Andrew opened his eyes and looked around the room. Immediately Alan was at his side.
"Oh Andy, oh God I've missed you. How are you?" Alan said and gave Andrew a kiss.
"I'm... confused? What happened Alan?" Andrew asked as he tried to turn in the bed.
"Tom, can you turn this bed off? He doesn't need it now." Alan said without turning away from Andrew.
"Your glasses? What? What happened to your glasses?" Andrew asked as he stared in wonder at the beautiful brown eyes looking back at him.
"It's a long story Andy. First, tell me how you're feeling. Do you need anything?" Alan asked with concern.
"Yeah, just give me a minute... I'm so confused." Andrew said as he felt the force restraining him evaporate.
A moment later the shell that was covering his midsection retracted into the bed.
Andrew looked at Alan and the four other people with him, three men and a woman.
"Where are we?" Andrew asked timidly, feeling that he was the center of attention.
"Another long story. Let me introduce you to everyone. This is Tom Paris and his friend Chakotay." Alan said and motioned for the two to approach.
"It's nice to finally meet you." Tom said with a warm smile.
"Yes. Alan's told us a lot about you." Chakotay said kindly.
"Pleased to meet you." Andrew said shyly.
"Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Paris come to the bridge." Captain Janeway's voice called.
"Sorry, duty calls." Tom said as he followed Chakotay out of the room.
"Andrew, this is the Doctor and Seven of Nine." Alan said, as he looked back at Andrew with undisguised love.
"A pleasure to meet you." The Doctor said as Seven inclined her head in greeting.
"Nice to meet you both." Andrew said pleasantly.
"Is it alright if I take Andrew to our room now?" Alan asked anxiously.
"Just a moment for one last scan, then you may leave." The Doctor said and moved a tricorder over Andrew's prone form.
A moment later the Doctor nodded and Alan put out his hand to help Andrew off the bed.
When Andrew was standing, Alan thought to ask, "Do either of you know where our cabin is? Chakotay assigned it to us, but I have no idea how to find it."
"Computer. Where are the quarters assigned to Andrew Wells?" the Doctor asked into the air.
"Andrew Wells' quarters are on deck six section four room eleven." the computer generated female voice said.
"That doesn't really tell me much." Alan said helplessly.
"Follow me." Seven of Nine said and led the way out of the sickbay.
Alan grabbed his cane and hurried to follow Seven.
* * * * *
Andrew and Alan stepped inside their cabin, went to the couch just inside the door, and both collapsed on it with an exhausted 'oof'.
"I don't know how she can walk so fast in those high heels. I'd still have trouble keeping up with her if I had two legs." Alan said tiredly.
Andrew nodded then scooted over so he could lay his head against Alan's shoulder.
Tears began to fill Alan's eyes and he said, "Oh God Andy, I've missed you."
They simultaneously pulled each other into a bruising hug that lasted long desperate minutes. Finally Andrew asked, "Can you tell me now?"
Alan guided Andrew back to his shoulder and asked, "What do you want to know first? There's quite a bit to tell."
"Where are we?"
"On a starship seventy thousand something light-years from earth... and four hundred years in the future... and in a different dimension, I think." Alan said carefully.
"Wow. When I saw the Sickbay, it had so many computers and advanced stuff that I thought it would help you... I had no idea I'd be taking us so far away." Andrew said in wonder.
"Yeah, I'd still like to know how you did that." Alan said with curiosity.
"All I did was find an open portal and jump us through it. It was outside earth's atmosphere and almost beyond my maximum range using as many multiple portals as I could make, but I was able to get us through." Andrew said and snuggled against Alan's chest.
"You nearly killed yourself this time Andy. You suffered a massive stroke that damaged seventy-eight percent of your brain. Until this morning, we didn't think you were ever going to wake up again." Alan said sadly and pressed a kiss into Andrew's hair.
"How were you able to heal me?" Andrew asked in wonder.
"Seven of Nine. She withdrew nano-probes from herself and programmed them to fix you." Alan said still feeling like this wasn't entirely real, like he might wake up at any moment. Alone, and probably restrained.
"So she gave of herself to make me better?" Andrew asked in confirmation.
"Yes, and she did the same thing for me on a lesser scale to make it so I could see without the glasses."
Andrew nodded then pulled himself up to give Alan a long, deep kiss.
After the kiss broke, both lay silently for a wondrous moment.
"Alan, would you just sit here and hold me for a while?" Andrew asked quietly.
"I can't think of anything I'd rather do." Alan said with a smile and snuggled closer.
* * * * *
Alan heard the door chime and went to answer it.
"Hi Tom, you can't come in right now, Andrew is sleeping." Alan said and stepped out into the hall.
"That's okay, I wanted to talk to you anyway. How is he?" Tom said, beginning to pace.
"He's a little quiet. I guess this whole experience has bothered him. As soon as he's ready to talk about it, I'll be there to help him through whatever he's having a problem with." Alan said with concern.
"Do you want to come to the mess hall with me to get something to eat?" Tom asked hesitantly.
"Sure, but I probably won't be able to find my way back to my cabin." Alan said and stumbled a little, wishing he had brought his cane.
Tom automatically caught Alan when he stumbled, then said, "Fine, let's go. That way we can get something to eat and talk. And I'll make sure you get back home safely."
"Thanks Tom." Alan said as he followed.
* * * * *
Tom and Alan walked into the mess hall and were confronted by a foul stench.
"Leola Casserole today." Tom said as he made his way to the serving line.
"It smells like dirty feet." Alan whispered as he followed Tom.
"I wish I could tell you that you'll get used to it but... no one has." Tom said with a shrug and dished some food onto his plate.
"I don't know what I'm looking at here." Alan said as he looked at the alien food selections.
"The purple stuff is pretty good, the green is okay, but if you eat the yellow lumpy stuff you won't be able to get the taste out of your mouth for days." Tom said quietly.
Alan mimicked Tom's selections, avoiding the yellow stuff completely.
"Good morning!" A speckled furry man said as he barreled out of the kitchen.
"Neelix, I'd like you to meet Alan, our visitor from the past. Alan, this is our chef, guide and ambassador to the delta quadrant, Neelix." Tom said with practiced diplomacy.
"Nice to meet you Neelix." Alan said quietly.
"I have a special treat for our guest. A fresh mojaba berry pie, it will be out of the oven in a few minutes. I'll bring it to you when it's ready." Neelix said with pride.
"Thank you Neelix." Tom said as he took Alan by the arm to guide him to a seat.
"That was kind of rude... he was still talking." Alan said as he followed obediently.
"If you waited for Neelix to stop talking before leaving, you'd never leave the mess hall." Tom said as he took a seat.
Silence fell between the two as they started to eat.
Finally Tom said, "Is Andrew really okay?"
"I honestly don't know. He's so quiet, he won't talk to me." Alan said in a considering voice.
"You know him best. Is there anything we can do to help him snap out of it?" Tom asked before he took a bite of the green stuff.
"Just give him some time to work it out. If I think of anything, I'll let you know." Alan said tiredly.
"Remember that Chakotay and I are here for you if you need anything, even just to talk." Tom said seriously.
"I don't think it's a problem, but if it turns out to be, it's good to know I don't have to face it alone." Alan said with concern.
"Just remember all you've done for us. This friendship thing works both ways. If I needed you, I know you'd be there for me." Tom said with certainty.
"Absolutely. And I know you'll be able to count Andrew in on that too when he's feeling like himself again." Alan said and went back to eating.
"So you're just going to wait him out?" Tom asked as he went back to his own meal.
"Yeah, there's nothing else to do until he's ready to talk about it." Alan said and pushed his empty plate away.
"Then let's try not to worry. Who knows, maybe he's having trouble adjusting to the whole four-hundred year, Delta quadrant thing." Tom said with a shrug.
"Maybe. Whatever it is, I'll get him through it." Alan said with assurance.
Tom nodded as he finished the last of his food.
"Mojaba berry pie! Fresh out of the oven." Neelix said gleefully as he approached the table with a serving tray.