Title: Picture Imperfect
Contact: Sanssong@msn.com
Rating: PG
Code: P/T
Date: 06/11/00
Original Post: 06/11/00

Set after "Muse" when B’Elanna returns to Voyager she is unaware that her neural chemistry has been  altered by the planet’s atmosphere.  It has some interesting and unexpected side effects…

Disclaimer:  Paramount and Star Trek Voyager own the ship and the characters, I just ask them over to play  from time to time.

 Picture Imperfect
 By Suzanne Terri

"B'Elanna Torres, half Klingon, half human", shimmered into the transporter room, arms upraised, smiling. Now that was an exit!  She only hoped it would impact the local warlord enough to end the fighting and squabbling that existed between him and his neighboring states. B'Elanna would never know one way or the  other and supposed she would have to be happy with the knowledge that she at least tried to help.

Lowering her arms it finally occurred to her how tired she was.
Running on adrenaline can only last so long before your body just quits and hers was defiantly raising the  white flag.  She wanted a hot shower, dinner and Tom Paris for desert.

Watching her materialize, Tom realized that he too was feeling the strains of too little sleep and not enough food. His smile of greeting was warm, but tired.  The downing of the Flyer and subsequent loss of his two best friends had caused him to spend the last two weeks in worried, sleepless, anxiety eating away at him until he thought he'd go mad.  There was every possibility that they were hopelessly lost or worse, dead.  In vain he had lobbied Captain Janeway for permission to set out in a shuttle himself and look for them, but in the end she would not let him take the risk.  So, Tom was left powerless to do anything but wait and hope.

He tried desperately not to think about the fate of B'Elanna and Harry, because if he were to dwell on them very long, he knew he would be completely debilitated.

He actually had a recurring nightmare in which he watched B'Elanna die.  Upon her passing he would feel lost, desperate, angry and in all the ways that counted he felt his life was over.  He'd had *that* one a lot lately.  He often did when B'Elanna went on away missions without him.

It might not appear to the casual observer, but Ensign Tom Paris depended deeply on those he cared about and if they were to suddenly be taken from him, his heart would not survive it.  Sometimes he thought he'd cease to exist if anything ever happened to B'Elanna.  Loving her had saved him from so many things...

Tom's reunion with Harry had been warm and jovial.  Tom had said something about letting him drive next time and Harry laughed agreeing readily.  They barely had time to say hello, before Harry was ordered to sickbay.  That left Tom to welcome B'Elanna alone, which was just fine with him.


As Tom gazed upon her now he owned the truth that even tired and disheveled, he found B'Elanna beautiful. She was wearing what looked to be a brown cleric's coat made from rough spun wool or cotton.  There was an old bruise above her right eye, her hair was in disarray and she wore only the gray tunic and black pants of her Starfleet uniform.  The oversized cloak together with the gray's and blacks of her uniform worked together to give her a mysteriously wise aura- not unlike that of an ancient magician.

Underneath the voluminous cloak, he could just make out the soft curve of her breasts.  Tom wanted to loose himself there...but that would have to wait until later.  Right now he was so glad to see her that all he wanted to do was hold her.

With Captain Janeway's permission Ensign Paris had cleared transporter room two of all personnel, preferring to operate the transporter controls himself.  Tom knew that they would never enjoy a
proper "hello" unless they were alone.  B'Elanna was an extremely private person and felt uncomfortable expressing her inmost feeling when others were present.

B'Elanna wore an enigmatic smile as she appeared on the transporter pad, but it was quickly replaced by one of joyous relief the moment she spotted Tom standing in front of her.

God, it was good to see him!

B'Elanna's feelings might not be evident to all, but that didn't mean she didn't possess them in abundance. Upon realizing that she and Tom were alone, she immediately launched herself at him.  As it happened she collided into and already moving Tom Paris, impacting him with more force than she had intended.  B'Elanna nearly knocked them both to the floor, but instead Tom used the momentum to sweep her up in a dizzying turn ending only when he stopped to kiss her.

Depositing her to the floor, Tom grabbed her head between his hands and kissed his love with passionate abandon.  B'Elanna responded in kind nearly forgetting that they were still in the transporter room and not their quarters.

"Doctor to Ens. Paris."  The voice said, breaking into their private moment together.  Tom had forgotten that  earlier today the EMH had asked him to escort B'Elanna to sickbay the minute she arrived on board.  But, still  he was more than a little annoyed that their reunion had been interrupted. Sighing loudly, Tom broke their embrace.

"Yes, Doctor?" Tom looked toward that mysterious place in the ceiling where comm voices seemed to emanate.

"Has Lt. Torres returned from the planet surface yet?" the EMH asked, a bit annoyed himself.

Tom was tempted to lie in order to have B'Elanna to himself a little longer, but instead he surrendered to the inevitable.

"Yes, as a matter of fact she just got here."  Smiling down at B'Elanna, he hugged her to him again and kissed her ridged forehead.

"Well then, Mr. Paris, please have her report to sickbay- as I asked you to earlier.  Doctor out." "Well," B'Elanna said smiling back at him putting her finger to his lips,  "I guess this will have to wait."

"As always," Tom sighed.

Drawing a finger across his cheek, she quirked a mischievous smile. "You could come along- so that when I'm finished we can say hello... properly..."

"It's possible," Tom said grinning back at her.

"Great, let's go!"  B'Elanna stepped out of his arms and started for the door, but Tom stopped her before she got too far and turned her back to face him.

"Hey," he said softly, "welcome back, I really missed you."

"Yeah, me too," her heart did a flip as she looked into crystal clear blue eyes.  Two weeks was a long time. B'Elanna needed to get him alone-- as soon as possible. "Come on helm-boy, the sooner we get there, the sooner we can leave!"

Tom dazzled her with a roguish grin that warmed her in all the right places. "Yes, ma'am."


As Tom and B'Elanna exited sickbay three hours later, both were more than a little frustrated.  The EMH had insisted on running one test after another when he discovered B'Elanna had some anomalous neural
readings.  Finally loosing her patience, an exhausted Lt. Torres had declared that if her condition were not life threatening, she was retiring to her quarters- now!

Doc looked to Paris, who silently indicated that pushing her now was not wise. Doc nodded in agreement. There really was nothing more he could do at the moment and the anomalies did not appear to jeopardize her health in any way.  So the EMH released her on the condition that she'd return first thing in the morning for more tests.  B'Elanna agreed and Tom even promised to escort her there himself.  With that settled they left.

Tom had assisted the EMH for most of the tests that were administered to B'Elanna but when he was idle, he began to notice a
strange 'tickling' in the back of his mind.  Names and faces of people he had never met flashed through his brain.  <I must be so tired that I'm hallucinating>, he thought to himself at the time.

He had seen a young man with dark hair and eyes the color of B'Elanna's wearing a cloak just like the one she'd had on in the transporter room, only his was white.

He had given himself a mental slap; wake up Paris you're loosing it! By the time they were ready to leave sickbay he was completely fatigued from fighting away the mental images.

As the two of them were walking down the corridor, suddenly Tom stopped in mid stride as voices began to accompany the images he was seeing. He was surprised to learn that one of the voices belonged to B'Elanna and what he heard didn't thrill him.

*** "Stay," the young man implored.

"I can't," B'Elanna, countered, her voice filled with- regret?

"I need you," the young man pleaded.    ***

That was the extent of the memory, but it was enough to ignite the powder keg of emotion Tom had held in check for two weeks.

B'Elanna came to a halt as well.  Sensing something was wrong she turned to face him.

"Who is Kelis?" Tom asked in irritation.

"What?"  B'Elanna sounded surprised and confused.

"Kelis, he's a poet, right?  How do you know him?"  Tom fumed, jealousy pouring out of every fiber of his being.

B'Elanna took a big breath wondering how in the world he could know about Kelis. "How... could you possibly know about Kelis?  Did Harry tell you about him, before I got back?"

"No, I didn't have time to talk much to Harry before you got here." Tom grabbed her shoulders, and pinned her with an angry stare.
"I'll ask you one more time, who is Kelis?"

Tom knew he was going way over the line, manhandling her this way, but fatigue and frustration were overwhelming his better judgment.  He had been through two weeks of hell and now, it seemed as though
B'Elanna had spent her time away from *him* much more pleasantly.

He couldn't explain how he knew, but as the minutes ticked by, he knew more and more.  It dawned on him that somehow his mind had become linked with B'Elanna's allowing him access to her thoughts and
 memories from the last several weeks.  Faces, names, places, wereall bombarding his tired mind. It was fragmented and jumbled like a play out of sequence; bits and pieces from her memories, snatches of
conversation, feelings...her feelings.

He had thought himself hallucinating, but he was not.  These were B'Elanna's memories.

"What is wrong with you Tom?'  Spooked and more than a little concerned, she did her best to hold the anger in check that she felt over his jealous overreaction.

"I was here," he continued, "worried sick, thinking you might be dead or dying on some god forsaken planet and all the while...you... you were play acting with some first century playboy poet!!"

"Tom, you're scaring me.  How do you know anything about what happened to me while I was gone?"

He said nothing in response choosing only to fold his arms across his chest and continue staring angrily at B'Elanna.

The look in his eyes gave her the feeling that was more at work here than Tom's jealousy, so for once she choose not to escalate the tension between them opting instead to get to the bottom of the problem.

"Ok," she finally relented, "you're right, Kelis is a poet, a play write really.  When I crash-landed on the planet, he was the one to find me.  I was injured and he treated me- sort of - it's a long story.  Suffice it to say that he found a way to access the Flyer's logs and used them to write the script for a play.  He meant nothing to me,
Tom, absolutely nothing."

Tom closed his eyes as more images flooded his mind.  He saw B'Elanna secured to the pilot's chair in the Flyer...she fired a phaser at Kelis, he ran.  Dilithium, warp core repairs, Greek tragedy, bone melting relief upon hearing Tom's voice over the comm system...
hundreds of hours of memories bombarded his mind until he thought he'd collapse under the weight of them all.  Finally, he opened his eyes again. He now possessed all of her memories from the away mission. Without realizing it, Tom had slipped to the floor and was holding his head in his hands.

B'Elanna, now wild with worry activated her comm badge. "Lt. Torres to sickbay, medical emergency.  Transporter room two, lock on to Ensign Paris and beam him directly to sickbay."

Tom and B'Elanna materialized in sickbay, to find the EMH ready and waiting.

"I didn't think I see you again so soon Lt." The Doctor cracked, but his attempt to diffuse the tense situation with humor fell completely flat.  B'Elanna was too busy trying to keep Tom from falling to
acknowledge the Doctor's sarcasm.

Feeling a bit foolish the EMH immediately snapped back into his
professional physician mode.

"Put him on bio-bed one."

B'Elanna was heading that way already and helped the Doctor put Tom on the diagnostic unit. At this point Tom was barely conscious and in a considerable state of confusion apparently reliving B'Elanna's away
 mission in every detail.  Because of his size and strength he was still hard to contain, even semi-conscious, so the Doctor was forced to administer a sedative in order to examine him.  Tom gratefully entered the world of blessed unconsciousness.

This done, the EMH turned his attention to B'Elanna; he wanted some answers."Now Lieutenant, please tell me what happened."

B'Elanna gathered her thoughts and managed to give the EMH a reasonable account of what transpired after they had left sickbay earlier.  As she continued to talk, the Doctor put Tom through a series of scans.  When he was finished he deactivated his medical tricorder and looked up at B'Elanna.

"Ensign Paris' memory pathways have been overloaded with an enormous transfer of telepathic information. It has caused him to go into neural shock.  I have stabilized him and he seems to be recovering now, but this was quite a trauma to his system."

B'Elanna looked skeptically at the Doctor not really believing that telepathic communication could have caused Tom's reaction.

Seeing the look on her face, the Doc continued his explanation.

"Human minds don't have the capacity for telepathy of this magnitude and it was simply more that he could process at one time. Tom's
pathways overloaded and he went into shock" Taping a few more commands on the control headboard of the bio-bed, he continued.

"What I don't understand is who or *what*could possibly be responsible for this?"

"Is he going to be alright?" B'Elanna lashed out guiltily.

Choosing to ignore her outburst, the EMH resumed his medical

"His neural activity *is* returning to normal now, but... I am still detecting the traces of continued telepathic communication coming from somewhere," he continued haltingly "...and it's in this room."

Acting on a hunch, the EMH began scanning B'Elanna.  His eyes grew wide as the tricorder confirmed what he had just begun to suspect.

"It's coming from you Lt. Torres!  You are the source of the telepathy!"  Knowing of course that Klingons were not capable of telepathy at all, the Doc's expression was incredulous.

 B'Elanna was speechless for several seconds before finding her voice.

"...But Doctor, that's impossible.  I know I'm half human, but I would never be able to do anything remotely like this.  My ESP rating was the lowest in my entire class at the academy!  I would *never* do anything to hurt Tom!"

"Yes Lieutenant, I am well aware of all those things." He continued, drawing all the information together to form a working hypothesis. "My guess is that these telepathic transmissions have something to do with the anomalous readings I found in you earlier.  I believe you may have come in contact with something on the L class planet that altered your neural chemistry.  It must have given you the ability to
communicate telepathically."

Stunned, B'Elanna tired to grasp what the EMH was telling her.

"But, Doctor, I didn't try to communicate anything to Tom, he just *received* my memories on his own."

Puzzled, the EMH pondered the question for a few moments and thought he might have the answer for what initiated the telepathic link.

"Lt. Torres, did you have any physical contact with Ens. Paris prior to reporting to sickbay?"

Blushing slightly, B'Elanna remembered the passionate greeting they'd shared in the transporter room.

"Yes, I believe we might have."

"That's it then," he exclaimed.  "You must have established a link with Tom through physical contact after you beamed aboard.  Many telepathic races must establish actual physical contact before they can
communicate with one another."  He paused briefly, looking concerned once again.  "Lieutenant, have you touched anyone else, since you've been back?"

"No, absolutely not," B'Elanna confirmed confidently.

There was no one else, and there would be no one else she declared to herself as she turned to look at Tom.  Not Kelis, not anyone but Tom.

He still lay unconscious from the sedative the EMH had administered. Looking at him as he slept, she could see the lines of fatigue and the purplish color under his eyes that indicated he'd had very little sleep.  He thought she had betrayed him with some alien poet; nothing could be further from the truth.  Her heart ached to know that after worrying for days about her welfare, he'd had the added burden of thinking she didn't want to see him as desperately as he wanted to see her.

Well now that he could sense her thoughts, she wouldn't have to worry that he would misunderstand her actions.  He would know that despite her experience as an amateur play write, she wanted to be home on
Voyager with *him*.  Hell, she only helped Kelis in the first place because he could get the dilithium for her that she needed to get home.

The Doctor's voice pulled her thoughts back to the present.

"Well, see that you don't come in contact with anyone else, until I can figure out how to restore you neural chemistry.  We can't have dozens of crewmembers disabled due to telepathic overload."

"Don't worry, Doctor, I have no intention of sharing my thoughts with anyone else!"  B'Elanna paused, looking at Tom again.  "Can I take him back to our quarters?"

"Well," the Doctor activated his medical tricorder again to double check Tom's vital signs.  "His neural readings are almost normal now, with the exception of the telepathic link with you, Lieutenant; and his vital
signs are all normal as well...Yes, I think a good nights sleep in his own bed would be just the thing for him at this point.  Let me revive him then I will release him in to your care for the evening." The Doctor looked up and smiled sardonically at B'Elanna."One word of caution Lieutenant, whatever you *think*, he knows."

B'Elanna rolled her eyes heavenward.

"I'm not likely to forget that anytime soon Doctor.  Just do me favor will you?  Figure out how to break the link!"


B'Elanna slept fitfully that night, dreaming constantly until she woke the next morning.  First, she was sitting at the helm of Voyager flying the ship. She kept experiencing the most terrible feelings of dread and sorrow.

She saw herself dying in a fiery explosion, then the scene changed and she saw her death again at the hands of savage aliens who ransacked her crumpled ship and took what they could get from her before killing her.  Loss, desperation, inconsolable grief washed over her. Abruptly the scene changed again to the conference room aboard
Voyager.  She was fighting hard to get the Captain to let her search for.... herself and Harry.

"No," was the answer she got.

Helpless rage poured through her strong enough to wake her from the troubling dreams and visions.  She sat straight up in bed and looked down at the still sleeping form of Tom Paris who was clearly as
distressed as she was.

These were Tom's memories, his feelings from the last two weeks...it hit her then...the link goes both ways! It just took longer to
manifest itself in her mind, most likely because of her Klingon DNA. She looked down at Tom again. He was distressed and began crying out in his sleep.

"Have to go...have to find...B'Elanna, please... Captain!"  Tom thrashed around as if fighting an unseen foe. He kicked the cover off of himself and nearly knocked B'Elanna out of bed at the same time.

"Tom!  Wake up!  You're having a dream, Tom.  Wake Up!"  She continued shaking him until she saw his eyes open in recognition.

"B'Elanna?  Oh, God... you're here... you're safe."  Shaking himself from the remnants of his nightmare, Tom embraced her swiftly, capturing her mouth in a soul-searing kiss.

Responding instinctively, B'Elanna kissed him back fervently. It felt so good to hold him again and feel his flesh and blood response to her nearness.  It had only been two weeks, but it felt like two months and
heaven help her she had to have him.

Tom must have felt the same way, because in the blink of an eye there were no more words to be said, except for soft murmurs and the
occasional rustling of fabric as it slid to the floor.


In the soft light of the artificially lit morning, Tom and B'Elanna sat eating breakfast at a lovely wrought iron patio table.  Lake Como was beautiful at this time of day with the first rays of sunlight just coming over the ridge.  Maybe someday they'd get to visit the place that inspired the wonderful holodeck program that they both loved so much.  But for right now it just felt good sitting on the back porch of the lake house eating together.

Neither of them had said much since it really wasn't necessary.  Being linked telepathically had its advantages.  Yesterday's fiasco in the corridor was long forgotten, each now understanding the thoughts and
motives of the other.

"I had no idea that you were so frightened for me when I was on away missions." B'Elanna blurted out suddenly.

Tom looked away a bit embarrassed that she knew his deepest darkest secrets.  He didn't answer her out loud; when he did he looked back at her waggling his eyebrows up and down.

< I was afraid I'd never get to be all hot and sweaty again.>  he thought to her.

B'Elanna laughed, but swatted him on the arm before continuing.
"Be serious Tom Paris!  You know you can't hide from me now, I can hear all your *inmost* thoughts!

"You can't blame a guy for trying can you?"  he countered smiling back at her.

"I think it's very sweet that you are so concerned for me... I'm flattered." She said smiling sweetly at him.

Hmm, beautiful, he thought to himself, as he gazed into her brown eyes.  B'Elanna warmed smiling back at him.  Tom slipped his hand through her hand that had been resting on the table.

"Since we're on the subject of inmost thoughts, I have to say, it's nice to finally understand why you are so phobic about anyone one seeing your affection for me."

Now it was her turn to look away.  More than anything, B'Elanna hated for anyone to know her weaknesses, and this was a major one.

"Tom, I...."

"Don't worry, 'Lanna, it's ok...and no one but me will ever know.  But I've got to tell you, there isn't a person on this ship who thinks you are weak.  And I hate to break it to you, but they all know how you feel about me.

Dropping her gaze she studied their interlaced hands as they rested on the table. "I know that, Tom, and deep down I know that my love for you does not make me weak...It's just that...well...that's the way my mother felt about her love for my father...

<You're not your mother, B'Elanna> he said to her silently.

<It sure does feel that way sometimes.  To this day, I still push you away from me, just like she did Daddy.>

Her thoughts flowed back to him like a seamless river and he could feel the pain and loss her parents decision had inflicted on her.  He'd had no idea she still suffered the effects of their break-up.  But then again, how do you get over never seeing your father again?  It
explained at lot.

"You want to know something else?"  Tom spoke aloud this time for emphasis. "I'm not your father.  There is no way you can push me out of your life.  If there is one thing that being on this ship for six years has taught me, its that anything worth having is worth fighting for... You, B'Elanna Torres are worth fighting for-and with, for that matter!"

She didn't laugh, but the edge of her lip curved up in a small smile. She looked down again silently pondering what he just said to her wondering if Tom Paris really was that different from her father.  Not
knowing her father very well, was a disadvantage, but from what she knew of Tom, he always said what he meant. Not to mention, he was loyal to the point of fanaticism to his friends...and to her.  Looking up into eyes the color of the sky, she finally understood the truth that although Tom reminded her of her father in some ways-the good ones mostly-he was and is a very different man in all the other ways.

Tom had learned early the price of quitting and being disloyal to the people he loved. The lesson served him well and he was a better man because of it.

<You are absolutely right, Tom, you are not my father.>

Then looking up into warp core-blue eyes she spoke aloud, "It's time I admitted that to myself and you."

Tom squeezed her hand in response as the first stirrings of what could only be called freedom began to rise in her.  Acknowledging that Tom was not the man her father was made her feel freer that she had in years. B'Elanna wanted grow wings and fly!

The thought that any man she loved would leave her just like her Father did had eaten away at her andundermined her confidence.  But now she was free; free to live; free to love without fear of being weak and all because of a freak of nature and a very stubborn Tom Paris who wouldn't give up on her.  That was the real difference between her father and Tom.

 The smile in her heart made its way to her face and she cast her thoughts to him in reckless abandon.

<My blood sings to you, Tom Paris.  My lover....my mate....my hus...>

She almost blurted out another of her secret desires to him in her thoughts before she realized it.  To throw him off B'Elanna closed her eyes and breathed in his earthy scent and smiled.

<I love you,>  was the thought she sent to distract him.

Tom's response was quick and fervent, as he communicated silently back to her.  He held her eyes as he spoke into her mind.

<I have tasted your blood, I have your scent; my blood sings to you, B'Elanna.>

Silently he returned the thought to her mind along with a mental image of the two of them standing in front of Captain Janeway, surrounded by all their friends.  Hands clasped, they smiled into each other's eyes...

He *had* sensed her last thought!  The mental image hung between them as they gazed across the table at one another.  No one spoke aloud to confirm or deny what just passed from mind to mind, they chose instead to bask in the moment, content in the knowledge that each now knew what the other desired.  When the time was right, they would know exactly what to say, but for now, it was enough just to know.

It was Tom who finally dissolved the stillness that engulfed them, when he remembered a fragment of B'Elanna's memory of her away mission. Laughing out loud, he just had to ask what it was all about.

"Your friend Kelis had Captain Janeway, kissing Chakotay?" laughing some more as he conjured up the mental picture, "are we all missing something here?"

Humor lit B'Elanna's eyes as well and she began to laugh at the memory of the two passionate actors impersonating their senior officers.

"I didn't want to say anything at the time, because it would have only spurred him on, but I think he may have been on to something!"

Tom laughed all that much harder before answering. The idea that the Captain and Chakotay could....nah!

"You're kidding right?"  He held his hands out, mimicking the actors from her memory.  "Captain Janeway secretly pining for the handsome Commander as she jealously watches the rest of the female crew have
their way with him...come on B'Elanna be serious!"

"Think about it Tom, in a way it almost makes sense.  You can't deny they are very close friends, and from time to time I catch Chakotay looking at her like...I don't know...like...he's longing for something he can't have."

Paris stopped laughing as he remembered something that happened a couple of months ago.

"You know, you may have a point.  Did you know he's never used the Fair Haven program?  I've asked him a dozen times to come and he always makes one excuse or another.  I figured he just wasn't into 'old world Irish', but maybe it was Michael Sullivan that kept him away."

B'Elanna put her hands to her mouth in a compassionate expression. "Oh, poor Chakotay!  Imagine knowing you've been beat out by a hologram!"

"Maybe the Captain doesn't know how he feels," Tom said slowly as an evil little thought occurred to him.

"What if she were to find out?"  he posed, mind working furiously.

"Tom!  Don't even think about it!"

"What?"  His face became a study in false innocence.

"You can't tell the Captain what you know, we're only guessing here, and besides, it's none of our business!"

He knew she was right, but just for fun he shot her a melodramatically pained expression "Oh, alright, but you sure know how to spoil a guy's fun."

<That's not what you said last night, helm boy.> Abruptly changing the subject to one more of her liking.

Giving him an interesting mental image to go with the thought.  That should cure him of his matchmaking inclinations.

Tom, never being one to ignore a blatant challenge came right back with an image of his own.  This one was completely new and it made her insides turn to warm honey in a matter of seconds.

B'Elanna ran her fingers over the back of his hand trying to formulate a suitable reply.

<Anytime.> was the only one that came to mind.

Quicker than she thought possible, Tom scooped her up out of her chair and into the house.  His original destination had been the upstairs bedroom, but they didn't make it any further than the couch in the living room.

Being fully awake this time both were able to appreciate the advantage of being linked telepathically.  What a rush it was to make love with your mind as well as your body.  Tom knew just what she wanted almost before she did and vice versa.  When the link was long gone, the memories of the morning at the lake house would still be strong and sweet.

Thankfully the call to come to sickbay didn't come until long after they lay sleeping again in each other's arms.  The intrepid EMH had worked all night long and finally devised a treatment that should return both the Ensign and the Lieutenant's brain chemistry back to normal.

"You ready?"  Tom asked knowing that breaking the link would be bittersweet.  It had been uncomfortable to know that B'Elanna could hear his innermost thoughts, but it had also been the most incredibility intimate experience of his life.

Smiling whist fully she chose to answer silently.  <Ready as I'll ever be.>

Unwilling to leave the oasis they discovered just yet, they shared one more lingering kiss before departing for sickbay.  Reluctantly Tom gave the command for the computer to end the program and they headed out the door.


When Tom and B'Elanna arrived the Doctor got right down to business administering the hypo-spray's that he had prepared.  The solution worked immediately and they were each confined to their own thoughts once more.

"How do you feel, Ensign?"  The Doctor queried after he had finished.

"Great, completely normal, Doc."  Tom gave a halfhearted smile to B'Elanna. He missed the touch of her thoughts to his already.

Before the EMH could ask the same thing of Lt. Torres, they were interrupted by the swish of an opening door.  To everyone's surprise Harry Kim stumbled in holding his head.

"Doctor, I don't feel so good.  I had the strangest nightmares, all night long about the away mission and Tom and B'Elanna.  At least I thought they were nightmares until I woke up and found that I'm still dreaming."

B'Elanna had been truthful when she said she hadn't touched anyone but Tom since she'd gotten back from the planet, but what they'd all forgotten, was that Harry would have been affected as well by the planet's atmosphere.  And never mind that B'Elanna had welcomed him like a long lost brother when he'd reached the Flyer, hugging him tightly.  Obviously she had touched him as well.  And like B'Elanna, it had taken a while for the link to become evident in Harry's neural pathways, but eventually it certainly did!

It was all the Doctor could do to keep his professional demeanor intact.  As he looked from Tom to B'Elanna back to Harry, who had just realized that he wasn't alone in sickbay, he would have given anything to record the expressions on each of their faces. B'Elanna opened her mouth, closed it, and then opened it again only to find that she still couldn't speak.  She eventually opted to make a quick exit leaving a confused Harry and Tom to clean up the mess.

"If you ever breath a word of this Harry, I promise I'll tell Crewman Celes you're in love with her."  Still staring in utter confusion, Harry watched Tom exit sickbay in search of B'Elanna.

Harry looked back at Doc who had managed to get himself under control once again and was preparing to inject Harry with a hypo-spray.

"Ensign, if you're a wise man, you won't ask and you won't tell."