The Hardest Thing
by Suz

Disclaimer - Yeah, Paramount own them.

I'm SURE Tom knew. Sure of it. Spoilers for 'Extreme Risk', specifically the scene in Janeway's ready room with Tom, Chakotay and Janeway.

My first real attempt at P/T. Would love some feedback.

Rated R for language.


It was probably the hardest thing.


She would talk about it soon, he was sure of it.


He tried desperately - always desperately - to keep the topic of conversation on the new ship. His baby. The only joy he seemed to eke out of anything lately. Not that he was trying to blame her, he knew something was wrong...


Janeway spoke. "Now...let's talk about B'Elanna."


He hoped like hell that he could hide his reaction, but had that nagging feeling - kind of like a baseball hitting the back of his head at 100 kph - that he had failed, utterly.

Okay, he could 'talk about B'Elanna', couldn't he? He'd been preparing for this conversation for a long time, even though every time he planned for it, thought it out, he frantically hoped - even prayed, *him* - that it wouldn't need to happen.

That she would stop doing it.

That no one would find out.

"Tom, you had no idea about these injuries or how she got them?"

He found himself speaking, and was amazed to discover that his voice wasn't cracking as it had in his nightmares. "She never complained about being hurt."

(Liar! Fucking liar!)

No, no that was a half-truth. She wouldn't whine about the pain; never would. Ever. But he had seen the reaction and sometimes he had actually heard the hiss of pain as he accidentally touched a concealed bruise. Concealed damage. Concealed life.

She pulled away from him, though. The same instant, the same moment he was on the edge of her version of actual proof...she would pull away. She would cross her arms defensively. She would murmur his name without emotion and concoct an excuse to leave.

He would watch her leave. He would watch her leave and wonder what the hell he could do.

She didn't know he knew. He mostly believed that, and if she did know...then she was doing her best not to admit it.

His mouth opened and those strange, foreign things on his tongue - words, he remembered them being called - emerged. "But then again she's barely speaking to me lately." That was true enough. A truth. A truth among so much else.

(Back to your old ways, huh Tommy? Lying your ass off. Imagine if dad could see you now...)

Janeway and Chakotay took the conversation off his shoulders for the briefest of seconds and God he just wanted to *fix* what was wrong with her. Why was it so hard?

Chakotay was talking to him. "Any idea what sort of programs she's been running?"

Tom couldn't say it. Couldn't tell that blatant a lie.

(Come on Tommy, it should be easy. You've lived with enough of them)

He shook his head.

And Janeway looked at Chakotay. They had the same idea. Going through the files, seeing what she had been doing on the holodeck...


Janeway asked his opinion.

Maybe, maybe there was another way out of this. Maybe he could suggest something else...where the hell had that contingency plan gone? The one he had spent weeks, months perfecting. The one that would keep B'Elanna out of trouble until they could fix this.

Until she got better.

He didn't need to close his eyes to see her flinch away from his touch.

He didn't need to close his eyes to hear the hiss of pain.

He didn't...couldn't...

He agreed with them.

(What am I doing?)

"Start digging," Janeway ordered.

They left her ready room, Tom so relieved to get out of the confining space and he was dizzy and B'Elanna was going to find out, somehow, and she was going to kill him and she was going to hate him...

He hoped to God that she would. He hoped to God that she would hate him.

Perhaps it would help to explain why he hated her.



e-mail // voyager fic