By the time Dadgh made it back B'Elanna was fuming.

She HATED feeling helpless, hated it worse when something she depended on without thought, say tricorders and communicators for example, decided to betray her.

She took it personally. She took it VERY personally. She was just about the pitch the stubborn, uncooperative tricorder (which had just failed to tell her Tom's GENDER, much less his condition) against a wall when clattering stones and a faint beam of light let her know that Dadgh was back.

The Selelvian slumped to the ground and rested his forehead on his hands. The hand-light around his neck spilled white light on the rock underneath him, swaying as he tried to get back his breath. "We're not getting out..that way," he panted.

"What, why?!!" She took a deep breath, grabbed onto her anger with both hands, and started again more calmly. "Why?"

"Blocked all the way to the top," he answered, shaking damp strands of pale hair out of his eyes. "Couldn't move any of the topmost rocks, and without knowing how far back it's blocked I don't want to use a phaser. I could bring it all down on top of us, or the rescue party which might or might not be on the other side." He shook his head, dark smudges of exhaustion under his eyes. "We're stuck here for a while."

B'Elanna clenched her hands against her sides. She spun away with a quiet growl and fully intended to follow it with a louder one until a hand closed over her shoulder.

She turned around to see Harry's smile in the darkness.

"It's ok, I've found a way out."

By the time they got halfway down the tunnel, Harry almost wished they'd just waited for the rescue party.

Burdened by Tom's almost unconscious body, it'd taken them twice as long just to get this far as it'd taken for Harry to get to the outside and back. It would've been a hell of a lot easier if they'd had the materials to make a decent stretcher, but all they'd had was the outer jackets of their uniforms. While Harry had to admit that if they'd been in any other cave, the under-tunics they wore wouldn't have been nearly warm enough, he still found plenty he could've complained about as the three of them carried Tom on a tied-together blanket of jackets. But he kept it to himself. If Tom could keep quiet under all the jostling his crushed leg was getting, then he could too.

As they stopped for yet another rest they tried to set Tom down as gently as possible, but Harry could still see Tom's fingers clench against the cloth as his leg touched the ground. He saw a small patch of fresh blood against Tom's leg, and while it didn't look too bad in itself, Harry didn't like the idea of bone fragments under the skin slicing open an artery or something. Didn't like it at all.

"We can't move him any further," Harry said finally. He expected an argument from B'Elanna, but she stared down at the new blood, then looked up at him and nodded. "Dadgh, stay here with him. B'Elanna and I'll get outside and try to find the rescue party."

"What if you don't find them?" Dadgh asked hollowly.

"We'll figure that out IF that happens," B'Elanna said shortly. "Until then stay put." Taking a deep breath she reached out a hand and clasped Dadgh's shoulder to soften her words. He nodded, and sat beside Tom, his hands loosely holding his hand-light.

And they'd started down the path to the exit, B'Elanna trying to make it out as fast as possible, Harry trying to keep up with her.

They passed alongside a deep drop at one point, and considering that Harry's reflexes weren't at their best, it really was amazing that he managed to catch her hands when the edge of the path crumbled under her feet, dropping most of her into the hole.

They froze like that for an instant, B'Elanna hanging nearly vertical into the pit with no purchase for her feet, Harry lying flat on the edge clinging desperately to her hands. Her weight had slammed his body onto the ground, and the impact plus the strain on his arms caused the pain in his head to slam around inside his skull.

He closed his eyes, shuddering, trying to think of anything except the possibility of his head falling apart right then and there. When he opened his eyes B'Elanna was staring up at him.

"Harry," she said calmly. "You don't look so good."

"I..have a headache." His tongue was having trouble forming the words around the taste of metal in his mouth.

"This isn't a very convenient time for a headache." Her face had dropped two shades paler, but her voice was oddly conversational.

"Tell me about it," he said, inching his way back along the ground until her hands were level with the edge. Little by little they turned her hands around so that she could grab the rock herself. Luckily, the rock didn't continue to crumble, and in a few moments they'd levered her back up onto the shelf of rock.

How long they sat there on the edge Harry couldn't tell. He only gradually became aware of the fact that they were leaning against each other as they stared down into the blackness below them.

"Thanks Harry," her heard her say quietly. He smiled to himself. Having her here, listening to her say his name, was all the thanks he could ever wish for.

When they finally started back down the path again B'Elanna was all business. Harry would've been disappointed if he hadn't been trying so hard to stay on his feet.

The Doc's gonna kill me when we get back to the ship, he thought bemusedly. He'll say I don't take care of myself, that I give him too much work to do. And I'll tell him – Harry laughed to himself at this point – I'll tell him there wasn't any water on the whooole planet, so I couldn't drink lots of fluids, but I promise to take two painkillers and call him in the morning.

He was vaguely aware that the thought shouldn't have been so funny, but he didn't really care. He was laughing quietly when the two of them stepped out into daylight.

Much later, as Dadgh and Harry helped each other down a corridor back on Voyager, Harry still felt like laughing. They'd made their way back to the cave's entrance and found the rescue team desperately pulling boulders out of the way. The look on their faces really had been awfully funny, Harry thought.

With a proper stretcher it hadn't taken long to get Tom out of the cave. They were all bundled into the shuttlecraft in no time at all, and Harry, while receiving another painkiller 'spray, had listened to Andrea and T'chalo take turns telling about feeling the earthquake and watching tons and tons of dust come billowing out of the entrance, and the mad race they'd made back to the shuttle and back to the ship to get a rescue team.

Tom had been beamed directly into sick-bay as soon as they were out of the planet's interference, and since he had a death-grip on B'Elanna's hand they decided to just beam her over with him. Harry would've been a bit downcast at the look of tender concern on her face if he hadn't been feeling so amused at everything.

Once aboard the ship he and Dadgh had ambled down the corridors, both awash in that wonderful feeling you get when it's all over and done with, you're home and you're alive and really, was it all that bad after all?

They passed by the door to Harry's room. "Hang on Dadgh, I want to get into some real clothes first," he said.

Dadgh looked over at him, tilting his head to one side. "Shouldn't you head to sickbay before you do that, you look lousy."

"Thanks," Harry said, laughing at the same time. His head only ached a little around the edges. "But Tom was in pretty bad shape. The Doc'll be busy with him for a while anyway, so I might as well get a shower before I head down."

"Suit yourself," the Selelvian said, reaching out to grab Harry's arm warmly. "Just take care of yourself, ok?"

"You too."

Dadgh had waved as he walked away down the hall, and Harry had slipped into his quarters, humming to himself and grabbing fresh clothes.

He realized he'd made a mistake as soon as he stepped out of the shower. The room spun around him, and the pain in his head came back in spikes, tearing at his temples and driving nails behind his eyes. Holding onto the wall with a trembling hand, he stared at his face in the mirror till the floor stopped moving. Dark eyes stared back at him out of a white, white face, and he told himself with numb lips that now would be a good time to go to sickbay.

He dressed quickly, and was soon at the sickbay entrance. In fact, he had very little memory of the trip from his room. One minute he was finished dressing, and then he was standing in the door.

He stepped inside, blinking at the bright lights the Doc always insisted on. Across the room the Doctor and Kes and B'Elanna were standing around Tom, who was actually sitting on the edge of the bed and smiling.

"Tom," Harry said in surprise, pulling his face into a mask of normality. "Wow, they did a good job fixing you up."

"Yeah, that's what I said," Tom replied, carefully stepping off the bed and putting a little weight on his right leg.

"Mr. Paris was extremely fortunate. He only suffered a compound fracture and minor blood loss," the Doctor said seriously.

Harry saw Kes cover a smile with her hand as Tom replied just as seriously "Yes it was definitely my lucky day."

The sarcasm was completely lost on the doctor. B'Elanna grinned at Harry and said "Feels good to have all that damn dust off doesn't it?" Harry hadn't noticed till then that B'Elanna was showered and changed too. Part of his brain was still tied up keeping his skull together. The other half had been distracted by how amazingly gorgeous she was. It kept taking him by surprise.

Harry leaned against one of the beds nearby, used it to keep himself upright as he folded his arms to keep his hands from shaking. "I need to talk to you when you've got a minute, Doctor."

"Certainly." The Doctor picked up the medical tricorder and walked over to him.

"Guess I'll get out of your way," Tom said as he hobbled over to Harry. "Any parting instructions, Doc?"

"Yes," the Doctor said while scanning Harry. "Drink plenty of fluids, and get some rest. You'll be off-duty for the next thirty-six hours. Ms. Torres, could you escort Mr. Paris to his room? If he tries to go anywhere near the bridge confine him to his quarters."

"Aye aye sir."

"Hey Harry," Tom said, looking at him seriously. "Thanks for getting me out of there. I wouldn't have made it without all of you."

Harry nodded and smiled back at him. Tom moved for the door.

"Mr. Kim." The Doctor's voice was angry. "Are you aware that.."

"Just a minute Doctor," and suddenly B'Elanna was facing Harry, reaching out to touch his arm for the briefest moment. "Thanks again, Harry," she said simply.

He grinned at her. "I was too afraid for my life to let you fall."

"Right," she grinned back. "If you'd dropped me I would've killed you." They laughed, and she headed for the door. "But thanks all the same," she said over her shoulder. She put a hand on Tom's back and guided him to the door.

"You're welcome," Harry whispered. The door opened.

"Mr. Kim!" The Doctor's voice was insistent, and awfully loud despite the high ringing tone that bounced between Harry's ears. "Are you aware..Mr. Kim, are you listening to me?"

B'Elanna and Tom passed through the door, and it hissed shut behind them.

"Mr. Kim, you have a serious concussion, you need to lie down immediately!"

"Sounds like a good idea," Harry heard himself say, and the floor obligingly tilted sideways and slammed into his face, just before everything went black.

Harry gradually swam up out of soft darkness to realize he was awake. He also realized that his head didn't hurt anymore, and the release from pain was such a relief he had to smile sleepily.

A sharp intake of breath made him open his eyes. At first he only saw the sickbay ceiling. When he carefully looked to his left, he almost stopped breathing.

Sitting beside him, inches away, holding his hand between her own, was B'Elanna.

To backtrack a bit, B'Elanna hadn't gone all the way to Tom's quarters.

They'd been walking along in companionable silence, taking it a bit slow on account of Tom's newly healed leg. They weren't more than a few steps from sickbay when B'Elanna blurted out "Tom, you'll be ok on your own, right? I think I need to talk to Harry for a bit."

"What about?"

Yes, she asked herself. What about? How was she supposed to bring up how she felt? How, when the earthquake had quieted, she'd listened in the darkness for his voice, been certain he'd been crushed, felt the hopeless feeling that came from that. How relieved she'd been to hear his voice. How she'd admired his way of letting nothing bother him, seeming to be so certain that things would work out perfectly fine. How she'd meant to tell him how important he was, but she could never get the words out right. How she'd actually tried to impress him every chance she got. Her, Miss self- sufficient, perfectly sure of herself, trying to impress someone else.

Someone she realized she cared for, more than she'd let herself admit.

The thought hit her with perfect clarity, like walking into daylight.

Tom was still staring at her, eyebrows raised.

"Nothing much," she answered. "You'll be ok?" Barely waiting for his puzzled yes, she turned and walked quickly back to sickbay.

And entered to see Harry unconscious and motionless on the floor.

"Do you have any idea how much you scared me," B'Elanna whispered to Harry, reaching up to smooth a strand of hair away from his eyes. "When the Doctor and I pulled you up on the bed, it was you were dead." She frowned at him, and her hand tightened around his. "How dare you not tell me you were hurt?"

"I don't think I was thinking very clearly." His eyes were wide, and he was looking wonderingly at her face.

"No," she admitted with a small smile, and touched the healed spot on his head. "I guess you wouldn't have been, would you?"

They stared at each other for a long time, the quiet sounds of the ship a familiar background.

Both started at once. "Harry-""B'Elanna-"

A shared smile, and B'Elanna said "You first."

"No, you go ahead."

She growled. "Talk, Starfleet."

"I had to ask," he started quickly. "Are you..and Tom..?"

She blinked at him, and suddenly understood. Understood how all the care she'd given him on the planet could've looked, when it was really just concern for a friend and an attempt to distract herself from something she hated most: being trapped.

"No," she answered at last. "Never have been."

She saw relief wash over his face, making him even more fragilely beautiful than before. Felt his hand reach up to tentatively touch the side of her face.

"What did you want to ask?" he said, his voice rough.

"You just answered it." And she leaned forward and kissed him.