; I know you were lying when you said you didn’t have feelings for him.  How do you really feel about him?”

    “I don’t know,” B’Elanna said.

    “Deep down you must know how you really feel about him.  Do you know how you feel about Harry?”

    “Harry is my friend.  He’s like the little brother that I never had.”

    “What about Tom, do you feel like he’s a brother to you?”


    “Do you feel sorry for him then?”

    “No, of course not.”

    “Do you consider him a friend?”


    “Is he more than a friend?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Do you love him?”

    “I don’t know,” she again lowered her gaze to the floor.

    “If he died, how would you feel?”

    B’Elanna glared up into the commander’s eyes as she thought about what he asked her.  She thought back to when Tom had crossed the warp 10 barrier, and how lost and alone she had felt after finding out that he died, and she uttered one word, “lost.”

    “Why?” Chakotay persisted, “Why would you feel lost without him?”

    “Because I love him,” she finally admitted so quietly the commander could barely hear her.  “I love Tom Paris.”

    Chakotay smiled, glad that at least one of the two stubborn lieutenants had finally admitted what most of the crew had known for years.  “I know,” he told her, “but I’m not the one that you should be telling.”

    “Chakotay, but what if he doesn’t feel the same?” she picked up the brush again and nervously started brushing her hair, again.

    “Fat chance,” Chakotay thought, but said “but what if he does?”  Chakotay watched silently as Voyagers chief engineer sat down on the couch of her living area and contemplated his words.  After a few moments of silence he finally said, 
“B’Elanna, I know you’re worried about his feelings, but I also know from experience that you will always wonder what if you would have told him, if you don’t.”  Having said that, Chakotay left her quarters, allowing her some privacy to decide what she should do.

                                                ***               ***     *     ***               ***

    Lieutenant Tom Paris knelt down behind the kitchen counter to pick up the pieces of broken glass that had shattered on the floor of Neelix’ kitchen.  “Damn it, Neelix,” he thought, “if your damn kitchen wasn’t so cluttered I wouldn’t have knocked the cup off the counter, looking for a large spoon.”

    Tom continued to pick up the broken pieces of glass when he heard the voices of his two closest friends Ensign Harry Kim, and Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres. 

    “Harry, I can’t believe his nerve,” he heard B’Elanna say.

    “What did he say?” Harry asked.

    Tom was about to get up and greet his two friends when B’Elanna’s next words stopped him.  “That p’tahk asked me out again,” she growled.  Tom suddenly felt like his world had just crumbled.  He had asked B’Elanna to join him tonight on holodeck one so he could show her a new holoprogram that he had just finished.  She had told him that she couldn’t make it because she had to work late tonight in engineering running some sort of drill.  “Can you believe him Harry?  He just won’t get the hint, I just don’t know what else to do to let him know that I don’t want to go out with him.”

    “Have you tried telling him?” Harry’s voice asked her.  Tom could hear the sounds of the two of them getting their own lunches.

    “I thought I did, but it apparently didn’t get through to him.  Harry what else can I do, without being rude?  I could never be with someone like him, especially after what happened on Sakari IV,” B’Elanna said.  And then the voices stopped, and Tom knew that his friends had moved to sit at a table in the mess hall.

    “Tom!” Neelix said, rushing to his side.  Suddenly Tom realized that he had squeezed his hands into fists and caused the glass to cut both his hands deeply.  Blood had dripped from his hands onto a puddle on the floor.

    “Neelix,” Tom said, “I dropped a glass.”

    “I see.  Come on I think we need to get you to sickbay,” Neelix said and offered the pilot a hand.

                                          ***               ***     *     ***               ***

    “B’Elanna, Vorik is a Vulcan,” Harry told B’Elanna, as they sat at a table in the back of the mess hall.  “I’m sure he would understand and see the logic in it if you just explain to him that you don’t have any feelings for him; I’m sure he’ll understand.”

    “I don’t know Harry, it didn’t work the last time.  And his being Vulcan hasn’t stopped him from trying to convince me to go out with him.  Maybe he needs to work with Tuvok, on how to be a better Vulcan,” she commented dryly.

    “So where is Tom?” Harry asked deciding that a change of topic was in order.  To his surprise he saw the dark mood lift off of the chief engineer at the mention of his best friend’s name.

    “I don’t know Harry,” B’Elanna said, “I saw him this morning when he stopped down in engineering, he said he’d see me at lunch time.  He had this strange smirk on his face as if he was up to something.”

    “What was he doing in engineering?  I thought he had off today.”

    “He just came down to return a book that he borrowed last week.”

    “Why didn’t he just give it to you at lunch?”

    “I don’t know Harry, maybe because he also wanted to ask me to go with him to check out a holoprogram that he has just finished,” B’Elanna said and took a tentative bite of her lunch.  “You know he really should be here, Harry, lunch is actually very good today.”

    Harry stared at his friend momentarily, wondering about her sudden change of mood.  At Sandrine’s last night they all had a good time playing pool, Tom and B’Elanna hadn’t fought the entire evening.  And as he thought about the previous night, he realized that they had flirted with one another more than usual.  He wondered if something had happened between the two of them, after he left the holodeck.

    “So,” Harry asked, after taking a bite of his lunch, “how do you feel about Tom asking you out?  You know he’s been asking you out a lot longer than Vorik has, and on a more regular basis.  If you want I can talk to him, and explain that you don’t want-”

    “Don’t you dare, Starfleet.  If you do I’ll beam you out into space, without an environmental suit,” she threatened with a smile and continued to eat her food.
Harry smiled, “so how do you feel about him?”

    “He’s a friend, Harry, just like you.”

    “Really?” Harry raised an eyebrow.  “Funny how you don’t look at me the way you look at him.  I never catch you staring at me when you think I’m not looking.  But I’ve seen you stare at him, when you thought that he wasn’t watching.”

    B’Elanna stared at Harry for a moment a surprised expression on her face, and then she asked, “Am I that transparent?”

    “No, not really.  When you stare at him, I am never sure if you’re admiring him or plotting his murder,” Harry told her.  “You know B’Elanna you should tell him how you feel.  Tom would never do anything to hurt you.”

   “I know that Harry.  I just have a few things to think about 
first.  And if you mention one word about this to him Starfleet, you will never make it back to the Alpha Quadrant in one piece.”

    Harry smiled and shook his head.  “So where is he anyway?  I want to know why I wasn’t invited to see his new holoprogram?” he teased.

    “Computer,” B’Elanna said, when the computer beeped in acknowledgement, she continued, “what is the current location of Lieutenant Paris?”

    “Lieutenant Paris, is in sickbay,” the computer responded calmly.

    “Sickbay,” Harry repeated, “I thought he had a day off from both the bridge and sickbay today.  I know he wouldn’t willingly go there unless-” Harry stopped mid sentence and tapped his combadge.  “Kim to Paris.”

    “Sorry Harry I won‘t be able to join you for lunch today,” Tom’s voice said over the comm channel.

    “Mr. Paris, if you do not keep still, I can not help you,” the voice of the Emergency Medical Hologram interrupted them.

    “Come on Doc, I can do this my self; that’s what you’ve been training me for over the past couple years.” 

    “Tom, are you alright?” B‘Elanna asked.

    “I’m fine, nothing you need to worry about,” the pilot said.  “It’s just a cut on my hand, I’ll talk to you later, Paris out.”

    “So how many times is it that he has had to go to sickbay now?” Harry asked.

    “I lost count a long time ago,” B’Elanna smiled.

                      ***               ***     *     ***               ***

B’Elanna walked slowly through the hallways on deck four towards Tom’s quarters.  She had decided that since she had the afternoon off, she would ask him if he would like to show her his holoprogram now.  She had decided after talking to Harry that maybe if she went out with Tom on a few dates to see how well they get along.  Then she could let him know how she felt about him.  She thought that it might also allow her a chance to try and determine whether or not he could one day feel the same way about her.

    Taking a deep breath B’Elanna pressed the announcer on the keypad by Tom’s door.  “Come,” Tom said. 
B’Elanna stepped through the now open door.  Tom sat on his couch in the living area of his quarters.  She had never actually been in his quarters before, and suddenly wondered why.  She had been in Harry’s quarters a few times, and both Harry and Tom had been in her quarters more than a few times.

    B’Elanna noted that the room was very plain, very little décor covered the walls.  There were a few plants located throughout his quarters.  And as far as she could see he had only basic furniture in his quarters.  She didn’t even see any holoimages of his family.  Straight in front of her was a round table with three chairs around it.  In the living area, Tom sat on a couch against the far wall with a coffee table in front of it.  He held a padd in his hands and at least five other padds were scattered over the top of the coffee table.  Two chairs and an end table were located to the right of the couch. 

    B’Elanna looked at Tom, and found a pair of blue eyes watching her.  “Hi,” she said.

    “Hi,” he echoed, still watching her.  He seemed somewhat surprised by her presence in his quarters.  And she had begun to feel uncomfortable under his watchful gaze.  She decided that she needed to just ask him and get it over with.

    “Tom,” she began, “we missed you at lunch today.  Lunch was really good, you would have enjoyed it.”

    “I did.  I made it,” Tom said and looked back down at the padd that he had been reading.

    “You did,” she said, and then winced when her words came out sounding as if she did not believe him.

    “Yes, Neelix had something to do and didn’t finish in time to prepare lunch.  You know even someone like me is capable of cooking, it’s not a very hard skill to master.”

    “That’s not what I meant.  I just didn’t know that you could cook.  It was really good, Tom.”

    Tom shrugged his shoulders, “there’s a lot that you do not know about me.  Did you come here for a reason?“ he asked.  B’Elanna decided that she wanted to find out more about him, and suddenly found her courage to ask him what she had came to ask him.

    “I, I was wondering if you would want to show me that holoprogram that you wanted to show me now?  I have the rest of the afternoon off so that I can work later.  I thought that since you were not on duty now that maybe we could go.”

    “Why? I’m sure you have something you would rather be doing?” he said without looking up from his padd.

    “What is wrong with you Tom?  I thought you wanted to show me the holoprogram.  Why won’t you look at me?”

    Tom looked up into B‘Elanna‘s brown eyes, “B’Elanna I have reports to catch up on.  I don’t often get an entire day off from both bridge duty and sickbay.  Besides I know that you have much better things to do.”

    “What is your problem?” B’Elanna asked trying to stop the urge to walk over to him and punch him. 

    “B’Elanna, I’m not the one with the problem.  Now if you would excuse me I need to finish these reports,” Tom said, looking back down at the padd.

    “Fine, I’ll just leave you to your reports then,” B’Elanna told him.  Tom did not say anything, or do anything except look at the padd that he held in his hands.  She left his quarters quietly, neither of them saying anything else as she left.

    B’Elanna quickly returned to her quarters and threw the nearest object, across the room.  The glass end table shattered as it impacted against the wall.

    B’Elanna could not believe how Tom had treated her.  “You p’tahk,” she thought, “you waited too long, after pushing him away for so many years, he has finally given up on you!”

   “No,” B’Elanna said out loud into the empty silence of her quarters.  Last night she and Tom had played pool on the holodeck at Sandrine’s with Harry and had a great time.  After Harry had left to get some sleep, she and Tom had stayed behind and talked for about an hour and then he had walked her back to her quarters, and wished her pleasant dreams.  Something had to have happened to upset him, and she was determined to find out what it was.  He may have given up on her, but she was not ready to give up on him, not when she had finally admitted how she felt for the pilot.

***               ***     *     ***                ***

    Later that evening Tom Paris sat alone slouched in a seat at the back of Sandrine’s nursing a drink of synthehol.  He sat with his back to the rest of crew who had gathered in the holographic bar.  He wanted to be alone tonight, but did not want to be in his quarters.  Harry had asked him to join him on holodeck two for a volleyball game, at Neelix’ resort program.  But Tom thought that sitting alone at the darkest and farthest table in Sandrine’s reflected his mood better.

    Tom could not get his discussion with B’Elanna off of his mind.  He didn’t want to appear rude, but he didn’t know how else to react to her after what he had overheard.  And then she had the nerve to ask him to show her the holoprogram.  “Harry must have told her how I feel about her and now she feels sorry for me,” he winced at the thought.  He could not bear knowing that she was only pretending to be his friend out of pity. Tom ran his fingers through his hair, and tried not to think about her.

    Tom took a sip of his drink and wondered if he would ever be able to face the chief engineer again without remembering the words that he had heard her say?  Tom and B’Elanna had gone through a lot together in the six years since they were thrown into the Delta Quadrant.  They had survived the Kazon, the Vidiians, the Borg, the Nyrians habitat, the Hirogen, the ship that Tom had named Alice, and countless other aliens, and anomalies.  Tom had thought that their relationship had grown into something more than mere friendship.  But now he wondered if he was so desperate to think that she could have feelings for him that he had imagined, there was a true chance for a relationship.

   A shadow suddenly fell over the table, and Tom looked up to see Commander Chakotay standing in front of the table.  “Tom,” Chakotay said, “may I sit?”

    “If you want, but, I must warn you that I am not in a mood for company,” Tom said looking down at the tabletop.  The commander sat at the table across from him.  The commander watched as Tom moved his index finger in a circular motion on the table’s surface.

    “What’s wrong Tom?” the first officer asked,  “I thought that you would be going to the resort with Harry.”

    “Nope,” was his only reply.

   Chakotay sighed, and Tom looked back up at the Indian.  It was no secret that Tom and the commander were not the closest of friends.  When their journey through the Delta Quadrant had first begun, they hated one another.  And although the two had come to have a mutual respect for one another, at least Tom thought they did, they still were not close. 

    Chakotay met Tom’s gaze, with one of his own; he seemed to be considering what to say to the pilot.  After what seemed like hours, he finally asked, “what are your intentions towards B’Elanna?”

    Tom continued to look into the commander’s eyes without flinching at the question.  “Chakotay,” Tom began, “you don’t have to worry, because she won’t give me the time of day.  I’ve finally realized just how stupid I’ve been for thinking she could ever feel the same way about me.  I mean why anyone would ever love me, I don’t know.”


   “No, it’s true Commander, and it’s about time I realize it.  Gods even my own father couldn’t love me, why I allowed myself to believe that she could be anything more than a friend I don’t know.” Tom paused, momentarily wondering why he was telling all of this the Chakotay.  But he knew the commander looked out for B’Elanna and would not let her waste her time on someone like him.  And he suddenly felt the need to get his thoughts off his chest.

    “But I’m lucky that she is my friend.  I overheard a conversation she had with Harry, this morning, and I know now that she doesn’t feel anything for me other than friendship.  Actually I’m not even sure of the whole friendship part of it.  I know she feels sorry for me, and that is why she tolerates me.  My happiness is a small price to pay to keep her friendship, Chakotay.”  Tom stood up ready to leave the holobar, but his commanding officer grabbed his arm preventing his retreat.

    “Why don’t you tell her how you feel?  You may be wrong about her feelings for you, Tom.  What if you are wrong about what you heard?  Could she have been talking about someone else, Tom?  I know her, and she often pushes the people who matter the most to her away to avoid getting hurt; the same way you let everyone believe that all the rumors about your womanizing ways were true.”

    Tom blinked his eyes and stared at the commander he sat back down as Chakotay released his grip of the pilot’s arm.  “I can’t tell her.  I can’t risk losing her friendship even if it costs me my happiness.”

    “But what if it costs her, her happiness Tom?” asked Chakotay.  “Could you live with the possibility that by not telling her how you feel for her, you could make her unhappy.  You could be what is causing her to sit in her quarters alone, or playing pool with friends when she could be on a date.  What if you are the one who makes her happy?” the Indian smiled confidently.  “Would you risk her happiness?“ he then stood up and walked away.

    Tom Paris turned and watched the commander leave the holodeck, and wondered why the he would try to convince him to tell B’Elanna that he was in love with her?  He had not told the commander in those words how he felt about the chief engineer, but he was certain that Chakotay had realized what he meant, and wouldn‘t say anything.  Tom sat in the holodeck for hours nursing the same drink, and mulling over the first officers words. 

***               ***     *     ***               ***

    B’Elanna Torres walked towards the shuttle bay the following day after finishing her shift in engineering.  Lieutenant Jacobs, one of the crewmen in charge of repairing damaged shuttles; had asked her to send an engineer down at 1600 hours to accompany Commander Chakotay to test fly one of the shuttles that they had repaired.  B’Elanna decided that she would go herself since her shift ended at 1530 hours.  Chakotay had a way of making her feel better when something was bothering her, so she thought the test flight would give her the opportunity to talk to him. 

    She entered the large hangar, and was greeted by the usual smells of oil and grease, and other chemicals.  Some of those smells reminded her of engineering; where she felt that she belonged more than any other location on the ship.  Commander Chakotay and Tom Paris stood in the shuttle bay talking with Lt. Jacobs.  They were standing in front of the shuttles Sacajewa and Chamberlain, which were just repaired and in need of the test flights.  She did not know that Tom was piloting the other shuttle, although she should have known that he would volunteer for the test flight.  Tom stood facing the lieutenant and commander with his back to her.  She could hear Tom teasing Chakotay, and wasn’t sure if he had heard her walk up behind him.

    “Lieutenant, are you sure that it is wise for you to let Commander Chakotay fly, since he is responsible for crashing most of the shuttles that you have repaired?” Tom asked.  B’Elanna could picture the crooked smile that most likely was on his face.  It was the same smile that he wore when he teased her and Harry.

    “As I recall you have crashed a few times yourself helmboy,” B’Elanna said.  Tom quickly turned to look at her; he smiled slightly and then turned back to Lieutenant Jacobs.

    “So which shuttle do you want me to fly?” Tom asked.

   “You and Ensign Kim can fly in the Sacajewa, and Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres can fly the Chamberlain,” Jacobs replied.

    “Good, I’ll just go and start the preflight,” Tom said and walked towards the Sacajewa.  B’Elanna watched as he walked away, and wondered if what ever had been bothering him yesterday in his quarters still bothered him. 

    Catching Chakotay’s observance of her, she shrugged her shoulders, to silently let the commander know that she didn’t know the answer to his unspoken question.  When the shuttle bay doors slid open to admit Ensign Harry Kim, Lieutenant Jacobs excused himself. And walked towards the tardy Ensign.  “So is there a problem, Lieutenant?” the commander asked.

   “I don’t know Chakotay.  I invited him to join me in the holodeck yesterday afternoon, and he declined.  He seemed almost like a different person, he was so cold and quiet.”

    “I talked with him last night on the holodeck, and I don’t want to tell you exactly what he told me, but I could tell that he was hurting.  B’Elanna, you really need to talk to him.  He mentioned something about an overheard conversation.”

    Before B’Elanna could ask her commanding officer the questions that ran through her mind, Harry and Jacobs walked over to join them.

    “I guess we are ready to get started,” Jacobs said.

    “Actually,” Chakotay began, “I’d like to switch engineers if I may, I need to speak with Ensign Kim about something.”

    “Very well sir, if the ensign and lieutenant don’t have any disagreements,” Jacobs said.

    “Fine by me,” B’Elanna said and smiled at the expression on Harry’s face.  She guessed that her friend assumed that he would be in trouble for his tardiness.  She was also glad that she could talk to Tom now, before she lost her nerve.

    Harry nodded, and followed the commander towards the chamberlain, while B’Elanna walked the few feet to the Sacajewa.  Tom sat in the pilots’ seat, when she entered the shuttle.

    “It’s about time Harry,” the helmsman said without turning around, “So what did Jenny want to talk to you about?”

    “Sorry, Harry’s in the Chamberlain,” she said walking up behind him.  Tom whirled around in his chair to face her.  “Chakotay said that he needed to talk to him about something,” 

    “Oh,” Tom said, and turned back around to face the front of the shuttle again.  B’Elanna sat down at the co-pilots chair next to Tom.  She suddenly felt nervous as she sat beside him, and started to run some scans.

    The two lieutenants flew in the shuttle in silence.  B’Elanna watched as Tom concentrated on the helm controls, and frequently watched the console in front of her.  The two lieutenants had been flying in the shuttle for nearly forty-five minutes when she finally couldn’t take the silence anymore.  “Tom, what is your problem?”

    “My problem,” he repeated, finally turning his head to look at her.  “You are the one with the problems, Torres.  I’m just giving you what you want by leaving you alone.”

    “What are you talking about Pairs?  Who says that I want to be left alone?” B’Elanna paused, and took a deep breath to calm herself before continuing in a calmer tone of voice.  “We’re friends Tom, if something is wrong you can tell me.”

    “Like you tell me when I do something that you don’t like, right Torres?” Tom said tapping some buttons on his console.  “I found out the truth.”

    B’Elanna clenched her hands into fists, “The truth Tom, I don’t know what you are talking about.”

    “Good, then lets not talk about it alright,” Tom shot her a disconcerting look.

    “No,” B’Elanna said glaring at him, “no, Tom Paris, you’re not going to do that.  I won’t let you just push me away.  If I did something I want you to tell me.”

    “You didn’t do anything wrong,” Tom said looking over at her, blue eyes gazed intently into brown eyes.  “I am the one who screwed up my life again.  I found out the truth and now I have to deal with that.” 
B’Elanna could see the flash of hurt that filled his beautiful eyes, before the mask he wore to hide his emotions dropped quietly into place like a closing window.  She wanted to take him into her arms and ease away his pain, but knew they had work to do. 

    Their eyes were still locked onto one another when an alarm sounded from the console.  They both simultaneously turned back to the consoles in front of them.
B’Elanna’s eyes grew wide as she read the readings on her console.  “Tom, the helm controls are overloading!”

    Tom was already out of his seat.  Before she even knew what was happening he grabbed her by the waist and pushed her out of the way as the helm exploded.  She watched in horror as flames engulfed him, and heard his agonized scream of pain.  As B’Elanna lost consciousness the shuttles extinguishers came to life, putting out the fire.  But, not soon enough to prevent the pilot from being seriously injured.

***               ***     *     ***               ***

    The Chamberlain flew through space heading away from Voyager, behind and to the starboard side of the Sacajewa.  Commander Chakotay and Ensign Kim sat silently in the front of the Chamberlain, closely monitoring the displays in front of them. 
   After about forty-five minutes, when Harry could not take the silence any longer he said, “What did you need to speak with me about sir?” 

    The commander was surprised that he had lasted that long without saying anything.  Chakotay didn’t know a lot about the ensign, but he didn’t think that Harry was as appreciative of the peace that the silence brought as he was.  “Nothing actually.  B’Elanna and Tom need to talk about something, and I didn’t want Lieutenant Jacobs to get the wrong idea.”

    The relief he felt after realizing that he was not in trouble was written all over his face.  Then his concern for his two friends took over, “were they fighting?” Harry asked.

    “I think it was more of a misunderstanding between the two of them.” 

    “Again,” Harry said shaking his head.  “Do you think we should contact Voyager and have the doctor standing by in case there are any injuries?”

    Chakotay smiled.  Most of the crew of Voyager knew about the volatile friendship that the two lieutenants shared.  And he guessed that quite a few of those same crewmembers had picked up on the sparks that flew between them.  Even the Captain had noticed and asked him one day when they would finally give in to what everyone else knew was inevitable.  Chakotay had even heard that the crewmembers were placing bets on how long it would take the two of them to realize it for themselves.

    “I don’t think they’ll get that carried away,” the commander assured the young man sitting to his right side.

    “You don’t know them very well.  I just don’t understand why they don’t tell each other how they feel about each other, instead of constantly picking fights with one another.” 

    “I’m not sure I can give you an answer to that.  I know that sometimes the fear of what would happen if the other person does not reciprocate those feeling, sometimes outweighs the chance of that person returning the feelings.”

    “Sometimes I think that I should just lock them into a room together until they tell each other how they really feel,” Harry mused.

    Chakotay smiled again, “we could make a very romantic program on the holodeck and then conveniently lock the holodeck doors.  I’d been willing to bet that the captain, would even allow us to proceed with the plans.”

    Before Harry could make any further comments, the Sacajewa came to an abrupt halt.  Chakotay quickly took the Chamberlain out of warp, and turned the shuttle to face the motionless shuttle while Harry ran scans of the shuttle.

    “Chamberlain to Sacajewa, why did you stop?” Chakotay asked.  There was no answer.  “Chakotay to Paris, respond.”

    “Commander, I just ran a scan of the Sacajewa, there was an explosion in the helm console.  The fire has been extinguished, but the shuttle took heavy damage.  They’ve lost all helm control, communications, and the environmental controls are failing, as well as life support.”

    “Transport them on board, Voyager is out of transport range,” Chakotay ordered.  Out of the corner of his eyes he could see that Harry was already initializing the transporter.  Harry and Chakotay turned around and watched as the two lieutenants materialized on the floor of the Chamberlain. 

    Chakotay heard Harry’s gasp at the horrific appearance of his badly burned friend.  Chakotay immediately contacted Voyager as Harry moved down to the floor tricorder in hand to try to help his friends.  “Chamberlain to Voyager.”

    “Janeway here.  Why have you stopped, Commander?”

    “The Sacajewa’s helm exploded.  We have them on the Chamberlain, but, we need an emergency transport to sickbay as soon as we are within range.”

    “How serious are the injuries?” the captain asked.  Chakotay looked at Harry.

    “B’Elanna has a concussion and a bump on her head, she‘s starting to regain consciousness.  Tom is unconscious he has first, second, and third degree burns covering sixty-three percent of his body.  It’s bad.”

    “I’ll inform the doctor, and we’ll move towards your position, we should be in transporter range in a few minutes, Janeway out.”

    Chakotay turned to watch as B’Elanna slowly got up onto her knees and crawled over to where Tom was laying.  B’Elanna took the pilots hand in hers, never taking her eyes off of him.  Harry fumbled with the med kit that he had retrieved.  He seemed unsure of the contents of the kit.
Suddenly Tom began to moan as he had begun to regain consciousness, “B’Elanna,” he rasped.

    “I’m right here Tom,” B’Elanna said, squeezing his right hand tightly, to reassure him.

    “Hurts,” he said finally opening his eyes, and looking into her eyes, seemingly unaware that anyone else was in the shuttle with them.

    “I know.  We’re going to get you back to Voyager.  Tom, you’re going to be fine.”

    “B’Elanna,” Tom gasped closing his eyes.  When he opened them again his eyes were filled with the pain that engulfed his body.  “B’Elanna I-”

    “Shh, Tom don’t try to speak,” B’Elanna told him noticing that his breathing was becoming labored, and obviously painful for him.

    “Tom,” Harry said, finally finding the right medication.  He held a hypospray out in front of the pilot, “here, this will help with the pain,” Harry said, and pressed the device into Tom’s neck.  Tom immediately seemed to relax, although, Chakotay could tell that he was still having trouble breathing.

    “B’Elanna, have to tell you,” Tom gasped in between breaths, “I love you.  Loved you for so long, I-”

    Chakotay and Harry shared a glance at one another after the pilot’s confession, and then they looked back to B’Elanna who still held Tom's hand as tears glistened in her eyes.

    “Tom,” B’Elanna said, as the pilot’s eyes closed, and his labored breathing stopped.  “I love you,” she whispered, and let the tears escape and run down her cheeks.

    “Chakotay,” Harry said his eyes were wide with fear, “he stopped breathing!”

    “We’re almost in range, hold on Harry,” the commander told him, and silently prayed that the pilot could hold on until then.

    “Tom,” B’Elanna whispered again, “I love you too.”

    “We’re within transporter range now,” Chakotay announced, and the two lieutenants were surrounded by the blue hue of the transporter, as they dematerialized.

    Harry Kim remained on the floor staring at the spot that his friend had been laying on.  Chakotay felt a pang of sympathy for the younger man.  He and Tom were very close friends since the beginning of their journey through the Delta Quadrant, and Chakotay knew that Harry, like B’Elanna, would be lost without him.

    “Ensign,” Chakotay spoke loudly to get his attention, “we need to go back for the Sacajewa, so we can determine what happened.”

    Harry then snapped to attention, and took the copilots seat beside Chakotay.

***               ***     *     ***               ***

    Voyager crewmen quickly ducked out of the way as B’Elanna Torres hurried down the corridors of deck four.  Without hesitation she rang the door chime as soon as she reached her destination.  When there was no answer she clenched her hands into fists and rang it again.

    It had been four days since Tom Paris was released from sickbay.  In that time he had managed to avoid her as much as possible, even when B’Elanna had asked him out on a date a couple of times since his recovery; but he had turned her down each time, using lame excuses each time. 

    In the morning B’Elanna had sent Tom a message to meet her on holodeck one at 1700 hours for dinner, which had been nearly twenty-five minutes ago.  When Tom did not reply to the message to turn her down, she had assumed he would come.  When he didn’t, she asked the computer of his whereabouts, the computer had informed her that the lieutenant was in his quarters, and so she immediately left the holodeck to find him.
After ringing the chime for the fourth time she was really becoming angry.  She entered her authorization override codes, into the doors keypad, And the door slid open.  She entered the quiet quarters.  The lights in his quarters were dimmed to a quarter illumination, except in the sleeping area.  B’Elanna walked towards the sleeping area, unconcerned with what she might find there.

    Suddenly as she walked towards the bedroom, the bathroom door slid open.  B’Elanna whirled around at the sound of the opening door, and Tom Paris walked out wearing nothing but a white towel wrapped around his waist.  His wet hair clung to the side of his forehead.  “B’Elanna,” he gasped, and stopped walking.

    Without saying a word B’Elanna waked over to him and slammed him hard into the wall next to the bathroom, knocking the wind out of him.

    “B’Elanna, what are you doing?” he demanded, fear evident on his face.

    “You couldn’t reply to the message I sent you and tell me you wouldn’t come.  You k’pekt, you think I enjoy wasting my time getting ready, and putting this damn dress on.  Do you know how many replicator rations I had to use to get this dress?” she spat, her face inches away from his.

    “B’Elanna,” Tom began and tried to move away from the wall, but she put a hand on each of his shoulders and held him against the wall.  Her Klingon strength made it impossible for him to get away.  “I don’t know what you are talking about.  I didn’t get any messages.  As soon as I got here from the bridge I got in the shower.”

    “I thought you were a better liar than that Tom Paris.  I know that your shift ended at 1500 hours.  Do you expect me to believe that you were in the shower for over two hours?”

    “B’Elanna, I just got off shift.  I was called to the bridge at 0430 this morning, and just finally got off shift at exactly 1705.  Didn’t you hear about the asteroid field?  You had to of seen it if you looked out any of the view ports.  Who do you think they woke up out of bed to come and fly the ship through it, when it became apparent that Baytart couldn’t avoid hitting enough of them?  I can call Captain Janeway if you’d like, she’ll verify where I was, or you can ask the computer.  And you know, I’m supposed to go to sickbay in about an hour and a half.”

    “Oh,” B’Elanna said sheepishly, she released his shoulders and took a step backwards.  “I’m sorry,” she told him in a softer tone of voice, “I just thought you were trying to avoid me again, by not answering my message.  Why have you been avoiding me?  Is it because of what you said in the shuttle wasn‘t true?”

    “The shuttle,” he repeated, “things are a bit fuzzy B’Elanna, and I don’t remember much until I woke up in sickbay.  I remember we were arguing again, and I told you that I messed up, and that it wasn’t your fault, and then the helm blew.  Did I say something else?”

    “No, not on the Sacajewa.  Do you remember what you told me on the Chamberlain?”

    “The Chamberlain.  I thought they transported us to Voyager from the Sacajewa.”

    “No,” B’Elanna said and looked down at the floor, no longer able to look into his eyes.  “We were out of Voyagers transporter range, so they transported us to the Chamberlain, and then took us to where we would be in transporter range.”

    “Oh.  Wha- what did I say when we were on the Chamberlain?” Tom asked reluctant to hear the answer.

    “Nothing Tom, you don’t have to worry about it,” she turned and started to walk away.  But Tom grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around to face him.

    “If it was nothing you wouldn’t of came here to find out if it was true or not.  That’s what you came here for isn’t it?” when she did not deny it, he continued.  “B’Elanna, please tell me what I said, and I’ll let you know whether or not it was true.” 
    “Tom, you said that you loved me.”

    “Oh, I thought that Harry was making it up, when he told me that I said that.”

    “Did you mean it, Tom?”

    “I- I’m sorry B’Elanna,” he said.  He looked down at his bare feet.  B’Elanna immediately turned and started to walk back towards the doorway. 

    “That’s what I thought,” she said.

    “I’m sorry, B’Elanna.  I know that you could never feel the same way about me.”  B’Elanna stopped, she stood perfectly still with her back towards him.  “I didn’t want to tell you like that, but it is true.”

    “Why did you say it?”

    “I don’t know, I guess I was afraid that I would die, without you knowing how I felt, without you knowing that someone had loved you.”

    “I was scared too,” B’Elanna said, turning to face him.  “I saw you laying on the floor of the Chamberlain.  You were burnt so badly that you were barely recognizable, after you told me, you stopped breathing,” a single tear streamed down her cheek, “I thought you were going to die, Tom.  I care about you so much, I couldn’t bare to lose you.” 

    “It’s ok, I’m here, I’m fine,” Tom assured her and walked across the quarters to stand in front of her.  He then gently put his hand on her cheek and wiped the tear away with his thumb.

    “Tom, why didn’t you want to tell me how you felt?” she asked so quietly that he could barely hear her.
Tom lowered his gaze to again stare at his bare feet, and dropped his hand to his waist.  “Because you’re- I,” he stammered.  “Because I know you don’t feel the same way, and I knew that this would ruin our friendship.”

    “How do you know how I feel about you?” B’Elanna demanded.

    “I overheard you say it.  Remember when I made lunch?  I heard you tell Harry that you could never go out with someone like me especially after what happened on Sakari IV.  And your Klingon honor wouldn’t allow you to waist your time with-”

    “You stupid p’tahk,” B’Elanna spat, and walked over to his desk, where she picked up one the padds that were scattered all over the desk, and hurled it at him.  He quickly ducked and the padd bounced off the wall that she had pinned him against earlier.  Because Tom had turned to look at the now smashed padd lying on the floor, he didn’t see the second padd B’Elanna grabbed, and hurled, until it was too late.  The padd hit him in the face, slicing his left cheek.

    “B’Elanna,” Tom said, his hand automatically rising to cover his wounded cheek. 

    B’Elanna winced at the blood that ran down his cheek.  She grabbed another padd from the desk, and Tom took three steps backwards. 

    “Please B’Elanna, I told you I was sorry, what else do you want?”

    “I want you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.”  She took three steps towards him; she could see the fear in his eyes again, but this time instead of backing away further he took four steps closer to her, closing the gap between them. 

    “B’Elanna,” Tom pleaded, slowly trying to take the padd from her hand, unwilling to take his eyes off of her.

    “You know Tom, if you would have remembered anything from the shuttle; and if you wouldn’t have lost consciousness right after you told me how you felt, you would have heard me tell you that,” she paused and stared up into his eyes “that I love you too.”

    He stared at the engineer.  B’Elanna thought he looked stunned.  “B- But I heard you-”
“No, Tom,” she said, and punched him lightly in the shoulder, “you overheard us talking about Ensign Vorik.  He had asked me out right before lunch.  I love you Tom,” she said. 

    “Vorik,“ Tom smiled, and raised his hand up to caress her cheek again, “I love you,” he smiled, and then leaned forward to gently kiss her lips.

The End

Let me know what you thought, please.  A kind of sequel is in the works, and should soon be posted.