Title: Home Trials Part Eight
Author: RoseKira@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Series: VOY Rating: R
Disclaimer: All characters herein owned by Paramount Studios and various other entities. No profit made, no copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Tom Paris. Letter to Dad. Kathryn Janeway. Spark fly.
I don't care for the lady.
Thats no secret to me, I've never actually liked many of her methods...my run-ins with her ideas of protocal and politics have stung. You remember the mess she helped make of Mom
and I, however unwittingly. You've more than heard of the incident with the Moneans. I could almost say I hate her.
At the same time, though, I have to respect Kathryn Janeway, like I told Harry. She's tenacious...you admire that in everyone but me. She's definately bold...ditto. She's more than loyal...once those claws have sunk in, you'd better be prepared for a longterm coexistence.
She came back to confront me. The day after the meet and greet at Command campus-yeah, you heard of that too, didn't you?-she showed up on my doorstoop, frowning and intractable. I let her in, against the better judgement of my sane side, being alone with Janeway is asking for trouble with me. I found that out on Voyager one night, after too few drinks and too many trite conversation starters.
Despite previous lessons unlearned, I let her in.
Coffee, black, strong, she watched as I prepared it, fingers absently curling around the padd she held. The voice, always gravely, was lower, raspy, and I thought she might have been crying. Blow one to my ideas of her inhumanity. "I need to go over these with you. Flight plans."
I caught the wryness in her tones. "I suppose thats figurative as well as literal?"
"Perhaps." There, the look again, a searing gaze of search and understanding, observation and demand.
"I'm a pilot, not a poet. Drop the metaphors."
"Very well. You were right."
Yeah, Dad, I did have to search for my wits at that point. You know how rare it is for Kathryn Janeway to admit to being wrong about anything, much less wrong about anything I disagree with. "Just what is it you're up to, Admiral?"
A brow shot up, a dead on imitation of Tuvok. "I came here to discuss Harry with you."
"Try his mother, she worries enough for all of us. Did you know he skips family for you?"
She flinched, but only slightly, lifting her chin. "Mr. Kim is visiting his
family tonight. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity..."
"And Torres and Miral are with her father. You chose a lonely night to pick a fight."
"I didn't come here to pick a fight. I came here to talk, like a rational human being..." Brows furrowing, she had clearly settled in for a debate.
"Are you, now?" Somewhere along the way, I knew I'd lost control again, and hated myself for it. Maybe she did want to talk, maybe I should have listened. My emotions always got the better of me around her.
Her jaw clenched, eyes shutting briefly. "Tom." Somehow, she broke past my crossed arms, grasping my hand. I know I jerked, and she stepped back as if scalded.
"Last time you did that..." It wasn't exactly a threat, more a warning, one I dearly hoped I could heed. She attracted me, no doubt about it, and I didn't want to break any more vows.
A brief, darkly embarrassed smile. "I get your point. Hands off."
I fought my own grim humor. "I'm guessing you aren't used to having the same effect on Harry."
Her smile was subtle, etched with flinty amusement. "I lied."
"Oh?" She had discarded the woolen wrap and gloves, hair falling from the hat wildly. No uniform, no pips, she seemed almost-vulnerable. You don't like that word, Dad, vulnerability is a hindrance.
"I didn't come here to talk about Harry. I came to talk about us."
From anyone else, at any other time, that one would have bowled me over. As it was, I knew better than to read the subtext into it. She continued, accepting the coffee mug, tones reverting to the old clip and drawl, command preservation. "What do I have to do to get through to you, Tom? I'll not rehash old wounds, we both know what you believe I did and I know what I didn't. You hate Kathryn Janeway. I do as well, I gave the better years of my life over to her ambitions and protocals, much like you've given the better years of your life over to the demons of Thomas Eugene Paris. A lot alike, those two
"You can't change who you are, Admiral. Time may alter self- perception, but rarely truth."
"You can break old habits-"
"Mark. You put your career before the life he wanted with you, ended up stranded seventy years away."
"Chakotay. Would've given you the universe, but you ran scared, played out your flirtations and left him cold behind a wall of protocal."
There, I was getting through, Dad, her knuckles were stark white on the doorway. I plowed on, wanting to hurt her, to reach her. "Michael. Someone you could alter as needed, erase as needed. Jaffen, someone who loved you for who you were before and after you knew. More protocal."
"Me. Still." And then, Dad, I broke your heart and mine with it. I kissed her.