This series is inspired by the song "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers; it was also redone this year by LeAnn Rimes. The lyrics are on part one.

Legal stuff and copyright is at the end of this story, so, without further ado, I give you: "Love Is Blind: Eye Of The Tiger"

Love Is Blind: Eye Of The Tiger (VOY, P/T, PG)
by JoAnna Walsvik
part 2/?

Chief Medical Officer‘s Log, stardate 50699.3,
"I‘ve become very concerned about the mental health of Lieutenant Tom Paris. In the two weeks since he learned of his blindness, his disposition has deteriorated rapidly. He eats a great deal less then what is acceptable for someone of his height and weight, he does not speak except to utter an occasional ‚yes‘ or ‚no‘ when asked a question, and he spends the majority of his time in his quarters, sleeping.

His symptoms are recurrent of maniac depression, but the levels of brain chemicals that would ordinarily cause this disorder are normal in Lt. Paris‘ scans. It is my hypothesis that Lt. Paris‘ depression is entirely emotional. Only he, I‘m afraid, will be able to decide when he wants to live again. As of yet, it appears he would rather not face reality.

On a happier note, I have recently discovered a remedy to Lt. Paris‘ blindness. I will perform an operation on his eyes and then, over the course of several months, perform a series of treatments. Once the treatments have been completed, I will perform another operation. This surgery will hopefully regain some, if not all, of Lt. Paris‘ eyesight.

However, when I broke this news to Lt. Paris‘, his mood did not improve. The prospect of being blind even for a few months is devastating to him, and he‘d rather sleep away the day in sickbay then get up and face his problem.
Mr. Neelix, as self-proclaimed morale officer, has done everything in his power to try and improve Lt. Paris‘ outlook, but unfortunately he has failed in his endeavors. Kes has attempted the same, and also failed.

Unless drastic measures are taken soon, I fear that Lt. Paris may unconsciously do himself harm. Already I am considering feeding him intravenously, as he eats close to nothing at every meal. I have asked Lt. Paris‘ closest friends, Harry Kim and B‘Elanna Torres,
to intervene and see if they can persuade him to rise out of his depression.

Harry Kim has tried to do so, but Lt. Paris was unresponsive.

B‘Elanna Torres has yet to try, and I hope she will be more successful—or else the Lt. Paris we all knew before his accident might be gone forever."

"Tom? It‘s B‘Elanna. Are you awake?" B‘Elanna Torres hesitantly poked her head into Tom‘s pitch-black quarters.

"Yeah." Tom remained flat on his back, not even turning his head towards the sound of his visitor‘s voice.

"Computer, lights on full. Jeez, Paris, were you still sleeping? It‘s 1100 hours already." B‘Elanna purposely tried to make her voice
light- hearted and cheerful, something she was anything but. It was hard to see her best friend in such dejection. He looked like he hadn‘t moved from his bed in days. He didn‘t even have his eyes open.

Tom‘s eyes still looked the same. The doctor had repaired the damage to his irises easily, and B‘Elanna was grateful that those beautiful blue eyes of his had been spared. She wasn‘t quite sure just why she was grateful, but she was.

However, Tom didn‘t seem to care. Not about his eyes, not about his appearance, not about anything. B‘Elanna had to admit that for once, she was truly frightened. Tom just wasn‘t himself, and it scared her. She missed the old Tom Paris, and she wanted him back. But it didn‘t look like he was coming back anytime soon.

"I was tired." Tom‘s voice was monotone.

"You‘ve been tired a lot lately." B‘Elanna sat down on a chair next to Tom‘s bed. A faint edge had crept into her voice.
"What‘s that supposed to mean?" He had suddenly become defensive.

"Hey, don‘t get upset. It just seems like you‘ve been sleeping all the time."
"I‘m sorry if I‘m not recuperating as speedily as you‘d like, Dr. Torres. I‘ll try to improve." Heavy sarcasm hung on his statement.

"Excuse me for being concerned, Paris," she retorted, somewhat shocked at his attitude. Tom had never been anything but nice to her ever since she had known him. Of course, they did insult each other constantly, but she knew it was all in good fun, with no malicious intent. But now— she could tell he meant what he said...and it frightened her further.

"Look, B‘Elanna, could you please get to the purpose of this visit so Ican go back to sleep?"

Her question seemed to surprise him for a second, but he recovered instantly. "Because I‘m tired. Now will you please go away?"

"The doctor told me that you slept all day yesterday and most of today. No one needs that much sleep."
"No one has been through what I have."

"Poor you." Now it was B‘Elanna‘s tone that was sarcastic.

Tom was once again taken aback. "What?"

B‘Elanna was mad. How dare he tell her to go away when she was trying to help him? She‘d help him, all right, but first she‘d give him a lecture he‘d never forget. He had once told her he wouldn‘t mind seeing her Klingon side again, and he was about to get his wish, because her Klingon temper was in full force.

"I am so sick of this pathetic attitude of yours! So, you‘re blind. Big deal. Life goes on. The ship isn‘t going to stop moving because
you‘ve had an accident, and if you think it will, then you‘re in for a big surprise.

The ship hasn‘t stopped because you‘re blind. Everyone is going on with their lives—except you. You haven‘t showered, shaved, or changed clothes in weeks. You‘ve barely said more then three words to anyone. You‘ve managed to make everyone worried sick about you—the doctor, Captain Janeway, me and Harry—we‘re all so busy worrying about you and your problems that we can barely concentrate on our own! Do you think that you have it bad? Well, what about Ensign Durst? Or Ensign Hogan? Or Ensign Kaplan? Would you rather you ended up like them? Without any life at all, killed by a heartless alien on some unknown planet?

You still have your life, Thomas Eugene Paris, and I as well as everyone else on this ship expect you to live it, regardless of your injury. I know you can‘t fly the ship or go on away missions, but you can go to the holodeck, or you can go to the mess hall. There are hundreds of things you can do if you only try! But you don‘t. You just mope around in your quarters, thinking that the universe will collapse because you lost your eyesight.

Get over it. If you want sympathy or pity, you aren‘t going to get any from me, because that‘s what everyone else on this damn ship has been giving you.

And I think you‘ve gotten enough. It‘s time to get up and show everyone that you‘re not someone to be pitied; that you‘re someone who can contribute, even though you have a minor disability. You had better damn well get up and start living again, Tom Paris, because if you don‘t I‘ll—I‘ll— oh, I don‘t know what I‘ll do!"

By the time she was finished with her tirade, B‘Elanna had worked herself up into a rage. She stood up, knocked her chair over, pulled the blankets from Paris‘ bed and threw them across the room, and finally stormed out the door, nearly knocking over Kes in the process. The furious half-Klingon didn‘t even pause to apologize, but charged down the corridor, leaving a bewildered Ocampa behind her.

"Tom? Are you all right? What happened in here? Why was B‘Elanna so mad?" Kes asked tentatively, stepping lightly into his quarters.

She had come to check up on him, as per the doctor‘s orders, and had been able to hear B‘Elanna shouting from the corridor.

Tom was lying on his bed, blinking in astonishment. "I‘m—I‘m not quite sure what happened, Kes," he replied dazedly. "What—did she break anything?"

"Not that I can see," Kes answered, gazing around is quarters.

"Your blankets are in the other room, and there‘s a chair upside down next to your bed, but other then that I think everything is in one piece."

"She yelled at me," the pilot said in wonderment. "She actually yelled at me."

"And did a good job of it, from what I heard," Kes agreed. "I just came to check on you. Is there anything you need?"

Tom was silent for a long moment. "Kes, can you—I mean, will you— could you help me get up?"
Kes stared at him, her blue eyes wide. This was the first time since his accident that Tom had spoken more than a few syllables to her or showed any interest in getting out of bed. She was overjoyed, but struggling to maintain a calm tone. "Of course. I‘d be happy to."

<Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn! Why do I always do that?
B‘Elanna Torres asked herself for the thousandth time, pacing around her quarters like a caged tigress. <Why do I always let my temper run away with me? I actually screamed at Tom Paris!

The more she thought about her outburst, the worse she felt.
<I can‘t believe I said that. I can‘t believe I told him to get over it. By the blood of Kahless, B‘Elanna, the man is blind! That‘s not something you recover from easily! And I had to go and shout at the poor guy until I was blue in the face. Once more, I‘ve managed to screw things up. He‘s never going to speak to me again—or anyone else, for that matter. He‘ll probably get worse. Why, oh why can‘t I control the damn temper of mine?!

B‘Elanna had managed to work herself up into a remorseful frenzy when she heard the familiar chime of a visitor to her quarters. She stood up to open her door, all the while kicking herself mentally. <Great. Just great. It‘s probably the doctor coming to tell me what an idiot I am for screaming at Tom like that.

But when she opened her doors, her mouth dropped open in undisguised astonishment.

Tom Paris was standing there, Kes slightly behind him. He was freshly showered, shaved, and wearing clean, unwrinkled civvies. His blue eyes were slightly unfocused and staring at the wall behind her, but other then that he looked completely normal—like the old Tom Paris. And, strangely enough, he was holding a white rose in his hand.

"Tom...?" B‘Elanna breathed, too astounded at this sudden change to say much more.

At the sound of her voice, Tom broke into a grin. "Truce?" he said sweetly, proffering the rose in her direction.
B‘Elanna was speechless.

The End

Go to Part Three: Love is Blind: Visions of Understanding

Can you tell that I love to torture you? Heh, heh, heh....I‘m as bad as Dr. Psycho Hose Beast in "Darkling", a.k.a. the Emergency Medical Holographic Program. ;) ‚Til next time!
Legal crapola: Paramount ------ god. Star Trek: Voyager ------ owned by Paramount.
Copyright 1997 by JoAnna Walsvik; all rights reserved and most of the lefts, too. Archive, distribute, etc.; but keep my name and the disclaimer attached.