Series: VOY Rating NC-17
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: I've debated on posting this, since I'm rather fond of my head, but it got a couple of good reviews elsewhere, so I decided to chance it. Geordi at Jupiter, if you think it sufficiently J/P, feel free to archive. Not recommended for nonadults.
No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
~ ~ John Donne "Devotions XVII"
He was a whore.
I've tried my damnest to find a more tactful way of phrasing it, but...the truth hath no soft edge.
He was a whore...but he knew no other way.
Tom Paris sold his body and soul throughout the worser parts of his existance...be it to sustain life, release anger, nourish passion, or simply...to feel. To be alive. He was a whore, physically and emotionally, and it took him down eventually. We just didn't expect him to take anyone else along for the final voyage.
He dealt with the diagnosis well enough...terminal illness, sexually transmitted, similar to the old AIDS virus but much much more swift and still incurable. Three years out of the Delta Quadrant, straight out of a badly chosen affair, he somehow held it together for a wife torn between shock, betrayal...and horror. He retained balance for the child bouncing on his knee, a child who would grow up without a father soon. It occurred to me that no man with a death sentence should be so collected.
And then, B'Elanna was diagnosed.
He fell apart.
B'Elanna...that hurt. I cherished her. Wanted to protect her, guide her, chase away the demons. Paris, yes, I expected to fall...but to take B'Elanna with him...I loathed him as passionately as I had at the beginning of the Delta quadrant fiasco for a time. She loathed him until the end, and then held his hands as he died, crying silently, endlessly, wracked with the same weakness that had killed him. She loathed him, and loved him, until the very end.
Somehow, I'm strangely grateful that they both died before the thir most shocking diagnosis came in. I found out the hard way, an urgent summons to a Federation hospital after she had been missing for months after his death. I arrived in enough time to spend a final few hours with the fallen idol of my life, in time enough to hold her hands, wipe a pasty brow, brush the tangles out of once rich, beautiful hair, in time enough to gently assist her into a captains uniform and pips for a final time. Harry brought the baby in briefly, and as he left, her eyes welled up with a fierce flurry of tears. She wept silently, guiltily, then said only one thing.
"She could have been ours, Chakotay...but more importantly...Tom and B'Elanna could have been hers. God, what did I do? What did I do?"
Try as I did, I couldn't form an answer good enough to turn away her self-condemnation. What was I to say? That it wasn't her fault that she had been the virus carrier? That she was every bit victim as B'Elanna? Was I to tell a dying woman that the person she had clutched as salvation was a whore? Was I to tell her that she was a whore for having the weakness of needing human touch, that he was a whore for giving in to the demons he never managed to escape?
I merely held her silently as she died ,and prayed that somewhere amongst the three of them...they would find peace. I prayed that they would leave the suffering to the living, for they had suffered enough. Too much. Too much entirely. I prayed for requiem.