Comparisons by Alicia

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Comparisons
By Alicia


VOY, P/T, PG, 1/1

Spoilers: None
Archive: BLTS for sure, and I know there are others.. just having a mind
fart. Drop me a line first, please.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue.
Summary: Tom and B'Elanna reflect on how much their lives have changed.
Notes: [[ ]] is a flashback.

~~*~~

{{ Every morning was the same as the morning before. The sun would shine in
brightly through his bay windows, the thin curtains doing nothing to block
the rays. He would open his eyes to see the plain gray ceiling, then rapidly
blink until patterns appeared like magic. Then his mother would pop her head
ever so casually into his room and tell him it was time to get up, her voice
warm and loving towards her only son.

So, trying to be a good son, he'd jump right out of bed and dress quickly,
wanting to reach the breakfast table before his sisters did. Of course, it
never happened that way, and all the pancakes from the top were gone. The
top ones were the best, fresh from the cooker, nice and warm. The bottom
ones were a bit more chilly, and didn't have the taste of fresh butter.

As usual, his father would sit at the head of the table, his eyes intently
studying a PADD and ignoring his family. He'd sip his orange juice and munch
at the end of a pancake, then get up from the table without really have
eaten anything at all. Without a word to anyone, he'd leave, and the air in
the house would warm considerably.

His mother would then kiss them all, tell them to have a good day, and then
send them off to school. So many mornings were spent that way that he never
knew there was any other way to spend them. }}

The shrill, persistent beep of the alarm woke him up, sending him flying out
of the wonderful dream he'd been having. He shook his head to clear out the
last remnants of sleep, then canceled the alarm.

He looked over at the other party occupying his bed, shaking her gently.
Somehow, she always managed to sleep right through the alarm, every morning
without fail. It took him a good five minutes to rouse her, and he expertly
ducked the fist that flew at his head.

"Good morning to you, too," he drawled, trailing one finger up and down her
spine, feeling her shiver.

"Mmm. Dammit, it can't be time to get up already," she moaned, rubbing her
eyes. "Feels like I just got to sleep."

Tom smiled knowingly and patted the head that had come to rest on his
shoulder. "I know it, and you know it. But the alarm doesn't know it."
B'Elanna groaned and pushed back, rolling over and slinging her legs out of
the bed.

"Gotta get ready. Can't go back..to sleep," she said, yawning and resisting
the urge to flop right back down on the bed. She stood and went around to
the other side of the bed, pulling Tom to his feet. "C'mon. Let's go brush
our teeth and start the day," she said, sleep still completely clogging her
voice.

{{ She couldn't decide which part of her day was the worst. Waking up to her
mother's Klingon curses, eating a breakfast of completely unknown origin, or
going to school with a bunch of close-minded children.

It was probably the last of the three, although the other two were serious
competition. The walk to school was lonely and dull, if you didn't count the
ten minute teasing the other children made her endure. The older ones would
grab her lunch bag from her and dangle it in the air, making her jump to
reach it. That little game would tire after about four minutes, after which,
she would start kicking them in the crotch. That sure made them drop it.

Then she'd quickly grab up her bag and run the rest of the way to the
school, only to get much of the same treatment from the children there. The
teachers always seemed to turn a blind eye to the teasing and torture, never
seeing it necessary to break it up when the kids hit her, but always
stepping in when she hit back.

So she'd sneak into the classroom when no one else was looking, sit at her
desk and bury her head in her arms. It was the only time she was actually
left in peace; no loud mother, no pestering teachers, and no cruel kids.

The other students would begin to file in and the teasing started
automatically. "Hi Miss Turtlehead," they would say in sing-song voices.

"I think she looks a little down in the dumps. Maybe she finally looked in
the mirror!" another would sneer. She kept her head buried low in her arms
so the other kids wouldn't see the tears tracking down her face. }}

"When are you expected on the bridge?" B'Elanna asked over a steaming mug of
coffee in the Mess Hall.

Tom ran a hand through his sandy hair and peered over the rip of his cup.
"0800. I worked late last night so I could have a little extra time this
morning. When are you due in Engineering? 0730?"

"Yeah. I took off early," she grinned, checking her chronometer. The grin
faded and she looked up at Tom. "Want to walk me to work?"

"Let's go."

The turbolift doors opened and the two entered, leaning against the walls.
"Deck 11."

They rode in companionable silence until the 'lift stopped. They stepped out
into the corridors and she felt Tom slip an arm around her waist. She met
his eyes and they shared a smile before the doors of Main Engineering came
into view. "Have a good day, love," he said, planting a quick kiss on the
top of her head.

"I'll try," she promised, giving him one more smile before stepping inside
and greeting her crew.

{{ Lunchtime was never fun. His prep school was made up of all boys, and
they were just as snooty and boring as his father. They'd sit around the
large round table and eat the same lunches day after day, talking only when
they had something important to say.

Of course, all that really consisted of was what their daddy's had bought
them.

"Father got me a brand new hovercraft. My old one had a dent in it," Edward
Jurren would say every Friday. "He loves me so much that he'll replace it
every time I ask him to."

"Well, my father enrolled me in a new school for the weekends. Not that I
need it. I already know how to fly a shuttle better than he does," another
would say.

Tom just sat there, listening without paying attention. Their Admiral
fathers loved them about as much as his father loved him. They weren't
receiving gifts because they were loved. But he never said a word, never
bragged about his flying lessons or trips to the Moon Lake. He knew he
wasn't really loved by anyone except his mother and maybe his sisters. He
knew he didn't have any real friends.

And for some reason, it didn't bother him all that much. }}

The doors to the Mess Hall opened, and Tom took a look around. He smiled at
B'Elanna and Harry, grabbing a tray and joining them at their usual table.

"Hi, guys," he grinned, giving B'Elanna a quick kiss before sitting next to
her.

"Hey Tom," Harry said, barely looking up from his tuna casserole. "This is
good," he pointed, a little piece of tuna spitting out of his mouth.

Everyone laughed and fell into a comfortable silence. "Oh, I have something
for you," B'Elanna said after a minute, reaching across the table for a
padd. "I found it when I was surfing the database today."

Tom arched an eyebrow and accepted the padd. "Why were you searching the
database?"

B'Elanna shrugged her shoulders. "I was bored. And I know you just finished
reading your last book . . . " she grinned as he activated the padd.

"Hardy Boys! Number 339! Thanks," he smiled, setting the padd on the corner
of his tray. "I'll read that tonight while I'm waiting for you to get off
duty."

The doors to the Mess Hall opened again, and the three watched as Captain
Janeway and Commander Chakotay came in, practically holding hands. "I have
the juciest rumor for you . . . " Harry began.

{{ After school, B'Elanna would go down by the small stream near the school
house. She didn't want to go home, not when there wasn't anything to go home
to. The tinkling of the stream was far better than hearing her mother scream
at her.

School was always a depressing event, and it was something B'Elanna wanted
to push out of here mind for awhile. So, sitting on the large rock, she'd
envision her future. She'd be a great doctor, or maybe an entertainer.
People would love her for who she was, and no one would call her Miss Turtle
Head.

And there would be a boyfriend. Someone to hold her hand, like the way
Stacey and Paul did. Or kiss, the way Gina and Bob did. And maybe he'd even
whisper the "L" word in her ear.

Every day, she'd sit until well after dark on the rock and think. Dream.
Then she'd go home, slip past her mother's bedroom and crawl into bed,
dreading the morning when the whole cycle would begin again. }}

She keyed in the access code to the quarters she shared with Tom, and
slipped quietly in when the doors opened. The only light came from the
bedroom, and she started to take off her uniform as she walked through the
quarters.

Inside the bedroom, Tom was sitting up in bed, reading the padd she'd given
him in the Mess Hall. He looked up when she entered, setting the padd on the
night stand and smiling warmly at her.

"Hi," she smiled back, grabbing her nightclothes and stepping into them.

"Did you eat?" he asked.

"I had Vorik grab me a tray and bring it to me," she grinned, heading into
the bathroom.

"Okay. So how was your day?"

The sound of running water answered him and he knew she'd gotten in the
shower. A few minutes later she came back out, wrapped in a towel and her
hair dripping wet. "It was good," she said, drying her hair with the smaller
towel in her hand. She disappeared back into the bathroom, coming back out a
moment later, back in the nightclothes.

She slipped into bed beside him and slipped easily into his arms. "Lights
out."

In the darkness, B'Elanna kissed Tom's soft lips and then rested her head on
his bare chest. "Good night."

"Night, B'Elanna. I love you."

"I love you too."

And she closed her eyes, looking forward to the morning when she would
repeat the cycle all over again.