Series: Voyager
Season: 6
Pairing: P, J & O-P, P/T
Parts: 8/?
Rating: PG
SYNOPSIS: Set after Pathfinder. It still takes the worst of times to bring people together, as well as to drive them aprat.

Prior story in the Among The Bystanders series:
1) Standing Over The Sea
2) Looking Down
3) Searching For What Is Lost
4) Finding Only Pieces.
5) Standing Up For Oneself
6) Knowing The Future
7) Going To Extremes

What Came Between Them
by Isabelle S.

Captain‘s personal long, supplemental.

It‘s been hours since ... the incident.

I can‘t sleep. I can‘t eat. I can‘t work. My mind keeps going back to your son—to what he did, to the consequences. You said that he did something similar in the past, and that he knew what would be likely to happen if he was to do it again. He went through with it nonetheless, and now his battling with the foreseen aftermath, and losing ...

One would assume that Tomas Eugene Paris never thinks about the consequences of his actions. Well in this case, the consequences of his inaction could have been losing Naomi Wildman. Since no one knew in which state the child was in, it certainly wasn‘t a prospect any of us could easily live with.

A life for a life? No, I can‘t think that way. We haven‘t lost Tom, yet. Or, I should rather say that Tom hasn‘t totally lost us, yet?

Telling you what happened to your son during our last contact was one of the most difficult duty of my career—of my life. I still believe that you had to be told. But, I regret having to do so more than you could ever know. Now, you must be sick with worry knowing that, on the other side of the galaxy, your son is fighting for his life and that you can‘t be with him.

Fighting for his life is something that Tom had to do too often -- as if he has to defend his right to be alive. He doesn‘t deserve that. But somehow, I‘m afraid that Tom thinks that he does. Why? Because he made some mistakes earlier in his life? Hasn‘t he paid for those mistakes already? Is it why he feels this need to put himself in other people‘s shoes in order to share their pain? Where does this need of his come from?

Tom is driven by empathy, Brother Tiul insisted. Shivers go up my spine each time I think of how much I keep underestimating the truth of that statement. I keep wondering if the monk told us the whole truth. Did he knew that Tom was aware of the nature of his gift and just what he could do with it? *He is able to take his ability to great extremes*, I remember him telling Commander Chakotay and myself. Well, maybe he knew about the last part.

Now, there‘s another truth about your son—the extremist. It‘s always been all or nothing, black or white, yes or no, guilty ...or not.

Today, Tom has to decide between living or dying.

I fear the worst.

"You wanted to see me, Captain," Tuvok said as he walked in her ready room.

Standing in front of the window, Kathryn Janeway looked briefly over her shoulder. "Mr. Tuvok, please come and have a sit." Once the Vulcan had sat on the coach, she went on. "I want to know exactly what took place between Mr. Paris and yourself. I know that Tom is capable of great empathy—he clearly demonstrated that as he was listening to Naomi‘s recording, but how was he able to find her by doing a mind-meld with you?"

"It appears, Captain, that my telepathic abilities enhanced Mr. Paris‘ empathic ones—abilities which I did not know he had," Tuvok began. "Once the Ensign had sufficiently conquered his claustrophobic fear, he informed me of what he intended for us to do and that he had done this before with Betasoids. I agreed to carry on with this experiment, and we proceeded.

"Mr. Paris first imagined himself being Miss Wildman‘s once again. He was in that state of mind when melded. As we did, I was first conscious of both our presence and of our close proximity. Then, I sensed the empathic feelings Mr. Paris had for Miss. Wildman. Capitalizing on those feelings, we extended our mental boundaries.

"I became aware of the distance between ourselves and the next person, then the next three, the next building... We entered the maze of streets. Mr. Paris was concentrating uniquely on the feelings he had for Miss. Wildman as I search for a similar source. This is how, Captain, that I knew how to find the child," Tuvok finished recalling as if the whole experience had been a simple walk to the park.

For Kathryn, this was just amazing! She made a hand gesture as to emphasize what she was about to say, but her words got caught her throat.

"Mr. Paris and I were aware of the risks, but we judged the situation critical enough to carry on, nonetheless," the Vulcan added.

"I understand that Naomi could have been in a serious condition, but the risks to yourselves were important. I‘m surprised and disappointed that you agreed to this, Mr. Tuvok."

"It was a logical alternative at the time and Mr. Paris was quite convincing in stating his case," Tuvok told her.

"I‘m sure he was," Kathryn granted.

Kathryn approached the main biobed, over which Harry Kim was talking to his best friend. Tom was still unresponsive. He did not looked any better or any worst than the last time she had seen him. He was simply sleeping through the remaining of this day. She felt cold at the thought that he might be sleeping through the rest of his life, assuming he would survive at all. Had Chakotay not found him when he did... She decided not to think about it anymore. What was done was done.

Still, Kathryn remained angry at Tom. She was as angry at him for proposing the mind-meld, than she was at Tuvok for accepting it. Tom had not began to see the end it, yet. When he would wake up, she would be ready to give him a piece of her mind! She sighed inwardly. She was also grateful for what he had done for Naomi, and impressed, and sad... He would hear about that too.

"Captain," Harry greeted her. "I was just telling Tom that there was a lot of people who were begging for him to wake up—among them a fair number of women—but it seems that he doesn‘t care about that anymore. Or do you, Tom?"

Harry‘s teasing tone stole a grin from Kathryn. "You succeeded in convincing B‘Elanna in going to get some rest?" She pointed out Torres‘ absence.

"The Commander did," he replied. "I think that he‘s the only one who can."

They exchanged a sad smile and Kathryn turned her attention towards the EMH, who was joining them. "Any change?" she asked.

"Some," he reported. "His condition is still critical, however Admiral Paris‘s speculations were accurate. Ensign Paris is reacting to Miss Wildman‘s presence. His vitals are more stable when she is in sickbay. I arranged for her to sleep here tonight. She should be here any minutes, now. "

"How is she doing?" Kathryn wondered, knowing just how distressed the child had been.

"Much better," the Doctor answered. "She calmed down a great deal, especially now that she knows that she can help Mr. Paris."

"Tom helped Naomi. Naomi helps Tom," Kathryn said allowing herself a grin. "Hopefully, things will balance themselves."

"Hopefully," the Doctor agreed.

"Do you really think that Naomi‘s presence could bring Tom back to us? asked Harry.

"Quite frankly, Ensign, I don‘t know," confessed the physician. "If Mr. Paris is in fact still affected by the telepathic link Commander Tuvok established between Mr. Paris and Miss Wildman, I‘m willing to try."

"Maybe we should asked Tuvok to stay as well," suggested Harry.

"I might just do that," the Doctor said thoughtfully.

The doors opened, reveling Samantha and her daughter. The child was dressed in a pink nightdress and holding to her teddy bear— or whatever that thing was supposed to be. They immediately joined the rest of them by Tom‘s bedside.

"Tom is still sleeping, isn‘t he?" Naomi asked sadly.

"I‘m afraid so, Sweetheart," Kathryn replied. "But, I‘m sure that he‘ll feel a lot better now that you‘re here."

The little girl reached over the edge of the bed and put her hand on Tom‘s. "I‘m here now, Tom," she told him. "You‘re gonna be okay. You can wake up, you know."

"Captain, take a look at those neural readings," the EMH invited her over the medical consol. "I would say that there is definitely something between the two of them."

The Captain nodded, taking in all the little signs of hope she could get.

"Mommy, can I sleep with Tom?" asked Naomi wishfully.

"No, Honey, I‘m sorry. The both of you won‘t be comfortable on this bed," Samantha pointed out . "Also, the Doctor might need to take care of Tom, we don‘t want you in his way."

"Oh," Naomi said disappointed. "Than, can he have Mr. Dougy? He always makes me feel better."

"Sure, he could. This is very nice of you," Samantha praised. "With you and Mr. Dougy looking after him, Tom will feel a lot better too."

Naomi placed the teddy under Tom‘s arm with the help of her mother, then she followed her to the nearest bed.

Kathryn bent down over Tom. "You‘re father will call back soon," she told the unconscious man. "He‘s very worried about you, like all of us. I‘d like to give him good news. Meanwhile, sweet dreams."

"Bridge to Captain Janeway," rang the Chief of Security‘s call through her quarters.

She sat on the edge of her bed—on which she had been laying wide awake for hours. "Go ahead, Mr. Tuvok."

"My apologias for waking you, Captain. However, we are receiving another transmission from Pathfinder."

"Acknowledge, Janeway out." As she made her way to the bridge, she crossed the path of her first officer. "You couldn‘t sleep either, could you?" she said, noticing his tired appearance.

He gave her a sideways look and a sympathetic smile. "Tom‘s condition is still the same?"

She nodded. "The Doctor says that Tom is stable,"she said with an emphasis the last word. "I wish I had better news for the Admiral," she sighed.

"I know," said Chakotay. "You barely have news of your son over six years, and when you manage to get in contact with him, you learn that he might not survive the next twenty-four hours. I can‘t start to imagine what the Paris family is going through."

"I can," she stated as they entered the turbolift. "They‘re going through the same thing that we are. Deck one," she ordered the computer. The two senior officers walked on the bridge. Tuvok and Kim were attending their stations. "Report," she demanded.

"We received a short message," the Vulcan informed her. "Mr. Kim is decoding it, now."

"They‘re not trying to establish communications?" asked the Commander, intrigued by this change of tactic.

"Not at this particular time," Tuvok replied.

"Captain," Harry called from his station. He was slightly taken aback. "It‘s two words: Expect transport."

Kathryn felt a rush of adrenaline run through her as she realized what this message meant. She met the Commander‘s eye, he was as surprised as she was.

"Mr. Tuvok, you have the bridge. Try enhance communication. Mr. Kim, Commander, you‘re with me," she ordered as she made her way back toward the turbolift.

"Could they have improved their system enough to send someone over already?" inquired Harry, a bit incredulously.

"That‘s what we‘re about to find out, Mr. Kim," Janeway told him. She could hardly believe that Starfleet would agree to such a risky project.

The moment they entered the transporter room, they started to work fiercely in order to boots the communication‘s array and to amplify the transporter receiving range. A transporter signal with biological components was indeed being transmitted to them. They could not afford to lose that signal! It took them long minutes to received it completely. With anticipation, Janeway hit the energize button.

"Janeway stared at their visitor unbelievingly. "Like Father, like son," was the first thing that came out of her mouth. It was not the most proper thing to say, but she did not care.

"That‘s exactly what my wife said," Tom‘s father told them.

"Welcome on board, Admiral," she said as he came down the transporter platform. "It‘s good to see you, Sir. I just wish..."

"That it was under better circumstances," he finished for her. "I‘m afraid that it still takes the worst of times to bring people together."

"Sir, let me introduce to you my first officer, Commander Chakotay, and our Chief of Operation, Ensign Harry Kim."

"Gentlemen," Owen Paris graciously greeted each them. He looked back at Janeway. "Kathryn," he said solemnly. "Thomas... I‘m not too late, am I?"

"You‘re not too late, Admiral?" she replied with a small smile.

"We‘ll take you to him."

They exited the transporter room and left for sickbay.

"When you informed me what had just happed to Thomas I told myself that it had to be faith that we had called you when we did. I had to come," Owen Paris explained. He stopped in front of the turbolift and looked at each of them as he continued "Six years ago, we thought we had all lost you for good. When we learned that you were still alive, out here in the Delta Quadrant, there was hope of seeing you again, or at least of hearing of you again." He took in a deep breath. He was visibly uncomfortable with what he was about to say next. "There was hope for me to try to make things right between me and my son. If he is to die, I want to have the chance to tell him that... that I love and that I‘m proud of him."

Touched by the older man‘s words, Kathryn, Chakotay, and Harry nodded their understanding.


Kathryn could not suppress the grin that creped unto her face as they entered in sickbay. Naomi had found her way on Tom‘s bed despite what her mother had told her. She was cuddled by his left side, her head resting on his shoulder. She was holding to her teddy, which was laying on Tom‘s torso.

On a chair nearby, B‘Elanna had dozed off.

The Admiral seemed not indifferent to the sweetness of the scene in front of them, but he was otherwise composed. Years of hard training and of command experience could teach anyone to control and even hide their feelings. Owen Paris had successfully taught that lesson to Tom. However, like father like son, their clear blue eyes would always betray them. Kathryn had saw torment in her mentor‘s eyes before, and she could see it again.

"The child, is she the one that Tomas helped find?" Owen asked.

"Yes, Admiral," Kathryn confirmed. "Naomi Wildman. The woman beside them is Lieutenant B‘Elanna Torres. She and Tom have been together for two years, now."

Owen quietly made his way to his son‘s side. B‘Elanna looked up at him. In her dazed state, she was confused for a moment.

"You‘re Tom‘s father, aren‘t you?" she whispered.

"Yes Lieutenant, I am."

She rose and faced him across the bed. "Tom will be happy to see you," she told him.

"His sisters predicted that he would have a fit," Owen said on a lighter tone—a tone they had previously attributed to another member of the Paris family.

"He probably will, but don‘t let him trick you," she warned. "Tom doesn‘t always say what he really thinks."

On that, B‘Elanna left him alone with his son and joined the others—which the Doctor had already did.

At first, Owen Paris simply stared at Tom‘s face, as if he did not know what to do or what to say. Kathryn‘s heart went to him. This had to be extremely painful. There, on the biobed, his son was laying in a coma. A son that he had not seen in God knew how long. A son that he had rejected out of anger, disappointment, and humiliation. A son that he knew strong, and yet fragile. A son that he had never stopped loving, who would always be his.

Where could the father begin?

He moved one hand to Tom‘s forehead and slowly brought it down the side of Tom‘s pale cheek.

"Hello, son," they heard him say in a low voice, careful not to disturbed Naomi. "It‘s your fa... It‘s your dad. Your mother and sisters sent their love." He paused for a few seconds. "You must be wondering what I‘m doing here. Me, of all people. I had to see you, Thomas. I could not lost this chance—maybe my last—to see you again. I missed you a great deal over the years.

"Son, I had to tell you how proud of you I am for helping all those people... I had the honor of meeting a lot of them. They speak highly of you, of your courage and compassion... And I, I tried do take that away from you... I‘m glad, that despite all you‘ve be through, that you stayed true to yourself." he took a deep breath. "I hope that you‘ll be able to forgive me one day."

He paused again, as he fought to control his emotions.

"You have to come back, Thomas. If not for our family, for the one you have on Voyager. For Miss Torres who obviously loves you very much, and for this little angel here, who is holding on to you for deer life. Son, I don‘t know if my being here is a mistake or not, but at least I will have had the chance to tell you that I love you."

He went silent as he rested his hand on Tom‘s shoulder. Then, he caressed Naomi‘s long blond hair in a fatherly gesture. The child had not stirred once. Like his own daughters, she probably could sleep through a red alert. When Owen faced back Voyager‘s senior staff, his expression was solemn, but composed once again.

"Doctor," he acknowledged the EMH, before shifting back his gaze on Tom‘s still form for a brief moment. "What can you tell me?"

"Your son‘s condition is slowly improving, Admiral," the Doctor reported. "I believe that he will eventually come out of his coma, the question is when. You were correct in speculating that he would be affected by Miss Wildman‘s presence. His vitals are more stable when she is near him. Although, I still fail to understand how."

"From what I understand," Owen Paris began. "At any given moment, Thomas is aware of his location in space—which is one of the factors that makes him the pilot that he is. During a telepathic encounter, it seems that he loses this notion and that he has difficulty being... whole again. I know that this sounds quite exoteric, but it does make a lot of sense when it is explained by a Betazoid.

"In the past," the Admiral continued. "The people that Thomas empathized with became homing beacon for him, so to speak. There are good reasons to believe that it‘s going to be the case this time around as well."

"It seems that way," Janeway told him encouragingly.


Kathryn pored down some more coffee in their cups. Admiral Paris and herself had retired into her ready room to get a light breakfast. Neither of them were really hungry, but the coffee was good. She had seized the opportunity to tell Tom‘s father about their experience on the klouani Home World.

"It was obvious from the beginning of this mission that Tom was always ready to throw himself into the worst situations to help someone in need—that often at the depends of his own life. At one point, I even wondered if he had a death wish," Kathryn recalled. "Tom had a lot to overcome when we arrived here. He wasn‘t Starfleet or Maquis. He was seen as a traitor by both sides. He had to prove himself. We came to understand that he was getting those situations because he knew that he could handle them. He was not really trying to impress any us. Most of all, we realized that we had mistaken his compassion for bravado. But, it took our visit to the Klouani monastery and Brother Tiul‘s visions to discover about Tom‘s empathic ability."

"Did you told Thomas all of this," asked Owen. There was a hint of concern in his voice.

"Yes, we did, on that very same day," she replied. "There were a few details that the Commander and I had agreed not to mentioned, but we gave him the major highlights."

The Admiral nodded. It was as if he was reluctantly accepting her answer. "And, you were able to keep him away from that cliff?"

"Yes, and to prevent Ensign Lang‘s death as well," Kathryn was glad to report. "We didn‘t avoid Eldorado, nor Frela for that matter. We couldn‘t afford to. But, we stayed on our toes. That until yesterday." She sighed. "I didn‘t even know that he was capable of doing things like that."

Owen swallowed a sip a coffee, he was thoughtful for a moment. "When Thomas was three year old, I brought him with me to Headquarters because I had to check in on a project for an hour or so. It wasn‘t the first time that he had accompanied me and the kid was getting excited just at the idea of going to the office. I did what I had to do and on the way back we entered the turbolift with a lieutenant. Without any warning, the turbolift stopped for some reason. Thomas looked up at the lieutenant and asked point blank ‚Why you‘re scare?‘. I hadn‘t realized myself that the Lieutenant had started to get nervous. ‚Not comfortable in confined spaces, are you Lieutenant?‘ I asked him. ‚Not really, Sir.‘ he replied. I called security. They told us that they would look into the problem right away. Well, that just made the Lieutenant more nervous.

"At fist, Thomas was mystified by his reaction. But then, he became nervous himself. It was like he was feeding on this man‘s fear. He started to sweat and to shake, then to cry and hyperventilated. By the time we got him out, ten minutes later, he was almost catatonic. That‘s when I realized that my kid was not your typical egocentric three-year-old. It took weeks of therapy to get him back into a turbolift."

"With what happen yesterday, it‘s clear he‘s still prone to claustrophobic attacks," Kathryn added.

Owen sadly agreed. "That event was just the beginning. As Thomas got older, his empathic ability grew, as it does for any other normal human being. In his case, it grew exponentially. He was taught coping and defense mechanisms, however those are not of much use when he purposefully empathize with someone else. There were times when he went so far that I thought we had lost him for good—like yesterday."

"You feared that it could lead him to suicide before, haven‘t you?" Kathryn asked aware that the issue had made the older man tense and uncomfortable.

"Thomas would not take his own life in his right mind—not my happy little boy. But otherwise, it‘s been a constant threat ever since he was a teenager," Owen replied.

He sighed.

"Among the logs that you sent us when we first contacted you with Pathfinder, I received a letter that Thomas had written while he was in the brig last year. It‘s an account of the events that led him there and to be demoted. At end, he tells me that he hopes this letter will help me understand him a little better. Kathryn, I didn‘t learn anything that didn‘t I already knew." He briefly looked at her as he made his confession. "Why does my son needs to save the world at the cost of his career and his own life? I don‘t know. But it always scared me like hell. I thought that I would be able to protect him, mostly from himself, if I could give him strict guidelines, a Starfleet career, a bright future, but I... I just aggravated his own feeling of alienation."

"You‘ll have to tell him this, because he doesn‘t any know that," Kathryn said softly. "I think that anger and disappointment have been between the two of you for so long that Tom is misled about the nature of your true feelings." She put a hand on his own. "It‘s your turn to save the world, Admiral."

Chakotay and B‘Elanna came back to sickbay after a short trip to the mess hall. There, the commander had been touched and amazed once again by Neelix‘s sensitivity. Without a word, the little Talaxian had presented a plate of banana pancakes to B‘Elanna. The smile of gratitude that had lighten up her face had been priceless. Now, with some food in her, she would be more apt to face this day. A day that Chakotay feared would not be any easier than the one before.

In sickbay, they found Samantha Wildman keeping herself busy with trivial things as she was waiting for her daughter to wake up. The Doctor, on his part, was working in his office. They immediately went to the main biobed. Tom and Naomi were the same way that they had left them.

"I never seen her sleep so soundly, before," Samantha told them.

"I don‘t have the heart to wake her up."

"She‘s been quite oblivious by all the activity around here," the Commander commented.

"The Doctor thinks that she might be affected by Tom‘s condition, but nothing serious."

"Well, let her sleep. After yesterday, she could use the rest," he said. "I have to report to the bridge. You‘ll keep me inform?"

"Of course, Commander," Samantha assured him.

"B‘Elanna, you can stay here if you wish," Chakotay told her, putting a supportive hand on her shoulder.

"What if he doesn‘t come out of his coma, Chakotay?" she croaked.

"You know what the Doctor said. Tom will wake up."

"Eventually," she added. "I can‘t pass all my days in here. I can‘t see him like this anymore," she said looking down at Tom‘s sleeping face. "I‘ll come back later."

Chakotay sighed as he saw her walk out of sickbay.

"She‘s exhausted," Samantha voiced sadly.

He nodded. "How about you, Sam? How are you doing."

She gave him a small smile. She caressed her daughter‘s head. "I‘m fine. Now, if Mr. Paris over here could just wake up, so I could tell him what I think about him playing hero, things would be a lot better for everyone."

The moment Samantha detached her hand from Naomi‘s hair, the little girl stirred. They exchanged a smile filled with relief.

"Naomi," Samantha called softly. "It‘s Mommy."

With some effort, Naomi lifted heavy sleepy eyelids. "Mommy..."

"Hi Honey, did you sleep well?" the mother asked as she help her child sit up.

Naomi brought her hands to her eyes to clear away her sleepiness.

"I had a nice dreamed."

"You did? What was it about?" wondered Samantha.

"I was playing in the park with Tom." As she mentioned his name, she looked at him. "Tom, you‘re awake!" she exclaimed herself, throwing her arms around his neck.

Chakotay and Samantha‘s attention had been so concentrated on the child, they had not noticed that Tom‘s blue eyes had popped open.

"Careful Honey," Samantha warned. "Tom," she called. His gaze remained unfocussed. "Tom, can you hear me?" He stay motionless.

"Ensign, is Mr. Paris awake?" came the Doctor‘s voice.

"His eyes are open, but he‘s still unresponsive," she reported.

As the EMH consulted the medical consol, Chakotay took Naomi into his arms and stepped away. With his free hand, he hit his commbadge. "Chakotay to Janeway."

"Janeway here, go ahead Commander."

"You and the Admiral should come down to sickbay," he told her.

"On our way, Janeway out."

As they waited, Chakotay and Naomi were attentive to everything the Doctor and Samantha were doing. The physician filled up a hypospray and pressed it against Tom‘s neck. There was still no improvement. Samantha gave the EMH another instrument and he flashed a light into Tom‘s eyes. That got a reaction out of him! He stirred with shock and started to blink.

"It‘s all right, Tom," Samantha tried reassured their now confused and agitated patient.

Chakotay gazed over his shoulder when he heard the doors of sickbay open. Janeway and Admiral Paris entered. He smiled and nodded to their unspoken question. They silently agreed to stay at a fair distance until the time was right.

"Mr. Paris," the Doctor drew Tom‘s attention on himself. "Do you know who I am?"

It took him a few seconds before answering in a raw voice: "Doc."

"Good. Do you know where you are?" the EMH questioned again.

"Sickbay... I‘m in sickbay." Tom tried to look around and finally gave searching for what he was looking for. "Naomi?" he said.

"Naomi is right here, safe and sound," Samantha told him with a beaming smile. "Look."

Chakotay came closer with Naomi.

"Hi there Love-Of-My-Life, you had me scare for a while," he greeted her, reaching for her hand.

"You scared me, too. You had a stroke and you wouldn‘t wake up," she told him.

"I‘m sorry, Sweetheart. I didn‘t meant to scare you."

"You‘re sorry," Samantha echoed. "Oh Tom, what are we going to do with you?" She gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Thank you for finding my daughter," she whispered. "We‘ll see you later. I have to get Mutchkin over here ready for her classes."

"Yeah, later Sam. See you, Mutchkin." He closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at the Chakotay who had remained with the Doctor. "So, I scared you too."

"Oh yeah," the Commander answered. "You can say that again."

"Not now for the speech, okay?"

"I can‘t promise you that, Tom. I‘m not the one who reserved the right to give it to you," Chakotay replied.

"I did," came Kathryn‘s voice.

Tom cringed. Chakotay would probably had cringed too if he had been in Tom‘s place. It never felt good to be on the receiving end of Kathryn Janeway‘s recriminations.

Chakotay stepped aside while the Doctor discretely went to give a status report to the Admiral.

"I can explain," Tom began.

"I know you can, but not now," she told him. "Chakotay found you in the park almost dead."

"I had a stroke." Naomi had already informed him of that. "But, it worked. Tuvok found Naomi, right?"

"Yes, he did." she acquiesced. "Tom, a little while after we beamed you to sickbay, we received a call from Pathfinder."

"Uh-oh," he whispered getting agitated. "You didn‘t... you told my father." the last part of the sentence came out with some resignation. He looked away and swallowed a lump.

"Yes, I did."

Tom stayed silent. He seemed so tense, it made Chakotay wonder what he was afraid of. Kathryn gently put a hand on Tom‘s cheek and forced him to look at her. "Tom, he‘s here."

His head mechanically rolled on the side and his eyes met with his father‘s. Shock registered on his face. Then, his instincts kicked in and he struggled to sit up. With a sudden rush of adrenaline, he bounced of the bed.

"Easy," Kathryn warned steadying him.

"Why are you here?" Tom finally asked his father defensively.

"Son, when I heard about what had happened..."

"You decided to finish what you had started," Tom interrupted him angrily.

"Thomas, no. I feared that I might never see you again and lose my chance to tell you that I love you, Son," Owen Paris attempted to defend himself. "And ask for your forgiveness."

"Forgiveness?" Tom echoed outraged. "You‘re dreaming Dad, because I‘m never going to forgive for what you did. You ruined my life! Okay, what I did with it afterward wasn‘t that great. But, you tried to have me committed to mental hospital!"

End of Part 8

Maybe I should call this series "The Story With No End". I can‘t see the end of it. Part 9 should follow eventually. Thanks for reading.
Feedback is always appreciated.
Isabelle S.
Copyrights @ March 2000