Title: Fades Yet Endures
Series: VOY Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: ST: VOY and all related characters owned by Paramount Studios. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Tom's story.
I live, I Die. I drown I burn.
I shiver with cold and perish with heat.
I leap from anguish to delight; from sweet
To bitter. No two moments are the same.
Suddenly my laughter and my cries
So Love leads me on forever.
When I think my joy is lasting and
I screwed up. Big time. Forget the laurels, screw the promotion. An officer and a gentleman, my...
San Francisco, 2390. We'd been home
twelve years. I hadn't laid eyes on Seven of Nine in over eleven. We talked,
sure, through comm channels and padds, even talked of reunions. Chakotay
met with B'Elanna at random intervals, he even came to Earth now and again.
His formerly Borg wife was never with him. No explanations, no excuses.
I was too embarrassed to ask if it was that last face to face conversation
we'd had, she wouldn't have answered in any message, and I frankly doubt
Chakotay knew. He was still dense as a wood block. Still head over heart
for Janeway. I couldn't help but wonder
Then, San Francisco, 2390.
I had made full Commander by then, Captaincy pending. Of course, the 'pending' meant that I got the dull jobs nobody else wanted at the time, like night shift at Starfleet Command's aviation section. She visited me there, on the landing strip, slipping inside the two-seater shuttle I was checking out.
She was very beautiful. That's not
something I usually take note of in
I walked her down to the lobby, where
a secretary dozed away at her Starfleet worst, meaning I'd have to resequence
the security code after Seven left, otherwise the precious secrets of the
Federation would be
I drew her hands behind her back
and kissed her lips, fully, tasting,
Forty years old. It wasn't easy to
remember, thanks to her former Borg
Not that it diminished her beauty.
She looked regal, draped in the classy elegance she favored. Her eyes,
that I'd always likened old with the knowledge of a trillion Borg, shone
that night...I had rattled her, in
She spoke first. "This was not precisely my plan , Mr. Paris. I had intended something more impersonal and less incriminating during our initial reunion."
I forced a smile of my own, brushing the moment away. "We'll have to remember that from this point on. Tell you what, go on back to your hotel, get some rest. We can meet again tonight, or tomorrow...dine out, or you could visit us at home."
"No, I do not believe that wise."
A brief smile cut across the pale face.
An unusual request from Seven, at the very least. She rolled on, hands twitching absently against the coat buttons. "Chakotay and I have been arguing, as I told you. I do not believe he would deliberately seek to injure me, however, he was inebriated when I left the hotel. While he vocalized his intentions to seek shelter elsewhere for the evening, it is always a possibility that he remains."
"Chakotay never drinks."
"Precisely. It is difficult to predict
the behavioral patterns of someone
"And you expect me to believe you're actually afraid of poor drunk Chakotay?"
"No." A smile lifted the corners
of her lips. "It is merely what you call 'a
And that, dear diary, is the sum of Seven's experience with seduction. It almost worked, too.
People always claim there's always
a 'no' point. You know, the time between the desktop and the door. The
door and the turbolift. The turbolift and bed. Or, in this case, the door
and the hotel room. People who never crash land to my level like to think
there are always moments to push back temptation, bite back the devils
intent. I'd never accepted that before, and very nearly didn't then.
Of course, the ever punctual Seven of Nine was a little late. Over a decade late. And my responsibilities actually rose to the forefront then. I pushed her away. Couldn't blame her exactly, she held all the naiveté and frustration of a child throwing herself out into the rain, just to rebel, just to feel a little burst of power in an ocean of indifference. Maybe she did want me. Maybe she just wanted the pleasure. Maybe she just wanted a trophy catch. Her dammed laughter broke forth as she spun away, out the door, pausing on the stoop.
"Go get some rest, Seven."
"I despise him."
"Hmm. Sounds like I told you so."
Her gaze was sharp, amused. "I believe that he is seeking shelter in your wife's bed."
Tilt-a-world. I know I gaped. "Well, that's one hell of an accusation."
"I never make them lightly. Have
you completely failed to notice that
"Seven...Lanna and Chakotay were friends long before Voyager. So he visits. YOU certainly aren't known for the honor. Try giving a little human leeway."
"I find myself not entirely certain I was ever meant to be human, Mr. Paris." Her voice caught. "But I am learning. I am learning."
"Reckless accusations aside, you're doing fine." Not by the most discerning standards, to be sure, but the way I've always figured it, humans are meant to screw themselves over thoroughly at least once in their lives, some of us more than once. Me as a prime example. To do anything else would be to remove the essence of us all. Make us Vulcan, or something...and much as I liked Tuvok, I couldn't have stood being him, anymore than Seven could have stood being Borg any longer. "And sorry, Sev, but I guess I'm just a little less hot-headed than you."
She turned to go, catching my eyes one last time, smiling faintly. "Or perhaps you are simply a fool."
We haven't spoken since, and things are better between Lanna and I. As far as I know, Seven went home to Chakotay and they're finally figuring out the minor nuances of the relationship. Starfleet tells me I'm anything but a fool, I have my command now, and Marseilles and B'Elanna and Miral on holidays. As long as Chakotay no longer visits my wife when I'm out here in this cold hell called space and my daughter is absent, I guess I'm alright.
Or perhaps I'm simply a fool.
Yeah, I screwed up. Big time. Well, its just fine, because I'm not the only one.