Feeling the Pain

This is a coda to "Juggernaut". I remember watching B'Elanna in the sonic shower at the end of the episode and thinking "what if..." That's where this came from.

B'Elanna suffers a miscarriage in this story. If that type of thing bothers you, you may not want to read this.

I won't apologize for this story. It deals with a very difficult subject and can be painful to read. I have given you fair warning. If you don't like this, don't bother sending me any nasty email. It will be 'spaced' upon it's arrival.

As always, Voyager and her crew belong to Paramount and Viacom, Inc. I'm just playing with their toys. I do, however, own this story.

Thanks for the beta reading, Junior.

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Feeling the Pain


by: Tracy Sobieski


B'Elanna Torres sat on the bio-bed as the Doctor treated her for the theta radiation poisoning she had suffered on the Malon freighter. The others had been released from Sickbay and they were alone. After administrating the hypospray he scans her with the tricorder.

She had killed a man today, with her bare hands. She was so lost in thought she didn't hear him ask the question.

"Lieutenant?" he tried to get her attention.

"What? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you."

"B'Elanna.....when was you last menstrual period?"

"I don't know, last month sometime, I guess. Why?" As soon as she asked, she realized what he was asking. Shocked, she looked up at him, shook her head and whispered, "No...."

"I'm so sorry, B'Elanna. There was too much radiation. You didn't know, did you?" he asked grimly.

She shook her head again, not trusting her voice to respond. She hadn't a clue. There had been no signs. There was no reason to even suspect. Tom was very good about keeping his boosters up to date. Tom....this would destroy him. He had grown close to Naomi. It had been a surprise to him, but he so enjoyed being with her. He would have loved a child of his own. B'Elanna knew it without a doubt.

The Doctor watched her holding the pain in. It was so like her. Never letting anyone in. He knew what she would say even before he asked:

"Do you want me to call Mr. Paris?"

"No....don't. I don't want Tom to know, it would only hurt him." She was adamant. There was no reason for him to be told.

"B'Elanna, I don't think you should go through this alone. Your body will miscarry the child soon. It is a painful, traumatic experience."

"Please, Doctor. I don't want anyone to know, especially Tom. That is my right, isn't it?" she knew it was.

"Yes. It is. I'm just thinking of you." It was hopeless to argue with her when she had made up her mind. "I'll partition off the main bio-bed and cancel Mr. Paris' next shift. Hopefully no one will require treatment tonight."

"No. I want to go back to my quarters." If she stayed, someone would find out.

"I'm not releasing you to your quarters alone, Lieutenant," this was not an option as far as he was concerned.

"Please....I can't do this here. I don't want the whole ship to know. If I stay here, that will happen. Can't I go to my quarters, I'll wear a bio-monitor. I'll do whatever you want. I just can't stay here." She pleaded with desperation. Having all of them know would be too much.  B'Elanna didn't think she could stand to see the pity in their eyes.

The Doctor opened his mouth to say something more, then changed his mind. He could monitor her and let her go back to her quarters. He would prefer to have her here, but understood her reasons. She was a senior officer aboard this ship, she had so little privacy as it was. She could be beamed to Sickbay on a moments notice if need be.

"Lay down. I'll get a obstetric monitor." She did as he instructed as he walked over to the storage cabinet. A minute later he returned. He carefully swabbed her lower abdomen with antiseptic and applied the monitor. It was a flat, rectangular, flexible patch about the size of her hand. "I want you to wear your comm-badge at all times. I will be monitoring you and if I feel it's necessary, will have you beamed directly here. No arguments, understand."

She nodded her head in agreement, just relieved he was allowing her to leave. "Can I take a shower with this on?" she felt an overwhelming need to be clean.

"A sonic shower will not interfere with it," he told her.

"How long...before...," she wasn't sure she really wanted to know.

"A couple of hours, maybe sooner. The cramping will start first. There will be a lot of blood, I want you to be prepared for that. I wish you'd reconsider."

"No....I need to do this alone, Doctor," she told him, forcing strength into her voice.

"Very well, I will be by to check up on you frequently. Call me if you need me, or it you change your mind."

"I won't, but thank you."

She entered her quarters, dazed and beaten. She had taken two lives today. One out of necessity and one out of carelessness. Some mother she would have made. A murderer who couldn't even protect her own child. Tiredly she stepped into the shower stall.

"Computer, activate sonic shower," she instructed. She took no pleasure as it washed over her, removing the grime.

*****

The Doctor sat at his desk, staring blankly at the computer screen. He was about to do something that violated his code of ethics. He wondered when it had become possible for him to do such a thing. When exactly it was that he had stopped being just a computer program. He would have to give it some more thought, later. Right now, someone he cared deeply about was hurting, and he could help. In the end, he guessed that was all that really mattered.

"Sickbay to the bridge."

--What is it Doctor?-- The Captain responded to his hail.

"Captain, if it's possible.....I could use Mr. Paris' services here in Sickbay. I know his shift doesn't start for a couple of hours yet, but...."

--He's on his way, Doctor. Janeway out--

*****

Tom entered an empty Sickbay. He had thought there would be crewmen here. Even the Doctor was gone. Confused, he called out. There was no answer. Figuring the Doc had called him down because he had to leave, Tom set about his normal duties.

Walking into the office, he checked the desk to see if the Doctor had left him instructions. The panel on the back wall caught his eye, the Doc had someone on a bio-monitor. Not an unusual occurrence. Tom began to check the readings, knowing he was expected to. Obstetric monitor? He hadn't known anyone on board was pregnant. With a twinge of sadness he realized whoever it was, had lost the baby. There was no heartbeat or brain wave activity. The Doctor was monitoring her because she still needed to abort the fetus. That must be where he was. In that woman's quarters. Picking up the patient's records he sat down at the desk to review them. If there were complications, he would need know the history.

Damn, he hated this job. Which one of his friends was he going to learn more about than he wanted to know? Who would he have to face tomorrow, with the knowledge of her suffering? Jenny? Megan? Sue? One more intimate detail he was privy to. One more life laid open. One more friend in pain. Pinching the bridge of his nose he closed his eyes and wished for a countless time that Kes was still here. She would have handled this so much better than him.

The monitor behind him beeped. Looking up he saw that it had begun. He had learned enough about pregnancy and childbirth to know the next several hours would be very unpleasant for her. There was something slightly off about the bio-readings. Getting up he examined them intently. Trembling, his hand came up to touch the screen. He should have seen it. These bio-readings weren't entirely human. Had he bothered to look carefully at them before, he would have realized who it was.

"Dammit, B'Elanna," he whispered. Would she ever truly trust him?

"She didn't want you to know. Said it would only cause you pain. She didn't even know herself until it was too late." The Doctor had watched Tom from the darkened lab.

"She's alone, isn't she?" He didn't need to ask, he knew her better than she knew herself.

"Yes. She refused to stay. She didn't want..."

"...anybody to know, yeah, I figured that out." Tom turned his head slightly and gave the Doc one of his self-depreciating smiles. The one the Doctor had seen him use so many times. The one he resorted to when he needed to protect himself. "It's my fault, you know. I skipped that booster when I was in the brig. I forgot to see you before I went to her quarters. I had missed her so much. It was just that one time. I didn't think it would matter. I never told her. If I had, she might have realized she was pregnant. The Captain could have sent Harry instead.....Damn, it's all my fault.....I have to go to her. She'll need me."

"Take a med-kit, Mr. Paris. I've notified the Captain that I will need your assistance in Sick-bay for the next 48 hours. Go and be with her. You can call me if you need any help, but I think you can handle this. You can remove the bio-monitor once you're there." Tom was more than qualified to care for her. He was a better medical assistant than he knew. The Doctor had hopes of getting him to take the Starfleet Medical Boards someday, not that he ever told this to the pilot. Mr. Paris had an ego the size of Voyager. Who knew what Dr. Paris would be like.

"She's going to be furious with you," Tom went to the storage cabinet and pulled out a med-kit as he spoke.

"She told me I couldn't tell 'Tom'. She never said I couldn't leave my desk unattended so my 'assistant' would have to monitor the bio-readings." Talk about walking a fine line. He knew he would have to deal with her wrath. He had done it before, and he was sure he would have to again. "Are you going to be okay with this? Maybe you should just bring her back to Sickbay and let me handle the medical necessities. Once she realizes you know, she has no reason not to come back."

"She won't want to do this in Sickbay, Doc. You know that. I don't want to either. We live enough of our lives in Voyager's fish bowl. I can do this for her, if only to spare her the pain of everybody knowing. I'll be fine." He hoped he sounded more confident than he actually felt. It wasn't time for him to be weak, she needed his strength.

The Doctor just nodded. He respected their decision. Tom was right, too much of their personal life was played out in the rumor mill. This was a private time, and he would protect it for them at all costs.

As he watched his friend leave Sickbay the Doctor reached up and touched the tear that tracked slowly down his cheek. Holograms couldn't cry, could they?

*****

It had started while she was in the sonic shower. Taking her completely by surprise in its intensity. Staggering out she grabbed the edge of the counter to steady herself. It took all she had to put on Tom's old T-shirt and get ready for what was to come.

By the time she made it into the bed, she was wondering if she should call Sickbay for an emergency beam out. The pain was intense and it had just started. She thought briefly about the hypospray the Doctor had given her. Knowing she wouldn't use it, she owed the child that much. She would stand the pain, it helped her not to think. Curling up into a ball, she lay on her side, huddled under the covers. Waiting.....

When the door to her quarters slid open a few moments later, she didn't open her eyes. Thinking the Doctor had come by to make sure she was okay now that it had started. From a distance, she heard the tricorder open as he began to scan her. After a few seconds, it was closed up again. She prepared herself for another argument. Knowing he would want her to come to Sickbay.

Her eyes flew open as she felt a hand brush back her hair. She knew his touch instantly. Looking into his blue eyes, so filled with sorrow, she almost began to cry. She opened her mouth to try and explain, apologize, anything......everything.

"Later," he said softly, "....are you all right?" Nothing else mattered right now.

She nodded her head. He knew she was lying. Sitting on the edge of the bed he had her lie flat on her back. Pulling back the blanket and lifting the T-shirt he removed the bio-monitor and began to palpitate her stomach, grimacing in apology when she was unable to stop the sharp cry from leaving her lips.

"Easy....take deep breaths," he told her gently as he continued. According to the tricorder the placenta had not yet begun to separate from the uterine wall. He was glad he had made it here before that had begun. She would need him, whether she admitted it or not.

"Will you let me give you something for the pain?"

"No....I'm fine," B'Elanna told him, sounding unsure even to herself. Suddenly she was very grateful he was here. Her voice caught as she went on, "I'm glad you're here."

"So am I," he replied as he leaned over and gently kissed her. "I'll be right back."

Getting up he went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of his sweatpants and a T-shirt that he kept in her quarters. He watched her turn back on her side and curl up in a fetal position as he changed out of his uniform. He could tell by the stiffness in her back that the pain was worsening.

Tom had pulled on the sweatpants and had just grabbed the shirt when he noticed she was shaking. Dropping the cotton top, he rounded the bed and went to her. A small moan escaped her as he knelt down next to the bed. She was panting shallowly.

"Take a deep breath, that's it." He opened the tricorder and scanned. He gave her his most reassuring smile. "Can I get you anything?"

"Just hold me....it hurts so much," she was having difficulty speaking, but it wasn't the physical pain that was hurting so bad.

Getting up he crossed over to the other side of the bed and laid down next to her. Taking her in his arms, he was shocked at how unbelievably small and fragile she felt to him. It wasn't often he thought of her that way, she was a strong woman.

B'Elanna stiffened and gasped audibly, her breath catching in the back of her throat. Tom tightened his arms around her, offering what comfort he could. He buried his face in the back of her neck. His hand settled over her stomach. Tenderly holding her and the child they had both lost. She could feel his tears through the cloth of the T-shirt.

It was a long night. Tom never left her side. Drawing her strength from him, she refused any pain medication, never shedding so much as a tear. Even when it became almost unbearable. At times Tom prayed she would lose consciousness. Then, finally it was over. She fell asleep as the night ended and the day began. Exhausted.

After checking her one last time with the tricorder, he sent the data to the Doctor. He was just about to lay down with her when the door chime sounded. Cursing he answered it. Harry stood there. He always picked up B'Elanna and Tom on his way to breakfast. It was a ritual for the three of them to eat that meal together.

Harry was stunned at Tom's appearance, he looked like he had aged ten years overnight. He could see B'Elanna's sleeping form in the darkened bedroom.

"What's wrong?" he asked his friend.

"Nothing, Harry. We won't be going to the mess hall this morning. B'Elanna needs to rest, okay?" his voice was hoarse from lack of sleep.

"Sure, no problem. I'll see you guys later," he left, concern evident on his face. Something had happened, and he had the feeling it would forever change his two friends.

*****

"I tell you, something is up. He spent the whole night with her and not so much as a broken vase. Weston says there were several encrypted messages sent between her quarters and Sickbay last night."

"Maybe she was just tired. I heard she killed that Malon. Paris might have just spent the night to be there for her, he's done it before. He could have been studying. Tom is the Doctor's assistant."

"Why encrypt the transmissions? No, something is going on. Look, Kim just came in alone. The three of them always eat breakfast together. Even on their days off."

Seven had heard enough. It had been like this all morning. She got up and went to meet Harry Kim.

"Ensign Kim, I require you assistance in Astrometrics. It is urgent."

"Sure, Seven. Let's go," whatever she wanted him for must be important judging by her expression.

When they got there, she turn to face him and said:

"Computer. Seal the doors."

"Seven, what...."

"I need you assistance, Ensign Kim. An...incident needs to be kept from the rest of the crew. I am not sure how to go about it. Many people are already aware something happened and are trying to ascertain what it was. I have been able to keep the messages encoded, but it will not last for long.  There have been several attempts to decode the transmissions already."

Harry was totally in the dark. Coded messages?

"Seven, It would help if I knew what you were talking about," he told her with a small grin.

"It would be easier if I showed you," walking over to her work station she pulled up the encoded transmissions and decoded them.

Harry sucked in his breath with a hiss when he read what they were.

"Damn, Seven. How did you get these?" he asked, shaken. No wonder Tom had looked so broken.

Deciding now was not the time to tell him about her recent study of human mating practices, she evaded the question as best she could.

"I came across them by accident. I did not know what they were until I decoded them. I do not believe Ensign Paris and Lieutenant Torres want anyone to know what has happened."

Harry remembered Tom's brusque behavior this morning.

"No, I'm sure they don't. Have you tried deleting the messages?"

"It takes two access codes of the ship's Senior Officers to do such a thing. That is why I asked for your help. You were the most logical choice," she told him.

"Okay, Seven. Let's see what we can do."

*****

Tom awoke with a start. He was alone. Having no idea how long he had slept, he checked the time and saw it was past the dinner hour. Getting up he went to the outer room expecting to find B'Elanna there. It was empty. If she went down to engineering he was going to get violent.

"Computer, locate B'Elanna Torres."

--B'Elanna Torres is in holodeck two.--

She wouldn't. She couldn't be that reckless. She had lost the baby less than 24 hours ago. It wouldn't take that much for her to begin to hemorrhage. Tom's blood turned to ice at the thought of what she might be doing. He left her quarters and headed for the holodeck in a dead run.

What he found when he got there took him by surprise. She was running the resort program. It was night time and it was deserted. Quietly he wandered about, looking for her. She was down by the beach. Standing just at the edge of the surf. Her feet were bare, the water washed over them gently with the evening tide. She stared straight ahead, arms crossed in front of her.

Turning as she heard him approach, Tom's heart twisted at the naked pain in her face. Placing both hands on her upper arms he drew her close to him. Almost touching. He held her gaze. His own sorrow blatantly exposed. Then she did something that touched him to his very soul. Her head fell back and she screamed in total agony. Like a wounded animal. Her hands came up and grasped the front of his shirt in a desperate attempt to support herself as her legs gave out. He followed her to the ground. Pulling her to his chest
in a fierce embrace as she sobbed. Tom held her close as he stroked her hair and murmured in soothing tones. The water lapped around them while they took solace in each others arms.

That was how the Doctor found them. He had come to the holodeck in a near panic, if such a thing was possible for a hologram. When he had gone to check up on B'Elanna and she wasn't in either her's or Tom's quarters he had asked the computer where she was. Hearing she was on the holodeck had not been comforting. In hindsight he probably should have asked the computer if she was alone, but it hadn't even occurred to him.

He watched them for a few moments. Both so lost in the pain that they didn't even notice him. It would take some time, but they would be okay. This time they would have each other. There would be no holodeck escapes, no pushing each other away, no shutting each other out, no hiding from the pain. This time they would feel it, and it was a good start.