Pairing: P, P/?, C/?
Spoilers: Maybe a little spoiler for "Hunters" and "Thirty days", but only if you know where to look...
Disclaimers: Well, what can I say, if I owned them, there would be a lot more P/T episodes, but since I don't... Sorry gang. Paramount owns the rights to do whatever they want with them so on and so fourth. I will return all of these lovely characters as soon as I'm done... Honest!
Archive: Sure, fine with me, just let me know first. You can send it wherever you like, as long as my name is still attached to it. And of course the disclaimers. *sigh*
Author's note: This is just something that came to me while listening to Lionel Richie's wonderful song "Hello". Hey, get that skeptic look out of your face and give it a chance!
Set sometime after Voyager's return to the Alpha quadrant, whenever that is... :-)
Summary: Tom Paris realize that something is missing in his life and try to do something about it. Will he get what he wants?
Feedback: If you liked it, write me. If you didn't… well, why not, I need to learn some humility. Just don't send me any hate-letters… Feedback is sent to email@example.com
Again, thanks T'Pam for you beta-ing and feedback! I think I'm getting spoiled! :-)
In the arms of an angel
Tom Paris walked aimlessly down the streets of Marseilles. The sun had almost set completely, and his mood was the same as the darkening evening.
He didn’t know why he’d thought of her tonight especially, he had been avoiding doing so the best he could.
His dream had finally come true; he was a test pilot and would probably spend the rest of his life in the air. It was more than he’d ever dared hope for after all the mistakes he’d made.
So why wasn’t he happy?
Deep down, he knew the answer. Because she wasn’t there to share it with him. He remembered their last night together with painful clarity.
"I just can’t take it anymore, Tom! It feels like this is a one-sided relationship!"
"What do you mean by that?" He responded angrily.
"What do I mean? Well, for starters, how about the fact that you’ve never once told me that you love me."
"That’s ridiculous! Of course I have!"
"Really. Name one occasion."
He opened his mouth to respond, but closed it again. He couldn’t think of any.
She nodded at his expression.
"That’s just it, Tom. How can we be together when you can’t even do that?"
Her voice was calm now, and that scared him more than her wild outbursts. He should say it, so she understood what she meant to him.
"I…" He swallowed and tried again. "I…" Damn it, he just couldn’t get it out! But surely she knew…
"Good bye, Tom." She turned her back on him and walked to the door.
"B’Elanna!" His voice was close to pleading.
She froze for a moment, but then continued out the door.
He felt his last hope die down.
That was five years ago, six months before Voyager had gotten home. It had been the worst six months of his life. Just seeing her every day and not being able even to talk to her.
He wouldn’t want to go through that again for anything in the world.
When they had gotten home, they’d parted without even saying a proper goodbye. He hadn’t seen her after their return because of all the commotion that’d started.
The Maquis were permitted to stay in StarFleet if they wanted, or leave; StarFleet headquarters didn’t see it necessary to punish them further after the fate of the other Maquis.
His case had been a bit more complicated. Technically, he hadn’t served out all of his time, and there was the case with the Moneans that made things worse.
But Captain Janeway had persisted, and even threatened to resign if he wasn’t pardoned. He’d almost felt sorry for all those admirals when he’d seen the determined expression on her face.
But the biggest surprise of all, was Chakotay, new Captain of the U.S.S Excelsior. Not only had he threatened to resign as well, but he had also calmly stated that several other officers, mostly Maquis, would join him.
After their persistence, StarFleet had agreed to his pardon, mostly Tom suspected, because they didn’t want to lose their homecoming heroes.
He’d been so stunned, he hadn’t had time to feel any joy. And the fact that she hadn’t showed up at his celebration-party, his newfound happiness was suddenly gone.
He shivered a bit. It had become dark without him even noticing it. The moon had already risen. He should get back home; Marseilles wasn’t the safest place to be at night.
Home. His small apartment where he lived all alone. Not even a pet to keep him company.
In that instant, he made a decision.
He found himself standing outside an old, Victorian house in Oregon. It hadn’t been easy finding her, even with StarFleet records to help him.
He hesitated. This had been a bad idea. But he couldn’t just stand there; he had to find out.
Was she okay? Was she any different? Did she still remember him?
With renewed determination, he walked to the door and rang the doorbell.
"I’ll get it, B’Elanna!"
Tom froze. The voice was male. He hadn’t expected this. Just as he was about to turn away and leave, the door opened and he found himself face-to-face with someone very familiar. Dark hair, dark eyes and a tattoo. Chakotay.
Tom carefully slipped on the all too familiar mask of friendly relaxation, but in his mind only one thought kept emerging. He had to get out of here.
Chakotay looked as stunned as Tom felt. Then a smile broke out on his face.
"Tom! Spirits, how long has it been!? I haven’t seen you since…"
"Since the day StarFleet pardoned me," Tom filled in.
He noted the expression of happiness that had been imprinted on Chakotay’s face. Although the big Indian had always been calm by nature, there had always been a wariness against everyone that approached him. All that was gone now.
He noted something else with his almost numb mind; the wedding ring on Chakotay’s left hand.
"I guess we’re even then, although you’ve saved my life more than once after the incident on the Ocampa homeworld."
Tom looked embarrassed.
"Look, that was just bullshit, Chakotay. And even if I meant it, you’ve paid your debt a dozen times at least. I know I can never repay you for what you and the Captain did for me at the hearing."
Chakotay shrugged it off.
"They weren’t going to let us leave anyway; they were too shorthanded as it was, what with the war and everything.Where have you been anyway? Everyone has been trying to find you , but you never seemed to stay at the same place very long."
"Nah, I’ve been moving a lot."
Tom thought this was a good time to make a graceful retreat.
"Look, it was good seeing you again, Chakotay, I just thought I’d pass by and say hello. I have urgent business elsewhere, so…"
"But you haven’t seen B’Elanna yet! B’Elanna!" Chakotay called into the house.
"No, I really…"
B’Elanna came out of the kitchen, grimacing as a little baby pulled her hair.
"Who is it, Cha…"
Tom suddenly remembered to breathe and took a deep breath as he studied her. She hadn’t changed.
The lines around her eyes had deepened, but it was the same hazel eyes that had gazed deeply into his, for what seemed to be an eternity ago. She had let her hair grow, as he had always nagged at her about, and she wore it in a simple do, tousled by the baby’s eager pulling.
That snapped him back to reality. He needed to leave, she was married and had a child.
A discreet cough turned his attention away from her.
"I’ll go finish lunch."
B’Elanna didn’t seem to notice when Chakotay took the baby from her. She stood paralyzed.
Tom gathered himself first.
"You seem to be doing well, Lanna."
His old name for her made tears sting in her eyes, but she quickly suppressed them before they showed.
"Yeah, I guess I’m doing okay." She couldn’t believe it was really him, and she felt her hands twitch a little with the desire to pinch herself in the arm, just to make sure it wasn’t a dream. That he wasn’t a dream.
Five long years, not hearing a thing. She’d tried to look him up, but since he’d resigned from StarFleet, it had been virtually impossible.
And now here he was, looking just like the last time she’d seen him - at the StarFleet hearing. She’d been careful enough for her presence not to be discovered. Even if she’d wanted to jump right into his arms at StarFleet’s verdict.
He looked more tired now and… unhappy. She felt her worry rise.
"How about you, Tom? How have you been doing?" Her tone was casual, but she regarded him closely as he answered.
"Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve just been given the position as test pilot at a training facility in Marseilles."
"Tom, that’s wonderful!" She was genuinely happy for him. Tom’s expression didn’t change.
"Yeah, I guess it is. It was wonderful seeing you again, but I really have to…"
He was interrupted when the door opened and someone overburdened with bags stumbled in.
’Is everything against me today?’ was his desperate thought.
"The store next door was closed, B’Elanna, but I ran into a Betazoid who had everything we needed."
The newcomer lowered her bags to the floor, and a ruffled Kathryn Janeway appeared. She stroked her red hair out of her eyes and became aware of Tom’s presence.
"Tom!" He suddenly had his arms full of a redheaded woman.
If only he’d gotten this kind of welcome from the brunette of the house.
She laughed happily.
"Well, if you really want to, you can call me that, but if you try, I’m sure you’ll find that I answer to Kathryn pretty well too."
He couldn’t help but smile. He had missed Kathryn Janeway, more than he had known, he realized now. If it weren’t for her, he would probably be dead now, stabbed to death in some dark alley after getting out of jail.
Kathryn, who picked up the tense feelings between the two of them, gave Tom another hug before smoothly continuing.
"Where’s Chakotay and Maïa?"
"They’re in the kitchen. Chakotay’s finishing lunch."
"You should never have let him near the kitchen. For someone who claims to be such a great outdoor-camper, he has no sense of cooking whatsoever."
She left for the kitchen, leaving the couple alone.
"Maïa?" Tom questioned.
"The baby. She’s named after Chakotay’s grandmother."
Tom changed the subject quickly, before his feelings would betray him.
"Kathryn certainly has changed."
"Not really, she’s a lot different when she’s not barking out orders," B’Elanna smirked. "And of course, Maïa is making her days lighter."
Tom’s eyebrows flew up.
"Yeah, I think she’d given up ever having children of her own."
Tom just stared at her. Then his eyes flew to her left hand. And was greeted by the sight of slender fingers, no ring in sight.
She watched the unusual display of emotions on his face and threw a questioning glance at her hand.
And realization dawned.
"You thought…I was… Chakotay and I…" Finally, she couldn’t help it, she started laughing helplessly.
Tom looked a bit insulted.
"Well, I don’t think it was that farfetched, with him opening the door and you carrying a baby."
"Paris, I told you years ago that I’m not holding a torch for Chakotay anymore!" she growled at him.
He smiled a little sheepishly and suddenly he didn’t look so tired, she thought.
"Yeah, I guess you did."
B’Elanna finally stopped laughing, and they looked at each other. It was almost like old times, when it had been just the two of them. Almost.
"So, still in a rush to leave?"
He made a face.
"I guess I can stick around for a while."
"Let’s take a walk," she suggested and he got the hint. This hallway was hardly the place for any serious discussions.
Side by side, they walked towards the park.
"You’re living in that big house all by yourself? Or have you taken Chakotay and Kathryn in?"
She grinned at him.
"Believe me, it wasn’t planned. I was planning on getting a small apartment somewhere, but when I saw the house, I just fell in love."
"Yeah, I know the feeling."
He didn’t have to look at her, she got the point.
"It’s okay, Lanna. I didn’t come here expecting that we’d kiss and make up. Not really, anyway." He paused and looked at her. "But I was hoping that we could at least be friends. I don’t want you to disappear out of my life."
She looked away.
"I thought I already had."
He didn’t say anything, just waited for her to continue.
"I was sure you’d forgotten me, gotten married, moved away, whatever… Almost five years and not a word, Tom! Hell, I was beginning to think you were dead!"
Her voice had risen during her tirade, and she found herself yelling at him, bristling with anger. She half expected him to back off, and was a bit taken aback when he didn’t. She had forgotten. This was Tom Paris, the one person that wasn’t intimidated by her.
The last person she’d gotten this angry with, had practically tripped on his feet in an effort to get away. Tom’s reaction was somewhat different. He smiled tenderly at her.
"You’ve missed me." He didn’t even make it a question.
She lost track of what she was going to say and growled at him.
"Damn it, Paris, stop interrupting me when I’m yelling at you!"
It took her a moment or two to realize how that sounded. She saw the amused look on his face.
"Okay, okay, so I’ve missed you, but you’re not answering my question."
He got serious again.
"Well… I didn’t think you wanted to see me again, since you didn’t come to the hearing…"
"I came to the hearing."
"…and you didn’t…What did you say?"
"I said I came to your hearing. I especially liked the part when Tuvok threatened them with something like ’ceasing communication between Vulcan and Earth’."
"Yeah, I never thought I’d hear a Vulcan exaggerate, but then Tuvok never ceases to amaze me."
An uncomfortable silence stretched.
"So, where do we go from here?" B’Elanna was the one to break the silence this time. All of a sudden she was abnormally aware of him, his blue eyes, his tall form, his scent… After all these years, she still remembered his scent.
He stopped abruptly and almost whirled around to face her.
"All right, I lied! I don’t want us to just be friends! Gods, B’Elanna, I’ve missed you! Although I tried not to, not a day went by without thinking of you! I feel incomplete without you!"
He looked at her face for a clue of what she was thinking, but her normally expressive face was carefully blank. He felt his hope sink.
Then she made his world spin.
"You talk too much." And she kissed him. A sweet, breathtaking kiss, filled with remorse over the lost years, but also full of hope for the future.
After what seemed to be an eternity, they drew apart.
"You still don’t like that I can’t say ’those words’, do you?"
She gazed up in those shining, azure eyes she’d been dreaming of for the last five years.
"No, but now that I’ve tried the other option, I’ll manage." And she pulled him close for another kiss.
"I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful that a house faces a park before," Kathryn sighed as she watched the embracing couple through the kitchen window. "Those two were meant for each other; they just didn’t realize it until now."
"Yes, how fortunate that Tom found B’Elanna." Chakotay sounded very pleased with himself as he prepared Maïa’s food.
"Chakotay, you didn’t!? How?"
"Why, when you have a position in StarFleet, you might as well use it." He grinned at her. "You know how hard it is to find people through StarFleet records. It’s as if they forget that not everyone lives on a starship. By coincidence, I was looking through B’Elanna’s records and saw that someone had used an old StarFleet code on several occasions from a location in France. So, I put out her address."
"So it was a coincidence that you were looking through B’Elanna’s records?" Kathryn looked utterly skeptic.
"Well, maybe not entirely…" he admitted.
She laughed and kissed him. He smiled against her lips.
"I was tired of being the only happy one of the two of us."
They turned and walked back to the house. Tom had his arm around her shoulder in a very possessive gesture, which B’Elanna loved. She breathed in his scent and smiled. She felt more at home than she had in a long time. It was like being in the arms of an angel.
"I love you."
Please let me know what you think, I promice, it won't hurt...