I've Been Waitin' For Ya
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Star Trek: Voyager
Tom Paris/William Telfer, Tom Paris & B'Elanna Torres
Tom Paris, William Telfer, B'Elanna Torres, Eugene Paris
Additional Tags:
Amnesia, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence
Part 2 of Chemistry (Eugene Paris)
Published: 2023-08-08 Completed: 2023-09-16 Words: 8,576 Chapters: 12/12

I've Been Waitin' For Ya


A series of random scenes that serve as a companion to Put Together My Broken.

(Essentially, this covers various points in Billy and Gene's relationship, from Billy's perspective. They won't make much sense without prior context of PTMB.)


Perhaps unsurprisingly, this fic's title (and chapter titles) are taken from My Favorite Kind Of High by Kelly Clarkson (matching the "Chemistry" theme of the series).

I'll try to post chapters mostly in chronological order, but small blips may occur depending on when I have bursts of inspiration. (Each chapter will point to the PTMB chapter(s) it's based in.)

Now You're Lookin' At Me

(Takes place during chapter two of PTMB)

Billy had always noticed Tom Paris.

It was honestly hard not to. In addition to being classically handsome, Lieutenant Paris was an oversized presence on the ship: boisterous, sociable, and seemingly omnipresent. The life of any party (and the instigator of many, besides, which Billy honestly had no interest in). Everyone knew Tom Paris.

And okay, fine, maybe Billy had a bit of a crush, but of course it would never go anywhere. Tom Paris was a bridge officer. Tom Paris had no interest in science, or research. Tom Paris had spoken to Billy twice (or so) when they'd passed each other in the corridors, and only knew who he was because it was a small ship and everyone knew everyone -- or at least knew of everyone. Tom Paris was married.

More recently, there'd been rumors flying that Lieutenant Paris had lost his memory, and while rumors on the ship always seemed to be strongly grounded in fact, Billy doesn't dwell long on this particular one, other than generally feeling bad for the man (and for Lieutenant Torres). It wasn't like it affected his life or his work in any way, even with his recent shift to more high-profile work -- and a corresponding move from the science lab to astrometrics -- that meant he was often working more closely with Seven of Nine. Seven of Nine and Lieutenant Paris rarely interacted, so Billy and Lieutenant Paris still never interacted.

So he'd more than a little embarrassed when he'd literally run into Lieutenant Paris in the corridor, interrupting what looked like a conversation between Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Kim. He stammers his apologies and runs off, feeling mortified in the moment but managing to laugh about the incident that evening with Celes, even as she'd teased him about it.

The last thing he'd expected was to be called by The Doctor the next morning, asking him to report to sickbay.

The last thing he'd expected was to find out that Tom Paris had noticed him, although he admits he'd made a pretty big first impression, especially if the Lieutenant had lost his memory and therefore had never met him before.

The last thing he'd expected was to spend the day accompanying Lieutenants Paris and Torres to the Delta Flyer, and especially for Lieutenant Torres to be almost grateful for his presence.

Okay, fine. The actual last thing he'd expected was for Lieutenant Torres to call him the next morning and more or less push Lieutenant Paris into his arms, telling Billy to take Lieutenant Paris around the ship in her stead.

It was easily the most time he'd spent with any Lieutenant -- heck, with any officer -- and Billy's more than a little worried about making a good impression. But it'd been obvious even the first day that Lieutenant Paris -- Tom -- wasn't himself. Contrary to the few interactions they'd had and the reputation Tom had, this Tom seems more subdued and more deferential, and hangs onto Billy's words in a way that should embarrass him, but that Billy actually secretly likes.

He reminds himself that he has a job to do. He focuses his mind on the task of re-introducing Tom to the ship and its crew. He puts on his best professional face, because Tom is still a Lieutenant, and Billy wants to impress the ship's officers.

But he still notices Tom Paris.

There's No Escapin'

(Takes place during chapter three of PTMB)

"Did you hear about Billy and Tom?" Celes asks, excitedly sliding into the chair next to Mortimer Harren. Billy can feel himself blush as he takes the seat across from them.

Mort looks annoyed, but doesn't look up from his padd. "Gossip isn't worth my time. Why would I have?"

"Psh. Because you live on a ship with only a hundred or so people..."

"Don't remind me," Mort grumbles.

" maybe you'd care to keep up a bit on their lives." Celes looks over at Billy, grinning. "Tell him about Tom, Billy! About how you've been taking him around the ship to..."

"Please don't," Mort interrupts, looking over at Billy now. "Can we just continue our tradition in peace?"

Normally, Billy would feel obligated to back up Celes, despite generally relating to Mort's desire for solitude and work focus. But since the topic seemed to involve him...

"Maybe Mort's right," Billy says. "We only do this once every five weeks. Let's just stick to catching up. Professionally."

"I've been trying to find a way to alter sensors to scan for dark matter," Mort says before Celes can respond, throwing his padd on the table between them. "It would help me narrow down the period of cosmological inflation."

Billy grabs the padd and takes a look. Even though he understands the general principles behind the statement, especially where sensors are concerned, the information on the padd is still largely gibberish to him.

Celes just shakes her head. "That's awfully practical of you, Mort. What happened to pure theory?"

"You two did," Mort says, grabbing his padd back and engrossing himself in it again. "I was reminded that this was coming up, and it got me thinking about our away mission. I needed a distraction from Schlezholt. Again."

"I could help," Billy offers, finding the idea intriguing, himself. And not just because, even though the experience with the dark matter aliens had ultimately been beneficial to him, he'd still appreciate some way to detect them before anything else happened. "With ideas for the sensor alterations."

"Yes, because I want to see more of the two of you." Mort looks up at Billy briefly from the padd. "No offense."

"None taken," Billy said, even though Celes is giving him a face. "Um. I got moved from the labs to astrometrics."

"Sorry for your loss," Mort says without looking up, and Billy thinks that he probably would have agreed with the sentiment a few months ago. But he's found he really enjoys the change, despite the more visible (and social) role that came with it.

"I actually like the change," he says. "It's nice to have a bigger impact. It feels like I'm making a bigger difference."

Mort snorts in a way that Billy takes as amused.

Celes grins at him. "Well, your newest project is the most visible and important yet. Lieutenant Torres has got to appreciate your help." She looks at something behind him. "Speaking of..."

Billy turns around to see Tom and Lieutenant Torres walk into the mess hall. Tom seems to notice him. "Billy!"

"Go," Celes says, and Billy starts to object. The three of them were supposed to have dinner, and Billy wasn't going to run off on them.

"I'm going to go work on this," Mort says in a way that Billy takes as agreement with Celes' suggestion.

Billy nods, feeling a bit awkward, and not just because of Mort and Celes. "I didn't mean to... ruin our plans."

"I'll see you two in five weeks," Mort says, already heading toward the door.

"Some things are worth ruining plans for," Celes says, gently shoving him across the table. "Like duty. Go."

Billy swallows the lump in his throat, forces a smile on his face to mask his nervousness, and stands.

"Hey, Tom."

You're In The Room

(Takes place during chapter three of PTMB)

Billy thinks Tom looks good with a beard, or at least with the beginnings of one.

Billy also thinks Tom looks cute when his hair's slightly matted on one side from bed, and his eyes are blinking away the sleep in the mornings.

Neither of these are things he'd thought he'd ever experience with Tom Paris. But he also had never imagined that he'd be sharing quarters with the man.

"Should we teach you how to shave?" he asks after they finish their usual morning routine of going over Tom's memories from the previous day. As much as he likes Tom with a beard, he thinks it's also jarring on someone he'd always seen -- admittedly without much frequency -- neat and clean-shaven.

"What's that?" Tom asks, looking adorably curious, and Billy forces himself to look away.

He wonders if this was a bad idea. He'd been embarrassed enough when he'd had to explain to Tom how to shower -- from outside the bathroom door -- even though thankfully Tom seemed to have an intuitive sense of how to dress and undress himself.

"It's, um..." He reaches up to his face and runs his hand over his cheeks to demonstrate, suddenly realizing he hadn't shaved the previous day, and could use one himself. "The hair on your face. You normally cut it off."

"I'd like to learn how to shave," Tom says, and Billy nods.

"We can, um... shave together," he says, guiding the two of them to the bathroom before he can talk himself out of it. "And um... comb your hair, too."

"How's he doing?" Lieutenant Torres asks, arms crossed, when Billy brings Tom to engineering. There wasn't anything in engineering that he thought would be useful to Tom, but Billy had realized he hadn't taken Tom around her in a while, and had felt bad about it.

Even if Tom was officially his responsibility for a bit, Lieutenant Torres was still Tom's wife.

"Good, I think," Billy says, smiling at Tom and pushing those thoughts out of his mind. "What'd we do today, Tom?"

"We learned how to shave!"

Torres nods, approvingly. "So I see. Good call, Telfer. He was looking a bit scruffy."

Billy's more than a little relived that she hadn't minded. He'd worried, immediately after they'd finished, that he'd overstepped. "We also, um... stopped by the bridge. I wasn't sure if..."

"Also a good idea," Torres says, nodding approvingly but distractedly as she takes a padd that an engineer hands to her. "Did you need anything? Or..."

"Sorry. We'll get out of your hair." Billy's feeling a bit bad now about distracting Torres while she's on duty. "Should I... bring Tom by your quarters tonight? You two can have dinner or talk or..."

"Sick of dealing with him?" Torres says, but she's smirking. "No, that might be good. See if his memory's made any improvements when it comes to me. 1900? Just bring him back here."

Billy pushes aside the unpleasant feeling he gets from the thought that he and Tom wouldn't be having dinner together tonight. He has no reason for feeling this way. And it wasn't his place, besides.

"1900," Billy repeats.

"Thanks Telfer," Torres says, gently patting Tom's arm before walking off in the direction of an engineering station.

"B'Elanna Torres," Tom says, and Billy can't help but smile at that.

"That's right."

Billy hopes Tom and Torres will make progress, tonight.

I Say I Won't, But I Do

(Takes place during chapter five of PTMB)

Billy hates how weak he is in the moment. How he knows he should release Tom's hand, or have stood further away, or kept quiet despite his rising horror and guilt as he listens to Lieutenant Torres and The Doctor describe the weapon and its effects.

But he doesn't. He lets Tom hold his hand, telling himself it would help calm Tom down, despite the fact that Tom clearly isn't following any of what's being said.

And he doesn't pull away when Tom instead puts a hand around his side and pulls him closer. Tom had done this before too, usually when he'd sensed that Billy was agitated. And it'd calmed Billy down.

But as he watches Lieutenant Torres storms off, he kicks himself. He hates himself for subjecting her to this. He hates himself for doing this to her, and to Tom. And to himself.

But mostly, he worries. He worries -- despite the Doctor's words -- that Tom's recent reactions to and affinity for him are all due to the weapon. He worries that he's taking advantage of Tom -- holding his hand, touching his shoulder, leaning against his side in the mornings as they discussed Tom's memories -- under the guise of 'helping', because he knows that physical touch helps Tom remember. He worries that Tom can't and wouldn't consent to the casual physical affection that they'd both gotten used to, even though he doesn't think any of it was actually improper.

Well, except for the fact that Tom had an arm around his side and was holding him so close that Billy swears he could feel Tom's heart beating. In front of Tom's wife. That was definitely improper.

But Tom didn't know any better. Billy did. It was Billy's job to be responsible when Tom couldn't be.

He pulls away then -- hating how hard it is for him to do even that -- and focuses on the conversation at hand instead.

And he tells himself this needs to stop. That he can't be weak like this anymore. That Tom doesn't really want any of this.

He swears to himself that he'll do better.

And he forces himself not to notice how forlorn Tom looks now at their physical distance.

Billy manages to be good, even though it hurts every time Tom reaches out for him and Billy has to rebuff him. He forces himself to ignore the look in Tom's eyes each time.

It feels awkward now sometimes, in their quarters, when it's just the two of them and Billy has to be more overt with his avoidance. It stings every time he sees Celes or Harry interact casually with Tom -- a hand on the shoulder, a squeeze of the arm, a hug -- in a way that Billy knows he can't, and no longer allows himself to.

So Billy still does the right thing. He reminds himself Lieutenant Torres wouldn't approve. He tells himself that Tom wasn't really Tom, and Tom was under Billy's influence, and Tom wouldn't remember any of this the next day anyway. And for the majority of their time together, that's good enough.

Work is another matter.

Tom doesn't seem to be able to remember how to perform any task that has multiple steps. Even basic scans are a problem. And even though Billy knows that his primary job is be helping Tom, he still finds himself slightly annoyed that he's spending all of his time repeatedly demonstrating the same tasks to Tom rather than accomplishing any real work himself.

He sets his hand on Tom's shoulder one day. It's entirely unintentional on his part -- an automatic reflex while his mind was engrossed in the task rather than on avoiding Tom -- but it helps Tom remember, and Tom completes his task without issue the rest of the day.

Billy allows himself this. It truly is platonic at this point. He's too respectful of Lieutenant Torres and Tom's relationship and Tom's condition -- and of his own feelings -- to let it be anything but that. And he still avoids Tom's attempts to hold his hand.

But it's something, at least.

Good Enough

(Takes place during chapter six of PTMB)

Billy still wasn't comfortable around the Captain. Despite their shared experience on the away mission a year ago, and the fact that she was always warm and friendly toward him, protocol told him that he should be formal in her presence. And protocol was easier than figuring out for himself how he should act.

"At ease," she says to him with a smile. "Please, sit."

"Y...yes, Captain," Billy says, taking a seat at one side of the conference table. Tom sits next to him, looking a little more comfortable now that Billy seems less on edge, and Billy can't help but think the feeling was mutual. Billy's still nervous, but somehow, Tom's presence helps a bit, too.

"Thank you for coming," she once they're seated, turning to Lieutenant Torres and The Doctor, on the other side of the table. "The Doctor has made a breakthrough, but I believe it requires some discussion."

The Doctor stands and walks to the screen in the wall of the briefing room, tapping some buttons before a diagram pops up. Billy recognizes it as a map of neurons in Tom's brain.

"I've been studying the effects of the weapon, and specifically the way it disrupts and rewrites neurons to restrict memory. I believe I have developed a technique that can repair the damage, but I cannot predict what effect that repair would have. In addition, it would be extremely delicate microsurgery, and I'm not aware of any operation of this type that has ever been performed. If were in the Alpha Quadrant, I would probably be nominated for..."

"Doctor", the Captain interrupts. "What are the risks involved?"

The Doctor seems to uncharacteristically hesitate. "It is possible that Mr. Paris' condition would not meaningfully change or improve. It is possible that there would be neurological damage that would further reduce his faculties and capabilities. In the worst case, it's possible that the operation could leave Mr. Paris brain dead."

"Absolutely not!" Billy says before he remembers where he is, and who he's talking to. His ears burn as the Captain chastises him, and tells Lieutenant Torres it's her decision.

It makes sense that it's her decision. Billy understands why it's her decision. He understands why she chooses to proceed. He would probably make the same decision, in her place.

But he still doesn't like it.

Billy thinks he should be happy that Tom has his full mental faculties back, even if he didn't have all of his old memories. Billy thinks he should be happy that he'd done his job well in reacquainting Tom to the ship and its crew -- and should be proud of the commendation the Captain had put in his record.

Instead, as he watches Tom pack up his clothing in their shared room, he just feels sick. He tries not to think about how his feelings extended beyond mere friendship and a desire to help Tom, despite knowing he shouldn't feel that way. He tries not to remember the way he'd felt when Seven had asked if he and Tom had been dating. He tries not to remember how, despite his mortification, he'd liked the suggestion.

He remembers anyway. And he hates himself for having felt -- for still feeling -- that way.

He tells himself it's not his place to interfere. He tells himself that Tom is married and he'd already meddled enough in Tom and Lieutenant Torres' relationship.

It doesn't work, and even the guilt he feels when Tom sits next to him -- and puts a hand on shoulder -- isn't enough to keep him quiet.

He really wishes he could just keep quiet. He hates how Tom does this to him -- unknowingly and unintentionally -- even now. He hates how comfortable he feels around Tom. He hates how desperate he suddenly feels.

He listens to Tom talk about responsibility. He understands Tom's responsibility. He has a responsibility, too, to understand that his job was done. To let go.

Despite everything, he lets Tom hold him.

He tells himself it's goodbye.

"You look miserable," Celes says after their shift in astrometrics together. "Didn't sleep last night?"

Billy shakes his head. It'd been a while since his brain had run on like that at night, but run on it had, and before he knew it, the computer had been telling him it was 0700. "Tried. I just had too much on my mind."

She rubs his back reassuringly. It helps. "You really like him, don't you?"

"No," Billy says, immediately. Even though they both know it's a lie.

Fortunately, she doesn't seem to press. "You really miss him," she says instead, looking at him with sympathy, and Billy turns away. He doesn't want sympathy.

"He's happy now," Billy says, needing to believe the words. "It was just a job for me." He really needs to believe the words. He needs to move on.

He needs to have been better or stronger or more disciplined so he wouldn't need to move on, now.

"You don't believe that."

"I don't have a choice, Celes!" He doesn't mean to raise his voice. He doesn't dare look at her.

She doesn't say anything else.

What You Waitin' For

(Takes place during chapter seven of PTMB)

"This was a nice surprise," Billy says, reminding himself that this was all just a holographic simulation -- and that he was wearing his uniform besides, which was an effective barrier against the majority of known insects and bacteria -- and allowing himself to lay down on his back on the bare grass.

It actually was a really nice feeling.

"Well, you've shown me Earth quite a few times, so I thought I should return the favor," Celes says, and Billy can tell she's also lying on her back, staring up at the stars.

"When we make it back, I'll have to visit for real. I've always heard how gorgeous Bajor was, but never really had any, uh... interest, I guess."

Celes chuckles. "Look at you. Ready to beam down to random planets now, consequences be damned."

"Bajor isn't a random planet!" Billy objects. "And I've read up on Bajoran diseases, anyway. Other than..."

"Don't do it, Billy," Celes warns, even though there's amusement in her voice. "You'll spiral again. Think nice thoughts, instead. The soft grass. The stars. The cool breeze."

" is really nice," he admits, closing his eyes and just letting himself enjoy the environment. It's soothing.

"The Tom Paris..."

It takes a second for her words to sink in before Billy's jumping to his feet in a panic and looking around the darkened meadow. "What?! What's Tom doing h..."

"Sorry!" Celes is up almost as quickly. "He's not here! I..."

"Why would you bring him up?!" Billy doesn't mean to be so harsh with her, but he thinks he'd just managed to make peace with his feelings. The last thing he needs is for Celes to meddle and dig them back up again.

When he looks over at her, Celes is biting her lip. "I... could have eased into that topic a little better."

"Is that why you brought me here?" Billy asks, suspicion setting in. "Somewhere calming so you could talk to me about Tom?!"

"No! I really did think you'd like it here!"

"Then can we just... enjoy this?" he asks, sitting down again and staring off into the distance at what looks like a mountain range. He wonders what kinds of animals live out in this meadow. He tries to focus on anything but animal diseases -- and anything but Tom.

Celes seems to hesitate for a moment. "Tom really misses you," she says, finally.

"Celes." Billy thinks he's getting angry now, and he never gets angry. "Why would you tell me that?!"

"Shut up and listen to me for a second," Celes snaps, and Billy doesn't think he's seen her like this before either.

"Fine." He doesn't turn toward her.

"I know how much this situation sucks for you, okay?" she says after a bit, calmer now. "Really, I do. But he doesn't just miss you, Billy. He looked miserable. Like you looked, the day after he moved out..."

"Thank you so much for reminding me of that."

"...and I heard a rumor today."

Billy knows the rumor she's referring to. He'd been trying his hardest to forget the rumor all day. "Just because Lieutenant Torres spent the night in Commander Chakotay's quarters doesn't mean something's up with her and Tom, Celes."

She punches his arm, hard, and it actually hurts. He starts to object before she cuts him off. "You're an idiot, William Telfer."

"And even if it does, it doesn't mean he's interested in me like that!"

"So you do have feelings for him," Celes says, victory in her voice.

Billy hates how comfortable he is with both Celes and Tom, and how both of them manage to make him run off his mouth until he gets into trouble. He hates that she'd just made him admit his feelings out loud, because now he can't pretend they aren't real.


"I'm not saying you have to date the man, Billy," she says, her voice reassuring now. "But you've been avoiding him because of Torres, right? You two should at least be friends again. Even if just for his sake."

Billy fights the urge to tell her that Tom's better off without him. He's pretty sure it'd earn him another punch, and he really doesn't believe it himself.

"What if it hurts too much?" he asks instead, his voice shaking, and a moment later, he can feel Celes against his back, her arms around his chest and holding him tightly.

"You know I'll always support you no matter what. And if that's how you feel, I won't push any more," she says, all bite gone. "But you two really had something, even if you're trying your hardest to forget it. I think you need him back in your life as much as he needs you."

Billy closes his eyes.

He doesn't want to admit that she's right.

Kiss You How I Like

(Takes place during chapter seven of PTMB)

It wasn't like Billy hadn't kissed someone before. Back on Earth, when he'd only had to worry about known pathogens, he'd gone out on a couple dates and kissed a couple boys (and a girl, because it never hurt to be sure). After all, when things didn't work out, it wouldn't be -- and wasn't -- too awkward to never see each other again.

But Voyager had been different. Once it had become clear that he was stuck with the same people on the same ship for the next 75 years, he'd made peace with the fact that he would be single for the rest of his life, and the only romance he'd get would be an evening with his hand and maybe a discretely-replicated toy. Sure, he was friendly with many people, but he knew none of them would be interested in him in that way, and anyway didn't dare risk any awkwardness with the people in his only social group for the foreseeable future. Besides, even discounting sexuality, his condition didn't make him the easiest to get along with, and every time he thinks about kissing someone -- or, as if it'd ever happen, sex -- all he can think about are germs, and how space was full of germs, and how a single drop of human saliva contained...

Needless to say, Billy hadn't had much interest in actually kissing any of his shipmates.

Even after his hypochondria had turned from a blaring alarm to a quiet drone that sometimes came up in the back of his head, he still didn't think there was anyone on the ship he'd want to kiss. Awkwardness and social situations aside, Billy didn't just want to kiss someone, or be fucked by someone. Billy wanted a partner, and no one on Voyager really fit the bill.

At least, 'no one' until he'd gotten to know Tom and, despite the red alert that went off in his head every time he saw Lieutenant Torres, fallen for the man. He'd told himself it was just a measure of his own relative loneliness -- despite Celes, and other acquaintances -- and the time they'd spent together, but things didn't get better when he'd forced some time apart. Despite trying his hardest, his feelings hadn't gone away.

Celes had described Tom as 'miserable', and even though he's sure she'd been exaggerating, the thought that Tom had missed him as much as Billy still -- despite himself -- missed Tom gave him hope.

And then Celes had given him enough courage to do something about it. And then, when he showed the slightest inclination to follow through, threatened him in a concerning enough way that he felt like he had to do something about it.

So Tom hadn't been the first person Billy had kissed. But he thinks maybe it's the first time he'd actually wanted to kiss someone, and if Tom's enthusiasm was any indication, that feeling was definitely mutual.

"That was... wow," Tom says, eyes still closed, and Billy wants to agree with the sentiment.

Instead, he kisses Tom again.

Do You Want Me To?

(Takes place during chapter eight of PTMB)

"Ensign." Seven's voice pulls Billy out of the bioanalysis he had been performing. "Take these sensor specifications to Lieutenant Torres in engineering."

Billy nods, automatically, taking the padd from her hand before his mind finishes processing her words. He and Lieutenant Torres hadn't spoken since the operation. "To Lieutenant... Torres?!"

Seven raises an eyebrow at him. "Is there a problem, ensign?"

Eugene's beside him in a flash. "I could take those for you. It wouldn't be a problem."

Billy shakes his head. As much as he appreciates the gesture -- and honestly loved how Eugene was always so understanding of his feelings and protective of his friends -- he can't let... this get in the way of his job.

Besides, he feels like he's overdue for a conversation with Lieutenant Torres anyway. Even though he'd been glad he hadn't stuck around when she'd stopped by his and Eugene's quarters -- and he's sure that whatever conversation they'd had was really meant for the two of them -- he still wishes he could've been there. He needs to know that she's really okay with things.

"I'll take it," he says, before he can change his mind. "Now."

Seven just nods, an exasperated look on her face as she returns to her work. Eugene looks concerned. "Billy..."

"Just doing my job," Billy says, turning around and walking out the door before he can second guess anything.

The trip to engineering is short, and Billy runs potential lines through his head on the way, trying to figure out how to start the conversation -- and convincing himself that it's okay to start the conversation with her.

But all of that preparation flies out of his head the instant he walks through the doors to engineering, and Lieutenant Torres looks up at him with a bemused expression.

"Another request from our Borg queen?"

Billy nods, appreciating the fact that she doesn't seem upset or angry to see him, at least, handing the padd over as she thumbs through it. "Yes ma'am."

She frowns for a bit, then sighs. "Of course she would. Tell her we're not going to get to these until tomorrow. And tell her she'd better not attempt to make these modifications herself."

"I... will," Billy says, resisting the urge to turn around and leave. His job was done. It wasn't his place to bring up Eugene and push the conversation.

Except it kind of was.

Torres turns back to a console, but seems to notice Billy's indecision. She turns back to him after a moment. "Now what?"

"Can we... talk?" he asks. It had seemed like one of the safer lines. "Unless you're busy. I can just... go."

She stares at him for a moment, her expression unreadable, before she grabs his arm and pulls him through a door into an isolated room before releasing him, crossing her arms, and looking at him expectantly. "What?"

"Um. Permission to... speak freely?"

She looks exasperated. "Isn't that what... yes. Permission granted. What did you want to say?"

"Are you okay with this?" he asks. He immediately regrets not including any more specifics in the question, but she seems to understand him anyway.

"Honestly?" she says, staring into his eyes until he has to look away. "I shouldn't be."

Billy stares at the floor, trying to swallow the lump in his throat. "I didn't... I didn't mean for..."

"I didn't say I wasn't," she interrupts, surprising him, and when he looks up at her, a smile is tugging at the corners of her mouth. "Okay with it, I mean."


She shakes her head. "Okay, no. Don't do that. Call me 'lieutenant' if you have to, but we're not doing 'ma'am'."

"Yes... Lieutenant."

She nods, approvingly. "I shouldn't be, because dammit, Tom was my husband and you stole him from me..."

Billy winces at that. It was everything he'd been dreading, and he starts to stammer an apology.

"Shut up for a second," she says, frustration in her voice. "And let me finish. What I'm trying to say is that I feel like I should actually be thanking you."

Billy really hadn't expected that response. "Tha... thanking?!"

She turns around, leaning back against a wall and staring at the ceiling. "I don't know what Eugene's told you, but he and I weren't working. And yes, I hated you for a while, Telfer. Thought that it was your fault that Tom had changed. Thought it was your fault that he and I weren't clicking anymore. And one day I realized that I was looking at it the wrong way. Tom had changed, sure, but it was that change that drew him to you rather than the other way around."

"There was also the weapon's effects..." Billy starts, despite himself. "I mean. Sorry. Ma'am. Lieutenant! Lieutenant."

She doesn't seem bothered by the interruption this time. "If it wasn't for you, we would've kept trying, both of us stuck in the motions of trying to get back to normal. Except there isn't a normal for us, is there?" She looks at Billy now, expression slightly amused. "For B'Elanna and Eugene, I mean."

Billy doesn't quite follow. "You're... saying it's a good thing that I...." He trails off, not sure how to finish the sentence.

"You forced me to confront the fact that he wasn't Tom anymore," she finishes for him. "And you helped him realize that there was an alternative to me. You gave me the courage to end things with him because I knew, if I did what I had to do, he would be okay. Because he had you. And it was the right thing. For both of us."

Billy feels like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. "But I still... This is okay?"

Torres shrugs. "Honestly? It hurts seeing the two of you together. Like, it really sucks. And it'll take me some time. But you make him happy, so..." She smiles slightly at him. "So he's your problem now, Telfer."

"Thank... you." Billy isn't sure what else to say.

She just nods. "Anything else?"

Billy shakes his head "No, ma... lieutenant."

"Then get back to astrometrics. I'm sure Seven has calculated the exact number of minutes it should've taken you to run her request down here, and is wondering why you're taking so long."

"Seven of Nine to Ensign Telfer." Seven's voice comes over the comm, and B'Elanna grins at him.

Told you, she mouths at him.

"Sor... sorry ma'am," Billy says, scrambling out the door and back to main engineering. "I'm heading back now!"

He sneaks a look back before he exits engineering. Torres seems to be watching him, and nods, once.

And Billy knows everything's going to be okay.

All I Feel Is You

Chapter Notes

And here's our M rating

(Takes place during chapter eight of PTMB)

Billy worries more than a little about the prospect of sex with Gene.

It certainly wasn't that he didn't want sex with Gene. Shortly after they'd started dating, and he'd really allowed himself to accept the fact that this was okay -- that he wasn't causing marital strife between Gene and Lieutenant Torres, or that he wasn't forcing Gene into something he didn't want because of the weapon's effects -- he'd jerked off in the sonic shower to the thought of Gene's cock. And only felt a little guilty about it afterward.

But he worries about more than a few related aspects anyway.

First, he isn't even sure that Gene knows what sex is. He assumes that Gene and Lieutenant Torres have had sex, but it isn't a topic he's comfortable bringing up, especially because things are going so well in their relationship, and also because, well... Lieutenant Torres. And he isn't sure whether he'd be able to explain the logistics of sex without getting embarrassed and running away.

Speaking of their relationship, he's still worried somewhere deep down that sex -- or even just the general concept of Billy's penis -- would be off-putting to Gene. Tom had always had a reputation for being a ladies' man and, as far as Billy knew, had never expressed any interest in men. He reminds himself that Gene isn't Tom, and Gene clearly is interested in him, but he worries anyway. He thinks he'd rather have Gene like this than push something that could ruin things for the two of them.

The third thing -- something that had been a concern he'd had ever since he'd gone through puberty and starting noticing guys and looked into the logistics -- was cleanliness. He isn't sure how he'd feel about a cock in his mouth -- and wonders how much it'd ruin the mood when it came up if he asked Gene to hop in the sonic shower quickly. And while the thought of being penetrated had always been appealing, he'd always been more than a little repulsed by the idea of the... afterward. Partners couldn't be recycled like used toys. And even though it was different now that it was Gene rather than some abstract idea of a guy, Billy's still pretty sure that the sight of Gene's cock covered in his shit would permanently ruin sex for him.

At least the last thing was solvable, to an extent. He'd replicated an internal cleansing device that could be used before sex, and kept it in the drawer next to his bed, just in case. He still worries a bit about ruining any spontaneity if it ever came up, but decides it'd be a compromise he'd have to make.

But, despite all of his planning and concern and worrying, he's still surprised when Gene exits the bathroom after sonic shower one day -- wearing only his underwear, which Billy definitely appreciates -- smiles at Billy, and asks if he wanted to have sex.

Billy literally drops his padd, all thoughts of the detective novel he'd been reading immediately leaving his head. "Wha... what?"

Gene immediately looks guilty. "Sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

"No! I just... wasn't expecting..." Billy swallows and forces himself to start over. "Yes. I'd like that. If you're... sure."

Gene nods and smiles at Billy, although he seems a little unsure what to do, and Billy decides he'd better take the initiative.

At least, as much as Billy can.

A short while later, they're naked together on Gene's bed and, despite Gene's obvious arousal and desire -- which Billy had found extremely reassuring -- he's looking at Billy with confusion.

"Is everything... okay?" Billy asks, forcing his mind to stay focused despite everything else he wants to do at the moment.

Gene nods. "Sorry. You just don't have a... vagina?"

"Oh." Billy thinks he understands now. "I don't, but there are other kinds of sex other than, um... penis in vagina."

Gene nods, but still seems a bit concerned. "I figured, but um... I don't know what I'm doing. B'Elanna and I tried once, but she mostly had to instruct me. And this is new to me. I just... don't want to disappoint you."

"I haven't done any of this before," Billy says, before he can think better of it, and immediately blushes. "With anyone. So we're kind of... discovering this together?"

That seems to reassure Gene, and he relaxes. "I... I like that. The thought that this is new for both of us."

Billy likes the thought of that too. And as he pulls Gene close and kisses him, he hopes this is just the start of the discovery process for both of them.

Your Ghost Of Love

(Takes place during chapter eight of PTMB)


"Hm?" Billy doesn't bother moving. His position against Gene's side is too comfortable.

"Are we ready to have a baby?"

"Wh...what?!" Billy scrambles upward until he's staring Gene in the eyes. Gene looks worried. Billy's admittedly not proud of his reaction, but those were just about the last words he'd expected to hear at the moment. At least for now.

He wasn't against the idea of a kid with Gene at some point.

"I don't know if I'm ready for that responsibility yet," Gene says, biting his lip. "I'm already going to be an uncle to B'Elanna and... Tom's baby. And I'm still learning about the world and everything. The responsibility for taking care of a baby would fall to you, and that doesn't seem fair."

Billy thinks the words should be comforting, but instead he just feels confused. "Gene. I don't understand. Are you saying that you don't want to have a baby with me? At least right now?"

Gene nods, although he looks guilty at it. "But I really, really like sex with you. And you seem to with me. So I didn't want to... stop, even though I was worried. I'm sorry. I should have been more responsible sooner. Before we... had sex so many times."

Something clicks in Billy's head and he reminds himself again that, despite being a highly intelligent member of the crew, Gene was missing more than a few basics when it came to general knowledge.

Or at least knowledge that everyone else had grown up with.

"What do you know about sex and pregnancy?" Billy asks, allowing himself to cautiously relax again, head on the pillow next to Gene's.

Gene seems more comfortable with this line of conversation, at least. "B'Elanna told me that she was pregnant, which means that she's growing a baby inside her. She said that people could get pregnant when they have sex, but she and I didn't need to worry because most species, including hers, couldn't get pregnant again while they were already pregnant. And... you're smiling."

"Sorry," Billy says, pushing down the laugh that threatens to erupt. "Um. B'Elanna wasn't wrong, but there are ways to prevent pregnancy. No one has to get pregnant, or have a baby, unless they want to. Well, except for the..." He shakes his head. He doesn't want to get into reproductive xenobiology at the moment. "The point is that we're both human, and in addition to having access birth control, neither of us has the organs to get pregnant anyway."

"Oh?" Gene seems to consider that for a moment. "You mean that neither of us can get pregnant from sex? Even if neither of us is on... birth control?"

Billy kisses him gently before curling back up in the comfortable position against his side. "Right. Neither of us can get pregnant from sex."

"Oh." Gene sounds pleased by that revelation. "That's good." He pauses. "Um. Not that I don't want to have a baby with you at some point."

Billy kisses his chest. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Sorry. I hadn't realized you wouldn't know this, and had been worrying about it. I would've covered this the first time."

"It's not your fault," Gene says, relaxing again, his arms squeezing Billy tightly. "Thank you for being patient with me."

Billy likes the way Gene's arms feel. "Always."

I Need You To Know

(Takes place after chapter eight of PTMB)


Billy had honestly been nervous about this, but once his parents appear on the screen, all he can feel is the fact that he misses them. Of course they'd known for a while that he was okay -- they'd already caught up on the past six years over letters, and had spoken like this once before -- but he still wondered how he'd tell them about Gene. He hadn't felt right to write about him in a letter, especially when their next scheduled call had been relatively soon.

"Hi mom. Dad."

"It sounds like you've been doing well." His dad nods approvingly. "Despite the commission."

His mother tuts. "Don't pay any attention to your father, William. You know how he feels about the military. We're proud of you."

"Speak for yourself."

"Nothing's changed, dad," Billy says, remembering now at least part of why he'd been nervous. His father had never trusted Starfleet, and had only begrudgingly accepted Billy's career aspirations when he'd promised he was interested solely in the pursuit of scientific goals. "I'm still just conducting research. The commission was just The Captain showing her appreciation for my contributions."

"Should've turned it down."

"Herbert..." his mother says, frowning, before turning back to Billy with a smile. "How's Celes doing? You haven't talked much about her in your most recent letters. Are you two still friends?"

Billy nods, knowing his mother always worried about him and the fact that he was alone, and it had really eased her mind to know he had a good friend on board. "We are. She's good. Getting better at sensor analysis, actually. She's been..."

"90 seconds." Seven's voice interrupts his thoughts.

Billy bites his lip, knowing he needed to broach the subject now. "Actually, I'm... seeing someone. His name is Eugene Paris."

"Paris?" His father asks. "Any relation to Admiral Paris?"

"It's... a long story," Billy says, already regretting the decision. Of course his father recognized the name -- the Admiral was involved in the effort to communicate with Voyager. He should have just written this to them in a letter instead. "He's Admiral Paris' son, but also... not. I'll... I'll tell you more in my next letter."

"Well, we're very happy for you," his mother says before his father can say anything. She hits him with her elbow. "Aren't we?"

His father just grumbles.

"He's not Starfleet, dad," Billy says, hoping it's enough. "He's a scientist, like me. He... makes me happy."

"Then that's all we care about," his mother says, elbowing his father again. "Your sister gave birth last night."

"30 seconds."

"Oh." Billy had been wanting to ask why neither Blair nor his brother-in-law Adam had been present for the call, but had assumed something like that. Then again, he'd only 'met' Adam on the last call, so he wouldn't have been surprised if they'd simply chosen to skip this one. "I'm sorry to have missed it."

"You have a nephew, Billy!" she says. "Edward James. We'll send pictures in the next letter."

"I'd like that," Billy says. "And congratulate them for me."

"10 seconds."

"We miss you, sweetheart," his mother says. "We love you. We'll talk to you again in two months! Tell us more about Eugene when you write!"

"I will, mom," Billy says, turning as the door opens and Tuvok walks in. "I.. miss all of you, too."

"Ensign," Tuvok says, nodding at him as Seven hits some buttons on a console and the screen switches to a view of a serious-looking Vulcan woman.

"Commander," Billy says, walking out the door as quickly as possible so he can give Tuvok some privacy.

He's unsurprised when Celes is waiting for him in the hallway. "How are your parents? And sister?" she asks.

"They're good," Billy says, walking down the corridor as she follows. "I'm an uncle now."

Celes gasps in delight. "That's right! You told me she was due soon. I'm happy for you!"

Her enthusiasm is contagious, and Billy can't help but smile with her. "Thanks. I'm sad I won't actually meet him in real life until he's a teenager or an adult, but I guess we'll chat in the meantime, so I'll kind of get to see him grow up." He swallows. "Also I told them about Gene."

"Ah." Celes smiles at him, sympathetically this time. "I thought you looked a little upset. Did it go badly?"

"Well, dad disapproves of my commission, of course. And immediately made the connection to Admiral Paris. I should've written to them instead. I could've explained everything first."

Celes pats his arm. "It'll be fine. We're still like 30,000 light years away, right? He has time to get used to the idea."

Billy thinks that, previously, the reminder that he was so far away from home would have been more upsetting than reassuring. But now, he has Gene, and he has Celes, and he has the calls with his family every two months. He doesn't feel quite so alone anymore.

"Thanks," Billy says, stopping at the turbolift door and hitting the button. "You're right."

Celes nods. "I'll see you for dinner tonight!"

Billy's looking forward to it.

Take Me Home Tonight

Chapter Notes

(Takes place during chapter nine of PTMB)


Before Billy knows what's happening, he's wrapped up in his mother's arms. She seems to be crying, holding on to him like she can't believe he's real.

He hugs her back, tightly, and notices his father, sister, and brother-in-law standing nearby. His father nods, approvingly.

"I can't believe I'm actually here," Billy says, closing his eyes and allowing a tear to fall. "I thought it would be years."

His mother lets out a choked laugh at that, squeezing him more tightly. "Me too, sweetheart."

"Introduce us to your beau, Billy!" Blair says, and as nice as the hug is, Billy appreciates the distraction.

"Oh... This is Gene," he says, blushing slightly now at his sister's words and trying to gesture in the direction he thinks Gene is standing, even as his mother seems unwilling to let him go. "He's just... he's my boyfriend."

Billy's more nervous about the entire thing than just worrying that his dad doesn't approve because Starfleet. Ever since their conversation about living arrangements, he'd realized that they both see their relationship as extremely serious. And an introduction to Gene's potential in-laws certainly felt like a significant event.

He thinks he's only more nervous about the prospect of meeting Admiral Paris and Gene's siblings.

"It's very nice to meet all of you," Gene says, and even though he appears confident, Billy can tell that he too is nervous.

"Eugene Paris," Billy's dad says, stepping directly in front of Gene and eyeing him up and down.

To his credit, Gene doesn't waver, instead holding out his hand. Billy finds himself dreading the response.

...only to find himself pleasantly surprised when his dad nods, takes Gene's hand, and shakes it.

"Sir," Gene says, falling back on protocol.

Billy's dad harrumphs, but just nods again before making his way back toward the refreshments table.

"That was his friendly greeting," Billy's mom says, finally releasing him from the hug. "William's told us how much you've done for him, Gene. Herbert appreciates it, even if he'll never say so."

"Billy's done a lot for me too," Gene says, blushing again. "But I'm... glad. That he was... friendly."

"Ensign Telfer."

Billy freezes at the sound of Admiral Paris' voice. The Admiral appears behind Gene, gently patting Gene's shoulder before standing in front of Billy and looking over at his mother. "And you must be Martha."

"I am," Billy's mom says, taking his offered hand and shaking it. "Thank you again, Admiral, for everything you've done for the crew."

The Admiral nods before something across the room seems to catch his eye. "Please enjoy the celebration. Excuse me."

He disappears, and Billy lets out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.

"Was that a... good first meeting?" Billy asks, looking over at Gene.

"I... don't know," Gene says, looking guilty, and Billy regrets the question. "We've only talked a couple times. I've, um... heard he's usually pretty gruff, so I guess that was good?"

"Should we join dad at the food?" Blair asks, breaking the awkwardness.

Gene smiles and holds out his hand, and Billy gladly takes it. It feels more comfortable now, for some reason. Maybe because he knew his dad approved of Gene, and because Admiral Paris hadn't been hostile toward him.

And as they walk together toward the refreshments, he can't help but feel a sense of relief at it.

He has Gene. It's okay that he has Gene.

And Billy's happy.

Chapter End Notes

Sorry for the bit of delay. I hadn't been sure how to end this for a while, and eventually settled on the post-Endgame return to Earth as a reasonable place.

The last two chapters of I'm In Your Space have also been written at this point, so those should also be up pretty soon to wrap up this Billy/Gene trilogy.


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