Title: Gotcha!
Contact: kelhapam@worldpath.net
Series: VOY
Rating: R
Code: P/T
Part: 1/6 NEW
Date: 23 April 2001

Summary: Tom Paris has been tied up and gagged...what would you
do? How would you handle the situation?

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, & BLTS. Please notify me if you
post anywhere else.

Special thanks to my beta readers: Phyllis S., Marianne, Danae,
and Ronda.

by PJ in NH


It was dark, and he felt chilled. Couldn't whoever did this to
him at least have covered him up? What was the point of leaving
him in the pitch black and nearly nude? Of course if they hadn't
gone to the trouble of tying him down, Tom Paris could have
pulled a blanket over himself. And if they hadn't gagged him, he
could have instructed the computer to raise the room's
temperature. What was the point of this exercise? He'd actually
thought the crew was starting to like him. They certainly seemed
to enjoy spending time in Sandrine's. Tom sighed. The only
thing he could do was to try and be patient and wait. He hated
waiting! He hated it almost as much as leola root stew!

* * * * * * *

B'Elanna stormed down one of Voyager's corridors en route to her
cabin. Today had gone just about as well as any other day lately
had on the ship--it didn't. One engineering team had worked on
getting the transporters back up on line all afternoon, and they
still weren't working one hundred percent. Another team had
wrestled unsuccessfully with an uncooperative warp core all day.
Finally, B'Elanna decided to lock down the core for the night,
and she herself would tackle the problem in the morning.

It had only been a couple of months she'd assumed the rank of
lieutenant and chief engineer, but she wasn't sure she'd be able
to survive the experience much longer.

Idiots! IDIOTS!!!! Engineering was populated with a bunch of
idiots--Starfleet and Maquis alike! Couldn't they see what
needed to be done? Did she have to lead them all around by the
nose? Apparently she did.

The Chief Engineer's boots hit the metal deck, beating out a
furious tattoo as she continued her march toward her destination.
So intent she was on her thoughts, she failed to notice members
of Voyager's crew ducking out of sight as she passed by.

Pausing in front of her quarters, B'Elanna keyed in her
admittance code. As soon as the door slid open, she slipped

"Computer, lights forty percent."

The computer complied and the room brightened.

The sound of rustling fabric and a muffled moan made her turn
abruptly toward the source of the sound--her bed.

B'Elanna stood prepared to pounce, her arms raised ready to do
battle. "Computer, lights eighty percent."

Her eyes widened at the sight before her. "What the hell are you
doing on my bed?!" she roared placing her hands on her hips.

Tied spread-eagle on her bed, naked except for his black briefs,
which were very brief, Tom Paris twisted against his restraints.
He tried to speak, but the gag prevented him from doing more than

"You're going to pay for this, Tom Paris!" B'Elanna vowed.

The pilot's eyes widened. Like he could have tied himself to her
bed on his own?!

"I suppose you think this is real funny. Too bad I don't have a
holo-imager with me."

Tom hadn't thought of that. Would they do that? Would whoever
it was who had ambushed him also have set up an imager to record
the event? Of course they would. It would be just the sort of
thing whoever planed a stunt like this would have done.

As much as he had dreamed of being in B'Elanna's bed since the
two crews had become one, this was not quite how he had imagined
it. He had fantasized about taking the initiative, pulling her
down onto her bed. Of course she'd resist...at first. But then
he'd nibble her ear, lick her neck, and kiss her throat, until
she'd finally bow to the inevitable...their passion. It would be
hot and scorching. He'd bite her, and she'd claw him, desperate
to experience their ultimate union. Finally joining, the walls
of the cabin would reverberate with the sounds of their
lovemaking. It would have been memorable.

Instead, he lay helpless on her bed, trussed up like a pig, and
she was looking far from aroused...she was pissed.

Then he saw it, or at least he thought it did. Someone appeared
to have placed an imager in the wall alcove next to B'Elanna's
collection of candles. Tom could see the lights in the room
shine against the metal surface of what he thought might be the
camera lens. It was positioned to take full advantage of his
situation, and unless B'Elanna removed the gag there was no way
he could warn her.

Great, B'Elanna thought her arms crossed in front of her. If
anyone sees him leaving my cabin, particularly in his present
state of undress, word would spread throughout the ship at warp
speed. And of course the transporters were presently off-line,
so a site-to-site transport was out of the question.

Of course she could replicate him something to wear, but she was
short on rations. She'd need some help, and she couldn't ask just
anybody, least of all Paris! So who could she trust to help her?
She dismissed any people on her staff, they hated her right now.
Chakotay would never let her forget it. Harry or Neelix might
not be able to keep their mouths shut. She'd never ask the
Captain. Which left Tuvok, and Tuvok was currently on an away
mission with Ensign Wildman and Lt. Rollins mapping geological
formations on a nearby planet. Face it. She was stuck.

Well it was nice change, she realized, to have Tom Paris quiet,
but having him silent wasn't going to solve anything. She knew
if anyone could get out of a sticky situation, it was him.
Moving to the edge of the bed she saw that his wrist had been
tied off using the same strap. The only way to untie him was to
start with his left arm, the one furthest away from her. Bending
over his body she tugged on the straps which secured him to the

Ten, nine, eight, Tom silently counted trying to maintain his
composure. His "not-so-little pilot" though wasn't listening to
reason, and the big pilot could feel the tightness in his groin.
B'Elanna was just too close. He could feel her breasts press
against his chest as she reached across. Breathing in, he was
engulfed in her minty perfume. Damn, this woman didn't even know
how damned sexy she was, and it was driving him crazy! Damn,
her! And...damn it, from this angle, the camera would capture
every incriminating detail. Tom moaned again. He was as good as

"What the hell are you complaining about?" B'Elanna snapped,
still trying to loosen the strap around the pilot's wrist. Again
he moaned, wide eyes looked over her shoulder at the camera's

* * * * * *

From various places on the ship, several people snickered as they
watched B'Elanna lower herself over Paris' bare torso. It just
didn't get much better than this! Holographic stills were
rapidly created to remember the event, including Tom's wide-eyed
expression which could have been taken to mean many different
things. What was B'Elanna doing with her left hand the camera
couldn't see? It was just too precious! And just wait until the
Commander saw the lieutenants together--all hell was sure to
break loose!

* * * * * *

B'Elanna tugged at the strap again and again, until finally it
gave way. Quickly Tom reached up and pulled down the strip of
cloth which had been used to silence him.

"Stop," he hissed.

The engineer paused.

"Oh you'd just like that wouldn't you, Paris?" she spat "I never
thought you'd be one of those people who'd get a charge out of
being tied up."

"No...er...yes," Tom shook his head trying to get the image of
the two of them in bed together out of his mind. "Oh, damn, it's
not that, B'Elanna. Whoever did this, I think is recording

"You expect me to believe someone took the time to strip you and
tie you to my bed so they could film your body?!" She had to
admit, he did have one fine body--muscular but not bulky.

"Like I could do it myself?" he replied incredulously.

"Hrrmmph," B'Elanna snorted. He did have a point. It would be
pretty difficult for anyone to place himself in the position
Paris was in. "I guess you're right," she admitted.

"I think the holo-imager is on the shelf next to your candles,"
he continued, pointing with his free hand in the direction of the

"Imager?" she exclaimed.

"Haven't you been listening to anything I've been telling you?"

It was hard to listen when she was counting chest hair. "Uh..."

"It's on the shelf," he repeated and again pointed it out.

B'Elanna pivoted on her heel and went over to the shelf Tom had
indicated. There tucked away beside the Klingon candles her
mother had given her years ago, was a small holo-imager. Quickly
she snatched it off the shelf and dropped it to the deck where
she smashed it with the heel of her boot.

"No one will be able to see anything any more," B'Elanna

"And you also probably destroyed any evidence we might have been
able to get from the holo-imager," Tom remarked. Pulling himself
up to a sitting position he started working to free his ankles.

"ghay-cha'!" she spat angrily. Sometimes the situation just
called for a Klingon curse.

"You can say that again," he quipped.

B'Elanna looked up at the pilot. "You've got to get out of

"And just where do you expect me to go?" he asked. "You wanna
make a bet the corridor outside your cabin is teeming with
crewmen right now? And if I'm not mistaken, the transporters are
still having problems, so you can forget a site-to-site

B'Elanna howled and reaching for the nearest breakable object
hurled a vase against the wall above her bed. Shards of pottery
cascaded down and landed between the bed and the wall.

"Great, now the natives will think we are engaging in wild
Klingon sex!" Tom exclaimed. "Is that what you want?"

B'Elanna seethed.

"Calm down, Torres," Tom urged finally freeing his ankles.
"We'll think of something." He swung his legs over the edge of
the bed and sat up straight.

"Look we could just pool our replicator rations. You'd walk out
of here fully clothed, and no one would question..."

"Don't think so," he said interrupting her. "Don't know about
you, but I think some people need to be taught a lesson."

Looking at Tom's semi-nude body unnerved Torres, crossing over to
her sofa she picked up the lap blanket she kept there and tossed
it to him.

A growl from B'Elanna prompted Tom to quickly cover himself up.

"So what do you suggest we do?" B'Elanna asked. Then she thought
of something. "I know, the Jefferies tubes!" She moved behind
her dining table, where one of the Jefferies tubes entered her
cabin. Pressing the release button didn't work, so she tried to
pull it open with he bare hands. When that failed, she resorted
to beating the nearby wall with her fists.

"Sealed, huh?"

"You knew about this?" she accused.

Tom held up his hands. "I swear I didn't. It just doesn't
surprise me. Whoever did this was obviously very thorough. Tell
me, B'Elanna, just what the hell did you do to piss off your
engineers for them to do this?"

"My engineers?! What makes you think *my* engineers did this?"
she shot back.

Tom shrugged. "Only that the whole ship knows you've been
spitting mad down there the last month. Seems to me like the
engineers decided to get back at you."

B'Elanna approached the pilot, hands on her hips. "If that's
true, why did they include you in this scenario?"

"Why not? You clearly don't like me, and most of the crew still
haven't found time to appreciate my charming personality."

B'Elanna snorted in disbelief. She wasn't about to tell him she
used to have a mad crush on him when he was in the Maquis.

"What? You don't think I have a charming personality?" Tom
demanded looking completely innocent.

She refused to answer.

"Well you want to hear my plan or not?" he asked finally.

"Plan?" She sounded dubious.

"Well, it's going to take some work, but I think we could pull it
off." He looked worried for a moment. "You did take Scarfield's
theatrical class your first year at the Academy didn't you?"

"It was required. You know that," she was puzzled by the

"True. It was suppose to help us prepare for dealing with alien
cultures. Though for the life of me, I'll never figure out why
performing Grease was of any benefit."

"You too, huh?

Tom nodded.

B'Elanna remembered the musical very well. They had cast her as
Rizzo. Unfortunately, they hadn't also asked her if she could
sing. "Let me guess, you played the boy Sandy was attracted to?"

A wide smile spread over Tom's face. "Yeah, but it was really
Rizzo I was interested in. I always thought Sandy was just too
perfect to be interesting, even after her transformation at the
end of the play. I like my women to be...oh...challenging."

B'Elanna swallowed hard. There couldn't be any way he'd know she
had held that role herself, could there? Time to change the
subject. "I think we are getting off the..."


Tom and B'Elanna turned at the sound of her door chime.

"B'Elanna, it's Chakotay, let me in." He sounded irate.

"Quick," B'Elanna urged Tom, "get in the bathroom."

When Tom didn't move fast enough, B'Elanna pulled him off the
bed, "Get in there and be quick! I can't have him seeing you in

The pilot nodded and allowed B'Elanna to push him into the

As soon as the door slid shut, B'Elanna called out. "Come on

The main door whispered open, and the First Officer stepped
inside. He had something clutched in his right hand, and he
looked very upset.

"What do you want?" B'Elanna asked trying to appear confident.

"I want you to explain this to me." Chakotay tossed the device in
B'Elanna's direction. Deftly B'Elanna caught the item. She saw,
much to her dismay, it was a holopic projector.

"What's this?"

Chakotay crossed his arms, his gaze never leaving B'Elanna's
face. "Turn it on and you'll find out what it is."

Knowing she had no option, B'Elanna thumbed the device on.
Immediately a holopic of her and Tom was displayed. Whoever had
been responsible for setting up the vidcam and putting Tom in her
quarters certainly hadn't wasted any time distributing the
stills. There in all its glory was a holopic of her leaning over
Paris' naked torso, her shoulder neatly hiding the gag. The
expression on Tom's face with his blue eyes opened wide easily
could have been mistaken for ecstacy. From the way the picture
was cropped, no one could see Tom had been bound to the bed.

"I...I don't know what to say, Chakotay, except this isn't what
it appears to be. It's...it's..."

"Save it, B'Elanna," Chakotay snapped. It'd been a long day on
Voyager for the First Officer, dealing with various departmental
problems and crew schedules, and he wasn't in the mood for
pleasantries. "You can't expect me to believe someone tied Paris
to your bed and forced you to lay on top of him. And then take
pictures of the whole thing, can you?"

B'Elanna was speechless. She'd never seen him so upset, not even
during a Cardassian attack.

"I know you drank more than your fair share of Plarian Brandy two
weeks ago in Sandrine's, but I'd never would have believed you
could have stooped so low as to sleep with Paris." He spat the
pilot's name as he would a curse

"It wasn't...t-that's not...," she stammered.

"B'Elanna, I've told you before to stay away from Tom Paris, but
I guess you thought you knew better." He paused briefly to
regain his composure. "Because I still consider you a friend, I
thought I owed you the common decency to warn you these pictures
are making their way around the..."

::::Commander Chakotay, your presence is required on the

The First Officer breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly to calm
himself before he responded. "I'll be right there, Harry.
Chakotay, out." Turning around he headed back to the door.

"Don't you want this?" B'Elanna asked, holding up the holopic

"Keep it as a memento of your time with Paris," he remarked, not
even looking back at her. "It'll be all you'll have to remember
the event when he leaves you for someone else."

The door closed behind him. B'Elanna stood dumbfounded, her mouth
agape. How was she ever going to straighten this out and restore
her dignity, when even Chakotay didn't believe her?

Still reeling from the encounter, she walked to the bathroom and
keyed open the door.

"You can come out now," she informed Tom, her voice was soft
still recalling Chakotay's words.

Tom adjusted the blanket securely around his waist and emerged.

"You might as well have a seat," B'Elanna offered waving her hand
at the dining area. Tom nodded and sat down on one of the

"I suppose you heard everything?" she asked sullenly walking away
from Paris.

"Yeah. The big man didn't sound too happy."

B'Elanna looked dejected. "To say the least."

Tom leaned forward his elbows resting on the table. "So he
thinks this happened after the birthday party we threw for Harry
last month?"

B'Elanna nodded and wrapped her arms around her body to try and
comfort herself.

"He was right about one thing. You did have a lot to drink that

So much for comfort, that was one thing she didn't need to be
reminded of.. B'Elanna kicked the nearest piece of furniture, a
small table which was placed beside the sofa. It toppled over
but to her dismay didn't break.

"Nothing happened that night!" B'Elanna screamed pivoting back
toward the pilot. "You know that. I...just had something to
drink to celebrate Harry's birthday, had a little to eat, and..."
She stopped in mid-sentence, not remembering what happened next.

"And then you had a little more to drink," Tom continued. He had
remember the night clearly. "So before you passed out in
Sandrine's, I took you back to your cabin. Then I made sure you
were tucked into bed safe and sound for the night," Tom finished.

B'Elanna blanched...she would have recalled that, wouldn't she?
"Oh, oh no!" she blurted, not wanting to believe what he was
telling her. Not wanting to believe something like this could
happen, and she wouldn't remember.

"I promise you I was a complete gentlemen. Other than removing
your boots, I put you to bed fully clothed."

"I'm in so much trouble," B'Elanna realized. Sighing she sat
down across the table from Paris.

Tom smiled slightly. "You haven't heard my plan yet."

"Hmmmm." She rolled her eyes.

"Listen to it and then if you don't like it you can forget it.

What did she have to lose? Nothing at the moment. She nodded
once but remained wary.

Tom thoughtfully rubbed his jaw, contemplating how to begin. How
could he sell this to her so she'd agree to it? "Before I begin,
let me ask you this. What is the one thing your engineering
staff wants most of all?"

B'Elanna shrugged. She really had no idea what they wanted.

"Come on, B'Elanna," he urged. "You're with them all day long.
Think about it."

She thought for a moment or two and then gave up shaking her

"The one thing they want most of all, and they certainly
demonstrated it this evening, is to royally piss you off and
embarrass you."

She nodded. "Okay. I guess that makes sense. But how do you
know it was one of my engineers?"

"Who else would do it? The pilots have started to accept me.
The women on the ship are all vying for my attention."

B'Elanna snorted. "You wish!"

Tom ignored her. "And the engineers are smart enough to pull
this off."

She had to agree with him there.

"So if the one thing they want is to make you angry, that's the
one thing you should never give them." He looked pleased with
himself. "You have to surprise them. Do something unexpected."

"And how do you expect me to do that, pig-boy?" B'Elanna snapped,
daring him to come up with the answer.

"We give them what they least expect," he replied. Tom grinned,
his eyes sparkled. "We'll pretend we are madly in love with each

B'Elanna scoffed in disbelief. "You've got to be kidding!"

Tom smiled that 'I'm-so-clever-don't-you-wish-you-were-me' smile
he had patented at birth. "Nope, and we'll lay it on thick and
syrupy sweet. It'll be fun, and best of all it'll drive them

That did sound interesting--the crazy part.

"And how long do we have to put up this charade?"

"Oh, maybe a week." Tom guessed casually.

"A WEEK!" she roared rising out of her chair. It sounded more
like a lifetime.

"Ten days tops," he amended.


"You don't want them to get off too easy do you?" Tom asked, his
blue eyes lit with a devilish glean. "Just think of their faces
when they think we are madly in love with each other, and
afterwards when they find out it was all a game."

That intrigued the Klingon half of the engineer. "Tell me more."

* * * * * *

"You should have seen his face," one of the engineers replied.
"I've never seen Chakotay so out of control. He didn't waste any
time going to see Torres."

"Nope, he even thinks this picture was taken last month during
Harry's party."

"He'll believe anything, just as long as Paris seems to be in
trouble or the cause of trouble."

"Chak is so gullible sometimes."

"Mr. Tattoo even believes he's a great pilot!"

Several of the engineers laughed.

* * * * * *

Standing in the corridor, just outside the open doorway into her
quarters, B'Elanna took her time. Carefully she adjusted the
collar on the shirt Tom now wore. One she had replicated for
him, using their combined rations, a few minutes ago. She did
have to admit the ocean blue fabric did look good on him, it
helped to accentuate his eyes. She'd heard smatterings of
conversations among some of the women on the ship with regards to
the pilot's blue eyes. They'd rambled on about his sky-blue
bedroom eyes, and how he could seduce a woman just by looking at
her. She hadn't believed it, until now. Even though she and
Paris were acting a part, he was looking at her in that
smoldering way he had perfected. She hoped the audience which
had gathered bought their ruse. B'Elanna warned herself not too
look into their ocean depths lest she drown.

"I'll see you again tonight, Cupcake," Tom purred just loud
enough to be overhead. "I'll bring the wine."

B'Elanna playfully growled a positive response and wrapped her
arms around his neck. Tom encircled her thin waist with his
hands and pressed her against him, kissing her firmly on the
mouth like they had practiced. Pulling him down closer to her,
she brought her mouth close to his ear. "You ever call me Cupcake
again, it'll be the last time," she vowed, her voice a hoarse

"You'll grow to love it," he promised softly. To the other
crewmembers in the corridor it looked like they were whispering
sweet nothings. "Just like we rehearsed remember," he whispered.

B'Elanna couldn't forget. She'd hardly been able to think of
anything else, hoping she would survive the experience without
breaking his neck, not that it wouldn't provide some

Pulling back she eyed the pilot, pausing briefly for effect
before she once again pulled him down to her level and kissed
him. This time she placed her open mouth against his own and
moaned. Bringing one hand up, Tom splayed his fingers against
her cheek. To any onlooker, it appeared they were passionately
French kissing and they were wholeheartedly enjoying it. In
reality, only their lips touched, their tongues were idle.
Finally, pulling away, they appeared to be spent. Their chests
heaved and their lips were lax.

"Don't be late tonight," B'Elanna warned. "I have something
*special* planned."


B'Elanna growled deeply.

"Oh, *that* kinda special! I won't be late. It's a promise."

"You'd better go or you *will* be late for your shift," B'Elanna
reminded him.

"You're always thinking of me," Tom cooed. "See ya later,
Cupcake." Pecking her on the nose, he turned and left, but not
before B'Elanna gave him a playful slap on his rear.

Before she ducked back into her cabin, B'Elanna caught a glimpse
of their audience. They seemed to be surprised....and interested
in what had just transpired.

"I hope he knows what he's doing," B'Elanna murmured and began to
get ready for work.

* * * * * *

Seska slammed her glass of booze down hard on the table, sloshing
the amber liquid onto the table.

"Take it easy, Seska," Sims urged. "How were we to know they
liked each other?"

"And how were we to know our little *game* would be just what
they needed to make their relationship more public?" someone else

"I'm not giving up," Seska vowed. "Something's going on between
the two of them and it doesn't feel right. I'm keeping an eye on
Paris and Torres. If they slip up, I'll know about it."

Seska's eyes darkened with displeasure.

* * * * * *

Two days later, Harry Kim walked into the Messhall after a shift
on the bridge.

"What's on the menu?" he asked Neelix as he approached the

"Leola Root Casserole or Pleeka Rind Soup."

Harry made a face, but knew with his limited rations he had to
make a choice. "Some soup, I think."

Neelix nodded, picked up a bowl and filled it with a large ladle.
"If you're looking for Tom, he's over there." Neelix tilted his
head to his left. He knew Harry always chose to eat with his
best friend if it was possible.

"Thanks, Neelix."

The Talaxian passed him the steaming bowl and a hard roll. "He's
not alone," he added, a sly grin spread on his mottled face.

Harry appeared puzzled.

"He's with B'Elanna," the Talaxian explained.


Neelix leaned forward and dropped his voice to a whisper. "You
might want to find some place else to sit, they appear to be...
preoccupied." He winked for added effect.

"OH!" Now Harry was curious. Taking his meal he rounded the
corner and then he noticed the pair. B'Elanna was seated across
the table from the pilot. Harry chose a seat which would afford
him a good view of the two They were talking quietly, Harry
noticed, but every once in a while one or both of them would
laugh. He started on his meal, spooning the warm broth into his
mouth. Glancing up often, he looked to see if anything else was
happening with his friends. He wasn't alone. All the occupants
of the dining area were also taking notice.

The Lieutenants continued to enjoy their meal casually, ignoring
their audience. Harry saw Tom reached over and lazily run his
index finger along the curve of B'Elanna's cheek. It surprised
the ensign. It wasn't very long ago if Tom had tried that, he'd
risk losing his finger, if not his life. Then if that hadn't
been enough, he witnessed B'Elanna tear off a piece of bread and
pop it into Tom's willing mouth. Underneath the table he even
saw B'Elanna run her booted foot up and down Tom's lower leg.

This just seemed too weird, Harry thought. It was if he was
watching some other couple, certainly not his friends. He tried
to dismiss the image, attempting to concentrate on his meal.

A few minutes later, the sound of B'Elanna pushing her chair back
caught Harry's attention.

"I'll see you tonight," B'Elanna promised. Bending forward she
sealed her vow by all but devouring Tom's open, smiling mouth.
Satisfied with her performance, she turned around and moved away
from the table, affording the pilot a nice view of her backside.

"Until tonight, Cupcake," Tom replied.

B'Elanna's step faltered only a little at hearing the all too
common nickname of late, be she was prepared this time.

"I can't wait, Stud-muffin," she called out without turning

Tom smiled with pride, and also blushed a little at the
endearment. He didn't know B'Elanna had it in her. Of course he
should know better by now not to underestimate Voyager's Chief

Harry quickly emptied his tray into the recycler and walked over
to join Paris before the pilot also left. Seating himself in the
chair which B'Elanna had vacated, he leaned forward so he
wouldn't be overheard by any of the other crewmembers in the

"So what the hell is going on between you and B'Elanna?" Harry

"Going on?" Tom appeared not to understand his friend's meaning.

Harry was exasperated. "Ever since you two came on board, you've
been at each others' throats. B'Elanna in particular was always
snapping at you, calling you names...and I don't mean cute names.
I seem to remember she thought you were a pig, and called you so
on a number of occasions. So what's up? You can tell me."

"I'm crushed, Harry! You thought B'Elanna didn't like me?" Tom
asked placing his hand against his chest, he appeared to be very
innocent and highly offended.

"Yeah." Harry was intent.

The pilot shook his head sadly. "Harry, Harry, Harry...haven't
you ever heard of Klingon foreplay?"

"Umm...ah...er..." Harry was befuddled.

Tom stood up from the table and gathered his plate, cup, and
utensils on his tray. He bent forward, closer to Harry. "You
know, Harry, foreplay...the time before..."

Harry's head snapped up. "I know what foreplay is!." He spoke
louder than he'd intended.

Tom's lips curled up, talking louder now so at least the people
seated nearest to the pair could hear. "Well Klingon foreplay is
just grittier, it begins sooner and lasts longer....but, boy, let
me tell you it's well worth it."

Leaving the table, a whistling Tom left behind a gape-mouthed
Harry Kim and gossiping crewmembers. Tom laughed silently. The
plan was working very well.

* * * * * *

"You should have heard them in the Mess today!"

"I've heard it already, Sims, too many times," Seska groused.

"I tell you I don't know whether to envy Paris or be glad I'm not
in his boots."

This caught his friend Ron's attention. "What do you mean?"

"Well Torres is one hot little number, but the emphasis is on
hot. I've heard sex with a Klingon can be..."

"Enough!" Seska screamed. Getting up she stormed out of the

"What's got into her?" Sims questioned.

"Jealousy I think," someone quipped.

* * * * * *

The minutes to the end of the shift ticked down, each one more
slowly than the last.

Of course, it didn't help when you were being scrutinized through
the whole shift. He knew the XO was just waiting to pounce on
him for any infraction, no matter how minor. It was with a
silent sigh of relief, he finally was able to relinquish the helm
to beta shift and join Harry at the turbolift.

"Well, it's the end of another shift," Harry said as he and Tom
walked toward the turbolift. "How about a game of pool later?"

"Sorry, buddy, can't."

His smile disappeared. "B'Elanna?" Harry questioned, he sounded
a bit dejected.

Tom shrugged. "A game of pool just doesn't compare to a private
dinner in her cabin," Tom jested.

Those words from Tom were the last thing Chakotay heard before
the turbolift door closed. He tried to remain calm, but inside
he was seething. Paris hadn't even given him the satisfaction of
screwing up during the shift so he could reprimand him. The
First Officer had tried everything during the last several hours
to break the pilot's good mood. He had him run unnecessary
systems' checks and made him recalibrate the navigational array,
even though Tom had performed that same task the day before.
Everything he ordered the younger man to do had been done
promptly, professionally, and courteously. It was absolutely

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing the crew can't tell
I'm upset, he thought with pride. For years he had mastered self
control, wanting to look cool and calm in any crisis. It was a
sign of a excellent leader, his father Kolopak had once told him.

Hearing the turbolift door open again, Chakotay turned at the
sound. He saw Janeway enter the bridge. She looked poised as
usual, so confident. As was her custom she'd join him at the
start of beta shift for an hour or two. They'd make sure
everything was running appropriately and then adjourn to her
office to review the next day's assignments.

Janeway passed by the Tactical station and greeted the crewmember
who was stationed there before she joined Chakotay. Seating
herself next to her First Officer, she scrutinized him briefly.

"So why are you so upset?" she asked.

The tattooed man was speechless.

* * * * * * *

According to plan, B'Elanna met Tom outside her door and before
he stepped inside she kissed him soundly, but again with only the
lips. They smiled broadly, appearing to be enjoying themselves,
and then they stepped inside letting the door slid shut behind

"It's been eight days, Paris," B'Elanna snapped, her smile having
vanished. "How much longer do we have to keep this up?"

"I thought we agreed not until Chakotay cracked?"

B'Elanna moved over to the replicator and removed their meal for
the night--pot roast with red-skinned potatoes and carrots."Like
that's ever going to happen," she groused.

Paris helped her move the plates to the table. He noticed
B'Elanna had taken the time to place a vase of flowers along with
some of her candles on the table. The light from the candles
danced off the vase and the walls. Seemed strange to him, if she
didn't like their little game, she'd go to so much trouble. He
knew better than to ask her about it though. Accept it, he
thought. Enjoy it while it lasts.

"So what did you do today," Tom asked after they both sat down.

B'Elanna stabbed a carrot with her fork and shrugged. "Nothing
much, just fixing up things, and keeping the warp core humming."

"You do that very well."

B'Elanna shrugged again. "Ah, thanks." She wasn't used to
receiving compliments.

"So what's the status on the engineers? Are they squirming?"

Fork poised in mid-air, the chief engineer grinned. "Oh yeah.
You should have seen their faces when you called me over the comm
badge during your break especially Seska."

Tom looked thoughtful remembering the message, delivered in a
sexy baritone drawl which he'd perfected. "Tom Paris to Cupcake,
can we get together for *dessert* tonight?"

"It's a wonder I didn't lose it," she admitted. "I've told you
before I don't like to be called Cupcake."

"Well Sweet Lips is my next option," the pilot replied trying to
look serious.

B'Elanna cut into the pot roast, choosing to ignore the comment.
"And how was it on the bridge today? I understand Chakotay kept
you busy."

Tom laughed. "Oh yeah, but I kept him guessing. He even asked
me to realign the navigational array again."

"But you did that yesterday!"

"Tell me about it. But our theatrical professor would have been
proud, I did it without a single complaint. Of course, just
knowing Chakotay was barely controlling his temper was icing on
the cake." Tom chewed thoughtfully on a carrot and then smiled.

"He was upset?" B'Elanna asked. "How could you tell? Chakotay
always looks so calm and in control."

"You're kidding?"

She shook her head. "No."

"Watch him next time, when he gets upset his right eyebrow
twitches, and his left eye squints a bit."


"Well that, and I could have sworn he was tapping out Starfleet
code on the armrest with his fingers. If I'm not mistaken it
said "Paris, you are deadmeat."

B'Elanna covered his mouth with her hand and laughed. Tom
grinned proudly. He liked her Klingon sense of humor, it closely
matched his own.

They continued to talk, finding it quite enjoyable to B'Elanna's
surprise. Every time they got together it just got better. She
now considered Tom to be a friend. Quite an admission
considering a short time ago she'd accused him of being a pig and
a bad influence on Harry. The last couple of days she even had
to admit she was going to miss his company.

Picking up after the dinner, they adjourned to the living area.
B'Elanna sat down first on one end of the sofa, with Tom taking a
position on the other end.

B'Elanna started to speak, but a yawn escaped her.

"Long day, huh?" Tom asked.

"Yeah, I should sleep good tonight."

B'Elanna yawned again and toed off her boots. With her feet free
she placed one foot up on the opposite thigh and began to massage

"Here, let me do that."

"You're kidding?" She was surprised by the offer.

Tom shook his head and picked up a pillow from his end of the
sofa. "Just kick off the other boot and turn around here. You
can put this pillow behind your back. Then leave it all to me."

B'Elanna was dubious, but the sound of a foot massage was just
too good to pass up. She turned around, placed the offered pilow
behind her head, and tentatively placed her foot on Paris' lap.

Strong hands expertly massaged the engineer's foot. "Lay back,
B'Elanna," he urged. "Rest your eyes."

After waiting for B'Elanna to do as he suggested, Tom began to
rub her feet. He started gently, rubbing with the heel of his
hand, not wanting to know if B'Elanna was ticklish or not. When
her muscles started to relax he applied more strength using his
thumbs, kneading away the tension. From the way B'Elanna sighed
and emitted a velvety growl, Tom knew she was enjoying herself.
So was he, he could listen to that rumble from her throat forever
he mused. It did something interesting to his insides.

This is lovely, B'Elanna thought succumbing to Paris' attentions.
She couldn't remember the last time someone had massaged her feet
other than herself. To be honest, she admitted, no one had ever
done it before. It was heaven, simply heaven. She sighed and
closed her eyes like Paris suggested. It felt so good, she
could easly just fall asl..."

Minutes passed. Tom noticed B'Elanna was breathing more
shallowly and looked very relaxed. His fingers paused their
ministrations. She's asleep, he realized. Now what? Should he
stay a little bit longer for effect and then leave, or what? It
wouldn't be right to leave her here on the sofa for the night, he

Waiting a bit longer to make sure she was truly soundly asleep,
he rose from the sofa and slipped his arms under her lithe body.
Pulling her against his chest, B'Elanna's head rolled against his
shoulder and she sighed in her sleep.

"Come on, B'Elanna," he whispered, "I'm going to put you to bed."

"Kay," she murmured softly. Tom's heart skipped a beat, he hadn't
expected her to respond.

Gently he stood up and carefully he wove around the sofa and
walked over to her bed. Placing her on the bed, he folded the
bed linen over her, cocooning her body in warmth. She looked so
beautiful, so...so... He just couldn't resist. Bending over
her, he placed his lips against her own, kissing her gently, ever
so gently, not wanting to wake the sleeping beauty.

"Don't go," she breathed.

Tom was floored, never expecting to hear those words pass her
lips, even in her sleep.

Deciding he'd pay attention to those words, at least in some
degree, he kissed her again and then settled down on the sofa,
pulling the lap blanket over his long frame. And he slept
dreaming of B'Elanna Torres.

* * * * * *

Janeway looked at her senior staff sitting around the conference
table. They'd only been in the Delta Quadrant a few months, but
they were already turning into one fine crew -- even Voyager's
latest love birds, Tom and B'Elanna. Not that their relationship
was setting well with her First Officer. She knew he didn't
approve of the pairing. Perhaps, she thought, what the two men
needed to clear the air was more time together? In a working
environment, maybe they could find a common understanding and
work out their differences.

Satisfied everyone was ready to begin, Janeway rose from her
chair. "People," she began. "As you all know, Lt. Tuvok and
various other members of the crew have been mapping geological
formations the past week. I congratulate Mr. Tuvok and the
others on their diligent efforts."

Tuvok bowed his dark head, accepting her praise.

"I believe they have earned a break from their duties."

Everyone at the table, except Tuvok, nodded, agreeing with

"I've decided I'm going to send Lt. Commander Chakotay and Lt.
Paris on the final survey."

Paris looked across the table at the First Officer. Already the
man's right eyebrow was twitching. It was only a matter of time
before the left eye began to squint.

"The mission should only last a seven or eight hours," Janeway
continued. "Just enough time to fly over the fifth and sixth
planets and collect the appropriate data. We'll then extrapolate
the information when you return to Voyager." She looked around
the table at her senior staff. "Any questions?"

Tom looked up at the Captain, and started to speak. "Er..."

"Good," she interrupted. "We'll see you back on board Voyager
late this evening. Dismissed."

* * * * * *

"One more rotation, and we'll be done," Chakotay announced.
"Let's take the polar route."

"Yes, sir." Tom had been careful to remain professional
throughout the mission.

Chakotay had so much to say to Paris. Questions to ask, threats
to make, but he didn't know where to begin, and the mission was
almost at an end.

"Er... Paris?"

Tom laid in the course with practiced ease. "Aye, sir."

"I've been meaning to ask you about B'Elanna."

Just when he thought the subject wouldn't get brought up. "What
about her, Commander?"

"How serious are you about this relationship?"


The eyebrow twitched in double time. "Serious, Paris. Do you
see a future in it?"

Good question, Tom thought. He'd been wondering that himself the
last few days. Thinking their little game was almost over was
too much to bear. Tom had enjoyed the last several days. The
more he'd gotten to know B'Elanna, the more he liked her. He'd
come to look forward to their time together. Her conversation
was witty and amusing, with a hard edge to it which he enjoyed.

"I suppose that's up to her," Paris replied.

Which was true. If she did want to continue seeing him, he
wouldn't press the matter, but it would have to be her decision.
He didn't want B'Elanna to think he was forcing himself on her.

"What's that suppose to mean? Do you take the relationship
seriously or not?"

Tom didn't know how to respond, or what the older man wanted to

"I warn you, Paris, I don't like you and B'Elanna being together,
but if you break her heart, I'll break your neck!"

The pilot turned around in his seat. "I'm sure if B'Elanna
doesn't want me in her life, she can take care of breaking my
neck herself!" he snapped. "Besides, what makes you think this
is all that serious?"

Chakotay was momentarily speechless. "I've seen the way she
looks at you. I don't like it, but I've seen that look on her
before, back when we were in the Maquis."

Tom had no idea. "She was involved with someone then?" he asked.

"No, not involved. But she cared about one of the crew a great
deal. I don't think she would have admitted it to me at the
time, but well, she'd had a little too much to drink one night."

"Slipped out, huh?"

"Yeah. Guess so. B'Elanna's been hurt too much in the past, I
won't see it happen again, even if I have to do something about

"Must have been one lucky guy," Tom admitted, his heart in his

Chakotay eyed him intently. "He still is."

Tom looked stunned.

"Me?" he mouthed, pointing to himself.

The First Officer bobbed his head not looking very happy.

::::Ship approaching at Warp 6, bearing course 2.4.95.::::

The abrupt alert from the computer brought both men back to the
business at hand. Tom turned back to the helm controls and
Chakotay activated communications.

"Approaching ship, this is the Chamberlain. Please respond."

Only static was heard over the speakers. Chakotay didn't like the
feeling of this situation.

"Raise shields and get us out of here, Tom."

Tom had already keyed in the coordinates anticipating the
command. "Aye."

"I'm attempting to raise Voyager."

"Commander, I can't initiate warp. The ship admitted some type
of dampening field or something, the best I can do is impulse."

"Communications is also off-line. Do your best to evade them,
Paris, I'll continue to try and contact the..."


The shuttle rocked to her side from the force of the blast,
completely disabling the Chamberlain's shields and sending the
two occupants of the shuttle crashing to the deck.

Feeling lightheaded from the impact of the blast, Tom grabbed the
edge of the console for support. He pulled himself up, knowing
he had to wipe the ship's memory before the aliens were able to
extract vital information. Looking to his left he saw Chakotay
still laying on the deck. Tom hoped he was just unconscious and
not dead.

It was all up to him, Paris realized. Quickly, he tapped in the
necessary instructions into the shuttle's computer.

Just as he finished entering the last sequence of keystrokes, Tom
heard the sound of a transporter behind him. Turning, he saw a
pair of aliens. Both individuals were pale, to the point of
being almost translucent. Tom could see the veins which carried
their life fluid clearly through their skin. That was the last
thing he remembered before one of the aliens raised his arm,
turned his wrist, and the pilot was struck in the right shoulder
by some type of energy blast.

* * * * * *

"Captain," Harry called out. "I can't contact the Chamberlain."

Janeway, who was seated in her command chair, turned toward the

"Long range sensors indicated another ship approached the
shuttle," Tuvok supplied.

The Captain quickly launched herself out of her seat and joined
her Tactical Officer at his station. Standing beside him, she
observed the information on Tuvok's console. "Why didn't we
detect this ship?"

Tuvok accessed the ship's information systems. "Unknown,
Captain. The other ship dropped out of sub-space, possibly
interacted with the Chamberlain, and then departed."

"Set course for the Chamberlain, top speed," she ordered.

The helmsmen laid in the course immediately, and Voyager shot
forward, prepared to rescue Chakotay and Paris.

Harry manned the communication station. He intently focused on
the information displayed on his computer screen, waiting for any
sign the Chamberlain's crew was receiving the message he had
transmitted. Tuvok continually monitored his instruments looking
for the mystery ship to reappear. Then in an instant, Voyager
dropped out warp.

"Report!" Janeway barked.

"This area of space is corrupt," Tuvok explained.


"Our warp frequencies are being negated, Captain." "I am unsure
if this is a natural phenomenon or if it was artificially

"By the other ship?"

"It is possible."

Janeway groaned and rubbed her temples. "Solutions?"

"None at the present time."

"Top speed?" she asked.

"Impulse only, until we clear this area of space."

"So how long until we reach the shuttle?"

"According to my calculations, 35.4 hours."

Janeway turned away from the Vulcan to face the rest of the
bridge crew. "Proceed at impulse to the shuttle. Harry, you and
Tuvok, work on trying to circumvent the warp problem. I'll
contact B'Elanna and inform her of the situation."

* * * * * *

"You asked to see me, Captain?" B'Elanna asked as soon as she
entered the Captain's ready room. She'd already met with Tuvok
and Harry, and was waiting for them to complete a series of
trials before she joined them again. In the meantime, Janeway
requested her presence.

"Come in, B'Elanna," Janeway offered. She was already seated on
the sofa which lined the large viewport.

The engineer wrapped her arms around herself and walked closer to
the captain.

"Have a seat. It's time we have a talk." She patted the area
beside her.

B'Elanna lowered herself onto the sofa and faced the older woman.
Instinctively her stomach clenched anticipating bad news.

"By now you know the shuttle is in trouble," Janeway started.

B'Elanna nodded.

"And we haven't been able to contact either Mr. Paris or

B'Elanna tried to swallow down a lump in her throat which had
been there ever since she heard they were in trouble.

Janeway leaned closer to the engineer. "I realize you and Tom
have become very close the last week or two. I wanted to tell
you myself. I didn't want you to hear it from someone else."

"I...I thought som..something was wrong," B'Elanna stammered.
"It wasn't suppose to be like this."

Janeway nodded. "I know, the mission..."

"I don't mean the mission," the younger woman admitted looking
down. "I shouldn't be feeling this way...this...this empty." It
was only suppose to last a week to ten days," she explained. "I
mean even if it hadn't been for the past couple of weeks, I'd
still be worried about them, but this is stronger. I feel half
of me has been ripped away."

The Captain looked puzzled and worried, she'd never seen B'Elanna
like this. The half-Klingon looked lost. "I'm afraid I'm a
little confused. What was suppose to last a week to ten days?"

B'Elanna looked up at the Captain. "That's right, you don't
know. No one knows except Tom and me."

"Maybe you should explain?"

The engineer nodded. "There's no need to keep it a secret any
longer. We were suppose to tell everyone by now anyway."

"Let me get you something to drink? Tea?" B'Elanna nodded. "And
then you can tell me. I don't think Harry or Tuvok will be ready
for you for at least another thirty minutes will they?"

"Tuvok says twenty-eight minutes, and thirty-two seconds."

Janeway smiled as she requested a cup of coffee and tea from her
replicator. "Tuvok is always so Vulcan." She laughed. "I guess
you can't ask him to be less than he is," she remarked passing
B'Elanna her tea. "Be careful, it's hot."

B'Elanna nodded and took a tentative sip. The Captain hadn't
forgot she liked her tea strong and sweet.

Returning to her seat, Janeway sipped at her own coffee before
she spoke. "Tell me what happened, B'Elanna. Whatever you say
will stay confidential."

"Thanks, Captain. When we first came on board, I know I wouldn't
be confiding in you, but things have changed." B'Elanna smiled
softly. Since she had become Chief Engineer she'd started to
respect Kathryn Janeway. "It seems so long ago when all this
started." B'Elanna hesitated not knowing exactly how to relate
the information to her superior officer. The beginning was
always a good place to begin a story, B'Elanna thought. She'd
start there. "Do you remember about a week and a half ago when
we had a series of problems with the transporter and the warp

Janeway nodded.

"Well I wasn't in a very good mood that day. Everything my crew
seemed to touch required my attention. I guess I woke up on the
wrong side of the bed not only that morning, but probably for
several days before then. I was angry and looked forward at the
end of my shift to spend some time quiet time in my quarters.
Except, I found when I got there that evening, I wasn't alone."

This piqued Janeway's attention.

"When I entered my cabin, I called for minimal illumination.
When I heard moans coming from my bed area, I asked for full
illumination. There on my bed lay Lt. Paris, his wrists tied to
my headboard, and his feet to the bed's lower legs. He had been
gagged, which was why he could only moan."

"Was he injured?"

B'Elanna shook her head, a smiled played on her face at the
memory. "No, only his pride, for you see they had also stripped
him, leaving only his black briefs on."

This wasn't the sort of information she had expected to hear from
B'Elanna, and she was uncharacteristically at a loss for words.
Taking another sip of java she covered up her loss of composure.

"Naturally I tried to untie him. They had purposefully trussed
him up so I had to first untie the wrist furthest away from me.
The only way to do that, was to lean over his body. As soon as I
had untied him, Tom pulled down the gag and told me we were being

Janeway sputtered, almost choking on her coffee. "I'm sorry,"
she said after she composed herself. "Please continue. This is
getting very interesting."

"It is rather unorthodox, isn't it?"

The Captain nodded.

"But then again, Tom Paris, was involved and you have to admit
he's never ordinary."

"Very true."

"So after I destroyed the holo-imager, I wanted to kick Tom out
of my quarters, but whoever had done this hadn't left behind any
clothing for him. I didn't have enough replicator rations to
spend on clothing, and I wasn't going let him be seen leaving my
cabin almost totally nude. So we talked about our predicament."
B'Elanna recalled how impatient she'd been with Tom, not willing
to trust him at first. "Tom came up with a plan. Initially, I
didn't want to go along with it, but it just seemed to make
sense. I guess it's my Klingon sense of humor or something,"
B'Elanna admitted.

"So what did you do?" What was the plan?" She was intrigued.

"Tom suggested we pretend to be madly in love."

"In love?"

"He told me whoever the culprit was, wanted me to be angry, so
that was the last thing we should give them. So we drew out the
entire plan, calculating seven to ten days would be enough time
for people to suffer."

"Chakotay certainly hasn't been happy," Janeway noted.

B'Elanna nodded sipping her tea. "I know. That was same evening
someone gave him a picture of Tom and myself, carefully cropped,
making it look like we were in a very compromising position.
When I tried to tell him what had actually occurred, he wouldn't
take the time to listen to me. So I figured, he deserved to
squirm as much as anyone else."

A sympathetic smile crossed Janeway's face. "Can't say I blame
you. So all these loving looks between you and Tom and the pet
names...Cupcake wasn't it?"

B'Elanna nodded. "And Stud-Muffin," she added.

"Ah, yes Stud-Muffin. Delightful name. Fitting I think."

"Thanks, I think Tom especially liked it, though he wouldn't let

"I'm sure he did."

"Anyway, this was all suppose to be pretend. Except for me, it
stopped being pretend, Captain. I didn't plan on it, but I think
I may be falling in love with him. I thought I'd gotten over him
after he left the Maquis, but the feeling is back, and it's even
stronger than before."

"The Maquis?"

"He doesn't know I liked him then. Tom thought I despised him
during our time with the Maquis, and I did, especially when he
left. Paris had proven what Chakotay had always told me about
him, that he couldn't be trusted. But there was always something
about Paris which drew me to him. Maybe it's the way he makes
you feel so comfortable around him or those blue eyes of his.
And there is that way his lip... Ah, I'm sorry, Captain."
B'Elanna was rambling. She hadn't planned to say so much.

"Or the way his lip curls up when he smiles at you. And you are
sure he's never looked at anybody like that before," Janeway
finished. "Or that wicked way he says 'Yes, Ma'am.'" She smiled
fondly. "To not notice Mr. Paris' attributes you'd have to be
deprived of all your senses, B'Elanna. Don't be ashamed."
Reaching over she patted B'Elanna's hand.

"But what can I do, Captain?" B'Elanna looked
uncharacteristically lost. "If I admit to him how I feel and he
doesn't return my...my affections, then I'd feel...so humiliated.
But if something happens to Tom and I'm never able to tell him
how I feel..." At a loss of words B'Elanna shrugged.

"We'll get them back, B'Elanna," Janeway vowed. Hoping that was
true. "Go back and help Tuvok and Harry, your twenty-eight
minutes, and thirty-two seconds must be almost up."

* * * * * *

Tom opened his eyes slowly to find the Commander kneeling over
him, tending to his shoulder wound.

Chakotay pressed a piece of cloth he'd torn from his pant leg
against the pilot's torn flesh. Tom hissed in pain.

"Sorry, Paris, but whoever our guests were ransacked the place
and smashed the medkit."

"Thought you...were dead,"Tom squeezed out, through clenched

"Nope, have a hell of a headache though."


"That I have a headache?"

Tom rolled his eyes, choosing to ignore the question. "Voyager?"
he asked instead.

The older man continued to daub at the blood. "I haven't been
able to raise them, our guests must have damaged the
communication relays during their visit. I'm not sure what they
were looking for, but the computer's memory appears to be empty."

Paris nodded. "I did it."

Chakotay nodded and helped the pilot sit up, propping him against
one of the consoles. Having fashioned his undershirt into a
crude sling, he wrapped it around Paris. He then preceded to
position the right arm into the sling, taking some weight off the

"Better?" the First Officer asked.

Tom nodded. "When I woke after we were first hit, I was able to
clear the computer's memory before the aliens beamed on board."

"Looks like you earned your rank today, Paris," Chakotay remarked
begrudgingly. He was somewhat surprised Tom would have thought
to take care of that chore. "What did the aliens look like."

"Ugly as sin," Tom replied through tight lips, pain was evident
in his voice. Almost invisible, white as a ghost. You could
even see their blood veins." Tom shuddered at the memory. "How
long has it been?" he asked, changing the subject.

Chakotay shrugged. "Don't really know, with the computer not
functioning. Looks like only environmental controls are working,
we should be thankful for that I suppose."

Tom shot him a look.

"Voyager hasn't forgotten us, I'm sure...Janeway is probably on
her way. It's only a matter of time before they find us." The
First Officer pulled himself up to his feet, having to duck to
avoid a piece of the ceiling which had been partially dislodged.
"You hungry?"

Tom thought for a moment, and then nodded.

"Good. I'm going to see if they left any of the emergency
rations. Take it easy, I'll be right back."

From the noise of falling debris and a few Indian curses, Tom
could tell Chakotay wasn't having an easy time trying to find
something for them to eat. Shutting his eyes, Tom, thought back
to the last time he'd seen B'Elanna. Seemed like all his waking
thoughts centered on her lately. Not that was necessarily bad,
it just wasn't like him to be so...so obsessed with a woman.
Sure he'd always liked female companionship, but he'd never met a
woman like B'Elanna Torres before. She was special.

The sound of scraping metal against the deck, caused Tom to open
his eyes. Chakotay stood before him looking pleased.

"Well I found three ration bars, two jugs of water, and a..." He
looked at his treasures again. "A...well...it's something Neelix
put together, can't remember what it was he called it, but he
seemed to think it was edible."

"A feast," Tom pronounced.

"I guess so."

Dropping to one knee, Chakotay placed an open jug of water in
Paris' left hand.

Bringing the water up to his dry lips, the injured man drank
greedily from the container.

"Not too much, Paris," Chakotay cautioned. "We don't know how
long it will take Voyager to find us."

* * * * * * *

"I've readjusted the frequency. Try it again, Harry," B'Elanna

Harry pressed the button to activate the warp shield, as they had
started to call it. Nothing happened at first, but gradually the
computer indicated the shield was working, maybe not optimally,
but it was functioning.

B'Elanna smiled and slapped Tuvok on the back, startling him

"Good work," she declared and tapped her commbadge. "Torres to
the Captain, you can initiate warp, but I would suggest not
taking it over Warp 2."

"Good work, B'Elanna. It shouldn't take us long to catch up with
the Chamberlain. Janeway out."

* * * * * * *

Tom passed Chakotay his water container which the First Officer
placed on the floor. Breaking off a piece of the ration bar, the
First Officer passed it to Paris.

"You'd think they could develop better tasting rations," Tom
grumbled and began to nibble at the piece.

"Maybe you should speak to the doctor about it," Chakotay

Tom laughed. "Don't know if that's a good idea. Who do you
think he'd use as a guinea pig? He can't eat which eliminates
himself. Kes seems to have a taste for Neelix's grub. Which
would probably leave yours truly."

"Well if that was the case you'd be able to offer your gourmet
input. In the end whatever he came up with would be something
you liked," Chakotay reasoned.

"If I could survive all the taste tests in between," Tom groused.

A grin spread over Chakotay's face but then quickly faded. "You
like B'Elanna?" he asked, reverting back to the original
conversation from before the ship was attacked.

"Yeah. I always have, I just didn't know this game we've been
playing would hit me so hard." With his free hand, Tom touched
his chest.


Tom snorted. "You still think the picture of B'Elanna and I was
taken the night of Harry's party?"

Chakotay shrugged.

"It wasn't. The night of Harry's party, I brought B'Elanna back
to her cabin, and tucked her into bed, but that was it."

"If you say so."

"Damn it, Chakotay! I didn't do anything. I even put her to bed
fully clothed! Just what do you think I am, that I'd resort to
assaulting a woman who was intoxicated?"

The older man was silent.

"You know the holopic you had?" Tom continued. "The one you gave
B'Elanna? It was taken in her cabin that same evening. When you
gave it to her, I was hiding in her bathroom with a blanket
wrapped around me."

"So you did...did..."

"Have sex with her?" Tom asked bluntly and then shook his head.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't. After I left my shift
that afternoon, I was ambushed in one of Voyager's corridors.
Someone threw something over my head so I couldn't see, and the
next thing I knew I was waking up on B'Elanna's bed. Whoever did
it had stripped me, gagged me, and tied me to the bed. They even
went to the trouble of planting a camera in the room so they'd
have evidence of the event."

"But B'Elanna was leaning over you in the holopic," the First
Officer argued.

"She was trying to untie me."

"So why didn't she say so? Why didn't both of you explain what
had happened?"

"Probably because we knew no one would believe us. And we knew
if we were upset about it, whoever did it, would be getting
exactly what they wanted. We weren't about to give them the
satisfaction, so we gave them something they wouldn't expect."

"You two pretended to be a couple?"

"Not just a couple," Tom explained. "We've been *pretending* to
be passionately in love, right down to the pet names and goofy
looks. Except..." He paused.


Tom looked directly at the First Officer, his gaze not wavering.
"Except, it stopped being pretend, at least for me."

Chakotay looked stunned.

"Go ahead, you can laugh if you want to," Tom remarked. "Don't
you think it's funny Tom Paris has finally been brought to his
knees? Did you ever expect to hear that I can't look at another
woman now without comparing her to B'Elanna Torres?"

* * * * * *

"Captain, I can bring the Chamberlain up on the viewscreen."

Janeway sat up straighter in her seat. "Very good, Mr. Kim, do

Harry instructed the computer to display the shuttlecraft on the
main screen. What the crew saw made them gasp. The ship was
badly scarred, and listing to starboard.

"How soon before we are within transporter range, Mr. Tuvok?"

"Fourteen minutes, Captain."

"Proceed. When you get within range transport Commander Chakotay
and Lt. Paris to Sickbay and the Chamberlain into the

"Aye, Captain."

* * * * * *

B'Elanna Torres waited impatiently outside Sickbay. She'd never
been good at waiting and this time was certainly no different.
She had so much to say to Paris. And she hoped he would be able
to reciprocate some of what she felt.

Watching the Chief Engineer pace back in forth in front of
Sickbay was just too much for Seska to bear. She'd tried
everything to get her "friend" upset. After all, she reasoned,
the woman had deserved it for making her work so hard.

"Waiting for the death certificate?" Seska sneered.

B'Elanna jolted from her thoughts looked up at the Bajoran,
surprised at the malice she saw reflected in the woman's eyes.
"No one's dead yet, Seska. But if you keep it up, I'll put you
on top of the list," she threatened.

"Hey, B'Elanna, I was just trying to shake you out of your
gloom," Seska countered hands raised.

"Hell of a way to do that, Seska."

Seska moved closer to B'Elanna. "Being that we are both Maquis,
you can tell me."

"Tell you what?"

"What is it you see in Paris? I always thought you hated him for
what he did to the Maquis."

"I don't think we ever knew the whole story," B'Elanna admitted.
"I know him, and he's not the kind of person to run out on

"Are we talking about the same person, B'Elanna? Tom Paris, the
walking male hormone?" Seska demanded.

"He's not what you think, Seska. He's..."


"Chakotay doesn't know the Tom Paris I know, Seska.

"But you've always respected Chakotay. He'll be very
disappointed in you."

"Time to grow up," B'Elanna remarked. "I'll always respect him,
but I've matured enough to know no one is right all the time. I
know he thought he was protecting me in the past, but he has to
realize I'm old enough to take care of myself. If I do make a
mistake, it'll be mine to make."

"But, B'Elanna..."

"That's enough, Seska," B'Elanna warned, the tone of her voice
was deadly. "I should have skinned you and your *friends* alive
for what you did to Tom and me."

Seska took a step back.

"It was you, wasn't it?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, B'Elanna."

"Cut it, Seska. I should have realized it before. It's so
obvious. It had your signature all over it. I know you've
always derived some type of sadistic, manipulating pleasure tying
people up and making them dance to your tune. Well it won't work
this time! Just be glad I'm letting you learn from this
experience. But I suppose I do have you to thank for one thing."

Seska's eyes widened.

"If it wasn't for you, I'd never know what a good man Tom Paris

"I th..think I'm going to be late for my shift," Seska stammered.

B'Elanna nodded. "If you don't hurry up you will be. Just make
sure you are very thorough when you degauss the port nacelles. I
want them clean enough to eat on."

Silently Seska slipped away, just as the doors to Sickbay slid

The EMH called out. "You can come in now, Lieutenant."

"Thank you."

Stepping into the Doctor's domain, she saw Chakotay and Tom both
resting on biobeds.

Passing by Chakotay's bed first, the First Officer beckoned her
closer and placed a hand on her arm.

"You don't have to pretend any more, B'Elanna," he whispered and
squeezed her arm expressing his support for his friend.

B'Elanna smiled. "I know."

Chakotay smiled back.

She patted the First Officer's hand before she removed it from
her arm, and stepped away, moving on to where Tom lay. She
cautiously approached the bed.

"I understand you got hurt?"

"Just a flesh wound, huh, Chakotay?" Tom replied, speaking up so
the senior officer could hear. Chakotay mumbled something that
couldn't be understood.

"The Doctor said you suffered third-degree burns and lost a lot
of blood," she explained.

Tom shrugged. "I feel much better now, especially since you're

B'Elanna stole a glance at Chakotay.

"He knows, B'Elanna. I explained everything to him."

"He knows we were set up."


Pushing up on his elbows, Paris faced B'Elanna. "The game is
over, B'Elanna."

The half-Klingon's stomachs twisted.


"You sound disappointed." Dare he hope?

Do it! Don't be a coward! "I guess I am disappointed. I've
grown to enjoy the last couple of weeks."

Tom had to remind himself to breathe. "What are you saying,

"If...um...well...you see...HELL!" She encircled his neck with
her arms and kissed him deeply, thrusting her tongue into his
mouth. It took the pilot only a moment to realize what she was
saying through body language. Soon his tongue tangled with her

"This is a Sickbay, not the backseat of a 1957 Chevy!" the Doctor

* * * * * *

Paris sighed contentedly, perspiration beaded on his forehead.
Somewhere beneath the sheets he could hear B'Elanna growl, it
made him smile with satisfaction. Pulling up the sheets, he
could see her grin ferally at him from between his legs.

"Come on up here, B'Elanna," he urged.

The half-Klingon crawled up his body and settled herself on his
chest. She noted his chest hair tickled her bare breasts and
found she liked the sensation.

"You enjoyed that, didn't you?" she purred.

Tom smiled broadly. "Hmmmmm."



"Can we do it again?"

"Again? It's true what they say about voracious Klingons and
sex, isn't it?"

"Are you complaining?" she growled.

Pulling her up further, he kissed her on her mouth. "Oh, no, I
am certainly not complaining, B'Elanna. I'm ready whenever you

"Ah, Tom?"


"This time when you do it, can you call me Cupcake?"

The End.

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