Three Minutes
 

Disclaimer - Paramount and Viacom own the characters from Voyager, although they didnít often treat them right. The story line belongs to me. 

 

A special thanks to: My friend and editor of all my stories, Mill3rs.

Chapter 3 - Reflections
 

Seven watched as Tom and BíElanna exited Astrometrics together. Tom was the last crew member to speak with his family today. She shut down the view screen and looked at the logs for the next day. The calls would start at 0900.
 

Seven could sense that Tomís call had been quite emotional for him as well as his family. Both Tom and his father had been constrained when they began to talk but ended the conversation with apologies and admissions of love for each other. 
 

Seven had talked about families and past deeds with Tom when she had first come on board Voyager. Tom had said that everyone had a past but it was what they made of themselves now that mattered.
 

Ď He was able to forgive his father and tell him that he loved him.í she thought. Would she have been able to forgive her father for bringing them into Borg space where they had been assimilated? She hadnít thought of her parents in years. Now that the crew was able to speak with their families on Earth, she felt a longing for family. She had spoken with her Aunt and learned among other things that she had always liked strawberries. Is that what families were about, thoughts of childhood and shared memories?
 

The doors to Astrometrics slid open softly. Nobody was scheduled to receive a call until tomorrow. Seven turned to see Harry standing in the entrance gazing at her. He walked to her side and slowly reached out to brush a single tear that trailed down her right cheek. "Are you OK?" he asked kindly.
 

"Yes." she whispered. "Iím fine, just a little tired. Itís been a long day with many crew members coming in to talk with their families.
 

Harry took her in his arms for a gentle hug then stood back. "I was just heading to the mess hall and stopped to see if you would join me for dinner." he smiled hesitantly at her.
 

She looked into his dark eyes filled with concern and gave him a tentative smile in return. "That would be agreeable. I find that I am in need of nutritional supplements at this time." She took his offered arm and walked out into the corridor, glancing back at the view screen as the doors closed behind them.
 

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Tom and BíElanna walked silently back to their quarters. Tomís hand shook as he keyed in the entry code at their door. It had been an emotional reunion with his family. BíElanna broke the silence. "Do you want to eat dinner now?" she asked softly.
 

"Iím not really hungry but you need to eat." he replied in a low voice. He moved to the view port and gazed out at the starscape. BíElanna noted that he had returned to the same spot she had found him in early that morning. He didnít hear her commands to the replicator or sense when she came up behind him. She gently slipped her arms around his waist and leaned against his back.
 

"Come sit down, youíve had a long day." she took him by the hand and led him to the table. As he sat down, he noticed a steaming mug of tomato soup and a plate with several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on it. Comfort foods Tom called them and his wife knew he needed comfort at that moment.
 

Tom gave her a small smile as he gathered her into his arms. "I must be the luckiest guy in the Delta Quadrant. What did I do to deserve you?" he gave her a gentle kiss on her neck.
 

"Eat first, snuggle later, Tom." she pressed him down into a chair and sat next to him. She took one of the sandwiches and bit into it. She never understood his passion for peanut butter but over the past year had gotten to like it almost as much as Tom. She picked up her glass of milk, Ďgood for the babyí both Tom and the Doctor had insisted. But why did it have to taste so strange?
 

Tom sipped the soup and absently picked up one of the sandwiches. "Heís proud of me." barely a whisper as if he was talking to himself. His gaze focused on another place and time.
 

BíElanna reached out and took his chin in her hand and turned his face towards hers. "Yes, heís proud of you and he loves you, Tom." He leaned into her touch. She looked into his clear blue eyes. "Do you want to talk about the call?"
 

"Iím not sure if I can right now." he replied quietly and they resumed their meal.
 

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Harry and Seven entered the mess hall and made their way down the serving line. Neelix had several choices for dinner and they filled their trays. Choosing a corner table, the two sat down and began to eat.
 

"The crew are very close to their families." Seven noted wistfully as she looked into Harryís dark eyes.
 

"Yes, they are. Weíre a long way from home and its been over seven years since weíve been able to speak directly to our families." Harry replied as he returned her gaze. ĎSheís so beautiful and seems so lonely.í He took her hands in his. "You have family here as well as on Earth, Seven. People who care about you." He gave her hands a gentle squeeze and released them.
 

She gave him an uncertain smile and resumed eating. They finished their meal in silence and rose to leave the mess hall. "Ensign Kim, I understand that you have been practicing a new musical arrangement for your clarinet." Seven turned to Harry as they approached the turbolift.
 

A faint blush rose in Harryís cheeks. "Yes, I am but who told you?"
 

"Lt. Paris informed me of it this morning. Would it be OK if I was to listen to this arrangement?" Again, she smiled slightly at him.
 

His face blushed even deeper but a grin began to spread to his eyes as he answered. "Iíd be honored if you would come and listen to me play."
 

They entered the turbolift and Harry gave the command for the crewís quarters as the doors closed behind them.
 

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Tom and BíElanna sat on the small couch in their quarters. Tom sipped the Vulcan spiced tea he had replicated after they finished eating. BíElanna held a steaming cup of Raktajino in her hands. Tomís hands trembled slightly as he placed his cup on the table in front of them. "I donít know what changed between my father and I. We were so close when I was young."
 

BíElanna gave him a warm embrace and gently rubbed his back in a soothing motion. "Tell me about him when you were a boy."
 

His eyes sought the memories of happy times spent together. "When I was five years old my father took me to Starfleet headquarters and we flew shuttle programs. I flew a level 5 program and kept having problems with the landing. He wanted to leave but I insisted on staying until I could land the shuttle smoothly. We stayed and I did it on the eighth or ninth attempt."
 

"A level 5." BíElanna asked in astonishment. "Thatís something second year cadets are tested on."
 

"I think he would let me stay all night until I landed it." a smile spread across Tomís face as he thought back to that day......
 

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"Once more, please, Daddy." Tom turned to his father. He wanted to land the shuttle simulation smoothly. They had been at this program for several hours. The five year old never seemed to tire when he was flying the Starfleet simulators. Captain Owen Paris was rightly proud of his son. The boy with the bright blue eyes had a natural touch for flying. He was working on a level 5 program which was usually taught in the second year at the Academy.

Owen smiled down at the blond haired boy in the pilotís seat. "OK, Tom but only one more time or your mother will have both our hides."

Tom landed the shuttle as smoothly as any cadet and the two walked to Owenís private transport. Tom snuggled against his father and was asleep when they reached home. Owen carried him into the house and faced his wifeís smiling face. She knew he indulged their youngest child but he also had high aspirations for Tom. As a Paris, he was expected to attend Starfleet Academy, graduate with honors, and become an Admiral like his grandfather and great grandfather before him.

 

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Tomís thoughts returned to their quarters as BíElanna continued to slowly rub his back. He turned to her with pain filled eyes. "We were never so close as when I was flying." He got up and returned to the view port. "Things changed after he and Captain Janeway were captured by the Cardassians." His voice low and hesitant.

BíElanna came up to him and took his hands in hers. "Thatís all in the past. Heís reaching out to you now, Tom. You told me to try to forgive my father
and to reconnect with him. You need to do the same." She started as she felt the baby kick. She placed Tomís hands over her abdomen. "Your daughter is
making her presence known. This is our future, Tom."

Tom felt the baby kicking and enfolded BíElanna into his arms in a warm hug. He slowly stopped trembling and let her lead him to their bed. "Itís been a very long day and I think we all need some rest. Computer, dim lights."
 

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Tom entered the mess hall the next morning at 0730 by himself. He picked up a breakfast tray and a cup of coffee and sat at one of the tables by the view port. He was staring at the starscape and holding the coffee cup in his hands when a familiar voice startled him.
 

"Good morning, Lieutenant. And where is that lovely wife of yours?" Neelix asked with a smile on his face. 
 

"BíElanna got called to engineering about an hour ago. Sheíll stop by for breakfast when she gets a break." Tom answered.
 

The Talaxian noted that Tom did not look as distressed as he had the morning before. "How was the talk with your family yesterday?"
 

"Actually, Neelix, it went better than I expected. My mother and older sister were there and I found out that Iím an uncle. My sister, Kathleen, had twins and they named the boy Thomas after me." Tom replied with a slight smile that even reached his eyes.
 

"An uncle, why thatís grand, Tom." Neelix slapped Tom on the back. He then hesitated and asked quietly. "Did you get to speak with your father, Tom?"
 

Tomís smile faded momentarily, replaced by a wistful look. "Yes, we did get to talk for a very short time." Tom glanced away and whispered "He told me that he was proud of me and that he loved me." he looked back at Neelix with his eyes glistening.
 

Neelix placed his hand on Tomís shoulder as he leaned in close. "Thatís wonderful, Tom. Iím glad that you were able to speak with each other. Oneís family is to be treasured."
 

"Thank you, Neelix for encouraging me yesterday. You were right, he did reach back. I know it will take time for us to really communicate with each other but it was a good start." Tom started to eat his food and glanced up as Harry entered the room.
 

Harry noticed Tom at his table and picked up a tray. He selected some fruit, a large purple muffin, and coffee. He walked over and sat across from Tom. "How did your talk go yesterday, Tom?"
 

"It went well, Har. My mother looked older but happy. My sister, Moira was with her and my sister, Kathleen, just had twins." Tom replied.
 

"What about your father? Was he there?" Harry questioned.
 

Tomís face clouded over momentarily but then a small smile appeared. "Yeah, he was there. My sister made him sit down and talk. We apologized for things weíd both done. Itíll take some time but I think we might be OK." Tom suddenly grinned widely. "How did Seven like your new composition?"
 

Harry blushed but a small smile spread to his eyes. "She liked it very much. She told me the mathematical undertones were appealing to her ear."
 

"Senior staff please report to my ready room." The Captainís voice came over the comm system. The two friends got up and put their trays in the recycler and headed for the corridor.
 

TBC