Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I don’t. I'm just manipulating their characters.

Summary: This story is based on the Voyager episode ‘Resolutions’, but it is my own Paris/Torres version. PG

By Daffnie (


B’Elanna sat at the small table tapping her foot impatiently. Tom was supposed to be back a half hour ago for dinner. The food was getting cold, and she was filled with overwhelming irritation. * What’s he been up to anyway? He spends hours out there in the woods by himself and won’t even tell me what he’s been doing.* She jumped a little when she heard the door to their makeshift house slam shut.

“ Sorry I’m late,” he apologized as he sat down at the table, eyeing the food. “ Looks delicious. You really out did yourself this time.”

“ I’m not going to cook for us anymore if you don’t show up to eat it,” she grumbled.

“ I said I was sorry, B’Elanna...”

She ignored him and poked at the food with her fork.

“ What’s wrong?” he asked sincerely.

“ I’m not hungry.”

“ And?”

“ I haven’t been for the past few days,” she admitted. “I haven’t caught any insects that would be of any help for the last week. All that work and time down the drain! We’re never going to find a cure.”

“ Don’t say that, ‘Lanna. We’ll find one eventually. It’ll just take some time.”

“ I don’t know if I can wait. I miss Voyager, and I’m really beginning to hate this planet. Insect bites, sun burns, poison ivy...”

“ It’s not that bad,” he offered.

“ Maybe you’re right,” she sighed. “ I just want to go home.”

“ This is home, B’Elanna. For the time being anyway. Make the best of it.” He stood up. “ Come on. I have something to cheer you up.”

Tom led her out outside to the front of the house.

“ Ta da!” he exclaimed as he gestured his hand towards his creation.

“ A bath tub!” she shouted with just as much enthusiasm. She practically ran over to it, and peered inside. “ It’s wonderful!” Her hand skimmed over the edge of the tub.

“ Yeah,” he said, walking over to her and resting his hand on her shoulder, “ I know how much you hate those sonic showers.”

She turned to him.

“ Thanks,” she whispered with a smile

“ Anything for you, B’Elanna.”

She grinned inwardly as she gazed into his bright blue eyes. Tom suddenly felt awkward and looked down at his feet.

“ We oughta eat our dinner how...before it gets cold,” he said.

“ Yeah. I guess so,” she replied with obvious disappointment filling her words.

They slowly treaded back inside to eat their cold meal.

* * * *

That evening, just before the star in the sky made its way below the horizon, B’Elanna enjoyed a nice bath in her new tub. She relaxed in the warm water as she listened to the music Tom had on inside. The music drifted over to her with the gentle breeze. The melody danced with her senses and buried itself deep within her mind. She hummed along until she heard a sound that definitely wasn’t a part of the song. At first, she dismissed the noise and continued humming. Then she heard it again, and she stopped.

“ Hello? Is someone there?”

When she received no answer, B’Elanna got out of the tub cautiously and wrapped a towel around herself.

“ Tom! Come quick!” she called towards the house.

The music ended abruptly, and a worried lieutenant came scrambling outside.

“ What is it?” he whispered when he got to her. He found himself staring at her, at the bare skin that wasn’t hidden beneath the towel...her curved shoulders, her arms, her legs. She was a shapely woman, he could give her that. * Wow. She’s gorgeous. She is even with clothes on, but now...* B’Elanna noticed him looking at her and shot him an uneasy glance. He took the hint and moved his eyes away. She tried to pretend nothing happened.

“ I heard something. It came from over there,” she stated as she pointed towards the woods.

Tom paused to listen. “ I don’t hear anyth--”

“ Shh!”

A rustling noise came from the direction she had pointed to. Then, they heard another sound, but this one was different. It was the sound of an animal. Suddenly a small monkey came waddling out into view with its arms raised above his head and screeching as loud as it possibly could. B’Elanna grinned, and she moved toward it, holding her hand out in a friendly gesture.

“ Hey, little guy. What are you up to?”

Tom walked up behind her, using all this might to not look at her, but he couldn’t resist. The unclad tan skin was too comely to pass up.

“ You don’t actually expect him to answer, do you?” he said, but his mind wasn’t on the primate in front of her. * B’Elanna, you’re stunningly beautiful.*

“ No, but I detect intelligence,” she said matter-of-factly. Then she felt his eyes on her and spun around quickly.

“ See something you like, Paris?”

“ Huh? Oh. No. I was really should get dressed, B’Elanna. It’s getting a bit chilly out here.”

She raised an eyebrow and was about to say something like ‘ You’re such pig, Tom’ when she decided against it. Even though he *was* a pig, she would cut him some slack for looking at her like that...this time.

“ Hmm. I guess I should, shouldn’t I?” she agreed.

He simply nodded and walked off with his gaze fixed on the ground. Once he was inside, she laughed to herself and went into the house, too.

* * * *

B’Elanna dodged the trees as she scampered through the forest towards her insect traps. She was hoping that *today* (like every day she checked the traps) would be the day that she found that certain bug. She instantly stopped cold when she heard the monkey. It came out behind a tree, arms above his head like before, and started shrieking. She smiled.

“ Hi again. Have you been following me?”

The monkey screeched.

“ What is it?”

Suddenly, a loud clap of thunder shook the earth, nearly sending her and her case of equipment to the ground. A bolt of lightning struck a tree near by, and she screamed. Another rumbling peal brought her crashing down. She screamed again as she fell. Tom heard her and came running.

“ B’Elanna! B’Elanna! Where are you?!” he shouted.

He didn’t hear her.

“ B’Elanna! Where are you?!”

“ Over here!” she yelled.

“ I’m coming! Hold on!”

Tom sprinted over in the direction of her voice, finding her in an awkward position...her back on the grass, her arms sprawled out, and one leg propped against a tree. The case was lying a few feet away.

“ B’Elanna, are you alright?” He came over to her and took her hand.

“ Yeah, just help me up.”

He did so.

“ What about the equipment?”

“ Forget about that! We can come back for it later!” He shouted, and they both ran like the wind back to their shelter. They scrambled inside, and he pulled B’Elanna under a table. The ground still shook, and things on the shelves fell to the floor. Tom held onto her tightly, she on her side with his arms wrapped around her from the back. B’Elanna felt oddly comfortable in his embrace, and she mentally sighed when she felt his warm breath on her neck. A pot fell suddenly to the floor with a loud clang. She gasped and started to tremble from the shock. Tom calmed her down by rubbing her arm. She let out the air she was holding and welcomed his soothing touch.

* * * *

After the plasma storm, B’Elanna had went back out into the woods to see what was left of her equipment. There was nothing...absolutely nothing worth salvaging. She instantly lost her temper and threw a trap against the trees with all her strength. It shattered to pieces on impact. She picked up another one and hurled it against the same tree. She screamed out of frustration and cursed at the sky. Tom came over to her, took her arm, and violently turned her around to face him. She struggled to get away but he held on tight.

“ Let go of me!” she screamed.

“ Get a hold of yourself, B’Elanna!”

She was about to say something, but immediately realized how she was acting and settled down. Tom let go of her, and she slowly sat down on the ground.

“ It’s all gone, Tom,” she whispered sadly. “ Everything was ruined in that storm.”

“ We’ll just continue with what we’ve got.”

“ What are we supposed to do? We don’t have any more equipment!”

“ We’ll make do with what we have. If you start giving up hope now, we *will* be stranded here. Is that what you want?”

She gave him a low growl and got up. She started walking away, and he let her. Tom knew she needed her space and some time alone to think this over. He sat there and thought about it himself. * I really wish I could believe myself that we will figure this out. I don’t know if we will ever find a cure. She’s probably right... Geez, maybe *I’m* the one who should be told to not give up hope.*

* * * *

“ Hey, B’El. Give it a rest for today. You’ve been working for over sixteen hours. You can work on it in the morning.”

She ignored him and continued studying something from a PADD. Tom knew that she wasn’t about to allow herself to quit for the night, so he helped her do it for her. He went behind her and took the PADD out of her fingers. She tried to get up to get it back, but he pushed her back down in her chair. She gave up with an angry growl and put one hand to the back of her neck. She started rubbing it, trying to get the knots out. Tom took the initiative to help her out. He set the PADD down on a nearby shelf and moved her hair to either side of her head.

“ What are you doing?” she snapped.

“ Just trust me, B’Elanna,” he stated as his fingers began to massage her shoulders, working out the tension. His thumbs began to slowly knead her neck, and she moaned in relief.

“ Even my knots have knots,” she laughed.

He smiled even though she wouldn’t be able to see it, and then he began to use all his fingers to work her sore muscles in her neck.

“ I used to do this for one of my friends in the Maquis when she was sore. I was the only one she’d trust not to make it worse.”

“ Mmmm. I can see why. That feels good,” she asserted.

Tom finished up the massage and put her hair back how it was. He sat down across from her and grinned.

“ Thank you,” she said with a yawn.

“ No problem. You should get some sleep now.”

“ I think you’re right,” she mumbled and got up from her chair. She went to her small room and flopped on her bed.

“ Good night, Tom.”

“ Night, B’Elanna. Sleep well.”

* * * *

Tom was aimlessly drumming his fingers on the table top. He had never bothered going to sleep. B’Elanna turned over in her bed, listening to his irregular tapping, and groaned softly. She got up and went out into the main room.

“ Tom,” she mumbled, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “ Why are you still up?”

“ I can’t sleep.”

She sat down across from him at the table and yawned.

“ How come?”

* Because I can’t stop thinking about you.* “ I don’t know,” he lied. “ How come you’re awake?”

“ You were making so much noise.”

“ Oh...sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

She gave him a crooked smile. “ It’s okay. I couldn’t sleep, either. Too many things on my mind, I guess.”

“ Like what?”

Pause. She drew in a breath and slowly let it out.

“ Tom, I think we should define some perameters.”

“ What?”

“ Between us.”

“ Why? ”

“ We can’t let our feelings get in the way of our work. If we get too involved with each other, we will never find a cure. I know this is...”

“ B’Elanna, let me tell you a true story,” he cut her off.

She nodded, and he cleared his throat.

“ There once was a man who was walking down the street on a beautiful sunny day. He was smiling to himself because he had a large house, a great job, and a lot of great friends. His life seemed perfect, but this man was lonely. Then one day when he was walking down that same street, he saw a woman. She was sitting on a curb, barely dressed, and crying. The man walked over to her to see what was wrong. She told him that she didn’t have a house, a job, or any friends. The woman looked up at him, and when he seen her beautiful face, he instantly promised to himself that he would take care of this woman no matter what happened. And from then on, that man wasn’t lonely anymore.”

She smiled. “ That really isn’t a true story, is it?”

“ No,” he admitted, “but that made it easier to say.”

B’Elanna put her elbow up on the table, and held her arm up. She stretched her fingers apart slightly. Tom lifted his hand to hers, and their fingers intertwined. A tingling sensation echoed throughout her entire body, and she wished that moment could last forever.

* * * *

The two sat by the blazing campfire near the house, trying to warm themselves as they sat in the cool darkness of twilight. They huddled against one another covered in a blanket, enjoying each other’s presence. B’Elanna loved to be close to him, and she yearned for his warmth. She rested her head against his chest, feeling it rise and fall with every breath he took. Tom nestled his chin in her hair, and quietly inhaled its sweet fragrance.

“ This was such a great idea, Tom,” she purred.

“ Mm hmm. I’m glad you enjoy it.”

He kissed the top of her head. “ Ya wanna make some s’mores?” he asked.

“ What are s’mores?”

“ They’re a twentieth century thing. It’s a roasted marshmallow and chocolate on graham crackers.”

“ Sounds delicious.”

“ That’s good, ‘cause I have all we need over in this bag here.”

She sat up all the way but remained facing the fire. Tom reached over to the bag and pulled out the food. He got a thin branch lying near by, opened the package of marshmallows, and stuck it at the end of the stick.

“ Ew!” B’Elanna exclaimed. “ You’re not serious?! Do you expect me to eat food that was cooked on something you found in the dirt? That’s disgusting, Tom! You know how many *germs* will be on there?”

“ So what! Like I always say, ‘ A little dirt never hurt.’ It’s not going to kill you to eat it, B’Elanna.”

“ And if it does...?”

“ Well, if it does you won’t be able to get your revenge ‘cause you’ll be dead,” he laughed.

“ Whatever, Tom. Just make a s’more already.”

He put the marshmallow just above the flame to roast. Single flames licked it a few times, and it set on fire. Tom expertly brought it near his face and blew it out. B’Elanna looked at him in disgust.

“ You’re going to eat that one, right?” she asked hesitantly.

“ What...B’Elanna Torres is too afraid to eat a dirty, burnt marshmallow?”

“ You’re darn right I am. That’s repulsive.”

Tom just laughed and put his s’more together. He ate it in two bites.

“ So,” he said with marshmallow still sticking to the roof of his mouth, “ how do you plan to make one for yourself?” He swallowed. “There’s nothing else to cook it with.”

“ Then I’ll pass.”

“ Oh come on, B’Elanna! It’s good.”

“ Sorry, Tom. Not today.”

“ Suit yourself. You don’t know what you’re missing.”

“ I doubt that I’m missing a whole lot.”

They both fell silent then. The only sound that was heard was the snapping of the fire. B’Elanna was enjoying the rare silence, and she leaned back onto him with a sigh. He wrapped his arms around her, and she pulled the blanket back over them.

Inside the house, a voice crackled over their combadges sitting on a shelf. “ --Janeway-- ieutenants Tom -- and B’Elanna -- orres.”

“ Did you hear that?” Tom asked, straining to listen past the noises of the fire.

“ What?”

“ I’m not sure. It sounded like...the captain,” he said, surprised himself.

“ Are you hearing things, Tom?”

“ No, I’m serious. Listen.”

“ This is Captain Kathryn Janeway to Lieutenants Paris and Torres. Come in.”

“ The combadges! It’s Voyager!” B’Elanna shouted as she lept up to her feet. She ran into the house, and Tom followed close behind. She grabbed a combadge and tapped the surface.

“ We’re here, Captain. We’re fine,” she said, trying to hide her excitement.

“ B’Elanna. It’s good to hear your voice,” she stated in her usual calm tone, then continued. “ We have an antidote for your disease. We will be in orbit of the planet in 30 hours. Will you be prepared to leave by then?”

“ Yes, Captain. We will.”

“ Very well, Lieutenant. Janeway out.”

She smiled at Tom who stared blankly ahead. She looked at him in question.

“ Voyager’s returning. Aren’t you happy?”

“ Yeah, I guess,” he said quietly.

“ We’re going back to our friends, our jobs, our *home* after months of being here, and all you can say is ‘yeah, I guess’?”

“ What do you expect me to say? Hooray! Voyager’s back! We get to leave this planet forever!” he said sarcastically.

“ That’d be a start.”

“ Don’t you see, B’Elanna? We’ve made a home for ourselves here. We’ve gotten to know each other better, and frankly, I don’t want it to end so soon. I *like* it here.”

“ What?! Are you saying you’re not going back?”

“ No! No. It’s not that....B’Elanna, what will happen to us when we return?”

“ I’ll go back to my job in engineering, and you’ll...”

“ No, not that. What will happen between us?”

“ Oh. Well, I...don’t know, Tom. I guess that if it’s meant to be then that’s fine with me. Whatever happens will happen with time. And if it’s nothing, then we’ll have to deal with it like adults.”

“ I was afraid you’d say that.”

“ But do you agree?”

“ Sure, but I hope things will work out once we’re back on the ship. Nothing’s going to be quite the same again.”

“ Of course they’re not, but we’re going to take it one day at a time, okay?”

“ Sure,” he responded.

“ Good. Now, we oughta start packing.”

* * * *

With all their supplies and equipment surrounding them in an attempt at an organized heap, both Tom and B’Elanna stood uncomfortably. Voyager would be coming in less than ten minutes, and neither of them spoke to the other for the past couple hours. B’Elanna leaned again a wall that used to be part of their house and tapped her fingernails against it impatiently. Tom had his arms folded across his chest, and he moved his foot around in the dirt, creating a lopsided circle. Torres groaned.

“ This is ridiculous, Tom. Aren’t you going to say something?”

“ Nope.”

“ Fine,” she snorted as she folded her arms herself. “ We can just stand around waiting for the ship to come and refuse to talk to each other because we both know the other’s afraid of what’s going to happen when we return.”

“ You got it.”

“ You can be so difficult sometimes, you realize that?”

Tom shrugged and continued to work on making the circle. She snarled at him. He lifted his head just enough to catch her eye and laughed.

“ What’s so funny?”

“ You.”

“ Why?”

“ You’re blowing this whole thing way out of proportion.”

“ What *thing*?”

“ Us. I think that you’re so insecure that you’re taking it out on me.”

“ Insecure? Why would I be insecure?”

“ I don’t know. Maybe because you’re afraid of being committed to someone.”

She snarled at him again and turned to face the forest. There was an uneasy hush that sent shivers down her spine. It was as if all the birds and the wind stopped suddenly to listen to if she would say something. Even the babbling brook nearby seemed to stop babbling in order to hear what she had to say. But her silence was deafening. B’Elanna tried to calm herself down by taking a deep breath and letting it out. Tom was staring at her, and she could feel his eyes burning into her with such intensity that she was forced to turn back around.

“ Why do you keep staring at me?”

“ Because you’re so beautiful.”

She was stunned. “ think I’m beautiful? Tom, are you serious?

” “ You’re beautiful, B’Elanna, cranial ridges and all.”

That made her grin.

“ And especially your smile,” he added.

“ Tom, you always know how to cheer someone up,” she said softly.

“ Hey, what am I here for?”

She moved towards him. She was going to give him a hug when he surprised her by leaning down to kiss her. Their faces were only an inch apart when the attempt was abruptly halted by Janeway’s voice.

“ Janeway to Paris and Torres. Are you ready?”

They jumped away from each other. Tom collected himself and said, “ Aye, Captain.” He gave B’Elanna a loving glance, and finished. “ Two to beam up.”

* * * *