Title: The Unforgotten
Author: RoseKira@aol.com or email@example.com
Series: VOY Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: All characters herein owned by Paramount Studios. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Tom Paris visits the Guardian of Forever and finds that sometimes what you have is the best you could hope for.
"Forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting...
A wounded person cannot -- indeed, should not -- think that a faded memory can provide an expiation of the past. To forgive, one must remember the past, put it into perspective, and move beyond it.
Without remembrance, no wound can be transcended."
-- Beverly Flanigan
Tom Paris felt old.
Sitting the padd he had been reading down almost absently on the nightstand, he angled his head slightly, taking in the view beyond the rustling curtains. Earth, autumn. Peaceful, inhumanely haunting.
Shaking his head, he glanced back to the corner. Always working, never still.
She was quiet, he could give her that, not disturbing Tom was high priority for just about everybody he knew lately. He let them cosset. If it made them feel better...
Fingers stilling over their work, his companion glanced up, meeting his gaze with a faintly embarrassed smile. "Time carried me away, I guess. Would you like tea, or water?"
"I didn't know you liked it." Standing, the Klingon-human hybrid moved over to the replicator.
"Haven't in a long time. Decades. Sip of the past, I think." He hated the incomplete sentences, the way a handful of words ended up fuzz. It wasn't all age, he had known people sharp as a dagger till the end.
Tuvok. Janeway. Chakotay. Maybe the sickness. God knew, the medicines hadn't helped any of the other symptoms.
A dark hand settled on his shoulder, gently pushing him to a sitting
position, easing the coffee...lidded, cooled, like a baby's...into his hands. "I'm asking the Doctor to step up your dosage."
"I want to know when I die, thank you very much." It was the old argument, and he felt faintly more alive.
"Don't see why." The tones were soft, amused. "I hear the last show is a real downer."
He looked away. "You don't have to stick around."
The hands withdrew sharply, atmosphere chilling. "I'll call Harry if you
don't want me around."
Dammit, dammit. He fought the frustration, reaching out, capturing her arm. "No, stay. Sorry. Missed you."
"I've missed you too." Her lips were pursed when he glanced back around, eyes tearing. She wouldn't cry, of course, tears were unKlingon, he was sure her mother had taught her that.
God, what had the time and distance done to them?
He sighed, releasing the arm. "Is she coming?"
The eyes softened. "I...I don't think she's coming."
Of course not.
So was he. "Don't be. You're here."
Daddy, damn you, I was your Daddy, before...before. "Shut up."
Miral Paris ignored the outburst, faintly gray threaded hair swinging about her face as she looked down at him. "I'm calling the Doctor."
Couldn't he die in peace, if not happily? "No." He put firmness into the unchanged voice.
"Miral, I don't want your petting!"
She stepped back, shoulders stiffening, looking so unbearably like her mother in anger he had to groan.
"Fine, that's it. So B'Elanna Torres isn't coming to your deathbed. Do you blame her? What about the dozen meetings in the past year she's offered and you've refused? What about that com conversation last
week, the one where you screamed at her until she broke down and cried, Paris? You're both old, stupid fools, but still capable of hurting each other. I'm sick and tired of being in between it all. I always have
been, my whole life...nearly sixty years, for Kahless sake! I can't take any more. I can't."
"Miral..." Raising both hands to his temples, the former pilot sighed. "Stay. Sorry. Just call Harry. I need him."
Faster than the speed of light, he thought wryly. Busiest man in Starfleet, and Admiral Kim didn't bat an eye as he came into the sickroom less than an hour later. "You called?"
"I called." Determined not to be forgotten, Miral stood at the foot of the bed.
Tom ignored her. "Harry, I need you to get me in a shuttle."
"I can arrange it easily, but where?"
"Can't tell you that."
"You intend to tell the pilot on the way?"
"I'll pilot myself."
"You can barely sit up."
"You'd be surprised, old lady. Leave us alone, will you?" Glaring at his
daughter as she left, Paris turned his attentions back to his best friend. "Harry, I'm begging you."
"If this is about B'Elanna or Miral..."
"It isn't. Not either of them." Meeting the admiral's gaze, he smiled
slightly. "Swear. It's about Kes."
"Kes?" Kim sat, brows climbing. The years had done much to both of them, Tom thought fondly, but they sure hadn't wiped that perplexed innocence from Harry's eyes.
"Starfleet found a padd on Voyager. Holodeck nook. To me, from her. She told me of a future...I need to visit the Guardian of Forever."
"The Guardian of Forever?!" The head of Starfleet Command all but exploded from his chair. "Tom, the whole planet is strictly off limits. *I* have trouble defending my right to visit on official business. You
can't just march in and interfere with timelines..."
"Don't want to interfere." A guilty white lie, but...he knew Harry like an
old shoe. A straight-laced old shoe. "Please, I just need to see. What she didn't see."
The shuttle Cochrane-A settled down Forever World gently, steered by the unchanged skill of Tom Paris.
Cursing the hampering medical technology that somehow was supposedly also helping him carry on with walking and other fine basic activities, the old man settled his feet into the dust, staring into the distance.
From behind, more murmured curses and complaints echoed as Admiral Kim and Miral Paris reluctantly disembarked. He ignored them, moving ahead.
"Tom." Harry had worked on the whip-sharp command tone, it worked. Sighing, his friend looked back. Kim shook his head warningly. "No interference."
"Sure, sure." Leaving them at a distance, he paused directly in front of the monolithic gateway.
"I am the Guardian of Forever."
Voice of God, eh? He considered. How did it work? A word, a phrase, a litany? Would he ever find exactly what he wanted in the eons the Guardian held? Not unless he tried. Stiffening, Tom Paris met fate
unflinchingly. "Show me Tom Paris and Linnis Paris, from the death of Kes onward."
And the Guardian did.