Standard Disclaimer: Tom, Katherine and the rest of the crew, belong to Paramount. (Except of course for the ones I made up myself.) No copyright infringement is intentional. This story is for fun only - no profit will be made.

Part Four

BíElanna sat down across from the Captain and took a sip of her coffee. Sheíd called her in here for a chat sheíd said, but BíElanna thought she probably wanted to make sure everything was all right between them. BíElanna hoped she could reassure her. She really didnít have a problem with the whole thing. Her only concern was that they seemed to be rushing things.

The Captain leaned forward. "BíElanna, Iíve just had a very disturbing conversation with Harry."

"Oh?" BíElanna couldnít hide her surprise.

"Quite frankly, I needed someone to talk to about it. I thought of you, since youíre such good friends with both of them. I donít like to feel that Iíve caused a wedge between them."

BíElanna leaned forward also. "Donít blame yourself. Iím sure theyíll work it out. Iím kind of surprised that Harry told you about it though."

The Captain hesitated a moment. "He didnít want to. I can read him like a book."

BíElanna smiled. "I thought I could too, until he dropped this bombshell. Did he tell you everything?"

The Captain blushed in embarrassment and BíElanna mistakenly assumed that he had. She shook her head. "As you know, Harry had some stuff to deal through but he seems to have worked it out. I know Tom hasnít told you anything about this. He told me he wasnít going to. Didnít want to upset you. Are you going to talk to him about it?"

Janeway leaned back in her chair. "I donít know," she answered. "Tomís been terribly upset about the whole thing. Do you think I should? Iím concerned that he wouldnít talk to me." Before BíElanna could say anything, she rushed on. "I understand why he didnít, but we promised that there would be no secrets between us. I know the crew has been giving him a hard time too. We imagined that they would, just maybe not so nasty as some of itís been."

BíElanna, believing that Harry had told the Captain everything about the argument between he and Tom and the gossip spreading around, growled in anger. "Itís just a small group that are really giving him a hard time. Theyíre saying some pretty awful things."

"I know. Chakotay told me. I think the problem with Harry is whatís upsetting him the most, though"

BíElanna nodded. "Youíre right. Heís devastated. Harryís tried apologizing, but Tom hasnít been very receptive."

"Was it as bad as Harry suggested?" Janeway asked sitting forward again.

BíElanna nodded her head and then launched into everything that had happened, not realizing that this was the first that the Captain had heard of any of it. When sheíd finished the silence was deafening. "Captain?" she asked slowly not liking the pinched look on her face.

Janeway started. "Iím sorry BíElanna. I donít think I realized how bad the situation was until just then."

They talked for quite a bit longer before BíElanna left to meet Chan for dinner. As she walked along the corridor, she felt uneasy. The more she thought about it, the more it seemed that she had done most of the talking. Telling the Captain everything that Tom had insisted that he didnít want her to know.

She pushed a small stab of guilt down. It wasnít as if the Captain didnít already know. Harry and Chakotay between them had told her everything anyway. Sheíd just needed a few more details. BíElanna frowned. Actually, sheíd needed a lot more details.

BíElannaís frown deepened. For someone whoíd just wanted to talk to someone, the Captain had hardly done any talking at all. Sheíd just asked a few questions here and there, and she with her anger on Tomís behalf had told her everything. Everything that Tom had made her promise not to tell. BíElanna stopped dead. The feeling that sheíd just betrayed one of her closest friendís trust came crashing down on her.

She hurried forward. She had to see Harry straight away, and if what she suspected was true, she had to find Tom. As soon as possible.

As soon as BíElanna left her ready room, Kathryn jumped up out of her chair and started pacing in agitation. That it could have been this bad! And Tom had hidden it all! But told BíElanna! Told her everything! He obviously still felt closer to BíElanna than he did to her. The thought hurt. A lot!

Why couldnít he tell her this? Why confide in BíElanna? They had just ended a two-year, very intense romantic relationship. Normally, things would still be very uncomfortable between them. Why wasnít it? Why were they still so close? A wave of jealousy swept over her. She forgot how pleased and grateful she had been only three days before that they had remained such good friends with each other.

Her jealousy turned into self-doubts. Maybe Tom didnít love her after all. He only thought he did. Harry may have been right when heíd told Tom he was confused in his feelings. She shuddered as she remembered what the Mostreterians had put Tom through. The pain he had endured, the suffering she had been powerless to stop.

She remembered cradling Tom to her each time the torture sessions had finished. Holding him, the tears streaming down her face, as she whispered softly and lovingly, trying to soothe the trembling man in her arms.

He had clung to her in response, and as soon as the shaking had stopped begged her not to tell them anything. Made her promise. Then the Mostreterians would come back again and pull him from her, only to strap him to the table in the middle of the room and start inflicting the pain all over again.

And Tom had refused to talk about it. Refused counseling. She rubbed her upper arms as a chill passed through her. She wondered whether Tom was mistaking his need for her in the prison camp - his need for comfort and support - with love.

Swallowing, she went and sank heavily onto her sofa. She loved him, but did he really love her? She thought about what Chakotay had tried to tell her. It was too soon in their relationship for Tom to feel comfortable enough with her to confide his deepest feelings. He didnít know her well enough yet. She sat up straighter.

With the misunderstanding between he and Harry, he would have been unable to confide in his usual confidante. The other person he might have gone to was Neelix, but he also was behaving stupidly. She felt her anger mount at both Harry and Neelix. They deserved a piece of her mind. Naturally he would have turned to BíElanna since they were still so close. She pushed back the jealousy this time.

No. All things considered, Tom had acted perfectly reasonably. She mustnít overreact. She loved Tom so much, and eventually, he would feel the same way.

Her eyes narrowed as she thought about the crewmen who had caused Tom so much unhappiness. There were five ex-Maquis and three Starfleeterís who had really gone too far. They would soon find out what it was like to have the full weight of her wrath fall down upon them.

She got up and replicated herself another cup of coffee. She needed to talk to a certain morale officer, to let him know what a poor job he was doing for the one crewmember that needed it the most. She would let him know, in no uncertain terms how much he had hurt Tom with his viscous unwarranted attack and let him stew in his own juices.

Knowing Neelix, he would be overridden with guilt. She was sure he would be rushing to Tom to apologize and boost his morale. She frowned as she thought of Harry. She was really mad at him. She felt like tearing strips off of the young Ensign. How dare he? Heíd probably caused irreparable damage to Tomís self-esteem. She would force him to make it up to him, even if it took the rest of the trip home.

She felt better now. She was supposed to meet Tom in the Holodeck in two hours; she had plenty of time. She would make everything right for Tom and then sit back and be patient. Soon the happiness from the implanted memories would be hers - for real.

Tom was still trying to decide what shirt to wear when his door-chime sounded. Grabbing the black silk from its hanger he quickly shrugged it on as he went to see who was at the door. BíElanna stood there frowning. "Tom, I need to tell you something."

"Sure," he said surprised, as he indicated for her to come in. "I thought you were having dinner with Chan tonight."

"I am. I just let him know Iíll be a little late. I had to see you first."

"You did?" Tom tucked the shirt into his blue, denim jeans and then waited expectantly.

BíElanna swallowed nervously. "Iíve done something terrible." She seemed to find it hard to continue.

Tom looked at her in concern. "Whatís wrong?" he asked softly. "Do you want something to drink?"

"Some water would be good," she answered. She sat down at the table and Tom noticed with growing anxiety that her hand was shaking as she sipped the water he handed her. He pulled up a chair next to her and sat down. "Whatís wrong?" he repeated.

"Iíve betrayed you," she answered melodramatically.

Tom looked at her in confusion. "What?"

"You made me promise not to say anything and I did. Iíve just come from Harry and heís so upset with me."

Tom frowned at the mention of Harryís name. "I told you not to interfere between Harry and me."

"I havenít," BíElanna growled. "Just shut up and listen," she added menacingly. "The Captain called me into her ready room this afternoon. She told me she needed someone to talk to. Sheíd just had a very disturbing meeting with Harry. From some of the stuff she said, I was under the impression that heíd told her all about your argument."

Tom shut his eyes. "Let me guess. He hadnít, but you did."

"She tricked me," BíElanna protested. "Harry is so embarrassed. He says he can never face her again."

Tom snorted. He didnít have any sympathy for Harry, that was for sure. He was disturbed however. He hadnít wanted Kathryn to know what his so-called best friend really thought about him. And he didnít want her to know how upset he was about it. He felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. "Damn!" he muttered.

"Iím sorry," BíElanna said remorsefully.

Tom sighed. "Well itís done now. Sheíll probably want to know why I didnít tell her. She has trouble understanding that Iím finding it hard to be completely open with her."

"Surely, that will come with time, Tom. As you get to know one another better---"

"You forget," Tom broke in. "She already knows me. Completely. It can be very unsettling."

"Of course. It must feel strange sometimes. But look at it in a positive way. You can be yourself with her. No pretenses. No barriers." She had a feeling there was something more, something he wasnít telling her.

Tom nodded. "I know. She knows all my weaknesses and failings and still loves me anyway. Thatís a marvelous feeling. I just wish I knew as much about her. Sometimes I worry Iím going to hurt her. I never want to do that, but I just feel that I will regardless. You know me. General screw-up."

BíElanna frowned at him. His self-confidence had really taken a battering over the last few days. She was one of the few that realized he never had a lot to begin with. "Donít talk like that," she scolded. "Is there something else? Something more youíre worried about?"

Tom turned red, but shook his head. BíElanna was sure there was something else, but she knew that stubborn look in his eyes. He wasnít going to tell her. She sighed inwardly. Tom still wasnít able to let down all his barriers. He still kept certain things locked away.

"Tom, thereís more I have to tell you."


BíElanna nodded. "Janeway knows everything. Not just about the argument you had with Harry. But everything else too. Neelix, the crew, how upset you were. How you havenít been sleeping or eating properly."

Tom groaned. "Oh, no. Jeez - BíElanna - how could you? You promised youíd never tell her."

"I told you. She tricked me. Itís probably better this way anyway. She told me that youíd promised no secrets."

"Well itís going to look like Iíve been whining to the Captain. Sheíll probably throw everyone in the brig."

BíElanna gave a small laugh. "It would probably serve some of them right."

Tom frowned. "I donít want her fighting my battles for me. Iíve already told her that. Why was she questioning you anyway? And Harry for that matter? I donít like the sounds of this."

"Obviously you didnít hide your feelings very well. She can tell when youíre hiding something. I guess she thought it would be better if she knew."

Tom sighed. "Sheís going to be upset now too. Damn it all! Iím supposed to be meeting her in holodeck two soon. We were going on a picnic."

"Well, be prepared for a heart to heart. Tom, Iím sorry about all this. I would never deliberately betray your confidence."

Tom patted her hand. "I know that, BíElanna."

They left his quarters together separating to meet their respective partners.

When Tom reached the holodeck, Kathryn wasnít there. He entered the program he wanted to use - a scenic gorge heíd discovered on Katari III - and set up the picnic basket.

Kathryn arrived a few minutes later. "Hi," she said breathlessly. "Sorry Iím late. I got caught up."

Tom smiled at her and she sat down next to him on the blanket. "This is a lovely place Tom," she said looking around. "Katari III did you say?"

He nodded. "I kind of stumbled into this gorge one day while I was out wandering."

"During the months after Caldik Prime, before you joined the Maquis?"

"Thatís right." Tom took out two glasses and held up a bottle of wine. "Can I tempt you?"

Kathryn smiled. "Always."

As Tom poured out the wine, she rummaged through the picnic basket. "I hope you havenít used up all your replicator rations here. It looks divine."

Tom shrugged. "Youíre worth it. Iíll just have to eat in the mess hall for the rest of the week." He decided to get it over with. Taking a deep breath, he continued. "Thatís of course if the crew leave me alone and Neelix doesnít decide to poison me."

Kathryn looked at him in surprise. "What?"

"I know you know about whatís been happening. BíElanna came to see me before."

"She did?"

Tom nodded. "She told me everything. She feels really guilty about it. You tricked her Kathryn. That wasnít very nice."

Kathryn blushed, but didnít look away. "What was I supposed to do Tom? I knew something was wrong. You wouldnít talk to me. You kept pretending everything was fine."

"I didnít want you to worry. It will all blow over soon, so I couldnít see the point."

"I need to know whatís happening in your life Tom. I need to know that you can trust me. Open up to me."

"Of course I trust you. I just donít want to come running to you every time I have a little problem."

"I can understand that. The crew will settle down, Iím sure of it. But this thing with Harry is more than just a little problem. Both Harry and Neelix hurt you terribly. I wish you felt able to confide in me."

"Itís not that. Itís just that Iím not used to confiding like that."

"You do with BíElanna."

"BíElannaís different."

"How?" There was an edge to her voice and Tom wondered if heíd said something wrong.

"BíElanna was there when Harry and I had the argument, I donít think I would have told her otherwise."

"But you told her about Neelix and the crew too."

"She sort of guessed most of that." He looked at her closely. "Youíre not jealous of her are you? Weíre just friends. Honest."

Kathryn sighed. "I know that. Iím not jealous. Iím glad that youíre still friends." It sounded stilted. She suddenly rushed on. "Itís just that itís hard to understand how close you both still are."

"Weíre a lot alike. Two peas in a pod actually. Thatís why it never really worked between us romantically. As friends though itís great. Iím sorry if you got the wrong impression. I value her friendship but itís you I love."

Kathryn sighed again. "I suppose you could say the same about Chakotay anyway." She smiled brightly, but Tom thought it seemed a little forced. "Letís lighten up here. As long as you know that you should never hide things from me. Iíd like you to feel that you can talk to me about anything."

Tom nodded solemnly. "I know that. Just give me a little time to get used to it all."

She smiled at him. "I guess Iím rushing things again, arenít I?"

Tom smiled also. "Not your fault."

Kathryn looked up into his clear blue eyes. "You have no idea how much I love you Tom," she told him seriously. Before he could stop it, he felt himself frown worriedly at her words. "What is it?"

Tom sighed. "It's nothing really."

"Tom, please. Tell me what you're thinking. You look troubled."

Tom took a deep breath. "Okay, here goes." He gave a self-concious chuckle. "I don't really know how to start."

"Tell me why it seemed to worry you that I love you so much. Don't you want me to?"

"No, it isn't that. It's wonderful that you do. But---" He broke off wondering how he could say this.

"Go on," she encouraged.

"Kath, why do you love me?" The words seemed to burst out of him. She looked confused. "A lot of people on the ship can't understand how you could go out with me. I'm just an Ensign, and a screw-up to boot."

"I don't care that you're an Ensign. I thought we'd settled all this. When we're together there's no rank involved. You know that. You're just letting the ship's gossip get to you. And you are not a screw-up."

Tom shook his head. "I've messed up my starfleet career not once, but twice now. Hell, what they all think is true. You're lowering yourself to be with me."

"Tom," Kathryn said sharply. "I won't have you talk like that. You're starting to believe all the malicious talk. None of it's true. I love you because you're you. Smart, funny, passionate, caring - the list is endless. I love you because when I'm with you, I feel so good. So alive and happy. You make me feel wonderful and now you're saying that I'm lowering myself? That's an insult to me and I won't stand for it." Her voice had risen angrily.

Tom gulped a little. "You really love me that much?"

She nodded. "I really love you that much."

He smiled at her in relief. "I love you that much too, you know."

"Well, you'd better. I don't get this stirred up for just anybody you know."

Tom pulled her into his arms. "You forgot to mention how devastatingly handsome I am," he whispered huskily.

"You are? I hadn't noticed that," she teased.

"I'm going to have to exact my revenge for that," Tom said and started to tickle her side.

She laughed helplessly as she tried to push his hands away. "Stop!" she pleaded gasping for breath. "No more Tom, please." But Tom was merciless. "That's an order Ensign," she managed to get out between chuckles.

"Sorry Ma'am. I don't take orders," Tom laughed. "You'll have to put me on report."

Kathryn managed to break free. "Very well mister. You asked for it. Report your lips right here." She touched her lips with her fingers. "And then report them here," she continued, lightly stroking her neck.

"Yes Ma'am. One pair of lips reporting for duty."

Tom couldnít help feeling sorry for Harry when he saw him the next day. He looked terrible. As he waited in line to get served for breakfast he noticed Harry sitting at a seat further into the room. He was toying with the food on his plate, making no attempt to eat it. He looked truly miserable. He looked up to see Tom watching him and quickly averted his gaze.

Tom had steeled himself to come here this morning. With no replicator rations left he had no choice. He wasnít that hungry, but he definitely needed a cup of coffee, or Neelixís current substitute. He thought heíd grab something and get out as quickly as possible.

When it was his turn, Neelix looked up and Tom swallowed nervously. "Morning Neelix. Just a cup of coffee thanks."

Neelix looked him over and suddenly grabbed him by the arm and pulled him around to stand behind the counter with him. Neelix walked to the back of his little galley, pulling Tom along behind him. "Ensign Turner, can you please take over for me," he called out.

"Yes Sir," a voice answered.

Tom shuffled along behind Neelix too surprised to do anything. He swallowed again when Neelix let go of his arm and turned around to look at him. "Tom," Neelix smiled at him warmly. "I have to apologize to you. I am so sorry for what I said to you the other day. I was being completely unreasonable. I should never have blamed you for all the gossip circulating. Can you ever forgive me? I said some terrible things."

Tom looked at him bewildered. "Thatís all right Neelix. You were upset," he managed to choke out.

"Oh no Tom. Itís not all right. Youíre far too charitable. You have been a good friend to me over the years. What I said was unforgivable. I have to make it up to you. Will you let me?"

Tom nodded, while Neelix blinked back tears. "Thank you Tom. Here. Iíve made a special breakfast for you." He handed Tom a bowl. "Porridge, just the way you like it. No colors or lumps." He gave a small chuckle. Tom didnít have the heart to tell him that porridge was not one of his favorite foods.

The little Talaxian continued, smiling brightly. "For lunch, Iím going to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And for dinner, youíre very favorite - pizza." Tomís eyes opened wide. "I know the Captain has to work tonight, so I thought maybe we could get together. Thatís if youíd like."

Tom nodded dumbly. "Thanks Neelix," he managed to say at last. "You didnít have to go to so much trouble though."

"Yes I did," Neelix said firmly. "Itís the least I could do after upsetting you the way I did. Now, go and eat your porridge before it gets cold."

Tom went and sat down quickly, feeling a little dazed. Neelix poured him a cup of coffee and brought it over to him.

"Hey, Neelix. I hope thereís plenty of coffee in that pot," a voice called out.

Neelix looked up quickly. "Of course," he said hurrying over, after giving Tom a pat on the shoulder. "Crewman Mathews, you look like you havenít slept."

"Thatís probably because I havenít," the big ex-marquis growled. "The Captain had me switch shifts and I ended up working twenty-four hours straight."

"Oh my, Oh my." Neelix shuffled around him. "You need some of my coffee."

Tom watched Mathews out of the corner of his eye. Served him right, he thought. Mathews hadnít been very pleasant to him. He certainly didnít feel sorry for him.

Two more crewmen entered the room, looking completely frazzled. "You would not believe what weíve been doing," they said going up to Mathews.

"Canít be as bad as what Iíve just had to do," Mathews grumbled back.

Tom listened as they complained amongst themselves. Couldnít happen to a nicer group, he thought with a sniff. They had said some particularly hurtful things to him.

He felt a presence next to him and looked up. Harry was standing there. Close up, he looked even worse. His eyes were red-rimmed and swollen. It was obvious he had been crying. "Tom, can we talk?" he asked quietly.

Tom nodded and indicated the seat opposite him. "Sit down Harry. Youíre making me crane my neck."

Harry sat down gratefully. Tom waited patiently for him to say something, but Harry just sat looking down at his hands, folded neatly on the table. "Harry," Tom said finally. "You wanted to talk?"

Harry nodded but still didnít look up or say anything. Tom leaned forward and said quietly. "We have to be on the bridge soon. Maybe we should leave this for another time?"

Harry shook his head. "I - I need to say this now." His voice was a mere whisper. "I never meant - I mean I didnít want you to -." He broke off and finally looked up at Tom. "Damn it Tom. You took what I said the other day the wrong way. I never thought you werenít good enough for the Captain. Iíve never ever thought of you as prison scum. Youíre not. If it comes to that, so am I. I was in prison too, remember?"

"That wasnít your fault though. It wasnít mine that time either. New Zealand was."

"You made a mistake. You paid for it. I donít think youíre unscrupulous or immoral. I would never think that of you. I reacted stupidly when you told me about you and the Captain. It felt weird, to think of the two of you together, but I never thought of you as not good enough or any of that other stuff."

Tom shook his head. "I reacted badly to you too. Iíd heard all sorts of stuff that day. People were saying that the Captain shouldnít be going out with me. The scorn in their voices when they said my name. It really got to me. I guess I took it out on you."

"So you forgive me?"

"Yeah, but we really need to talk more. You look terrible Harry. We have to get to the bridge now, so maybe we can get together for lunch?"

Harry nodded and the two friends got up and left the mess hall together, Neelix smiling approvingly at them.

"Mr. Kim. When I ask for a status report I expect the answer to be loud enough for the whole bridge to hear." Janewayís voice was icy. Tom winced from his seat at the helm. Harry couldnít seem to do anything right this morning. He had made two very basic mistakes, which Chakotay had picked him up on and then he hadnít answered the Captain at all when sheíd asked him about a minor problem on deck twelve. She had not been impressed.

Then Tuvok had found another error and Janeway had lectured Harry on being distracted while on duty. Now Harryís status report had been so quiet he had had to strain to hear it. It was obvious that Harry was still terribly upset. Tom guessed it was because of his embarrassment of knowing that the Captain knew his feelings for her.

"Iím sorry Captain." Harryís voice was a little shaky.

"You should report in sick if you canít carry out your duties properly," Janeway answered acidly.

Tom winced again. Heíd thought Kathryn would be a little more understanding.

Harry answered meekly. "Yes Captain."

The Captain made a strange snorting sound and Tom couldnít help turning around in surprise. Chakotay was also looking at her strangely. "Can we talk in your ready room Captain," he heard him ask quietly.

"No," Janeway answered sharply.

Chakotay must have realized that Tom was watching them, because he suddenly looked over at him and quirked an eyebrow.

Tom quickly turned around again and studied his readouts dutifully.

As soon as it was lunchtime Tom hurried over to Harry. "Come on," he said. "Letís grab a quick bite and then go back to my quarters to talk."

As they left the bridge he could see Kathryn watching them. He tried to catch her eye, but she seemed intent on Harry instead of him. Her eyes seemed to be glinting a warning, but surely that was his imagination.

Tom pushed Harry into his quarters and told him to sit down while he got them both a drink. Harry hadnít said two words while they ate, and Tom was now really worried. Heíd told Harry he forgave him, told him that heíd overreacted as well. Heíd even told him how heíd sat down and thought about what Harry had been trying to say.

Heíd had a friend called Kurt, all through school, who was a couple of years older than him. Theyíd been inseparable and Tom had looked up to him. He imagined how he would feel if Kurt had suddenly started seeing his mother, or even his favorite aunt. He probably would have reacted much the same.

Harry had thanked him quietly for trying to understand. Tom couldnít think what else to say to make him feel better. He wondered whether he should have a talk to Kathryn and ask her to ease up a little. He didnít feel comfortable doing that though.

Harry was obviously deeply distressed about the Captain knowing his innermost secret. Tom didnít really understand it properly. Kathryn had always known on a deeper level how Harry felt. He was sure she was even a little flattered. Harry shouldnít feel this mortified.

"Harry, I know youíre embarrassed about the Captain finding out that you think of her as a mother figure, but you have to get over it. Itís affecting your work. She wonít mind you thinking of her like that. Iím sure."

Harry shook his head. "Itís not that."

"Then what is it?"

"Nothing," Harry mumbled putting his head in his hands. "Itís just that Iíve ruined our friendship, havenít I?"

Tom could barely hear him. "Of course not," he said. "I told you. I overreacted as well."

"Youíll never trust me again will you?" Harry gave a small sob.

"What are you talking about? Of course I will. I do."

Harry shook his head miserably. "Youíre just saying that. I feel so bad about what I did. Everythingís ruined now. Everything." He gave another sob.

Tom put his arm around him. "Harry, itís all right. Please believe me."

Harry burst into loud sobs and Tom was left completely baffled. Harryís reaction just didnít make any sense. Why was he so upset? Now that they had talked things out, youíd think that everything would be all right. He soothed Harry as best he could.

Tom was really worried about his friend now.

End Part Four