No Regrets - Part 23
Please see part 1 for disclaimer, codes, summary, etc.
I finally talk Harry into coming back and sitting with B'Elanna
and me. I convince him that B'Elanna wouldn't have noticed the
state he was in when he ran off.
I told him that B'Elanna didn't have any reason to look in his
lap. She would have had to be blind not to notice it, but it
wouldn't pay to tell Harry that.
As we head back up the beach, I realize that B'Elanna's no
longer sitting where I left her. I gaze around for her and
frown when I see she's sitting away from everyone with, of all
They seem to be getting along very well, their heads bent close
together. Whatever Chakotay says to her makes her smile and she
leans in even closer.
B'Elanna told me weeks ago that they were friends again, but I
hadn't expected to see them this chummy. I make my way back to
my chair keeping an eye on them the whole time.
I can't see Chakotay's face properly because he's staring down
at the ground, his head bent, but B'Elanna looks happy. Very
happy. She's laughing now. I sit down, feeling depressed. I
know that B'Elanna had once had a crush on Chakotay and now that
she's free, it looks like she might take it further. That isn't
supposed to happen.
She's supposed to fall for Harry. It looks like Harry may get a
broken heart out of this. That's not to mention me. Not that
I'm in love with Chakotay, but I *am* attracted to him and I
don't like to think of him with B'Elanna.
I told B'Elanna I wouldn't be hurt when she found somebody else.
I'd even stressed to her that it could be anybody, anybody at
all. But I didn't mean Chakotay! Damn it all! It was supposed
to be Harry - not Chakotay!
I make my way back to my quarters, the image of the two of them,
practically plastered over one another, fresh in my mind.
I don't even see the Captain until I almost bump into her.
"Chakotay, what's wrong?"
I suppose my face must be as miserable as I feel. "I'm fine,
"Well, you don't look it."
She walks with me to my quarters and automatically follows me
inside. "Would you like to talk about it?"
I shake my head, but say it anyway. "Tom's in love with Harry."
"Are you sure?" she asks softly.
"Maybe she's wrong."
"B'Elanna would know. And she's absolutely certain. Anyway,
I've just come from the beach program. He's made it more than
"I see. I'm so sorry."
I shrug helplessly. "It's all for the best, I'm sure. Now,
maybe, I'll be able to get over him."
She pats my arm in comfort. "If you need some time off from
"Thanks, but I'd rather keep working."
She nods in understanding and with a final pat leaves me alone.
I look up in surprise as the Captain gazes down at me. "All
alone, Mr. Paris?"
I smile and nod. The smile is rather forced and not very
convincing and she looks at me in concern. Sitting down next
to me she pats my arm. "Is anything wrong?"
I shake my head. How do I even explain what's going on?
B'Elanna's just ruined everything. She's going to get on with
Chakotay. I just know it. And poor Harry!
I must have said that out loud because the Captain says, "What
"Nothing," I say quickly.
"Oh? Tom, tell me what's wrong. There's obviously something."
"It's all so complicated," I sigh.
"Why don't you try to explain it?" she says gently. I look
around to see if Harry or B'Elanna are close by. B'Elanna's now
in the water, splashing around and Harry's over talking to
Neelix. I'd really like to talk to somebody about this and I
can't talk to Harry, or B'Elanna for that matter.
"I can't really tell you anything, Captain. It involves other
people, not just me."
"I understand. You don't have to mention any names."
"Well, okay. It's just that I know Ha... I mean, 'somebody'
is going to get really hurt and there's nothing I can do about
it. He's in love with somebody very close to us, but she's not
in love with him. She's interested in somebody else entirely."
"Are you sure she is?" the Captain interrupts me.
"Fairly certain. I don't know if this other guy's interested in
her, but knowing him, he'll probably take her up on it if she
makes a play for him. And I don't want the first guy to be hurt
or the other guy to be interested in her. I want him... well it
doesn't matter about that. I just wish everything wasn't such a
mess. Why the hell did she have to get interested in Cha... I
mean, the other guy in the first place?"
"I see," the Captain says, a little faintly.
"I told you it was complicated," I tell her.
"I don't think I realized just how much, however. My head's
still reeling. I'm not quite sure I understand what you just
"That's okay, Captain. It's best if you don't."
"I'm sure it is," she says, shaking her head. She pats my hand
and then squeezes my shoulder. "I'm sure it is."
Tuvok follows me into my ready room, his face politely curious.
"May I ask if something is the matter, Captain? You appear to
"I am, Tuvok. I am," I say, sinking into my chair. "My senior
staff have become entangled to such a degree that you're the
only one I can rely on anymore."
"I have noticed that both Ensigns Paris and Kim have been acting
a little strangely at times. Commander Chakotay has also not
been his usual self on more than one occasion."
I sigh and run my hands through my hair. "Who else has noticed
"Seven of Nine has queried me on the matter."
"May I ask what sort of an entanglement you were referring to,
"It's an absolute emotional mess. A romantic triangle, although
triangle isn't the right word to use here. A rectangle is more
apt. And what a rectangle it is."
"My apologies, Captain. I'm not sure I understand your
I sit forward and lean towards him. "I'm telling you this in
strict confidence, Tuvok."
"That goes without saying, Captain."
I nod and continue. "From what I can gather, Commander Chakotay
is in love with Tom Paris, who in turn is in love with Harry
Kim. Harry, however, is in love with B'Elanna and B'Elanna is
in love with Chakotay. And as you know, Chakotay is in love
with Tom. Perhaps a circle is a better description. Anyway,
the point is that there are no reciprocated feelings among them
and it's one hell of a mess."
"I concur. However, I must disagree with you on one point of
your... ahem... rectangle. Harry Kim is not in love with
Lieutenant Torres. He's in love with Ensign Paris."
"What makes you say that?"
"I have watched them closely over the years. Although I did not
realize it to begin with, I have now come to the conclusion that
Ensign Kim has been in love with Mr. Paris from the beginning of
"Are you sure about this?"
"Yes. After careful consideration, I'm certain."
"Why the hell does Tom think Harry's in love with B'Elanna?"
"I have no idea, Captain."
"This collapses my rectangle theory. If Harry's in love with
Tom, and Tom's in love with Harry, then at least they could be
"I agree, but are you certain that Mr. Paris is in love with
"Chakotay told me he was."
"The Commander is certain?"
"Well, B'Elanna told him and she'd know."
"Has Mr. Paris told her this?"
"I don't think so."
"Then it is not certain. Who told you that Lieutenant Torres
was in love with the Commander?"
"And he is certain?"
"He said he was fairly sure."
"Then it is not certain, either. Who told you that the
Commander was in love with Mr. Paris?"
"Now that came straight from the horses mouth," I say, feeling a
little triumphant. "Chakotay admitted that to me weeks ago."
"Then we can ascertain that as fact. Along with my own keen
observations regarding Ensign Kim, we can also ascertain that
he is in love with Mr. Paris, too. The rest of it is pure
conjecture and can be left out of the equation."
"Damn it! So what have we got? Tom Paris sitting squarely in
the middle, with Chakotay on one side of him and Harry on the
other. Since we don't know how Tom feels about either one of
them, I guess the scales are balanced. I must say, however,
that I strongly believe the scales are tipped in Harry's favor.
I don't know why, but I just have a feeling that Tom loves
Harry, too. You can call it intuition if you want..."
"A most unreliable source," Tuvok interrupts. "There is no
basis for that assumption. However," he hurries on, as I open
my mouth to argue. "I will concede that your feeling on this
matter may have been affected by some unconscious act that led
you to believe it. I will allow the scales to be tipped."
"Thank you," I say dryly. I can't help feeling sorry for
Chakotay. He would have been perfect for Tom. Much better than
Harry. I'm not sure why I feel this way, either. I just do.
"So, anyway, where does B'Elanna fit into all of this?"
"It is my considered opinion that she doesn't."
"Oh? Why is that?"
Tuvok hesitates. "I have no basis for that opinion."
"I... I am finding myself hopeful that she doesn't."
"Oh? Why should it matter to you?"
"I humbly report that I must make a confession to you."
"This is a rather delicate matter. I am hoping to speak to you
as I would to a... family member."
"Of course. What is it?"
"My... ponn farr... will seize me in a matter of weeks. I have
come to the unfortunate conclusion that meditation alone will
not be enough to save me. The Doctor's holodeck simulations
will also prove fruitless. Therefore, I am hoping to form a
liaison with Lieutenant Torres."
"You've chosen B'Elanna to mate with?"
"She is the logical choice, under the circumstances. She is no
longer in a committed relationship and is strong enough to
withstand my more violent outbursts. It is well known
throughout the ship that she prefers her sexual encounters to be
"How will this affect your bond with T'Pel?"
"It is uncertain."
"I see. What if B'Elanna doesn't want to do this? We can't
order her to, you know?"
"I understand that, Captain. And, unlike Ensign Vorik, I will
not force my ponn farr onto anybody that is not willing. I
intend to ask Seven of Nine, if Lieutenant Torres refuses."
"Seven? I don't think that's a good idea. Perhaps you should
ask one of the men?"
"I am not interested in men, Captain."
"I know that. But we're talking about your ponn farr here, so
what does it matter?"
"It matters a great deal, Captain. For me to initiate a bond,
there must be some form of attraction there."
"Damn it! Aren't there any men on board that you find in the
least bit attractive? What about Ayala? He's a very attractive
man. Quiet and unassuming... he's the perfect choice."
"Captain! I am not attracted to Mr. Ayala."
"Okay then, what about Thompson from engineering? Or Jenkins
in ships maintenance?"
"I do not think so, Captain."
I frown as I concentrate. There has to be somebody. I don't
want Tuvok to ask Seven. Knowing her, she'll probably agree to
the whole outrageous idea.
"What about Powell from the science lab? He'd be perfect and
I'm sure he'd be willing to help you out. From what I hear,
he's rather desperate."
"No. He may be desperate, but I am not."
"Well, it *is* a matter of life and death. I'd say that was
He shakes his head. "No. I will approach Lieutenant Torres
tomorrow with my proposal. She will need time to think about
it. Until I have her answer it is pointless to continue with
I sigh. He's right, of course. I now find myself hoping
fervently that B'Elanna agrees.
To be continued in part 24.