Title: Recovery
Author: PJ in NH
Series: VOY
Codes: P/T
Rating: PG-13
Synopsis: A short story set immediately after the episode
Juggernaut. (spoiler warning)
Disclaimer: Voyager owns all the characters, etc., I am just
using the characters for a little fun and relaxation.
Email: kelhapam@worldpath.net
Posting: OK to ASC, ASCEM, PTF, & BLTS. Please notify me if
you post anywhere else.

Recovery (Coda to Juggernaut)
by PJ in NH
4/99

"Activate sonic shower," B'Elanna ordered and turned around so
the sonic waves could wash her clean. She wished it could also
wash her memories clean, memories of what she had done on that
Malon freighter. Memories of bashing that radioactive monster
until....

"Computer, discontinue sonic shower and activate warm water
shower. Charge credits to Ensign Tom Paris." The pilot then
stepped into the cascade of water to join his mate.

"Tom," she gasped in surprise as the water hit her body.

"Sssssh," he said soothingly and he pulled her close. Cradling
her to his chest, flesh pressed against flesh, he could feel the
tension in her body. "It's all right, B'Elanna. You're home
now. I've got you."

She shook her head. "But, Tom, you don't know..."

"I know that I was very worried about you and that if you want to
tell me what happened, you will. And if you don't want to, that
is fine as well." He reached for the soap-covered washcloth that
he had previously hung on the towel rack. Wetting it beneath the
warm water, he began using it first on her face. Careful to keep
the soap out of her eyes, he gently washed her soot-covered
forehead, cheeks, and chin.

"I can do that..."

"Sssssh, let me take care of you tonight." He paused, waiting
for her to protest, but B'Elanna was uncharacteristically silent.
"Let me do this for you, B'Elanna. Please." Not waiting to hear
her complain, Tom brought the washcloth over the pert nose that
he adored and wiped away the grime that clung to her skin. When
the nose was finally clean, he bent down and blessed it with a
kiss, touching it lightly with his tongue.

Tom then pulled her even closer into his embrace, so her bare
breasts was pressed up against his chest. Holding her with his
left arm, he brought his right hand holding the washcloth down
over her back. Lovingly, he washed her with slow firm strokes,
beginning at her shoulders and working his way down her sensitive
spine until he finally spanned the limit of his reach--her
buttocks--making sure that he didn't miss a spot.

"Please, Tom, I don't ..." her voice broke with emotion. "I d--
don't de...deserve..." The sounds of the water showering down
upon them, almost drowned out the sound of her crying as hot
tears streamed down her face to join the warm water.

Beneath his arms, Tom could feel her shoulders tremble as she
cried. His heart broke for her. His B'Elanna, his strong,
speak-her-own-mind, I-can-take-care-of-myself B'Elanna was crying
in his arms. She had never done that before. Not it all the
years that he had known her had he ever seen or heard her cry.
Oh, she had told him that she had cried her eyes out when she had
learned that so many of her Maquis friends were dead, and he
didn't doubt her, but he had never witnessed the miracle for
himself.

"Easy, B'Elanna. Just let it all out," he suggested fingering
back the wet hair from her face so he could kiss her now clean
cheek. "No one can see you in here. No one but I can see or
hear you cry. It's okay, just let it go," he urged.

"But...but...you weren't there. You didn't see what...I..."

"It doesn't matter. Don't you understand? I love you, B'Elanna,
no matter what."

"...but to access.... the controls...I...I hit him...I hit him
until he fell," she tried to explain in between her sobs. "My
temper...it raged. I tried to...con...trol...Janeway
said...but..."

"Ssssh, sssssh. If you didn't have your precious temper, we
might all be dead now. If you hadn't hit him, and if you weren't
so enraged, you might not have hit him hard enough. You saved us
all, B'Elanna."

"But..."

"No buts," Tom insisted firmly. "Now please turn around so I can
clean your front." Helping her, he pivoted her around so her
head rested against his shoulder and her back against his chest.
He applied more liquid soap to the washcloth and started washing
her again. First her shoulders, then her breasts, her stomach,
and finally her hips and in between her legs. Then bending down,
he at last washed her legs and feet. He took it slow, his
purpose right now wasn't to arouse her, but help her relax and to
clean her--to rid her of any reminder of what had happened on the
Malon ship. When Tom was satisfied that her body was clean, he
stood up again. "Better?" he asked.

"Hmmmm," she murmured her head resting comfortable again against
his shoulder, she sounded almost asleep.

"Now just ease up a bit," he suggested. "I'm going to wash your
hair."

"My hair?" she asked. He had never washed her hair before.

"Take pity on me, B'Elanna, I feel like pampering you. I've even
replicated some shampoo that smells like orange blossoms," he
explained. Tom squirted some of the aromatic shampoo into the
palm of his hand and held it under her nose so she could smell
the fragrance.

"Mmmmm, it does smell good."

"I thought you'd like it," he replied. Rubbing the shampoo
between his palms, he placed both hands against her head.

Feeling the coolness of the shampoo touch her scalp, the half-
Klingon brought her hands up to her head, out of habit, to wash
her hair.

"No, love. I'm doing it all. I don't want you to lift a
finger."

B'Elanna was tempted to protest again, but it felt so good just
to have someone take care of her. For someone--no not just
'someone' she corrected herself...for *Tom* to take care of her.
For him to care enough, to love *her* enough, to be here for her.
When even she hadn't realized how much she needed to be with him
tonight. So she gratefully relented.

Using his long strong fingers he massaged her scalp while the
suds built up. Then focusing on the nape of her neck, he worked
at loosening the taught muscles that seemed to permanently reside
there. Finally, he positioned her under the water and he rinsed
away all the soap and suds from her body and his own.

Tom almost hated for the shower to end, but he had already used
all of his credits, including the ones that he had borrowed from
Harry and the Delaneys. So it was with reluctance he ordered:
"Computer, terminate shower."

The water flow stopped and a fully clean, wet B'Elanna Torres
stood before him. A more beautiful sight he didn't think existed
in the universe. But he had promised himself no overly erotic
thoughts tonight. Tonight was B'Elanna's night, and she didn't
need sex tonight, she needed to recover. She needed to try and
get past what had happened to her on that alien ship. He reached
for one of the large thick bronze-colored terrycloth towels that
he had brought with him. Holding it up he enveloped her in its
thirsty softness. Taking another, he proceeded to towel dry her
hair, taking care not to pull her silky strands.

Each touch and each caress conveyed to her just how much this man
loved her. "Tom, I..."

"Sssssh, B'Elanna. Later." he urged placing two fingers across
her full lips.

She paused, swallowed down a lump in her throat, and finally
nodded. She would let him take care of her, at least for
tonight. So B'Elanna waited while he toweled himself off and had
wrapped a towel around his waist.

Next, knowing her bathroom almost as well as he knew his own, Tom
pressed a button on the wall that enabled a hidden drawer to
open. There inside he withdrew a comb and a brush. Then taking
B'Elanna by the hand, he led her from the bathroom to the main
living area.

Motioning towards one of her dining chairs, he bade her to sit.
She smiled and did as he asked, which was easy because she was so
tired her legs could barely hold her up. Working gently and
patiently, he proceeded to brush and comb out her tangled hair.
Taking only small sections, he combed and brushed until all
traces of her ordeal with the Malons had been removed. Once
again, her mane that B'Elanna was so proud of, framed her
beautiful face.

Tears glistening again in her eyes. "You are so good to me,
Tom," she finally said.

Placing the comb and brush down on the table, he walked around to
face her and offered her his hands. Willingly she placed her
hands in his and he pulled her up from the chair. "If anybody
deserves it, you do."

"But..."

"Later, B'Elanna." Tom bestowed a kiss on her full lips, a kiss
that reflected how precious she was to him. It wasn't probing
and it wasn't a peck. It was a simple expression of his love
that demanded no commitment of her own, just that she be there to
accept his gift. "May I?" he finally asked reaching his hands
out to grasp her towel. She nodded and raised her arms to
provide him easy access to the material. Tom pulled it away and
then dropped the towel on the table. Next, he reached down, and
swept her lithe body into his arms like she was just a child and
he carried her toward her bedroom.

Tom paused just inside the doorway and B'Elanna looked around.
She was somewhat surprised to see that the bed had already been
turned down for the evening and that the lights were dimmed.
Obviously, she concluded, Tom had thought a lot about this
evening before he had interrupted her in the shower. Strike
that, she thought, he evidently thought a lot about *her*. That
thought made her heart warm.

Very tenderly, almost reverently, he laid her down on the fresh
sheets. The dim light and shadows played beautifully across her
body and it made his heart skip a beat. Removing the towel from
around his waist, he laid down beside her and pulled the covers
up over them. Out of habit, B'Elanna positioned her head onto
his right shoulder, or as she liked to call it: 'her own
personal pillow.'

Tracing the curve of her cheek with his left hand, he tenderly
kissed her on her forehead and then on her lips. "Now you can
tell me, B'Elanna. Tell me everything."

She reached around his chest with her right arm and swung her
right leg up protectively over his body. She pulled him close to
her for comfort. Tom reached around her back and stroked her
upper arm. Taking a long cleansing breath, B'Elanna started to
talk. She told him about the experience on the away mission,
about how difficult it had been for her to control her temper,
about how she wasn't that successful. And she spoke of other
times that her anger had got the better of her. Relating her
first experience with anger on the playground when she was a
child, was difficult, but even that she shared.

Through it all, Tom listened. He told her it was okay when she
needed to hear the words or he would just be quiet when she
needed to talk. He didn't try to make their time together a
sexual experience--he knew that there would be plenty of
opportunities for that later. Tonight, Tom realized the what
B'Elanna needed most from him was not sex, it was just to have
him be there for her, to listen and not to judge.

And if B'Elanna hadn't realized it before, tonight confirmed to
her that Tom Paris truly accepted her for who she was--faults and
all. And B'Elanna knew that she felt the same way about him. It
was destiny that had brought them together. Tom was half of her
whole, and she was his.

After a while, after her voice faded and her grip around him
slackened, she drifted off into a blissful sleep. Tom remained
awake for a while still touching her lightly and planting little
kisses upon her orange-blossom scented hair. And he prayed.
Prayed for her, himself, for the two of them together, and for
the future that they were forging for themselves. For tonight
they had reached a new level of their relationship. Their love
had grown that night, more than either one had thought possible.
Tom smiled, placed one last kiss upon her head and then he too
fell to sleep.


The End.

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