TITLE: On the inside, looking in
PAIRING: J J&P P/T
SUMMARY: My response to a challenge from JuPiter Station, I hope it’s the kind of thing the challenger had in mind: I would like to see a fic where Janeway turns out to be Tom's mom. Weird I know. It can be as AU as you want and preferably angsty for Tom.
Author’s notes: I’m not sure this is completely finished, but is a story ever really finished?
The Doctor sighed as he again checked the hyprospray he held in his hand while waiting or his most frequent patient to materialize on the biobed in front of him. Once again he had the pleasure of forcing Voyager's temperamental half-Klingon out of his sickbay, assuring her that her husband would indeed be fine and live long enough for her to break every bone in his body. Watching as his patients form materialised, the Doctor decided that the helmsman was in fact cursed to find trouble where others could not.
A week earlier
She felt the back of her throat burn as he stomach lurched once more, after a moment she raised her head slowly, wiping her face with a flannel that lay on the side beside her. She could feel her sister's concerned look before she spoke. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Her voice was horse and her throat burnt in protest.
Captain Kathryn Janeway strode onto the bridge, "Report"
Chakotay rose from her seat, "We've just slowed down to warp 4 on B'Elanna's suggestion Captain."
"Why?" She felt her head throb as she sat down in her chair, punching at the console next to her arm, she'd been in a bad mood all morning, after spending the night tossing and turning, unwanted memories returning to plague her sleep.
"According to B'Elanna we are running out of Dilithium, we need to stop and find some more as soon as possible."
Kathryn stared into the normally calming eyes of her first officer but said nothing, her bad day had just become worse.
"Harry and Seven are in Astrometrics trying to located the nearest source."
B'Elanna sat down carefully in one of the briefing room chairs. Her day had started out fine, she had once again woken in her husband's arms, and there was nothing other than Tom to occupy her attention, allowing her to take her time preparing for the day. It had all changed the moment she had set foot in Engineering. Three of her staff had fallen ill, a bunch of nonessential systems had gone off line, jobs that should have been done hadn't even been started and then one poor Ensign had made the discovery about the Dilithium levels. She smiled inwardly *it's a good job he doesn't understand Klingon* Feeling her lower back twinge B'Elanna leant back in the chair and twined her finger's with Tom's as he sat down silently besides her.
Tom studied his wife as he sat down, he'd overheard the Captain's tone on the bridge and concluded Voyager's commanding officer was not in a pleasant mood, and wanted to support his wife even it was by just holding her hand.
"I suppose we all know why we are here?" Kathryn wasted not time as she walked into the briefing room, wincing inwardly as she saw the expressions on Harry and Neelix's faces.
"Captain, I can explain."
Kathryn raised her hand, cutting her chief Engineer off. "It doesn't matter Lieutenant. It happened and now we need to solve the problem before Voyager is dead in space." She directed her gaze towards Seven and Harry. "Have you two had any luck locating a suitable source?"
"Yes, Captain." Seven stood and walked towards the display screen, "We have located an M class planet that is rich in Dilithium, however the source is five days journey from here at warp 4, and would require a course correction in the wrong direction."
Harry looked at his Captain, "By the time the away team has collected enough Dilithium, Voyager will be seven days away, and quite possibly out of fuel."
Kathryn studied the display, "Are there any other options?"
Harry shook his head. "No, Captain."
"Captain, if Voyager was to stop dead in space it would seriously damage the crews moral." Neelix studied his Captain carefully.
"Then you'll have to think of a way too keep the crew entertained won't you Mr. Neelix? Commander, find a star system for Voyager to set up port for a few days, preferably one that is uninhabited, but one that has plenty of food supplies, we will use this as an opportunity to restock as many things as possible. If possible allow the crew a break, shorted duty shifts and if possible a few hours planet side, that should help to keep crew moral," Kathryn paused and looked at her moral officer who nodded his head. "There you will stay until we return with the Dilithium."
Tuvok shifted slightly in his chair, "Captain, who is 'we'?"
Janeway gazed at her security officer, "Mr. Paris and I will for the away team." She glanced at her pilot, seeing him nod in response to her order. "Am I right in assuming you find a problem in my plans Commander?"
"You assume correctly Captain. It is unnecessary for you to be part of the away team."
Kathryn sighed as she prepared to continue an ongoing debate, "Even captain's need some rest and relaxation Mr. Tuvok. You more than anyone should know I happened to be one of those people who feel the need to do something while on vacation."
"You will be able to 'do something' whilst on an uninhabited planet Captain."
"I am not going to sit ideally on a planet Mr. Tuvok, I am going on this away mission, you will not be able to persuade me to stay or to have a security officer accompany me for my protection. We shall be travelling in an uninhabited area of space, I am quite capable of defending myself and failing everything else Mr. Paris will be there."
Tuvok raised an eyebrow "Captain..."
Standing she rose her hand, "End of discussion Commander, take it up with Commander Chakotay. Mr. Paris and I will leave at o nine hundred tomorrow. Dismissed." Kathryn watched as her senior staff walked out, Tom waiting behind for his wife, placing an arm around her shoulders. She felt Chakotay's presence behind her and knew he was waiting for her.
"'Take it up with Commander Chakotay'?" Chakotay's face held a mock frown, "Thanks Kathryn. I'll remember that."
Smiling she saw the teasing in her first officers eyes but also concern, "Captain's prerogative Chakotay." She sent an accusing glare his way. "I'd like to be able to do something every so often without having someone worry about my safety."
"You're the Captain, you lost the ability to look after yourself when you were presented with those four little pips." He saw her frown and changed the subject. "Although it doesn't excuse you passing him along to me."
"Maybe not, but tomorrow I won't be here to listen to it." She smiled sweetly at him as she walked out.
Captain Janeway watched her Chief Helmsman easily coax another set of graceful movements out of his shuttlecraft. There was no denying it, the Delta Flyer was property of Tom Paris and the rest of the crew knew it. Kathryn leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes smiling to herself, he was already showing the signs of becoming a capable Captain, even if he didn't himself yet realise it.
Tom could feel his Captain's gaze on him as he flew, it wasn't often that she accompanied on away missions, joining him only when her moods seemed to be low. He didn't know why and he had never asked, although when she occasionally did there was never much conversation but her mood always improved before they arrived back at Voyager. He had studied her quietly before they had boarded, and she seemed to be tired and weary as thought she had been unable to sleep. Chakotay's eyes had been full of concern when he had wished them luck, and Tom wondered if his captain had also seen it. Taking a deep breath he spoke the first words since they had left Voyager. "Captain?"
Tom turned his head, not completely removing his attention from the controls in front of him. "Do you mind if I asked you a question?"
"It depends on the question."
He glanced at her studying her face before turning back to the controls. "Tell me if I’m crossing the line Captain but, are you alright? You seem tired.
She opened one eye and studied the back of his head. He must have felt her gaze as he turned to look at her. "I'm fine Lieutenant, I'm just a little tired that's all."
Tom studied her for a moment then nodded, turning his back to the console. He knew it wasn't really an answer but it was the only one he was likely to get. "I'll make sure this ride is nice and smooth Captain, then maybe you can get some sleep.
"That's very considerate of you Tom."
He could hear the smile in her voice and chuckled. "I'll just have to practice my other manoeuvres on the way back."
Kathryn forced a slight smile as Admiral Paris finished his latest tale about his son's latest achievements in the shuttle simulators.
"The way he flies you would think it came as naturally to him as breathing, some day you will have to see him fly. First he will be Starfleet's finest pilot then the youngest ever Starfleet Captain. You never know you may have the honour of him serving with you Kathryn. My protégée and my son, side by side.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw Elizabeth Paris place her hands around her husband's arm. "Owen I'm sure our guests have more important things to do than listen to your bragging about Thomas' latest achievements."
"They are bound to hear about them sooner or later, not everyone has a son who can complete the toughest Starfleet simulators at the age of five."
"Even so Owen, enough is enough. Surely you can talk about something else, Politics for example."
Kathryn watched as Admiral Paris moved on, conversing with his other guests.
"Help me with the wine dear?" Elizabeth Paris stood gazing intently at her.
"Certainly," They moved through the guests into a large kitchen where the wine was being stored.
Elizabeth gave her a sad smile. "I'm sorry you had to hear that Kathryn."
Kathryn shook her head, "I'm use to it now Elizabeth."
"No you're not." She watched as Kathryn put the wine bottle down and look at her. "I see it every time someone mentions his name. It's eating you up inside child. You'll never be 'use to it' Kathryn, no matter what your face says to the outside world, it's in your eyes.
"I can't change the past, and I can't deny that boy his future."
"He's not just any old boy, he's your boy."
Kathryn was jerked suddenly from her memories as she felt the Flyer lurch to the right. "I thought you said this was going to be a smooth ride Mr. Paris?"
It was Captain, until our guests arrived, we have two unidentified ships just appeared off you our port bow."
"I already have, they're not responding. They're firing weapons."
The shuttle rocked under multiple phaser hits. "Evasive manoeuvres, how far are we from Voyager?"
Over six hours away."
"Send them a distress call, keep hailing those vessels."
Tom ducked as the conduit behind him blew out. "They just took out communications."
"I'm targeting their weapons systems, if they don't want to talk we'll make them talk."
Tom concentrated on manoeuvring the Flyer so the Captain could get clean shouts at the alien vessels without the Flyer being hit, a sudden beeping caught his attention. "Captain, two more alien vessels just dropped out of warp, they're cutting off our only escape route."
The Flyer rocked again under weapons fire, Kathryn watched as Tom was thrown from his seat and smashed into the console opposite. "Tom?"
Tom felt someone attempting to lift him up, his head was pounding, his vision was blurry and there was a buzzing noise in his ears. He tried to stand but his legs wouldn't support his weight and he crashed back down.
Seeing Tom collapse, she reached for him, turning him on his back, tilting his head so she could look at him and keep his airway clear. His eyes were unfocused and there was blood running down the side of his face. He needed medical attention but first she needed to get away from the alien ships. Kathryn pushed him against the console to stop him from being thrown around and sat in the helm seat. There were now six alien ships and they were completely surrounded, communications were down and their last shot had just taken out the Flyers weapons systems. Checking that a distress signal had been sent, Kathryn reached under the console to grab a phaser, holding onto the side to stop her self-tumbling. The Flyer lurched heavily to one side and Kathryn's world began to darken, the last thing she saw before losing consciousness was the shimmering of a transported beam inside the cockpit.
Kathryn felt consciousness slowly returning to her, the whole of her body ached. She slowly opened her eyes, the throbbing of her head increasing as she did so. The inside of the Flyer was dark, various consoles and screens flickered with what little live they had and smoke obscured the little she could see in the darkness. She moved carefully and pain shot from her left side to her right, the irritation of slow trickling blood finally registered and she brought her hand up to the right side of her forehead and gently wiped it away, pain making the room brighten in intensity for a moment. Remembering the Delta Flyers other passenger she slowly and carefully made her way towards where Tom lay.
Tom lay face down in a corner, partially buried under debris. She could hear the difficultly he was having to breath as she approached him. Sitting heavily next to him she reached out to touch the side of his face. It was cool and her fingers came away sticky, when she brought them closer to her face to examine them she could see the blood that covered them. Gently she began to remove the debris, until she could see Tom's whole form, then with the last remaining energy she had she pulled Tom towards her, until she could rest his head in her lap.
Kathryn stood in the doorway with Admiral Paris who was waiting for his wife to return after a four-day business trip. She watched as a seven-year-old Tom Paris jumped out of a tree and went running to greet his mother.
"Ah Captain, you're waking up."
"No I am not." Kathryn attempted to turn over but was stopped by a sudden and intense burning pain in her left side."
"I suggest you stay still Captain, you are still in the processes of healing. Despite belief Captain's also need time to recover if they are injured."
"What happened?" Fighting to keep the irritation of his lecture out of her voice, Kathryn opened her eyes to see the Doctor waving a wand like instrument over her hand. "And what are you doing?"
"I am once again performing a miracle, one that will undoubtedly go unappreciated, as usual." From the look on his Captain's face he decided to save his self-appreciation for another time and his voice became more serious. "By the time Voyager arrived the aliens that attacked you had already left, not before doing a serious amount of damage to the Delta Flyer, and yourself and Mr. Paris. They, Mr. Tuvok and Commander Chakotay, found yourself and Mr. Paris lying in a pool of blood inside the Delta Flyer's cargo hold, if we had arrived any later, I doubt you and I would be having this conversation. You were both extremely lucky, you both had numerous life threatening injuries..."
"How is Tom?"
The Doctor stopped moving the instrument over his Captain's hand and looked over to where his assistant medic lay in a darkened surgical bay. "His injuries were more severe than yours. He lost a dangerous amount of blood, and suffered major trauma to his brain, he's even more lucky than usual to be alive, with a lot of rest, care and medical attention he should pull through to be his usual annoying self once more."
"Can I sit by him?"
"I don't think that would be a good idea, you are still..."
"Doctor," Kathryn raised her hand, "If you don't help me over, I will drag myself over."
The Doctor sighed dramatically, receiving a glare for his troubles. "Fine but don't think you are staying over there, fifteen minutes, maximum."
Kathryn suppressed a grimace as the Doctor lifted her into his arms effortlessly an carried her over to her pilot's bedside and helped her sit comfortably in a chair.
"I'll be in my office if you need anything."
Kathryn nodded as the Doctor walked away into his office. Tom's face was colourless; his arms lay on top of a blanket that covered his body. Gently she covered his cold hand with hers attempting to warm it. She had always tended to avoid visiting him in sickbay, even though she wouldn't need a reason to visit, a Captain was worried about her crewman, but seeing Tom always made her heart clench.
Seeing the door she had been directed to, she pushed it gently in an attempt to open it silently. Elizabeth was sat on a chair next to the bed, clasping a peacefully sleeping Tom's hand.
"I didn't expect to see you."
Kathryn stopped at the foot of the bed, her arms crossed over her chest. "You asked me to come."
"You didn't have to come."
"Is he going to be okay?"
"The Doctors say he should be fine, he just suffered a mild concussion and a broken arm, he's sleeping now. The don't think he'll be climbing any trees for awhile though." Elizabeth studied the young woman. "Would you like to sit here?" She stood and gestured to the seat she had just vacated. "I think I’m going to get myself a drink, would you like one?"
Kathryn shook her head and watched as the elder woman made her way towards the door.
"I should be back soon. No one should disturb you, the Doctors have already made their rounds, and Owen isn't due until this evening."
Kathryn waited for the door to close before moving. Quietly she made her way towards the hair, taking in every line of her son's face. It was strange to see him so still and quite, normally he would be so full of life. The last time she could remember seeing him so till was after he had been born and was wrapped p in her arms, sleeping peacefully. She covered his cast free hand with her own shaking hands and gently brushed away a stray lock of hair that had fallen over his eyes.
Two days later
Chakotay handed his captain a padd. "Tuvok took it upon himself to file a report about the attack."
Kathryn looked at her first officer over the rim of her coffee cup. "His was of saying 'I told you so'?"
Her first officer grinned, "Quite possibly, Vulcan's have many methods of expressing their opinions."
"I doubt a security officer could have changed what happened Chakotay." Her face was serious.
"Commander Chakotay, I hope that isn't work you are giving the Captain, she is not yet in a fit state to work."
Kathryn sighed as she placed her coffee cup on the table besides her bed. "It's only a report Doctor. All I have to do is read it."
"You shouldn't even be doing that, I prescribed rest Captain, and that means rest. No reading, writing, arguing and certainly no more than one cup of coffee." The Doctor glared at the coffee pot on the table.
"I fail to see how drinking coffee equals work, Doctor."
"I'll leave you in the Doctor's capable hands Captain."
Kathryn glared at the retreating back of her first officer, and then at the retreating back of the Doctor who had kidnapped her coffee pot. "You do realise this is mutiny." Sighing the captain leant back against the pillows. "Doctor, how is Mr. Paris.?"
The Doctor walked back into the main part of sickbay carrying a jug of water. "He's more stable than he was yesterday. B'Elanna came to see him while you were sleeping" He placed the water on her bedside table. "If you require a drink, you will drink water, no more coffee until I discharge you."
Kathryn stared at the Doctor, her eyebrow raise, until he broke her gaze. "Could I please sit by Tom?"
The Doctor glanced at his Captain, "Would you like me to help you over?"
"No, I think I can manage."
He watched as she made her way over to where Tom lay, and sit down heavily in the chair beside his bed, in the same way she had almost three times a day since she had regained consciousness. Quietly he walked over studying his Captain carefully. "When we found the Delta Flyer you were transported to sickbay, both of you were covered in blood. At first it seemed to belong to only one of you, Tom I assumed, but a I studied my tricorder readings closer, I found it was a mixture of blood, blood that was remarkably similar, almost identical."
Kathryn turned and looked at the Doctor, her expression weary. "It has nothing to do with you Doctor, or anyone else."
"May I ask Captain, does Tom know he's serving aboard his mother's ship?"
She turned back to the bio bed, "He doesn't know, we never told him. We never told anyone who didn't need to know."
"Don't you think Tom needs to know? Has the right to know?"
Four days later
The Doctor walked into his office to find Tom Paris sitting in the chair behind his desk and sighed dramatically. “Mr. Paris, what are you doing here? I discharged you earlier this morning and your duty shift is not for another two days. Don’t tell me you have already managed to do some sort of damage to yourself”
Tom looked up from the console he had been studying before the Doctor had walked in. “I was looking for you, but I found something else.” He swivelled the Doctor’s desk terminal around to show him what he had bee looking at. “Correct me if I am wrong, but these are DNA strands?”
“Yes they are.”
“Assuming that the to chain is mine, which should be simple enough as it is labelled as mine,” Tom pointed at the screen while studying the Doctor carefully. “Why does the bottom chain contain strands that are fifty percent identical to mine? Something that only appears in parent and child DNA, and neither of my parents are aboard this ship.” Tom watched as the Doctor glanced between him and the screens and then began to pace.
“There really is a quite simple explanation Mr. Paris.”
“Really?” Tom stood sharply and the Doctor stopped his pacing. “Then perhaps you would like to explain it, because I can’t seem to figure it out.
“The bottom DNA chain could belong to your daughter.”
“It doesn’t and you know it, there is no Klingon DNA in that chain, why are you lying to me?”
“How can you be certain that...”
“Despite other people’s opinions I’m, not stupid, I’ve learnt quite a lot in my medial studies and that included being able to identify DNA. You may as well tell me because I can always find out for myself.”
The Doctor studied Tom before walking around his desk and claiming his seat, his voice gentle. “Why do you want me to tell you something you already know?”
“I want you to tell me I’m wrong.”
The Doctor shook his head slowly and leaned forward so his elbows rested on the edge of his desk. “You know I can’t do that. Perhaps you should listen to her, give her a chance to explain.”
Tom looked at him for a moment, his arms crossed over his chest and jaw clenched before turning and walking out.
Captain Janeway’s quarters.
Kathryn stared unseeing out of the windows of her quarters. “I suppose you want an explanation?” It was a statement not a question, but it gave her a handful of precious few moments to steel herself. “I was eighteen, too young, not as young as some, but I should have known better, but I’d just lost my father” She turned away from the window and sat in an armchair, not offering Tom a seat, wanting to keep the distance of the room between them. He stood still in the shadows near her door, not letting her see his face, his eyes giving her no way of what he was thinking or feeling.
“I went AWOL, some days I’d lie in bed and not move, others I would stay out all night, I’d drink too much, you know what that is like, trying to block out the memories. One morning I woke up in a room with a guy, I’d never seen him before and I never say him again, I know it’s a cliché, but back then nothing could surprise me. When I found out I was pregnant, I panicked, like anyone that age would have done. I managed to hide it for a while but eventually my mum found out
Kathryn walked into her room, stopping as she saw her mum sitting on the edge of her bed, and Phoebe standing in the corner looking abashed. “Mum? Wha...”
Mrs. Janeway cut her off, standing her hand raised. “Where have you been?”
“Out with friends.” Kathryn kept her answer short, unsure where the conversation was headed.
“I spoke with Doctor Alexston today....”
Kathryn took a step back, not daring to look at her mother.
“I want answers and I want them right now.”
Kathryn wrapped her arms around her waist, daring to cast a glance in Tom’s direction before continuing. “I wanted to get rid of it,” She paused, her eyes beginning to well with tears, when she continued her voice was lower. “I wanted to get rid of you, but my mum was determined I would carry you to term.”
“You can’t make me keep it!” Kathryn yelled at her mother, tears streaming down her dace.
“Yes I can and yes you are. You can’t kill an innocent Kathryn, your child hasn’t even had a chance in life and already you want rid of it.”
“I never wanted it in the first place.”
“You should have known better, they were your actions and these are the consequences, that you, no one else will have to deal with. If that means carrying the baby to term and then having it adopted then so be it, but not daughter of mine is going to take an innocent life. Do you understand me?”
Kathryn shook her head venomously; she couldn’t believe he mother was doing this. “I’ll never love it, never!”
When you were adopted I thought all of my problems were over, it was nine months of pure hell, the pregnancy, my relationship with my mother, I thought when you had gone they would all go away. It turned out to be the beginning of *no. *years of torture. Owen and Elizabeth adopted you, Elizabeth knew you where mine but Owen never had a clue, he knew you were adopted but nothing more, although as far as he was concerned you where his, flesh and blood. Over time as I watched you grow, I began to regret what I had done, that I wasn’t the one reading to you at night, seeing your report card, meeting your teachers, seeing you smile. It would tear at my heart hearing Owen brag about you. I’m a hypocrite I know, I swore to myself I would never let myself care about you, pretend I didn’t care, it wouldn’t work, it doesn’t work. Silence filled the room as her voice faded, her explanation finished.
Tom stood, unmoving, his eyes seemingly boring through her soul. “So I was a mistake?” His voice was low, hoarse, his eyes continuing his search, looking for something.
Kathryn stood and stepped forward closing the distance between them. She frowned, the small amount of hope that he would understand quickly being replaced by a cold feeling of dread. “No, Tom, that wasn’t it.”
He laughed a cold cynical laugh, which she recognised well from his first few months aboard. His tone was scorning and she felt herself shiver. “And all this, everything you have done or me,” He spread his arms gesturing around the room. “Was it sympathy? Did you feel sorry for me?”
Tom recoiled as he felt the sharp sting of her hand on his face. He took a step back, wiping blood away from the corner of his mouth. Opening his eyes he watched her shock form standing still, her blue eyes reflecting her pain, anger and shame. “I should never have come here, never have found out and you should never have told me.”
Their eyes locked and she moved forward but he turned swiftly on his heel and walked out of the door before she could utter the words to stop him.
Kathryn stood unmoving for a few moments before collapsing on her sofa, feeling the tears flowing silently down her face, burning her skin as they ran down her face. She was tired of pretending, he was her son in everything but name, she had run from the truth to many time before, not wanting to face it. The times she hadn’t allowed others to see the fear that gripped her whenever she knowingly sent her own son on a suicide mission, when she sees him lying in sickbay seriously ill. The anger she feels when he is careless with his life, not knowing how precious she is to her. She brought her knees up to her chin, comforting herself against the realisation that she had just destroyed the closest relationship she was ever likely to have with her son.
B’Elanna shuddered and pulled Tom’s gown tighter around herself. Even though the temperature of the room was more to her liking that his, compared to the warmth of their bed, the surrounding air was cold “My pillow disappeared.” Sitting next to her husband she tucked her knees under herself and rested her head on his shoulder. She felt his quite laugh and the instant heat as he wrapped his arm around her pulling her closer.
“I couldn’t sleep.”
Feeling him sigh, she ran a finger along an unshaven cheek, gently pulling his chin towards her so she could see his eyes “Tom, what’s wrong?”
Kathryn grimaced as her mum placed a plate of food and a glass of fruit juice in front of her. “I don’t think I’m hungry.”
Her mother stared at her, You haven’t eaten since yesterday, you must eat something.”
“What’s the point? I’ll only bring it back up again. I’ll jut have something to drink. “
No. You are not leaving this table until you have eaten something.”
Kathryn glared at her mother. “You can’t make me eat.”
“Yes I can, now eat it before it goes cold.”
“I’m going back to bed.” Kathryn picked up her glass and stood up.
“Kathryn *middle name *, you will not leave this tale until you have eaten something, sit back down this instant.”
“Sine when did you start treating me like a two year old?”
Her mother slammed her fork down on the table and stood up. “Since you started acting like one.”
“I’m eighteen, I can do what I want when I want.” Kathryn turned and headed towards the door.
“Is that what you were thinking when you decided to get pregnant?”
Kathryn stopped, turned around and stared at her mother, her voice low and eyes narrowed. “Why don’t you leave me alone? Because of you.... She stopped, suddenly feeling light-headed, the fruit juice slipping from her hand and dropping to the floor, smashing; her sister was instantly by her side, catching her as she collapsed to the floor.
Kathryn splashed cold water over her face, looking at herself in the mirror. She hadn’t slept; instead she had spent the whole night staring at the ceiling, old memories running through her mind. “I look as pale as a ghost.” Sighing she pushed the sink in, shutting off the running water. Walking into the main part of her quarters she stopped, staring at the place Tom had stood the night before and the sofa she had spent the majority of the night on.
“Bridge to Captain Janeway.” Chakotay’s concerned voice cut through the room.
“Go ahead Commander.”
“Captain, your duty shift started half an hour ago.”
“I’ll be right there Commander,” Her voice held no place for arguments.
“Aye Captain, bridge out.”
Sighing she straightened her uniform and turned on her heel, her “Captain’s face” firmly in place. As she reached the door to she paused, as a sharp pain rushed down her left side, instead of diminishing the pain intensified, gasping she went down on one knee crying out in pain before slumping to the floor unconscious.
Frowning as he heard the doors to sickbay open and close the Doctor did not look up from his work. “I told you Commander, I will contact you the moment Captain Janeway regains consciousness.”
“How is she?”
The Doctor looked up, surprised at the sound of Tom Paris’ voice. Standing he quickly shut off his desk terminal, excited his office and walked over to where the young man stood. “She should be fine when she wakes up. She should have been fine the first time I discharged her.” He glared at the young man but it was wasted as his gaze was fixed on the woman lying in front of him. “However due to unforeseen complications she collapsed. I’ll monitor her for a few weeks after I discharge her once again, monitor her meals, stress levels, coffee intake.”
Tom smiled grimy at the Doctor’s last comment, finally looking at him. “She’ll love you for that. Can I sit by her?”
“Certainly. I don’t know if she will wake up, call me if you need anything.”
Tom nodded and watched as the Doctor retreated back into his office and then sat in the chair besides his Captains’ bio bed and waited for her to wake up.
Kathryn felt herself slowly waking up, the light becoming slowly more intense, more annoying and harder to ignore, she frowned, she had never enjoyed waking up. Hearing someone shift beside her she frowned again, slowly she opened one eye and waited for the figure next to her to take some type of shape.
“I hope I’m not disturbing you.”
Blinking she attempted to make her eyes focus so she could confirm what her ears were telling her. Slowly she began to see Tom sitting on the chair beside the bed. “What can I do for you Lieutenant?”
“I would like to talk to you, if you don’t mind that is. You can tell me to leave it you want, and I will.”
Kathryn studied him silently for a moment then attempted to, from her position, determine where the Doctor was; normally he would be buzzing over a newly awakened patient...
“The Doctor is in his office, I can get him for you, he said call if you needed anything.”
"No." Kathryn raised her hand as Tom started to move. "I was just wondering why he was so quite. You never answered my question Lieutenant."
"What can I do for you?"
Tom glanced at the floor for a moment before looking at her again. "I, I wanted to tell you something, and I wanted to apologise for the things I said the last night."
"I can understand, it must have been a shock." Her voice was gentle, she watched as he looked away again, fixing his gaze somewhere on the other side of the room.
"That doesn't excuse some of the things I said to you."
"I remember when I was younger," He cut her off his voice gentle but strong. "One day I was playing hid and seek with my sisters when I feel out of a tree." He looked at her and she turned her face away. "I broke my arm and suffered my first ever concussion that day. Anyway, when I woke up in this strange hospital room, my mum was sitting by my bed, and on the bed next to my head was this pale little teddy bear. I didn't know where it had come from and I could remember ever seeing it before so I asked my mum, 'where did this come from?' My mum told me that the bear had come from a very special person and I should always look after it and take it with me, where ever I went, no matter for how long." Tom stopped and studied her, taking his hand from behind his back he brought out a battered little teddy bear. "Well for once, I listened to her."
"Tom." Kathryn felt tears welling up in her eyes.
"I was going to give it to your grand daughter when she was born, but I don't think she will mind if you borrowed it while you are recovering." He paused turning the teddy bear over in his hands, "I don't know how things will be between us, I can't promise you that things won't change but I do know that I want this teddy bear back, so you better look after it."
Kathryn smiled weakly watching, her thoughts moving to fast to truly understand what had just happened. "Are you ordering me Lieutenant?"
"No, just hoping you will listen to me."
Kathryn looked at the little bear she had just brought, turning it over in her hands. *Why did I get this? It's not like he'll keep it, he probably won't even know what it means. *