CHAPTER TWO: CONVERSATIONS
At 0730 hours in the morning, Captain Kathryn Janeway sat down in her desk chair, glancing around her ready room and taking in all of the antiques she had collected as a science officer. She closed her eyes and leaned back, enjoying the peaceful and quiet moment. Voyager had just finished scouting part of deep space in the Beta Quadrent and was on its way back to Earth to dock at Starbase 47, since Voyager was due for repairs. She also had to pick up a few certain officers that had taken shoreleave recently. Namely Lieutenant Commanders Tom Paris, Heather Whitney, Harry Kim, and B'Elanna Torres.
Janeway leaned forward and opened her eyes as she turned on her desk computer. Finding a message dated from Admiral Paris's personal home, she opened it. But was she read was *definetely* not from her old mentor. It was from Tom.
'Kathryn, I would be honored if you would be able to come to my wedding. And no, this isn't a joke (although Heather would find that hard to believe ;-). I'll try to contact you when Voyager docks at Starbase 47. Tom.
Kathryn's jaw dropped open. Tom was getting married? To whom? For a second, she contemplated Paris and Torres getting married, but then shook her head, confused. Deciding to investigate further, she patched a transmission through to the hotel where Kim and Whitney were staying.
"You have an incomming transmission."
Heather Whitney leaped from the chair she'd been sitting in. Harry wasn't there because he had offered to try to find out what time the shuttles left for San Fransisco at the jetport. She dashed to the computer, praying it was Tom. He had some explaining to do.
But instead of Tom Paris, Kathryn Janeway appeared on the screen.
Before the captain could utter a word, Whitney howled, "Tom's getting married!"
Janeway bit her lip. "Yes, Commander, I konw. And hello to you, to."
Whitney winced at the other woman's sharp tone. "Hi." she replied weakly.
"All right. Now that the pleasantries are over, let's get down to business. Who's he getting married *to*?" Janeway asked.
Heather's eyes widened. "He didn't tell you, either?"
Kathryn shook her head, brushing hair out of her eyes.
"Have you spoken to B'Elanna lately?" Whitney asked a few minutes later, changing the subject. Janeway shrugged. "Last time I checked, she was at a conference at Starfleet Headquarters. Then the four of you took a month's shoreleave." she answered. "Gotten homesick yet?" Kathryn teased.
Heather's mouth dropped open, ignoring the captain's last comment. "But I haven't seen him for four years!" she yowled. "I mean, four months." she added, seeing the bemused look on Janeway's face.
"I'm not supposed to say anything, but for three of those months Tom was on a classified mission. Then he requested a month of shoreleave. I assumed the four of you-"
Heather cut her captain off. "Harry and I haven't run into him, and we met up with B'Elanna for the first time in two weeks yesterday. I know *she* hasn't heard from him. You mean to say..." her voice trailed off.
"Well, since he's getting *married*, I think its safe to guess why he took that month of shoreleave..."
"Okay. I follow what you're saying." Whitney replied, still deep in thought, "Harry and I'll be in San Fransisco probably tomorrow sometime." she replied.
"We will?" Harry Kim asked incredulously, walking into the room.
"Yes, we will." Heather shot back, smiling.
"Well, I guess I'll see you there." Kathryn replied. "You too, Harry," she added.
The three said their goodbyes and then Heather cut the transmission and smiled up at her fiance. "So, what do you think?"
The only answer she got was, "You're nuts."
B'Elanna yawned as she quickly got dressed into a tee shirt and jean shorts. She hated to admit it, but she had to agree with Heather that the late 20th century fashion code wasn't too bad. Of course, she'd never actually tell Whitney that.
The computer terminal beeped and she turned it on, covering up a yawn. Although she'd slept in, she was still a little sleepy. She only hoped the message wasn't from Starfleet Headquarters. Her hair was a mess. Instead of Admiral Haze appearing, to her relief the small computer terminal showed Lieutenant Commander Harry Kim.
"Hi, Harry!" B'Elanna said cheerfully, but she knew her voice sounded strange.
"B'Elanna," said Harry, trying to smile but in the end frowning. "Get any sleep?" he added, seeing the black circles under the engineer's eyes.
"Barely. Maybe an hour or so. I just couldn't get to sleep thinking about..." her voice trailed off and she turned away so Harry wouldn't see the solitary tear roll down her cheek. *Gods, why is this so hard?* she asked herself. *We broke up, remember? Things weren't working out.* A little voice spoke up inside her mind. *Sure, 'Lanna, but you know you could have tried to make it work out.* *I'm over him!* she shot back. *Sure you are. Then how come you spent all night thinking about him and crying?!?!?*
B'Elanna didn't have an answer for that. Instead she slammed her fist down on the table. "I can't believe he's getting married, either." Harry consoled, then snorted. "Heather was making up a long list of why Tom shouldn't get married to his new fiancee." he started laughing. "I have to admit, some of them are pretty funny."
B'Elanna laughed, regaining her composure. "I'll have to add a few more to that list."
Harry nodded, smiling. "So far she's got 98 reaons, and she's still coming up with new ones."
B'Elanna's eyes widened, "*Ninety-eight*?"
Harry only nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
"Gosh, how late did you guys stay up?" she continued.
Harry raised his eyebrows, "Well..."
B'Elanna shook her head, supressing the urge to smile at the blushing lieutenant commander. "Never mind."
"Anyway, we got a pretty similar message from Tom. Again, nothing special. Heather's beginning to think that this whole wedding idea is a scam." Harry shrugged. "Remember how it was on Voyager before we got back to the Alpha Quadrent?" Harry didn't wait for an answer and Torres was surprised at him changing the subject so quickly. "Everybody could tell what had to be done and did it without being told. Body language spoke wonders because we were such a close group."
B'Elanna nodded, "As Kathryn would say, we were like one big family."
Harry shook his head. "It'll never be like that again."
The two reminisced for a few more minutes, then Heather came out of the bathroom, donned in blue jeans and a white tank top. She was busily rubbing her wet hair with a towel.
"Hello!" Whitney called, standing next to Kim. "Someone else is trying to get through." she said, noticing a flashing light. "I think."
"I didn't see that before." Harry replied, "But who knows we're-"
"Just about everyone, but I'm personally hoping it's helmboy. I've got a bone to pick with him." Heather said.
"I'll go. Call me if its him!" Torres said, then cut the signal. She leaned back, knowing that the next few minutes would probably change everything.
Heather excitedly jumped up and down, eager to see if it was Tom or not. Harry gave her a look and she stopped. Then he just sat there patiently.
"Oh, you can be so annoying!" Whitney cried, stomping her foot impatiently.
"Is that why you said yes when I asked you to marry me?" Kim teased gently.
Whitney rolled her eyes and sat down in a chair next to Kim. Harry then proceeded to open the transmission. Tom Paris appeared on the screen.
"Hey, congradulations!" Harry said, smiling. Heather nodded, her face lit up with a wide grin.
"So, who's the lucky woman?" Whitney teased.
"Be careful, Heath, or you may not have a wedding." kidded Paris, but he smiled.
Heather stuck out her tongue, then jumped to her feet. "I'll be back in a sec!" she called as she ran out the door.
Tom shook his head. "She'll never change, will she?" he asked.
Harry sighed. "She's changed a lot, actually." *But then again, how'd he know?* "So tell me, who *is* your fiancee?"
A dreamy look settled onto Tom's face. Harry's mouth twitched but he didn't laugh.
"Her name's Lisa Doav. She's beautiful, Harry, and smart. She's a little serious, but she's got a great sense of humor." Tom stopped abruptly when he saw the look on his friend's face. "What?"
Harry smiled and shook his head. "Nothing. It's just..." he shrugged. "It's been awhile."
Tom frowned. "You're right. What's it been? Three months?"
"Four." Harry corrected, "Kathryn said something about a classified mission?"
Paris nodded, "I guess I can talk about it now. I was recruited to scout a section of the Gamma quadrent. That lasted for three months and Roshardo, Data, and I all made it back in one piece. We were all given a month of shoreleave after that."
"Why didn't you contact anybody?" Kim asked.
"I tried to as soon as I got back but Voyager was out of contact range." answered Tom.
Harry nodded, now understanding slightly. "Right. We were out scouting a section of deep space in the Beta Quadrent."
"I tried again but Starfleet told me that the communications systems were being upgraded and Voyager was away at a conference on Colva V in the Xon star system, anyway." Tom continued.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "That was when B'Elanna and Seven were attending a meeting at Starfleet Headquarters."
Tom nodded, "Lisa and I went to Risa the day after I tried. When we got home, Lyssa told me B'Elanna had called."
"Risa?" Harry asked.
Tom just gave him a withering glance.
"Where'd you meet Lisa?"
"At a party my parents hosted. Weren't you guys there?"
"Uh-huh, now I remember. When's the wedding?"
"We were thinking somewhere along the terms of a week or so from now. My dad's going to be off on a mission soon and we want him to be at our wedding. Plus we want everyone from Voyager to come, too."
*......dad's going off.....we want him to be at our wedding.....* Kim shook his head slightly. Things had changed. A lot.
"Yeah. You guys can come, right?"
"Are you kidding? Of course we'll be there. If Heather has any say, the three of us will be there tomorrow."
"Three?" Tom asked, confused.
"Yeah. B'Elanna's here, too." Harry said slowly.
"Oh. If you need a place to stay, you can stay at my parents' house." Paris offered.
"Thanks. We'll probably take you up on your offer." Harry replied.
"Okay. That's where Lisa and I are now. So what've you and Heather been up to?" Tom asked curiously.
"Well, we went to a few different planets for shore leave, then we met B'Elanna yesterday at the Hard Rock cafe here in Paris." Harry explained.
Tom winced. "I completely forgot about that." he apologized, remembering that he'd promised to meet them there. "Lisa and I just got back from England today. Sorry."
"It's okay," Harry replied, actually relieved that Tom hadn't been at the restaurant. If he had been, B'Elanna would've probably lost it.
"So, anyway, I can't wait till you meet Lisa. You'll love her," Tom said enthusiastically.
Harry smiled. They all had a *lot* of catching up to do.
B'Elanna looked up when she heard the bell chime. "Come," she called, looking at the door expectantly.
The doors opened, and Heather stepped into the room. "It's Tom!" she called, walking quickly over to the chair where B'Elanna sat.
Torres nodded, then stood up. "Let's go," she said softly.
Whitney nodded, already running for the door. B'Elanna followed, but for once, Heather's excitement didn't catch on.
Harry glanced up and Tom stopped in the middle of a sentence when they both heard the door open. Torres's laughter drifted into the room.
Whitney walked in, smiling but shaking her head. Torres followed, still laughing softly at an inside joke. Both stopped next to the computer. Heather shook her head.
"I can't wait until things are back to normal." she said, as if 'hellos' weren't necescarry. She plopped into a chair next to the terminal. Torres dragged a chair over.
"Heather, sorry to say, but things were never normal before." kidded Harry.
More hellos and explaining followed the two women walking in on the middle of the conversation, then Heather asked. "So, where've you *been* for the past four months?"
Paris raised an eyebrow, "Just about everywhere except Voyager."
Torres spoke up. "So, who is she?" she asked.
"Her name's Lisa Doav." Tom replied.
"What does she look like?" Whitney asked quickly.
"Well, she has blonde hair and blue eyes. She's about your height, Heather, and she has a gorgeous smile."
"Just like Ricki." Heather muttered, thinking back to Ricki Taylor, who had been Tom's finacee up until the Caldik Prime accident. Then Ricki had dumped Tom right away. But that hadn't been her only fault, Heather mused. Although she knew that Tom and Ricki had loved each other, she had always had a suspicion that Admiral Owen Paris had been a part of pushing them into a serious relationship.
"What?" Harry asked, turning towards her. Torres, who had heard the science officer's quiet comment, merely raised an eyebrow.
Whitney shrugged, "Nothing!" she said believingly.
"So, when should we come?" Harry asked.
"What?" Torres asked, slightly annoyed. If B.Y.O.B. meant "bring your own bat'leth", she wasn't sure if she wanted to know what A.S.A.P. meant.
Paris grinned. "As soon as possible."
"So, are you still going to be Voyager's helmboy?" Whitney teased, fondly using the nickname Q's wife had given Tom. On the other hand, though, she would *never* call Captain Janeway 'Kathy' or Commander Chakotay 'Chuckles'.
"Depends," Tom answered vaguely.
B'Elanna waited for Tom to finish answering Heather's question, but he didn't. "Well, if you don't we'll have to come up with a new nickname for you," she suggested.
Whitney nodded vigorously.
"Very funny, B'Elanna," Tom replied.
For the next few minutes, Paris and Kim tried to carry on a conversation, switching topics every now and then. But it was hard, considering that Heather or B'Elanna would chime into the conversation with an ideal nickname.
"Listen, I've got to go. I promised Lisa I'd meet her for lunch so we could finish picking out which tux I'm going to wear at the wedding." Tom said, rolling his eyes.
"Aren't you just going to wear your dress uniform?" Harry asked.
"I was going to, but Lisa is *the* traditionalist." Tom replied.
"Well, see ya!" called Heather.
"It was nice talking to you," B'Elanna added, smiling softly.
"Nice talking to you guys, too," Tom answered, "Bye."
The transmission ended and the three friends sat there in silence.
"Still want to crash the wedding?" Harry asked Heather quietly.
Many emotions flashed across Heather's face and she didn't answer for a few seconds. She glanced at B'Elanna one last time, then said quietly, "No."
B'Elanna nodded. She loved Tom, but he seemed so happy. *Maybe that's the way it should be....* she thought sadly, then frowned for the millionth time that week. *But I love him.*
Harry spoke up. "Anyone for breakfast?"
"Yeah, we might as well." Heather said, and the three went downstairs to the hotel restuarant, each one wrapped up in his or her thoughts.
To Be Continued...
See Disclaimers in Chapter 1