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.
Today, I sat my last counseling session with Troi. My choice. Her fault.
Nice woman, just too nice and nosy.
She pries, her duty, but I'm not so
Troi did. I have no idea what Chakotay told her, but when I sat down this morning she asked me if I loved my husband. If my husband loved me. If I wondered.
Of course I do, daily. Tom is my best friend, almost, and the man I look up to most in the world, almost.
I don't doubt that Tom Paris cares
for me, we have Miral as a connection. I've never doubted that he'd lay
down his life to spare mine, and I hope he knows I'd do the same. Is that
love? The kind of love that led us to a crazy Delta Quad elopement, to
create Miral? Or has it changed , already, into that 'married' love you
hear so awfully much about? I'm young. I'd hoped to hold off on the old
I watched them. Oh, not that I saw anything worth repeating... I probably wanted to, just to validate my own insecurities. It was Earth, Marseilles, some nine months after Voyager's return. This, again, didn't strike me oddly at first. Seven has never been known for the minor nuances of human interaction...frequent contact for one. We knew she was alive, and well, and that was her idea of suitable touch. She gave no warning with her letters or conversations, no reason to assume she would ever bother the trip back to see us in person. Seven was a free bird, and thoroughly immersed in it.
Chakotay told more, in his longer letters and conversations and the few visits he made to Earth. I can still remember him, the crinkles in his tanned skin, the wan bemusement of his smile. He mentioned her harrowing silences, the nights she would stand out on their porch from dusk to dawn, unmoving. Sleep? Why, no, she didn't want any part of it. Regeneration was fine. But he hated it...hated the whirring machine and the emptiness in her gaze as she stood within it, hated the way it was out of place in his archaeological wilderness. More than that, he said, he hated the fear...the fear that someday it would all break down and they'd have no way of help, and he'd be left holding her dead in his arms. He said he thought she was dying in his world, a little piece at a time, and that he wanted her out of it. For both of them.
I got her the Academy offer. To tell
you the truth, I thought she'd leap at it...a good offer, rank of Lieutenant
Commander, she could have control of any science department she desired,
and probably most
She came to Tom. I've always seen the bond, of course, he was the only one of us that cared enough to approach her at first, take her hand...the Borg one...in friendship. Even the captain had her reasons for doting on Seven, and they usually weren't maternal or platonic. She had her ways of business, and Seven was a piece of that business to be skillfully tweaked to maximum efficiency. Thank Kahless Seven never figured it out, she probably would've assimilated us all.
After she left that day, without
so much as a by your leave and only a present left on the stoop for Miral,
Tom seemed different. More edgy. He began doubting himself again, the choices.
Return to Starfleet? He
Does that make me sound heartless?
Well, I felt it. To put forth an
old Klingon metaphor, my heart felt like
Tom and I began to argue. Hardly
the knock down drag out fights I recall from my parents and he's hinted
at from his own, we both learned very well from our childhoods. Miral,
if anything, will see only the most dignified of disagreement from her
parents. But it got harder to hide the potent frustration and anger and
annoyances, we both have short fuses. As she got older, began to understand
Problem is, we eventually got to
a point where we never got together. Notes on the foyer table, ships passing
in the night, or morning, that sort of thing. That does a great deal to
prevent arguing, but not a
He spent time with his holocreations.
I spent time with Chakotay. Would I ever wave him before Tom's eyes? Let
Miral believe he was intended to replace her father in any way? No, of
course not. He isn't a
Seven went back to Chakotay and hasn't
bothered either of us again. She seems to be providing distraction enough,
though, that Chakotay doesn't seek out my company for quite the same reasons
anymore. Friends? Yes, maybe not to the same degree as before, there's
always a thin line of discomfort whenever he, Tom, and I come together
anywhere. Chakotay probably doesn't notice it, he's very good at having
his fun and moving along to the next amusement, Janeway being the possible
exception, though I think they've grown pretty far apart these days. He
certainly isn't about to drop Seven for her.
I used to try and place myself in
my parents shoes, try to understand just how it was they could have so
much and destroy it so wantonly. I think, as Tom says, it isn't so much
the destruction that amazes...we all destroy...but the fact that they were
never able to put it back together. They didn't try, and I confess that
sometimes looking over a cafe table at the man I still find it hard to
call 'Daddy', I'm at a loss to
But Tom and I have tried, and we are succeeding in putting this marriage back together, Chakotay and Seven of Nine be damned. We have our own bonds to reknit.
Authors Note: I'm not really sure
about this one, but I'm posting it. It