Beyond Formalities

Summary: Paris/Kim, angst, Rated PG. Tom and Harry take a walk on the beach and discuss the dynamics of their relationship.

Disclaimer: The characters of Star Trek are owned by Brannon Braga and all the "wonderful" people over at Paramount.

Note: This story is about a m/m relationship. If this offends you or makes you uncomfortable, then try something else. Lyrics from "Running Away" by Hoobastank.

By Daffnie (


I don't want you to give it all up
And leave your own life collecting dust
And I don't want you to feel sorry for me
You never gave us a chance to be
And I don't need you to be by my side
To tell me that everything's alright

"I'm a complicated person," Harry says. "People really don't seem to think I am because I don't show all of myself to just anyone, and I guess you saw through my disguise. Sometimes I question why I let you into my little world as often as I do, but then I realize you do the same for me."

We're walking along the beach of Lake Michigan in the summertime. The waves wash up to kiss his bare feet as mine remain dry. I look up at the sun, which is nearing the horizon in its constant descent, and there are a few clouds moving in to block some of its brilliance. It's warm enough to wear short sleeves and shorts, but I wear slacks anyway.

"Well, the way I see it, it's only fair to share myself with someone who has been my friend for years," I reply.

"Yes, but you don't give that privilege to everyone."

I glance behind us to see that our sets of foot prints have remained about two feet apart for as far as I can see. I can't help but wish they were closer, that I had my fingers entwined with his. I don't say this because I know he would tell me no.

"But you know I think of you as more than a friend," I say, then add, "Even if you won't let us become that close, I can still try to change your mind."

"You're welcomed to try, but your attempts will be in vain. You know I can't let that happen. I don't want my heart broken again. I'm not saying that you would do that, but I just can't bring myself to take the risk. I'm sorry."

"I know you are, Har. But I'm the one who should be sorry, for putting you into this position. I have no right to make your life difficult, but I can't help it."

"It's an impossible love. You're in love with the wrong guy."

"You don't actually believe that, do you?"

He nods. I notice how the wind plays with his hair, and strands fly in his face. Tolerantly, he pushes them back.

"Why me, Tom?" he questions innocently. "Of all the people on this ship, why did you have to fall in love with me?"

"How couldn't I? The first time I saw you, you were quiet and reserved. You didn't want anything to do with anybody, and it intrigued me because I could relate. I was at that place before. But why did I fall for you? Well, I suppose it's because of who you are."

"What do you mean?"

"You're respectful, intelligent, funny..."

I stop myself before I say gorgeous.

I see the blush creep up on his face. He turns his head slightly so I can't see it as well.

"You're not embarrassed because I gave you a few compliments, are you Harry?"

He snaps his head around, and I am surprised by the passion in his eyes. But it isn't the kind of passion I am looking for.

"I...I've just never had anyone treat me like you do, Tom. You're amazing. I wish I had to courage to give you my love back..."

I'm stunned. He has never admitted to anything like that before.

"So are you saying you're in love with me, too?"

He doesn't say anything. I stop walking. He doesn't. I wait there for him to come back, thinking how much I want to kiss him. I won't tell him that because it would be asking too much too soon, and it is unlikely to become a reality, anyway. Harry keeps walking, so I catch up to him again.


"I shouldn't 've said that."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm getting your hopes up for something that's never going to happen."

"You can't be so sure of that."

Now he stops, and I do, too. He looks me right in the eyes and says, "I can't love you, Tom. I do, but I shouldn't. It only leaves hardship for both of us."

"Why not be true to yourself?"

"It's not that easy."

"It should be."

I just wanted you to tell me the truth
You know I'd do that for you
Why are you running away?
Why are you running away?
Cause I did enough to show you that I
Was willing to give and sacrifice
And I was the one who was lifting you up
When you thought your life had had enough
And when I get close, you turn away
There's nothing that I can do or say

"Tom, you're making things difficult. You know how I feel. Isn't that enough?"

"It may be for yourself, but it's not enough for me."

"Well, things aren't always going to be perfect for everyone," he says quietly. I can barely hear him over the waves and the wind. "I can't give you what you want."

He folded his arms and looked at me seriously.

"Give it up, Tom. Please."

I avert my eyes towards the water so I don't have to look at his now pleading expression. Anything I have to say would be only to argue with him more, but that isn't what I want. I want to make him's what he deserves for all he has done that made my life worth living. I meet his gaze again and say, "I can try to put aside my feelings. For you. It's going to be hard, but -"

"No," he cuts me off. "Do it for yourself."

I shake my head.

"No can do, Har. You're the one who wants this, not me. I'll make a sacrifice because it's what you prefer, and I want you to be happy."

Is it me, is it you
Nothing that I can do
To make you change your mind
Is it me, is it you
Nothing that I can do
Is it a waste of time?
Is it me, is it you
Nothing that I can do
To make you change your mind

"It won't make me happy to see you suffering, Tom. I suppose it's just best to leave things as they are, anyway. We've always been comfortable this way. Like our foot prints," he says, and gestures towards them. "They never go far apart, but they never really get closer, either. It's like us. We could distance...I don't want that, and neither do you. But getting closer will cause trouble for us both. We may run into each other if that happens, so to speak, and nothing good will come out of it."

I'm not sure how to respond to that, so I ask, "Are you afraid of love, or are you afraid of repeating the past?"

"I've had my heart broken too many times, and as the entire ship probably knows, it could've happened more if I had let my infatuations get the best of me. It seems as though I fall for all the wrong people, but I don't allow myself to love. Now it's different. It's hard not to love you, but I'm not going to put myself into house filled with hungry lions and only one exit. It would be unlikely that I'd escape before being eaten alive."

I smile at his use of analogies.

"All right. We can leave this as is. It isn't necessarily what I was hoping for, but it seems it's the best thing I'm going to get right now. I'll be okay with this."

He notices the sad look on my face, and I try to hide it. I'm not sure if I completely believe my words. I can only hope he does for his own sake.

"I know this must hurt, but I'm glad you'll do it."

"Hey, what are friends for?"

"Thanks, Tom. I don't deserve you."

I reach out and put my hand on his arm.

"You're right. You don't," I laugh, then swing my other hand outward towards the length of the shore. "Shall we continue?"

Harry nods. "Let's."

So why are you running away?
Why are you running away?
...What is it I've got to say...
So why are you running away?
...To make you admit you're afraid...
Why are you running away?



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