Title: Beginnings (6/7)
Couples: 7 & Others (P/T, C/K)
Rating: R (for language)
Disclaimer:  I don‘t own the characters... Paramount does.  I can‘t even
get a micron of Voyager‘s dust for myself.  I made no money off the use
of their characters, and I promise to return everyone when I‘m done,
happier and more sexually satisfied!

This is the *very* first part of the story I began in Welcomes.  As such
I have to establish the *old* dynamic *before* I can establish the one I
came up with in "Welcomes".  Don‘t worry, those of you who enjoyed my
pairings in "Welcomes" will enjoy this story as well.

WARNING! Spoilers for everything I‘ve seen so far (up to "Pathfinder" in
Voyager‘s Sixth Season)... so if ya don‘t want to be spoiled *don‘t*
read it!  

This story begins during the end of Season five... but before the events
portrayed in "Equinox I".

Thoughts of the characters are contained between the double forward
slashes (//).

Summary: The Winds of Change, they are a blowin‘

Sue Nicoletti is pacing inside of Cargo Bay 2. She *knew* something was wrong when Harry commed her a few minutes before. She shakes her head and remembers their conversation.

"Kim To Nicoletti."

Sue felt her eyebrows raise, but she tapped her comm badge. "Nicoletti here."

"You alone, Sue?"

Sue felt her eyebrows rise to her hairline, once more. She glanced around the hallway. "Relatively. Why do you ask?"

"Because what I have to say is for *your* ears only."

She felt herself grow curious at that. Harry rarely commed her. Most of their conversations were through messages or in person. "Go ahead then."

"All right. Tom Paris is heading your way, in the company of Jenny and Megan Delaney *and* Seven of Nine. He‘s up to something, because the girls, including Seven, tried to convince me that they were all having an affair, and you were included as well."

//Gods! She‘s got *Harry* spying on us now! That‘s it! She wants something to fight over, I‘ll give it to the Lieutenant.// She smiled, and let her smile bleed on over into her voice. "So? I like a little *HOT* quintet action sometimes. As they used to say in the 20th century, ‚What‘s your *damage*‘, Harry?"

"You‘re not denying it?" His surprise at her actions is apparent.

"No, I‘m not. There‘s *nothing* to deny. I think they were just playing with you, Harry. By comming me to confirm or deny it, you played *right* into their hands. Now, before I go, I want to thank you for your suggestions on the music. See you tomorrow night!" Sue tapped her comm badge, closing the channel.

She walked into Cargo Bay 2 then, and began pacing. She began muttering under her breath, questioning the actions of her closest friends, and their mental competency.

Sue comes back to the present just as the doors to the cargo bay open. She smirks when she sees Tom, Jenny, and Megan laughing together, a confused but thoroughly bemused Seven following them. "I still do not get the humor in the reference."

"That‘s because you‘re not a ‚Fleet Brat, Seven." Sue calls from across the cargo bay.

"Sue! You‘re here already?"

"Yeah, I am, Jenny." She turns to pin Tom with an evil look. "I *would* invite you to stay a little while Tom, but we‘ve got some girl-stuff to talk about. Besides, I think you should be in damage-control mode."

"What? Why?" Tom‘s tone reacting to the blatant hostility in Sue‘s.

"Because your best friend commed me a few minutes ago, to confirm or deny a rumor *you* started."

Jen licks her lips. "Actually, I started it. Seven helped, but it was mostly me. I mean, Ensign Weenie... Oh sorry, I meant Ensign *Kim*, commed us in the middle of dinner to have Tom deny a rumor that he was with us at dinner! Like we‘re not friends worth Tom‘s time or something." Her anger at treatment of that general nature is *very* apparent in her tone and body language.

Seven looks at Jen. "Remember the quote, Jennifer."

Jen draws a deep breath, and says like a mantra, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me. Sticks and stones...." she finishes the sentence under her breath.

Sue takes in Jen saying the old ‚Fleet Brat Academy mantra, Megan hovering protectively around her younger sister, Tom looking a little upset, and Seven standing with her hands at the small of her back. "Merde!" She looks at Megan. "What happened?"

"Nothing that having Tom and B‘Elanna either break up fully *or* get back together won‘t solve." She turns and pins Tom with a look. "Which is it going to be Tom?"

"I don‘t know, Megan. There‘s an argument for each path."

"But which is more important? Trying to repair something that‘s broken? Or leaving it unfixed, and taunting you?" Sue shoots back at him.

"Spoken like an Engineer." He gives her a ghost of his normal cocky grin. "But I don‘t know. I‘ll think about it a few more days. I‘m going to go kill Harry, right now. He‘s caused almost as much trouble in this latest flair up in my love life as *I* have. Good evening ladies. We should ‚meal‘ together more often." He nods his head and leaves the cargo bay.

All four women watch him leave. But it is Megan that states what they are all thinking. "Tom and B‘Elanna are on the skids. Whatever they‘re fighting over right now, if they can‘t get over it, it‘s going to break them up. Maybe not right away, but within the next year, providing we all live that long."

"Gods! Remind me to *never* recommend you for Morale Officer, Meggie. Okay?" Jen teases her twin sister.

"She is merely being realistic, Jennifer. I concur with your analysis, Megan Delaney. Tom Paris and B‘Elanna Torres must either conquer this problem, or it will tear them apart, in the most brutally emotional way possible."

Sue smiles then, and hands everyone their PADDs containing the songs she had chosen for them to learn together. "Then I think this song I have chosen for us to learn first is appropriate, don‘t you?"

Jen opens her PADD and giggles when she sees what song it is. "¡Dios Mio! You have a *wicked* sense of humor, Sue. But really, you think we can pull this off?"

"Only one way to find out. You ready, Seven?"

"Of course." She raises the PADD to be directly in her eyesight, and begins the song Sue had chosen for them.

The next morning, there is a new version of an old song recorded and stored in the ship‘s library. No matter how diligently people who hear it and research it try, they can only find out it was released by four women calling themselves, The Deltaquadranlaunes. They also learn the song was originally recorded by a group of four sisters, in the late 20th century.

B‘Elanna Torres hears the talk about it at breakfast that morning. Deciding that it *may* give her a clue as to who the mysterious singers of the Jeffries tubes are, she decides to listen to it that day. She finally finds time in the afternoon, and closes her door to hear it.

 "There‘s bad news blowing in the breeze, 
 Rumors I‘ve been refusing to believe, 
 There‘s wild talk all over talk all over town, 
 About your big plans, for bringin‘ me down.

 It‘s gettin‘ around, 
 you want to get out while the gettin‘s good.
 It‘s gettin‘ around, you finally found, 
 What, you never thought you would.
 Goodbye, has such a mournful sound,  
 And Darlin‘ it‘s gettin‘ around.

 They‘re whispering the lowdown on the street, 
 Ever move you make, is makin‘ it back to me.
 So it‘s high you set the record straight, 
 If something‘s going on, then tell me to my face.

 It‘s gettin‘ around, 
 you want to get out while the gettin‘s good.
 It‘s gettin‘ around, you finally found, 
 What, you never thought you would.
 Goodbye, has such a mournful sound,  
 Hey, darlin‘ it‘s gettin‘ around.

 All I want you to do, is tell me it ain‘t true.
 It‘s gettin‘ around, 
 you want to get out while the gettin‘s good.
 It‘s gettin‘ around, you finally found, 
 What you never thought you would.
 Goodbye, has such a mournful sound, (yes it does) 
 Hey darlin‘ it‘s gettin‘ around.

 < Man dissin‘
 It‘s goin‘ round...."

B‘Elanna remains locked in her office the rest of the afternoon. At about shift change time, she comms Tom inviting him to dinner. Tom accepts, knowing that his time of thinking is over. B‘Elanna considers the words of the song carefully, knowing that while it *could* apply to lots of people on board Voyager right now, she knows it‘s a plea from someone for her to either commit to Tom, or cut him loose. She decides on the former.

Tom arrives in Astrometrics a few minutes after he got the comm from B‘Elanna. His glazed eyes and panicked expression cause Seven to look at him worriedly. "What is the matter, Thomas?"

Tom barely reacts to someone using his full name. "B‘Elanna just commed me, inviting me to dinner in half an hour."

"What was your response?"

"I said yes."

"That is a good move. Are you going to ‚sink or swim‘ with this relationship?"

"I‘m going to give it another ‚Go‘. I have you to thank most of all Seven."


"Your talk about roses the other night, then treating me to dinner. It got me thinking, a lot. I‘ve come to the decision that B‘Elanna was right to be jealous of my relationship with you." Tom comes to stand next to Seven.

He runs his right hand up her left cheek, angling her head to look at him. When two pairs of blue eyes lock onto each other, time seems to stand still for each person. "I love you, Seven of Nine. But I love B‘Elanna as well. For now, I‘m going to go crawling back to B‘Elanna and hope she forgives me for acting like a fool." He runs his thumb along her cheekbone.

"Why are you telling me this, Thomas? I cannot return your feelings. Not openly."

"Because *not* telling you now, could be something I regret later. But promise me something, Seven. Promise me you won‘t decide how you feel about me yet."

"I promise."


Tom lowers his head, and captures Seven‘s lips in what he meant to be a soft kiss. But life rarely turns out like Tom Paris plans it to. Seven gasps softly when his lips touch hers, and she steps closer to him. She pulls him closer to her body, and runs her hands up his chest, to rest on his shoulders. Their mutual passion ignites the kiss to near fusion levels.

Tom has to peel himself away from Seven‘s lips. He looks down into her eyes, seeing a match for his desire reflected in them. "Wow! I think maybe we should keep our distances from each other, we‘ll get those tongues wagging at us."

"I believe you are right, Thomas." She licks her lips, feeling them kiss swollen for the first time in her life. She gains her bearings, and finds that her right hand has crept up to play with the hair at his nape. She looks up into his face. "Why did you come to Astrometrics? Surely you had a reason."

"I did. I wanted to ask you a favor." She smiles at him. "I mean *other* than that one, Seven. I wanted to borrow enough replicator rations from you to replicate a dozen of those roses you mentioned to me."

"I would be happy to, Thomas. But why are you taking my suggestion about this? My own excursions into dating have been less than perfection."

"But your instincts on flowers were dead on, Seven. Now, can I borrow those rations?"

Seven smiles up at the man *still* holding her to his chest. "Of course. You should change from your uniform, before you talk to the Lieutenant. I will authorize the materialization of the roses in your quarters."

"Thanks, Seven. You‘re my angel of mercy." He leans down and kisses her nose. Then, with a wave, he steps away from her and exits Astrometrics.

Seven turns back to the sensors in Astrometrics, feeling curiously colder now without Tom in the room with her. //Is this love? This curiously cold feeling I have, without Thomas Paris in my presence? I do not know. Perhaps I should study it, in greater detail. But how can I do that?//

Seven quickly remembers her promise to replicate the roses for Tom, and realizes that she has to leave Astrometrics to do so. She leaves the computer running the scanning parameters, with a command to comm her if the search parameters are found. She heads to Cargo Bay 2.

Once there, Seven quickly keys in her replicator code at the replicator. "One dozen long stemmed roses, Fire and Ice breed. Delayed materialization to the replicator in the quarters of Ensign Thomas Paris."

"Please state parameters for delayed materialization," the disembodied voice of the computer says.

"Energize command from Ensign Paris, or an inquiry into this replicator order."

A series of beeps greets her, then the computer‘s voice says, "Command acknowledged. Re-materialization not yet ordered."

Seven‘s comm badge beeps, and she hits it. The computer‘s voice greets her again. "Search parameters found."

"Transfer data to this terminal." Seven scans the results of her search quickly. She hits her comm badge as she hurries back towards the turbolift. "Seven of Nine to Captain Janeway."

"Yes Seven?"

"I have found something on the Astrometrics sensors. Please meet me in Astrometrics, and have Commander Chakotay meet me there as well."

"Meet you there? You aren‘t there now?"

"No, Captain. I am on my way back there now."

"Very well. I‘ll let the Commander know. Janeway out."

Seven exits the turbolift on deck eight, heading towards Astrometrics. She reaches the lab and begins to call up the data her search had found.

In another part of the ship, Tom Paris is adjusting his clothing for the tenth time, the dozen roses Seven replicated clutched firmly in his hand. He reaches out and pushes the chime on B‘Elanna‘s door.

The door opens quickly, and B‘Elanna grabs him by the shirtfront, dragging him into the room, and towards her lips. Tom wraps his free arm around her, angling her head up for him to have better access to her lips. He feels B‘Elanna walk backwards, directing him as well. He finally feels his lungs burning for air, and he breaks the kiss.

Tom looks down into B‘Elanna‘s eyes. "Does this mean I‘m forgiven?"

She looks at the roses he is holding. "Do *those*" she angles her head at the roses, "mean *I* am forgiven?"

"Yup. You got a vase that *isn‘t* broken for me to put them in?"

"That I do Flyboy, that I do."

End Part Six

Helpful Notes and Credits:
‚It‘s Gettin‘ Around‘ was released by The Forester Sisters on their album, "Talkin‘ ‚Bout Men (1991)", which I *highly* recommend you get (I found it on CDNOW.com *and* at my local record store). It‘s a country album, although it *may* be listed under Gospel, as that‘s what they sing a lot of. The song was written by Sandy Ramos and Bob Regan. I transcribed it by listening to the songs multiple times, which is only torture if at the same time a *male* is watching a football game near you.