Damned if you do....

This is a canon based coda to "Nothing Human". Set after the Captain leaves B'Elanna's quarters. It DOES NOT take place in the "Klingon Hearts" universe.

I thought the ending didn't do the story justice. Much of this story comes out of a discussion I had with a friend as to Tom's actions. He felt going against B'Elanna's wishes was a total betrayal of trust. I felt it was something else.

Once again, Paramount and Viacom, Inc. own Voyager and her crew. I am just borrowing them for a little fun. I will return them when I am done. This story, however, belongs to me.


Damned if you do....

by: Tracy Sobieski

Tom Paris passed the Captain as she left B'Elanna's quarters. He could tell by the look she gave him, things hadn't gone well. The sound of shattering glass coming from beyond the door confirmed his suspicions.

"Good luck," whispered the Captain as she walked by him. He would need it. B'Elanna might not forgive him for what he had done.

Taking a deep breath, he keyed the chime to her quarters.

"Come in."

At least she would see him. He had half-expected to be told to leave her alone.

The door slid open and he entered the room. She was standing with her back to him, staring out the window. Her arms were wrapped tightly around her middle. There was a broken vase lying in front of the door. Cautiously he stepped over it and the door closed behind him.

"Is it true?" She didn't waste anytime getting to the point. The tension radiated from her in waves. He could almost feel it across the room.

"That I pleaded for the Captain to save your life? Yes, it's true." What else could he say?

"You knew my wishes on this, and you went against them anyway. Why?" Her voice was dangerously low and controlled. She had -never- been this angry with him before. She couldn't even look at him, instead keeping her gaze focused on the stars.

"I couldn't let you die." It was as simple as that.

B'Elanna spun around in fury. Unable to contain the rage any longer.

"IT WASN'T YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE!" she yelled at him. First the Captain and now Tom, didn't anybody care that this was -her- decision. It was her body, her life, her beliefs, not theirs.

"I know," was all he said.

"Then why did you do it?"

"I had to. I couldn't stand by and watch you die, when I knew you could be saved. You asked too much of me."

"I asked that my wishes be respected. It had nothing to do with you."

"It had -everything- to do with me! Don't you see that! You weren't just taking your own life, you were taking mine with you. You are the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing at night. Every decision I make in my life starts with 'How will this affect B'Elanna?'. How -dare- you disregard my feelings on this. This was -our- life you chose to end."

"It still doesn't give you the right to make that decision. Don't you understand? How can I live with myself knowing I benefited from the suffering and deaths of others?" she asked him.

"I guess the same way I'm going to have to learn to live with the fact that I betrayed the memories of those people, for the woman I love. At least you have the knowledge that is was done against your wishes."

B'Elanna was taken aback at the tormented tone of his voice. In her anger she hadn't given any thought to how he was feeling. What demons he had wrestled with in coming to his decision. She looked at him closely for the first time. Taking in his haggard appearance, the haunted gaze, the tired droop in his shoulders. This had taken its toll on him.

*Would you have done any different?* a little voice nagged at her. Would she have let -him- die if she knew he could have been saved?

Right, wrong, black, white, good, evil--it wouldn't have mattered to her either. She would dance with the devil himself to save this man. All the moral issues and Starfleet ideals they tried to live their lives by would have not deterred her. Could she expect him to do any differently?

Tom watched as the emotions played across her face. Could she forgive him? Or had he gone too far? He knew he might lose her over this. He could live with her hating him, if he had to. Just knowing she was alive would be enough.

"I didn't realize..." she began.

"I don't want your pity, B'Elanna. I did what I had to do. I just want you to understand why I did it."

"I do," she admitted, grudgingly.

"Do you? I know I've hurt you, but I won't apologize for wanting you to live."

Could she forgive him? Was there anything to forgive? She wasn't sure anymore. Nothing seemed as simple as it did ten minutes ago.

Maybe, in the end, it didn't matter. Maybe it wasn't about right or wrong, who did what, or even why. When all was said and done. Maybe, just maybe, the only thing that really mattered was that he loved her.

Suddenly B'Elanna felt very...alive.