Series:  Voyager
Pairing:  J/P
Parts:  1/7
Rating: G

Where They Left Off

Synopsis: Set after *30 Days*. Will Tom and Kathryn be able to
take back their relationship where they left off as Tom comes out
of the brig?

1)The First Cup Of Coffee.
By Isabelle S.

"Wake up, Mr. Paris," came Tuvok's *charming* voice from across
the force field.. "Your thirty days are over. You just have the
time to shave and get into uniform, before your meeting with the

"I see that she accepted my invitation," Tom said as he swung his
feet off the bunk. "Did she say where we are suppose to meet."

"She did not," the Vulcan replied. "I would stipulate that she
meant her ready-room, Ensign."

He cringed at the blunt reminder of his recent demotion. He
better had to get used to it now, this was just the beginning.
Since when did he cared so much about rank anyway? As much as he
would of have liked to kid himself, he *knew* that his rank had
mattered to him since the beginning of their voyage in the Delta

"Tuvok, Tuvok, Tuvok," he repeated, putting his thoughts aside.
"Never make assumptions," he said as he crossed the threshold of
the cell that had been his *home* for the last month. "It's good
to see you too, by the way."

Tuvok replied by raising his eyebrows -- so predictable. Tom
grinned to himself, he had missed the stoic Vulcan. He had missed
all his friends. Confinement was bad, solitary confinement was
cruel! The Captain had made of good job of letting everybody know
that going against her orders would be met with negative
reinforcement. Considering his past however, it was obviously that
particular psychological approach had never very efficient in
curing of maladaptive behaviors.

Tom cursed himself for the umpteenth time, wondering what was
wrong with him. Again, he had acted before considering all the
implications of his actions on the people that he cared about --
disappointing the ones that trusted him, that had faith in him.
Disappointing Kathryn ...

He had probably already lost more than he could bare to imagine.
It hurt. He wondered if this latest punishment would succeed in
teaching him *the* lesson he needed to learn to stay out of
trouble. Somehow he had doubts, everything else had failed before.
Hell, he could be a stubborn man -- a flaw he had no problem
blaming on his father -- but when it came down to what he was
ready to do or not do for Kathryn Janeway, it was something else
entirely. He could remember a time when everything that she did,
everything that she said was an inspiration to him. It still was.
He knew he would be fooling himself thinking otherwise.

Tom went to his quarters, shaved, and changed. He looked at
himself in the mirror and brought a hand to his collar. He was
Ensign Tom Paris now. The good years of being a lieutenant were
over. He might as well make the best of it. He knew better than
anyone that a rank was not something written in stone, upward or
downward. He had been an ensign before, he could manage. But,
could those around him do as well? He would find that out soon
enough, he thought. All things considered, it could have been a
lot worst.

He left his quarters knowing full well that what was about to
happen could change one of the most important part of his life
forever. He stopped in front of the door, and rang the chime. On
her invitation -- at the sound of her voice,  his heart skipped a
beat -- Tom walked into Kathryn Janeway's quarters.

"Good morning," he greeted neutrally, hoping that his
nervousness would not show too much. As he had walked in, he
had thought that the worst had probably already happened. Now,
he was not so sure.

"Good morning to you, too" she acknowledged barely looking at
him before rising up from her coach and making her way to the
replicator. She ordered two cups of coffee, then walked up to
him and gave him a cup. They stood in silence for a moment,
this first encounter in month feeling rather awkward. "Do you
really think that we can start back where we left off?" she
finally asked him. There was a hint of defiance in her voice. She
held his gaze as she brought her cup to her lips.

Tom found himself at loss with words. Suddenly, all that he had
carefully rehearsed back in the brig had vanished. His mind was a
total blank. He looked away for a brief moment and bit his lower
lip. It was not the time to let his big mouth get away from what
he really wanted to say. But, what did he really wanted? Even if
he wanted to, could he make it work? Could they make work?

How could he ever expect her to trust him again, when he could
barely trust himself. He took a deep breath and looked back at
her, hoping that his expression would reflect the sincerity of
his words.

"It's up to you, Kathryn," he answered her in a low voice. "I'm
fine with what happened. I respect your decisions." Her lips were
shut in a tight fine line, and he knew she was angry. "I did
something which I knew I would never get away with without
consequences. But Kathryn, I had to try. It was very selfish of
me, I shamefully did not think about all of you, about the
position I would put *you* in. I figured that if I had to die
for something that I believed in ... for once ... that I ... "

Again, he fled her intense gaze. What was he trying to say
exactly? His fingers held the coffee cup tighter. He felt a lump
in his throat. Then, her hand reached for his cheek, and brushed
away the tear that he had never felt coming. He lost himself in
the tenderness of her touch.

"I love you, Kathryn," he whispered. "I managed to hurt you
nonetheless. I'm sorry ... If you want us to put a end to our
relationship, I'll accept that."

"I was somewhat hoping that you would put on more of a fight to
keep me," she said a bit teasingly, taking him by surprise.

Their eyes met. She had a sad smile on her beautiful face.

"Well ... I'm just beginning," he defended tentatively, a small
grin forming on his lips.

"Tom, I know that you had to try. You would never have been at
peace with yourself -- with whatever drives you to do these
things. Like I told you a month ago, I respect that. I wish I
could have helped you. I wish I hadn't had to do what I did. But
..." She sought his blue eyes. "Don't ever put me in that
position, again."

He wanted to make that promise to her, but the words got caught
his throat. He sighed. "I can't promise you that. I can try, I
can't promise," he replied almost sadly.

Kathryn surprised him again with a grin. "I don't think that
you can promise, either. I'll have to live with you trying
very hard then," she added mischievously.

"So ... where does that leave us?"

She took his untouched cup of coffee away and put it beside
hers on the table. Then, she lovingly put her harms around his

"Where does it leave us?" she repeated. "Where we left off.
That is, if you remember how to kiss me."

He smiled, looking down into her sparkling grey eyes. "Now,
that shouldn't be a problem."

"I love you too, Tom," she said as their lips met.

END of part one


There'll be more. What can I say? My 30 days aren't over ...
Feedback always appreciated at
Isabelle S.

Copyrights @ December 1999