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01 January 2014 @ 03:07 pm
ST: Voyager Oneshot: Tangled Roots Perplex Her Ways  
Title: Tangled Roots Perplex Her Ways
By Jesterlady
Pairing: Tom/B'Elanna
Rating: PG-13
Summary: When she was done she tried to figure out what to do. She hadn’t gotten past saving the away mission and eating pancakes on her mental list of things to do. She knew what she should do, there were a lot of apologies she needed to make, but one in particular, and she hated making apologies.
Disclaimer: I don't own ST Voyager. The title is by William Blake

Tangled Roots Perplex Her Ways

B’Elanna looked after Chakotay’s retreating back and felt a deep sense of kinship that she hadn’t felt in a long time. He’d forced her to face herself and she didn’t like what she’d seen. He’d always been there for her though, helping her through difficult times, making her see what she didn’t want to see. He was her closest friend, an older brother, a mentor, a leader, someone she’d die for gladly. His strength and sense of purpose had led her to where she was today and she was grateful to him for what he’d done.

It didn’t mean she wasn’t still numb inside, trying to make sense of her life. She’d been drifting for months and she hated that feeling. Nothing made sense to her and she was nothing if not a practical person. She wanted things to be real, tangible under her fingers like a plasma conduit or a phaser. She’d always tried to quantify her feelings or stuff them in a box and ignore them, but lately she’d missed her temper, the pull her emotions had on her, and the constant struggle to keep them inside.

The first bite of banana pancakes was like tasting food for the first time. They made sense to her again, the ingredients meshing together in her mouth, lighting up paths to her brain. Maybe she was an android, but she was an android that could make sense of the emotions surrounding her instead of being so bewilderingly unable to touch them. She sat there for a long moment and she enjoyed her food. She ate it all, suddenly hungry.

When she was done she tried to figure out what to do. She hadn’t gotten past saving the away mission and eating pancakes on her mental list of things to do. She knew what she should do, there were a lot of apologies she needed to make, but one in particular, and she hated making apologies.

Bolstered by the thought that she was at least acting more like her normal self she headed for Tom’s quarters.

When he answered the door she smiled almost hesitantly.

“Is there room in there for one more?” she asked.

“If that one is you, then, yes,” he said, “I think we could squeeze you in.”

She walked inside and suddenly became overwhelmed with memories of all the times she’d been in here, eating by the couch or shoving Tom up against the wall or fighting about something stupid or stretched out on his bed. She could remember everything, but the feelings behind those memories, they were still faint. She wished they weren’t, but she did know one thing, he hadn’t given up on her.

His dinner was still laid out on the table, PADDs lying everywhere, like she was always telling him not to do.

“Am I interrupting your dinner?” she asked, hugging herself.

“It’s fine,” he said, very noticeably keeping his hands at his sides. It was odd because usually when they were alone he was always touching her in some way. “What can I do for you?”

“I-I wanted…to see how you were doing,” she said. “After the mission.”

“I’m fine,” he said lightly. “How are you?”

“Better than before,” she said. “I wasn’t doing so well.”

“So I hear,” he said.

“I’m sorry, okay?” she burst out, unable to stand the sudden politeness between them.

“Take it easy,” he said, the neutral mask slipping from his face and she liked that. “I know.”

“I shouldn’t have shut you out,” she said. “After all, you did it to me and I didn’t like it, so I know how horrible it is to do that to someone.”

“I didn’t like it much,” he agreed.

“I just…couldn’t cope with not…not feeling, or knowing, or anything.”

“I don’t understand,” he said, moving closer to her. “Tell me what you mean. I’d still like that explanation.”

She glared at him but he smiled at her and that was normal and she felt better.

“I was sad when I found out the Maquis had died,” she said. “I was…shattered, to tell the truth. I found myself wanting to see it, to know that it was real. So I created the holodeck program.”

“The one with all of them dying,” he said.

She nodded tightly.

“Chakotay told you?”

“For some reason everyone expected me to be able to tell them what was going on with you,” he said. “It was a bit of an ego letdown to not be able to help them actually. But…I was able to help Chakotay get into your programs. When I saw that one…well, you might need to explain it to me, but he seemed to get it right away. I guess there are some things I’ll never be able to understand. Things my brief tenure in the Maquis didn't include me in.”

“I should have known you would rat me out,” she said, trying to smile so he would know she wasn’t really angry.

He closed his eyes though and sat down on the couch.

“Please tell me, B’Elanna, I have been going crazy and I hate feeling like I don't know what’s going on inside your head.”

“Don’t ever presume you know what’s going on in my head,” she said, sitting next to him, nudging him gently, then leaning back. “But, I went in there, Tom, in that simulation and I watched my friends die, but there was nothing…nothing inside of me. I couldn’t feel a thing. That started to spread to everything, my job, my friends, you last of all. So I pushed you away because it felt wrong to be with you and not want to be with you. But I didn’t have a reason. The other holodeck programs made me feel, pain, sure, but it was better than nothing.”

“I’m sorry,” he said after a long moment of processing, still keeping his distance.

“I am too,” she said. “I couldn’t be around you; I couldn’t let you see what I was doing to myself. It was wrong, I know that. But-but I don’t know if I can ever truly stop feeling this way.”

“Are you saying…you don’t want to be with me anymore?” he asked, obviously striving for his usual casual tone, but failing.

The little stirring of pain within her at the suggestion made B'Elanna suddenly feel alive and she knew exactly what to say to him.

“No, I do. Today I felt something. Several things. Today I saved your life and that made me happy. I felt angry at Chakotay and that made me happy. I ate banana pancakes and they tasted good and that made me happy. I’m in your quarters and I’m apologizing and that makes me mad and that makes me happy. So I’m feeling, I’m getting better, I don’t know what I am, but I can’t do this without you. Please…just bear with me for a little while.”

“Of course I will,” he said, finally moving closer and taking her hand. “Like I said, you don’t need to answer to me, but we’re a team, right? I need you to speak to me and let me know what’s going on. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not too bright. Good with my hands, handsome, funny, but not too bright.”

“You were smart enough to fall for me,” she said, trying not to cry, which felt wonderful.

“I guess that was my crowning intellectual achievement,” he said. “Wonder if they give Cochrane prizes for relationship prowess?”

“Shut up and kiss me,” she said. "That I actually have missed."

“I’ll allow the evasion,” he said, grinning. “But I have a lot more questions and there’s a lot more to talk about.”

“I said, kiss me!” she growled. “Kiss me until I can’t breathe anymore.”

“What is it with you and being breathless around me?” he asked, before practically pouncing on her.

She wasn’t as aggressive as a full Klingon but she liked being rough and Tom was always willing to oblige. He pushed her back onto the couch, holding her down, and kissed her forcefully, scraping his teeth against her lips, and she felt a jolt of desire. She didn’t just know she loved him, she felt it, felt it in every bite on her neck, and every time his fingers pressed into her wrist, and every time he told her he loved her, and every time he said her name, and every time she dug her nails into his back, and with every smart aleck remark he made, and every insult she tossed back.

Together they were a complete mess but she wouldn’t have it any other way because he always made her feel alive whether it was because she wanted to kill him or devour him or any possible combination in between.

Tom flipped them onto the floor and she landed on her back with a grunt and with a sigh of satisfaction. She didn’t have to hurt herself to feel and he didn’t have to hurt her. It was one step at a time, one long climb out of whatever depression was inhabiting her body. There would probably be bad days ahead, but today was a corner she was turning, one Chakotay and Tom had pulled her around forcefully, and she liked the other side.

It felt like living.
abbysiuta: ooohabbysiuta on January 2nd, 2014 04:13 am (UTC)
Very nice!
jesterladyficjesterladyfic on January 2nd, 2014 05:19 am (UTC)
Thanks very much!