Author: Gwen Slaughter
Rating: G
Codes: T (P/T)

Disclaimer: Tom, B'Elanna and all of Voyager belong to
Paramount and Star Trek. I am simply borrowing them
for fun, not profit.

Authors notes: This loosely follows "To the other
side". I wrote this more to explain some things in
that story than I did as a sequel. I'm not sure that
I exactly did that here either but… I am aware that I
may have broken character slightly in both. I got a
little caught up in certain images. Regardless, I
hope you enjoy. Feedback will be greatly appreciated.


He was watching her again. He had been doing that a
lot lately. Actually, he had been doing it for quite
awhile now, but lately the fix of his stare had been
different. She couldn't quite place how; she just
knew that it was. Ever since that morning on the
holodeck things had been... different between them.
She still wasn't sure what had possessed her to even
go into that program let alone share anything with
him. Yet she had; and she couldn't take it back. No
matter how desperately she wanted to. Vulnerability
was not something that B'Elanna Torres came to easily,
nor was it something she liked to feel. Out of
control was bad enough; truly vulnerable was ...

They had both been caught up in the unreality of the
program. Until that is, they were brought back to
reality with a jolt; in the form of Captain Janeway
calling them both, wondering why they were late for
duty. If B'Elanna had been embarrassed before now she
was plain humiliated. To make matters worse, Tom had
just laughed the whole thing off. Like they hadn't
really done anything wrong, like they hadn't been
having this intense meeting, like it didn't matter
that they...

So since then she had avoided him whenever she could.
Well, avoided being alone with him at any rate. They
still did things together, and of course they couldn't
avoid working together. The thing of it was, she
missed him. She had meant what she said in the
holodeck whether or not she had been ready for him to
hear it.

Yet still he watched her. Intently, often, but never
quite so obviously so that it would be noticed by too
many others. She hoped. It seemed to her as if he
was looking for something when he looked at her.
Looking to her to answer something for him. She only
wished she knew what he was looking for. Or maybe it
was better that she didn't. The look scared her at
times, although she wasn't likely to admit that even
to herself. For the longest time, she had been sure
that she knew just what he wanted from her. The same
thing that he had wanted from every other woman on
board. She was comfortable with that, because it gave
her the excuse she needed to keep him at arms length;
to keep him from getting too close. Now... She
wasn't sure she could deal with now. Not after what
they had both revealed to each other.

B'Elanna jumped, pulled from her thoughts, as her
engineering console beeped, indicating she had a


That was all the message read; though she knew full
well who it was from. She could still feel him
watching her, subtly, from his position at con and she
couldn't bring herself to look up at him. She knew
that she would be lost if she did. 'It does depend on
how badly you want something... we have time'; she
heard his voice in her head as clearly as if he were
speaking the words just then. She chastised herself
for being a coward. So she answered him, challenging
him back. Telling him that she wanted to move
forward, just slowly.

'Lunch, ok?'

He wasn't expecting it, she could tell that by the way
he jumped. She smiled. The choice had been made,
they would move forward. Now it was her who was
watching him.


The End