Title: Responsibilities
Series: VOY
Rating: G
Code: P, EMH
Part: 1/1 NEW
Date: November 2000

Summary: A coda to Flesh and Blood. Tom confronts the EMH.

Disclaimer: Voyager owns all the characters, etc., I am just using the
characters for a little fun and relaxation.

Note of Appreciation. Special thanks to my beta readers: Marianne, Senior,
and Ronda. Any similarities to Tracy S.'s coda to Flesh and Blood is purely


Posting: OK to ASC. Please notify me if you post anywhere else.

by PJ in NH

November 2000


Tom looked up from his report he was working on. "Come in."

The door whispered open and the EMH stepped into the room.

Seeing who his guest was, Tom returned to his task.

"I need to speak with you, Lieutenant."

"I'm busy. I have a lot of work to finish before B'Elanna comes home." The
pilot looked back down to his dataPADD and punched several keys,
purposefully ignoring the Doctor.

The EMH stepped forward, taking note of Tom and B'Elanna's new quarters.
Looking through the open door to their bedroom, he could see that their new
bed was bigger than either had before. The living area was also larger.
Tom's television was positioned in front of the sofa and chairs from his old
quarters, while B'Elanna had brought with her the dining set from her cabin.
"I came down here to talk with you, Tom."

The pilot's fingers paused over the dataPADD, but he didn't look up. "Tom,
huh? I don't hear that much coming from you."

"I realize that. It's one of the things I need to fix."

"One of the things?"

"Yes. I came down here to apologize for my actions. While I was gone, you
were the one that was most affected."

Tom finally looked up from his work and focused on the hologram. "Why would
you say that, Doc?"

"You were the one who had to assume my duties while I was away," the EMH
explained. It unnerved him to see the usually easygoing Tom Paris looking
so intense.

"That's true. While I was Acting Chief Medical Officer, I had to treat not
only the Hirogen wounded, but also Voyager's own injured crewmen. In
addition, I was called upon to perform my duty of Chief Pilot during your

"I know that you..."

"Not all of them survived," Tom interrupted. "John Thompson, one of the
Cargo Handlers, and a fine man, one of the best pool hustlers on the ship,
died. I co...couldn't save him." Tom's voice cracked with emotion.

"I'm very sorry."

"That doesn't cut it. Not this time." Tom tossed the dataPADD across the
table where it slid across the surface before it landed with a thud on the
floor. Rising from his seat, he crossed the room to where a picture of his
wife hung on the wall. With one finger he reached up and traced the curve
of B'Elanna's cheek, before he turned back to look at the EMH. "This isn't
the first time you've left the ship putting me in charge of Sickbay. This
isn't the first time when I wasn't even sure if you'd be coming back, nor
the first time that B'Elanna's life was at risk. Both times, might I
mention, she was in danger of losing her life at the hands of a
warped-minded hologram!"

"It'll never happen again," the physician reassured him.

"I wish I could believe you."

"You can. You have my word."

Tom sighed and ran his long fingers through his already tussled hair. "In
the past your word would have been good enough."

"I assure you..."

The sudden sound of Tom laughing stopped the EMH from continuing for
laughter sounded far from humorous. "That's weird," Tom remarked.

"What's weird?"

Tom cooly eyed the hologram. "In the past, your word would have been
enough, but it just isn't any more."

The EMH was at an uncharacteristic loss for words.

"I don't know exactly when things changed," Tom continued. "Maybe it was
when B'Elanna was on that Borg cube, or when she placed this ring on my
finger." The newlywed held up his hand, displaying his wedding band. "What
I do know, Doc, is that I'll do anything in my power to protect my wife."

The Doctor nodded. "That's understandable. You love her."

"Then you can understand why I worry when you're gone. I worry something
might happen to her I couldn't treat, and you wouldn't be here to help her.
I worry that B'Elanna and I might have children and their lives would be at
risk because you might get it into your head you want to leave the ship and
gallivant around the Quadrant. And I also worry about the rest of the crew,
who depend on me for their medical services when you are away. Me? Isn't
that something? They rely on me, a medic, to make them better. Some of
these people would have spit in my face not that many years ago!" Tom
turned away from the Doctor to collect his emotions and thoughts before he
abruptly pivoted back. "Do you have any idea how it feels to feel that
inadequate? I have no doubts about my piloting skills...but I'm only a
medic, a nurse. I'm not a trained doctor."

The Doctor stepped forward and placed his hand on the pilot's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Tom" The words were laden with sorrow.

"I--I know you are," Tom admitted, "but this time sorry isn't good enough.
This time things are going to change."

"What can I do to convince you I won't leave the ship again?"

"I wish it were as simple as that. Sometimes, there are circumstances
beyond your control. I realize that. This time you were initially
kidnaped, but then you opted to stay and assist the holograms--you even
helped them to take B'Elanna. In the future, there might be other
circumstances that will take you away from Voyager; or your holomatrix might
be damaged. Next time, I want to be prepared." Tom bent down and picked up
the dataPADD where it had fallen and handed it to the EMH. "Read it."

The Doctor thumbed the activation button on the PADD. On the small screen a
carefully laid out schedule was displayed. It covered everything from Tom's
working hours, meals, sleep, play, and something that was referred to as
"mushy time." He somehow knew better than to ask his medic about this
"mushy time." He did note that the work time included shifts both on the
Bridge and in Sickbay. In fact, the EMH realized that the Sickbay hours
listed were greater than he was presently assigned.

"What's this all about?"

"It's my new schedule." Tom explained. "I just have to clear it with
Chakotay and the Captain.

The Doctor looked puzzled.

"Starting at 0800 hours tomorrow, providing I get approval, which I don't
believe I'll have any trouble receiving, you will begin instructing me. I
want to know all I can about being a doctor."

"You *want* to be a doctor?"

Tom nodded. "I suppose I could tell you it was for the good of the ship,
and that would be true. I could tell you that it will help me feel more
confident, and that I'll be able to take better care of my wife and any
future children we might be blessed with. That would also be true. But
I've also found that I've come to like medicine....not as much as piloting
mind you." Tom shook his index finger at the Doctor. "But when I like
something, I want to know more about it."

"I had no idea you felt that way."

"Neither did I. I guess it was gradual. I was determined to hate it at the
beginning. When Kes took over, I gladly relinquished the reins, but it
wasn't long before I found that I missed it. I still don't know why exactly
I like it."

"I think I do."

Tom's eyes widened. "You want to enlighten me?"

"You like to help people. You may have been born to fly, but your greatest
talent has always been helping people. It's instinctive I believe. That's
why the patients respond to you so well."

"And I thought it was because they like my wit and good looks," Tom quipped.

The EMH chuckled. "I'll see you at 0800."

The End