UNEXPECTED PATHWAYS
By TíPam

Disclaimer: Voyager and all her crew belong to Paramount/Viacom. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit will be made, as this story is just for fun.

Rated PG-15
 

Part Two

Seven leaned against the back of the chair, her eyes closing, as she reflected on the past five years. Lost in thought she did not realize that Tom had awoken and was watching her through half closed lids.

He wondered what she was doing, sitting in here with him. Her regeneration must be complete, so she couldnít be tired. He was surprised that she was in here and not out in the main room, as she avoided being with him as much as possible.

Sevenís face was contemplative and sad, and Tom hesitated to disturb her thoughts. He hated to think that he was the cause of her misery, but damn it all, he was miserable too.

Things couldnít go on like this. It had come to a head. Isabelleís questions the morning before had made him realize that.

He just hoped that Seven would be reasonable, and agree to talk about it. Something had happened between them and he wasnít sure what it was. Things had been going along nicely, smoothly even. They had been happy - as happy as they were likely to be anyway - he was sure of it.

Then Seven had changed. She had become cold and distant. More like the Seven of years before. Except where Isabelle was concerned. He could never fault her there. He knew that Seven had a hard time expressing her feelings, but never with Izzy. She hugged and kissed the little girl, read and sang to her, her eyes full of the love and pride she felt for her.

Sighing inwardly, Tom thought about the past five years and what a mess he had made of everything. He had Izzy and that more than made up for all the torment and anguish. His only regret was that he had hurt Seven, and it was obvious that he had.

His eyes shut fully, as like Seven; he contemplated the past.


Five years earlier:
 

"This time youíve crossed the line."

The words hung in the air as Seven watched Tom usher BíElanna from the mess hall.

She was not exactly sure what it was she had done that had caused such a reaction from the chief engineer. She was a highly emotional individual, Seven decided and sat back down at her table. Picking up the padd that had caused the angry reaction she studied it carefully.

A sudden clearing of a throat made her look up enquiringly. Neelix was still there. "You wish to speak to me?"

"Um, Iím not sure what just happened, but a word of advice. Iíd give BíElanna that data she asked you for, if I were you."

"You are not I."

"No. Of course not."

Seven dismissed the Talaxian by looking back down at the padd and ignoring him. Lieutenant Torres would have to wait. She had not finished her study yet. All of the data collected had to be analyzed.


A few hours later she stood in the Captainís ready room as the Captain, who she noted seemed rather amused, explained to her why the chief engineer had been so upset.

Lieutenant Torres had reported her. The Captain however did not punish her, merely suggesting she find out what she wanted to know by attempting a romance herself. The Captain did however insist she hand over all the data she had collected.

"Seven, just tell me one thing," the Captain asked her before she left. "Why Tom and BíElanna? There are other couples dating on board that you could have watched and it would have been a lot safer."

"Their relationship intrigues me."

"Oh? Because of itís rather fiery nature at times?"

Seven hesitated before nodding. "That is part of it. I find I am curious. I do not understand why Ensign Paris allows the Lieutenant to treat him the way she does. It is - baffling."

Janeway looked a little surprised. "It is not our place to question other peopleís relationships Seven. BíElanna can be a little - domineering - at times, but Tom is fairly easy going. It seems to work for them."

Seven frowned, still looking puzzled, but Janeway gave a gasp. "Iím late." She hurried from the room.


Two days later, diplomatic mission completed and the desired outcome met, Janeway sat down in her ready room and sighed wearily. Next time Chakotay could play the diplomat and she would stay on board the ship. It sounded like sheíd missed quite a bit of fun.

Her eyes roamed over her desk until they fell on the two padds there. Thatís right. BíElannaís report. She wondered if her chief engineer was still as angry as she had been two days ago. She knew she could stay mad for a long time.

She picked up the other padd and looked at it idly. Sevenís data. Well, it belonged to BíElanna not her, so she would give it to her as soon as possible. Hopefully that would end the whole matter. Seven might just have to watch herself around Tom and BíElanna for a while, that was all.

She smiled slightly as she pictured Seven following the two of them around the ship, taking notes. Putting the padd back down, she put her feet up on the desk and crossed her arms behind her head.

Just as she got comfortable the door chime sounded and frowning she quickly swung her legs back down, knocking the padd onto the floor in the process.

"Enter," she called out bending down to pick it up. The fall had turned the padd on and as she picked it up, she accidentally scrolled down the data.

Her eye caught the sentences - ĎMale subject has obvious injuries. He furtively enters sickbay and ensures there is no one else there. Proceeds to instrument tray and----í

"Excuse me Captain?"

She looked up with a guilty start. "Oh Harry. Sorry."

"I have those reports you wanted."

"Oh yes, of course. Thank you."

"Captain? Are you all right? You look a little pale."

"Iím fine, Harry. I think I just sat up too fast. Sudden rush to the head. You know."

"If youíre sure?"

She nodded curtly and Harry left the room. Her gaze flew back to the padd in her hand. What the hell?


The doors to her ready room swished quietly open.

"Chakotay. Please sit down."

He sat opposite her, concern etched over his features. "Is something wrong Captain? You look troubled."

She nodded. "Something is very wrong, and Iím not quite sure what to do about it." She sighed and held out the padd to him. "I think you should read this."

"What is it?"

"Sevenís study on Tom and BíElanna."

"Oh?" He looked at her in surprise. "Youíve been reading it? I donít think BíElanna would be too happy to hear that."

"It was an accident. The padd fell on the floor and when I picked it up this section caught my eye. I know I shouldnít have read it. It goes against every privacy code in the manual, but now that I have---. Read it and youíll see why I continued reading."

Chakotay scanned the padd quickly and looked back up at her in shock. "This reads almost as if---"

"Yes. Keep reading."

Chakotay read for some seconds in silence and then put the padd down on the desk with a resounding thud. "There has to be some mistake. Iíve known BíElanna for years. Sheís not like this. And Tom. He wouldnít let her. I mean - Spirits! Itís just not possible. Seven must be wrong."

"Sevenís observations are very clear." She turned her computer monitor around, so that he could see it. "Tomís medical records, for the past two years. I got the Doctor to transfer them."

Chakotay winced as he saw all the entries. "And the Doctorís never questioned all of these unexplained injuries, that Tom obviously treated himself?"

"The Doctor is under the impression that Tom is a dare devil in the holodeck. Some of these injuries have been caused in there. I was with Tom the day he dislocated his shoulder and got the black eye. The Doctorís lecture was rather a trial, to put it mildly. Heís just been assuming that Tom treated himself and kept it quiet to avoid another lecture. I probably would have thought the same thing if I hadnít seen Sevenís padd."

"I just donít believe it. I know BíElannaís had some problems lately. Sheís been severely depressed and had some trouble with her temper, but she wouldnít do this to Tom. Tom would have stopped her before things got out of hand."

"Iím not so sure about that. Tom has problems of his own you know Chakotay. I think he would put up with a lot in a relationship. Heís still a little insecure. He fears rejection."

She held up her hand as Chakotay opened his mouth to protest. "You have a biased opinion of Tom, from when he was in the Maquis. That was all an act. A front he put up to protect himself. Heís opened himself up to us over the years. Let down his barriers. Surely youíve seen the change in him."

"Of course I have. I would have to be blind not to. Tom is a good man. I respect and admire what heís been able to achieve. And thatís why I donít believe heíd let BíElanna abuse him. And that is what weíre talking about here - abuse. This is more than just Klingon rough sex."

Janeway nodded. "I know. I may be wrong, but I donít think BíElanna is aware that sheís injuring Tom. According to Sevenís data, Tom pretends heís fine in front of her. He seems to hide it from her."

"I see." Chakotay sat thinking for a few moments. "I have to believe that BíElanna doesnít realize sheís hurting Tom."

"Iím hoping thatís the case Chakotay. Whatever the truth is, it needs to be addressed. I donít like interfering, but I donít think I have much choice. I donít think talking to Tom will be much help at the moment."

Chakotay nodded. "I agree. If you prefer, I could talk to BíElanna. Weíve been friends for so long, it might be better coming from me."

Janeway grimaced and shook her head. "She may need a friend to talk to afterwards. No, Iíll do it. Can you ask her to come and see me?"

"Iíll go and get her now." He stood up and made his way to the door, turning back to her, before leaving. "Good luck."


Chakotay found BíElanna in a Jeffries tube, cursing at some circuits. "Can you get some one else to finish this? The Captain wants to see you."

"I suppose so. Whatís the Captain want me for? Ah, donít tell me. She managed to get Ms. Borgette to hand over those field notes of hers."

"If youíre referring to Sevenís study, then yes."

"Great, itís about time."

"BíElanna, weíve been friends for a long time."

"Sure." BíElanna studied him for a moment, curiosity evident on her face. "Is something wrong?"

"I just want you to know that you can talk to me at any time about anything. You know that donít you?"

"Of course. Is there anything in particular I should be talking to you about?"

"No. I just wanted to make sure that you knew you could."

"Okay." BíElanna gave him a strange look. "Iíll keep that in mind."

She made her way to the Captainís ready room pondering Chakotayís strange behavior.

She felt a little uneasy at the Captainís serious expression as she entered the room.

"You wanted to see me Captain?"

"Yes BíElanna. I have retrieved all the data that Seven collected concerning yourself and Tom." She held out the data padd. "Unfortunately, I accidentally read some of it."

BíElanna smiled a little. "Donít worry about it Captain. Half the ship knows about Tom and my - personal encounters, it seems, so whatís one more?"

"Iím afraid that isnít the part I saw."

"Oh?"

"BíElanna, sit down. We need to discuss what I accidentally read. I donít normally pry in my crewís personal lives, but---"


BíElanna entered the mess hall and looked around angrily. She saw Tom sitting in a booth at the far end of the room, but to her dismay, Seven was sitting with him. Of everyone on board this lousy ship, it would have to be Seven, she decided.

What was Tom doing with her anyway, she thought fiercely, making her way over to them.

They looked up as she approached. "Tom," she hissed, completely ignoring Seven. "We have to talk - now."

Tomís eyebrows rose a little. "Yes, Maíam."

She marched back out of the mess hall and strode angrily down the corridor to the turbolift.

"BíElanna?" Tom panted as he hurried to catch her up. "Whatís wrong?"

"Not here," she hissed over her shoulder and stepped purposefully into the turbolift. "Deck nine," she ordered briskly.

"Weíre going to your quarters, I take it?"

She merely glared at him in response.

"I have to be back on duty in twenty minutes."

"Donít be cute," BíElanna snapped.

"I wasnít trying to be cute. I donít know what the hellís going on or why youíre so snippy, but I canít afford to be late back on duty."

"Weíll talk about it when we get to my quarters. And donít worry; the Captain knows youíll be late. Sheís ordered me to talk to you." The last words were practically spat out.

"What?"

The doors mercifully opened then and BíElanna almost ran to her quarters. Tom did run.

As soon as the doors closed, BíElanna turned to him, panting heavily. "Why didnít you tell me Tom? Do you have any idea how awful I felt? How humiliated?"

"Tell you what? I have no idea what youíre talking about."

"Your ribs. I cracked three of your ribs. The time before that I broke your wrist and the time before that it was your arm. And thatís not to mention all the internal bruising and thereís even some scarring."

Tom paled and sat down heavily on the couch. "Howíd you find out? I didnít want you to know. I knew youíd get upset."

"Upset? That doesnít even begin to describe it." BíElanna paced angrily back and forth in front of him. "Iíve never been so embarrassed in all my life. Janeway seems to think we have an abusive relationship. And Iím the abuser."

"BíElanna, Iím sorry. Iíll talk to her. Tell her that everything we do is consensual."

"I already told her that. She seems to think that youíll do anything to please me and that includes getting beaten up."

"You donít beat me up."

"I know that," BíElanna yelled angrily. "She doesnít seem to though. Why the hell canít she mind her own business?"

"She probably thought she was helping."

"Donít defend her. She came across as very caring and concerned, Iíll grant you that. Do you know what her first words to me were, Tom? ĎI donít normally pry into my crews personal relationships, but in this case,í and then she not only pried, but also made absolutely false assumptions. She decided to talk to me first as she thought I probably didnít know about the damage Iíd been inflicting upon you. You seemed to have been trying to hide it. Well, she was right about that at least."

"BíElanna, Iím so sorry. I knew youíd feel guilty and it wasnít as if youíd done it on purpose. I could have stopped you if Iíd wanted to."

"And that brings me to another point. Why didnít you? If youíd told me the first time I hurt you, I would have been a bit more careful. Held myself in check a little."

"I didnít want you to do that. I want you to be yourself around me. Iím stronger than I look, you know. I can handle a little bit of rough sex."

"Itís more than that Tom. Iíve really been getting out of control lately. The more you took, the more Iíve been dishing out. You should have told me."

Tom nodded. "Youíre right. I should have. But Iíve always had bruises after our lovemaking. So have you for that matter. It just seemed to slowly escalate into more."

"Until the regenerator you swiped from sickbay couldnít always fix it. Does the Doctor know?"

"I donít know. Iíve never discussed it with him, as I healed most of the things myself. I only needed his help a couple of times and he was under the impression I hurt myself on the holodeck. He even said after the rib incident the other day that he was going to report me to the Captain for undue care in the holodeck. Get me banned for a few months. Damn! Is that how the Captain found out?"

BíElanna shook her head. "It was thanks to our resident Borg." She pulled out the data padd from her pocket. "The Captain gave me all the notes she took on us. She told me I could do whatever I wanted with them. Theyíre quite detailed. She followed us everywhere. Especially you. And sheís been doing it for quite a few months. She has very specific details about each time you were hurt."

Tom cursed. "And here I was apologizing to her at lunch time."

"What the hell would you want to apologize to her for?"

"I did something I wasnít very proud of. I made a bet with the Doc about her. When she found out, she was pretty hurt."

"Hurt? Her? I donít think so. Serves her right anyway. Whatever you did to her, it would never be enough to pay her back for what sheís done to us. Our private lives are a joke. Itís bad enough her knowing intimate things about us, but now the Captain does too."

"I donít think she meant to hurt us. She just didnít understand---"

"Donít defend her now too, Tom. Youíre too nice, thatís your trouble. Youíd better get back to the bridge. I need to think about all this." She eyed the padd in her hand. "Iíd like to read this, I think."

"Are you sure thatís wise? It might be better just to destroy it."

"Perhaps, Iíll see how I feel."


BíElanna took a deep breath and rang the chime on Tomís door.

He opened the door almost at once. "Hi," he said with a smile. "Come in."

He frowned as he noticed she didnít smile in return. "Is everything all right?"

"No Tom it isnít. I stayed up all last night reading that damn padd of Sevenís and it disturbed me."

Tom shook his head. "You should have destroyed it." He sat down on his couch and looked up at her as she continued.

"No. Iím glad I didnít. Iíve done nothing but think about it all day. I ended up going back and seeing the Captain again. I can see now why she was so concerned. We had a long talk."

"Oh? Why do I get the feeling that you talked about me?"

BíElanna sat down heavily on the couch next to him. "Thereís something I have to know, Tom. And answer me honestly."

"I always try to be honest with you, BíElanna."

"I know." Her voice softened and she took his hand in hers. "Tom," she hesitated. "Do you want me to hurt you? Do you like getting beat up?"

"Of course not," Tom answered quickly. "Iím not a masochist."

"I didnít think you were. I just wanted to be sure." She continued softly. "Do you think that you deserve to be hurt?"

"No. What are you talking about? I told you why I didnít tell you things were getting a little too rough, yesterday."

"Sometimes victims of abuse unconsciously repeat the pattern---"

Tom jumped up from the couch as if it were on fire. "What are you saying? Iím not an abuse victim. I know I donít like to talk about my father, so I may have given you the wrong impression of him, but he never hit me."

"There are all types of abuse, Tom. He may never have physically abused you, but mentally and emotionally---"

Tom cut her off. "Is that what Janeway told you?"

"No. She said, well it doesnít matter what she said."

"Yes it does."

"No, it doesnít. She just made me think a little, thatís all. Our relationship worries me. I was worried before I went to speak to her. You seem to bring out the worst in me, Tom. It shouldnít be like that. I started wondering why I was so aggressive with you. So Klingon. You encourage me to be that way."

"Thatís because you keep denying it. Itís part of who you are. You need to accept that half of you."

"I have accepted it. But itís only half of me. Not the whole of me. Iím not Klingon and Iím not human. Iím a mix of the two. You only seem interested in the Klingon side of me."

"BíElanna, thatís not true. I love you, for all of you."

"Perhaps Iím being a little harsh. I know you do, but our relationship is unhealthy Tom."

"Unhealthy?" Tomís voice rose incredulously. "Our relationshipís great. Itís everything I always wanted."

"Well then, you obviously never wanted much. Itís all wrong Tom." She jumped up to face him. "We keep secrets from each other. We donít confide like we should. Weíre insecure with each other."

Tom shook his head stubbornly. "Youíre blowing this all out of proportion. This is why I didnít tell you when you hurt me. I knew youíd do this."

"Tom, Iím not blowing this out of proportion. We have a serious problem." She sighed and sat down again, patting the couch next to her. "Please sit down. We need to talk about this calmly."

Tom ran his hands through his hair, but sat down again. "BíElanna, I promise Iíll tell you if you hurt me again. I donít know what else to say."

"Tom, how did you feel when you found out about what I was doing to myself in the holodeck? You were hurt werenít you? Hurt that I hadnít confided in you?"

Tom nodded. "I was worried about you, and you wouldnít tell me what was wrong, but this is different. You were suffering from depression; you didnít feel like you could talk to anyone. I didnít tell you about this, because youíve had enough upsets. I didnít want to add to them. I was wrong. I know that. Iím sorry."

"Tom. Is this really what you wanted? This relationship we have?"

"Yes," Tom said positively. "We love each other. Isnít that enough?"

"No, Tom. It isnít. And if you really stopped and thought about it, Iím sure youíd realize it too."

"What are you saying, BíElanna? You donít want to be with me anymore?"

"I donít know. Iím not sure how I feel at the moment."

"I do not believe this is happening. This is crazy. You want to break up, because you hurt me a couple of times and I didnít tell you?"

"Tom, that isnít the reason. This has just made me reassess the two of us. I didnít say I wanted to break up. I just think I need to be alone for a while. Think things over. Iím going to have some counseling from Chakotay and some more sessions with Tuvok to help me with my self-control. You might think about getting some counseling as well."

"Damn it BíElanna! I do not need counseling. I am not an abuse victim."

"Well itís up to you. I just know that this is something I need to do."

"Where does that leave us? You donít want to break up, but you want to be alone?"

"Just for now, while I sort myself out. We can still see each other. I just donít think it would be a good idea for us to be intimate at the moment. Please try to understand."

"Well I donít. None of this makes any sense."

"Iím sorry Tom. I truly am." BíElanna stood up and made her way to the door.

"BíElanna, I love you." Tomís voice was an anguished wail.

She stopped and turned back to him, blinking back the tears. "I love you too," she said softly.


One month later:
 

Tom sat down nervously across from BíElanna. He knew that this wasnít going to be pleasant. She had picked the mess hall for this meeting so that he wouldnít make a scene. He knew that, but wondered if it would make any difference.

BíElanna was mad. That much was obvious.

"Tom," she said taking a deep breath. "We have to talk. I thought a public place might be easier."

"Youíre hoping it will be, you mean."

"Youíre right. I am. I want you to stop this. Leave me alone."

"You said we could still see each other."

"But you wonít leave me alone for a minute. Every time I turn around youíre there. And stop sending me the chocolates and flowers and messages. I need space. I need to think and youíre not giving me the opportunity."

"Iím sorry. I just wanted you to know how much I love you."

"I feel like youíre trying to manipulate me."

"BíElanna. No. That wasnít my intent."

"Tom, if you canít give me the time I need, then I think it might be best if we do split up."

"NO!"

Quite a few heads turned to look at them and BíElanna frowned at him angrily. "Keep your voice down," she hissed. "I donít want a scene."

"Oh, and we must always do what you want, mustnít we?"

BíElanna stood up angrily. "This is pointless. Letís just call it quits and be done with it."

Tom grabbed her arm as she started to leave. "BíElanna, Iím sorry. Iíll leave you alone. I promise."

BíElanna looked down at him and sighed. "Do you mean that?"

Tom nodded. "Iím not saying it will be easy, but I will."

"Thanks."

"How long do you need?"

She frowned once more. "I donít know. A few weeks, at least."

Tom gulped a little.

"Is that a problem?"

"No. No. I said Iíd give you space and I meant it."


And Tom kept his word. He stayed away from BíElanna as much as possible. They still had to see each other at senior staff meetings and confer about a few problems with the helm, but Tom managed to keep everything completely professional. BíElanna had even thanked him.

The weeks passed and Tom was starting to get edgy. Just how long was it going to take BíElanna to think things through anyway? Whenever he saw her, she acted friendly - but distant. She gave him no indication that she was ready to resume their relationship.

It was now five weeks since he had promised to leave her alone and he was becoming impatient. He didnít want to push her, but needed to know what was going on. He decided to speak to Chakotay. He knew she was still seeing him for counseling.


Chakotay looked up in surprise as Tom walked over to him in the mess hall. "Can I talk to you for a minute, Commander?"

"Sure. Whatís on your mind?"

"Itís BíElanna. I need to know about her counseling."

Chakotay frowned at him. "Tom, I canít tell you about that. Itís confidential. You should know that."

Tom sighed. "I know. I just meant if she was all right. If itís helping her."

Chakotay shook his head. "I canít discuss it at all."

"Damn it Chakotay. Iím not asking you to betray any confidences. I just want to know how itís going."

Chakotay sighed and sat back in his chair. "Sheís fine."

"Thatís all youíre going to say? Sheís fine? Hell, I can see sheís fine."

"Tom," Chakotay said warningly.

He cursed to himself. BíElanna should have spoken to Tom by now. Sheíd made her decision. It wasnít fair to Tom to keep him dangling like this. He wasnít sure what to tell the pilot. Tom was under the impression that he was counseling BíElanna. She had had three counseling sessions with him, but found her sessions with Tuvok, far more beneficial. BíElanna came to see him, to discuss her problems, as friends. That was all.

"BíElanna said she needed a few weeks to think things through. Itís been nine now, Chakotay. Nine. I know I didnít give her much room the first four weeks, but since then Iíve done everything she wanted. How much longer does she need, for heavens sake?"

"Iím sorry Tom. I wish I had the answer." He decided privately to speak to BíElanna. "Try not to let it get to you."

"Yeah, right." Tom stood up. "Thanks anyway, Commander." Chakotay watched him as he made his way out of the mess hall, obviously not eating anything again. Tom hadnít been eating properly for weeks and it was beginning to show.

Just as Tom reached the doors, Harry came bounding through, a wide smile on his face. He greeted Tom warmly and then must have asked him something, as Chakotay saw Tom shake his head.

An earnest conversation seemed to follow, and Chakotay felt relieved when he saw Harry take Tomís arm and lead him to the serving counter. It wasnít long before they were sitting down and Chakotay saw Tom take a few bites of the food in front of him.

He stood up and quickly dispensing of his tray, made his way to engineering.


Harry put down his clarinet at the sound of his door chime and called out. "Who is it?"

"Itís me," BíElanna answered. "Harry, can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure, come in."

He watched as BíElanna came hesitantly into his quarters and sighed a little sadly. BíElanna had been avoiding him for the past few weeks and he was pretty sure he could guess why. She didnít want to put him in the position of having to choose between herself and Tom.

That was the one thing heíd worried about, right from the start of the romance between his two best friends. If something happened between them, he may be forced to choose sides. Tom had told him not to be stupid. Neither of them expected him to do that, he would be kept right out of any arguments they may have. Realistically, it wasnít quite that simple.

BíElanna was like the sister heíd never had. She meant a lot to him. And Tom was the brother heíd always wanted; only he was more than that. He was his best friend, his confidante. And right now he was hurting, whereas BíElanna seemed content - at peace with herself. He didnít want to take sides, but Tom needed him.

"Would you like a drink?" He indicated for her to sit down on the couch.

"No thanks Harry." She sat quietly for a few moments and Harry marveled at the change in her. She was obviously troubled, but instead of pacing up and down and hitting things, as he would have expected, she was in control.

"What did you want to talk about?" As if he couldnít guess.

"Are you doing anything tonight?"

He looked at her in surprise. "No. Why?"

"Iím on my way to see Tom. I think heíll need you afterwards."

Harryís heart sank. Damn it! "So, youíre going to tell him itís over?"

BíElanna looked up at him sadly and nodded. "Iíve been putting it off. Believe it or not, I donít want to hurt him, Harry."

"I thought you loved him." Harry winced at the accusing note in his voice. Who was he to judge her?

She merely shook her head. "I thought I did too. I truly believed I did. I care about him. Iíll always care about him. Thatís why I donít want to hurt him. But Iíve come to realize that I care about him the way I do about you. As a friend. A brother almost."

Harry shook his head in disbelief, as he sat down across from her. "Iím pretty sure youíve never had any sexual interest in me." He wished the words back immediately, as he saw her pale. "Iím sorry. I shouldnít have said that. I donít want to take sides and it sounds like I am."

"Itís all right Harry. I understand. And youíre right of course. I knew Tom was attracted to me long before what happened on the Sikari home world. I was flattered. Heís a very attractive man. Did Tom tell you what happened down there?"

Harry shook his head. "Not really. I know you were infected by Vorik, and were sent into a type of ponn farr yourself. Tom told me nothing happened between you. You fought Vorik and that purged it."

BíElanna nodded. "Thatís true. But I wanted something to happen Harry. Tom was the perfect gentleman. When we got back to the ship, I couldnít stop thinking about how wonderful he had been. I started fantasizing about us being together. I thought I was in love with him, but I realize now, it was lust. We started dating and things really started to heat up. I believe that had something to do with those damn experiments that were being conducted on us. We talked about it afterwards and decided to keep seeing each other. We were having fun."

"You donít owe me an explanation BíElanna."

"I want you to understand. We were getting along great, but then those damn messages came from home and everything changed. I was having a hard time dealing with the death of all my friends and Tom was upset over his fatherís message not getting through. It meant a lot to him. I felt guilty about it as I managed to get everyone elseís. We started pulling away from each other. It was slow and I didnít realize what was happening. Tom started spending all his time in the holodeck working on that damn car of his and I started hurting myself."

She stopped to catch her breath and Harry got her a glass of water. She sipped at it gratefully. "We sorted ourselves out and I thought it would be all right, but I still found it hard to control myself sometimes. Some days I had no control whatsoever. I started hurting Tom. Sex was often noisy and rough, but it started becoming more."

Harry blushed at the vivid picture she was describing. "You donít have to tell me this BíElanna."

"Iím sorry. I didnít mean to embarrass you. I wonít go into any more details, but Iíll never forget the first time I hurt him seriously. I threw a vase at him and he didnít duck fast enough. It knocked him out cold. There was blood everywhere. I called the Doctor, who came straight away. He was very discreet and patched Tom up. He had a concussion. The Doctor made some comment about Klingons and throwing furniture around. According to his database, it was perfectly normal so he said he wouldnít report it. He told Tom to duck quicker in future and we all laughed. I was so embarrassed though that as soon as he left I started to sob. Tom was shocked. I donít cry. Not the way humans do, anyway."

"I didnít think you could. Something to do with your Klingon genes."

BíElanna nodded. "I have sometimes, but not often. Tom kept blaming himself. Saying he should have ducked. The point was; I should not have aimed the vase at him. Klingons do throw things around, but you donít aim directly at your lover. You aim above them or to the side, or otherwise you give them plenty of warning. A growl or something. I gave Tom no warning at all. After that I was very careful. Gentle even. Then things started getting to me again and I slowly got rougher. Tom never complained. I used to ask him if he was all right and he always insisted he was. He was lying to me Harry. He didnít want to upset me. I got rougher and rougher and soon I was using all my strength against him. And then the Captain called me into her ready room and I read the data Seven had been collecting on us."

"Thatís when you told Tom you needed to think things through."

"I was devastated Harry. Iíve done nothing but think, ever since. I know now that I was never in love with Tom. In lust - yes. Definitely. I love him, but Iím not in love with him. And I have to tell him, but Iím worried about his reaction."

Harry sighed. "I can say one thing for sure. Tom is in love with you. Iím not sure how heíll react."

"I know. Tom doesnít give his heart easily. It took him a long time to trust me enough to tell me he loved me. Weíd been together for over a year before he said the words. And now look what Iím going to do to him." Tears filled her eyes and Harry slipped off of his seat and went to her.

He hugged her tightly. "He needs to know where he stands. Iíll be here for him, and you too."

"Thanks Harry. Has anyone ever told you what a great friend you are?"
 

End Part Two