Disclaimer: Paramount owns the toys, I just play with them. No copyright infringement is intended; this was written for fun, not profit. Copyright 1997 by JoAnna Walsvik, all rights reserved. Please ask permission before distributing or copying.

Author’s note: This story is my response to the Archivist’s Challenge on the P/T. It’s a tag to "Random Thoughts" and answers the question, "What’s in the box?" It takes place a few days after "Concerning Flight".
And now, without any further ado, I give you:

A Present for B’Elanna
by JoAnna Walsvik

Tom Paris quietly chuckled as he watched Neelix bustle about his kitchen. The Talaxian had been slightly depressed after they had left the Mari homeworld, because of the tragic death of his friend, but he had quickly gotten over his sadness and was his enthusiastic self.

He laughed again as Neelix’s words in the transporter room came back to him. "You’re involved now." Had he and B’Elanna actually thought that they could keep their relationship a secret for very long? It was old news by now. B’Elanna still insisted on discretion when they were in public, but she was quickly coming around. She had even sat next to him at the briefing a few days back, right after Voyager had been "mugged".

That had been quite a surprise. He had entered the briefing room before B’Elanna, and sat down in his usual chair, to the right of the captain. Suddenly, B’Elanna had quietly slipped into the chair next to his, something she had never done before. Usually she sat across from him, or next to Chakotay. But this time she sat next to him. Before Janeway had started the briefing, he had glanced at her, and she had smiled slightly. Just a tiny smile, but it was enough to send his heart leaping.

That had been B’Elanna’s first day back on duty after the Mari incident. The doctor had pronounced her fully recovered, but the captain had given her a few days off to "collect her thoughts", as Janeway had said with a wry smile. Tom still shuddered whenever he thought of B’Elanna in the hands of those Mari animals. To prosecute someone just for thinking a bad thought -- ! If that had been a crime on Earth, he would have been "purged" a long time ago. Everybody on Voyager would have. But that was in the past, and it was no use rehashing it. B’Elanna certainly didn’t want to, and he wasn’t about to dredge up any more horrible memories for her. She had already had quite enough of that to last her a lifetime.

Whistling softly under his breath, he left his plate in the recycler and nonchalantly strolled out of the Mess Hall. B’Elanna was coming over later tonight, and he had something to wrap.

For the past several days he had been debating on whether or not to give her the present he had bought her on the Mari homeworld. He wasn’t sure or not if she’d want anything from that planet within three meters of her quarters, but ultimately he had decided to give it to her. If she didn’t want it, he’d understand completely. But it was beautiful. It had reminded him of her the instant he had seen it in the marketplace, and that’s why he had bought it for her. It had been pretty expensive, and he’d be eating at the Mess Hall for the next month because of all of the rations he’d changed into Mari currency, but it would be worth it, if B’Elanna liked it, as he hoped she would.

Entering his quarters, he pulled the object out of it’s box to gloat upon it once more. It was beautiful, there was no doubt about it. Absolutely exquisite. But B’Elanna was going to be there shortly, right after she was finished in Engineering, and he’d better get it wrapped unless he wanted to spoil the surprise.

=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=

No less then thirty minutes later, his door chimed. Tom looked up from where he was curling the last ribbon on B’Elanna’s gift. "Come in," he called, quickly shoving the package onto a shelf in his closet and exiting his sleeping quarters.

B’Elanna entered the room, dressed in the sapphire blue outfit that he loved to see her wear. She was positively enchanting in blue, as he had told her so many times before. "Hi," he greeted her, circling his arms around her waist leaning down to kiss her.

She grinned up at him when they finally managed to break away from each other. "I take it that you missed me?" she asked coyly, sitting down on the couch. Tom followed suit.

"Terribly," he answered emphatically. "So much, in fact, that I considered manufacturing an errand to run, just so I could go down to Engineering and see you."

"The captain wouldn’t be too pleased, you know," B’Elanna chided gently. "Remember the lecture we had a few weeks ago?"

"B’Elanna, she hadn’t slept in four days. She had needles driving into her skull. She probably didn’t mean a word of it."
"Just the same..." B’Elanna looked slightly uncomfortable.
"Um, Chakotay kind of talked to me a few days ago."
"What?" Tom exclaimed. "He did? What did he say?"

"Well...basically that he was proud of us for ‘cooling it’ when we’re on duty. He said that neither he nor the captain had heard any more reports of, as he put it, ‘public displays of affection’, and he hoped it would continue that way."

"I wonder why he didn’t say anything to me," Tom mused. "Well, it’s your fault that those ‘public displays of affection’ happened, anyway."
"My fault?" B’Elanna said indignantly.

"Yeah. You’re just too damned appealing." He winked at her, and was pleased when his comment evoked laughter from her. Since the Mari incident, she had been slightly on edge, but now it looked like she was beginning to relax.

"Which reminds me—wait here," Tom added. He rose from his seat and disappeared into his closet, reappearing a few moments later with a large, square box, gaily wrapped in shiny blue paper with bright red ribbons gracing the top.
"A present?" B’Elanna was intrigued. "For me?"

"No, for the person behind you," Tom scoffed, setting the gift down on the coffee table. "Of course, for you." He cleared his throat, looking slightly uneasy as he sat down. "I, um, bought it on the Mari homeworld—if you don’t want it, I understand. Completely. You don’t have to accept it. You don’t even have to open it if you don’t want—"

"Tom, shut up and let me open my present," B’Elanna cut in, reaching for the package.

"Okay," he shrugged, watching as she eagerly ripped into the paper. She looked almost like a little girl, tearing into the package. It was really cute.

Having disposed of the wrapping, B’Elanna lifted the cover off of the box. "Oh, boy! Tissue paper! Just what I always wanted!"

"I’m just kidding. I know that it’s wrapped—oh, Tom!"

What she had uncovered from the layers of fine white tissue paper was a slightly large wooden box, made out of the Mari version of cedar, with a carved top that had an intricate border of what looked like intertwined roses and a cursive "B" carved in the very center. "Tom, it’s beautiful," B’Elanna breathed, lightly tracing the "B" with her finger.

"Open it," he encouraged, his blue eyes bright with anticipation.

She did so, and was greeted by a chime of music. Inside the box, on a small pedestal, was a miniature dark-haired woman, clad in a red dress and carrying a basket of tiny red roses, that turned round and round in time to the tinkling notes that were coming from the box. B’Elanna listened to the music for an instant, and gasped. "Tom, this is—this isn’t ‘Canon in D’!" She was astonished at the sound of one of her favorite songs.

"Yes, it is," he beamed. "I found this little shop where you could bring in a recording of any song you liked, and the man who made these boxes would create a special box with that song. I saw this box and I thought of you, so I went back to the ship and downloaded a copy of ‘Canon in D’ from the computer, brought it to the shop, and they made this box especially for you."

"It’s—this is so beautiful, Tom," B’Elanna said softly, studying the tiny woman in more detail. "I can’t believe—

Thomas Eugene Paris!!"

"How—this is me!" she gasped. Upon closer inspection, she realized that the miniature woman with the roses had dark hair, eyes—and tiny forehead ridges. It was an exact miniature of her, right down to the tiny nose and mouth.

"I was wondering if you’d notice that," Tom laughed. "I forgot to mention that you could also bring in a picture and the measurements of a specific person, and Jadd—the carver—could incorporate them into the box."
"This must have taken days to make!"

"Only a few hours, actually. The box itself was already made Jadd just had to carve the initial, make the figurine, and program the song. I’m lucky I ordered it when I did, though, because soon after I picked it up all of the Away teams were recalled from the planet." Tom stopped short and turned bright red. "I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—"
"It’s all right, Tom," she said gently, carefully setting the box on the table. "Really, it’s okay."

Tom did a double take. Her eyes had filled up with tears. Had the memories of her time on Mari affected her that badly? He hadn’t meant to make her cry. "I shouldn’t have brought it up. I’m sorry," he said guiltily.

She sniffled, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Oh, no, it’s not that. It’s just that—no one’s ever given me a present like this before. Never. It’s—it’s absolutely exquisite. I can’t believe—I can’t believe that you bought this—for me."

"I did. Just for you," he said quietly. "A special present for a very, very special person. You deserve it, B’Elanna."

"Thank you so much," she whispered, wrapping her arms around him in an emotional hug.

Tom held her tightly, gently stroking her hair. "I’m glad you like it," he whispered.

"I do. I love it." She reluctantly pulled away from his warm embrace and wiped the last vestiges of tears from her eyes. "I don’t know how I can ever repay you."

"Oh, I bet you’ll think of something," Tom smiled roguishly, his cerulean eyes sparkling merrily.

A slow smile spread across B’Elanna’s face. "I think I will, too." She reached out and brought his face to hers. They kissed, long and passionately, and nothing more was said for hours.