The termination of her marriage had almost destroyed B'Elanna. For months, she could not even bear to be in the same room with another, less they mention Tom's name or allude to their dismay at the dissolution of her once happy marriage. She shunned her friends and buried herself in her work; her daughter, whom she cherished above all others, was kept at arm's length, young Miral's questions too impossible for her mother to answer honestly.
Her marriage had ended, not through infidelity or a lack of love, but from a single glance.
After Miral's birth and their return to the Alpha Quadrant, Tom had matured into the kind of man any woman would be proud to call husband, and never once, despite his flirtatious past, had he given his wife cause to doubt his fidelity. B'Elanna's own fidelity was taken for granted, her Klingon heritage balking at the idea of deceiving a mate, and her soft human heart incapable of causing her own sweet Tom so much pain.
Until that night; the night of the reunion, when a glance had revealed pain in eyes thought to be beyond feeling, and B'Elanna's world had crumbled into dust. One look at Seven and B'Elanna's vows of everlasting love had been blown asunder. Yes, she loved her husband, but it was a love that skidded across the surface of her heart, light and joyful, and incapable of tearing her soul to pieces.
She knew not what had caused the pain that radiated from Seven's eyes, but she knew at once that the woman sat so primly before her, was capable of searing the breath from her lungs, and carving pain and love so deeply into her heart that she would never recover. It was a revelation worthy of Kahless himself, and it condemned her marriage and her sanity in one single sweep of its outstretched hand.
For months following her epiphany, B'Elanna had ignored the truth of her heart, the love she bestowed on her husband filled with a passion she had never before displayed. Guilt made her attentive and shame sent words of devotion flying from her lips; the more she tried to hide from her truth, the more she began to despise the weakling she had become.
In the end, it was Tom who saved her from herself; sweet, funny, irrepressible Tom, who cried in her arms when the truth was revealed and refused to withdraw his friendship even after she had ended the fairy tale ending he thought he'd found. It was only he, among all their friends, that she could bear to see during those hellish months, and even as his own heart was weeping, he came to her, a friend evermore.
Of the woman who had sparked her realisation, B'Elanna knew no more, as Seven had vanished into the ether, her whereabouts unknown to even her closest of friends; the agony that had radiated from her eyes remained a mystery and one B'Elanna forbade herself to explore.
When eventually she returned to her life and her child, she put aside the memory of that glance and the realisation of how devastating love could be. If, on occasion, her eyes strayed to catch sight of a passing blonde, her heartbeats galloping in her chest until the countenance of a stranger was confirmed, it was never acknowledged, less hope make her its victim, much as love had done before.
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