Origin in Pain
The last few days had been, quite simply, hell.
Janeway was sure, damned sure, that half the crew had figured out the truth of one Thomas Eugene's birth and the other half was on the way. She should have expected it. The senior staff had been told first, after she had found no other viable excuse to give Tuvok for throwing her
helmsman in the brig for coughing and B'Elanna had demanded to know if Tom was cheating on her. Damn nosy Vulcans and hormonal Klingons. With the gossip vine, she had no doubt lower decks were beginning to buzz.
She cursed, fluently, mimicing Torres' recent tirade with accentation. At that moment, Commander Chakotay chose to appear, brow raised lazily, lips curled in that playboy smile. "Problems, Captain?"
She sighed, fingers winding around the coffee mug, lips twitching wryly. "It just struck me that I am going to be a grandmother, Commander."
He chuckled richly, dark eyes sparkling as he settled onto the sofa. "If it helps, despite the information release, 99% of the crew will be too tactful to mention it. I hold Seven up for the 1%."
"It doesn't help." She propped her head up on her hand, eyes thoughtful. "I've always wanted children, even out here. I managed to push it to background...really, the time has long passed. Tom..." She frowned. "Its difficult to consider anything yours when you never had the opportunity to touch it, feel it, observe it...more so with a person. I distanced myself from him in every way...rarely saw him, then only at a formal distance, rarely looked at his holos or news reports...even during my tenure working alongside Owen...I refused to hear or see anything to do with Tom. I cut myself utterly adrift from him. I suppose thats why I touch him so often now. I'd like to bridge that distance that I threw out, but I have to wonder if it isn't too late. I somehow doubt we can ever really reach any level of familial intimacy. So, while I have Tom Paris, I've never really had a child..."
Chakotay met her gaze thoughtfully. "Why did you carry him for those nine months when surragacy or termination were options?"
She laughed softly, bitterly. "A defining question. I'm not sure. Perhaps it was just the romanticism of having your belly swell up like a watermelon. It's a status quo at that age, you know. You both despise and envy the girls who fall into 'that condition'. They might be cheap
screwups, but they're grownup screwups by that time. Or maybe I just didn't believe in ripping a newly developing life from its nest. I don't recall. It doesn't matter. I didn't choose surragacy or termination, and here we are. I just don't know what the hell he expects from me."
"He may just expect you to be yourself." Her first officer remarked pointedly. "Not the captain."
"That, Commander, is a path left long untrodden." The captain admitted, sipping and sighing.
Restless nights be damned. Twisting on the bed and jerking his cover back, Tom Paris sighed. Beside him, he heard B'Elanna shift as well, yawning. Then, yelping lightly in surprise, she grabbed his hand, insistantly pushing it to rest on her gently rounding stomach. "I felt her move, Tom!"
He sat up, hand jerking in surprise, eyes widening in wonder at the barely perceptible shift. "I thought it was a bit early for that." The, exuberantly. "She's MOVING!"
The chirp of a com badge interrupted her smothered laughter and kiss.
"Care to report to duty, B'Elanna?"
He was entirely too charmed to be intimidated, and answered for his yawning wife. "Sorry, captain, but your gran..." Then, realizing that it was a bridge all com and less enlightened crewmembers were there, "Your newest crewmember just moved!"
Dead silence, then a short chuckle. Apparently no one had noticed the slipup, though he was willing to bet that Chakotay was giving her a few looks. "All right, I suppose I can make an exception. An extra hour... feed that child, B'Elanna, she must be starving."
"Aye, captain." B'Elanna cast him an odd look, brow raising as the link closed. "Gran? I know you want her to be involved in the baby's life, Tom, but I hardly think revealing the truth to *everyone* before she's ready is the right way to do things..."
"It isn't working." Stridin into the captain's ready room in civvies, Tom Paris crossed his arms, lips pursed in a mulish frown.
"What would that be?" Janeway shuffled the stack of padds in her hands, not looking up, lips twisted in her own brand of distracted annoyance. He hoped it was directed at the workload and not him. Then, as an afterthought, she looked up. "Tom, you're under bed rest. *Why* are you storming command in civvies?"
"I was bored-"
"Terminal affliction, god help you."
"I'm being serious."
"Very well, continue." She sipped her coffee and waved him on.
He sat down, eying her. "This isn't going to work."
"You covered that earlier. Care to elaborate?"
So she was in a mood today. He shrugged. "How do expect me to elaborate when you interrupt with witticisms and make me lose my train of thought?"
She glared. The captain's glare. He straightened, wishing for the dignity of a uniform. "I'm sorry, really."
Janeway inhaled, hoping for an influx of patience. "You said you were bored, Lt. Why don't you take these padds down to engineering and wheedle some status quos from your wife?"
He brightened faintly, grabbing the padds and leaving as Chakotay reentered. Clearing his throat, the first officer nodded towards the closing door. "I'm guessing it wouldn't be advisable to order him into proper attire?"
"I couldn't handle the fallout." The captain muttered, and then adding for posterity. "He's such a child..."
"Yours, in fact."
She replicated more coffee.