By TíPam

Disclaimer: Voyager and its crew belong to Paramount. Iím only borrowing them for a while and will return them to their regularly scheduled program later. No profit will be made, as this is just for fun.

This story follows my first - Phase-Shift. It takes place about a week later. I thought it might be fun to see just how bad Tom could be in sickbay. Thereís a lot been said about him being the Docís worse patient, so how about if we see why? Gentle PG rating applies as Tommy is still behaving himself. Well - sort of.

Let me know what you think. I would love some feedback.

I dedicate this story to my husband, as I have neglected him dreadfully since I discovered Tom Paris fanfic.

Part One

Ensign Harry Kim, of the Federation Starship Voyager, slowly entered the sickbay, taking a deep breath as he did so.

"Har, am I glad to see you," a familiar voice called out to him. "Did you remember to bring those PADDS? Iím dying of boredom here."

"Sorry Tom, Iíll bring them in later, I promise. Looks like youíve got a couple of new ones anyway." He indicated two PADDS on the end of his best friendís biobed.

"These are the Captains, she lent them to me. Iíve already read one of them but the otherís a little dull."

Harry breathed in slowly looking around the room. "Whereís the Doc?"

Tom shrugged his shoulders; a scowl darkening his good looking features. "Who cares?"

"I do, actually. I need to see him." Harry took another deep breath before looking at his friend more closely. Yep, Tom was definitely sulking. "What happened? You two have another disagreement?"

"Harry, you have no idea how exasperating that man can be." Tom thumped the biobed mattress to emphasize his point. "Heís being totally unreasonable. Wonít let me do anything. Maybe you could reprogram him while youíre here." A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth at the thought. "What do you need to see him for anyway?"

Harry took two deep breaths and then gulped. "I donít feel too good." He clutched his stomach as he spoke.

"You donít look too good," Tom replied looking his friend over critically. "If I could just get out of this damn bed, I could treat you myself." He threw his blanket off and attempted to get off the biobed.

Harry pushed him back in alarm. "You know youíre not supposed to try and walk yet, and I donít feel up to supporting you at the moment." He swallowed before continuing. "I think Iím going to throw up."

"Itís all right, Har. The Docís in the lab; hang on." Tom patted Harryís arm reassuringly and called out, "Doc, hey Doc. Youíve got a patient."

The EMH put his head around the door of the laboratory and called out. "Iíll be right there." As his office was between the main section of sickbay and the laboratory, he couldnít see who it was.

Harry swallowed again and clutching his stomach looked wildly around the room.

"Um- Har - You know where the bathroom is, donít you?" Tom asked him with concern.

Harry nodded and pushing Tomís hand away, rushed for it.

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

"Please state the nature of - oh." The doctor paused in his usual greeting, as he entered the treatment area of sickbay from his office. "Very funny Mr. Paris. Just because youíre bored, it doesnít mean that my work has to stop. Iím at a very critical part of my experiment and donít appreciate your rather feeble attempts at humor. Iím a Doctor - not your personal entertainment program."

Tom glared angrily at him, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Harryís in the bathroom," he said from between clenched teeth.

"I see. Well perhaps you should tell him to go before he comes to visit you next time. If you can just endure your boredom for a few more minutes, Iím sure that when he comes out heíll be able to keep you entertained -----"

"Heís sick," Tom interrupted, his glare deepening. Sudden sounds coming from the bathroom reinforced the statement.

"Oh dear," said the Doctor, quickly picking up a medical tricorder and hurrying over.

"Thatís all right Doc. Apology accepted," Tom said grumpily to the retreating figure. To hell with it! Iím getting up! He pushed his legs over the side of the biobed and gingerly stepped down. Knowing that his right leg was especially weak, he rested most of his weight on his left side. Holding onto the bed for support, he tested his legs. Nothing to it, he smiled.

Tom slowly let go of the biobed and found he could still support himself. All right! Heíd known the Doc was fussing too much. After all, it had been a whole week since he had been brought into sickbay after his fall.

Heíd broken an awful lot of bones and done some internal damage, but that had all been healed quickly. The major concern had been his spine, but the Doc had fixed that too. His right leg had been smashed up and was taking the longest to heal, but he knew all he needed to do was get back into the swing of things and heíd soon be better.

The Doc was treating him as if he was made of glass and he was sick of it. If there was anything that Tom Paris hated more than being a patient in sickbay, he didnít know what it was. Heíd soon prove that he was able to function on his own and then the Doc would have to let him leave. A sudden sharp pain in his right hip made him gasp in surprise and he crumbled to the floor in a heap.

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

The Doctor, who was leading Harry back into the room, was just in time to see Tom fall. "Mr. Paris, what are you doing?"

He led Harry to the nearest biobed and helped him to climb, rather shakily, up. "Is Tom all right?" Harry asked anxiously as the Doctor hurried over to the fallen pilot and lifted him back onto his bed.

The EMH sighed heavily. "Heís fainted, thatís all," he replied waving a tricorder over Tom.

"I did not faint," Tom said indignantly, trying to sit up.

"Stay down," the Doctor pushed him, none too gently.

"Ow! Doc, thereís something wrong with my hip."

Gagging noises from the other biobed alerted the Doctor to more trouble. "Mr. Kim, I suggest you use the small bowl youíll find under the lining of the biobed."

"Thanks Doc," Harry said gratefully. He took a deep breath and grabbed for it.

"Doc! Thereís something wrong with my hip."

"I heard you the first time Mr. Paris. There is nothing wrong with your hip."

"Yes there is. It hurts."

"Mr. Paris, there is nothing wrong with it."

"Says you!" Tom struggled to sit up again.

"Down! Mr. Kim try to take deep breaths." The Doctor pushed Tom down once again and held him there.

Tom began struggling. "Doc. Iím telling you. My hip-----"

"Mr. Paris. Stay!"

"No! My hip----"

"Mr. Kim, what did you eat this morning? That is disgusting. Mr. Paris - down."

"Iím not a damn dog. Let me up."

"Mr. Paris, do you want me to sedate you?"


"Then behave. Mr. Kim, whatever you do, donít knock that bowl over."

"DAMN YOU!" Tom struggled wildly.

"Mr. Paris; one more outburst and I will sedate you whether you like it or not. Mr. Kim, be careful. I said donít knock it over."


"Very well, Mr. Paris, you leave me no choice."


"Doc, was that really necessary?"

"Yes Mr. Kim, I believe so. The sedative should only last for a short time, and then he may be a little more reasonable when he wakes up. Although given his moods lately, that is highly unlikely. Now let me have a look at you."

"Um, sorry."

"Really! What is the matter with everybody on this ship? You all go out of your way to do the exact opposite of what I tell you."

"I really am sorry."

"Humph! I should have told you to knock the bowl onto the floor and scatter the contents across the room. At least then there might have been some chance of it staying intact."

"Iíll help clean it up."

"No you wonít. Youíll stay there, while I clean this mess and then you up. You will not move so much as a muscle. Do I make myself clear?"

Harry nodded miserably. "Iím truly sorry."

"Not another word, or Iíll sedate you as well."

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

Tom woke up feeling groggy and a little nauseous. The sedative! Damn the Doc! He looked around sickbay uneasily.

"Ah! Mr. Paris! I see youíre awake. Feeling better now are we?"

"Youíre probably feeling peachy-keen." Tom scowled darkly at the Doctor. "Iím not so sure about me."

"I see."

"Am I allowed to sit up now?" Tom asked, a definite edge to his voice.

"If you feel up to it. Iíll just give you something for the after affects of the sedative."

"Why, thank you so much," Tom said sarcastically.

"Do you want to tell me what you thought you were trying to do?" The Doctor asked trying to keep the tone of his voice concerned and tolerant.

"Not especially," Tom answered sulkily.

The Doctor sighed. "You know youíre not supposed to be standing on that leg yet."

Tomís scowl deepened. "Yeah, well the leg was fine. If my hip hadnít-----"

"Mr. Paris, you know perfectly well that the pain in your hip was a direct result of standing on your leg without any support. You are my medical assistant and you must know this yourself. You, also by now, should know the dangers of disregarding my advice."

Tom crossed his arms over his chest and pouted. "I just want to get out of here."

"Well that isnít the way to go about it. Youíve probably set your discharge back by two days."

"What? NO way. I am not staying in here for two more days."

"Make that four. You would have been here for two or three more days regardless."

"No, you canít make me."

"Mr. Paris, you have no say in the matter."

"I hate this place."

"So Iíve gathered. Let me assure you - itís no pleasure cruise for me either. I want you out of here even more than you want to be out, Iím sure. If we work together, perhaps we can both get what we want."

Tom stared sulkily at him. "Iíve been here a week already. Why canít I go back to my quarters and recuperate there?"

"Youíre not ready for that yet," the Doctor said in exasperation. He noticed Harry, rolling around on the biobed next to them. "Now look what youíve done. Youíve woken Mr. Kim."


"Hey, no - itís all right. I wasnít asleep," Harry quickly assured.

The Doctor frowned at this and ran the medical tricorder over him. "You are still suffering from your bout of Reillian fever. You need to rest."

"Howíre you feeling Har?"

"A little better, thanks Tom. At least whatever the Doc gave me has stopped the vomiting."

"Naturally," the Doctor said smugly. "However, if you want to get out of here any time soon, I suggest you try to get some sleep. Mr. Paris, I expect you to keep quiet and leave him alone."

Tom scowled darkly. "Whatís that supposed to mean? What the hell did I do now?"

"Nothing at the moment. Iím trying to eliminate future problems. This is not a sleep over, so let him rest."

Tom threw himself back against his headrest and turned away from them angrily. "Donít worry. You wonít hear another peep out of me," he said through tightly compressed lips.

Harry looked at his friend anxiously. "Doc," he urged quietly. "Ease up a little on him. Heís had a rough couple of weeks."

"The last week in here has been no picnic for me either. I donít hear any sudden outpourings of sympathy for me though."

"Doc, youíre exaggerating. You kept Tom sedated the first three days and he slept most of the next two away. Heís only been up yesterday and today."

"Well, it seems like a week. He would have to be the most annoying patient I have ever had the misfortune to treat."

"Heís frustrated. Heís used to bouncing back quickly after injuries. Besides, heís still upset about what happened to him. Iím surprised youíre not more understanding. Youíre bedside manner has improved dramatically over the last few years. Tom seems to bring out the worst in you."

"He seems to do that to a lot of people." The EMH sighed. "Youíre probably right. I havenít been as understanding as I should have been. Thank you for bringing this to my attention."

Tom suddenly sat up and turned around to glare at them both. "Hey, stop talking about me as if Iím not here. You forgot to whisper after a while. And donít do me any favors Doc, just be your usual charming self. Iím used to it by now." He picked up the PADD he had been trying to read and furiously flung it across the room.

"Hey," Harry said worriedly. "I hope you didnít break that."

"Donít care if I did."

"You will, if you have to explain to the Captain how it got broken."

"Shut up Harry."

"Tom! Iím just pointing out---"

"Well donít."

"Mr. Paris, these childish tantrums will have to stop." The Doctor walked over to retrieve the data padd, scolding Tom as he moved.

"Why? Theyíre so much fun."

"Because, if they donít, I will keep you sedated." Tom flung himself back against the headrest again, but didnít say anything. "Good. Iím glad you see it my way."

"Tom," Harry leaned over worriedly towards him. "Get a grip. Youíre really starting to lose it here buddy."

"Talking about losing it, youíre about to lose your balance and fall on the floor. A sudden jolt like that could start anything happening," Tom said with a grin. Harry smiled back at him in relief as he sat back up. "Get some sleep Har, Iíll be fine now."

"Mr. Paris is right," the Doctor said coming up and putting the retrieved PADD back on the biobed. "Sleep is the only thing that is going to make you feel any better."

Harry lay down wearily and closed his eyes. He drifted off quickly.

"Mr. Paris," the Doctor said softly, turning towards him. "I think it may be a good idea to start your physical therapy sessions now, as you are so eager to get moving."

Tomís smile brightened. "Thatís a great idea."

"As long as you realize that it is a slow process. Donít expect to be running around the room by the end of the session," the Doctor warned.

"Iíve had physical therapy before Doc. Remember? I know what it entails," Tom said impatiently.

"Youíve never had such a severe injury before. Almost every bone in your leg was broken. And the damage to your spine---"

"Doc," Tom interrupted. "Letís just do it, okay?"

"Very well. Iíll get the walking frame."

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

Harry woke up a few hours later to the sound of Tom swearing. He slowly opened his eyes and looked over towards his friend. Tom was standing in the middle of the room, red from exertion, leaning heavily on a walking frame.

"I really think that itís time for you to try the crutch again," the Doctor was saying. "Itís a lot harder, but youíve gone as far as you can with the frame. And try to rest a little more between attempts. Youíre pushing yourself too hard."

"I have to push myself, Doc. I canít stand up properly with the crutch, you saw me. At least with the frame I can shuffle around a little."

"By using the frame, youíre getting into the habit of putting all your weight on your left side. You need to use the crutch so that your right leg has to be used too."

Tom shook his head stubbornly. "The crutch hurts. Let me stay with the frame."

"The frame was only to help you to stand unaided. Youíre not even attempting to use your right leg now."

"Thatís because it hurts," Tom said exasperated. "Anyway, youíre the one that said not to expect too much. Now all of a sudden you expect me to be able to walk, just using the crutch."

The Doctor shook his head. "I expect you to follow my instructions, thatís all."

Harry sat up and the Doctor caught the movement. "Ah! Ensign Kim. I trust you slept well?"

Harry nodded. "Howís the therapy going?"

"Itís not," Tom answered sullenly.

"If you would just listen to me Mr. Paris."

"I told you. I donít want to use the damn crutch yet."

"What you want to do and what you need to do are two different things. Come and sit on the biobed and rest for a moment." The Doctor helped him back to the bed and then went to put the walking frame away.

"I donít understand, Tom. Whyís the Doc pushing you so hard? When I went to sleep, you couldnít even stand up by yourself."

"This isnít my first session. Youíve been asleep all afternoon Harry. I had my first session just after you went to sleep. That went really well. By the end of it I could stand up and even take a couple of steps using the walking frame."

"Well thatís great, isnít it?"

Tom nodded. "I thought so, but now the Doc wants me to use that stupid crutch instead. I hate it. The pain in my hip is really bad when I try to stand up with that thing. Even when Iím already standing and he tries to exchange the frame for it, I lose my balance. I donít know why I canít just use the frame and learn to walk with that."

"Iíve already told you why not," the Doctor said coming back into the room carrying the crutch. "I donít expect you to be able to walk around using the crutch today. All I want you to do is try to stand up with it."

"Well, I canít." Tom said irritably. "The pain in my hip---"

"Will lessen as your right leg strengthens," the Doctor interrupted him. He handed Tom the crutch. "Now stop this nonsense and try to stand up."

Tom gritted his teeth and after several attempts managed to stand. After wobbling precariously for a few moments the Doctor grabbed him before he could fall. "Thatís very good," the Doctor said encouragingly. "Now regain your balance because Iím going to let go again."

Quite a few attempts later, Tom had finally managed to support himself just using the crutch. The Doctor looked pleased. "There, I knew you could do it. What was all that fuss about?"

Tom ignored him, his body rigid with concentration. Harry, however, gazed at the Doctor in open astonishment. Tom looked terrible. He was shaking with the effort of standing upright and was as pale as a ghost.

"Just stand there for a moment longer, while I get my holoimager," the Doctor continued. "Iíll just get a quick snap of you. Later on, after youíre recovered, youíll probably want a souvenir." He hurried over to the storage units.

As Harry stared at the Doctor in amazement, realization suddenly dawned in Tomís eyes. He lost his balance and gripped the edges of the biobed for support. The Doctor turned around and his eyes narrowed as he saw Tom leaning against the bed. "Really, Mr. Paris. You only had to stay there for a few more seconds. Now youíve ruined the shot. How about if you hold the crutch up then instead?"

Tom snarled angrily and picking up the crutch, hurled it as hard as he could at the EMH. The Doctor had only a moment to react, as the crutch sailed harmlessly through him and hit the wall behind.

"TOM!" Harry was horrified.

"Really, Mr. Paris! Thereís no need for violence." The Doctor picked up the crutch and studied it thoughtfully. "Luckily, it doesnít seem to be damaged." He walked back over to Tom and held the crutch out to him. "Do you wish to continue?"

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

BíElanna Torres entered sickbay and stopped dead. Tom was standing, leaning up against his biobed and looked completely wrung out. Sweat was pouring off his forehead and he lifted his arm up to wipe his brow with the sleeve of his pajamas. He was glaring angrily at the EMH.

"You know what you can do with that crutch Doc?"

"Tom! Lucky the Doc's a hologram. If that had connected---"

"Yeah, well it didnít Harry, did it?"

"But still." Harry shook his head in disbelief.

"I think weíve had enough for one day." The Doctor put the offending aid to one side and helped Tom get back into bed. "You need to rest now. At least listen to me about that."

Tom settled back into the bed, scowling. BíElanna couldnít help smiling. He looked all of five years old. She stepped up. "Whatís going on?"

"Oh hi, BíElanna," Harry greeted her nervously. "Tomís a little upset at the moment. His physical therapy didnít go too well."

"Thatís an understatement," the Doctorís tone was at its most acerbic. "What can I do for you Lieutenant? Are you here just visiting or are you in need of my services?"

"I heard about Harry and thought Iíd just check in on him and Tom."

"Very well. Mr. Paris here, as you can see, is in a snit. His progress is being hampered by his own stubbornness." Tom continued to scowl. "Mr. Kim had a severe case of Reillian Fever, but seems to be over it." The Doctor turned to Harry. "I take it youíre feeling better now Mr. Kim?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, thanks Doc. Iím still a little tired, though."

"I suggest an early night, in your own bed. Youíll be fine in the morning."

BíElanna felt herself becoming more and more worried as she watched Tom. He hadnít acknowledged her presence and the scowl was growing deeper by the second. He was sitting stiffly forward, his hands unconsciously clenching and unclenching the blanket covering him. His eyes, usually a bright, sparkly blue, were dark and stormy.

"Thatís good," BíElanna heard Harry say. "Iíll just go into the bathroom and change back into my uniform, so I can get out of here."

"Iíll finish writing up your notes," the Doctor said, going into his office.

BíElanna turned to the sulking pilot as they left. "Hey," she said softly. She picked up the hand nearest to her and put it against her cheek.

Tom relaxed visibly. "Hey," he answered, turning towards her. His other hand came up to stroke her hair as she sat on the edge of the bed, next to him.

Pulling him into a tight hug she whispered in his ear, "are you all right?"

Tom nodded against her. "Never better," he answered.

"Liar," she scolded quietly. "So tell me. What was that all about?"

She felt him stiffen and then pull away. "What?"

"That little scene I just walked in on."

Tom shrugged. "Nothing."

"It didnít look like nothing. The sooner you learn to walk with the crutch, the sooner youíre out of here."

Tom scowled fiercely. "Heís going to keep me in here anyway, so why bother?"

"What makes you think that?"

Tom grimaced. "Iíll be here for another four days probably."

BíElanna whistled through her teeth. "That long? Maybe if you can handle the crutch, heíll let you out."

"I wouldnít bet on it," Tom sulked.

B"Elanna took a deep breath and managed to push her temper back down again. She was determined not to become impatient with him. "It wouldnít hurt to try."

"It does hurt to try. It hurts a lot."

"Did you tell the Doc? Maybe thereís a reason why itís hurting so much. He could probably----"

"He doesnít care."

"Of course he does." She looked closely at him. "I know itís frustrating to find out youíre going to be stuck in here even longer, but remember how badly you were hurt. You fell off of a cliff, for Kahlessís sake. Itís lucky you didnít break your neck."

"Yeah, thatís me. Lucky Paris."

BíElanna mentally counted to ten. "You are lucky Tom. You should be dead. And instead, in a few weeks time, you'll be back to normal."

"Yeah, Iíve just got to get through the next few weeks," Tom mumbled.

BíElanna sighed. "Itís not going to be easy, I know. But Iíll be here, and the Doc----"

"You have no idea what heís putting me through," Tom interrupted miserably.

"Oh, I can imagine," BíElanna smiled in spite of herself.

"You wouldnít find it so amusing if you were the one stuck in here," Tom said angrily.

"I have been stuck in here, remember?"

"Not for as long as me."

"Well, youíre in a great mood. Youíre determined to be miserable." BíElanna snapped. She was not known for her patience. "I donít know why I bother visiting you when youíre like this."

"Sorry, I didnít know I was supposed to entertain you."

"Thatís not what I meant." BíElanna growled. "You make me so mad sometimes Paris. I care about you. I love you, and right now Iím worried sick about you. Talk to me. Tell me what's going on, in that crazy head of yours?"

Tom shook his head. "I canít. I donít know myself." He sighed, running his hands through his short, golden hair. "Iím sorry. I donít know why Iím being like this."

"The Doctorís trying to help you, you know. We all are." Tom didnít say anything and BíElanna got the feeling that he wasnít listening to her anymore. She sighed in frustration.

Harry came back out from the bathroom just then. "Hey Doc," he called out. "Can I go now?"

The EMH came out from his office and ran the tricorder over Harry, one last time. "All right Ensign, you are free to leave. You may resume normal duties."

"Thanks Doc. Iíll see you later Tom." Tom merely grunted.

BíElanna quickly kissed his forehead. "Wait for me Harry. We can have dinner together." She turned back towards Tom and said softly, "Iíll be back later, I promise."

Harry patted Tomís leg. "Listen to the Doc, Tom. Youíll be out of here in no time."

Tom shook his head, frowning. "Thatís easy for you to say, Harry. Youíre leaving."

Harry immediately felt guilty. "Iím sorry Tom."

BíElanna quickly ushered him out of sickbay. "Youíll have to talk to him. Get him to see reason."

Harry threw his hands up in dismay. "Me? Why me?"

"Because, Harry, youíre his best friend; heíll listen to you."

"Oh no, he wonít."

"Of course he will."

"Of course he won't. You know how stubborn he is. You talk to him."

"Iíve already tried. We got into an argument yesterday and the Doctor told me to leave. Heís not even listening to me today."

"Well, leave it to the Doc. Let him persuade him."

"Thatís never going to happen. I think Tom deliberately goes against everything the Doc tells him, just to irritate him. You know what heís like."

"Yeah, I do. Thatís why I know he wonít listen to me."

"Make him listen. Itís not like heís going anywhere."

"Well then, why canít you? Youíd probably have more effect anyway."

"I told you Harry. All we do is fight. And then he sulks and wonít listen to a word I say."

"BíElanna, Iíd probably end up doing the same thing as you. Weíd just end up having an argument, I know we would."

"Maybe not. He doesnít like arguing with you. And youíre much more patient than I am."

"And what if we do? I donít want to upset him anymore than he is already. I just spent the day in sickbay with him, so I know how close to the edge he is. Maybe we should get the Captain or Chakotay to talk to him."

BíElanna shook her head. "I donít think that would go down too well. Heís still not that comfortable with either of them."

"Youíre probably right about the Commander, but I think he and the Captain are all right. She visits him every day you know."

BíElanna nodded. "I know, but I still think it would be better coming from you."

Harry sighed. "All right, but donít blame me if I just make matters worse."

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

The Doctor put his hands over his ears and thought about screaming. If he heard one more irritating beep, accompanied by Mr. Parisís rather inventive cursing, he thought he would go mad. More beeps, blips and twerps were soon heard, followed by; "Damn this waste recycler reject of a control padd! That Retro- rhinus was in my sights. If that Porygon hadnít got in the way, heíd be mine now."

"MR. PARIS! Please refrain from giving me a blow-by-blow description of your failed attempts to capture an imaginary opponent. I think itís time for Miss Wildman to retrieve her toy."

"No way! Naomi said I could have this for the rest of the day, and itís only just after lunch."

"Well itís time for your nap."

"My nap? Youíve got to be joking."

"You need your rest. We both know you got hardly any sleep last night. And you didnít sleep the night before either."

"Thatís because all I do is lay around all day. Iím not having a nap."

"If you slept during the day, I wouldnít be so concerned with your lack of sleep at night."

"Iím not tired."

"I believe you are over tired."

"Iím fine. Doc, Iím not having a nap and thatís the end of it."

"Mr. Paris, you will do as youíre told. You have had two strenuous physical therapy sessions today and if you want to have another one this evening, youíll need to rest now. After all, youíre the one insisting on getting out of here as soon as possible."

Tom shook his head stubbornly, a certain gleam in his eyes the Doctor knew only too well. The EMH sighed heavily. Here we go again. Obviously the little talk Ensign Kim had with him first thing this morning, didnít work. The Doctor had listened quite unabashedly to the entire conversation. Heíd stepped discreetly away, but still within hearing distance, of course. Other than a few rather unfair criticisms leveled at him by Mr. Paris, he felt the talk had really been rather good.

Mr. Kim had been both patient and understanding and seemed to be persuading the disagreeable pilot into behaving himself. After he had left, Mr. Paris had been extremely quiet, obviously contemplating all that had been said. Even during his therapy session he had remained quiet and obedient, not one curse left his lips.

He had even eaten his breakfast with not one word of complaint, a slightly startling fact in itself, and then lay quietly on his bed pretending to read. The silence had become uncomfortable and the Doctor had become disconcerted. Really, this was going from one extreme to the other!

And then young Miss Wildman had come to visit, showing the listless pilot an old game some one had found in the computer banks and given to her, and he had cheered up immensely. He had become intrigued in the game, so much so that Naomi had told him to keep it for the day.

The Doctor had been pleased at the time, although the strange little noises it made were rather annoying after a while. The Doctor thought he could put up with it though, as the Ensign seemed almost his old self. However, after an hour had gone by, the Doctor determined to find out if the game had a mute button. He had been told in no uncertain terms that the noises were an integral part of the game and it wouldnít be the same with the sound down.

In desperation, the Doctor had suggested another therapy session, which thankfully, the Ensign agreed to eagerly. Lunch had followed, but then the pilot had become engrossed in the game again. After two hours the Doctor had had enough.

"This is bugging you isnít it?" Tom waved the game around in the air.

"Bugging me?"

"Yeah, you know. Annoying you."

"Certainly not. Itís just a little distracting thatís all. I have work to do out here and Iím finding it difficult to concentrate."

"Well turn yourself off. The work can wait."

"Thatís a rather typical statement from you. No, the work cannot wait. And even if it could, I would be derelict in my duties if I left a patient here alone in sickbay."

"Iím fine. I donít need you hovering over me all the time." Tomís voice had risen. "Go to the lab or something."

"The work I need to do, has to be done here. Now try and be sensible."

"I am being sensible, as you put it," Tom huffed angrily. "Gods! The first time I find something to do, to stop me from going out of my mind with boredom and you have to spoil it. Thatís just typical of you. Why are you always baiting me?"

"Mr. Paris, I am not baiting you, if anything, you are baiting me, and please lower your voice."

"Yes you are. You always do, and Iím tired of it. Then to top it off, you go and sick Harry onto me."

"I beg your pardon? I did not sick Ensign Kim onto you."

"Of course you did. First BíElanna and then Harry. Why else would he have said all that stuff to me? About cooperating and listening to you, and how youíre just trying to help me. He was here yesterday. He saw how you treat me."

"He also saw how you have been acting. Your friends are worried about you. I refuse to continue this conversation. You are being totally paranoid. I think it might be a good idea to do a few psyche evaluations while youíre here."

"What? Iím not crazy."

"I donít think you are. However, you are behaving irrationally. Every time you are in here as a patient you are completely unreasonable. Unfortunately, since you are here for so long, it is more pronounced this time. Maybe thereís a reason for it."

"DAMN YOU! I am not having any psyche evaluations."

"Mr. Paris, stop shouting."

"GO TO HELL!" Tom threw the game he had been holding at the EMH.

"Perhaps I have come at an inopportune time," a sudden voice came from the doorway. They both looked up to see Lieutenant Commander Tuvok standing there, his eyebrow raised in confusion.

"Not at all Commander," the Doctor answered.

"Tuvok," Tom said at the same time. "Am I glad to see you. Help me."

"Do you require assistance?"

"No, he does not," the Doctor stated emphatically, slamming Naomiís game down on the instrument tray so hard that it shook.

"I was addressing you, Doctor."

Tom threw himself back against the headrest and let out a groan.

The Doctor ignored him. "Oh, well. No thank you. Dodging missiles has become my fulltime occupation in here these days."


The EMH nodded his head. "Youíd be surprised, Commander. Stick around for a while. Iím sure Mr. Paris will find something else to throw at me before the afternoon is over."

"Mr. Paris should not be throwing articles around the sickbay," Tuvok replied giving Tom a stern look.

Tom merely snorted, before rolling onto his side facing away from them both.

"Between you and me Commander, I believe his behavior stems from Lieutenant Torres."

"Lieutenant Torres?"

"Why yes, of course. He would be used to throwing things around the room with her. Klingons, you see." The Doctor sniffed knowingly.


"Yes," the Doctor continued. "If youíre interested, thereís a whole file in the data banks on Klingon mating rituals. Itís quite fascinating actually."

Tuvok arched his eyebrow once again. "I do not believe that that will be necessary at this time, thank you Doctor."

"Suit yourself, Commander. However, you donít know what youíre missing. I am even considering writing a paper, based on the different aspects of Klingon - Human rela----," WHAM! A small bowl connected with the Doctorís holographic head and clattered to the floor.

"Ensign," Tuvok said reprovingly.

Tom sat on his bed looking unrepentant.

"It would appear," Tuvok continued, looking back at the Doctor, "you failed to dodge an incoming missile."

The Doctor merely sniffed in reply.

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

Harry Kim waited impatiently for BíElanna to answer her door chime. He had just come from visiting Tom in sickbay. And if he was worried about his friend before, it was nothing to what he felt now.

The Doctor had been quick to inform him that his talk with Tom hadnít worked and that now for some reason Tom thought they were all out to get him. Heíd even had an argument with Tuvok earlier in the afternoon and then BíElanna not long afterwards.

Commander Chakotay had entered the Doctorís office then, asking to speak to him privately, so Harry had hurried over to his friendís bed. Tom had been withdrawn and sullen and had barely spoken two words to him before the Commander had come up to stand next to him.

Harry winced as he remembered Chakotayís attempt to Ďmake Tom see reasoní as he put it.

"Harry, what is it?" BíElanna was standing in the doorway in her red silk pajamas.

"We have to talk. This isnít working."

A sudden gasp from behind him made him turn around. Ensign Annabelle Jones and Lieutenant Ayalla were standing behind him in the corridor. Their mouths were open in amazement.

BíElanna grabbed his arm and pulled him into her quarters.

"You donít think---?" Annabelle started to say.

"I see nothing, I hear nothing and I definitely say nothing," Ayalla answered.

"Well I know, but still, that sounded awfully suspicious. They have been together a lot lately. And the way theyíve been acting around each other the last few weeks. Always snapping - you donít suppose--?"

Ayalla repeated. "I say nothing."

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

"Well, whatís wrong?" BíElanna repeated.

"Iím sorry. I didnít mean to wake you up."

"You didnít. I couldnít sleep anyway."


BíElanna sighed, sitting heavily down on the couch. "We had a huge fight. I completely lost it, you know Starfleet. I canít believe I did that."

Harry sat down next to her. "Tomís being pretty unreasonable at the moment."

"Yes but heís sick, and in pain and he has all these unresolved feelings about what happened to him down on that planet. I bet you havenít lost your temper with him."

Harry hesitated. "I nearly did, does that count?"


Sighing, Harry put his arm around her shoulders and surprisingly she let him. "Your idea of me talking to him didnít work and from what I could gather Tuvok didnít help matters much either."

BíElanna nodded. "Itís time for the big guns. I think the Doctorís going to talk to the Captain. Probably has already."

Harry shook his head. "He told Chakotay instead. I suppose he thought the Commander was in charge of personnel so he should be the one to talk to Tom." He winced again at the memory.

"What happened?" BíElanna asked with dread. "I can tell from your face it didnít go well."

Harry ran his hands through his hair before replying. "It was - awful."

"You were there?"

Nodding Harry continued. "He spoke to him in front of me and the Doc. It was embarrassing really. I wouldnít have liked to have anybody else there and Tom sure didnít. Chakotay just doesnít understand him - at all. Even after all these years out here too." He sighed heavily. "He started out all soft and understanding but when Tom didnít immediately fall in with his way of thinking, told him he would be on report the next time he threw something."

BíElanna shifted angrily on the couch. "That Pítahk! What else did he say?"

"Um, told him to stop acting like a child and get over it. We all have things to deal with and if everyone else can handle it so should he. He even used me as an example," Harryís voice rose in his indignation. "He said, I was even living in the wrong universe but that didnít stop me from getting on with my life - that made me feel wonderful I can tell you. Iíd nearly forgotten all about that." Harry heard his voice choke and swallowed a few times to keep calm.

BíElanna jumped off the couch and started pacing back and forth in agitation. "Did the stupid idiot have any other great pearls of wisdom to impart?"

Harry shook his head. "Just more of the same sort of stuff. Everyone was trying to help him and to start acting his age instead of the spoilt undisciplined brat heíd always known he was. I thought that was a little unfair. He doesnít know anything about Tomís childhood--" he broke off as he noticed that BíElanna had stopped pacing and was standing as still as a statue.

"You do realize that Iím going to have to kill him now, donít you Harry?" she finally said. Her voice was soft, flat and deadly.


"Heís gone too far. I have to avenge Tomís honor."

"Um, BíElanna. Killing the first officer isnít going to help anything."

"It will make me feel better, Starfleet."

"It will get you thrown in the brig for the rest of the journey home and then thrown in prison."

"Itís a matter of honor. You donít understand."

"Youíre right, I donít. How can you even think of being locked up away from Tom, when he needs you so much at the moment?"

BíElanna turned to stare at him. "Oh, youíre good Starfleet, Iíll give you that. Okay, I wonít kill the Commander, but I am going to have a little talk with him."

"BíElanna, Tom didnít exactly take all that laying down you know. He was at his most sarcastic. You know what heís like with Chakotay at the best of times. You should have heard some of the stuff he said. Thatís one of the reasons Chakotay came down so hard on him."

BíElanna shook her head. "Thatís just a shield he projects - to stop himself from being hurt. You know that. The Captain and Tuvok know it. Even the Doctor does, so Chakotay should by now too."

"Not everyone understands Tom the way we do."

"Chakotay doesnít even try," BíElanna growled.

Harry sighed. "All right. So what are you going to do? Pound him to a pulp? Grind him into the deck? Beat him senseless?"

"Iím going to talk to him, like I said."

"And just how violent is this talk going to be?"

"That depends on how Tom is. Iím going to go and see him first."

"He might not be all that happy to see you, you know. Donít forget, the last time you were with him, you had a fight."

BíElanna nodded. "I need to apologize to him." She sighed dejectedly. "How was he when you left?"

"Upset, angry, determined to do the exact opposite of what Chakotay told him. And absolutely convinced that weíre all in a conspiracy against him."

End Part One