Extreme Close Up: Part 1: Admissions

By Ronda Sexton

Disclaimer: Voyager, it’s characters, and Extreme Risk
belong to Paramount. This story belongs to me.

Thanks to Danger Mom and Marleena for suggestion the
titles I’m using for parts one and two.

Comments are welcome.

B’Elanna sat the plate in the replicator and pressed the
recycle button. The banana pancakes had tasted so good.
She was feeling a little better, but she knew what she had to
do, she had to tell Tom what she had been doing as well.

Chakotay had forced the issue out in the open. She had
admitted her problem to him. Now she had to tell Tom
why she’d been acting so out of character.

She left the mess hall, the warm cozy feeling from the
banana pancakes still lingering deep in her soul. She
walked to the turbolift and requested deck four.

Strolling down the empty corridor, she wondered how
much Tom knew. It was safe to assume the Captain had
talked to both of them. Fear began to rear its ugly head.
Would her actions of the past few weeks cause him to
reject her now? She shook her head and reminded herself
of the tender concern Tom had shown her when she
brought the report to his quarters earlier that week.

It had been so hard to look into those soulful, searching
blue eyes and not tell him what was wrong. A part of her
had warred with herself on whether or not she should tell
him. Now, she would tell him. She suspected he knew the
cause of her distress. Talking with Chakotay had helped,
so maybe talking with Tom would too. The hug and kiss
they’d shared after the Delta Flyer had docked awakened
feelings in her soul that had been cold for far too long.

She pressed the chime on his door. It was late, but she
knew he would not turn her away. The door slid open, and
she saw Tom sitting on the couch in his robe, reading a
report from a PADD.

"B’Elanna, come in," Tom’s face lit up as she walked in
and allowed the door to slide shut behind her. He stood up
and walked over to her. Her expression slowly changed
from a peaceful one to a nervous and slightly troubled one.

"I need to talk to you." she whispered softly. "I need to let
you know what’s been going on, what I’ve been hiding."
She looked down at the floor, unable to face him.

He drew her close in his arms. "Oh, B’Elanna," he hugged
her tightly. "I’m here for you." He led her over the couch
and they sat down. She snuggled against him. Sensing she
wanted to be held, he tightened his arms around her pulling
her closer.

Laying her head on his shoulder, she began speaking softly.

"After Chakotay told me all of our friends in the Maquis
were dead, I found myself growing number and number. I
couldn’t feel anything. That’s why I was running all those
dangerous programs." She looked up at him, her face a
mask of uncertainty. I wanted to feel something so badly
that it seemed to make sense to me that if I felt pain that it
was okay, because at least I could feel something." Her
eyes plead with him to understand. "I wanted to be able
to feel so badly, even pain was better than the.....the
nothingness. I just wanted to feel anything so I would
know I was alive."

He pulled her closer. "I understand, B’Elanna, I’ve been
down that road before myself." He gazed into her soft
brown eyes that were suspiciously moist.

She buried her face in his chest, feeling the warmth and
security of being nestled in his strong, muscular arms once

"It feels so good just to be held by you, Tom," she
whispered softly. It was so wonderful to just be able to feel
again. Tom’s scent was comforting. It was a familiar and
beloved scent she knew so well. It bespoke of love and
warmth. Just as his comforting embrace did.

"I’ll hold you for as long as you want me to, B’Elanna," he
murmured softly, gently stroking her hair. He was so
relieved and happy that she was finally coming out of the
depression enough to talk to others. He had agreed that it
had to be Chakotay who confronted her, since it harkened
back to the loss of her Maquis comrades. He had been her
commander in the Maquis and understood her pain.

She sighed deeply, snuggling even closer to Tom. She
knew in her heart that this was where she truly belonged.
"I want you to hold me all night," she whispered ever so

Tom tightened his arms around her. "I’ll be here," he
assured her.

She gazed up at him, and he noticed the deep fatigue in her
eyes. He knew she be be falling asleep before too long.
The stress of the emotionally charged confrontation with
Chakotay as well as the arduous mission to retrieve
Voyager’s trapped probe had drained her.

He cupped her face gently in his hands. "Why don’t you
get ready for bed. You’re exhausted and need to sleep. I’ll
hold you all night. I promise." He kissed her tenderly.

He saw brief hesitation in her eyes. "If you still need to
talk, we can talk more in bed. You’ll be more comfortable

She nodded slowly. "I’ll change into a gown." Pulling
reluctantly out of his arms, she walked over to his dresser,
pulled a drawer open, and selected one of the satin gowns
he’d given her. This one was the same shade of blue as his
eyses. He had given her seveal satin gowns over the course
of their relationship. Some she kept her in her quarters,
others here in Tom’s quarters, so she would have one no
matter where they spent the night. When their shifts made
spending the night together impossible, she often wore one
to remind herself of him, of his love for her.

By the time she came out of the bathroom, Tom had turned
down the covers, and was laying on his side of the bed.
She walked over and slid under the covers and into his
welcoming arms. He pulled her close, craddling her
against him.

"Tom, why did they have to die?" she asked in a trembling

"B’Elanna, I wish I had an answer for you. In one of my
command classes the instructor told us there were two rules
of warfare that were always consistent. He said, ‘Rule
number one is people die. Rule number two is you cannot
change rule number one.’ They’re deplorable rules, but
they are so true. I’m really sorry you lost your friends,
B’Elanna. I know they were like a family to you."" He
gazed intently at her watery eyes. "We’re your family here
too. We’ll be for you. I’ll be here for you. I love you so
much. I’ll do anything I can to help you heal."

B’Elanna began trembling as tears slid down her face.
Tom held her close and soothed her as she cried. He said
very little, only making soothing noises as he gently held
her and rocked her in his strong, protective arms.

When her tears had finally abated, he gently wiped the tears
off her cheeks and asked, "Are you okay now, B’Elanna?"
His concern for her was flooding her soul with warmth and

"I feel a little better." Her voice held a note of confusion
as if she did not understand why she felt so much better
after she had shed a torrent of tears.

"I’ve found that crying often makes me feel better. It helps
release the pain and tension you have built up inside you,"
explained Tom. "It doesn’t mean you’re weak," he assured

She sighed sleepily and cuddled her face against his chest.
She felt so safe and secure in his arms.

Tom watched as her eyes drifted closed. In a matter of
minutes, sleep had completely claimed her. As he watched
her sleeping in his arms, his mind wandered back to the
first time that he had helped her.................................

Extreme Close Up Part Two: Looking Back

It had been while they were both in the Maquis. They had
been deep in the badlands in the Terikoff Belt. Here in the
midst of swirling plasma storms the crew had found a small
group of planetoids. One Class M planetoid was selected
as a place to build a base camp. The natural beauty of the
planet would make it a peaceful place to use as a retreat.

During a break, Tom and B’Elanna had gone swimming.
She had been underwater for quite some time when he saw
boulders fall. When she didn’t resurface, he had rescued
her and helped her to the shore.......................

Shortly after that incident, he had been captured on a
mission for the Maquis. During the time he was
incarcerated in the penal colony he thought of her and
prayed that she was all right.

Their next meeting had been when they were escaping the
Ocampan world. She had been covered with horrendous
growths. His new found friend, Harry, was in equally bad
condition. Fortunately, mused Tom, the EMH had been
able to heal them both. He had never imagined at the time
that they were about to become stranded in the Delta

Sighing, he stared down at B’Elanna who was sleeping
peacefully in his arms. They had both come a long way
from that fateful day the Captain had destroyed the
Caretaker’s array. From fellow crewmembers, to friends,
to lovers. More and more memories of their journey flowed
through his mind.

The first time she was in Sandrines on the holodeck, she
had declared him a pig. This was right after one of the
holographic pool sharks he’d programmed had hit on her.
That had troubled him, because he had wanted her to like
him. He had so few friends among the crew at that time,
and something about her drew him to her.

As time passed, they worked together as members of the
Senior Staff. They got along reasonably well. Then, they
were captured by the Vidiians. Those bastards had split
B’Elanna into two separate people. One wholly human, the
other wholly Klingon. He had seen her human half in the
barracks. It was the vulnerable side of her he’d always
sensed existed somewhere just below the surface of her
turbulent personality. By this time, he’d already fallen
hopelessly in love with her. He had done everything in his
power to help and protect her. He felt her pain as she
watched her Klingon self die before her eyes. He visited
her in sickbay over the course of the days it had taken Doc
to reintegrate her Klingon DNA back into her physiology.
She accepted his comfort, as she had down in the Vidiian
prison. The experience had strengthened the bonds of their

Tom smiled as he recalled how their working relationship
had improved afterwards. He had even begun to hope at
that point that maybe one day she would return his love for

He fought back laughter as he recalled the distortion ring.
He did not want his laughter to awaken her. She needed
this peaceful sleep. The distortion ring had been anything
but a laughing matter at the time. However, in retrospect,
the funnier parts, such as the crewman’s quarters suddenly
be moved to where opening a door in engineering had
displayed him in his shorts. It had been troubling at the
time that she had sought out Chakotay instead of himself.
He now realised though, it was spiritual guidance she’d
sought from Chakotay as he was trying to contact his spirit
guide. He now realized, perhaps she had sought to contact
her spirit guide as well.

The next memory to surface in his mind as he watched her
sleeping was that of the Pralor Automated Personal Units.
They had found one. When its ship had been located, Unit
6263, whose life she’d saved kidnapped her. In order to
save Voyager, she had to build other robots. When they
tried to rescue her the Pralor vessel fired upon them.
However, when the Cravic ship attacked the Pralor vessel,
he had managed to fly a shuttle in close enough to save her.

Tom smiled at the memory. So many times, he’d managed
to pull off the most dangerous missions and still beat the
odds by making it back alive. He had put his life on the
line for others so often, that the crew’s attitude had
changed towards him. He was no longer the rejected
troubled, outcast, but regarded as one of Voyager’s most
trustworthy officers.

One of the most conflicted memories was that of his ill
fated Warp 10 flight. Harry and B’Elanna had worked with
him to try to find a way in which to break the transwarp
barrier. Once they had succeeded in the simulations, he
had made the first test flight. After he had returned to
Voyager, B’Elanna had rushed into Sickbay bursting with
enthusiasm, telling him it had been a success. Her glowing
face had meant as much as the flight had. They had truly
become friends by this time. The changes that occurred in
him afterwards had not been pleasant. He had vague
memories of B’Elanna with him in the mess hall after he’d
collapsed. Later Harry had told him how B’Elanna had
cried and cried in the shuttle after he had *died.*

Tom grinned. As one person of the 20th Century had been
known to comment, reports of his death had been greatly
exaggerated. However, what he had changed into was so
far from who Tom Paris had been.........he closed his eyes,
willing himself to bury the memory away again.

Slowly another memory surfaced. Another somewhat
painful one. The Captain and Tuvok wanted him to go
undercover. He was to play the role of a malcontent. Tom
had hated having to do this. All the hard won respect he
had earned had flown right out the nacelles. People began
talking about him. As he worked with B’Elanna to find a
way to stop the Dreadnaught torpedo, she had questioned
him about his behavior. It had pained him deeply to have
to lie to her. He saw the care and concern in her eyes, but
he could not forsake his mission, Captain Janeway was
counting on him. Someone on Voyager was relaying
information to Seska and the Kazon. It put them all in
extreme danger. Knowing that he probably would not
survive this mission, it made it even harder to keep the
truth from her. The most painful moment was leaving
Voyager. Only Kes, Neelix, and Harry were there to see
him off. He had left the ship that day, knowing he might
never see his friends again.

Tom shook his head, as he recalled the mission. Somehow,
he had managed to beat death again. His apology to the
crew had been met with open arms. At his Welcome Back
party that Neelix had insisted on throwing, everyone was
quick to let him know that all was forgiven. B’Elanna
spoke with him and apologized for not seeing him off. She
admitted it had been cowardice on her part, fearing she
would break down and cry.

Their next reunion, after yet another one of his brushes
with death, had occurred after he’d rescued he crew from
the planet the Kazon had stranded them on. She had told
him then, that he had to be the luckiest person in the
universe, because he always managed to survive.

Gazing at B’Elanna, the woman he loved with all his heart
and soul, he knew he was the luckiest person in the
universe, not because he’d survived so many life
threatening missions, but because she loved him.

His thoughts drifted to the first time he had asked her to
join him on the holodeck. It had been just prior to the
attack on their shuttle by the Swarm. She had turned him
down. His heart had sank when she said she’d rather take
her chances with Freddie Bristow.

Despite her turning him down at that point, their friendship
had continued on a fairly even keel. Then Neelix announced
plans for a luau. He had hoped to spend time with her at
the luau. These plans were disrupted by Vorik, who had
taken the liberty of reserving a table near a view B’Elanna

A dark expression flitted across his face as he recalled the
trouble Vorik had later caused them. He had decided
B’Elanna would be the right mate for him. B’Elanna
declined his offer. Vorik had tried to force a bond with her
anyway. She hadn’t mentioned it at the time. As they had
prepared to leave for their mission to mine galactic, he had
noticed her personality was a little more Klingon than
usual. He had attributed it to her enthusiasm for the
mission. However, when she bit him on the cheek, he
knew something was drastically wrong. Vorik’s attempt at
bonding had caused her to have Pon Farr. Rejecting her
repeated advances was the only thing he could do. There
was no way he would take advantage of her in that
condition. Then, when getting her back to Voyager no
longer became an option due to communications being out,
Tuvok had told him he had to *help* her or she would die.
There were no options left. He had gone to her, she
proceeded to lead him to a secluded area, and just as they
were starting, Vorik had ripped him away from her. When
Vorik had declared his intentions to fight for B’Elanna, he
had been ready to rip that Vulcan bastard apart with his
bare hands. To his surprise, B’Elanna took Vorik’s
challenge herself. Tom had watched with concern as she
fought with Vorik. Finally, after she had struck Vorik
down, she staggered over to Tom and collapsed into his arms.
Tom had held her and soothed her until they were safe on Voyager.

Tom shook his head as he recalled the days that they had
avoided each other. Eventually, they ended up on the same
lift. He stopped the lift and tried to talk to her about what
had happened. When he saw that she was not ready, he
dropped the issue. Much to his surprise, as he’d exited the
lift she’d told him to be careful what he wished for.

They had become a little more friendly after that. Then the
Doctor had augmented his program to enhance his
personality. Instead of enhancing it, he developed an evil
twisted personality, who had paralyzed B’Elanna. It had
been devastating for Tom to see her in that condition.
Never had he been so relieved for his medic training with
the Doctor.

Another memory surfaced. A memory of finding her
reading a Klingon romance. He had taken it away from
her, telling her maybe it would give him ideas on how to
make her heart quicken. She in turn had told him she
couldn’t promise she wouldn’t put a dagger in his throat.
That was also another time he’d almost died. He soberly
recalled the lecture the Doctor had given him, and how
he’d discovered that the Doctor’s daughter was going to
die. That was one time he did not get perturbed with Do
for his usual lecture.

He was enjoying this trip down memory lane. He glanced
at the chronometer and saw it was still too early to go to
sleep. B’Elanna was so exhausted from the rigors of her
day, that he doubted she’d wake until the morning. He
gently brushed a strand of hair out of her face. Her cheek
felt so good nestled against his chest. It had been so long
since they had true intimacy. He would stay here with her
and hold her. The report he had been reading was a routine
one. Since they would both be off duty tomorrow he’d read
it then. He allowed his mind to drift back down memory

The lost bet, now there was a good one. He had managed
to get B’Elanna to bet with him about a repair. He had
turned out to be right, and she would have to do a Klingon
program on the holodeck with him. It had not worked out
as well as he had hoped it would. She was not happy with
him. He had even accused her of being hostile. The
evening had not gone as he had hoped. Then, in the midst
of their argument, an alien appeared. He was an elderly
man, and he was extremely frightened.

Tom frowned. It had seemed so innocent at first when the
aliens started to appear, then it became too frequent to be
anything but deliberate. Finally, all the Voyager crew had
been placed in the habitat ship. As B’Elanna tried to rig
Dock’s holoemitter to allow him to find portals, he had
come per the Captain’s request, to check on her progress.
As they tried to apologize to the each other, Doc had put his
two strips worth in, and before he knew what happened,
they were snapping at each other again. Shortly thereafter,
as they entered the portal of the ship, they were sent to
explore one section and they had
become trapped in the ice world of the habitat ship. In that
place, they had depended solely on each other to survive
until the Captain managed to translocate them back to their
habitat. They had made quite a sight. Standing there in
each others arms. At the same time, the Captain had begun
translocating the Nyrians into the ice world habitat. Surrender
quickly became the Nyrians only option. Later on, while
they relaxed on the resort, they managed to set things right
between the two of them.

Shortly after that, mused Tom to himself, he had yet again
cheated death. This time B’Elanna and the Captain had
fought against time and a vengeful holographic Seska to
save him as well as Tuvok. Finally, Tuvok pulled off the
saving trick by arranging a phase rifle malfunction prior to
giving it back to Seska. B’Elanna had checked on him later
that evening to make sure he was all right. They had spent
the evening working on an outline for a detective story as
she had suggested over dinner.

Then, came the day they had all been dreading. They had
entered Bog space. There they met species 8472. It had
been a trying time for all of them. Then when they’d
finally rotten 8472 to go back to where they belonged, they
lost Keeps. However, as a final gift to them, she had
somehow flung them beyond the reaches of *Bog Space.*

In the relative calm that had followed, B’Elanna had asked
him to help her design a program for the Klingon Day of
Honor. Together they had built a very realistic program.
However, when he asked her how it went, they ended up in
yet another fight. Then, they were assigned to work
together with the de-borgized drone Seven of Nine to try to
open a transwarp conduit. At the same time, the Caatati had
contacted Voyager for help. Since their world had been
destroyed by the Borg, B’Elanna was even more annoyed at
having to work with Seven.

Tom recalled how the transwarp conduit experiment had
turned into a dismal failure. They had ended up ejecting
the core. He and B’Elanna were still at odds with each
other. In spite of that, the Captain had sent them to go
retrieve the core in a shuttle. The anger and tension
between them seemed to melt away as they worked
together to find the core. They weren’t the first ones to
find it. The Caatati were trying to retrieve it as well. In their
efforts to stop them, the shuttle was destroyed. They’d
barely had time to beam out in environmental suits before
it blew up. There in drifting in space with their oxygen
slowly running out, B’Elanna had startled him by declaring
her love for him. He had been so stunned that the only
thing he could say was that she’d picked a fine time to tell
him. Voyager had rescued them just before the oxygen was
completely depleted...........................

Tom marvelled for a moment at the many times he’d
managed to cheat death. He hadn’t really realised how
many times he’d cheated death until he’d begun this trip
down memory lane.

After avoiding each other for three days after they had been
retrieved from the vacuum of space, he stopped her after
Tuvok’s promotion ceremony. He’d given her a chance to
bow out, to be sure she had meant what she said. When
she confirmed she had meant it, he was elated. Then
B’Elanna had started to say that she did not expect him to
return her feelings, and that they should forget the whole
thing. He quieted her evasions by kissing there in the
corridor. The Doctor’s untimely interruption had allowed
her to slip away before Tom could tell her how much he
loved her too.

He shuddered as he thought how close he’d come to losing
her that same day. An isomorphic projection had put out a
distress call. All the crew on his ship were dead. He’d
neglected to say they were dead by his hand. He’d become
quite unstable and had tried to kill B’Elanna as well. She
was able to deactivate him permanently just in time.

He and Do had worked feverishly to repair the damage to
her heart. Fortunately, due to the Doctor’s skill and Tom’s
able assistance, B’Elanna was given a clean bill of health.
There in sickbay in front of the Doctor, she’d invited him
to her quarters.

They met later that evening. She had replicated a light
meal for them. They talked about Harry and Seven,
B’Elanna and the Doctor’s experience with the psychotic
isomorphic projection, and finally about them. They both
wanted to pursue a relationship. She had wanted to keep it
a secret. Tom understood her insecurities well enough to
agree. They had also made love for the first time that
night. It had also been that night he told her he loved her.
The glow of joy in her eyes when he told her was
something he would never forget for as long as he lived.

Tom sighed deeply. It had been a marvellous experience.
B’Elanna’s shy admission that she was a virgin had caused
him to hesitate and ask her if she was sure she was ready
for the step they were about to take. She assured him that
she was, and he had made love to her tenderly and gently,
wanting her first experience with love making to be as
fulfilling as possible.

After that, they couldn’t seem to get enough of each other.
They did a lot of sneaking around, catching kisses on the
sly, and even necking in the shuttle bay and in the Jeffrey
Tubes. They thought they were being careful not to get
caught. Unbeknownst to them, over half the ship was
gossiping about them. Though no one dared mention it in
front of them, as B’Elanna still possessed a temper to be
reckoned with.

Things got dicey when the aliens began their experiments
on the crew. The Doctor had concluded that they had
received their implants when Tom met B’Elanna in the
Jeffrey’s Tube. The Doctor’s expression had let them
know he hadn’t appreciated Tom’s fabrication of delivering
a helm report.

It made sense, Tom thought, that it had happened at that
time. Otherwise, they would have never been making out
at her upper workstation in engineering. Getting caught by
Tuvok was almost as bad as getting caught by your parents.
The lecture from the Captain had not been pleasant either.
The only positive outcome as far as Tom was concerned
was with everyone knowing about their relationship, there
was not need to hide it.

He smile as he remembered the dinner they had shared in
his quarters when it was all over. First engineering had
interrupted, then Harry, but at last they were left to
themselves. That night had been another night of sweet,
tender lovemaking.

Another memory, this one no so pleasant, floated to the
surface. When her violent thoughts,* held to be a crime on
the Marie homeward, were to be removed with an
engramatic purge, he’d almost lost his mind. He had
begged the Captain and Chakotay to do something.
Chakotay had been more sympathetic, and told Tom if he
could come up with a reasonable plan, that he’d present it
to the Captain for Tom. Fortunately, Tuvok’s investigation
had uncovered evidence of the true criminal just as they
were beginning the procedure on B’Elanna.

Tom had hated not being able to be in sickbay as the
Doctor had treated her, but he had to take Voyager out of
orbit of that damn planet. He still wished he could lob a
few photons at them for the manner in which they had
treated B’Elanna. Later, she joined him in his quarters for
a quiet supper. He’d admitted hesitantly that he’d gotten
her a gift. He quickly assured her that if she did not want a
gift from the Mari homeworld, that he would understand
and dispose of it.

He smiled as he recalled her reply that what mattered was it
was a gift from him, and she would not be upset that he’d
gotten it on the Mari homeworld. She had loved the unique
sculpture he had chosen for her.

As he lay holding her in his arms, she slept ever so soundly.
It was not the restless sleep that he noted the few times they
had spent the night together in the past few weeks. He was
certain she was on her way to recovering from the
depression the loss of her friends had put her in.

Later on, when they rotated on shifts, and he was working
Alpha shift while she worked beta shift, it had gotten very
hard to see each other. About the same time the strange
aliens he still thought of as the dream land aliens, had
nearly completely disabled all of them permanently. After
that experience, they’d spent time on the holodeck in a
Tahiti simulation. B’Elanna had chosen it. Since it was a
private program for the two of them, she wore a very
skimpy bikini. Just thinking about that adventure still
made his pulse pound.

Their relationship had gone on with no problems until they
had gotten letters from the alien relay system. Tom was, at
first, sure he would not get a letter. When one started
coming through, B’Elanna had called him down from the
bridge. He had been reluctant to go. His attitude had been
lousy till he found out about her friends in the Maquis
being slaughtered. He had comforted her the best he could.

Tom recalled the sympathy she’d given him later that
evening when his letter was lost. They had gone to
Neelix’s party, then back to her quarters. They simply held
each other that night. Comforting and receiving comfort in
the arms of the one they loved.

He winced as he recalled the Hirogen taking over the ship.
He could only remember the battle and coming to
awareness in the World War II simulation. Seeing a very
pregnant B’Elanna had also shaken him up considerably.
Somehow that possibility had never occurred to him. He
had never thought about her getting pregnant.

Other things began closing in on at the same time. All his
duties seemed dull and uninteresting. He had been doing
the same thing for so long. Shore leave was a rare event on
Voyager. He began to realize his life lacked challenge.

In response to all that had happened since they had first
encountered the Hirogen, he’d begun to retreat into
himself. He had started spending hours on the holodeck.
When the opportunity came to work on Steth’s ship, he
jumped at it. Somehow understanding what was wrong
with Tom, Chakotay had given him permission to help
Steth. Then, things all changed when Steth decided to
change places with him.

Tom smiled ruefully. Nothing like nearly losing all you
had to make you really appreciate it. The time he and
B’Elanna spent on the holodeck in his Camaro had been
wonderful. They had finished making up in his quarters.
He’d used quite a few replicator rations and replicated her
a indigo blue gown made out of satin. He loved the way it
looked on her. The color and fit were perfect for her.

His mind continued to wander. He recalled the Demon
class planet they had visited. Copies of the crew now
existed on the planet. B’Elanna had been uncertain at first,
but when she looked into the pleading eyes of the other
Tom. Who had all the same memories and feelings her
Tom had, she couldn’t turn down his request. Later that
evening in her quarters, they had talked further about the
lifeforms that shared their appearances.

He grimaced as he thought about the time they had spent in
stasis. He hated the thought of it even now. Their last
night, they had made love feverishly and passionately.
Then, the next morning they had gone into stasis.

After they were released, Harry’s teasing made B’Elanna
wonder why Tom was so nervous about being placed in
stasis. She asked him about it later that evening in his
quarters. He haltingly told her about how his father had
accidentally locked him in a closet when he was three. The
locking mechanism had jammed when his father had
hastily tried to open it upon realizing Tom was still inside.
It had taken over two hours to get Tom out. His father had
felt really bad about the incident, and did his best to
console and comfort him. The trauma from that incident
had left him with a fear of small enclosed areas. B’Elanna
had been so understanding........

He felt anger at himself rise up. B’Elanna had been there
for him, yet he’d been unable to help her. He took a deep
breath to calm himself. He did not want to wake B’Elanna
up. She desperately needed this rest. She was finally
reaching out to him again and that was all that really
mattered right now. She was willing to let him help her.
He glanced down at her face. She looked so peaceful now.
Her apathetic expression had seemingly melted away,
leaving her expression just as it had been before she
received word of the demise of her Maquis friends.

He thought about the discussions they had over the
possibility of going home when the message was
unscrambled by the alien. She seemed very non-committal
about the entire idea. In fact, when he thought about it,
that was when she had begun withdrawing from him and
from everything else she enjoyed. Not a complete
withdrawal, but it had begun there. He now realized that
going home, when all the Maquis had been slaughtered,
had been more than she could cope with. When the ship
turned out to be a ruse, she seemed almost relieved.

Not long after that, they’d entered the void. They had
begun playing game after game of Derata. Bickering had
become commonplace. Tom saw her withdrawing more
and more, and did not know what to do. When they were
on the holodeck together, she chose the most physically
challenging programs she could find. While safeties
prevented serious injuries, they did not prevent them from
feeling some pain from the Klingon painsticks. It hurt him
to think that the times she’d gone to the holodeck alone
she’d been running programs with no safeties on. The pain
and injuries she had gone through were heart rending.

Things did not improve when they left the void after being
in it for two months. Now, he knew why. When she’d
brought the report to him in his quarters, he’d hoped she
would stay. He saw a longing in her eyes when she took
his hands into hers. He was not certain, but felt she’d
wanted to tell him then. Fear had won out over the longing
and she’d left. He’d come to realize early on in the
beginning of their journey that pushing her when she
wasn’t ready for something did much more harm than

The discussion with the Captain and Chakotay had been
difficult. He hated to admit she had not confided in him.
The Captain had them go through her holodeck programs.
Tom’s heart felt so heavy as he saw program after program
of high risk activities which had been run with no safeties
on. Chakotay had assured him it was not his fault. They’d
both agreed that Chakotay should be the one to confront

He’d been so pleased when she joined them on the shuttle
mission. If it had not been for her, they’d have never made
it back alive. They had shared a quick hug and kiss, then
after the probe was beamed from the shuttle to engineering,
she and her team had gone to work on it.

Finally, she had come to him. He was so happy that she was letting him
in. He realized how deeply it must have hurt her when he had shut her
He vowed that from here on out, he would do his very best to never hurt
again. He stared at her lovely face. She was in a deep sleep. He
his eyes and drifted off to sleep, knowing that he’d awaken in the
with the woman he loved in his arms once more.

Extreme Close Up Part 3: From This Day Forward

Tom woke up first the next morning. B'Elanna was still nestled in his
arms. He smile at the peaceful expression on her face. He was
certain that she was going to be all right now. He resisted the urge
to kiss her, not wanting to awaken her. She needed the sleep very

He lay quietly, watching her sleep as he had last night, While
memories of her had coursed through his mind. She was the one he
wanted and loved. He was so happy that she'd come to him last night.
He had missed the simple joy of falling asleep with her in his arms.

She began to stir in his arms, and slowly woke up. Seeing Tom's
handsome blue eyes gazing lovingly upon her, she tenderly kissed him.
As she kissed him, she felt the sweet joy of love and belonging begin
to flood her soul. She wanted to make love with him. The physical
encouters they'd shared in the past few weeks could not truly be
called love making. It would have been more accurate to call them
sex. For she had been in a quest to feel something as she initated
the encounters. This morning however, she felt the glow of her love
for Tom encompass her. She wanted the sweet, tender love making that
they both knew so well. Her very soul ached with the love that she
needed to express to Tom. He'd been so patient with during her
depression. She wanted to let him feel her renewed love for him.

"Tom," she whispered in a soft, gentle tone. "I want us to make love
this morning." Her eyes glowed at him, expressing her love and
feelings as her hands began to gently caress his chest.

"B'Elanna," sighed Tom. "I want to make love with you so much." He
paused, and tenderly stroked her cheek.

She smiled and kissed him again, allowing her tongue to brush his lips
enticingly. His lips parted and her tongue met his as their kiss
turned into gentle, loving exploration.

Her hands slid under his tee shirt and caressed his chest enticingly,
causing him to groan. He slowly slid her gown up and off her body.
They completely gave themselves over to each

Afterwards, Tom replicated breakfast for both of them. They lay close
together in bed, feeding each other pancakes.

"Tom," began B'Elanna softly. "I don't want us to ever shut each
other out again."

He pulled her closer. "I don't want that to happen either, B'Elanna.
I should have known something was wrong the way nothing seemed to
matter to you anymore."

She cuddled her head into his shoulder. "The only other time that
I'd felt that lost and alone was when my father left me." She closed
her eyes against stinging tears that threatened to pour out.

Tom stroked her cheek gently. "The only way you'll ever lose me is
when I die. With my track record for survival, that'll be a long
time." He chuckled and continued, "Last night while I held you, I was
recalling things that have happened since we were brought to the Delta
Quadrant. I have been in more accidents than any other crew member on

She gave him an evil simle. "You need to be more careful all the
same, Tom. If you aren't, I may just decide to go Klingon on you the
next time you pull one of those dangerous stunts you're so famous
for." She kissed him tenderly.

Tom smiled, "Sounds like it could be fun."

She poked him in the ribs. "I mean it, Tom. Your risky behaviors
aren't that different from what I was doing on the holodeck. You
don't have to *earn* the crew's respect, you already have it. You've
saved us countless times."

Tom blushed as the truth of her words sank in. "I promise you, my
love, I'll be more careful in the future. Sometimes, though, I'll
have to take risky missions, it's part of being a Starfleet officer."

"I know," she answered softly. "I just don't want to lose you. I
love you too much for that to happen."

"I love you too, B'Elanna. I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost

She kissed him again. Everytime Tom verbally expressed his love for
her, she felt a glow of joy flood her soul. For so long, she feared
that she was unloveable. Yet Tom, who could have his choice of women
on the ship chose to love her. With his loving help, she knew she
could face up to the loss of her friends. With him at her side she
could do anything.

The End.