DISCLAIMER: Yes, Paramount owns it all - I am just having some fun
with their characters.
SERIES: This story is a sequel to Resistance
PAIRING: B'Elanna/Seven (eventually!)
FEEDBACK: Yes please, I wouldn't post otherwise.
Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres rubbed her forehead ridges tiredly as she went through the reports submitted by her staff on the Alpha watch. They had long since switched shifts and Engineering still held a number of workers but the frantic hive of activity that had predominated most of the day had finally subsided to a more sedate pace as the engineering teams carried out routine tests and maintenance that the Alpha watch had no time to perform.
The raven-haired chief could feel the presence of her deputy hovering near by. She knew it was unfair of her to continue her work in the office. All the time she was present, the staff would refer to her and not Carey but B'Elanna felt no compunction to leave and return to her quarters. Her husband would be waiting for her as usual. He would offer her the same care and consideration he had ever since she had returned, grievously wounded from the torturous prison she, the Captain and Seven had been captive in. And she would steadfastly hide behind the barriers she had erected in order to protect herself from what had happened there.
She had no words to explain how she felt over what had happened. She could not describe her emotions concerning the Moderator. Most importantly, the engineer could not even begin to describe how her feelings for both Tom and Seven had changed.
Maybe they hadn't changed. Their captivity had merely allowed B'Elanna to clarify and understand her true feelings. She loved Tom. She just wasn't *in love* with him.
Unfortunately, she couldn't be that definitive with her feelings for Seven. The tall, willowy blonde had affected B'Elanna deeply. She had declared her own feelings for the half-Klingon, quite prepared to be rejected, already knowing that B'Elanna was married. Hearing the words vocalised had given B'Elanna a lot to think about.
The compact brunette shook her head, annoyed with herself once again. She was taking the easy route by ignoring what was happening to her. By not talking with Tom, she was avoiding the problem. At least she had not avoided Seven. They had spent a lot of time talking over what had happened, neither of them afraid to cry openly. B'Elanna wept for the loss of her unborn child. Seven cried over B'Elanna's grief and her own inability to offer any more help than a consoling hug.
Neither of the women had been able to connect with the Captain in the same way. She had resumed her official mantle on her return to Voyager and refused to let the mask slip, even when she was off duty.
B'Elanna had not told Tom that she had miscarried. She wasn't sure she could deal with his reaction. She could barely deal with her own. She had also sworn the Doctor to secrecy over the fact that she could no longer bear any children. Tom had often expressed a desire to have children and lots of them. B'Elanna could not open up her heart to him and she could not provide him with what he wanted. In her eyes, her failure was complete.
Torres looked up and saw Carey looking at her, concern etched upon his usually stoic features. "I'm sorry Joe. I shouldn't be here," she told him softly. As she rose from the desk, she collected the padds that had been scattered across it. "I'll do this some place else."
"Stay for as long as you want," the ginger engineer replied. "I just didn't want you working too hard," he finished lamely, wanting to voice his concerns more fully but not wanting to upset the Klingon.
B'Elanna smiled wistfully at him, realising what he was trying to do. "Don't worry Joe. I'll be all right in the end. If you've got any problems though..."
"Get out of here," Carey mock-ordered her. "Or I'll set Nicoletti on you."
His comment provoked a small stab of laughter from the chief engineer. "I'm definitely going," she told him as she left the office. The brunette noticed the looks from the rest of the engineering team as she left Main Engineering. Most were surreptitious glances, stolen when they thought she wasn't looking. Other members of staff looked at her openly, trying to silently communicate their worry over their chief. All of them had heard rumours about what had happened on the planet's surface and knew that it had taken several days for the tough Klingon to return to duty. When she did return, their concerns grew as the passionate, dynamic woman seemed to have been replaced by a taciturn task master. Her flare and ingenuity had not disappeared but ideas were put forward coldly and routinely, with no fire behind them. Having worked under a firecracker for the best part of seven years, her change in behaviour was disconcerting to say the least.
B'Elanna knew that her staff were concerned and she was aware that she was behaving differently. But she no longer felt she had that zest for life she once had.
She acknowledged a few looks as she left through the main doors and then turned to head towards her quarters. As the short Klingon stepped into the turbolift and requested her destination, she leant against the back wall and closed her eyes. Sooner or later she would have to tell Tom everything. She knew she had delayed long enough.
Tom punched the off switch of the old television set and rubbed his eyes. He resisted the urge to ask the Computer for a time check. He already knew that once again, his wife was very late off duty.
The tall helmsman shook his head, wondering what else he could do to help B'Elanna come to terms with what she had been through. Every offer of help he gave her was rejected. Sometimes she would be angry and tell him to mind his own business. Other times, B'Elanna would just stop talking altogether and retire to bed early. More often than not however, the Klingon hybrid would use his offer as a prompt to find either the Doctor or Seven of Nine and talk with them instead.
Tom had felt helpless the moment he saw B'Elanna's small frame lying on the Transporter Pad, broken and bleeding. When he burst through the doors to Sick Bay, Tom had been restrained by both Chakotay and Janeway, insisting that the EMH needed room and no distractions while he worked to save her life. Janeway apologised profusely for his wife's condition, though Tom knew that she couldn't be to blame. It had to have been their captors that had hurt B'Elanna so grievously. But even as he stood and watched, he couldn't help but wonder why it was that Seven and the Captain appeared relatively unscathed.
In order to divert his attention from B'Elanna, Tom decided to run standard checks on both Janeway and Seven of Nine. He soon revised his opinion of them being unscathed, finding a high dosage of an unknown drug in Janeway's system as well as a nasty head injury along with a long list of other minor scrapes. The Astrometrics Officer had also been injured, though Tom was unable to fathom what had been done to her borg circuitry in an effort to keep it operational.
As soon as the EMH had stabilised the chief engineer, he studied Paris' findings and summoned Harry Kim to Sick Bay. Until B'Elanna recovered, the young ensign was the next capable in dealing with Seven's circuitry and between them, they found away of keeping B'Elanna's quick-fix stable. They would have to wait for her to recover before the circuitry could be repaired completely but Seven stated that regeneration would probably solve most of the damage. The young blonde seemed most reluctant to let anyone near her, stating that she would wait for B'Elanna to come up with the final plan for repairs if she could not do it herself.
When Tom had probed the Doctor about his wife's condition, the EMH had been curiously reticent, providing him with only a basic outline of her condition. Tom was also surprised to discover that her medical files were secured away and no matter how hard he tried, he could not gain access to them.
Slowly, B'Elanna had recovered but she told him nothing of what had happened, other than what he had already seen on the official report. She gave him no clues about the conditions of their incarceration or about how she was coping with the ordeal. She wouldn't even vocalise her feelings on their escape and rescue.
Tom noticed B'Elanna throwing herself back into work, appearing to ignore the problem and for a while he was concerned that she would become self-destructive again. When he approached the EMH to voice his concerns, the Doctor told him that B'Elanna had confided in him and had been to several counselling sessions with him. As he wondered why it was that the half-Klingon could not come to him for counselling, the EMH told him that it was often easier to express feelings and actions to someone not quite so emotionally involved and he also reminded the helmsman that he had since taken a number of very basic counselling courses, determined not to make the same mistake as he did with Seven.
At the mention of Seven's name, Tom wondered how it was that B'Elanna could talk through so much with the blonde ex-drone. They had never been friends, though admittedly, before the last away mission, they had started to tolerate each other. If the Doctor was right in saying that B'Elanna needed to talk to someone not so involved, how was it that she could spend so much time with Seven.
As the days passed by, little changed in their relationship and Tom began to grow bitter over his wife's connection with the EMH and Seven. He wondered if it was a reflection of his own inadequacies but could find no way to counter them as B'Elanna would not give him any indication as to what he had or hadn't done to develop the situation. All he did know was that B'Elanna wouldn't open up to him and share her experience. And he was running out of options and patience.
Stepping through into their shared quarters, B'Elanna looked round the main living area. It was generally neat and tidy, with a few data padds on the small table in the centre of the room. She wondered where the helmsman was but as soon as the thought entered her head, the sandy-haired man stepped out from the bedroom.
"Hey," he greeted her softly, closing the distance between them and wrapping his arms round her.
"Hi." The engineer returned his embrace awkwardly, trying to hold onto her report padds at the same time.
Tom quickly disentangled himself from his wife and noticed what she was carrying. "Bringing work home with you? Surely you could do this tomorrow."
"It has to be done today. And I was in Carey's way in Engineering," B'Elanna explained as she moved over to the couch.
"Don't you think you're working too hard?" Tom came over and sat down next to her.
"Probably," she conceded. "But there's no one else to do the work so I don't really have much choice, do I?"
"Yes you do. You could tell Janeway that you need more time and then we could do something together." He plucked a padd from B'Elanna's hands and put it onto the table. "I've booked us time on the holodeck. I thought we could have a romantic dinner by Lake Como..."
"Tom no," the brunette interrupted quickly. "I definitely haven't got time for that."
"You don't have time or do you just not want to go?" The pilot couldn't help getting slightly annoyed.
"I don't feel ready..."
"Ready? You're my wife, B'Elanna. This isn't a first date."
"Tom, you don't understand." B'Elanna rolled her eyes back and willed herself to stay calm. Losing her temper with Tom now was something she really didn't want to do.
Tom stood up and moved away from the couch slightly. "I don't understand because you won't talk to me," he told her, his voice rising with frustration.
"Not now Tom," the half-Klingon warned.
"Then when? Tell me. How long do I have to wait for you to talk to me huh? How long will it be before you can trust your husband in the same way you trust the Doctor and Seven?"
"Leave them out of this Tom," B'Elanna told him, becoming defensive almost instantly.
"Why should I? You talk to them. You've told them what happened to you. But you can't tell me. You won't let me touch you. You won't spend time with me. Are we even married anymore in your eyes?" Tom had begun to pace and his arms gesticulated wildly as he emphasised each point.
The dark engineer closed her eyes as she tried to sort out a suitable answer in her head. There was going to be no easy way to deal with this. It was going to be painful every inch of the way but she had to draw the strength from somewhere and admit how she really felt about Tom, even if she couldn't yet admit what she felt for Seven.
"Tom, you're right we do need to talk," she began, her voice shaking slightly with emotion.
Her admission stopped Tom dead in his tracks and the tall man swung round to look intently at his wife. "Go on," he prompted.
"This is difficult Tom. Probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do," B'Elanna continued. She swallowed and then drew in a deep breath.
The entry chime to their quarters stopped the next sentence from coming out though.
"Saved by the bell," Tom murmured as he turned towards the door. "Come in, it's open," he announced loudly.
B'Elanna sat back and rested her head on the back of the couch. Just as she had summed up enough bravery to talk to Tom, someone had decided to interrupt them. She just hoped it wasn't Harry. She was feeling inclined to rip the unwanted visitor's head off.
The doors hissed open to reveal Kathryn Janeway. She appeared distracted and nervous and B'Elanna opened her eyes and sat up as soon as she heard her husband greet the Captain.
"Captain, come in. What can we do for you?"
Janeway stepped into the main living area and proceeded to pace up and down as she decided on her opening words.
"Captain?" B'Elanna prompted. Other than the regular staff briefings and during times when B'Elanna's technical expertise was needed, they had barely said two words to each other since re- materialising on Voyager.
"I realise that I should have spoken with you earlier," Janeway began, resting one hand on her hip and using the other to emphasise her words. "But this has been a difficult time for all of us." She locked eyes with the dark Lieutenant for several seconds before continuing. "I came to apologise to you both," she announced.
"Captain," B'Elanna interrupted, not wanting the conversation to continue while Tom was in the dark over what had happened on the planet.
Janeway held up a hand and stopped B'Elanna quickly. "No, B'Elanna. This is something I must say. It's my responsibility." She rolled her eyes at her own words. "You are my responsibility," she corrected. "I have to apologise to you for allowing you to be tortured."
"What?" Tom exploded. "What are you talking about?" He spun round to look at B'Elanna.
"Captain, you did what was right at the time. You couldn't allow them to bully you into giving up technology. Who knows what else he would have asked for." The chief engineer interjected quickly and hoped that now Janeway had revealed something of what went on, she would be able to find it easier to explain the rest to Tom.
"My actions lost you your baby B'Elanna," the Captain continued, oblivious to the rising tension in the room. "I am wholly responsible for that, and for denying you and Tom the ability to have children."
B'Elanna groaned and sat back on the couch once more. She waited as Tom looked at her incredulously.
"You were pregnant?" He breathed. "And you lost the baby?"
It was finally at this point that Janeway realised she had perhaps revealed too much too soon. She glanced towards B'Elanna but noticed that the Klingon's attention was firmly on her husband.
"Tom, I didn't know how to tell you," she began.
"You didn't know how to tell me? What sort of excuse is that?" Tom could feel his anger boiling inside and knew that he was going to vent it straight at his wife. "Were you ever going to tell me? Or was it enough just to tell the Doctor and Seven." He began pacing again. "Well, of course the Captain knows too. Who else knows? Everyone on the ship?"
"Tom, they only know because they heard the Moderator tell me I'd miscarried," B'Elanna managed to interrupt his tirade for a moment.
"The Moderator," Tom repeated viciously. "What did he do to you to make you lose the baby?"
"Tom, don't do this," B'Elanna asked him, not wanting to relive the horrors the vile alien had inflicted on her.
"Why couldn't you tell me?"
"Tom, I didn't know how to," the engineer repeated.
"Didn't know how to? Jesus Christ B'Elanna, you lost my child."
The Klingon felt her heart go cold as Paris made the accusation. "I know," she whispered brokenly. She blinked rapidly, determined not to cry in front of him.
"We can't have children and you couldn't bring yourself to tell me. What happened to the trust between us?"
"Did he touch you?" Tom moved closer, his face reddening with rage as he appeared to change tack. "Did he?" He repeated loudly.
"Tom, that's enough," Janeway cut in, not wanting to see B'Elanna on the receiving end of a nasty interrogation. She wasn't even sure herself what had been done to B'Elanna. The Klingon hybrid had remained reticent on the matter right from the outset.
"No it's not," Tom contradicted the Captain. "She's my wife. I'm entitled to know."
"Tom, I lost the baby. It doesn't matter how it happened," B'Elanna began.
"You let him touch you, didn't you?"
"Tom!" Janeway admonished, wanting to abate the helmsman's anger before he said something really stupid.
"You won't let me near you, yet you whored yourself for that bastard," Tom spat at his wife, allowing his anger to totally consume him.
B'Elanna sprang from the couch and punched the man in the jaw, sending him flying across the room. "Don't you ever speak to me like that again," she breathed, her chest heaving from her own barely contained rage.
"Don't worry sweetheart," Paris rubbed his chin as he got to his feet. "I won't be speaking to you again. Period." With that, he stormed out of their quarters and stalked down the corridor.
Janeway turned to B'Elanna, her face both shocked and apologetic at the same time. "B'Elanna, please forgive me. I didn't know that you hadn't told him."
The Klingon stood in the centre of the room, still trying to control her breathing. She looked at her commanding officer carefully. "Please don't take offence but I think you've said enough. I just need to be on my own for a while."
"B'Elanna," the Captain tried again, taking a step closer to the chief engineer.
"Please leave," the brunette woman reiterated, stepping away from Janeway as she spoke.
Janeway looked at the younger woman for a fraction longer before nodding slightly. "You know where I am," she offered as she left.
B'Elanna sank back down onto the couch and closed her eyes, allowing the unshed tears to fall now that she was alone.
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