Standard Disclaimer: Voyager and all the crew are copyright of Paramount. I take them out, play with them for a little bit, mess up their minds and then put them back. No profit will be made from this story as it’s just for fun.
Tom Paris/Zenda strolled down the corridor whistling a merry tune. He felt great! Life was great! Everything had worked out just as he’d wanted it to. The Doc had let him out of sickbay finally, after two full days and given him permission to go back on duty. He had spent the whole day joking and bantering on the bridge while he flew the ship. It had been a wonderful day. A day full of fun and laughter.
His commbadge chirped. "Torres to Paris."
"Paris here. What can I do for you ‘B’?"
"‘B’ for B’Elanna, or ‘B’ for baby. Whichever you prefer?"
There was silence for a few moments before B’Elanna answered. "Don’t push it Paris. I was going to suggest dinner in my quarters, but I might have to change my mind."
He laughed. "Don’t do that. I won’t call you ‘B’ ever again, I promise."
"Good. Nineteen hundred hours. Don’t be late."
"I wouldn’t dream of it." He practically skipped the rest of the way to his quarters. He knew ‘the other’ always enjoyed his visits with B’Elanna and it was time to enjoy all of these new sensations for himself.
As he showered and dressed he thought of all the things B’Elanna and ‘the other’ did together. The anticipation was almost more than he could bear.
He found himself at her door a few minutes before nineteen hundred and rang the door chime. As he waited impatiently for her to answer he suddenly felt worried. What if he couldn’t do all the things 'the other' did? He was being silly. He was 'the other'. Wasn’t he?
He suddenly realized she had called ‘come in’, and he entered her quarters a little hesitantly. "Hi!"
"Hi yourself," she answered with a big smile. "Well don’t just stand there. Come here."
As soon as he was within reach she pulled him into a huge hug. Enveloping his arms around her, he returned the embrace. This felt good! Nice and comforting and relaxing. B’Elanna pulled back a little and stared up into his eyes. She then put her arms around his neck and pulled his head down towards hers.
He met her lips with his and savored the sensation of his first kiss. It felt strange, as their lips started moving around, pressed firmly against one another. Moist and warm. He wasn’t sure whether he liked it or not. Then B’Elanna opened her mouth and sucked on his top lip. ‘The other’s’ responses took over and he found himself nibbling softly on her bottom lip. The kiss intensified and their tongues were soon entwined. B’Elanna was rubbing his neck and the back of his head as they kissed and he pulled her closer to him.
He felt his knees beginning to go weak and there was a roaring in his ears. He pulled her against him as tightly as he could and started the kiss all over again. The only reason he stopped was because he couldn’t get enough air to breathe. He found he was panting heavily as he gazed down into her eyes. That was wonderful!
After sucking in a few deep breaths of air, he pulled B’Elanna against him with the intention of continuing with these wonderful feelings but B’Elanna pushed him away with a laugh. "Dinner’s going to get cold. Come and sit down and eat."
"Come on Lanna, we can eat later."
B’Elanna frowned. "Don’t call me that."
She nodded, a slight frown on her face. "I don’t like it."
"Okay then. What about Lan? Or Lanny? Or Be?"
"Stop it." B’Elanna’s eyes were glittering. "What’s with the names all of a sudden?"
"I just think B’Elanna’s a bit of a mouthful. My proper name is Thomas, but no one calls me that. If my name can be shortened, why can’t yours?"
B’Elanna looked at him strangely. "Do you want to be called Thomas? I thought you hated that."
He shrugged carelessly. "I don’t care. I like Tom better. It’s short and to the point. You should have a name like that too."
"My parents went to a lot of trouble to name me B’Elanna. Your name was shortened as a child. Mine never was. If my parents had wanted a child named Lanna or Lanny or whatever, that’s what they would have called me. They never did. What’s the matter with you anyway? You know how I feel about this."
"Hey, no need to throw a fit."
"I am not throwing a fit. I just don’t understand you at the moment."
He sat down at the table with a sulky look. This wasn’t any fun anymore. He wanted to go back to the kissing and other stuff that followed it. He sulked all the way through dinner, and then cheered up as he realized that this was his first ever sulk.
He smiled brightly and B’Elanna smiled back at him. It was time for some more ‘firsts’ he was sure. Leaning towards her he said softly. "Let’s go over to the sofa. We can clean up later." He took her hand in his and led them over to it.
Sitting down together he pulled her into his arms and began softly stroking her back. It wasn’t long before they were kissing passionately and he decided to take things further. He moved one hand slowly towards her stomach and with light feathery touches his fingers began a slow and steady climb upwards. B’Elanna suddenly stiffened and grabbed his hand.
"No Tom. Not tonight."
He sat back in amazement. "What do you mean?"
"The Doctor said you weren’t allowed too much strenuous activity."
"You’re kidding? Right? That was days ago. Anyway, it was only my memory that was affected. Remember?"
"I still think it would be best if we took things easy for a few days."
He shook his head in disbelief. ‘The other’s’ mate was no fun at all. "If that’s the case, I think I’d better go."
B’Elanna looked surprised and then angry. "If that’s how you feel."
"It is. Goodnight." And he sailed out of the room.
As soon as Tom had left, B’Elanna let out a string of Klingon curses and then threw the cushions from the sofa onto the floor. She then stamped on them for good measure.
That PIG! That utter selfish, self-centered, smarmy, unprincipled swine! Just because he couldn’t get what he wanted, he’d left. She couldn’t believe he’d done that. He’d never acted like that before. She picked up one of the cushions from the floor and smothering her face in it, screamed as loudly as she could.
Five more screams later, she felt a lot better. Picking up the cushions and, after punching them quite soundly, putting them back where they belonged; she thought again about why she had refused to sleep with him.
It had had nothing to do with the Doctor. Something was different. She wasn’t sure what it was. She just knew that Tom’s kisses - as exciting and pleasurable as they were - weren’t quite the same. She hadn’t felt quite the same as she usually did as she’d kissed him.
She wondered whether her feelings for Tom had changed. She didn’t think so. Her heart still skipped a beat when she thought about him. It wasn’t that. He had been different. Now she was glad that she’d come up with that excuse.
She remembered what he’d been like over dinner. He’d hardly said a word. He was too busy sulking. Because she’d called a stop to their kisses, she suddenly realized. Why that--! She couldn’t believe it! It was as if he’d only come to dinner for one thing.
What the hell was the matter with him anyway? How dare he? No one treated B’Elanna Torres that way. No one!
Tom/Zenda stalked along the corridors back to his quarters. What a miserable end to such a fun day. As he turned the corner he was surprised to see Harry and Zoe coming from the other way.
"Harry, I can’t believe this," Zoe was saying, her voice heavy with reproach. "It’s not even twenty-one hundred hours."
"I’m sorry. I told you I had to be up early this morning. I’m just too tired to stay up any later. I’ll make it up to you I promise."
Zoe frowned darkly and then looked up to see Tom, almost in front of them. "Tom. Don’t tell me you’re another early to bedder."
He scowled at them both. "B’Elanna said I had to take things easy. I’ve got no intentions of going to bed though."
Harry yawned loudly. "Well, I am. I had a really late night last night and had to be up early this morning. I’m really wiped out." He yawned again. "Zoe here’s not too happy with me."
"I don’t blame her." He turned to Zoe. "What’s the matter with everyone around here anyway? They’re all a bunch of party poopers."
Zoe laughed. "I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we let Harry here get to bed and we could maybe find something to do instead?"
Harry nodded. "That’s a great idea. Makes me feel a little less guilty. I know Zoe will be safe with my best friend. Just so long as B’Elanna understands."
"Well, if I have any problems from that direction, you can explain it to her," he smiled in delight. Maybe he could have some fun after all.
He watched as Harry and Zoe exchanged a rather chaste kiss and then linked her arm in his. "Night Har. Sleep well." With that, he marched down the corridor with Zoe on his arm.
"Have I told you how much I like your name?"
"No." Zoe laughed up into his face. "So tell me."
"People with their names starting with Z, are very special people. Did you know that?"
"No. Why is that?"
"Z is a very special letter. Some one very important to me has a name starting with Z. It’s Zenda. That’s a nice name, don’t you think?"
"Very. Why are they so special?"
"Zenda made me what I am today."
"Is this Zenda male or female?"
"Neither. They don’t have sexes. But I’d have to say that Zenda is male now."
"Really? What species is this?"
"They don’t have a name. They’re just out there."
Tom pointed around him. "Every where. All around us, if they wanted to be. They don’t bother with solid forms though. They don’t know what they’re missing."
"I’ve never heard of them. Are they something like the Q?"
Tom snorted. "Nothing like them. It’s hard to describe. They just are."
Zoe smiled at him coyly. "Come and sit down." She patted the seat next to her.
They were in Tom’s quarters and Zoe couldn’t believe her luck. They’d gone to the holodeck after leaving Harry and joined in the games Neelix had organized. After they were finished they had gone back to the mess hall with a group of others and then Tom had insisted on walking her back to her quarters. Somewhere along the way, Tom had invited her back to his instead.
They had been talking about music and he’d offered for her to come back and listen to his collection. She had been more than a little surprised. Tom had never shown any interest before. He was always polite and friendly but never anything else. Now that he was in a committed relationship with B’Elanna, he hadn’t even looked at anyone else.
And Harry was his best friend. Although Harry and her weren’t serious or anything, it still wasn’t the sort of thing Tom would do. And ever since they’d got back here, Tom had been flirting with her. He was definitely interested, of that she was sure. She felt guilty for just a brief moment. She had to work with B’Elanna and she genuinely liked her.
Looking up into the face of the man standing above her, smiling charmingly, she sighed. She liked him more. Much more.
Tom/Zenda paced back and forwards in his quarters. Now this was what it felt like to feel frustrated and angry. It was not nice. No fun at all. And he’d had such fun that night with Zoe. When he’d invited her back to his quarters, he’d been sure that the fun could continue.
Zoe had definitely been willing. But he hadn’t got much further than he had with B’Elanna when ‘the other’ had spoilt it. He had felt ‘the other’ struggling to surface and found he had to concentrate on that, instead of what Zoe was doing.
He had stiffened, and pushed ‘the other’ back down with all the force that he could. When he had complete control again he had looked to see Zoe sitting on the sofa next to him with a strange look on her face.
"You’re obviously not ready to do this," she had said. "You shouldn’t give a girl the wrong signals like that, you know."
He had apologized and tried to continue where they had left off, but she was having none of it. "Let me know when you are really ready to do this. I’ll be available, I can assure you."
"But I am now," he had called out to her as she headed for the door.
"That’s not the impression I just got," she had answered before walking out the door.
Sighing, he decided to go to bed - alone. That was another thing that was not fun. He got tired.
Tom pushed his way through the mists once again. Struggling against something that he couldn’t see or feel; he tried to reach the surface once more. He’d almost done it before and then something had pushed him back. It had a tight grip on him, but he wouldn’t give up.
He was aware that something had control of his body but he didn’t know how to fight it. He had no psychic abilities whatsoever. He had no idea how to defeat this enemy.
Tom pushed again and was startled to see his quarters. He tried to cry out, but there was no sound. He could see himself. He was standing looking at himself in the mirror, a foolish smile on his face. He tried to bring his hand up to his face but nothing happened.
He saw himself suddenly frown and say something. Then there was a voice all around him. GET BACK! GET BACK! He screamed silently as he began falling again.
Tom/Zenda paced around his quarters in agitation. ‘The other’ was becoming stronger. He couldn’t let him gain control. He couldn’t let his guard down for a moment. This body needed to rest though. It was tired. He would have to get proper control first.
Luckily, ‘the other’ had no training in mind control at all. He just had to center himself and it would be all right. ‘The other’ did not know how to take control.
He looked at himself in the mirror again and scowled angrily. These feelings were no fun either. Taking a few deep breaths, he went over to the bed and lay down. Closing his eyes he managed to relax and gain the control that was needed. He decided it was time to contact ‘the other’.
Tom struggled once again to be free of these things that were holding him back. TOM PARIS! The voice was all around him. YOU MUST NOT FIGHT ME. YOU WILL ONLY SUFFER. Tom continued to struggle. I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE YOU SUFFER. DON'T MAKE ME.
Tom tried to answer but didn’t know how. He began to push again against the invisible bonds. THIS BODY IS NOW MINE. YOU MUST ACCEPT THIS OR I WILL BANISH YOU TO THE EXISTENCE THAT I ONCE LED. Tom struggled frantically to be free. NO! HEED MY WARNING TOM PARIS. YOU COULD NEVER IMAGINE THE SUFFERING YOU WILL ENDURE IF YOU DO NOT. DON’T MAKE ME DO THAT TO YOU.
No matter how much Tom struggled he could not break free from the invisible bonds holding him back. He sank back in defeat. He would bide his time. Wait for an opportunity. He was determined. He would break free eventually.
Tom/Zenda smiled in delight. ‘The other’ had given up. He could now relax and enjoy being Tom Paris. When ‘the other’ had settled a little more he would talk to him again. Perhaps they could be friends. Maybe even share the host body one day.
He knew it might be some time before Tom would be his friend. But it would be worth the wait. They could have so much fun together.
He relaxed completely and was soon sound asleep.
Tom sat bolt upright. Yes! He’d done it! Hitting his chest he realized that he wasn’t wearing a commbadge. Looking frantically around he noticed it lying on the bedside cupboard. He had to be quick. He didn’t know how much time he had.
"Paris to sickbay. Doc are you there?"
"Go ahead Mr. Paris."
"Doc, I need help. It’s an emergency." NO! NO!! He could feel the presence pushing at him.
"What’s wrong Mr. Paris?"
"Doc, I---" NO!!! He was falling again. It seemed to be in slow motion. He struggled against it, to no avail. As he fell, he heard himself saying, "I just wanted to know if I was on sickbay duty tomorrow. I’ve lost complete track of my shifts."
"Really Mr. Paris, that is hardly what I would call an emergency."
"I would. I don’t want to end up in the wrong place."
The Doctor sniffed. "You are due in sickbay in precisely three hours and fourteen minutes. I suggest you get some more sleep."
Tom screamed silently once again, as he settled back down into the cloudy abyss.
Zoe Hendricks smiled saucily at Tom, as he entered the mess hall the next morning. She really regretted not staying in his quarters last night now. So what if he’d seemed a little reluctant? She’d never had to push anyone before and at the time thought it would be best to leave him to decide for himself.
Later that night she’d kicked herself. She’d probably just given up the only chance she’d ever have with him. Therefore she was slightly startled when he winked at her.
She watched him as he got himself something to eat. He accidentally knocked some fruit off of the fruit bowl on the serving counter and bent down to pick it up, giving her a great view of his butt. Accidentally? Zoe didn’t think so. Especially, as after he picked it up, he turned around and looked straight at her.
Smiling broadly she mouthed, "Nice butt."
"I know," he mouthed back. Zoe laughed out loud and Joe Carey and Sue Nicoletti, who were sitting with her, looked at her in surprise.
"Sorry," she said. "I was just remembering something from last night."
"Wouldn’t have anything to do with a certain Ensign would it?" Carey asked.
"Maybe," she said airily.
"Harry’s a nice kid. Don’t you hurt him," Joe warned.
Zoe frowned. "Harry’s just out for a good time, same as me."
"You don’t really believe that, do you?" Sue asked quietly. "Harry’s looking for a meaningful relationship. The same as Tom and B’Elanna’s got."
Zoe frowned harder and looked over towards Tom. He and B’Elanna had just sat down together. She turned back to Sue. "Aren’t we all?" She sighed heavily. "Maybe I’d better have a little talk with Harry."
"I think you should," Sue agreed.
Joe patted Zoe’s arm. "Be gentle."
Zoe sighed again and glanced back over at Tom. Well she’d had her chance. Her interest caught as she noticed the intense conversation the two of them seemed to be having. They were arguing, she was sure of it. Had B’Elanna found out about last night?
"What’s so interesting?" Sue asked her.
Just then Tom stood up from the table and announced in a voice loud enough for the whole room to hear. "You’re no fun at all. You know that Torres?" He then stalked over to the serving counter to pour himself another cup of coffee. B’Elanna stood up and flounced angrily out of the room.
"Oh great," Sue said in a disgusted tone of voice. "We have to work with her today too."
Joe groaned loudly. "We’d better try and keep out of the Chief’s way. Why the hell do they have to fight so much?"
Zoe looked sheepishly down at the table. Was this her fault? The Chief in one of her moods, was not a pleasant prospect. If B’Elanna did know about last night Zoe knew she’d soon find out. The Chief wasn’t one to hold back. She’d better prepare herself.
Zoe looked over towards Tom again, while Sue and Joe continued to complain about what they had been put through the last time B’Elanna was in one of her moods. He was still standing at the serving counter drinking his coffee. No one was nearby.
She stood up. "I don’t know about you two, but I’m going to need another cup of coffee." They barely acknowledged her. She walked quickly over to Tom and poured another cup. She looked around to make sure no one was within hearing distance. "I hope that little scene had nothing to do with me?"
"Why would it?" Tom asked carelessly. "Torres is boring. I get the feeling that you’re a lot more fun." His eyes held hers as he smiled suggestively.
She smiled back. "I can be. Given the right motivation."
"I guess it’s up to me to find that motivation then isn’t it?"
"First you’d better make sure that it’s well and truly over between you and the Chief. I don’t feel like being sliced in half by a bat’leth."
Tom laughed. "Leave it to me."
Zoe left the mess hall knowing that Tom’s eyes followed her the whole way out.
Neelix was shocked. He had been cleaning up the mess all over the floor behind the counter and couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Tom and Zoe Hendricks. What did Tom think he was doing? Were he and B’Elanna going to break up? Was Tom choosing Zoe over B’Elanna? How could he? Oh Zoe was very beautiful, but completely shallow. Especially when compared to B’Elanna.
Neelix couldn’t believe it. And the way Tom spoke. So cold and unfeeling. Neelix suddenly remembered that he’d heard that Harry was dating Zoe. How could Tom do that to his best friend? He stood up suddenly, frowning in disapproval.
Tom looked startled when he appeared so suddenly. "Neelix! How long have you been there?"
"What were you doing? Eavesdropping?"
Neelix frowned. "I was cleaning up and couldn’t help overhearing."
Tom looked at him through narrowed eyes. "Very fortuitous wasn’t it?"
Neelix felt himself flush with indignation. "If you’re implying that I deliberately---"
"I don’t like being spied on Neelix."
"Tom, I would never---"
"What? Accidentally overhear someone’s private conversation, while crawling around on the floor unseen by anyone?"
Neelix tried to calm his breathing. "I think you’re feeling guilty, that’s why you’re being so defensive. You know you’re doing the wrong thing, in my opinion."
"Well lucky no one asked for your opinion," Tom said nastily. "You know what? I don’t like you. I don’t like you at all" With that, he stormed out of the room.
Neelix watched him go, feeling alarmed. What was wrong with Tom? Why was he acting this way? Tom had been downright mean. And Tom was never mean. Neelix felt extremely upset. He was upset for the rest of the day.
"Mr. Paris, is anything wrong?" The Doctor watched Tom with concern as he went sullenly about his duties.
"You don’t seem your usual self."
"No. You’re extremely quiet and you appear to be rather unhappy."
Tom sighed. "Its just kind of boring in here, you know? No fun."
"This is a sickbay. It’s not supposed to be fun."
Tom sighed again. "I know. It’s much more fun on the bridge though. I wish I could go back up there. Do you really need me here?"
The Doctor frowned and decided that another lecture was in order. He’d just started however, when Ensign Samuels came rushing in supporting Crewman Peters. The Doctor indicated the nearest biobed. "What happened?" he asked.
"We were repairing some loose circuitry when it just blew up in his face. Is he going to be all right?"
"With the proper treatment he’ll be fine. What about you? Do your hands hurt?"
Samuels looked down at her hands in surprise. "I must have burnt them. I didn’t even notice. They do kind of sting though."
"Please sit up on the other bed. Mr. Paris, if you will see to Ms. Samuels’ hands, I’ll see to Mr. Peters."
"Aw! Can’t I fix up Peters? That would be much more fun."
The Doctor gave him a dirty look. "That is not funny Mr. Paris." As he set to work on Crewman Peters face he watched as Tom flirted shamelessly with Ensign Samuels while he healed her hands. She was giggling like a schoolgirl by the time Tom was finished.
The Doctor watched in disapproval as Tom still held Ensign Samuels hands long after they were completely healed. He murmured some nonsense about them being too lovely to let go of and asked her if there was anything else he could fix for her, while she was there.
The Doctor decided that it was time for a very serious talk with his medical assistant.
Tom struggled once again to the surface. It was so hard. He’d almost given up. With one final push he found himself looking around the turbolift. Harry was standing next to him.
"Harry," he said urgently. Harry looked at him in surprise. NO!! He was falling again! NO!!! "I need---" he could no longer make any sound, but he heard himself say. "I need to go to the bathroom before the meeting starts. Cover for me okay?"
"Sure," Harry chuckled. "But you’d better be quick."
Tom struggled helplessly. I TOLD YOU NOT TO FIGHT ME. I TOLD YOU! The voice surrounded him once again. I DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE YOU SUFFER. I NEVER WANTED TO DO THAT. YOU MADE ME DO IT. YOU MADE ME. YOU HAVE TO LEARN. YOU HAVE TOO.
Then the pain surrounded him. It was everywhere. Pain like he’d never known before. He didn’t think he could survive it. There was no relief. It just went on and on and on. He screamed in agony, but of course there was no sound. Then the blackness came and enveloped him - and he welcomed it. YOU MADE ME DO IT. YOU MADE ME! YOU MADE ME!
Harry watched Tom in concern, as he shifted restlessly in his chair. Chakotay was giving him the evil eye, but Tom was just ignoring him. He’d even yawned loudly a couple of times.
Tuvok was in the middle of one of his long and boring reports on security; it was a trial that they all had to endure at least once every month. Tom usually sat quietly with a look of polite interest on his face, even though he couldn’t tell you what Tuvok had reported afterwards.
Practice, he had told Harry. Years and years of pretended polite interest to all the dignitaries that visited his father. He had it down pat.
Not today it seemed. He’d done nothing but fidget, and twitch. He was also making his feelings quite obvious. It didn’t help that he and B’Elanna had had another fight either. She was glaring at him every few minutes and he would glare back.
Harry was alarmed when Tom gave an exaggerated sigh. The Captain gave him a stony look. "Excuse me for a moment Commander. Is there something wrong Tom? You seem a little unsettled."
"Is he finished yet?"
The Captain’s eyebrows rose up in surprise. "I beg your pardon?"
"Tuvok. I don’t think I can stand much more. No offense Commander, but that would have to be the most boring thing I’ve ever heard. Can’t you jazz it up a little?"
"I did not take offense, Ensign. However, I must question your rather inappropriate behavior."
"I’d second that," Chakotay quickly said giving Tom a fiery look.
"Well of course you would."
Harry gasped and elbowed Tom in the ribs. "I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but cut it out," he hissed.
"That’s quite enough thank you Mr. Paris." The Captain’s voice was like ice.
Tom sighed. "Sorry Captain. May I be excused then?"
"Yeah. I think I should be back on the bridge. Flying the ship. You know."
"No, you may not," Janeway barked. She gave him her death glare.
"Enough! Not one more word. I mean it."
Harry gulped. The look the Captain had just sent Tom was one they’d never seen before, and Harry hoped he would never see it again.
All throughout the rest of the meeting he was on tenterhooks, waiting for Tom to do or say something else. A couple of times he thought he was going to, but Tom seemed to control himself just in time. He was very relieved when the meeting finally concluded.
As soon as the Captain said ‘dismissed’ he grabbed Tom’s arm intending to drag him off somewhere for a talk. Neelix had been terribly upset at lunchtime, something that Tom had done, but he wouldn’t tell him what.
Chakotay however ruined his plans. "Tom, meet me in my office in five minutes please."
"Damn it! I just want to go and fly the ship."
"Paris! That wasn’t a request." Chakotay glared at him before turning away.
"Tom! What’s the matter with you?" Harry said as soon as the three senior officers had left the room. "Chakotay’s going to throw the book at you."
"Personally, I hope he does," B’Elanna sniffed as she walked past them. "You’ve got it coming Paris."
Tom scowled at Harry. "This is not what I call fun Harry. Damn it all! Why can’t I just have fun?"
Tom/Zenda looked at himself in the mirror. He smiled back at his reflection. He looked good and he knew it. Zoe would be here any minute. It had been a rather miserable day, but he intended to make up for it tonight.
After he’d finished his session with the Commander, he’d called in to see Zoe in engineering. He’d known B’Elanna wouldn’t be there, she was on the bridge. He told Zoe that B’Elanna and he had agreed to go their separate ways, with no hard feelings. Which wasn’t really a lie. He had no intentions of ever seeing the Chief Engineer again - in a social setting anyway. Zoe had been delighted and so it had been easy to set up the date for tonight.
‘The other’ hadn’t tried to surface again either. He was probably still recovering from the blast he’d had to give him. He felt guilty about that. He didn’t like doing that, but he’d warned him enough times. He wanted to be friends with Tom Paris. That way they could work everything out. Perhaps Tom could have his body back for all the boring, mundane work that had to be done and he could have it for all the fun stuff. That sounded fair.
The door chime sounded and he smiled in anticipation. Now the fun would really begin. "Come in," he called.
His face fell when B’Elanna entered the room. "Hi," she said nervously. "I thought we should talk." She looked at him for a few moments and then around the room, noticing how tidy it was, and frowned. "Are you expecting some one?"
"No," he said quickly. "Well at least, I was hoping you might drop by. I didn’t like to leave things the way they were this morning."
B’Elanna sighed and sank down on the sofa. "I don’t like the way you made me feel. As if I was just another conquest for you or something."
He looked nervously towards the door. If Zoe arrived now, he dreaded to think - actually that might be kind of fun. No, he told himself, they’d probably end up doing something to him, instead of each other, and that would be no fun at all. He had to get B’Elanna out of here, or contact Zoe somehow.
"You’re right, we do need to talk. Will you excuse me for a moment? I’ll be right back." He rushed into the bathroom while B’Elanna settled back into the cushions.
"Paris to Hendricks." He turned the water on, just in case B’Elanna could hear his voice.
"Go ahead Tom."
"Listen, something’s happened. I’ve been called in for another meeting with Chakotay. I don’t know how long I’ll be."
"Oh, well that can’t be helped. Lucky I hadn’t left yet."
"What if I contact you as soon as I finish with him? It’ll be a little late, but we could still get together."
"Sure. I was thinking that maybe I should talk to Harry anyway. He seemed a little hurt when I told him I didn’t want to see him tonight."
"Oh?" Something disturbed him about that, but he didn’t know what. "All right. I’ll contact you later."
"Sorry about that," he said as he walked back into the room. He went over to the sofa and sat down next to her. "I apologize if I made you feel that way. I don’t think of you like that. You know that. I guess I wasn’t thinking very clearly last night. I was still a little shaken over the whole memory blackouts thing. Maybe I still am."
"I think you may be right. You really went over the line in the briefing room today. Did Chakotay put you on report?"
"No. I told him what I just told you. He said it was no excuse, but he did calm down a little. Told me to talk to him in future."
"Well, we all know you won’t do that," B’Elanna said with a smile.
"Am I forgiven?"
"I’m thinking about it."
He pulled her into his arms and their lips were soon locked together. A few moments later however, he felt her stiffen and pull away. What now?
"I’m sorry Tom. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s me. When I kiss you, it doesn’t feel the same anymore. I’m sorry."
He looked at her in alarm. How could it not feel the same? It was the same lips, the same body. He did all the same things that ‘the other’ always did. "What are you saying?"
"It just doesn’t feel right," B’Elanna said miserably. "I don’t know why. I know I still love you. I’m so sorry."
"You’re breaking up with me?"
"NO! No. I don’t want that. Maybe I just need some time alone. To sort out my feelings. I don’t understand what’s happening."
He stood up quickly. "That’s probably for the best." He tried not to panic. She could tell the difference. He didn’t know how, but she could. It would be best if he stayed right away from her.
Standing up also, she kissed him lightly on the cheek. "I do love you," she said softly, before leaving his quarters.
He stood there stunned for a moment. She could be a threat to him. Couldn’t she? She might find out about him. He shook the thought off. How could she? Only the Doctor had found a clue and he’d managed to fool even him. He was safe.
There was nothing he could do about her anyway. He wouldn’t hurt her. Solid forms were weak and vulnerable. Their shells were easily hurt. He could never cause her physical harm. Zenda was a peaceful being. All of their kind was.
He felt uneasy again. Something about Harry, and being hurt. Zoe had said that Harry was hurt. But he wasn’t, was he? They were just words not used in their proper context. Harry suffered emotionally. That was different. That wasn’t really hurt. Emotions changed all the time. They were fleeting and temporary.
He thought about ‘the other’ then. He had hurt him. That had been unavoidable. But he was looking after the body. And soon ‘the other’ and he would be friends. Then all would be forgiven. Just as soon as ‘the other’ surrendered fully to him, everything would be all right. He could feel him stirring in the back of his mind, even now.
All of these serious thoughts were no fun and Zenda shook them off. It was time to contact Zoe. It was time for some fun.
End Part Three