Title: The Reunion
Rated: PG (if that!)
Summary: A reunion, forty years after Voyager got home in "The End and the Beginning". See if you can recognize the POV. It's sort of fluff....well, it's at least got a plot! It does! I swear it! Oh, and I know that some of these things (all those relatives on the same ship, for instance) wouldn't happen in Starfleet. But it's my story, and I'm writing it my way.
Disclaimers: The usual. I don't own the original Voyager characters, Paramount/Viacom do. I do own A'Lehsen, S'Ehra, K'Ehtra, Kyle, and Taima Paris, Pheobe Janeway, and the assorted relatives. They are mine, I claim all rights to them. So there! :)
Archive: If you want it, ask.
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It was planned to start at 1800. The kids--even after all these years, they were still "the kids" to him--had planned the entire evening. They were so excited about it.
He sat in his office and thought about everything that had led up to this day. Sometimes it seemed like no one remembered all that had been accomplished and sacrificed by the crew of Voyager in the nine years of their journey. Oh, they still sang the praises of the transwarp drive, even as they began exploring temporal space. Every once in a while, a fresh-faced cadet would approach him and ask what it had really been like. But what they meant was the adventure, not the weeks of boredom, the bloody aftermath of the battles, the frayed tempers and difficulties. No, they simply wanted a tall tale, already distanced from their youth by Time's bittersweet hand.
He remembered it all, as clearly as if it was yesterday. The terror of being pulled into the Delta Quadrant, the frustration of not being able to get home. The growing closeness and the feelings of acceptance he had once thought unobtainable. Finding a true love that had managed to last through everything. Helping her give birth to their children, and holding those precious bundles of life in his hands for the first time.
The actual events may have blurred a bit, as the past is wont to do. Some, the important ones, hadn't. Sitting at the helm of that sleek little ship for the first time, realizing that it was his last chance. Participating in a plot to uncover a spy. Bringing allies to help retake the ship after a Kazon invasion. Living through his incarceration in an alien prison.
Then, there were the memories where she was the focus. The caves where he first learned that she wanted him just as much as he wanted her. Nearly dying, but hearing her say those three sweet words that had come to mean the world to him: I love you. It had been amazing then, and it still was.
After Voyager's return, there had been the nearly five year wait until the Voyager-A was ready for her first deep-space mission, into the Delta Quadrant again. There were birthdays and anniversaries. There was the day his two eldest daughters had been accepted into Starfleet Academy, and four years later when A'Lehsen graduated as a Lieutenant junior grade and S'Ehra as an ensign. There had been a quick flurry of activity as those two had left for their first assignments, and their siblings Kyle and K'Ehtra had entered the Academy in their places. Their graduation and the subsequent entrance of the youngest, Taima, into the Academy had ended that period of fast pace and excitement. Shortly after, he had been offered a position as an Admiral, complete with a desk job at Starfleet HeadQuarters, and B'Elanna was accepted as the head of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers.
It had been twenty years since those months when they had gone from hectic life on a starship with a large family to a quieter life on Earth with an even larger family, after their fifth and final child had been accepted into the Academy. His blond hair was fading to gray, although his wife's hair was still gloriously dark, if one didn't notice the few silver strands that had started to appear in the last year.
A chime interrupted his reminiscences.
"Come!" he called expectantly.
His five children came rushing into the office, not behaving like the distinguished Starfleet officers they all were. They wore their uniforms, a mixture of red, gold and blue, so that meant that they hadn't taken the time to change when their ship had docked just an hour before.
It was obviously up to him to call them to order. This was, after all, Starfleet HeadQuarters, not Voyager or any of her successors, upon which they had grown up. "Captain Ashford! Commander Toral! Commander Paris! Commander Jenison! Lieutenant Commander Paris! What is the meaning of this?" he asked sternly.
His eldest daughter, leader of the "children", drew herself up as tall as possible and stated clearly, "We come under orders from Captain Paris to make sure that you attend tonight's celebration, sir." Her blue eyes, so like his own, twinkled merrily. It was hard to believe that she was the same A'Lehsen who had been so overwrought about her first command, twelve years before, that she had come to her parents' quarters close to sobbing. Now, she was a proud young Captain, the mother of three of his ten grandchildren.
"I suppose that you think this behavior will be tolerated because you're under your mother's orders," he tried to say severely. The amusement was so plain in his bright blue eyes that the effect was ruined, and his youngest daughter, Lieutenant Commander Taima Paris, told him so.
"Impertinence will not be rewarded," he informed her as solemnly as he could, rising carefully from his wonderfully comfortable chair to pace around to the front of his desk. Then, with a grin, he opened his arms. A'Lehsen, S'Ehra, K'Ehtra, and Taima rushed into his embrace, which had always offered shelter when they had needed it the most. Kyle came to stand next to his father to slap him on the back good-naturedly.
After a long squeeze, he let his precious treasures go. "Now," he said slowly, as if his memory were failing him. "You said something about a party?"
S'Ehra grinned at him. "Dad, I don't think I've ever seen you pass up the opportunity to party," she said with a laugh.
"Of course not. In my old age, I've learned to enjoy everything that life offers," he said, pulling a grave face.
Kyle snorted inelegantly. "Dad, the day you turn old is the day we cross the intergalactic barrier," he joked.
His father became truly serious. "Son, that may not be too far away, historically speaking. Once we break the temporal restrictions, just about anything will be able to be accomplished," he said.
"I can't wait!" K'Ehtra said excitedly. She had gone into her mother's profession, and was already a well-known Chief Engineer aboard her eldest sister's ship, the Voyager-B. "Think of all the discoveries we'll make then," she added wistfully.
"It will be something to behold," S'Ehra commented quietly.
They stood there, the six of them, for a few more moments in silence before he said, "Well, don't we have a party to get ready for?"
A'Lehsen laughed a little. "All right, Daddy. Let's go," she agreed.
They left single file. First he went, then A'Lehsen, S'Ehra, and on down, in order of age. It was so natural to them that they didn't notice the smiles of the other office personnel as they passed. All had a certain look to them that marked them as family, despite A'Lehsen's, S'Ehra's, and Taima's dark brown hair and short heights. K'Ehtra's dark brown eyes were the most notable, surrounded by five other pairs of cerulean blue. They were certainly a striking group.
They stopped just long enough for him to order his aide to have a hovercar waiting for them at the bottom floor five flights down.
At the stair case, they paired up, he and Taima, A'Lehsen and S'Ehra, and K'Ehtra and Kyle. They were in the hovercar in record time, and they made it to the Paris residence, five kilometers outside of San Fransisco, in less than half an hour.
She was waiting for them, already dressed for the party. Her long, dark hair was pulled back attractively, so that little of the silver that had started to invade it showed. She wore a long dress of silver-shot burgundy silk, and her cheeks were flushed from irritation.
"Thomas Eugene Paris, you are going make us late!" she called as they tumbled unceremoniously out of the hovercar.
He grinned at her, using his still-considerable charm to coax her into a better mood. "B'Elanna, sweetheart, the children and I were chatting a little before we left the office. They wanted to know about the progress with your temporal drives, but I really didn't know all that much. I told them they would have to wait until we got home, because I simply don't understand temporal mechanics as well as you do," he said lovingly, draping an arm across her shoulder.
"Right," B'Elanna said with a wry smile. "Tom, you have to hurry, or we'll be late. Children, your outfits arrived an hour ago, along with your spouses and children. They are upstairs getting ready. You go get ready, too. I expect you'll want to go early to help out." She walked into the house, and Tom and their children followed.
"We were hoping to, Mom, unless you need us for anything," A'Lehsen said. She glanced around the foyer of the home her parents had owned for the past twenty years. It was a little old-fashioned, maybe, but that just added to the charm.
"Then we'll meet you there," B'Elanna said, and she began to lead her husband up the stairs.
"B'Elanna, it starts in two hours! I'll be fine!" Tom said with a little irritation.
"Tom, did you forget that Harry and Sue are coming for a drink before we go?" B'Elanna asked him, smiling. She knew that he hadn't forgotten, but it amused her to ask him.
Tom grinned sheepishly. "No. I suppose you think we'll get so involved in a discussion that we won't remember the time, and then we'll be late," he admitted.
"I know you will, Tom. Which is why you have to get dressed now," she said. She opened the door to their bedroom and shoved him in. "And I'm not joining you either, Tom Paris! That would make us even later!"
Tom smiled smugly. The passion was still there, although they were a little more careful not to break any bones that had weakened with age. "Well, if you say so," he replied roguishly.
B'Elanna shut the door in his face. She laughed a little and then went back downstairs to wait in the family room. Her mind drifted to her children. It's so good to have them all here, she thought. She sat on the sofa and stared at the artificial fire in the fireplace.
A noise, a soft footstep, made her turn. A'Lehsen stood behind her, wearing a golden-colored dress that reached down to midcalf, with a low neckline and even lower back. She didn't look like the forty-four-year-old mother of three, or a Starfleet Captain. She simply looked beautiful.
"Oh, Ally," B'Elanna said softly, standing to fold her daughter in her arms. "You're so lovely tonight!"
A'Lehsen smiled and hugged her back. "Mom, I feel so wonderful, but a little old," she said. "Bella is dating now, Harry probably will soon, and even little Anna is starting to grow up. It's all happening so fast," she confided as they sat down on the couch.
B'Elanna smiled sadly. "It does go by too quickly, Ally, and that's why I told you in the beginning to cherish every moment with them. I remember thinking when you and S'Ehra were babies that I'd have all the time in the world with you, and then suddenly you were staying on Earth to go to the Academy. Then Kyle and K'Ehtra left, and then Taima, and I wondered where the years had gone. An awful cliché, I know, but an expressive one," she said.
A'Lehsen smiled sympathetically at her mother. "In just a few years, they'll all be going off on their own. I don't know how I'll react to that, Mom," she said quietly.
B'Elanna pulled her daughter back into her arms, smoothing her dark hair lovingly. "Don't worry, sweetie, you'll manage. I did, you know. Your work will help you overcome the grief of losing them. And it's not as if they'll be going away forever," she said comfortingly.
A'Lehsen smiled up at her mother, a genuine smile full of love.
"Where's Neal?" B'Elanna asked, suddenly remembering her son-in-law.
A'Lehsen's smile widened. "He's trying to get Anna to let him help her dress," she replied, referring to her five-year-old daughter.
B'Elanna grinned and subtly loosened her arms enough for A'Lehsen to slip away again. "Who does that remind me of?" she teased.
A'Lehsen sat up straighter, her features freezing into a haughty mask. "I was always the picture of cooperation," she said stiffly. She only managed to hold that mood for a moment, then she burst out laughing. B'Elanna joined her.
"Is there room in here for a few more?" a deep voice asked from the door.
A'Lehsen, who was facing the doorway, nodded. "Come in, Jethan," she invited her brother-in-law.
B'Elanna turned to watch her energetic second son-in-law lead his four children over to their aunt and grandmother. They were so beautiful, if a little mixed up when it came to race. Lt. Commander Toral Jethan was a Bajoran, and the two girls and two boys had inherited their father's nose, if nothing else.
In all other aspects they were Parises to the bone. The twin boys, Devid and Karal, 12, were tall and lanky, with dark hair and blue eyes very like their grandfather's. The girls, Sita, 10, and Melal, 7, were strawberry-blonds, and short. Sita had her father's green eyes, and Melal had dark brown eyes.
"Hello, Jethan, darlings. Come and sit with us while we're waiting for the rest of our lazy relatives," B'Elanna said with a wide smile. Her grandchildren ran over to crowd around her.
"Lazy, Mom?" another voice asked from behind Jethan. S'Ehra popped her head around her husband and smiled. "For some reason, I'm reminded of a few Mother's Days when you refused to wake up past beta shirt, even if you'd already had more than enough sleep," she teased.
"I don't know what you mean, Sehr. Now, get over here so I can see you together with your wonderful family," B'Elanna ordered, quickly changing the subject.
S'Ehra complied with a grin. She led her husband, who was also grinning at his mother-in-law, over to stand in front of the woman whose name was spoken almost reverantly among engineers, young and old alike.
B'Elanna almost sighed over the lovely picture they made as they drew their children to them and posed, eyes twinkling. Jethan's red hair complimented S'Ehra's dark tresses, and his towered over her as much as Tom towered over her mother. Jethan wore green civvies that were trimmed in blue and brought out further the brightness of his green eyes. S'Ehra wore a blue dress with silver accents, the opposite of her mate. The dress, unlike her sister's, had a high neckline and no sleeves. It was long, too, almost brushing the floor. The boys wore blue and silver and the girls wore green and silver. They were perfect, in every way.
"Beautiful," B'Elanna whispered. She was quick to wipe away the single tear that welled up in her eye.
"And what do you think of my family, Mom?" A'Lehsen asked, getting up and joining her husband and three children, who had just entered.
B'Elanna smiled at them, too. A'Lehsen's husband, Commander Neal Ashford, who was also her first officer, looked like he could have been Tom Paris at forty-five, except for his soul-deep gray eyes. He was tall, blond, and gorgeous, just like his father-in-law. He, too, was a Starfleet brat, born and bred to enter the 'fleet, although he hadn't resented it the way Tom had. In fact, he relished the action, the power of command, and the simple compassionate acts that were still the focus of Starfleet officers around the galaxy. Their children, Bella,14, Harry, 11, and Anna,6, were all blond and tall. Bella and Harry had blue eyes, and Anna had gray. All wore gold and white, and somehow it was complimentary on all of them. They glowed as they moved, and B'Elanna laughed a little in delight.
"Gorgeous, as usual," she said in reply to A'Lehsen's raised eyebrows. "You've all done a wonderful job with your families."
"Even us, Mom?" Kyle and K'Ehtra asked from the doorway.
They stood by their grinning spouses and the three young children they had among them. Lt. Commander Erin Paris, a counselor, was of medium height, with brown hair and eyes, and the twin girls she and Kyle had took more after her than him, except for their blue eyes. Their names were Lisa and Kathryn, and they were wide-eyed two-ear-olds. Lt. Bryan Jenison was dark-haired, also, but his eyes were a dark blue that was almost black. He was, amusingly enough, Erin's brother, and that made the two families closer than usual in the larger scheme of things. He held his and K'Ehtra's one-year-old daughter, Melisan. Both families were wearing silver and black, colors that would have been somber if their wearers weren't so obviously joyful.
"You all look absolutely--" B'Elanna searched her mind for a fitting term, and the years dropped away. She heard Tom's awkward compliment, one of the first he'd ever paid her. He'd called her smashing. "To quote your father, you look absolutely smashing," she finished with a smile.
"Thank you," they all chorused.
"Now, go on to the Hall. Your father and I will join you all when the reunion is due to begin," B'Elanna said, standing and making shooing motions with her hands.
After a round of good-byes, the large group left for the City Hall, which had been rented out to the crew of Voyager, old and new, for their reunion that evening. No doubt preparations were already in full swing.
Shortly after the children had all left, Tom came downstairs in dark blue, silver-shot out fit of his own. He had tidied his hair; it no longer looked as if he had run his hands through it several times, as he had most likely done in frustration over some situation earlier in the day.
He walked over to B'Elanna and, taking her hands in his, kissed her. "We'll be the best-looking couple at the reunion," he told her.
B'Elanna laughed. "I think you're going to have to make that 'best-looking family', because our children look as good as--or better than--us," she told him.
Tom grinned. "We did make some beautiful kids, didn't we?"
"We really did," B'Elanna answered softly. They held each other for tightly for a few more moments.
They were interrupted by the door chime.
"There's Harry and Sue!" Tom said with a grin. "I wonder if they had to pass our brood on the way in," he thought aloud with a laugh.
Together, Tom and B'Elanna went to the front door and opened it. Captain Harry Kim, looking much more distinguished after all these years, stood there with his arm around his wife, Commander Susan Kim, who barely seemed to have aged at all.
"Welcome, both of you. Come in, and we'll have a drink before we go to the reunion," Tom offered, motioning for them to enter the house. "Where did you hide your boys and their families tonight?" he teased.
"Alex and Tom are at the Hall, helping to set up. They insisted that it was their duty," Harry said, referring to his thirty-eight and thirty-five-year old sons, both of whom were not Starfleet officers, although Alex's eight-year-old daughter had ambitions in that direction.
Tom laughed. "That's what ours said. They couldn't wait to get away from their dear parents, whom they haven't seen in a year," he said wryly. They entered the family room, and Tom went to the bar to get them all drinks.
"We saw them as they were on the way out. They had to go in two hovercars, Tom. I could say something about your prolific family--" Harry said.
"But you won't, because you love all of your 'nieces' and your 'nephew'," B'Elanna said sharply. She then smiled.
They all smiled as they sipped their drinks. Small chat ensued, and then they started talking about old friends.
"Janeway retired last year, you know. We miss her at Head Quarters," Tom said. "Chakotay didn't stay much longer. We hardly ever see them anymore."
"I saw Annika at an engineering conference a few weeks ago. She is doing well," Sue said, although she looked sad for the woman who still hadn't really found her place in the Federation.
"Tuvok seems to be...enjoying his own command," Harry said wryly. "I talked with him at Starbase 26-B last month. He and his famiy are planning on coming tonight. He sends his regards."
"I never thought I'd hear about a Vulcan sending his regards," Tom said with raised brows.
"He seems to have mellowed over the years, if you can believe that," Sue said with a laugh. They all shook their heads over that.
"Neelix is coming, although he moaned about his restaurant not being able to handle a day without him. I asked him what he thought his manager was there for, and he said paperwork," B'Elanna told them.
"The Doctor was buried in another of his infamous thesis when I contacted him. He was glad to hear of the reunion, though, and looks forward to it," Tom said.
"We all do," B'Elanna said, taking his hand. They all smiled nostalgically at each other.
It was approaching time for the reunion to start, so they called for a hovercar and left, heading for the San Francisco City Hall and the reunion that awaited them. It was lit up brightly when they arrived, and hovercars were starting to crowd around the entrance.
There were many faces that were familiar to Tom as he and B'Elanna, Harry, and Sue entered the Hall. There were smiles exchanged, and the four were inexorably led to a dais at the center of the large, highly decorated ballroom. Holo-emitters had obviously been used lavishly, as the walls were not their normal white, but a shimmering collage of ever-changing colors. Beautiful exotic flowers suspended unrealistically but fantastically from the ceiling in a way that was reminiscent of a certain species in the Delta Quadrant whose name Tom couldn't recall, but whose decorative style had been unique enough to imprint itself in his mind.
Admirals Janeway and Chakotay, now retired, were seated at a table there, along with Annika Hansen, Captain Tuvok of the U.S.S. Icarus and his wife, Neelix, cook extraordinaire, and the Doctor, who was now a much-respected member of the medical community. Other tables, beginning to swell with occupants, surrounded the dais, as old crewmembers and their families began to fill them. There were already at least a hundred people in the room, and Tom knew that there were bound to be at least ten times that many by the time the ceremonies began.
They were welcomed with smiles all around, except from Tuvok. Annika even managed a tentative one.
After some getting-to-know-you-again talk, Janeway glanced around at all of them. "It's been a long time, but I think it's been worth it," she said. She looked down at a nearby table, where the Paris children and grandchildren, the Kim children and grandchild, and her own child and grandson sat laughing and eating. "Yes, it's definitely been worth it." She picked up her glass of champagne, stood, and hit the side delicately with her silver spoon, sending a penetrating peal through the room. All conversation stopped.
"I would like to make a toast," Janeway began. "To old friends, and new. To family, and to the chance to have them all under one roof tonight. And, to Voyager and all of her reincarnations. May there always be one in the skies."
The shout rang through the large room as glasses were raised and clinked together.