Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager is property of Paramount. This story was written solely for entertainment purposes, not profit. "Then & Now" copyright 1998 by JoAnna Walsvik, all rights reserved. Please request permission before distributing, linking, archiving, etc.
Author’s Note: This story is dedicated to all of the Parisites for their patience and encouragement during the creation of this story;
especially Lauren Taylor, QoD, for allowing me to meet her halfway, :-P (inside joke) and also to Robbie McNeill and Roxann Dawson for their inspirational portrayals of the fantastic characters of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres. Robbie, Roxann, I luv ya! :)
Also, this story contains information found in the episode novelizations of "Caretaker" and "Day of Honor." If certain elements don’t make sense or aren’t exactly canon, my apologies. I did the best I could!
Watch for the gratuitous "47" reference! :-)
Send me feedback!!!
Summary: B’Elanna Torres’ life has been a turbulent one, but she’s put the past behind her now that she is happily married to Tom Paris and Voyager has returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Suddenly, however, her past returns with a vengeance, combining with an unexpected tragedy that attempts to mar the happiness she has found.
And, without further ado, I give you...
Then & Now Part One (Post-VOY, P/T, PG-13)
by JoAnna Walsvik
PROLOGUE: TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO
Five-year-old B’Elanna Torres choked back an agonized sob.
"Daddy," she whispered into her tearstained pillow. "Daddy, why did you go?"
In her heart, she knew the answer. Her parents had been fighting for a long time. She could barely remember a time when they hadn’t fought. She knew that they must have loved each other once, for they had gotten married, and she had been born. But now her parents were separated and her daddy was gone forever. He had promised to write, but it had been two weeks and there hadn’t been a word from him.
Her mother had barely said a word during that time. Her dark Klingon eyes were constantly filled with burning anger that caused the child to cringe whenever she looked her mother in the eye. But there was something else in her mother’s eyes, too—a touch of regret, and sadness.
Did her mother ever cry in the night, as she herself was doing? B’Elanna doubted it. Her mother had always taught her that only the cowardly cried. Only the weak allowed tears. Klingons didn’t cry. It simply wasn’t done.
But I’m only half-Klingon, B’Elanna thought rebelliously. *I don’t want to be Klingon. Daddy left because Mama was a Klingon, and because I look like her. I don’t ever want to be Klingon again!*
She buried her face into the comforting softness of her pillow, permitting the tears to fall freely. She missed her daddy so much her heart felt like a heavy lump in her chest. She missed his hugs, and the sound of his voice calling, "Little Bee!"
He had always called her "Little Bee". It was a private, special joke between the two of them. When she had first learned how to talk, she hadn’t been able to pronounce her own name, so she had just called herself "Bee", the only letter of the alphabet she knew. Ever since then, Daddy had called her "Little Bee." Mama thought the nickname ridiculous. Then again, Klingons didn’t like nicknames, either.
The sound of a step outside the doorway of her bedroom caused B’Elanna to stiffen and lay perfectly still, hardly daring to breathe. It was hours past her bedtime, and if Mama caught her crying...well, B’Elanna didn’t want to think of the consequences.
The door opened, and she heard her mother walk towards the bed, the footsteps firm and solid as Mama herself was. B’Elanna tried to lay still and breathe evenly to make her mother believe she was asleep.
A hand touched her hair, and suddenly a new sound caught B’Elanna’s attention—a tiny little sniffle. Was ama...crying? No, it couldn’t be, she decided. Mama never cried. It must be her imagination.
"Poor little one," Mama said in the stillness, her voice hushed and filled with a tenderness B’Elanna had never heard before. Her hand softly stroked her small daughter’s hair. "My poor, sweet little one."
B’Elanna laid motionless, hardly daring to believe what she was hearing. Her mother had never spoken tenderly towards her, nor called her a "poor, sweet little one".
Had Mama ever done this before, when she was really asleep? The thought nearly caused B’Elanna to sit up in bed to throw her arms around her mother. But she laid still, and moments later Mama left the room, pausing at the doorway once more before walking back down the hallway.
In the darkness, B’Elanna sighed. First her father had left with hardly a day’s warning, and now her mother had shown this surprising display of emotion. Grown-ups could be very confusing. She hoped that she wouldn’t be as confusing when she was a grown-up.
And with that thought lingering in her mind, B’Elanna fell asleep for real.
THEN: NINE YEARS AGO
Maiah Torres looked up from her bowl of serpent worms at the sound of her eighteen-year-old daughter’s voice.
"What is it, B’Elanna? I’m eating," she said harshly, not at all liking the calm, icy tone her daughter was using. Maiah recognized the inflection; it was one she often used herself. B’Elanna was about to say something that she knew her mother wouldn’t like. It caused the older Klingon woman to stare at her daughter warily.
B’Elanna Torres drew herself up to her full height, a defiant gleam shining her in chocolate brown eyes. "I’ve been accepted to Starfleet Academy."
"What?" Maiah Torres rose quickly from her seat, knocking her chair over in her haste. "How? It’s not possible!" she spat, her dark eyes blazing. She tossed her long, flame-red hair over her shoulder and glared at her only child, the child that had been the result of her mating with a cowardly human who had abandoned the both of them when the girl was only five. The years had been lonely, and her willful daughter hadn’t made matters any easier. She had seemed determined to challenge her mother at every turn, especially during her teenage years. Today was no exception.
"It is possible," B’Elanna retorted tensely. "Commander Gilbertine at the colony office has been helping me. She helped me apply, wrote me a letter of recommendation, and persuaded Starfleet into allowing me to take the tests here, at the colony office, instead of at the Academy. And I was accepted." She paused to take a deep breath. "I leave in three days."
"I expressly forbade you to have anything to do with that Gilbertine woman! And you know I don’t want you to have anything to do with Starfleet!"
Years back, before her marriage, Maiah Torres had applied to and been rejected by Starfleet Academy, only because she was Klingon—or so she had thought and still believed. B’Elanna, however, suspected—and rightly so—that her mother had been rejected because she wasn’t as good at geology as she thought she was. Maiah was the Kessik IV’s resident geologist, and had been for many years, but even B’Elanna could see that she wasn’t and never had been Starfleet caliber. The rejection had stung Maiah hard, though, and she had bitterly declared that neither she nor any offspring she might bear would ever have anything to do with Starfleet.
B’Elanna, however, had been fascinated with Starfleet since she could walk. Even when she was only six or seven years old, she would hang around the docking bays of Kessik IV to watch the Starfleet officers beaming to and from their respective ships. Once, a commander had seen her watching him and had taken her on a short tour of his small science vessel. B’Elanna had been so excited that she forgotten to ask his name, but she was forever grateful to him. That short excursion through the Starfleet vessel had changed her life. From then on, all she could think about was someday being the chief engineer on a Starfleet ship. Now, she was so very close to realizing her dream. With the help of the Starfleet delegate on Kessik IV, Commander Anna Gilbertine, she had been accepted to the Academy. And nothing was going to hold her back, including her mother’s objections.
"I’m going, Mother, whether you like it or not," she said stubbornly. "Commander Gilbertine has already arranged transport for me. I’m going."
"You will not," Maiah hissed angrily. "You have disobeyed me in everything else, but you will not disobey me in this. You will not join Starfleet!"
"I will." B’Elanna crossed her arms in front of her chest in a stubborn gesture not unlike Maiah’s.
Mother and daughter glared at each other, both equally obstinate and both equally determined to have their own way. Maiah was suddenly struck by how much the girl resembled her. She had always assumed that B’Elanna looked like her human father, but now, standing with her face to face, she realized that the proud Klingon eyes staring back at her were, in fact, her own. So was the determined set of the girl’s chin. Her daughter had inherited her mother’s stubbornness, that was certain.
But Maiah could be just as unyielding as her only child.
"If you walk out of this door today," Maiah said fiercely, venom dripping from her every word, "you can never return. I will no longer consider you my daughter. Understand that you will be dead to me. Dead! In my mind, you will not exist!" Her voice rose to a shout as her ferocious temper rose to its peak.
Her daughter’s own temper flared. "That’s fine with me," she shot back. "I never wanted to be your daughter! All my life, I’ve tried to live up to your expectations, but I never could! You’ve always wanted me to be Klingon, and I don’t! I still don’t! I don’t even want to live here!"
"Then leave. Pack your bags and get out of here. I never want to see your face again, you—dishonorable half-breed!"
A frigid silence sprang up between the two women. That had been the lowest insult her mother could give, and B’Elanna knew it. Her knuckles turned white as she clenched her fists so severely that her fingernails dug into her palms, drawing thin crescents of blood. She turned on her heel and stalked into her room, slamming doors and throwing objects angrily. In less then twenty minutes she had finished packing, and she marched into the main room of the dwelling with her suitcase firmly in hand.
"Good-bye, Mother," she said firmly. "I’m leaving." She was giving Maiah one last chance to take back what she had said.
But the Klingon woman was just as hardheaded as her daughter. She stood silently at the window, her back to B’Elanna, her strong frame tall and adamant.
"So you still push me away, just as you pushed Daddy away," B’Elanna said quietly.
Maiah whirled around to face her, her ebony eyes hard as stone.
"And you are as cowardly as your father was. You have no honor. Get out of my house."
Without another word, B’Elanna did as her mother commanded. She stayed with her best friend on Kessik IV, Erva Konal, until her transport left three days later, bound for Earth and the Academy.
And I’ll never come back, B’Elanna vowed as she watched Kessik IV grow smaller and smaller through an observation viewport of the ship. Never.
THEN: EIGHT YEARS AGO
B’Elanna Torres had to struggle to keep tears from spilling out of her eyes as she packed her bags for the second time that year.
Her mother had been right. She hadn’t even lasted through the first year. She hadn’t known Starfleet Academy would be like this—other cadets staring at her forehead as though she was some sort of freak, the teachers challenging her every theory and becoming angry when she challenged theirs, boys dating her just to see if the tales about a Klingon woman’s voracious sexual appetite were true. She hadn’t known.
Now she did. She was leaving after a "mutual decision" between herself and the dean of the Academy—in other words, the dean had heavily implied that she should leave, and she was leaving. For good. Just as she had left Kessik IV that fateful day almost exactly one year ago.
B’Elanna didn’t know where she would go now. Starfleet didn’t want her and her mother didn’t want her. Her father hadn’t even tried to contact her since he had left nearly fourteen years ago, so she knew he wouldn’t want her, either. She was alone in the universe with no one to turn to. A nineteen-year-old half-breed Academy dropout with a savage temper and no real skills except for a slight knack with warp engines.
She snapped her suitcase shut and sat down on what had been her bunk, now having to fight to keep the tears from flowing. She would not cry. She wouldn’t give those arrogant, stuffy Academy professors the satisfaction of seeing their whipping-girl burst into tears of misery.
*I could always paint myself green and become an Orion slave girl,* she thought bleakly. *There isn’t really anything else I could do. Who’d want me?*
"B’Elanna?" Her—former—roommate, Patricia Brooker, peeked her head in the doorway and hesitantly stepped into the room. She was a pretty, intelligent girl with a definite talent for the biological sciences. Her goal was to be the CMO on a large starship someday, and B’Elanna didn’t doubt that she’d succeed. Patsy was ranked second in their class and all of her teachers said she was destined to a bright future—unlike B’Elanna, whose teachers had said she wouldn’t amount to anything unless she could learn to control her vicious temper.
And I can’t, B’Elanna thought despairingly. *I never could and I never will.*
"Are you okay?" Patsy asked, coming to sit next to her on the bed.
Patsy had been the one person at the Academy who hadn’t shunned her or treated her like a freak because of her Klingon heritage and violent temper. Her grandmother was half-Yrommian, Patsy had told B’Elanna on the occasion of their first meeting, and her grandmother had taught her to respect everyone no matter what their ancestry.
"I’m fine, Patsy," B’Elanna said slowly, but the faint quiver in her voice betrayed her true emotions. "I—I’m just not sure what I’m going to do now. I don’t have anywhere to go."
"You don’t have any family?" Patsy asked sympathetically.
"Yes, I have family," B’Elanna sighed. "My mother lives on the Klingon homeworld, but she doesn’t want anything to do with me. We had a falling out before I left for the Academy, and I haven’t seen or spoken to her since." "That’s too bad." Patsy’s distinct violet eyes—her only inheritance from her Yrommian great-grandmother—focused on the wall in front of her. "Have you heard," she said conversationally, "that Seri’s older sister, Lyra, resigned her Starfleet commission a few weeks ago to join the Maquis?" Seri was one of their Bajoran classmates.
"Yeah, I heard," B’Elanna replied, her ridged brow furrowing in confusion. Patsy had told her the news herself a few weeks ago. In fact, the hot new topic on campus was the formation of the resistance group, the Maquis, that were determined to save the Federation colonies that had been handed over to the Cardassians as a result of the new treaty. Even a professor at the Academy had resigned to defend his homeworld. Patsy knew that she had heard, so why was she bringing up the topic now, of all times?
"Seri told me that Lyra had told her that the Maquis need good people," Patsy continued, giving B’Elanna a sideways glance. "You know, doctors, pilots....engineers."
The word hit B’Elanna like a lightening bolt, and she finally understood what her friend was driving at. "I—suppose they do," she said, a faint hope beginning to glimmer in the back of her mind.
"According to Seri, there’s a supply ship headed to Bajor tomorrow that a few people who want to join are going to be on. She was thinking of being on it when it left, so she could help Lyra defend their colony, but she’ll probably chicken out at the last moment. You know how she is. She probably won’t even be on the transport ship that leaves from McKinley station tomorrow at 0900."
"Probably not," B’Elanna echoed, realizing what her friend was doing. All cadets had been expressly ordered not to disclose any information to anyone that they might have about the Maquis or their recruiters, but Patsy was tiptoeing around those orders. After all, she hadn’t meant to tell B’Elanna about the transport. She was just making innocent conversation.
B’Elanna’s eyes swelled with unshed tears. She hadn’t realized what a good friend she had.
"Well, I’ll leave you to your packing," Patsy said nonchalantly, seemingly oblivious to her former roommate’s tear-filled eyes. She rose from the bunk and walked towards the doorway.
"Thanks for everything, Patsy. I’ll miss you," B’Elanna said, realizing that Patsy would be the only person she’d miss from this godawful place.
Patsy paused at the doorway and turned back. "Good-bye, B’Elanna," she said. "I hope—I hope everything works out for you."
"It will," B’Elanna vowed with more certainty then she had felt in months. "I promise you, it will."
THEN: FIVE YEARS AGO
How did I get myself into this? B’Elanna Torres thought fuzzily. She coughed weakly, knowing that she should get herself and the Starfleet ensign up and out of these damned Ocampan caverns, but she didn’t have the energy. Whatever it was that the "Caretaker" had infected her with had drained her strength and left her too weak to even raise her head.
Suddenly, a new sound grabbed her attention. The precarious metal stairway she was resting on was shaking, like...like someone was running up the stairs. Like someone was coming. But that was impossible, unless...
Starfleet? she wondered. What was it the ensign...Harry...had called his ship...Voyager? Was it the crew of Voyager, coming to rescue their fallen friend, and maybe her as well?
"I see them!" a clear voice suddenly rang out, one that she had never heard before but was, to her, the most beautiful sound in the galaxy. There was someone here to help.
She cracked her eyes open and saw that someone bending over Harry Kim, speaking to him in hushed tones. Two others followed, an Ocampa and a...something else. She wasn’t sure what species he was.
"Neelix," she heard the other man say to the unknown alien, "you and Kes help Harry. I’ll get—um—B’Elanna."
How does he know my name? she wondered.
The Ocampa—Kes, the man had called her—and the Neelix person bent over Harry, while the other man kneeled next to her, and suddenly B’Elanna found herself looking into the bluest pair of eyes she had ever seen.
"Hey," the owner of those cerulean eyes said soothingly, sliding an arm over her shoulders. "Don’t worry—we’ve come to help."
With infinite gentleness he raised her to her feet, all but carrying her up the last flight of shaky metal stairs, with the other two helping Harry. Somehow, they made it to the surface, and B’Elanna had never been happier to see the sun. She turned to look at her rescuer, and was struck by handsome he was, even with soot and dirt clinging to his blond hair and—his Starfleet uniform. A uniform that didn’t have pips on the collar, she noted in confusion. If he wasn’t in Starfleet, why was he wearing the uniform?
"Kes," the man called, motioning to the Ocampa.
B’Elanna was so groggy that she couldn’t object when the petite Ocampa—who really was stronger then she looked—shouldered her as the other man headed back down to the cavern. *What is he doing? He’ll be killed!* she thought, sudden panic flowing through her body, even though she didn’t even know his name. She did know, however, that she didn’t want him to leave her.
But then a transporter beam caught her up in its shimmery spectrum, and she lost consciousness. Her last thought was of those beautiful cerulean blue eyes.
It wasn’t until later, after she and Harry Kim had been cured by the holographic doctor and the Starfleet captain, Janeway, had blown up the array, that she learned the name of her rescuer. Tom Paris. She also discovered that he wasn’t an officer, just an observer, and that the reason he had gone back down in the caverns was to save the lives of the captain, Tuvok, and Chakotay.
That act of bravery had impressed her, and the feeling remained, even after Chakotay had told her that he was nothing but a Starfleet failure turned Maquis mercenary turned jailbird that had gotten a lucky break on Voyager and who happened to be an "okay" pilot.
He wasn’t an "okay" pilot, as Chakotay had said, though. He was a fantastic pilot. At first he seemed like an arrogant, conceited pig, but as she got to know him, B’Elanna realized that it was all just an act to keep people from seeing how vulnerable and how desperate to prove himself he really was. Just like she put an act to keep people from knowing that deep down inside, she was still an insecure half-Klingon who just wanted to be accepted.
After a time, she was accepted on Voyager, and her dream of being chief engineer on a starship was fully realized. B’Elanna was finally happy and somewhere she felt she really belonged—although sometimes, late at night, she’d wake up and realize that her dreams were of those beautiful cerulean blue eyes. Her old insecurities returned to haunt her—how could a man like Tom Paris ever love her, a temperamental half-Klingon who wasn’t even liked by her own mother?
Although B’Elanna didn’t know it, often Tom Paris would wake in the middle of the night after dreaming of dark Klingon eyes full of fire. He’d lay awake and wonder—how could a woman like B’Elanna Torres could ever love him, a Starfleet failure who wasn’t even liked by his own father?
Somehow, a miracle happened, and over time love blossomed between the two dreamers. It wasn’t long before they decided that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives dreaming together.
And so they were married. The two found more happiness and joy with each other that they had ever thought possible. Just when they thought life couldn’t get any better, it suddenly did.
Voyager, after over five years in the Delta Quadrant, was returned home by the companion of the same force that had brought them there.
The crew were hailed as heroes, both B’Elanna and Tom were welcomed back into Starfleet with open arms, and, best of all, the same father that had disowned Tom wept with joy at his son’s miraculous return.
Yes, life had gotten better. (Not having to eat Neelix’s cooking was an added bonus.) Tom and B’Elanna Paris were infinitely happy. It seemed like nothing could ever mar the perfect joy they both felt just being together.
END OF PART 1