Series: Voyager
Season: 6
Pairing: P, J, O-P, C, P/T
Parts: 9/9
Rating: PG

SYNOPSIS: Set after Pathfinder, Tom and his father get

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, 8) What
Came Between Them. 

The Idiot
by Isabelle S.-


"Forgiveness?" Tom echoed outraged. "You're dreaming Dad,
because I'm never going to forgive you 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!" 
The accusation fell on Kathryn, Chakotay, and the Doctor like a
bomb. If it shocked Owen Paris, the Admiral was quick to

"Yes, I did *admitted* you in psychiatry for an evaluation," he
acknowledged holding his son's gaze. "But I did *not* try to
have you committed to an institution. Never did any of us ever
thought that you were crazy, Thomas. But you needed help dealing
and accepting the accident the way it happened."
"You don't know how it happened," Tom remarked angrily. 
"And I know for a fact that you're still not sure either," his
father pointed out. "Yes, you may have done a mistake. But,
Son, putting yourself into the place of your friends and reliving
over and over what they might have been through during their
final moments was not going to shade more light on what really

Kathryn felt her blood run cold at the mere thought of her
sensitive friend putting himself through some much pain. 

"You don't know that," Tom defended.

"Do you really think that you would have found more answers?"
Owen questioned. 

Tom remained silent. 

It was obvious that the intensity of the present argument was far
beyond the level of energy Tom had. Kathryn felt that he was
starting to falter under her support. The sudden rush of energy
that had ran through him at the sight of his father was now
exhausted. Tom was totally defenseless to the pain his old woods
were creating as they were reopened. She helped him to leaned
back on the edge of the biobed. 

Owen took advantage of this moment of weakness to get even closer
to his son. Cornered by Kathryn and the bed, Tom had no other
choice than to face the older man. Kathryn stepped back as Owen
took his son by the shoulders.

"I'm not here to revive old quarrels, Thomas," his father said
softly. "Unfortunately, we've grown so distant physically and
emotionally in the last decade that my being here was sure to do
just that. I am sorry, Son."

Tom slowly gazed up as his father talked. He had that captive
look in his blue eyes, the one that could reach your very soul
and send shivers up your spine. No one was immune to it, not
even the dreaded Admiral Owen Paris. 

The older man faced his son in silence for moment, fighting to
keep is countenance. 

"How did you get here?" Tom eventually asked as thought he was
finally realizing and accepting his father's presence.

"Pathfinder. It's a complicate story," Owen replied

"I'll wait for the movie to come out," Tom remarked. He sighed as
he shook his head. *Why*?!"

"I *had* to see you," his father told him. 

"I guess that it's another good stupid way to go," Tom commented
not too impressed. 

"Now, look who's talking! I suppose giving yourself a stroke was
smarter?" his father challenged. 

"I *had* a good reason," Tom defended. 

"And I didn't?" Owen snorted. "Kid, wait until you get children
of your own."

"I don't see that happening anytime soon," Tom replied snorting
back. He met his father's gaze once again with a sudden insight. 

"You were scared for me," he stated a bit surprised. 

"Well of course I was scared for you, Thomas. You're my son. 

When I heard of what you had done to help young Naomi, I felt
myself suddenly thrown in the past, reliving at the same moment
the call I had received form the captain of The Exeter after you
had 'mind-melded' with a Betazoid. I feared the worst. I
remembered how bad it got in the past. It almost killed you
twice before. This time, when the Doctor told me that you were
in a type 4 coma, I had to come. I had to see you alive, even if
it was even barely. I could *not* loose you again without
telling you that I love you, that I never stopped loving you." 

Tom put a finger onto his father's lips. 

"It's okay, now," he whispered. "I'm okay. I always loved you
too. You don't have be scared anymore."

He brushed away his father's tears. "I never seen you cry
before," Tom pointed out. 

"That's not true. You saw me cry before. You even cried with me
to help me get better. Remember?"

Tom gave his father's question some thoughts. "I don't know
anymore. I'm confuse," he admitted. "I'm too tired."

Owen squeezed his son's shoulders as their blue eyes met. 

Tom nodded. 

Owen smiled as he pulled his son into a hug.


Kathryn walked into the Mess Hall, where she knew she could find
Tom and Owen Paris.

It had been almost a week since Admiral Paris had arrived into
the Delta Quadrant for what would turn out to be a one month
stay. Tom, on his part, had been released from Sickbay four days
before and was now back on regular duties.

It was Kathryn Janeway's greatest joy to see the father and the
son share some time together, making amends. Beneath the mutual
anger and resentment, Tom and Owen Paris had obviously never
stopped loving one another and wanting each other's approval. 

In those few days, Kathryn had noticed Owen relax his stern
demeanor. He was smiling a lot more, bringing a glee in his blue
eyes that Kathryn had not seen there for a very long time. She
knew Tom had also saw it and the effect it had on the young man
was even more heartwarming.

Tom had finally found what he had been looking for all his adult
life: his father's approbation. It had been there for years,
although it had never been said. Owen was proud of what Tom had
become, of what he had done, and of what he was doing. The older
man open and sincere emotions were felt more strongly each day by
his empathic son. Obviously, Owen had learned, or should she
say, relearned to deal with Tom's gifted sensitivity. In response, 
Tom had magically blossomed, like a rose on a bright early sunny morning. 

"When did you say we would be able to send you to the Alpha
Quadrant?" Kathryn heard Tom asked his father on an annoyed tone.
The admiral snorted.

On the other end, Kathryn remarked as an afterthought, it could
turn out to be a long three weeks.

"Kathryn," Owen greeted as he noticed her presence. "Please,
have sit. Thomas was about to tell me what had brought him to

"No, I was not," Tom contradicted. "You never give up, do you?"

"I'm here, aren't I?" his father replied. 

A blush crept upon Tom's cheeks. He smiled with embarrassment. 

"You're not gonna like this," Tom warned. 

"Seeing how adamant you've been to answer my questions, I already
figured that much. Still, I would like to know why you were in 
Lankl's most dangerous part of town. Please, don't tell me it
was faith, President Haral already gave me that one."

Tom chuckled. "The president is a good man."

"Yes, he is, and he was lucky as hell to have you cross his path
and save his life that night."

Weraq had joined the Federation quite recently. Its membership
could not be more than ten or twelve years old. Kathryn had
heard about the attempt made on the president's life, prior to
Weraq's adherence. 

The idea that Tom had been on the planet during such a time of
turmoil was intriguing, but surely not out of character. The
fact that he had saved the life of a man who would become one the
most influential figure of the Federation in a short period of
time was even more captivating. Needless to say that she wanted
to know what had brought the young man to Lankl as well. 

"I didn't do much," Tom shrugged. "I was at the right place at
the right time."

*Of course, he had been,* Kathryn reflected. *Tom always knows
where to find trouble.*

"Not according to him," Owen pointed out. 

"Oh? What did the President told you about me?"

Kathryn, seeing how far this conversation could be going, leaned
toward the Admiral. "Bring him back to your question before he
leads you too far away from it," she urged him.

"Yes, a judicious advice, My Dear," he replied with a wink 
She returned his smile. 

"Well?" they both prompted the younger man. 

"Well, I was in this particular part of town because I needed a
cheep place to stay."

"You could have come home," Owen reminded him.

"Yeah, right," Tom replied rolling his eyes. 

"Why Weraq?" Kathryn asked hoping to do some damage control
before the two men took another tangent.

Tom shrugged again. "I had found a job," Tom answered her

It could be darn annoying when Tom Paris was deciding to be
uncooperative. He could test one's patience until its very
limits, and Kathryn Janeway had never been a very patient woman. 

She had to give credit to the Admiral perseverance. Of course,
Tom was the good Admiral's son. As the saying was going: the
apple was never falling very far from the tree.

"I have visited Weraq. Irish traditional music is not popular
theme over there, so yo weren't in Lankl to sing. That's obvious."

"Not too loud about my singing. The last thing I want is that
Neelix overhears us," Tom said in a low voice.

"I would love to hear you sing again," Kathryn told him delighted
about the idea. 

"And I'd love to see you do the Dying Swan again," came his
response without missing a bit. 

*I'll get you for that, Mister,* Kathryn thought to herself as
she gave him a challenging glare. She saw Owen looking at her

with an evil grin. *Better stay on top of things,* she decided. 

"So you had find a job," she recapitulated. "What kind of job?" 

"Nothing to complicated," he answered with a shrug. 

"Anything to do with your Spanish Lady?" asked the Admiral.

"My Spanish Lady?" echoed Tom.

"You know, the petite brunette with chestnut eyes that always
looks at you with a mischievous smile which tell you: 'for me to
know and for you to find out.'" 

Tom laughed. "I think I know who you're talking about."

"Ricky?" wondered Kathryn.

"Her real name is Rachel Fernandez Castillo," Owen stated. "She
proved to be wonderful addition to the Pathfinder project."

"Really?" voiced Tom. "She's not a Starfleet Officer."

"She doesn't need to be," Owen told him. "She's the public
relation representative. She's in charge of keeping us in
contact with the families of Voyager's crew. She is quite an

asset when it comes to track down some people on which we do not
have much to go on."

"She's very good at what she does," Tom granted. 

"Yes," agreed Owen, "Which brings me back to your little
association yours."

"We aren't associates," Tom denied.

"But you are friends," Owen offered.

"We're friends."

"So, Rachel was in the business of finding people and I know
that she asked your help on a few occasions. Were you on Weraq
to find someone?"

"I'm sure Rachel already told you that her relations with her
clients are confidential," Tom replied. 

"She did. But I'm not asking you who you were there to find. 
I'm asking you if you were there to find someone."

"What if I was?" challenged Tom. 

"It tells me what you were doing on Weraq," Owen answered as if
stating the obvious.

"Why didn't you asked that in the first place?" came Tom's

Owen and Kathryn exchanged a look full of exasperation. They
started to laugh with dismay.

Tom would never change.

"What's in this that your father is not suppose to like?"

Kathryn wondered.

"The methods he uses to find people," Owen replied.

"I had to ask," Kathryn muttered, thinking that she should have
known better.

"And *I* don't like your traveling methods," Tom retorted. 

"We already discussed that issue," Owen reminded him.

"I guess, we'll have to discuss it again," Tom told him. 


"Tom, I wish we could tell you what you want to hear, but we
can't," Harry told him sympathetically. "This is as safe as
we can ensure your father's transport to the Alpha Quadrant."

"Well, it's not enough," Tom retorted.

"It will have to suffice," Seven stated. 

Was he detecting a hint of irritation in the stern voice of Seven
of Nine? Nah, it had to be his imagination. 

"Listen to the voice of reason," B'Elanna told him. "Seven is

Tom glanced back at the data showing on the main screen of the
Astrometric Lab. He sighed again, unsatisfied with the results. 
With the help of his father, the Captain, B'Elanna, Harry, Seven
and the Doctor, Tom had looked over every bit of information
regarding his father's 'trip' into subspace over and over again. 
Despite all their best efforts, they could only improve the
safety of the transport from ten percent.

Ten percent was far from being enough to ease Tom's fears of
losing his father to this suicidal endeavor. 

"I still can't believe he did a stupid thing like that in the
first place," Tom mumbled not for the first time.

"Your father cares about you," said B'Elanna. "Besides, you did
stupid things for people you cared about yourself."

"I never did anything *that* stupid!" Tom rebuked.

Harry snorted. 

B'Elanna rolled her eyes. "You don't really believe that, do

"Maybe I should contact the Doctor and asked for his insight in
the matter," suggested Seven. 

It was Tom turned to snort. "Alright," he gave in. "I'm an
idiot too at times. But that doesn't change anything."

"No, it doesn't" agreed B'Elanna. "Tom, your father is leaving
tomorrow. Why don't you make good use of the time you have left
with him?"

Tom nodded. "You're right," he told his lover. He gave the
situation some more thoughts before looked up at Harry. "You know
any one who has a violin?"


It was definitely one of Kathryn's dreams come true. Heck, it
was even better than what she could have imagine! There, in the
replication of an old Irish pub, Tom had handed a fiddle to his
father as an invitation to join him on stage. There makeshift
was also composed of Harry Kim, Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Carey,
and Michel Ayala. 

Kathryn had heard rumors of the Admiral playing the fiddle, but
she didn't know that he could sing as well. He had a deep soft
tenor voice that could carry you miles away. It was a gift
that his son has inherited along with a taste for Celtic

Tom took a sip of water before speaking again.

"This next song as a rather strange title. And it deals with a
rather strange subject, at least from the point of view of the
people of Delta Quadrant. You see, this song irritates the
people of this quadrant because of all those carpet-banging
strangers from the Federation who are infesting the D.Q." 
Snorts and laugher.

"Everyone is out there trying to get their hands on those leola
root supplies," he added.

"That's for sure!" agreed Neelix somewhere in the crowd. 
More laugher.

"This song also has a personnel connotation. It came to mind as
I tried to figure out which of my father or I tended to do the
most stupidest things. Sadly, I realized that the apple was
never falling very far from the tree..." 

Again, laugher could be heard.

"To make this song a bit more relevant, I did make a few changes
to the lyrics. And it is dedicated to all you, with apologies to
the people of the Delta Quadrant, *and* even to you Dad. This
song is entitled: The Idiot."

"I often take those night shift walks when the Commander's not

I turn my back to the Doctor's tacks and make for open ground.
Far into the holodeck where the warp core makes no sounds
I forget the stinks and always think back to that Eastern town. 
I remember six years ago this Western life I chose
and everyday, the news would say some sector going to close
Well, I could have stayed and take the Dole but I'm not one of

I take nothing free and that makes me an idiot, I suppose.
So I bid ferwell to the Eastern town I never more will see.
But work I must so I eat this food and breath refinery.
Oh, I miss the green and woods and streams
And I don't like Starfleet clothes
But I like being free and that makes me an idiot, I suppose. 


After offering his best wishes to the crew and making his
goodbyes, Admiral Owen Paris left the bridge of the USS Voyager
for the transporter room in company of Captain Janeway and his

Kathryn stopped in front of the transporter room indicating that
she had no intentions of going further. They all had a very busy
morning, making sure that the Admiral's transport back to the
Alpha Quadrant would be a safe one, leaving no time for Tom and
his father to have a private moment together.

Kathryn extended her hand expecting the Admiral to shake in
return. He took her hand in his own and pulled Kathryn into a
friendly hug for a few seconds. 

"You are making an old Admiral very proud, Captain," he told her. 

"Your devotion and this crew's dedication is an inspiration to us
all. You take good care of yourself, Kathryn."

"I will, Sir. You have a safe trip."

He nodded, and with that, followed his son into the transporter
room. Ensign Kim working at the control station looked a bit
surprised to see only the two men come in. He recovered quickly,
understanding that the moment should be a personal one for the
father and the son. He informed Tom that everything was ready,
made his goodbyes to the Admiral, then took his leave. 

"This is it," Tom said trying to hide his nervousness.

"Ye,"Owen agreed, hoping his son could not feel just how nervous
he really was. "Everything will go as planed," he reassured his
son for the umpteen time.

"It better be," Tom said. "I can't loose you again."

"You never lost me, Son," Owen replied softly.

"Yes, I did... At least, that's how it felt to me," Tom tried to
explained. "I know with might never see each other again, but
promise me you still be around for a long time."

"I will, if you promise me the same thing," Owen agreed with a
smile. "No more stunt like you did a month ago. Otherwise, I
will have to come back and kick your butt."

"Oh no, not that!"

They both chuckled.

"I'm proud of you, Son," Owen said more seriously. "I'm proud of
your work. I'm proud of who you became and what you stand for."
He put his hand on Tom's shoulder. "I love you, Thomas. Remember
that. Both your mother and I love you." 

He pulled his son into a bear hug.

"I love you too, Dad," Tom said trying to control his emotions. 

"You tell Mom, Moira, and Kathleen that I love them very much."

"I will tell them," Owen promised. "You be careful out there."

"I will."

They share an instant of Uncomfortable silence.

"We better do this," Owen said taking upon himself to break the
special moment between the two of them.

Tom nodded and made as his way to the control while Owen
positioned himself on the transporter platform.

"Have a safe trip," Tom said.

"Goodbye, Son."

"Goodbye, Dad." 

They shared one last look before Tom it the 'energize' button.


Harry Kim walked on the bridge with a series of PADDs in hand. 

With Seven of Nine, Harry had passed the last few hours
downloading the latest transmission sent by Pathfinder. It was
not in Harry's habits to walk around the ship playing mailman,
that was one of Neelix's prerogatives, however this time was

Tom had finally received news from home. Ever since Admiral
Paris had been transported back to the Alpha Quadrant a month
earlier, his best friend had lived in a constant uncertainty that
something might have happen to his father.

From what they had been able to determined from their sensory
readings, the transport seemed to have gone accordingly to plan,
but that had not reassured Tom much. As he had elaborated
numerous times, a lot of things could have happen: degradation of
the transporter patterns over the distance, toxicity of organic
materials that could lead to neuronal degradation and other
cellular death, so on and so forth. Truth be told, his fears
were legitimate. 

"Tom," he called, coming down to the pilot's station. 

Tom looked up with a smile as he acknowledged's Harry's presence. 

His smile faded away as he saw the PADD that his friend was
tending to him. Aware of everyone's gaze upon him, Tom took the
PADD self-consciously. He read the few first lines and then a
smile reached his blue eyes. 

"It's from Mom," he told them. "She says that Dad is fine. She
is wondering if by any chance we would like to have him back."

the end


A year later, I finally finished this story. Thank you for all
of you who read the story and encouraged me along the way.

The original song: "The Idiot" as been written by Stan Roger, a
late Folk signer from Halifax, Canada.

Big Thanks too all of you! Feedback is always appreciated.

Isabelle S. -

Copyright April 2001.