Origin in Pain
He hadn't intended to find any letters. Digging through the captains effects to find an emergency command code was one thing,looking at her personal memorabalia was another. He wouldn't have opened the files had the battered old padd not turned on...had his face not come up on the screen. His face? Well, yes. And no. He was eight years old in the first file. Ten in another. More held baby shots, teenage shots, graduation poses, first flight captures...prison profiles. She had
his entire life in stills. Odd, but nothing he was really surprised by. Janeway had a fixation on him, he had known that from the beginning, in the most humble and unflattering of manners. She had known Owen Paris, god knew how well, and being stuck in the Delta Quadrant with his son was entertainment feed for the captain. See how many times he could screw up, how he reacted each time she caressed his shoulder, invaded his space, ripped off his pips, humiliated him. She
was an odd woman. The picture files amused him...the notes attached did not.
Kate-you nearly backed out of the deal. I could see it in your eyes as you looked at him. Weakness, Kate-how can you expect to lead with doubt dancing in those brilliant eyes? Look at the pictures...see him smiling? He doesn't know the difference between now and then, Kate. This is baby Tom's life. He has it all. Stop doubting. Leave it in my hands.-Salutations, Owen Paris.
Then, dated weeks later.
Kate, damn you. Stop. You foolish child...you've finally got the universe cupped in your rebellious little hands, and you're pushing it away with both feet. You wanted promotion and power. You
didn't want us. I'm tired of these tantrums and self-absorbed pity parties-walk away.
He dropped the command code and headed for her ready room. She was on the couch, as usual, hands curled around a cup of coffee that she sat down with a clatter as he entered. "Tom? What is it?" Any good reason for barging into my ready room unannounced? The demand was clear, if unstated.. He thrust the padd into her hands, sitting beside her, successfully using his legs to discretely pin her to the couch. "Just a few questions, Captain." Her eyes narrowed as she tried to slip away. "They had better be damned good, Lt. What is this?" Forgetting about moving, she scanned the padd, face paling faintly. "Where did you get these?"
"You don't put very strong security locks in your quarters, captain." A harsh chuckle. "You had no right."
"I was just retrieving what you asked. How was I to know memos from Owen Paris are held as sacred as command codes?"
"Hell no. Thats my life in that padd, captain." He grabbed her chin then, his other hand capturing the tangles in her hair, flinty eyes meeting flinty eyes. "The question is, why do you have it?"
She inhaled."Your father sent it all to me. I've just never gotten around to deleting it.
Why don't you do the honors, Mister Paris?"
Oh, no, it wasn't about to be that simple. He chuckled, fingers pressing into the skin of her neck and face with almost brutal reverance, eyes dancing across her face. Furious, indigant...fearful. What the hell did she think he was going to do, molest her? Probably. It was a jarring reminder that whatever surface appearances, there were still a lot of people on Voyager who distrusted him as much as they had at the beginning of the journey. She took the opportunity
to jerk out of his grasp, flying off the couch with admirable alacrity, then turning to face him. He stood as well, still perplexed, grabbing her arm.
"Did you finish reading it? No? Well, I'll tell you what, Paris. You go read some more and do the math...see if you reach any viable conclusions on why I 'abandoned' you. I assure you, you have much to learn." Her voice was raspy, blue grey eyes still desperate, fearful, furious. He released her and left.
It wasn't until he was back in the safety of his quarters that he realized he still held the padd. Running shaky hands through his hair, he continued to peruse it.
Kate- The boy walked today, as unsteady as a damn drunk Ferengi, but he walked. It would be a thrill if we could convince him not to play Superman down the bannisters-the kid will either be a pilot or dead fifteen years from now, mark my word. Problem is, I'm not sure which. Its been nearly three years since you left him with me...the two most excruciating, terrifying, awing years of my life. We made the right decision. Tom Paris is headed in exalted directions Tom Janeway
could never have gone. I'll see to that, Kate. God knows, you're just a kid yourself...you were hurt. Carrying Tom for nine months was courageous. Not many victims bother to do it. Brave Kate.
He threw up.
He managed to completely avoid her for all of two hours. Then she ordered him to the ready room.
"I presume you read it?"
"Completely." He didn't think he could look at her. Hell, his stomach was still rolling, and in Harry's words he looked "green as a sick Vulcan."
He heard her move towards the windows. "I know you must have questions, thoughts..."
"Not really. I'm fine, Captain. You deal with abuse and abandonment in pretty much the same way." He hoped it hurt her like hell.
The slap hurt him enough. No avoiding her eyes now. They were furious, cold, perplexed, lost. "I did not abandon you."
"If you can find a scientific term for it I'm willing enough to listen."
She laughed. A harsh, wracking series of chuckles. "Do you feel better now that you got that bit of excess anger out?"
He flinched. He had been an ass. At a loss, he sat on the couch."I'm sorry. Look...I understand why you gave me to him. You were what, eleven or twelve? I was the product of rape. I just...you took the trouble and shame of carrying me for nine months, but not the care to
tell me. What kind of a paradox is that? Did you really ever care?"
Her shoulders shook with restrained laughter, eyes darkened with pained amusement.
"Do you honestly think you would be here if I didn't? I pulled you out of that prison because I knew it was killing you, Tom. I've been in places like it. They eat away at your soul."
He just wondered how many years back she had lost hers.