Disclaimer: all characters and copyright do not belong to me although I have very much enjoyed the journey.
A/N-This is my first ever attempt at a Tom/B'Elanna story. I have been avidly watching the Voyager series from the beginning recently and discovered some amazing stories written by the very talented SCIFIROMANCE. She has kindly helped by betaing this one shot for me. Thanks honey.
I hope you enjoy. Any constructive criticism is welcome. Thank you, Nikki.
Tom Paris clutched the instructions in his hand the captain had given him to pass to B'Elanna. He stood outside of engineering and took a deep breath. It was now or never. The quiet swoosh of the doors made his heart thump in his chest as he stepped through into the busy bay. The engineering crew were busily rushing to and fro trying to repair the damage to the warp core caused by the latest Vidian attack. Tom glanced around anxiously for B'Elanna. He had hardly seen any sign of her in the last two days and he was craving to check that she was holding up. He knew how dedicated she was to her role as Chief Engineer.
He finally spotted her at the back of the engine bay; she was barking instructions at one of the hapless engineering crew. The red lights were flashing, casting an eerie glow over everything, making it all appear so surreal. Tom's eyes were riveted to B'Elanna, her dark, lustrous brown hair stood out and he longed to run his hands through it. Someone crashed into his side and brought him back into the moment.
"Sorry, "He mumbled as he watched an irritated member of the engineering crew shove past him. He edged his way toward B'Elanna, keeping her within his line of sight. He could not tear his eyes away from her. She seemed so alive and vital amidst all the chaos.
B'Elanna glared at the console before her, daring it to defy what she needed it to read. She gave an annoyed sigh as it flashed the wrong information at her again. Why was this happening? All of her former training told her that the course of action she was following should be correct, so why was the warp core still fractured? Her practiced fingers flew over the keys, trying different combinations. She was so intent on her task that she did not feel anyone standing next to her until she heard someone clearing their throat.
"What?" She snapped, not taking her eyes away from the console.
"B'Elanna, I need to speak to you." A gentle voice that she recognised instantly made her stop what she was dong.
"Tom? W...what are you doing down here?" A faint red flush touched her cheeks as she chanced a glance at him.
Tom saw the hint of redness on her cheeks and gave her a quick smile. "I have instructions from the captain..."
"Why did she not use the comm link?" B'Elanna asked hurriedly, trying to cover her reaction to his presence.
Tom tried to stop the smile from forming on his lips. He could see how flustered she was by his unexpected appearance and it secretly pleased him. He edged nearer to her so that there was not an inch of space between them; he was surprised that she did not back away from him. "The captain did not want this information relayed over the comm. link. It seems that the Vidians have hacked through and can listen to all our internal communications."
B'Elanna raised a sceptical eyebrow. "How did she discover this?"
"Tuvok intercepted some scrambled communication between the Vidian ships, once we cleared up the interference it was obvious what was happening. It is how they managed to detect our vulnerabilities and hit us at just the right times. The captain wants all communication to cease using the comm. link. I am afraid it will need to be delivered the old fashioned way."
B'Elanna gave Tom a rare smile, he watched as it lit up her whole face. "You just had to be the one who delivered the message?"
"I just fancied a stroll around the ship..." he replied nonchalantly.
"Indeed...well thanks for the missive. Tell the captain that I will follow her instructions accordingly." B'Elanna turned her attention back to the numbers scrolling up the screen. Her fingers were itching to manipulate the codes and turn them into something that made sense to her logical mind.
Tom took a deep breath and decided that he needed to say something more. He had enjoyed the slight teasing tone that he had detected in B'Elanna's voice, the ship was in extreme danger and he wanted to make his hidden feelings clear.
"B'Elanna...I need to say something to you..."
"Tom," She sighed. "I am rather busy."
A warm hand covered her busy fingers; she glanced up at Tom and was struck silent by the intense look showing on his face. Her insides churned as she saw his face drawing nearer to hers. "What are you doing?" She enquired softly, although she knew perfectly well.
"Something I should have done the first time I saw you." Tom murmured, his lips drawing nearer to hers.
"The first time..." B'Elanna's words were stopped by the feel of Tom's lips pressing down gently on hers.
B'Elanna was overwhelmed by the feel of Tom's mouth moving against hers. The fact that she was allowing him to do so surprised her, or so she thought. A deeper part of her knew that she had been yearning for him to make the first move. They had been dancing around each other for months, both unwilling to admit that they were attracted to each other.
The ship was suddenly hit forcefully by a torpedo, Tom and B'Elanna were yanked apart, he caught her in his arms as she stumbled. Smoke was pouring from the console that she had been working on; all her calculations had been destroyed in an instant. She struggled against Tom's hold as the alarm sounded through the engineering bay to abandon ship. The engineering crew were already making their way out of the bay as flames began to lick at the metal columns.
"We have to go," Tom said forcefully to B'Elanna as she turned to try and salvage something from the destroyed console.
"I am sure I can..."
"No, there is nothing left that can be done. We need to leave." Tom pleaded with her. "Please B'Elanna."
B'Elanna slumped in his arms; she was not used to admitting defeat. The black smoke was making it hard to breathe however and if it was not for Tom's strong arms guiding her to the escape route, she was not sure she would ever have found it. Involuntarily her arms encircled his waist to keep him near. Even though their situation was dire, Tom could not help the smile from spreading across his face as he felt B'Elanna's arms hold him close.
"WE are going to make it; we just need to get to the escape hatch."Tom moved forward, his eyes were watering as the smoke was obscuring his vision. He heard B'Elanna cough beside him and he gathered her closer in his arms.
"Tom," B'Elanna panted heavily, her lungs were working overtime to compensate for the lack of air.
"I...I...like you..." She gasped out.
Tom gave out a chocked laugh. "I like you too, as if you hadn't noticed."
B'Elanna tried to laugh too, but the thick smoke seared her lungs and she blacked out in Tom's arms. He managed to catch her quickly before her body hit the ground. He felt incredibly weakened himself but he hauled her up in his arms and carried her inert body to the cargo bay where the escape shuttles were ready for takeoff. As he appeared out of the gloom he heard a shocked cry.
"Tom, is she alright?" Chakotay's concerned voice drifted to his exhausted ears.
"I don't know, she blacked out as we were making our way here. I need medical assistance." He pleaded.
"The doctor unfortunately cannot accompany us, but Kes is nearby maybe she can assist." Chakotay's steady voice calmed Tom's nerves.
Tom nodded hurriedly. He carried B'Elanna carefully up the ramp and called for Kes as he gently held her body close to his own.
B'Elanna groaned as she opened her eyes carefully, she rubbed at them, it felt like she had grit in them. Her busy mind was already evaluating what had happened. The last thing she recalled was Tom standing beside her and then nothing.
"Hey sleeping beauty, decided to join us again have you?" A male voice that she instantly recognised made her eyes fly open.
"Tom..." Her voice sounded gravelly and it was not until she spoke that she realised how sore her throat felt.
"Your voice sounds rather sexy like that." Tom teased her gently. His hand found hers and he squeezed her hand, lacing her fingers with his own.
B'Elanna watched his every movement; her vision was clearing along with her memory of their brief kiss. Red tinged her cheeks and Tom knew she was recalling their last shared moments. "What are you thinking about so hard?" He asked.
B'Elanna caught the playful note in his voice and could not help her lips forming into a smile."I think you know..."
"Yes, I do..."Tom's voice was a whisper as he leaned down and once again pressed his lips to hers in a gentle kiss...