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.
Harry hurried down the corridor towards the holodeck. He was late. He had told Tom he would meet him more than twenty minutes ago. Since the Doctor had recreated Sandrines almost five months before, the crew took every opportunity to use it.
Harry hoped that there wouldn’t be too much of a crowd tonight, as he wanted to talk to Tom and Tom avoided any hint of a serious conversation.
Harry was worried about him. He still wasn’t eating properly and he was starting to appear hollow and gaunt. The worst thing however was the fact that he refused to believe that he and B’Elanna would not get back together. He was under the impression that B’Elanna would eventually come back to him and Harry knew with absolute conviction that this wouldn’t happen.
B’Elanna was dating Commander Chakotay and was blissfully happy. Tom knew this of course, B’Elanna had told him herself, but had shrugged it off. B’Elanna had always had a bit of a crush on Chakotay, he told Harry. She needed to get it out of her system, before coming back to him.
Harry entered the holodeck quickly and looked around the dim room. He could see Tom sitting at a table in the far corner of the room, but - to his surprise - B’Elanna was with him. Harry hesitated. They seemed to be having an intense conversation.
His attention was caught by a lone figure at a table nearby. It was Chakotay. He was watching Tom and B’Elanna, his face worried and unhappy.
Chakotay felt Harry’s eyes on him and turned his way, motioning for Harry to join him. Harry walked over nervously. Up close the Commander looked even more strained. "Harry, please sit down."
"I don’t want to intrude. I’m supposed to be meeting Tom, actually."
Chakotay nodded. "B’Elanna has something to tell him. We wanted him to know as soon as possible, before he found out for himself. Tom being the chief medical assistant has its disadvantages."
Harry looked at him in confusion before sitting down. He had a bad feeling about this. Delivering news in a public place. People tended to keep their emotions in check. That usually meant it would be bad. He waited quietly.
"B’Elanna’s pregnant. Twins."
Harry gasped in shock and grabbed the table for support. Oh no. Oh no. He found he was saying the words out loud.
Chakotay nodded, his face clouded with pain. "It was an accident."
"An accident?" Harry croaked the words. These days there was no such thing as an accidental pregnancy. Not with their medical facilities. Their contraceptives were just too effective.
"Remember when both B’Elanna and I had that case of Hessian Flu?" Harry nodded. More than half the ship had come down with it.
"Well it must have affected our contraceptive boosters. We want to have the babies Harry. We’re going to get married." Harry felt the room spin. "We wanted to tell Tom first, and then we’re going to go and see the Captain," Chakotay continued.
"But you’ve only been going out for a few weeks," Harry protested.
"We’ve known each other for over seven years Harry. We’re in love. This situation might have hastened our plans a little, but we would have gotten married eventually."
Harry wanted to protest further. In love? Already? But anything he would have said was cut off by Tom’s shrill cry as he jumped up from the table he was sitting at. He made his way blindly through the room and Harry quickly stood up.
The movement caught Tom’s eye, but his attention was immediately riveted to the man still sitting at the table Harry was standing next to.
He seemed to be in front of them in a blink of an eye. Leaning over, Tom picked up the almost full glass of synthenol Chakotay had been toying with and before Harry, who suddenly realized what his friend was about to do, could stop him, threw the entire contents into the Commander’s face.
There was a collective gasp from everyone in the room, as Tom stood panting heavily, eyes never leaving the Commander’s dripping face.
"I’m sorry Tom." Chakotay’s voice was heavy with regret. "We never wanted to hurt you."
Tom clenched and unclenched his fists but didn’t say a word. B’Elanna was hurrying towards them and Chakotay said quickly. "Harry, you’d better see that Tom gets to his quarters."
"Yes Sir," Harry answered, telling himself that this was all a nightmare and he’d wake up any second. He turned an unresisting Tom around and led him out of Sandrines, as everyone stared and whispered.
By the time they got back to Tom’s quarters, Harry was wondering if he shouldn’t have taken him straight to sickbay.
Tom’s eyes were glazed and unfocused and he was making little moaning noises. Harry sat him on his bed.
"Please Tom," he begged, getting a glass of water and trying to get him to drink some. "You’re scaring me here. I know this has been a bit of a shock---" ‘Geez, that would have to be the biggest understatement of your life, Harry.’ He shook the thought off and concentrated on bringing Tom back from where ever he had retreated to.
After a few minutes Tom turned his face towards Harry, who was pleased to see his eyes were now a little more focused. "She’s pregnant," Tom said brokenly. "They’re getting married."
Harry nodded. "I know Tom. I’m so sorry."
Tom looked down at his hands. "She says he centers her. Brings out the best in her." He paused and there was a long silence. "She’s in love with him." Tears rolled down his cheeks and splashed onto his hands. "What am I going to do Har?"
Harry sat on the bed next to him and put his arm around his shoulders. "You’re going to move on Tom. You’re going to go on with your life."
Tom choked on a sob. "I don’t know if I can."
"Yes, you can Tom. I’ll help you. You helped me cope the first two years we were out here. It’s time I returned the favor."
Tom couldn’t answer.
The next few weeks were hard, but Harry was as good as his word. He followed Tom around making sure he ate, slept and turned up for his duty shifts. He made sure that Tom was kept busy almost every second he was awake. It was almost a relief, when the day of Chakotay and B’Elanna’s marriage, Tom found he would be alone for a few hours.
He had insisted he would be fine, and had had to practically threaten Harry to get him to go to the wedding. B’Elanna would have been devastated if he hadn’t shown up, and Tom had made his mind up years ago that he would never put Harry in the position of having to choose between them.
He had lied to Harry and told him he would be in sickbay the whole day - he would have said anything to take the worried look from his friend’s face. Instead, he sat in a small observation lounge and enjoyed just being able to sit and think. Life would be very different now.
After a while, Tom found it might not have been such a good idea to be on his own, after all. His thoughts had turned bitter as he imagined B’Elanna and Chakotay happily married, proud parents of two beautiful baby boys.
The Doctor had told him that the twins were both boys and Chakotay and B’Elanna had decided to name them after their fathers.
There was a soft noise behind him and he turned around to see Seven standing there.
"Am I disturbing you?"
"Yes," Tom answered curtly. Seven was not his favorite person. If she had not done that study on he and B’Elanna, they would still be together; he was sure of it.
Seven stood watching him in silence.
Tom gave an impatient sigh. "Seven, when someone says you’re disturbing them, you’re supposed to leave."
"But I wish to speak with you."
"Well, I don’t want to speak to you. Now go away."
"You blame me." It was a statement.
"All right. You’re right. I blame you. This is all your fault. Now leave me alone."
"I wish to apologize. I did not mean any harm. If I had known what the future consequences of my surveillance might be, I would not have continued."
"Apology accepted. Would you please leave now? I want to be by myself."
"That is not wise. You are brooding."
Tom cursed and Seven raised an eyebrow. "If you are referring to me, Ensign, I believe I should point out that I am female."
"What?" He realized that she was commenting on his colorful language. "Oh! Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that." He smiled a little, in spite of everything. "You have a rather wicked sense of humor, you know that?"
"You are the first person to tell me so."
Tom sighed and stood up. "You’re right. I was brooding. And I hate doing that. I told Harry I would be in sickbay, so I suppose I should go there. There are some medical texts I should be studying, anyway."
"Do you require assistance?"
"Don’t tell me. You assimilated a Doctor and secretly know more than the Doc does."
Seven arched her eyebrow once more and studied him steadily. "I am certain the Borg have assimilated many Doctors. That does not mean that I have the medical knowledge to upstage the Doctor. I was merely suggesting that I review the texts in question and then quiz you on them. I have found that this is an efficient and expedient way of learning."
Tom regarded her for a few moments. "Okay. Thanks."
Seven stood in her alcove and contemplated. She should have been regenerating, but wanted to think about all the feelings she had felt that day. The Doctor assured her that feelings were important, but she had always thought of them as rather cumbersome. She had even, at one time, explored the possibility of repressing her emotions, the way Tuvok and his people did. It had seemed a practical, sensible solution.
It had also proved to be rather difficult, too difficult for her to master in a few months. Tuvok had told her it would take many years, and did not recommend it. He suggested she accept her emotions and learn how to control them instead of letting them control her.
She found that also to be rather difficult, as she did not even recognize some of the emotions she felt at times.
Today she had felt worry and guilt. These were rather new emotions for her and it had taken her a while to realize why she felt that way.
She felt responsible for Ensign Paris’s unhappiness. Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres were to be married that afternoon. Although she believed they made a suitable couple, much more suitable than Ensign Paris and Lieutenant Torres, she also believed that the likelihood of them being together, without the consequences of her study, were quite low.
This day would be very difficult for the Ensign. When this realization had come to her, she had decided to find Ensign Paris and make sure he was all right. She wanted to - apologize.
She had felt concerned when he had been so abrupt with her and then relieved when he accepted her small offer of help. He seemed to understand that she was trying to recompense.
She wondered whether she could become friends with him. Friendship was a new concept to her.
As she stood in the alcove she remembered, when the Captain suggested she try a romance of her own, thinking of the Ensign immediately. She had rejected the idea immediately, as well. He was unavailable. She would have to find somebody else.
She had told herself at the time that the reason she had thought of Ensign Paris was because of her study. The love and admiration that shone from his eyes as he looked at Lieutenant Torres was the very epitome of romance.
She had pushed any other reasons aside firmly.
Closing her eyes she requested the computer to begin her regeneration cycle. Ensign Paris may no longer be with Lieutenant Torres, but he was still ‘unavailable.’ Friendship may be an interesting compromise.
Tom stood in front of the Captain’s desk and refused to meet her eyes.
"I can’t have that type of unprofessional conduct on the bridge, Tom. I know you’re having a rough time coping, but you’ll have to pull yourself together. Personal conflicts are just that - personal. We learnt that at the academy. If you ever speak to Commander Chakotay in that disrespectful manner again, I’ll have you on report. Is that clear?"
"Yes Captain," Tom managed to croak out.
"You’ve been pushing at Chakotay ever since you found out about the babies and I understand Tom. I really do. But not on duty, Tom. He is your superior officer, as much as you hate the idea. The only reason I haven’t said anything sooner is because he begged me not to. He wanted to give you time to adjust. But it’s been four weeks now and I don’t believe you will adjust if something isn’t said."
"I’m sorry, Captain."
"It’s not me you need to apologize to. It’s Chakotay."
Tom did meet her eyes then. "A-Apologize? To him?"
Janeway nodded sadly. She hated what was happening here. She hated having to speak to Tom like this. She hated the tense atmosphere on the bridge. She hated to see the strain and worry on Chakotay’s face and the pain on Tom’s.
"They never wanted to hurt you Tom. They didn’t want their happiness at your expense."
"I know Captain. It’s just---" His voice faltered and he looked back at the floor.
She sighed. All she really wanted to do was go to him and hold him. Hug him tightly and tell him everything would be all right. She shook her head at the thought. Not only was that totally unprofessional, it also wouldn’t help. Everything was not going to be all right. Not for a long time. Tom needed time to get over this. A lot of time.
"I can’t apologize to him. I just can’t."
"He doesn’t expect you to. Just try not to push at him. Treat him with the respect that he’s not only earned, but is his due. Can you do that? For me?" That was hitting a little below the belt, she knew. Tom would do anything for her, at least try to.
"I’ll try Captain."
"Thank you Tom."
Six Months Later:
Tom entered the briefing room and sat down in his usual chair, Harry and Seven on either side of him.
"So, when are we going to see this latest program you’ve been working on?" Harry asked him.
"Any day now, Har. I’m almost finished. Anyway, don’t be so impatient. It’s supposed to be a surprise."
"I do not like - surprises," Seven stated from the other side of him.
He turned to look at her and smiled. "You’ll like this one," he promised.
"If it is anything like the last one, I sincerely doubt it."
Both Tom and Harry chuckled, the picture of Seven falling out of the canoe as it traversed the rapids, fresh in both their minds.
"You loved that one," Harry protested. "I’m sure you even laughed."
"I did not laugh."
"Well, you smiled anyway," Tom told her. "I saw you."
"It was a reflex action at the irony of the situation."
Tom shook his head. "You enjoyed the whole thing, until you fell in the river, anyway."
The doors swished open, before Seven could argue the point any further, and the Captain and Tuvok entered the room. "Good morning," Janeway said with a smile. "Nice to see you here, bright and early."
Greetings over and done with, Tom whispered to Seven. "Don’t worry, you won’t get wet this time, I promise."
He was working on a mountain climbing program, the first one he’d touched since his break up with B’Elanna.
It wasn’t a difficult mountain to climb, but then neither Harry nor Seven were experienced climbers.
Both he and Harry had been a little surprised at first when Seven had started to join them in their holodeck adventures. He had made a joking remark a few months ago to her that he would have to teach her how to have fun and she had taken him up on the offer.
He had tried to get her to join them when he’d first set up the Captain Proton program, but after only one outing she had declared it a frivolous waste of time and refused any more invitations.
Now she joined them almost eagerly and Tom had to admit he enjoyed her company. He could see why the Doctor thought so highly of her. He liked to think that they had become friends, not just companions and shipmates.
The doors swished open once more, and Chakotay and B’Elanna entered. Tom felt himself tense up. Even now, all these months later, he hated seeing them together.
"Sorry, we’re late," B’Elanna said cheerfully. "I thought I was going to get stuck in the turbolift." She sat down carefully in the chair that Chakotay pulled out for her, as the Captain gave her a warm smile.
Seven months into her pregnancy and B’Elanna was blooming. She was healthy, and ecstatically happy.
Tom glowered before he could stop himself. He felt eyes on him and looked over to see Chakotay studying him, a worried frown creasing his forehead. Tom blushed and turned away.
The Captain leant forward in her chair. "Harry has made a very exciting discovery. There’s an uninhabited planet a few hours away, that seems to be rich in dilithium."
"That’s great," B’Elanna said eagerly. "Well done, Starfleet. Our stores are getting low."
"Exactly," Janeway continued. "The discovery couldn’t come at a better time. We’ve scanned the planet and there are no other life forms anywhere. If the dilithium is there we should be able to mine it without too many difficulties."
B’Elanna started talking excitedly about what would be needed to begin mining and the steps they would need to take.
Tom frowned as he listened to her. "You’re not thinking of going on the away team are you?" he interrupted.
She frowned over at him. "And why wouldn’t I? I am the chief engineer."
"Have you forgotten your condition?"
"No, I have not forgotten my condition. As if I could forget my condition. I’m pregnant Tom, not disabled."
"Is there a medical reason why B’Elanna shouldn’t go?" Janeway asked.
Chakotay shook his head. "The Doctor said she could work right up to her eighth month. She’s remarkably healthy."
"I won’t be taking any chances down there. I’ll only be supervising."
"Well, I don’t see why you can’t go," the Captain decided.
"Captain," Tom protested. Harry put a warning hand on his arm, but he shook it off. "She’s into the seventh month of her pregnancy and she’s carrying twins. And just because she says she’ll take it easy, doesn’t mean a damn thing. We all know she’ll be crawling through tunnels as soon as she beams down."
"I said I’ll only be supervising and I meant it." B’Elanna’s voice was like ice.
"Tom, that’s enough. I trust B’Elanna to keep her word." Janeway gave him a warning look.
"B’Elanna would never do anything to endanger the babies," Chakotay said quietly.
Tom turned to glare at him. He just stopped himself from saying, ‘I thought you’d be a little more concerned’, but his look said it anyway.
Chakotay turned away from his accusatory stare and took B’Elanna’s hand in his own. "It might be better for Joe if you stayed up here though. He needs a little practice while you’re still around to keep an eye on him. He’s a little nervous about taking over from you for the next few months. He told me that yours are mighty big boots to fill."
B’Elanna gave a small laugh. "Do you want me to stay up here?"
"I’d feel a little easier, yes. But it’s your decision. Can Joe handle it?"
"He should be able to do it with his hands tied behind his back. But it would be good for the rest of my staff to see that I have every confidence in him." She turned to the Captain. "Do you have any objections to Joe going instead?"
The Captain smiled. "Of course not. Engineering’s your department, B’Elanna."
Tom cursed silently. He realized belatedly that Chakotay had had no intentions of letting B’Elanna go down to the planet. He had just made a fool of himself.
He found that he resented how easily Chakotay had talked her around too. What was his problem? He hadn’t wanted B’Elanna to go down to the planet and now she wasn’t. That’s what counted.
Harry clapped Tom on the back as he was hurrying down the corridor. "Tom, that whole scene in there was---"
"You don’t have to tell me, I know," Tom said quickly. "Hell! I have to stop doing this. It’s none of my business what she does anyway."
"That’s right, it isn’t."
"Why can’t I let go Har? It’s been twelve months since we were last together. Why can’t I just accept it and get on with my life?"
"It took me longer than that to get over Libby."
He didn’t add that he didn’t have the emotional problems he was sure that Tom had, either. He had tried a few times to get Tom to think about counseling, but Tom wouldn’t discuss it. "Tom, most of the time you cope really well. It’s just every now and again. The problem is that you have to see her all the time. If we weren’t stuck on this ship it’d be a lot easier."
"It’s more than that Har. I still love her. I still dream that one day she’ll realize what a mistake she’s made and come back to me."
"Tom; that isn’t going to happen."
"Why? You don’t know that."
Harry sighed. "They’re happy Tom. It’s obvious."
"Chakotay doesn’t always look happy. And sometimes B’Elanna looks really sad."
"That’s because they worry about you, you idiot." Tom seemed to freeze and Harry bit his lip. He was supposed to be reporting to engineering to get ready for the away mission.
"Are you saying they’d be happy if it wasn’t for me?"
"I’m sorry Tom. I shouldn’t have said that. Look, I’ve got to go. Can we talk about this later?"
"There’s really not much else to say, is there? They pity me, don’t they?" Tom looked absolutely devastated.
"God, Tom. Of course not. We’ll talk about this when I get back."
Tom shook his head. "It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to. You must be absolutely sick of me by now. I’d better get to sickbay."
Harry watched him walk dejectedly away and cursed. "I’ll see you when I get back, okay?" he called out. He was worried. Even if Tom never spoke to him again, he would make sure that his friend got the counseling he desperately needed.
He slapped his commbadge. "Kim to Torres."
'Torres here. Where are you Starfleet? I thought you were right behind me.’
"I’m sorry B’Elanna. There’s something I have to do first. It’s personal. I’m sorry."
There was a small silence. ‘All right Harry. It’s not like you to play hooky. But be quick. There’s a lot to go over before you beam down.’
"Thanks. I’ll be as quick as I can. Kim out."
He hurried towards astrometrics. As soon as he entered, he said breathlessly. "Seven, you have to help me."
Seven looked up in surprise. "What is wrong? You should be in engineering."
Harry nodded. "B’Elanna knows I’ll be a little late. It’s Tom. He was a bit upset, and I just made things a lot worse."
"The briefing room scene?"
"Yeah. And then I said something to him I shouldn’t have. He thinks I’m impatient with him and that B’Elanna and Chakotay pity him."
"Damn! I don’t think he can handle knowing that."
"Then, you should not have told him."
"I know that Seven."
"If you used that tone of voice with Tom, then it is no wonder that he thinks you are impatient with him."
"Seven, please! This isn’t helping. I’ll be busy all day and probably half the night. I need you to keep an eye on him for me."
"You wish me to look after him?"
"You are a good friend Harry, but I believe you worry too much. Tom will be fine."
"I know, but I’d still feel better knowing you were watching him. Can I count on you?"
"Of course. Tom is my friend. I will do whatever is needed."
Tom and Seven were eating their dinner that evening when Harry joined them in the mess hall. "Hi," he said sitting and wolfing down his food. "I’ve got to get back to engineering."
"I take it you had a good mission?" Tom asked.
"Nah. It was pretty boring actually. But the dilithium is almost pure. And there’s heaps of it. Everyone down in engineering is pretty excited, let me tell you."
Tom whistled. "The engines won’t know what hit them."
Harry nodded. "B’Elanna said it will increase their efficiency by almost eighty percent. We’ll be home in no time."
Seven frowned. "Pure dilithium can be dangerous. A containment field should be erected until it settles."
Harry smiled. "B’Elanna knows how touchy it can be. Don’t worry; she’s got everything under control. It’s in the cargo hold for now."
"Perhaps I should offer my assistance."
"Um. I don’t think she’d accept it, to be honest Seven. It’s not really necessary anyway. She knows what she’s doing."
"That is what the Borg thought and they still managed to blow up two cubes."
"Geez Seven. You really know how to spoil a good mood."
Harry shrugged and turned to Tom. "Have you got any plans?"
"I thought I might work on the holoprogram some more. I want to get it finished."
"That’s a good idea. I can’t wait to see what it is."
"I will assist you," Seven announced.
"And if you assist me, you’ll see what the program is and it won’t be a surprise," Tom said patiently.
"And I told you. I do not like surprises."
Harry laughed. "She’s got you there, Tom. Why don’t you let her help?"
Tom sighed. "All right. All right. Why do I get the impression that you don’t want me to be alone, and since you’re busy, Seven’s been assigned?"
Harry blushed. "I was worried about you."
Tom leaned forward and grabbed Harry’s hand. "You’re a great friend Harry. I don’t know what I would have done without you the past year."
Harry squeezed Tom’s hand in return. "It’s nothing you wouldn’t do for me. Hell, you have done it for me. And you would again, wouldn’t you?"
"Then nothing more needs to be said. I’ve gotta go." He jumped up quickly. "I’ll see you both later," and with a wave he hurried away.
Tom and Seven were busy adjusting the holo-matrix later that evening, when there was a loud explosion. The red alert klaxons sounded.
Tom looked at Seven in surprise. "We’re under attack. I thought this region of space was uninhabited." He quickly headed for the bridge, Seven right behind him.
They were just about to enter the turbolift when Tom’s commbadge chirped. ‘Sickbay to Ensign Paris.’
Tom tapped it smartly. "Paris here, Doc."
‘Please report to sickbay. Stat.’
"I’m supposed to report to the bridge when we’re at red alert, Doc."
‘Not this time. You’re not needed on the bridge. You are needed here. I have injured coming in. The Captain has already cleared it.’
"I’ll be right there."
Seven kept going to the bridge while Tom hurried to sickbay.
He arrived to a scene of chaos. There were people everywhere. It took a few seconds to work out who was helping and who was injured.
Sam Wildman came hurrying over to him. "Tom, thank goodness you’re here. The Doctor’s told me to handle what I can out here. He needs your help." Tom looked over to where she indicated. There was a screen around the biobed in the far corner of the room and with a nod Tom rushed over.
"Doc, I’m here."
"Good. Ensign Turner needs immediate surgery. She’ll die if we don’t get started at once."
Tom looked down at the Ensign in shock. She was a mess, with first-degree burns to most of her upper body.
"What happened Doc? Are we under attack?" Tom asked quietly as he helped to get everything ready.
"There was an explosion in the cargo hold."
"Yes. If it wasn’t for the containment fields, B’Elanna had in place, the whole ship would have been destroyed."
"Damn it! Seven said that it was touchy. B’Elanna wasn’t hurt, was she?"
"Not that I’m aware of. She was in engineering at the time."
Tom heaved a sigh of relief and quickly checked the instrument tray. "I’m all set here, Doc."
"Good. I’m almost ready to begin."
"Will Sam be all right out there? She’s got a lot of injured people to handle."
"They are not seriously hurt. She should be able to cope. You will have to be on standby in case she runs into any trouble." The Doctor bent over Ensign Turner and studied her readings. "We have to hurry. There are more injured on the way."
They quickly set to work.
They were about halfway through the delicate operation when Ensign Wildman came hurrying around the screens. "I need help," she gasped out. "They’ve just brought in two critically wounded and I can’t get a pulse on crewman Matthews."
"Tom, do what you can," the Doctor said quickly. "I can’t leave this at the moment. I’ll be there as soon as possible."
Tom hurried over to crewman Matthews and assessed his readings. He swallowed. "There’s nothing we can do, Sam. He’s dead."
Sam nodded and led the way to the next bed. For the next few minutes they worked feverishly together, to keep the two critically injured crewmen alive. Out of the corner of his eye, Tom saw crewman Matthew’s body taken away.
An alarm sounded above his head and he looked down at the patient he was working on. It was Sue Nicoletti. She had gone into cardiac arrest. "Damn it! Don’t give up," he pleaded, grabbing up a hypospray. "Doc! We really need you out here," he called.
"I’m almost finished," the Doctor called back.
Tom heaved a sigh of relief as Sue started breathing again.
"Well done Tom," Sam told him. "I thought we’d lost her for sure."
The sickbay doors swooshed open as more of the crew came pouring in.
"We’ve got everyone out now," Ayalla said, as he helped an Ensign through the doors. Sam quickly ran a tricorder over her. Ayalla came up and stood next to Tom. "Tom, you’d better prepare yourself," he said gravely.
Tom looked up from the readings he was taking, in surprise. Before he could ask Ayalla what he meant, however, Chakotay and Tuvok came in, carrying someone between them.
"I think it’s too late," Chakotay said quietly.
Tom looked from Chakotay’s face down to the body he was cradling, and then back up to Chakotay’s pain filled eyes. "Get him on the bed," he somehow managed to rasp out.
This couldn’t be happening. Not Harry. No - definitely not Harry. Harry was in engineering. He wasn’t even in the cargo hold.
Tom turned his thoughts off and jumped into action. "Doc!" he called out frantically. "I need you - now!"
The Doctor, alerted by the almost desperate plea in Tom’s voice, hurried over.
"Ensign Wildman, please monitor Ensign Turner. The next few minutes are critical."
Sam hurried to do as she was told, her eyes filling with tears.
"I can’t get a pulse and there’s no respiration," Tom reported. He was fighting to keep calm.
The Doctor looked at his readings. "There is no neural activity. He has been dead for some time."
"He was buried underneath everything. We couldn’t get him out," Chakotay said softly.
"It wouldn’t have made any difference, if you could have," the EMH told them. "I believe the explosion killed him instantly."
"No," Tom suddenly said. "Harry can’t be dead. He’s in engineering."
"I’m sorry Tom." Chakotay put his hand on Tom’s shoulder, but Tom shook it off.
"Doctor," Sam called out. "You’d better come quick. She’s having trouble breathing."
The Doctor hurried back to the screened off area and Tom quickly followed. "Tom, I’ll need your assistance."
They battled for the next half an hour to keep Ensign Turner alive, but finally the EMH stood up with a smile. "The worst is over now. She’ll be fine."
Tom nodded, feeling a little shaky. He made his way back into the main area of sickbay and noticed that everything was quiet now. Sam had cleaned up and there was only Sue Nicoletti and the other patient, Sam and he had worked on, left laying on the biobeds. They would be required to stay in sickbay overnight.
Sam came over to him and held his hand. "I had Harry moved into the other room," she said quietly.
Tom nodded and swallowed.
The Doctor came over to them. "You may go now, Ensign Wildman. I would like to thank you for the good work you did in here tonight."
"I wish I could have done more," she answered sadly. "I’d better get back to Naomi. Neelix is with her, but she’ll be worried."
As Sam left, the Doctor turned to Tom. "You did an excellent job in here today Mr. Paris. I am going to make an official notification in your records."
"Don’t Doc. I let people die."
The Doctor looked a little shocked. "You did no such thing."
Tom shook his head. "You weren’t there. You didn’t see. Both H-Harry and Matthews are dead, because of me."
"Mr. Paris, what are you saying? That is simply not true. You could do nothing to save either one of them."
"I didn’t get to Matthews quick enough, and I hesitated when they brought Harry in."
"Mr. Paris - Tom. Ensign Kim died in the explosion. There was nothing anyone could do, and crewman Matthews injuries were too severe. Need I remind you that you saved both of those patients lying over there? Not to mention all your help with Ensign Turner."
"But Harry’s dead."
"I am very sorry, Tom. He was a - good friend."
Tom nodded. "He was the best." His eyes blurred and the Doctor patted his arm. "You can go now. I can take care of these two."
Tom tried to swallow the lump that had formed in his throat. He was dangerously close to tears and didn’t want to give in to them here. He gave a wordless nod and hurried towards the exit. He needed the haven of his quarters. There he could acknowledge the deep despair he was feeling at the loss of his friend.
He didn’t know how he could continue without Harry. Harry was more than a friend. He was his confidante - his lifeline. He had always made him feel better about himself. Life without him was unimaginable.
A small sob escaped Tom as the doors opened and he stepped out into the corridor. ‘Oh Harry! Harry! What am I going to do, without you?’
End Part Three