Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager belongs to Paramount, I only own the story.
Summary: The U.S.S Hera II puts in for repairs at the Oakland shipyard. While on the station, Commander Torres runs into an unexpected old friend.
Note: Takes place about 6 years after Voyager's return.
His voice was the last thing she expected to hear.
"Commander. It is agreeable to see you."
"Vorik! I didn't see you there!"
If she didn't know better, she would have sworn he was amused.
"That much is evident. You appear distracted."
"Oh... I'm just tired, that's all. Repairs are slow going..."
"Indeed. The replicators are malfunctioning stationwide."
"...and half my team is in the infirmary..."
He could hear the sense of failure she felt in her voice.
"They were able to perform their duties admirably in spite of the overwhelming circumstances. I have no doubt that they will receive several commendations."
Her eyes went to the half empty glass of synthale in her hands.
"I'm writing some of those recommendations myself."
He inclined his head. "No doubt."
Smiling slightly, she looked back up at him.
"So, what have you been doing recently? Ayala tells me you've left Starfleet."
"Not permanently; I am merely taking a sabbatical on Vulcan. My parents are agreeable to my cohabiting with them once again."
"They must really have been happy when you came back home."
"Vulcans do not-"
"Right, right. Sorry."
"I.. apologise for not being present at Mr. Paris' funeral."
"That's... that's okay, Vorik. You were on a mission."
"I should have been there!"
"I apologise for my loss of control, I have not been able to maintain my regular schedule of meditation due to-"
"You don't have to explain to me, Vorik. You're not part of my staff anymore."
"Nevertheless, I consider you to be an admirable individual, one who deserves respect."
He noted the starled look in her eyes, and hoped he hadn't been too foward. You never could tell with B'elanna.
"Thank you, Vorik. That means alot to me."
"How is Miral adapting?"
"She misses her father, but honestly, I think she's handling things alot better than I am."
"She is still a child, and children are highly resiliant. Also, it is illogical to compare your ability to cope with Miral's. It is true that she has lost a father, but you have lost a life mate. You will grieve differently."
He didn't have to be a telepath to sense the direction her thoughts were taking, or to see the way her eyes became downcast again. It was unacceptable.
"You have altered the way you wear your hair. The cut accentuates your facial structure."
As he had hoped, the statement made her laugh, a surprised sound.
"Vorik, did you just compliment my hairstyle?"
Perfectly innocent, he cocked his head to a side.
"I made a factual statement."
She snorted. "Sure you did."
"As humans so aptly say: you looked like you could use a smile," he confessed, not sounding in the least bit guilty about it.
B'elanna shook her head, unable to keep the blush, or smile off her face. He really had become very good at reading people over the years.
"That's very sweet Vorik."
He gave her a puzzled look.
"I will never understand the human compulsion to apply adjectives normally reserved for food and use them elsewhere."
"Seven years stuck in close quarters with us and you haven't figured it out yet?" she teased him.
He raised an eyebrow. "There were more pressing matters on my mind then than human speech patterns."
"Really? I recall hearing you use quite a few human expressions on ship."
"I was merely attempting to adapt to the situation; the majority of the crew was human."
She heard the defensiveness in his voice and grinned.
"Uh huh. I never heard Tuvok say 'use it or lose it' or 'you're only as old as you feel', or-"
"I get the picture."
She laughed outright this time, and he chastised himself for his slip, but only briefly. If anything, he had simply proved her her point.
"You have... a valid point, it would seem."
Noting the expression of embarassment on his face-although she was sure he'd deny its existence- she touched his sleeve, carefully avoiding the flesh of his wrist.
"Relax, Vorik; I was just teasing you. And call me B'elanna."
He gave her one of those looks, which annoyed her when Tuvok did it, but somehow only amused her at this point.
"Teasing a Vulcan is a highly inefficient and illogical activity."
She appeared to give that some thought.
"Well, humans aren't generally known for their logical activities. Neither are Klingons."
She made a noise of mock hurt, which was abruptly followed by a yawn.
Vorik tilted his head to a side.
"You are tired. If you would prefer, I could walk you back to the Hera."
"Already? We've just started talking."
Trying to hide his surprise at the genuine disappointment in her voice, he attempted to reassure her.
"B'elanna. Or I'll start calling you Lieutenant."
"B'elanna. I will be on the station for another five days. There will be plenty of time to catch up."
As he'd hoped, that earned him another smile.
"Catch up? Careful Vorik, or you'll risk losing your Vulcan identity altogether."
He raised an eyebrow.
"There is no need to insult me."
Her laughter was a welcome sound. He realised that he'd missed it since he returned. It was with some disappointment that he realised they'd come to the end of their journey. It was also with some surprise that he also realised that he wasn't chastising himself for the way that emotion was taking up more space than it normally should.
Hands behind his back, he turned to face her.
"Good evening, Comman- B'elanna." he ammended, seeing the annoyed look in her eyes.
He really was honoured that she had invited him to use her first name. He hadn't said it aloud for years, not since that shameful instance of his pon farr.
Especially since then, he'd constantly referred to her by her rank in his thoughts. It had helped to make his emotional recovery less painful.
"Thanks for walking me back, Vorik."
He could see that she genuinely meant it.
"I was honoured to accompany you."
She looked at the hatchway wistfully, then back to him.
"We still have so much catching up to do."
"I have a conference to attend at 07:00 hours. It is likely to be quite lengthy, although there are two breaks alloted."
"Well, what time is it supposed to finish?"
She tilted her head to the side and smiled.
"I get off duty at 14:00, maybe we could meet up for a late lunch."
He nodded as she keyed in the access code.
"That would be agreeable. Good evening, B'elanna."
As the hatch roll closed, Vorik frowned.
He was... feeling... alot.
Elation, trepidation, and a lot of other things he couldn't identify, due to his lack of experience with allowing himself to linger on his emotions.
While what he had told B'elanna was true, in that he hadn't been maintaining his regular schedule of meditation, he hadn't mentioned that it was a diliberate attempt on his part to gain better control of his emotions by truly experiencing them instead of locking them away.
Perhaps this experiment of his was foolish.
However, he couldn't deny the feelings seeing her again had brought up in him.
He decided to see where they took him.
Hey, I hope you enjoyed it.:) I may or may not write more, the idea was just rolling around in my head and this is what came out.
Constructive criticism is always welcome.