TITLE: What Might Have Been: Resolutions
SERIES: Voyager (A/U)
SUMMARY: A view of what might have happened if Kathryn had been Tom's lover at the time of the horrible Resolutions episode. Can anyone tell I don't like Chakotay <evil grin>
ARCHIVE: Anywhere, as long as you leave my name on it. Geordi, please put this in the JuPiter Station archives & note my new e-mail address.
Imagining Tom Paris' slow and painful death was getting old. It was much more entertaining when I was kneeling on the cold bathroom tile losing every meal I had ever eaten, knowing that it was all his fault. That he was in much the same condition didn't matter.
There was a flu virus going around the ship after our last shore leave. Fortunately the Doctor found a vaccine before more than a handful of the crew came down with it. It was, however, too late for me, since I had spent the entire night taking care of Tom while he was being sick.
Finally I started feeling better. A long, hot shower, my favorite nightgown and a freshly made bed and I felt like a new person. A tired, slightly seedy person, but it was a definite improvement. I snuggled in with the trashy novel that Megan had recommended. I was in such a good mood I didn't even throw anything at Tom when he dragged through the back door to my quarters and flung himself down on the bed beside me.
His skin looked about the same color as his gray sweats and he
obviously hadn't shaved in some time. I tried not to snicker; his beard grows in red.
"Still hate me?" He stretched out full length on his' side of the bed.
"Uh-huh." I stroked his stubbly cheek. "You look like Red-Beard the pirate."
"You look like ..."
"I missed you, too." He draped an arm across my waist and fell instantly asleep with the smile still on his face. It's damn hard to stay mad at Tom Paris.
By that time I could hardly remember what it was like not to be in love with Tom. We were finally ready to go public with our relationship when the flu struck. Now the plan was to start openly dating when we'd both recovered. We seem to have done everything in our relationship ass-backwards, as Tom would say. Most people date *before* they have sex and produce children.
I found myself feeling absurdly glad that we had done things
backwards. If I hadn't gone to his quarters that first night I might never have had the courage to tell him what I felt. There are
perfectly sound reasons, under normal circumstances, for a captain to avoid getting into a relationship with a member of her crew and even better reasons for an engaged woman to be faithful to her fianc‚. I would have thought of every one of them and done nothing. Eventually he would have found someone else and I would have died a little every time I saw them together.
The idea shook me so badly that I slipped down onto Tom's chest and burrowed my face into his neck, inhaling his warm, comforting scent.
"Katie?" He didn't even open his eyes, but strong arms held me close as I knew they would.
"Go back to sleep, angel. I'm just getting comfortable."
Tom muttered something unintelligible and drifted off again. I laid there listening to his heart beat, thinking how lucky I was to have found so exactly what I needed. Not that he didn't occasionally annoy the hell out me. Tom will always wake up in a disgustingly cheerful frame of mind. He will always sincerely believe that his dirty laundry belongs on the bedroom floor and that music should be played just loud enough to cause permanent auditory damage. I will spend the rest of my life growling at him every morning, throwing dirty socks at him and stuffing earplugs in my ears. And loving him.
Sometimes I feel guilty for being this happy. There are people on this ship who have lost the only person they have ever loved, their
children, their homes. As much as I miss my family and old friends, I *am* home; wherever Tom and I are together is our home.
What about Tom? He tried so hard at first to pretend that it was just sex. Not that the sex wasn't good; I've never had such a powerful effect on a man before. Sometimes I would feel his eyes on me from across the room and know that he would do *anything* to have me again. It was like being drunk on champagne. Still is. If anything it's gotten better; intimacy has only added new dimensions to our lovemaking.
Tom was extremely wary of letting our relationship go beyond the physical, but he couldn't help it any more than I could. It was shocking to see how little confidence he had in his ability to be loved. It must have been hard for him to be the handsome, eligible child of a powerful family. My parents protected me from that kind of thing, but somewhere along the line somebody convinced him that he could only be valued for his body or his family connections. Tom was surprised at first by the ordinary kindnesses I showed him, the small things lovers do for each other simply for the joy of it. I'm glad that he knows now how much I love him. Turning into lizards wasn't an altogether bad thing for our relationship.
It'll be a relief to get the whole thing out in the open. We've already postponed it for too long. We had to put our plans on hold while Tom went undercover to find the traitor, Jonas. It would have spoiled his rebel image to be known as the captain's boyfriend.
It didn't stop Tuvok from suggesting Lt. Paris as the undercover agent. I was not happy with the suggestion even though I knew he was the most logical choice. Tuvok must have seen the reluctance in my face. He adopted the tone he reserves for placating emotional humans and told me sympathetically, "I realize this will put a strain on your relationship with Mr. Paris." He'd known all along and never said a word. I know it's the job of a good security officer to be aware of everything going on aboard ship, but it still took all my Starfleet training to keep my hands off of his throat.
The preparation for that mission was almost more than Tom could stand. He has worked so hard to gain the respect of the crew; even losing it temporarily hurt, although I suspect he enjoyed punching Chakotay. Now they're calling him a hero; it's definitely a good time to come clean.
My hero snores. I usually don't mind; I can sleep through anything. It's damned annoying when you're awake though. I poked him a few times and he turned on his side, using me as a body pillow. I must be feeling better, I was beginning to get ideas. Not enough to wake him up and do something about it, but enough to start making plans for the near future.
We were in orbit around a beautiful Class M planet that the crew had dubbed New Earth.' Except for some exceptionally violent storms it was an idyllic world and I authorized shore leave after our scans were complete and supplies gathered. I would have been down there myself if Tom hadn't shared his virus with me. It still wasn't too late. In a couple days we would both be feeling better and I had every intention of spending at least a day or two on the surface. Some hiking, a picnic, and for desert, Tom. I wanted to lay him down in the tall grass in some sunlit meadow and ....
My pleasant daydream was shattered by the bleat of the communicator. The Doctor began speaking before I could even acknowledge the hail. He sounded upset.
"Doctor to Janeway. We have a medical emergency in sickbay that requires your immediate attention."
Tom was right. Chakotay is in love with me. I know someday when we look back on this whole thing Tom will be insufferably smug and I'll boast about how irresistible I am to men. Right now it's a complete disaster and I want to hide in my quarters until we get back to the Alpha Quadrant.
Chakotay looks at me like a wounded puppy - as if it were my fault for not loving him. He obviously wants to murder Tom, who has been
indulging in primitive male posturing, as if he had to defend his right to his' woman. I'm not inclined to put up with either of them right now. Thank goodness they've been able to behave themselves in front of the crew. On the other hand a few days in the brig might knock some sense into them.
I feel sorry for B'Elanna. If I hadn't gotten sick she wouldn't have had to take my place on the survey team with Chakotay. As much as it hurt her to leave her precious engines in the hands of Lt. Carey, I could see the hope in her eyes when she looked at her partner in exile. Tom told me that she has had a crush on Chakotay since they were in the Maquis. Maybe she hoped that she could finally express her feelings now that they faced the possibility of spending the rest of their lives alone on that planet.
The plan we came up with - actually it was Harry's idea - was risky. We contacted Denara Pel, the Doctor's former girlfriend. Without her help in finding a cure, we would have had to abandon our crewmembers on New Earth.
I knew that leaving them there entailed nearly as much risk as seeking out the Vidians for help. Chakotay and B'Elanna were the highest ranking Maquis officers on board. My only alternative would be to replace them with Starfleet officers; no other Maquis were qualified for their positions. As well as the two crews had integrated so far, I knew there would be trouble from some of the former Maquis.
Dr. Pel came through and we were able to retrieve Chakotay and
B'Elanna. I had hoped that he might have begun to turn to her. After our parting conversation several weeks ago he had to know that there was no possibility of a relationship between us. I may never know what happened between the two of them while Voyager was gone, but when we returned, it was to find Chakotay building himself a comfortable little nest in the hut we left behind and B'Elanna hiking her way down the coast. They have had very little to say to each other since.
I'm willing to bet Chakotay said something stupid like, "I'm sorry, B'Elanna. I know we're the only two people on the entire planet, but I'm in love with the captain." OK, maybe I'm being too hard on him. Chakotay is one of my best friends, but sometimes I would dearly love to smack him in the head.
All right, maybe some of it was my fault. I never dreamed that he would take my offer of friendship and good-natured teasing as romantic interest. I don't think my manner toward him was much different than it was toward Harry or Tuvok, except that we spent more time together. Maybe it was the touching thing; I tend to touch the person I'm talking to. At least I've learned not to do it with unknown alien species. Most people don't think anything of it; Tuvok has even been known to let me hug him on occasion.
Whatever the reason, Chakotay seems to have built up this fantasy that what I really want in life is to forget about everything else and raise his children in rural splendor. That only shows how little he really knows me. I would like to have a home on Earth one day, and maybe a couple of tow-headed children running around to drive me and Tom crazy. But the place I feel most at home, most alive is on the bridge of Voyager. I love to stand there with my hand on Tom's shoulder, feeling *our* ship responding to *our* commands, sharing the excitement of whatever new discovery lies in our path. Chakotay could never understand that feeling.
He called me in the middle of the night before Voyager was to leave New Earth. Tom was asleep in my bed, so I took the call in the living room. I must have looked awful. My eyes were probably red from crying and I'd barely slept. Chakotay didn't seem to notice. He started pouring out his heart to me - telling me how much our friendship had come to mean to him and how he knew our feeling for each other had grown into more. I felt like a heel. Then he told some mythical' story about an angry warrior and the woman who saved him, and I started crying again.
There's no doubt that if I had been stranded alone with him I would have been tempted. It's hard to resist the flattering knowledge that a man completely in love with you. Maybe after a while I might have come to care for him, but not the way I love Tom. Never that. I doubt we would have lasted past the first real fight. Besides, what kind of future could we have had, even if I did return his feelings? Deprived of the stars and the company of other people I would have slowly gone mad. Once he took me off that pedestal and got to know the real me Chakotay would have been deeply disillusioned. We couldn't even have had children to share our lives with.
That was one of the reasons I so desperately hoped we could find a cure for Chakotay and B'Elanna. Even if they could make a go of their situation, any offspring would be trapped on the planet with no
possibility of eventually finding mates unless they were joined by fellow exiles.
All these thoughts were rushing around in my head as my friend pled his case. Finally he simply looked at me with pleading eyes.
"Stay with me, Kathryn."
I lowered my face into my hands and wished I could sink into the floor. This was why captains aren't supposed to get romantically involved with their crew.
"Chakotay, I'm sorry if I led you to believe..." That sounded too stilted. "You've been my friend and ally since our crews first joined. I couldn't have made it this far without you. I do care about you, but not the way you want me to."
He seemed disappointed but undaunted. "If you would just give it some time..."
I've never dealt well with being pushed. I resisted the urge to scream, "What about B'Elanna? What about the ship?" He must have been completely oblivious to B'Elanna's feelings for him.
"No, Chakotay. That can never happen. I'm in love with someone else."
"Mark? Who knows when or if you'll get back to the Alpha Quadrant? He might have..." He stopped as suspicion registered in his
eyes. "There's someone aboard Voyager."
"Tom Paris. I love him, Chakotay."
That made him angry. His eyes narrowed. "How long?" He nearly spit the words out.
I didn't see any point in evasion. It was too late at night and my temper was too frayed. "Since the day we met."
That bombshell was greeted with several moments of silence. A few curt words later and I was staring at a blank screen. It was a while before I realized that Tom was standing in the bedroom doorway, watching me in the dark. I didn't know how much of the conversation he'd overheard.
"What would you have said if it was me on that planet asking you to stay?"
He seemed surprised when I simply got up and walked into his arms. I held him so tightly he could barely breathe. That was one of the demons that plagued me in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. What would I do if I had to choose between being with Tom and duty to my ship? I was terrified I might one day have to make that choice.
I undressed us both, needing the comfort of his skin next to mine, and curled up on the bed in the shelter of his arms. The last thing I remember is falling asleep to the sound of Tom's voice promising that nothing would ever keep us apart.
All right, so now I want to kill Tom *and* Chakotay. Well, maybe just stick their heads out of an airlock until they promise to stop acting like teenagers. But I suppose I'll keep them. They're idiots, but they're my idiots and they're both fixable. All I have to do is find Chakotay someone else to obsess about so we can get back to being friends. As for Tom, I suppose marrying him will show him that he's the only one I want.
No matter how strained things are now it's a relief that Chakotay knows. That's just one more person we don't have to hide the truth from. That list is growing and, to tell the truth, we aren't trying very hard to hide any more. The hell with our grand plan to break things to the crew slowly. They're bright people. They'll figure it out eventually.