Chasing Shadows
By Sirap

Part One: Into Thin Air

"Come on, B’Elanna, it will be fun."

She barely heard Harry pleading with her, she wasn't paying any attention to him.

She was watching the couple in the corner. Tucked away in the far side of the mess hall talking discreetly.

Tom Paris and Alex Monroe.

"B’Elanna!" Harry cried in exasperation.

B’Elanna quickly returned her attention to the ensign across from her. "Yes?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Shore leave. Are you coming with me?"

B’Elanna crinkled her nose in disgust, "I don't know Harry, I don't trust those Dasavons, they give me the creeps."

"Yow shouldn't judge on looks, B’Elanna," Harry chided. "Besides, Tom will be there."

B’Elanna's eyes quickly snapped back to Harry's. "Tom's going?"

Harry smiled at his victory. "Of course. The transporter room, Oh eight hundred hours?"

B’Elanna smiled. "You know what, Starfleet? I'll be there."

* * * *

B’Elanna hurried down the hall. She was more excited about visiting Dasavon than she would admit. It had been a long time since she'd done something with just her, Harry and Tom.

But when the transporter room doors opened, the first person she saw was Ensign Alexandra Monroe.

"Finally," Tom said with false exasperation. "Now we can get down to the planet."

"Actually, I can't go," B’Elanna blurted before she could stop herself. "Something came up in Engineering."

Tom narrowed his eyes, "Really?"

B’Elanna smiled falsely, "You know how I am about my engines."

"Are you sure?" Harry asked. He seemed concerned.

B’Elanna nodded and watched them dematerialize.

"Problems in engineering, huh?" a voice said from behind her.

B’Elanna twirled around, "Chakotay!" she exclaimed in surprise.

"What was that about? I was in Engineering, Carey said everything was at optimal efficiency."

B’Elanna's eyes began to cloud with misdirected rage, "I just didn't feel like going, okay?" she growled.

"No it's not," he shot back. "You've missed the last two shore leaves. You need a break."

B’Elanna lowered her head, "I've been busy, Chakotay." she started.

"Why don't you come with me?" he interrupted. "We can talk."

B’Elanna sighed. That was the last thing she wanted to do. If she got started talking she just might end up telling Chakotay more than she wanted him to know. But seeing the resolve in his eyes she knew he wouldn't take no for an answer.

"Fine," she snapped, sounding less than happy. "But I don't want to be gone all night."

"Don't worry, Torres," Chakotay smiled. "I'll have you home by ten."

* * * *

Tom slumped in the patio chair. Here he was on a beautiful planet, at a café over looking the vast purple ocean of Dasavon with two of his closest friends and he couldn't seem to enjoy himself.

"Are you alright, Tom?" Alex asked softly.

Tom ignored her question. "Did B’Elanna seem to be acting strangely to you?" he asked sitting up in the chair.

Alex shrugged and Harry laughed nervously, "You know how she is about staying away from her engines for too long." Harry said.

Tom shook his head, "No, that was just a cover," he said.

"I think you're reading too much into this," Harry said quietly.

Tom turned his eyes back to the violet waters, he watched as the waves crashed against the rocks.

He wished he could tell B’Elanna the truth about him. He hides things from her, from all of them and they noticed it. They could sense his distance.

Lately B’Elanna had been acting strangely around him, but not if they were alone, only if Alex was with them. He guessed it had to do with what she had walked in on the previous month. He wanted to fix their relationship but didn't know how to explain away what had happened without uncovering the truth about his past.

Tom and Alex were just friends, but ever since Harry and B’Elanna had caught them in a rather compromising position, everyone believed they were a couple. Including B’Elanna, hence the problem. B’Elanna, like Alex was just Tom's friend, but it was different between them. It was like they had an unspoken agreement that someday they would become more.

"Come on, Tom. Lighten up," Alex smiled. "It's a glorious day and we only have two more hours of time left before we need to return to Voyager."

Tom smiled half-heartedly, "You're right, I'm sorry. So where did you say you wanted to go next?"

"The beach!" Alex exclaimed, and Tom and Harry smiled at her enthusiasm.

* * * *

B’Elanna and Chakotay walked slowly through one of the planets many gorgeous gardens.

"Do you hear that?" B’Elanna asked suddenly.

"What?" Chakotay asked, bemused.

"That noise," she growled impatiently. "It sounds like some kind of transmition frequency."

Chakotay gave an all-suffering sigh, "Don't you ever relax?"

B’Elanna motioned for him to be quiet as she strained to find the source of the faint noise. B’Elanna moved over to one of the flowerbeds and leaned in, pulling something out of her pocket.

"You brought a tricorder?" Chakotay asked incredulously when he saw what it was. "This is shore leave, not a survey mission."

B’Elanna again motioned for him to be quiet and fiddled with the instrument in her hands. "It is a transmition!" B’Elanna cried, her eyes gleaming. "It's coming from the flower."

Chakotay narrowed his eyes and looked at the small violet daisy to which she was referring. "The flower." He echoed, his voice was laced with disbelief but she ignored him.

"I think I can decode it," she mused. "Three.two.eighty.Chakotay! I think these are coordinates. Chakotay?" When she got no response she looked up from her tricorder.

Chakotay was gone. He'd disappeared into thin air.

Before she could react, something connected with the back of her head and her consciousness faded into velvety blackness.