Frozen Images
by Layton Colt

After 'Unwanted Reception,' B'Elanna is having trouble coming to terms with
what has happened.

This is a sequel to 'Unwanted Reception.' I hadn't planned to write it, but then I just started typing words in a frenzy . . . I never know what story my mind is going to start working on.

Warnings: Discussion of attempted suicide.


It was so red. So startlingly bright against pale skin. Her blood was more pink than red. But Tom's . . .

She had seen human blood before. She new it's color but to see it slipping from Tom's veins, the rich color of the Nasaia seas. It had been a shock and for a moment she had been unable to move.

Why was it so red? Why was it that human blood was so dark? Klingons were warriors but there blood was light . . . light and insignificant. Not like human blood . . . blood that was so red you'd swear you were looking into a Vulcan sunset.

With humans, with Tom . . . it was almost as though his soul was bleeding along with the viscous liquid. Almost as though something of himself went into the blood to make it so red.

B'Elanna jumped from her couch and began to pace. Tom needed her and here she was obsessing about the color of his blood. What a help she was. What a friend.

How had she allowed this to happen? How could she have been so stupid? So selfish? So blind?

B'Elanna collapsed to the floor. Wrapping her arms around her knees she laid down her head. She'd never seen blood so red. She couldn't get the picture of it out of her head.

Tom, kneeling on the floor, a small knife held loosely in his hand as he lost his strength. It haunted her. The images swirled around her mind - forcing her to relive the one moment in her life she didn't think she was brave enough to face.

There had been so much blood, so much that she had thought she'd arrived too late. She'd known in that moment that whether or not she was alright, depended on what happened to Tom.

She'd have died as sure as Tom had the doctors been unable to save him. She loved him - she realized that now. God help her, she couldn't get him out of her head. Out of her mind.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. She had thought about Tom on a regular basis for a few years now. But now . . . now the visions of him were anything but pleasant. They were disturbing and terrifying. And even worse, they were real. Memories rather than horrible nightmares conjured by her paranoid mind.

Kahless, it had actually happened. Tom had tried to kill himself. The reality of it hit her and she held back tears. She wasn't some crybaby. She wasn't going to do this again. Tears were a weakness. A way to give your enemy the upper hand, give them the satisfaction that they've won.

Due to his customary contrariness, Tom disagreed. He saw tears as a strength. He said it meant you still felt, that you were still alive. The doctor had told her once that Tom had said he didn't trust people who didn't cry. She hadn't needed to be telepathic to realize he was alluding that Tom didn't trust her.

Tom seemed to believe that people who couldn't cry were soulless. But B'Elanna knew that wasn't true. Maybe they were both right. B'Elanna fought against the water gathering at the corners of her eyes but a few drops slipped out.

Maybe tears were both a weakness and a strength.