Destiny

Summary: J/T, romance, Rated PG-13 for theme and language. The consequences of B'Elanna's confession.

Note: This story is f/f. If you do not like slash, I suggest you turn back now.

Disclaimer: Paramount's characters. My story. Don't sue.

Feedback is very much appreciated. :)

Dedicated to Tricia with all my love. May you forever be my source of inspiration.

By Daffnie (trekdimension@yahoo.com)

Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, Personal Log:

Kathryn is the missing link to destiny, to that which I had once believed was impossible to reach. I wanted nothing to do with love; I had been hurt too many times before, and by avoiding my emotions, I prevented myself from shattering. I wasn't going to allow my heart to be taken for granted. I wasn't going to allow my words to touch a mind that cared only for the superficial pleasures of lust. I kept my thoughts behind a brightly painted wall. I kept a smile on my face, showed my pain to no one but the battered reflection I saw each morning in the mirror.

She made me rethink my beliefs, ponder my empty existence, and regain my strength. I had lost the meaning of love because I dismissed it as being unessential to life. She changed my mind. I found myself falling for her, and I began having passionate dreams, ones where I would wake up with my heart and thoughts racing.

She made me love her, and she didn't even know I felt that way. I knew I had to tell her the truth eventually. It was so difficult to hide in a shadow, in a dark hole with no where to go except up. It was tiring to keep my emotions bound up inside. It was frustrating to want her presence and not get it because she was left to her ignorance.

I soon found that I couldn't concentrate on anything. She was the object of my desires, and I could think of nothing else. Her eyes, her laugh, her beautiful mind all made me breathless. I always craved to be near her, and every chance I got to be around led to a more powerful desire. I wanted to hold her, feel her lips pressed against mine, tell her how every night I couldn't sleep because I was so absorbed in these thoughts.

This in itself was difficult enough to keep to myself, but there were things that made it worse. I was raised to believe that heterosexuality was the only accepted possibility, but when I was in my teens, I denounced that which my mother taught me. She had a firm belief that homosexuals weren't honorable beings, and Kahless knows how fixed she was on that belief. There was nothing that would change her mind, so I didn't even bother trying. I kept my anger at her stubbornness inside. I was attracted to both sexes, but I never let on that I was that way. I would've been shunned...not only by my mother, but by the majority of everyone I knew. Most people disapproved of such an "unnatural, impure" way of life, and I never understood why. They said it wasn't right because it didn't lead to reproduction. And that's true, but what did that have to do with anything? Procreation isn't the same as love. And if it is so wrong to have affection for someone of the same sex, why does it exist at all? I never told all of this to my mother because it would fall upon deaf ears and a one-track, short-sighted mind.

I knew I had to put aside that frustration in order to be who I truly was. I needed to tell her; I needed to get my feelings out into the open where they could be put to use instead of letting the turmoil in my head continue.

End Log.

~*~

"You have the bridge, Commander," Kathryn said as she got up from her chair. "I'll be in my quarters."

She made her way past Tuvok's station to the turbolift.

"Deck two," she ordered and once the doors closed, she began rubbing the tight muscles in her neck. Kathryn sighed, realizing how much she was putting herself through. I shouldn't complain there are other people doing work harder than mine. But working fourteen hours a day did a hell of a number on her stress levels, which in turn knotted up all the muscles in her body. By the end of the day, she was tense and desperately in need of some rest.

The lift stopped at its destination, and Kathryn was so anxious to get to her quarters that she didn't notice B'Elanna waiting to get on. She walked right into the lieutenant, who lost her grip on the padds she had been holding.

"Oh my gosh, B'Elanna, I'm so sorry!" she apologized, bending over to pick up the padds from the ground.

Torres was shaken, having almost fallen over from the impact, and she stared at the objects in Kathryn's hands. Don't look at them please don't look down.

"It's alright, Captain. It was my own fault. I shouldn't have been standing in the way," she said, avoiding eye contact. "May I have those back?"

"Yes, of course."

She handed them to B'Elanna. The lieutenant shuffled the padds, looking for one in particular.

"Here," she said, holding it out to the captain. "This is the report on the repairs we did today." Just take it so I can leave I don't want you to see me like this I can't even look you in the eyes.

Kathryn nodded. "Thank you, Lieutenant."

B'Elanna gave a slight smile, and quickly got onto the turbolift. Before the captain could ask why she was in such a hurry, the doors were shut. She shrugged and turned to go to her quarters.

Once she entered, she placed the padd on her desk to read later and picked up a copy of Leaves of Grass. Kathryn wandered over to her couch and sank down into the corner.

"Finally, some time to relax," she mused to herself and found the page where the book mark lay.

O you whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you;
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.

She was able to read for ten minutes before she was interrupted by her door chime.

"Come in," she called, hoping the irritation wasn't evident in her voice. Who would want to see me at this hour?

The doors opened and B'Elanna entered.

"Sorry to disturb you, Captain."

"Hello again. What do you need?" she asked, getting to her feet to be polite. She walked towards Torres, whose eyes darted all over the room. Where is that damn padd I want to get it back before she gets the chance to see what I wrote I want her to know but this isn't the way to do it this is all wrong.

"I have a question. That padd I gave you...did you read it yet?"

"No..." Kathryn said, not knowing where B'Elanna was going with this. "Why do you ask?"

"I think I accidentally gave you the wrong one."

"Oh?"

Kathryn picked the padd up from the desk. She hadn't bothered to look at it; she had intended to put it aside for a while, but now she glanced at what was written. She saw that it was addressed to her, and her curiosity peaked. What is this all about?

"Can I have that back, Captain?"

Kathryn held out her free hand to tell her to stop talking.

"Hold on. This is a letter to me?"

"Yes, but-"

"Then why do you need it back?"

"I...uh...wasn't going to give it to you this soon. Here's the report you were supposed to have. How about a trade?"

Janeway ignored her. She read on into the letter.

Kathryn,

I have something to confess. It has been on my mind for quite a while, and I feel that you have the right to know. I'm hesitant to tell you, but I want to get this out. I knew that I loved you for a long time, but until recently, I didn't know that I'm in love with you.

Kathryn stopped there and looked up at B'Elanna. Torres kept her gaze locked on the floor.

"B'Elanna..."

"I know what you're going to say, Captain," she interjected quickly, making eye contact for the first time since she'd been in her quarters. "I probably never should have let you know. You're just going to tell me that there's no chance you're ever going to love me back. And I guess I'll just have to accept that. Hey, what's one more disappointment in life, ya know?" Shit why did I say that why can't I act like myself around her anymore?

"B'Elanna, that's not what I was going to say."

"What, then?"

"I'm glad you told me this." You don't know how many times I've wanted to hear you say that to me why didn't you tell me earlier?

"Why?"

Kathryn paused. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She tried again. "Because I feel the same way about you."

Torres looked shocked. "You do?"

Janeway nodded. "I'm sorry I never had to courage to tell you before. I was afraid that..." she trailed off and waited a beat to continue. "I was afraid you would think I was...I don't know...intrusive or indecent. You and Tom, well, everyone knows how close you two are. I didn't want to impose."

"We were never on intimate terms, if that's what you thought. Tom and I are just friends. You and I are just friends, but I can't help wanting it to be more than that. You don't know how many times I've dreamed about us, together," B'Elanna said softly, losing herself in Kathryn's steel blue eyes. Suddenly, she let out a humorless laugh. "I can't believe I'm actually telling you this.

"No, it's okay. I understand perfectly where you're coming from," Kathryn smiled. "Why don't you come sit down?"

B'Elanna nodded and followed her to the couch. They sat at a comfortable distance apart, neither wanting to push anything. Torres sat stiff and rung her hands. She stared at the book of poetry on the captain's coffee table, and no one talked for what seemed like an eternity. Kathryn finally broke the silence with a laugh.

"What's so funny?"

"You're remind me of a first year cadet waiting to be reprimanded by your superior. At ease, Lieutenant."

B'Elanna exhaled loudly and laughed herself.

"I'm sorry, Captain. I'm just very uncertain. I...don't know how to act around you now."

"You don't have to use formalities, B'Elanna. And don't be sorry."

Kathryn slid over next to her.

"I'm not invading your personal space, am I?"

She hesitated. "Well, normally I don't like people being that close to me, but I can make an exception, I guess."

"I don't want to make you uncomfortable. How close will you let me get to you?" Kathryn asked cautiously.

B'Elanna stared at her, words forming in her head but none coming to her mouth. You can get as close as you want as close as you need Kathryn. Kahless I have wanted to be this near to you for so long I want to touch you tear down your defenses make you know how much I love you. I can see it in your eyes that longing that desire do you want me Kathryn? I can be yours just say the words and you can have me. She couldn't get herself to speak. Janeway looked at her inquisitively.

"What's going through your mind, B'Elanna?"

Without another thought, she found herself with her lips pressed against Kathryn's. Is this a good enough answer Kathryn? The captain's reaction was to pull away.

"I'm really sorry..." B'Elanna said shamefully. "I shouldn't have done that."

"No. It's okay," Kathryn insisted, moving back to where she was previously sitting, realizing it was she who put this upon herself. It was nice but it's too soon. "I just wasn't expecting this to go that far."

B'Elanna felt guilty for pushing the perimeters. "Maybe I should leave," she offered, standing quickly.

"Please, B'Elanna, don't. I want you here," Kathryn pleaded. "More than you can imagine."

She hesitated. She wants me here I pushed it but she still wants me to stay. What am I supposed to do now she won't be comfortable maybe if I wait maybe if I gave this time to simmer. We'll see later what happens.

"No, I think it's best if I left. I apologize for everything, Captain. I should've kept things to myself," she said and walked out of her quarters, not wanting to regret her decision, but incapable of doing so.

Kathryn stared as B'Elanna left, as the door closed, as her eyes began to burn. She had wanted her to know how she felt, but now it didn't seem to matter. Kathryn sighed. So this is how it has to go maybe there's still time to change things. But how do I tell her I need her without over-stepping the boundaries she obviously is worried about pursuing anything how can I change her mind?

~*~

Kathryn was getting frustrated. She tossed around in bed, unable to find a position that was comfortable. Thoughts kept racing ceaselessly through her head. It was like a shower of what ifs, and she was drowning in a growing pool of questions. She kept wondering what would've happened if she hadn't been such a fool, if she hadn't rejected B'Elanna's advances.

She sat up, then, and flipped her lamp on. She took the notebook that sat on her night stand and opened it. She flipped through the pages, periodically stopping and reading what she had written.

...I watched B'Elanna yesterday while she was playing pool at Sandrine's. I was tempted to ask if I could play a round with her, but I resisted. So I sat at a table by myself, sipped synthehol, snuck glances at her when she wasn't looking my way. She didn't know I was watching her every move, but I almost wish she had noticed. She also doesn't know I try to be with her every spare moment I have. Sometimes I even make excuses to be with her...I bring her on away missions, assign her duties that involve my supervision, chat with her in the mess hall. She might see past my little game, but she doesn't let on if my intentions are mutually understood...

...I have been wondering what she might say if I asked her to dinner. Would she automatically reject me? Would she think I was joking or that it was only as a platonic gesture? I don't dare voice my questions, though, in fear that I will be turned down.. I don't want to risk ruining our friendship, so that's as far as I'll let it go. For now, anyway...

...I don't know what to think anymore. Tom's birthday was yesterday. The party was in the holodeck, at a dance hall, and I was having a great time. That is, until I saw Tom's hand resting on B'Elanna's knee. They were sitting by each other as he opened his gifts, and it didn't look like it bothered her to be touched by him. She even seemed to reciprocate their unresolved sexual tension by pulling him off to the side and offering him a birthday kiss. It was just a peck on the cheek, but it was an arrow to the heart. Then, he asked her to dance. It hurt me so much to sit there and watch them with a smile plastered on my face. The rest of the party, I pretended nothing was wrong. Afterwords, I retreated to my quarters and cried. I don't think I've ever felt so lost in my life. I was glad she could be happy with Tom, but I didn't know how to react towards my own emotions. I was broken, and I ached to muster up the courage to tell her how I feel...

Kathryn turned to the pages at the back of the notebook where she wrote her poetry. There was one titled "Elle est Si Belle" that she had a habit of avoiding because it was too emotional. Now, she forced herself to read it, and she wiped away the tears that blurred her vision.

"I wish you were here," Kathryn whispered, running her fingers over the paper as if she was drawing strength from it. I wonder what you would do if I gave myself to you would you be scared? She closed the book and set it back on the night stand with a sigh. She sat there, staring at it for several long moments, then she blinked and realized that she had to keep her mind on something else. This is getting me no where why can't I get her out of my head?

She pushed the covers off from her and got to her feet. Standing there for a while, she debated over what she was going to do. Where to go? I want to go to B'Elanna's quarters but would she want me there would I want to be there if I screw this up? She decided upon the mess hall, changed her clothes, and left her quarters.

The corridors were quiet and still. Most of the crew was sleeping. Only those on gamma shift were working. Ah, those lonely soles working the grave yard shift... Kathryn made it to the mess hall without crossing paths with a crew member, and she was grateful for that. She didn't feel like making small talk with anyone. Unfortunately, when the doors parted for her entrance, she saw Neelix behind the kitchen counter. But no one else, thankfully, was present. Kathryn walked up to him with a forced smile. What will it take to make you not speak to me?

"Captain! What a pleasant surprise! Looking for a midnight snack?"

She shook her head. Looking for a midnight retreat, and I'm not finding it here.

"Is there anything I can get for you?"

"Do you have any coffee?" she asked, craving the caffeine.

"Well, no. But I can make you some if you want," he offered.

"No, that's okay. I'll get it for myself," she responded, going to the replicator. "Computer, coffee. Black."

It shimmered into existence, and she picked it up, feeling the warmth seeping through the mug. She turned and sat down at the nearest table, all the while watching Neelix work at something she couldn't see. She saw him wipe off his hands and head over to her. Kathryn held her breath... Go away please go away I don't want to talk to you don't ask why I'm here just leave.

"Are you sure there isn't anything I can get for you, Captain?"

"Thanks, Neelix. I don't need anything," she smiled. Believably, she hoped. Just go away.

"Okay, but if you change your mind, don't be afraid to ask," he responded, bubbly as usual. Kathryn just stared at him. "Well, if that's all... Have a good night."

"You, too," she said, barely audible.

Neelix didn't move.

"Is something wrong, Captain?"

She kept her eyes from meeting his. "No, I'm fine."

"Are you sure? It looks like you have something on your mind. Do you need to talk?"

"Thanks, Neelix. But I'm okay. Good night," she said, hoping it would prompt him to leave. He took the hint, and she let herself breathe comfortably once the doors closed behind him. She pushed the mug aside and cradled her head in her arms on the table. What now? What am I supposed to do should I talk to her what would I say?

She sat back up, sighed heavily, and took a drink of coffee. Just then, the mess hall doors opened. Oh no Neelix not again. But B'Elanna stepped in and glanced around. Her gaze landed upon the captain.

"Captain! I didn't know... I didn't expect to see you here," she said in a rush. "I'll go and leave you alone." She turned and started to leave, but Kathryn called after her.

"Wait, B'Elanna. Please stay."

She turned back around, nodded, and sat herself down directly opposite of Janeway, who sipped her coffee. They both didn't know what to say, so they sat there until Kathryn finally said something.

"We've been together three separate times in a matter of a couple of hours. If I didn't know better, I would think you're trying to be with me. Are you obsessed, B'Elanna?" she quipped with a smile in her voice and one creeping into existence on her face. She couldn't hold it back.

"It's good to see you're not upset with me for leaving. I'm sorry. I was afraid I hurt you, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the moment."

"I understand, B'Elanna. Don't fret it."

"So... what now?"

"You know, I asked myself that same question, and I still haven't come up with an answer. Why don't you try?"

"Okay. Umm..."

She didn't finish her thought.

"Well?" Kathryn prompted. "What is going to happen now?"

"What do I think is going to happen, or what is it I want to happen?"

"Does it make a difference? Aren't they the same thing?"

This made her think. So what I want is what I'll get. That's fair enough but what do I say? I should tell the truth but would it be going too far too soon do I dare speak my mind would it push her away?

"I'm not sure" is all she said.

"You're not sure?"

"Well, I know what I want, but I don't want to say."

"Why not?"

"Because I don't know how you'll react, and I'm scared I'll offend you somehow."

"Well, the only way you'll find out is by asking. And I promise you this: I'll consider anything you say with an open mind. I won't judge, I won't laugh, and I won't punish you for telling the truth."

"You're positive?"

She nodded.

"Okay then." She paused. "I want us to be more than friends. But I'm afraid of it because I've never been in love with a woman before, and I know that a lot of people are homophobes. If I act on my love, I want it to be acknowledged and approved. I accept you for who you are, Kathryn, and I hope you'll do the same with me. I know you said you feel the same way I do about you, but I still question things. I'll need reassurance."

Kathryn nodded again. "Thanks for letting me know."

"And...?"

"And what?"

"Is that all you're going to say? Aren't you going to tell me what you think?"

"Honestly, B'Elanna, I don't know what to think. Sorry. I can't give you more than that right now."

"That's alright. Tell me when you figure things out, okay?"

"Okay."

"Well," B'Elanna said, standing. "I think I'll leave you to your thoughts and your coffee. I need to get some sleep. You should try doing the same."

"Good night, B'Elanna."

"Sweet dreams, Kathryn."

~*~

It was 6 am. The alarm went off, and B'Elanna snapped awake and sat up in bed, pushing the blanket away.

"Computer," she said, groggily as she stood up and stretched, "end alarm. Reset for tomorrow, six in the morning."

B'Elanna yawned and pulled a fresh uniform from a shelf. "Yet another day in the life of B'Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer. How incredibly exciting," she muttered to herself and changed out of her pajamas.

She wandered out into her living room, sat on her chair, and slipped on her boots. When she was done and straightened back up, she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She went over to her desk to see what was on it and discovered an note laying there. It read:

I thought about what you said, and I know now how to respond. If you want to find out, meet me in my quarters at 2200 hours. It's a formal affair, so dress appropriately.

K.J.

B'Elanna smiled to herself. So this is the way she wants to play it, huh? She couldn't wait until the evening...

~*~

B'Elanna came to the doors to Kathryn's quarters and stopped herself before she let her finger press the door chime. She was annoyed with her own hesitation, not understanding why she felt so nervous. She shook her head and looked down at her outfit. Was a low neck line, high cut with a slit up the thigh, red satin dress appropriate? Did I over do it? What was I thinking wearing this dress? It's so revealing... She sighed and forced herself to push the button despite her feelings. From inside, she heard Kathryn tell her to come in. She did so, the doors closed behind her...

And she gasped. "Oh, my..."

It was dark. The stars and the many candles that were scattered all around were the only illumination. B'Elanna spotted Kathryn's silhouette near the window, and she took a few steps towards her.

"Kathryn," she breathed and looked around, noticing her dining room furniture had been replaced with a bistro set of a table and a pair of chairs. Two places were set with fine china, and a bottle of wine sat in an ice bucket on a stool nearby.

She turned to face B'Elanna. The flickering candle light made shadows dance across her features. "I'm glad you decided to come. I was afraid you wouldn't."

"Of course I would come! I wouldn't want to let all this," she gestured to everything around the room, "go to waste. And how could I pass up an invitation for an evening with you?"

Kathryn smiled. "You look beautiful, B'Elanna."

She blushed. "Thank you. You look stunning yourself."

Kathryn was dressed in a sleek, knee length black skirt with a sleeveless, boat neck cut black top. Her hair was gathered in curls at the back of her head with a few spiraling strands hanging down in the front, framing her face.

"Computer, play selection Janeway Delta 7."

The room filled with the soft notes of mellow classical music. Kathryn approached her and held out her hand.

"Care to dance?"

"Here? Now?"

"Yes."

"Alright," B'Elanna agreed, and took her hand. Kathryn wrapped her arms around B'Elanna's neck, rested them on her shoulders, while Torres hesitantly wrapped hers around Kathryn's waist. They slowly began to move to the music.

"You're tense, B'Elanna. Does this scare you being so close?"

She loosened her muscles and let herself flow with Kathryn's body.

"No...I'm just nervous."

"Well," she whispered in B'Elanna's ear, "don't be."

Kathryn held her closer. As they continued to dance, she brought one hand to B'Elanna's face and stroked her cheek with her thumb. Torres stopped moving then, removed her hand from her face, and lowered it back to her side. Kathryn looked puzzled, but the expression didn't last long, as B'Elanna leaned over and planted light kisses along her jaw and down her neck. She grew bolder and sought out Kathryn's lips with her own. They kissed slowly, softly at first but as desire built, it grew harder, more passionate. B'Elanna pressed her against the wall and ran her hands down Janeway's body. Kathryn moaned, and she parted B'Elanna's lips with her tongue. Torres responded, enjoying getting a taste of her, lingering on the sensations that echoed through her body. Kathryn ran her fingers through B'Elanna's silky hair, and lowered her touch to her neck. She then fingered the dress's narrow strap and slipped it off her shoulder. B'Elanna broke the kiss and took a few needed breaths of oxygen.

"Did I go too far?" Janeway whispered breathlessly.

Torres nodded and brought the strap back to its place. She backed away a few steps.

"Maybe we should eat now," B'Elanna said.

Kathryn didn't respond.

"Is that okay with you?"

She waited a while before saying, "Yes, that's fine."

Well that's not very convincing, Kathryn. They both went to the table; B'Elanna sat down and Kathryn poured each of them some wine. After lighting more candles, she went to the replicator.

"Computer. Two servings of poulet de citron."

She brought the food over, put it on their plates, and sat down.

"Looks delicious," B'Elanna commented. "But what is 'poo-lay duh sit-ron'?"

"It's chicken in a citrus marinade."

"Oh. Sounds wonderful," she said, and took a bite. "Wow, I don't think I've ever tasted anything this good!"

Kathryn smiled. "I'm glad you like it."

They continued with their meal, enjoying each other's company, enjoying the wine. Kathryn told a humorous anecdote about a time when she was young and there was a boy, Darren, who had a crush on her. He wouldn't leave her alone, so she devised a plan to keep him away...she faked her own death. B'Elanna was laughing so hard tears came to her eyes.

"Oh my gosh!" she said when she finally settled down a bit. "And how old were you?"

"I believe I was seven at the time."

"I can't believe you'd actually think of something like that let alone go through with it!"

"Well, I was a very...clever child. I was faced with a problem, and I solved it quickly and effectively," Janeway grinned.

B'Elanna took a slow, deep breath to calm herself down more, then said, "Has anyone ever told you what a beautiful smile you have?"

"Yes, Darren did," she laughed.

~*~

After dinner, Kathryn invited her into her bedroom. She told B'Elanna to come in and sit down on the bed with her. Torres was a little nervous, and Janeway noticed the obvious display of hesitation. She insisted that she wouldn't do anything they both didn't agree on.

"But you have to tell me what you want," Kathryn continued as Torres took a seat beside her. The captain gently took her hand. "All you have to do is ask, B'Elanna. It's that simple. If you want anything, you'll have to tell me. I can't read your mind."

"Sometimes I wish you could." Like right now.

"Really? Why's that?"

"I wish you could know how much I love you."

"If it's anything like how I feel towards you, I know."

That made her more comfortable. They shifted positions; Kathryn lay her head in B'Elanna's lap, and Torres stroked her hair.

"I wish I had more time with you like this," the lieutenant mused. I want the universe to stand still so I can be with you forever.

"We can make that happen, if that's what you want."

"Of course. You don't know how happy it makes me to be here with you." She brushed a lock of hair away from Kathryn's eyes, who shone with contentment. "You don't know how many times I have dreamed of a time like this."

"Oh, I think I have an idea."

~*~

The next day, Kathryn sat on the bridge during a highly uneventful day. She tapped her fingers incessantly on the arm of her hair. Chakotay looked over at her with a question in his eyes.

"Is there something wrong, Kathryn?" he leaned over and said in a low voice.

She shook her head. "No. Everything's fine."

"Why don't I believe you?"

"I don't know."

"And why do I get the feeling you're hiding something from everyone?"

"I don't know that, either, Chakotay. Maybe you're just reading too far into things and making illogical conclusions."

"Maybe, but I'm right, aren't I?"

She locked her eyes on his. He was having a difficult time keeping a smile from emerging, and she could see it.

"Aren't I, Kathryn?" he repeated.

How am I supposed to respond to that? Damn you, Chakotay. Why do you have to get under my skin?

"Come in my ready room with me, Commander."

She led the way. Once the door had closed, she allowed herself to sigh.

"You're too nosy for your own good. Has anyone ever told you that some people like to keep their personal business to themselves?"

"As a matter of fact...no. So now, are you going to tell me what's been on your mind or do you want me to guess?"

She clasped her hands behind her back and wandered towards the windows. She didn't want to face him when she said, "I'm having some...difficulty in a relationship, and I have been dishonest. I don't want to hurt anyone, but I don't know what to do anymore. I'm lost, Chakotay, and my guiding light has left me. How am I supposed to find my way in the dark? Grope along the walls and pray I find an exit?"

She turned back to face him.

"Well, if you'll give me more information, maybe I can help you get everything straightened out."

"I'm afraid of going into detail. I'm surprised at myself that I have even told you this much."

"I won't tell anyone else, Kathryn. I promise. What ever you say will be kept between us."

"I'm not sure if I'm willing to share, Chakotay." I don't want to make everything worse. I don't want B'Elanna to find out the truth. What if he tells her? What would I do then? She continued, "I think I've made too many mistakes that I can't correct anymore. If I try, I might ruin what hope I have left."

"You're being cryptical." Just tell me.

She folded her arms across her chest. "I know, that's the whole point. I don't want to open up quite yet, I don't think."

"Why not?"

"Why not?" she echoed. "I don't know. I guess I just don't want you to know how cruel I can be sometimes. You don't need to become involved in my mistake. And besides, I don't know what you could do for me, anyways. I can't even get myself out of it. How do you expect to help me?"

"Why don't you just say what's going on? Get it off your chest because obviously it's a burden that's weighing you down. You must be tired, Kathryn, from all that's been going on. I can see it in your eyes. You're emotionally worn out, aren't you?"

"I am tired, I am worn out, and I'm out of options."

"So how come you don't let me help?"

Should I tell him? He seems sincere enough. Perhaps if I only give him bits and pieces of the picture and not the whole thing. That way, I can ensure my safety and privacy.

"Alright," she said quietly, "I'll tell you... As long as what I say never leaves this room, okay?"

"That's fine with me. Whatever you want."

"So...where am I supposed to start?"

"The beginning might be a good choice."

"Okay. The beginning. Well, there was an accident. Nothing too serious, I assure you. Or atleast that's what I thought. There was a padd mix up, and from that, I found out something I wasn't supposed to know. Something personal. At first, I wasn't sure how to react. What was I supposed to do with that kind of information?"

"Wait. Hold on, Kathryn. What kind of information? You're going to have to tell me if you want me to understand your story."

"...Alright," she hesitated. "I found out someone was attracted to me."

"Oh really? Who?"

"I don't think I want to say. This person might be upset if I go telling everyone."

"You won't be telling everyone. Only me, and I wouldn't say a word about it to another soul."

She gave him a look, judging how much truth was in his statement.

"B'Elanna Torres," she said, half regretting it as the words passed through her lips.

No emotions registered on his face. She had expected him to be shocked to hear it was a woman.

"Okay. Go on..."

"You're not at all surprised it's her?"

"No, I can see it happening. From what I can tell, she has been attracted to you for some time."

"She has? You knew? How many other people know about this?"

"I think I'm the only one. No one else is observant like I am, and they don't have as close of a relationship as I do with her. I've been B'Elanna's friend for almost ten years now. I know a lot more about her than she realizes."

"Hmm...that's interesting," she thought out loud and paused. "Anyways, I'll continue with the story. After the padd mix up, I told her I felt the same way as she did, from what I could understand. She seemed happy to know this, but I wasn't really at ease with the situation. I was nervous about pursuing a relationship with anyone. So I gave her what she wanted to hear. I invited her to dinner in my quarters, and she came as I had expected. The thing is, I was never actually there."

"What do you mean you weren't actually there?"

Just tell him the truth. Let it out. "I rigged up a few holo emitters and a camera in my quarters. I made a hologram of myself and watched her and B'Elanna interact. This way, if she were ever to bring up the date in a conversation, I would have knowledge of what went on. I could act like it was really me who she kissed."

Chakotay looked stunned. "And were you ever planning on telling her all of this?"

Kathryn's face was covered in shame, and she hung her head. She brought a hand up to her temple and massaged it with two fingers. After a while of silence, she responded, "That's the problem. I feel bad about it, and I want to tell her the truth, but it would be easier if I just played along like this never happened. And B'Elanna would be extremely angry with me if she knew."

"So you're going to lie to her? Why?"

"I want her to be happy, but I don't share the same affection that she has for me. I didn't want to let her down."

"And you'd prefer to make it stay this way? Why not be honest? That's what's most important in a relationship, you know. Do you expect to keep doing this, even when you know that she'll probably discover the truth sooner or later?"

"I know I should break it to her, but I'm scared. She has so much love for me, and I don't want to disappoint her."

"So what are you going to do?"

"I don't know," she said, exasperated. "That's what I need your help with. What should I do?"

"If I were you, I would tell her the truth the first available chance you have. But then again, I'm not you, so it's going to have to be your own decision."

"That's what I was afraid of."

~*~

Kathryn Janeway, Personal Log:

I realized it was necessary to clear everything up with B'Elanna. I feel terrible about betraying her like that, but the truth must be told. I hope she won't get too angry with me...I still want to be friends with her. I don't want that relationship to be torn apart, even if the possibility of a romantic one is.

I'm scared about confronting her. What will I say? What will she say? I pray everything will work out okay. Even if she decides to leave me out of her life for lying to her, I'll just have to accept it. I'll have to deal with anything she throws at me without a fight because it's what I deserve. I never should have made that hologram. I never should have led her on like I have. And I never should have let it all get this far without telling her how I truly feel... My feelings won't ever be as strong as those she has for me, and it's almost depressing to think about. She should get something better than what I have dished out.

I plan on giving her the truth tomorrow when we're both off duty at the same time. Hopefully, I'll have the right opportunity and the courage to tell her. If I don't, I don't know how and when she'll know. I just don't want her to find out by herself. That might be more painful than me saying something. What if she discovered those holo emitters one day? What would I say then? I know I have to let her know I lied to her soon enough, but it is going to be difficult. The best I can hope for is that she will still love me...even if things don't progress from there. I don't want her to hate me for what I did, but I know she'll be very disappointed. And maybe it's for the best. Maybe everything will turn out okay.

End Log.

~*~

Kathryn went down to Engineering to see if B'Elanna was there. She was eager to talk to her, yet afraid at the same time. She wanted to tell her as soon as possible, and so she hoped B'Elanna would be working at her usual post. Unfortunately, after asking around, no one knew where she was at. Kathryn left Engineering and went into the corridor.

"Computer, where is B'Elanna Torres?"

"B'Elanna Torres is in Captain Janeway's quarters."

"What?!" she exclaimed without thinking. How on Earth did she get in there?

She decided to find out. Kathryn took the turbolift to deck two and went to her quarters. After keying in the code to enter, the doors opened and then closed once she was in. The room was dark. She looked around, but she couldn't see anyone. Then, there was a noise coming from her bedroom, and she cautiously walked over to the door that led into it. Kathryn saw a dark shadow moving in the corner, and that was where the sounds were coming from. She assumed automatically that it was B'Elanna.

"Computer, turn on lights," Janeway commanded.

The bedroom filled with illumination, and Kathryn gasped. Clothes were scattered on the floor and on the bed. B'Elanna was there, as she had guessed, but she was in her underwear. And she was with someone else... Herself?! And they were kissing! Their hands were all over each other, desperately seeking out bare flesh.

Oh shit, the hologram! How did that get activated?

Once the lights went on, the two sprang apart. B'Elanna flattened herself against the wall in shock.

"Kathryn?!" she yelled, looking at one Kathryn, then the other, extremely confused. "But I - But you - Who are you? What the hell is going on here?"

She made a futile attempt to gather her clothes and cover herself with them. She quickly put a shirt on, then slipped on the pants.

"Oh my gosh, B'Elanna," Kathryn said, glancing away as she dressed. Once she saw that she had her clothes on, she looked back. "What are you doing here?"

"You asked me to come here! Or...she asked me to come here. One of you did!" she said, frightened and perplexed.

Kathryn sighed. "Computer, delete hologram."

Her other "self" wavered out of existence.

"Hologram?!" B'Elanna asked. "What the -"

"Let me explain," Kathryn interjected.

Torres narrowed her eyes.

"I'm am so sorry. I was going to tell you, and I was planning on doing so just now, but then I discovered you. Here. With her."

"Waaaait a second. You made a hologram of yourself? But how? There aren't any holo emitters here!"

"Yes, there are. I rigged them; one in each room. Like I said, it wasn't supposed to happen this way. What I want to know is how it got activated."

"You probably left it on accidentally," she responded in a cocky manner. "This is great. Just great, Kathryn."

"I'm really sorry, B'Elanna."

"Yeah, right. What the hell do you take me as? How could you do something like this to me?"

"I...I had no other choice."

"Uh huh. Right. No other choice? So you sent that damn hologram to do the dirty work? 'Cause you were too scared?"

"It's not that I was scared. I didn't want to hurt you."

"You didn't want to hurt me? Can't you see you've already done that?"

"I was going to tell you."

"Well, it wasn't soon enough. And what's worse, you let it go further. I was kissing a hologram I thought was you, for God's sake! A hologram, Kathryn! How could you even fathom doing something of this magnitude to someone who loves you?"

"I didn't think it out well enough before I acted."

"Obviously," B'Elanna sneered. "So what now? Are you going to keep your clone around? Store an emitter in your closet for future use? Not tell me which is the real you?"

"I didn't have the heart to disappoint you. That's why I did this," she said, trying to sound as calm as possible. "B'Elanna, you said you love me, and I said I felt the same way, but I hadn't realized how strong your feelings were... Mine aren't as profound as yours. And once I discovered this, it was too late. I had intended to be the one who had dinner with you three nights ago, but I was scared. I evaded the problem."

B'Elanna crossed her arms and physically put up a defensive barrier. "So basically you're saying you chickened out, lied to me, and purposely left me in the dark?"

"...I guess you're right, but you have to understand, I hadn't intended to hurt you. I just wasn't thinking clearly, and the consequences of my actions ended up being worse than I could have ever imagined."

"Well, Kathryn, this has been a wonderful conversation. I'll be leaving now. Come talk to me when you get yourself straightened out."

B'Elanna pushed past Janeway and exited her quarters quickly.

~*~

B'Elanna Torres, Personal Log:

I can't believe she had the audacity to betray me like that. Does she think this is some sort of game? Knock me down and see how times she can keep doing it? Play with me like I'm a toy, there for her own amusement? I'm absolutely appalled she allowed herself to go through with something that she had to have known would only hurt me in the end. And how long did she expect to keep this game up? Would she have told me like she said, or would she have continued lying to me if she hadn't found me kissing the hologram?

I have so many questions, and with the way Kathryn likes to beat around the bush, I don't think I'll be getting any legitimate answers any time soon.

However...despite all she has done to me, I still find myself loving her. I guess, after all, love never dies. And that's what has made everything a living Hell.

End Log.

=/\=

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