TI: "Cold Anger In Pretty Packages." VOY (P, 7, P/7)
AU: SnoopMary (MillicentFawcett@aol.com)
DI: Paramount owns 'em, I'm just playin' with 'em!
AN: Je suis Canadienne. Je suis de bilangue. So adapt already! A
second language is a good thing!
SU: Post-Voyager. Sometimes, getting what you want isn't what you need.
Tom hadn't seen his parents' home in years. At one time, it had been *home*.
But no longer.
He didn't have a home.
He had nothing.
Well, that wasn't exactly true. He had an ex-wife, and a life that left him
unemployable. Or at least unwelcome in the 'fleet. Captain Janeway had gone to
the wall for him, but the wall had hit back hard with things he really hadn't
wanted her to know about his past.
Now, she wanted nothing to do with him.
He stood on the hill overlooking the house and felt nothing. Absolutely
nothing. When his father and family had learned of his actions for the Moneans,
they disowned him. Said he'd had his final chance and blown it: three strikes,
Tom, and you're out. He turned and walked away.
Marseilles was always a good idea.
He pushed the door open on Sandrine's and slipped in. He smiled, possibly the
first smile he'd meant in a long time, as Sandrine glided towards him and
enveloped him in a warm, real embrace.
"Thomas, je placais votre chambre chaud pendant de nombreuses annees."
He felt himself smile again. "Sandrine, merci beaucoup. Mais - ." Her fingers
stopped his words.
"Non. J'ai indiquer a les bavard professionnels n'approcher pas ma frerot!"
He hugged her, his eyes burning. His greatest fear had been that he'd be
dragged back into the life that had sent him to prison. He didn't know if he
would have been strong enough to resist it. But she, his Sandrine, had already
ensured that he would never have to go back.
"Thomas, il y a une belle demoiselle en ton chambre. Elle arrivee en debut
d'apres-midi. Elle dit elle devoit medire a toi sout a votre convenance,"
Sandrine whispered, squeezing his hand.
Tom kissed her forehead gently. "Merci, ma belle." He released his
self-declared big sister and took to the stairs. He knew who it was; he'd only
told one person where he was headed. He managed to shove the still-miscentred
door open, and saw Seven quietly awaiting him. There was an air of panic, of
fear, enveloping her. "What's wrong, Seven?"
Seven stood up and stared at him, her blue eyes wide and scared. "They wish to
examine me. To test me."
Tom was stunned. He had understood that the Captain had been able to get Seven
recognized as an individual. "What? But - ?"
Seven slumped back into the chair she had been sitting in. "I am not exactly
sure what their plans are for me, but I am positive that they are not for my
Tom sat down in the other armchair, taking her hands in his own. "God, Seven,
I don't know what to say." He paused, feeling clammy at the thought of one of
the few friends he had being exploited by those black-shoe bastards. A thought
struck him. "How did you get here? Were you followed?"
"I managed to sneak out through a Jefferies Tube. I masked my biosignature
using a trick the Doctor taught me. I was not followed. I did, however, have to
take the subway."
"You're positive that you weren't followed?"
Tom took a deep breath, consciously centering himself. "Why are you here,
then?" He knew what she was going to ask, and he wasn't quite thrilled, but he
wasn't dismayed, either.
"I need your assistance to escape to a non-aligned world."
He snorted. "Not bloody likely, Seven. Once people saw those pretty implants,
the Ferengi would be on you like ants at a picnic, provided that someone else
didn't get there first."
Seven stood, anger and fear written into her body. "You will not assist me?"
"I didn't say that, Seven." Tom stood, staring into her eyes. "You're best to
stay right here."
"But I will not be hidden!" Tom could hear the fear in her voice.
"Seven, Sandrine hates the fleet just as much as I do. This place is screened
and locked down tighter than Voyager ever was. And those who would try to hurt
you won't have the chance on Earth. But think about this: you aren't going to
hide, Seven. You don't have to."
"I do not understand."
"You're a Federation citizen. They can't touch you."
"I am not. I was Borg."
"Yes, you were Borg. But you aren't anymore." Confusion danced in her eyes.
"You were born in here, on Earth, *Annika*. All we did was initiate a long
overdue rescue." He grinned as her posture relaxed, and an answering smile lit
her eyes. "They can't touch you without violating your civil liberties." Tom
was puzzled when the fear reappeared in her eyes. "What's wrong?"
In the most vulnerable tone he'd ever heard from her, Seven whispered harshly,
"What will I do with myself? I need to find lodging and employment, but I do
not believe that anyone will provide me with either."
Tom mentally kicked himself for not realizing that they were in similar
situations. He also felt a surge of relief that he would have someone to be
there for now. "Seven, you can stay here, with me. I have no idea what I'm
going to do with myself either. I was afraid that I'd get sucked back into the
less-than-legal world I subsisted in before I ended up in prison.
Maybe.....maybe this is a sign, Seven. Maybe, like always, you and I are going
to be fighting for the same thing through different avenues. Why shouldn't we
cooperate, or create something both of us can use and do?"
Seven was quiet for a moment, and nodded. "That is logical and acceptable."
She smiled suddenly, a stunning sight. "I believe that under the circumstances,
*Tom*, that you may call me *Annika*."
Annika stared at her reflection in the dusty mirror. With her hair down, and
with the more concealing clothes she had taken to wearing over the past year,
she did not resemble Seven of Nine. She was not an ex-drone. She was truly
Annika Hansen. Her persona of Seven of Nine was not particularly relevant any
more. The people with whom she interacted did not see her as Seven but as
Annika Hansen, part-owner of a holoprogramming business. She and Tom had,
after several days of contemplating what their skills were and which were
complimentary, established PH Productions. They had already sold several
programs that were very popular. They had also turned down several
less-than-legal commissions. Tom had been determined that they would not be
outsiders ever again.
She sighed and closed her suitcase, oddly reluctant to leave the small
apartment above Sandrine's they had shared for the past year and a half. Their
last commission had allowed them to purchase a small cottage outside
Marseilles. Their new home had been a purchase she had been reluctant to make.
She had felt that she should allow Tom to have a separate residence, that he
should get on with his life. Her presence, she had thought, was not conducive
to his personal future. She did not wish to separate from him, she truly valued
the collective they had formed. Surprisingly, when she had mentioned her
concerns to Tom, he had been vehement in his refusal to let her separate from
"How can you think that, Annika? We're a team, you are my closest friend!
Other than Sandrine, you're the only person I trust! In fact, other than
Sandrine, you're the only person that's ever trusted me enough to believe in
me! Frankly, Annika, you are the best thing that's ever happened to me; you
don't take the crap I dish out; you force me to be a better person; you make me
a better man. Please, don't leave me."
She hadn't left. Sandrine had reminded her that there had been many
'Voyageurs' she could have sought help from, but that she had run to the
disgraced and discharged Paris, and that she should perhaps consider why she
ran to a man Starfleet had declared " an irredeemable, unrepentant and paranoid
troublemaker." Annika knew very well why she had run to Marseilles instead of
Tom Paris, erstwhile Lieutenant and self-declared screw-up, was the only
person to ever treat her as a person. He always respected her, had allowed her
to make her own decisions. He had always been there to catch her if she fell.
Tom had always seen Annika within Seven, and he had just accepted the dichotomy
because he lived it as well. The world saw Tom Paris, phenomenal pilot,
irascible fleet failure, excellent holoprogrammer, medic, and ex-con. Those
close to him - herself, Sandrine - saw the real Tom: devoted, sensitive,
self-sacrificing, loyal, intelligent, principled. Where Seven had been and
still to an extent was her mask, Paris was Tom's.
"Annika? Cherie, est-ce que vous etes prete?"
"Une moment, Sandrine."
She scanned the dull rooms once more, committing it to memory, reluctant to
leave this place.
"Annika? Honey, are you all right?" Tom had padded silently up behind her,
once more startling her. She was still unable to figure out how he managed to
"I am oddly reluctant to leave, Tom," she admitted, unable to hide the
bewilderment in her voice.
He smiled gently at her. "Annika, this was home. Your safe place. It's only
natural to feel nervous." He paused, squeezing her shoulders slightly. "You can
fall, Seven of Nine, Annika Hansen. I will catch you. Always."
There were times, she reflected, as Tom locked the door behind them, when she
could not comprehend how B'Elanna Torres had let this stalwart male go.
The house was quiet, save the low hum of Annika's alcove charging. Tom
contemplated how much he liked the sound as he slipped into the garden and
strolled towards the bench from which he liked to watch the stars. It reminded
him of the egg on the fleet's face when they had shown up with a court order
requiring the release of the alcove. More than that, though, the hum validated
him. Someone needed him. He was important to someone, to Annika. After five
months, Annika had finally adapted to the joys of home ownership. Surprisingly,
she loved to garden and 'seek perfection' within the cottage, whether from
wallpaper or new furniture. It made him happy to see her up to her elbows in
dirt, to heave and heft plants and pots and bags of topsoil for her. He was
still surprised every day when he would look across the breakfast table and she
would smile back at him, around her froot-loops, surprised by how desperately
he needed her to be there.
He had never expected to have what they had created here. He had never
expected to lie on a couch, a lovely though taciturn woman curled against him,
watching old movies and television programmes, laughing at the dialogue. He'd
never expected that he'd be hugged for remembering someone's 'rebirth-day'. He
had, for some reason, fully expected to die without ever knowing the quiet
serenity of life with someone he cared deeply for.
In short, he knew he had never expected to fall in love or be loved like that.
With B'Elanna, it had been a contest, a constant fireball rush. It had always
been full frantic. With Annika, it was casual comfort. It was just there. He
didn't have to fight it or for it. He knew that it probably could be full
frantic, that it could be wild and untamed. But it wouldn't be constantly wild
and untamed, or full frantic, and that was the difference.
It wouldn't exhaust them.
But he had never attempted to alter the status quo of their relationship. Not
for fear of losing her. He knew that nothing could do that. What held him back,
what made him keep his own counsel, was his knowledge of her inexperience. He
didn't want to scare her, to hurt her. She seemed happy with what they had, and
he was reluctant to alter that.
But it didn't mean that he didn't dream of her, that he didn't want her. He
spent nights lying awake, sometimes fighting his desire to go down the hall
and pull her from her alcove, to break down the final barrier between them, to
make love to her until neither of them could move. Sometimes, he would wake up,
soaking wet in a cold sweat after nightmares where she left him for some
faceless man he knew would hurt her.
But he didn't. He would not take that step first. He knew that Annika knew how
he felt. He didn't hide it. He knew that she felt much the same. For things to
change, however, she would have to walk into his room, she would have to ask
him. For once in his life, he was incapable of making the decision to direct
his own destiny. This was the one time in his life when failure was not an
Tom shook his head as he felt a warm hand on his neck. He turned and stared up
at the object at his affection, somewhat confused by the light in her eyes.
His breath exploded from his chest in a gasp when her lips met his.
"Mr. Paris. Why are you here?" Tom flinched at the ice in her tone. He'd hoped
that maybe she hadn't meant what she said the day she effectively threw him off
"Tom came with me," he heard Annika say, her puzzlement clear.
"Really? Did he talk you into bringing him, Seven?" B'Elanna stepped around
the tree and stared at him, her disgust written on her face and in her voice.
"Because you don't have to feel sorry for him. He'll just try to use it to his
"Hello, Captain. Congratulations on the medal. You really deserve it. Hi,
B'Elanna. I hear you're working at the engineering research lab. I was glad to
hear you got the job. Is it as fun as you hoped?" He could be civil. He *would*
be civil. He would not embarrass them. Tom could see the Doctor hurrying across
the yard towards them, obviously distressed by the collapse of his attempt to
bring about an end to the cold war.
"Tom! Annika!" The Doctor rushed forward and hugged Annika, then grabbed him
in a bear hug. He hissed into his ear, "Keep calm, Tom. Please. For Annika." He
released him and said loudly, "Congratulations on the company! I hear that
'Akritiria' was a resounding smash!"
Chakotay sidled up behind Janeway, a sneer etched into his face, calling over
the Doctor's voice, "What's the matter, Paris? Get bored at work?" Tom felt
Annika grab his hand and squeeze it tightly, reassuring him that she was here
for him, that Chakotay's words meant nothing.
He forced himself to smile, knowing that it was tight and false and absent
from his eyes. "Actually, Annika thought we could use a break from our next
project, so we took a long weekend. I should send you a promotional copy of it
for the database. It's called 'Co-option'. A crew is marooned on a world and
forced to survive. They have to compete with the local hostile, pre-warp
civilization for resources until the rescue vessel can reach them. But there
are these macro-viruses that control the caves where the only ground water fit
for human consumption is and - "
B'Elanna interrupted him, snorting. "Ooh, that's original. Tell me, Paris,
have you written a program about a amoral pilot who steals technology and sells
it to a foundation that specifically tries to subvert the Prime Directive? Who
takes advantage of everyone around him?"
Annika dug her nails into his palm to keep him quiet, and talked over
B'Elanna's head at the Captain. "Was I not invited, Captain? Because the
invitation I received clearly stated Seven of Nine/Annika Hansen, and guest.
Tom is my guest. And I do not believe the behaviour you are displaying is
appropriate for greeting a guest."
The Doctor quickly tried to defuse the situation, desperation riddling his
voice. "I delivered the invitation. Did you sell that shuttle piloting
simulation? It's a fantastic program, Chakotay, one where - "
Janeway looked him up and down, contempt scrawled across her face and giving
her words a biting edge. "Mr. Paris, you can leave right now. I don't want your
kind here." Janeway smiled towards Annika, beckoning her towards the tables in
the yard. "Seven, I have someone I'd like you to meet."
Annika held him fast where he stood. "I am not interested in meeting them. If
Tom is not welcome, than I am not staying."
He watched Harry skitter over. "Don't leave, Seven! We have to catch up!"
Tom felt a swell of frustration skim over him, and snarled hotly at the
hostile crowd before him, "And what, Harry? We don't have anything to catch up
on? I was only your best friend for eight years! I never lied about my past. I
never lied to any of you. You never asked what I did between Starfleet and the
Maquis, and every time I tried to discuss it with someone, you shot me down or
ran off to run a diagnostic! I am not that person! I haven't been him for a
very long time. And before you tar and feather him, the people I gave that
technology to used it to treat plagues and other environmental crises! Yes, I
used people to get access to the technology, yes, I was paid, but it was for a
good cause! A cause the Federation and goddamn holier-than-thou Starfleet
wouldn't have recognized if it jumped up and bit their pseudo-humanitarian ass!
And her name is Annika, not Seven!"
"Leave, Paris," B'Elanna spat, "We don't need your kind here. We don't need a
dishonourable, ex-mercenary p'tak here. I would've thought the divorce would've
knocked that into your skull by now."
Tom watched Annika straighten up and stare down her beautiful nose at
B'Elanna, her eyes like icebergs in the sea. "Then I shall leave as well.
Doctor, we will see you on Wednesday for dinner." She turned and stalked back
up the path. He followed her, touched at her willingness to stand up for him.
He heard Janeway call up the path at them. "Seven, you don't have -"
He watched as Annika whirled, her blue eyes flashing angrily with rage and
hurt. She gazed a burning blue fire back down the path to the Captain and
others. "My name is Annika. Annika Hansen-Paris. And I do not stay where my
husband is not welcome!"
He knew that he'd never love her more than he did right that second.
"I do not understand why we must make an effort to establish a relationship
with a family that rejected you, Tom," Annika reiterated, less than thrilled by
the prospect of meeting the people Tom referred to as her in-laws. Admiral Owen
Paris had proven to be as judgmental and unyielding as Captain Janeway.
Caroline Paris, according to her research, was known to many as a cold and
rather rigid woman who disliked disorder and did not believe in frivolity.
She was still surprised that Tom had been the result of that union.
"Annika, honey, we have to try. I'd like to have my parents and my sisters in
my life. I'd like to try and undo some of the pain I've inflicted on them over
the years. Besides, you owe me. I went to that damn Voyager party with you."
She could feel her eyebrow arch, and took a deep breath to try and regain some
control over her tension. "You were not the only person responsible for the
breakdown in communications. I do not believe that you have not tried enough.
They consistently return your letters unopened. Besides, the Doctor informed me
that we were the life of the party, and that Neelix would like to hire us to be
the 'main show' at his restaurant."
Tom grinned at her. "True. And as for my parents, it's a little more difficult
to pretend that I don't exist when I'm on the doorstep, shouting loud enough to
attract the neighbours' attention." He pressed the door chime.
"Identification, please?" The computer asked.
"Thomas Paris and Annika Hansen-Paris."
Several moments passed, and Tom became more and more agitated.
"Enter." He visibly relaxed, and walked through the door.
A very elegant woman stood at the end of the hall. Her grey-blonde hair was
carefully constrained within a clip, and eyes very much like her son's, but
lacking the warmth and sparkling humour that lit his ever-changing gaze,
glittered towards them.
"Hello, Mom." She saw him swallow slightly, and noted a slight tremor in the
hand that clasped hers.
She nodded. "Thomas."
"Mom, this is -".
"May I speak with you, Thomas, in the salon? Ms. Hansen can wait here."
Annika noted that Tom's eyes had hardened slightly at the deliberateness with
which Caroline Paris had silently insulted her. "Her name is Annika. Annika
Hansen-Paris. Mrs. Paris. And whatever you have to say to me, you can say it in
front of my wife."
Tom had thought that this could be civil. That she would at least be polite
and somewhat willing to listen. It didn't appear to be the case. He took a deep
breath. "Mom, I....*we* came here to try and clear the air, to try and build
some sort of relationship with you and Dad. Annika and I - "
"Thomas, your father and I told you, as far as we are concerned,
you do not belong here, nor are you welcome here. We do not care to know about
how you are, or to have contact with you. You have embarrassed this family
enough. We don't want you, Thomas."
Tom felt the colour drain out of his face at his mother's words,
and before he could respond, could speak, Annika cut in, becoming Seven almost
before his eyes. "That is acceptable, Mrs. Paris. My husband and I have no need
of imperfection in our life. Your presence would be impractical. I was correct
in my assertion that attempting to include you in our collective would be an
inefficient application of resources. It is difficult for our collective to
interact with those so obviously incapable of functioning at our level of
Tom watched his mother's mouth flap open and closed like a guppy.
He felt that grin, the 'don't you get smart with me young man' grin that had
got him grounded so many times growing up, spread across his face. He let
Annika tow him with her as she stepped quickly towards the door. She paused,
turned back towards his flabbergasted parent, and smiled the most frigid smile
he had ever seen on her face.
"Incidentally, *Caroline*, a woman your age should not wear that
shade of lipstick. It is most unbecoming."
"I still cannot believe you said that to her!" Tom couldn't stop
laughing as they walked down the street to the cottage.
"I simply stated the obvious. The colour did not flatter her,"
she calmly responded, revelling in her husband's belly laughs.
"Annika, you basically said that she was old and ugly, that my
parents were a pain in the ass, and that they were too stupid to talk to!"
"As I said, I stated the obvious."
Tom grabbed her arm, pulling her into a close embrace in front
of the door to the cottage. He stared down at her, that light she'd come to
know shining at her. "Have I told you how much I love you?"
She smiled, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. She
rubbed the tip of her nose against his slightly stubbly cheek. "Not recently.
But I would prefer you to back up any assertion you make with evidence."
Tom took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the office he'd known so
well at one time. He walked up to the secretary's desk and smiled at the
younger man behind the big desk.
"May I help you?"
"I'd like to see the Admiral, please."
"Do you have an appointment?"
"No. Just tell him it's Tom."
The secretary didn't quite recoil, but it was a retreat nevertheless. "I'm
sorry. I have instructions that you are not under any circumstances to be
allowed entry. Please leave." He went back to work.
Tom sighed, and handed him the box. "Can you please see that he gets this,
then? And tell him to look before he throws it out. If he still feels the same,
then he can do what he likes with it after, but please tell him to look at
them." He turned and left the office, acid rolling up his throat.
Owen walked into the house and smiled as his daughters and wife called out
hello. He walked past the dog into the salon, box tucked under his right arm.
"What's in the box, dear?"
Owen sighed. "Thomas came by the office this morning. Dropped this off." He
watched his wife and daughters sniff. "It's a box of pictures."
Moira snorted, a cold and beastly sound. "Of what? Borg alcoves? Just get rid
Owen accepted the scotch from Kathleen. "They're baby pictures."
Caroline laughed. "Of who? Him? You know that he's aware that he is not
welcome here. Or are they of that cyborg he married?"
Owen downed the drink quickly, wincing slightly as it burned. "No and no." He
tossed the box on the table, watched it open and the snapshots spill out over
the glass. "Michael Stephen Paris, born Thursday, April 4th, in Marseilles.
He's about five and a half months old now."
Silence filled the room as Caroline picked up a picture of Thomas, that Borg,
and their grandson on a sunny bench. "We've been invited for brunch on Sunday,
after Michael's christening."
Caroline swept the pictures into the box, and threw the box into the fire. "We
will not be attending."
The Doctor stared down at the cooing child in his arms. The blue eyes that
stared back were brilliant and happy. They danced with their father's humour
and their mother's intelligence. "He's adorable, Tom, Annika."
"We like to think so, Doc," Tom laughed, letting his son grab his fingers to
play with. Some of the joy slipped out of his face suddenly. A slightly
melacholy tone filtered into his voice. "Well, it looks like you're the only
Voyager that will attend."
The Doctor sighed, passing Michael off to Sandrine. "Tom, I know that you
wanted your family here. I know Annika wished that more people from Voyager had
come. I know how important it was for both of you, what it meant to you. I'm
Tom's smile was forced. "Don't be, Doc. At least we truly know where we rank
in their lives. We're non-entities. 'Do you remember's." He looked away,
composing himself slightly. When he looked back, he had regained some of his
joy. "Doc, Annika and I are thrilled that you agreed to become Michael's
godfather. We're estatic that you agreed to take him if anything happens to
The Doctor smiled, swallowing the virtual lump in his throat. "I was honoured
that you asked, that you would trust a sentient hologram with your child."
Tom laughed, shaking his head slightly. "Doc, you're not a hologram. You're a
person. And as far as we're concerned, you're family."
She never realized how cold and hard stone was.
At one time, she would have believed it representative of them. Intractable.
Cold anger in pretty packages.
She stared down at the marker, still stunned silent by what had happened.
When the call had come in, the bridge had fallen silent, horror etched into
bodies that had almost forgotten those left behind. Who had betrayed those left
Kathryn Janeway had never understood what her mother had meant by 'cold in the
bones' until the moment the Doctor had finished speaking, until it had washed
"They were in their backyard. They had been relaxing after turning in a
project the Academy had commissioned from them. It looks like they were dozing
after dinner when they were attacked without warning. They tried to fight back,
but it was futile. It looks like they wanted the technology. It wasn't about
revenge, but profit."
She shook herself, saw from the corner of her eye the others do the same, as
he began to speak. "I hadn't spoken to my boy since the night he got back. I
hadn't seen nor spoken to him in seven years. Wouldn't respond to invitations
he made, or the notice he sent. I wouldn't stand down. Hell, I wouldn't even
look at the pictures they sent. Let my secretary tell me about them." Owen
Paris looked his age, grey and wan. "Then someone knocked on our door at 23:13,
a little over a week ago. I had to come with them. It was important. I had to
go and identify my son and his family. I came home and had to tell my wife that
the son we disowned and the daughter-in-law we had rejected outright had been
butchered because they were in the way. I had to tell my wife that our
grandchild, a grandchild we wouldn't even acknowledge, had been taken and
dissected because he was a human child with borg technology interwoven on a
genetic level." He paused for a moment, dashing a hand across his eyes. "I
stand here before you, a monument to prejudice and an irrational hatred of that
which I feared for no reason. I stand here, giving my family the respect it
deserves when it no longer has need of it. I stand here, asking who will save
my soul when I wouldn't even recognize the soul in others. I stand here,
grieving for a child I don't think I ever really knew. I stand here, grieving a
family that represented everything the Federation and Starfleet claim to
represent, but don't make welcome." He looked down at the marker, a sob
breaking loose and quickly swallowed. "Thomas, I am sorry that I failed you.
Annika, I am sorry I wouldn't even meet you. And Michael, I wish I'd known that
I loved you. I know, I have to believe, that where you are now is a place where
you don't have to struggle for that which we wouldn't let you have. I have to
believe that you are together, that you're happy, and that you know that a
stupid old man does love you, and does miss you, and regrets everything he ever
said or did to you."
Janeway watched the Admiral kneel down and run his fingers reverently over the
pale grey stone, across the lettering etched into the unforgiving block that
'And he said unto them the third time,
Why, what evil hath he done?
I have found no cause of death in him.'
- Luke 23:22
Thomas Eugene Paris, 36 years.
Annika Hansen-Paris, 32 years.
Michael Stephen Paris, 18 months.