Subject: [PacKage] NEW/DRA: addendum to Confusion, P/T [P/K], R, 1/1.
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 12:24:40 +1000
From: Julad <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: PacKage <PacKage@onelist.com>
From: Julad <email@example.com>
Title: addendum to Confusion
Errrm, well. Um. This series parted from canon in about first or second season (it's been a *very* long time between installments) so can we all pretend the canon P/T hasn't happened and/or never will in this universe?
And this isn't even a proper story. It was meant to go on the end of Confusion but at the time I posted that, I couldn't be fucked writing this bit. But the next proper story is nearly sort of done. Almost. Kinda. ;)
I tend to forget this series even exists, until somebody writes me belated or archive feedback, then always I take it out and write a few sentences or so. So *huge* thanks to the people who give that - late has a much, much better effect on me than never. ;D And love to A, always.
Tom poked vengefully at the quivering brown substance on his plate. He tried scowling at it. He tried to pretend it was a juicy steak, or even a depressingly bland meatloaf. He tried ignoring it. None of these tactics made it possible for him to swallow the small portion of it that was in his mouth.
It wasn't the taste that was most off-putting. It just tasted strange, that was nothing new. It didn't smell at all, and if he closed his eyes, he couldn't be disturbed by its appearance. The texture was the problem - somewhere between tofu and jelly, with small gritty bits that grated on his tongue and cheeks. Tom tried to swallow, but his stomach lurched and his throat constricted. He gave serious consideration to spitting it out, but if he did that, even once, he'd never eat any of it. Finally, he took a huge gulp of water, imagined the stuff was medicine, and managed to force it down.
/One mouthful done, twenty to go./ Tom tried not to scream, and distracted himself by scanning the room for Harry. Then tried again not to scream, when Harry was nowhere to be seen.
Tom had barely spoken to his best friend in two days. Harry had avoided him like the proverbial plague since yesterday morning, dodging all Tom's attempts at conversation, and politely excusing himself from their usual activities. After a night of endless self-recriminations, Tom had used the next three day's rations replicating a leather-bound volume of 22nd century clarinet solos. He'd left it in Harry's quarters with a note apologising for everything he could think of, pleading with Harry to talk to him again.
So far, all it had gotten him was a solitary dinner, Neelix style. Tom stared dejectedly at his so-called food, and contemplated mouthful number two. A hand on his shoulder provided a stay of execution.
"Paris, I've taken one look at your face, one look at your food, and decided on dinner in my quarters. Care to join me?"
Tom looked up at B'Elanna, and forced himself to smile. "I'm out of rations. Or else I wouldn't be here trying to eat this."
B'Elanna folded her arms across her chest and scowled at him. "Well, since you look so miserable, I suppose I'll have to buy your dinner as well. If I don't, I'll just feel guilty and ruin my appetite."
"Don't try so hard to pretend you care," Tom drawled, but he couldn't help the hopeful look in his eyes. Lunch had been interupted by a red alert, and nine frantic hours spent racing against explosions and power loss as a conduits fizzed out in chain reaction across the ship. They'd lost the race, and paused to regroup and assess the damage. And he was very fucking hungry.
A stange expression flickered across her face, and then B'Ellana picked up the neglected dinner and shoved it into the reclamator. "Let's go."
Strolling out of the messhall together, they missed seeing Harry pause in the other doorway as he scanned the room. He sighed, then sat down with a cup of coffee and browsed through a large book of musical scores.
Tom had shovelled half a plate of macaroni cheese into his mouth before he remembered his manners and resumed the dinner table conversation.
"Sorry, I was distracted by the real food for a minute. What did the cause turn out to be?"
"Vorik," B'Elanna began, with the tense little shake of her head which meant she was clamping down hard on her temper. "That little weasel, that sly, double faced p'tach, didn't re-seal the conduits before going to lunch, because it wasn't *logical*," here she stabbed her plate viciously and Tom winced in sympathy for the poor innocent canneloni, "it wasn't *logical* to spend half an hour sealing them and half an hour unsealing them when we wouldn't be needing the plasma injectors online..." Tom winced again, knowing from the disaster that afternoon what was coming, "unless the chief engineer decided to run that level one diagnostic the captain requested, which wouldn't be *logical*, because the Chief Engineer would know that *Vorik* would find it *logical* to leave the conduits unsealed while he was on lunch!"
"Vulcan logic's such a bitch sometimes."
"Vulcan logic can get coated in warp plasma and shoved up Vorik's..." Tom stalled the onslaught of Klingon obscenities by shoving a large spoonful of macaroni cheese in B'Elanna's mouth. She shrieked in fury, spraying pasta all over the table and her dinner companion. Then she covered her mouth with both hands and tried to hide the fact that she was shaking with horrified laughter.
Tom looked down at his uniform, wiped a few bits of tomato and pasta from his cheeks and chin, and then grinned at her red face. "Well, it wasn't the result I had in mind, but if I'd known it would cheer you up I would have done it anyway."
She had grabbed a towel from the closet and started wiping off the mess, still laughing. "Oh, god, I'm sorry. I am so sorry. I had such a shocking day," tears were escaping her eyes, "and you seemed truly miserable and I thought, hey, what better company for me right now, but I didn't mean, I didn't want... I shouldn't be laughing but I'm... Sorry."
Tom took the towel from her hands and tossed it aside. "If you're so worried about it, I'll do something to make you feel better."
She jumped up, but she was too late and the fistful of sticky, gooey pasta thudded onto her neck. Retaliation was quickly splattered all over Tom's lap and soon they were rolling on the carpet among upturned plates and glasses, screeching and shrieking with laughter as finally, *finally*, the million petty stresses of the day were forgotten.
And as happens so often when two people are lonely, when one person bears the weight of a broken heart and a ruined friendship, and another carries the burden of an entire starship, and both seek oblivion from the day's agonies, lips came together. Accidently at first, but not for long. Clothes were rapidly disposed of and propriety was damned, as Tom thought briefly - hopelessly - of Harry, and B'Elanna considered half-heartedly the breezy rejection she would get in the morning. Then passion and need took over and misgivings were no longer important.
* * * * *
Later, much later, Tom would only wish that he'd taken a second to think through the consequences of having wild, sticky, urgent sex with B'Elanna on the floor of her quarters.
Because of *course* he'd ended up with bruises, bites and scratches from head to toe. Naturally he'd fallen into exhausted sleep without realising that B'Elanna's alarm would wake her in time for her normal shift, not him in time for his. And it was obvious, really, that when the captain did a location check from the bridge and he was commed and given ten seconds to be on the bridge, there had been no option but to let the entire ship see *exactly* why he was in the chief engineer's quarters that morning.
Of course Harry wouldn't meet his eyes. And the bubbly thank-you and apology on his desk, timestamped the previous night, were inevitably followed by a frosty note which had been sent from the ops terminal two minutes after he'd staggered onto the bridge.