TI: "Familia Omnia Vincit: Sequel to 'Passer Mortuus Est'." VOY (P, P/T)
AU: SnoopMary (MillicentFawcett@aol.com)
DI: Paramount's, not mine (just playing, no money involved!)
SU: Sacrifices must be made for that which we value above all else.
I should be ashes by now. The number of times I've been burned in my life, I
should be only ashes, the remnant of a life that once dreamed for the ordinary.
As I staggered into sickbay, heartsore and body aching, I knew without a doubt
that it had been worth it.
That she was worth it.
I let the Doctor drag me onto a biobed and let him work. I sat quietly,
enjoying the moment, the realization that freedom finally beckoned. I even
mentally composed my latest letter home, as I rocked back and forth, humming.
Finally, the Captain and the Doctor walked back into the main room, concern and
frustration etched into their expressions. I felt but couldn't stop the
hysterical swell of laughter that burbled out of my throat. I could hear my
father bellowing about the Paris mask and rapidly gathered the fragments of my
control, wrapping myself in that memory of my overprotective father like a coat
to ward off windchill.
The Doctor took the lead, letting the Captain observe silently, quasi-casually
leaning on the biobed opposite me. She was awaiting the reckoning that she
fairly knew was approaching, the vindication she had been craving since that
night over what seemed like a lifetime ago.
"Tom," the Doctor began, drawing my attention back to him. "Why did you let her
do this to you? Why didn't you defend yourself?"
I desperately tried to summon up Tom Paris, to crack a joke, to obfuscate.
Tried to keep the few standing panes of my glass house from collapsing. But it
had been too long. I didn't know where he'd gone. I knew I'd failed as I said
the words, as I admitted my weakness. As I recognized the failure that was I.
"I couldn't." Something inside of me winced at the hopelessness that coloured
my voice, the defeat that seemed etched into my soul. This wasn't me. I didn't
want this to be me.
The Doctor was aghast. "Why not?"
I saw her eyes flash slightly. Did she know?
I tried to be the man my father tried to raise, but I'd failed. I felt what
little strength, what little self-respect I had managed to cling to drift away
from me, felt the tears burn through my facade, felt my throat swell shut and
my lungs burn, my blood freeze and my muscles tremble, when I heard myself in a
cracking voice acknowledge my culpability. Acknowledge to my heart that I'd
"I was holding Hannah Belle."
Some people would say that it's hard to pinpoint the moment you lost control.
Some people would say that Sarajevo was only the match to the powderkeg.
Some people need to get their heads examined.
I can pinpoint the exact moment when I failed him. I let him go back there. I
let Owen's son put himself back into an intolerable situation because I knew
that there was no way to stop him. I know the Paris men. I know the value they
place on family.
All Owen Paris talked about when we were captured was his family. I learned
about Caroline Paris, the true Admiral of the family, about Kathleen and her
writing, Moira and her passion for physics, and Tommy. Tommy who flew better
than most ensigns. Tommy, who loved the sea and sailing. Tommy, who adored
history, especially the twentieth century. He also told me about how much he
pushed him, made him work harder than his sisters.
That Tommy was too much a healer; that he could lead, but preferred not to.
That Owen had felt the need to keep Tommy on task for Starfleet, that he kept
finding Tommy pouring over biology and chemistry, instead of physics and
civics. That Tommy wrote a paper for his english class on how he wanted to be a
doctor when he grew up. That Owen had to keep him from throwing away his gift
of flight, that he couldn't let him waste it.
Tom rarely speaks of his devotion to his family. He was desperate to know what
had been in that letter. He was subdued beyond belief when B'Elanna didn't get
the letter. But when we finally made contact with the Alpha Quadrant, he was
elated and depressed by hearing Owen's voice after such a long time. He came to
my quarters later that night, and we talked about the Owen Paris each of us
knew, and Tom Paris did something I don't think he ever did before.
He opened up about his family. He told me about the difficulties growing up a
Paris. He told me about spending days at the beach with Owen. He told me about
storytime and cookies with his mother, tormenting Kathleen, and playing
Starfleet with Moira. He told me about how desperately he missed them. He told
me about his dreams for a family of his own, to be a father.
I remember the night my latest nightmare began. I had been enjoying the quiet
of my quarters, relaxing to some soft jazz, when the Doctor called me to
sickbay immediately. The last time I had heard that tone of voice had been a
month earlier, when Tuvok had brought Tom to sickbay.
What could possibly have happened? I could feel my heart pound in my chest.
Tom was there. He looked like he wanted to be sick.
The Doctor looked angry and Tuvok, Tuvok looked protective.
B'Elanna. B'Elanna looked.....triumphant? Elated? Superior? Vindicated?
Whatever it was, it chilled me. I felt my heart lock down, my body
instinctively brace for a non-existent blow. I took a deep breath, and stepped
behind Tom, resting a supportive hand on his shoulder.
"Ms. Torres requested a medical exam an hour ago, and asked that Tuvok and Mr.
Paris be present. I conducted the exam."
B'Elanna was almost gleeful. "Tom's going to be a daddy."
He dropped all the charges and moved back in the next day. Everyone tried to
talk him out of it. I tried to convince him to not sentence himself to a prison
of his own making. Even Tuvok tried to make him realize that he could be a
father without placing himself at risk.
All Tom said was that family conquered all. That he couldn't deny his child,
his baby girl, a family. There would be no divorce. There would be no separate
lives. He reminded me that God never shut a door without opening a window.
I agreed, finally, to give faith a fighting chance. To let him go back to that
hellish marriage. We sat down, B'Elanna submitted to counselling. Tom agreed to
undergo an in-depth medical scan once a week to make sure he was hiding
anything. Nothing ever showed up.
But we all saw what he took. During the following months, B'Elanna learned to
hit with words, to lacerate his heart and mind and soul with carefully chosen
invectives. To kill him with a speaking glance.
The crew's sympathy turned to pity. He just took it, he never reacted, he just
endured her hostility and venom. But with a dignity that scared many. This was
a side of Tom Paris that none had borne witness to before. I know Chakotay
found it hard to comprehend.
I had seen it before, however. Owen bore his torture with much the same dignity
and self-awareness. And yet I said nothing. I could not prevent him from
obeying the dictates of his conscience when he wasn't in any physical danger.
Hannah Belle Paris was born after a difficult labour, and named while B'Elanna
He called her his angel. His salvation. His heart. He devoted himself to Hannah
Belle. He cherished her, before and above all others.
B'Elanna was displeased. Everyone knew that his focus on the baby before her
upset her. That for B'Elanna, Hannah Belle existed as weapon to constrain Tom,
whereas to Tom she was the centre of the known universe.
We all began to wonder, especially the Maquis members, if we'd ever really
known B'Elanna Torres, if she'd been hiding herself away. I know for a fact
that if we were home, she'd be getting real counselling, the kind that could
help her and them. I have to admit that I wonder if my actions with the
isomorph triggered this, if I bear some responsibility for this situation.
B'Elanna hasn't been the same since then.
The crew adores Hannah Belle. Tom's daughter. Never Tom and B'Elanna's
daughter, an attitude that B'Elanna is displeased by. I know from Tom, and from
the Doctor and Harry, that B'Elanna is a non-entity in Hannah Belle's life.
That Tom is both father and mother to her.
I watched him with her early yesterday morning. Hannah Belle has been fighting
an ear infection, and Tom brought her to the messhall to let B'Elanna sleep. He
spent hours singing to her and cuddling her. He treasured her. I joined them
and indulged in my prerogative as godmother to his daughter.
B'Elanna arrived and was less than enthused. She started snapping that she had
to learn to sleep through the night, that this indulging her every time she
cried had to stop. Tom quietly reminded her that the Doctor said that at the
moment, it was the best thing to do to keep her from making the situation worse
by getting upset. It would make the infection worse.
The last thing I heard as I left was B'Elanna ordering Tom to leave her when
she cried the next time.
Last night, I suppose, Hannah Belle beckoned her father with her tears. He
finally must've slipped from their bed to go to his daughter when B'Elanna
slept. Mind you, I don't know how she could sleep through the screams of her
I ordered B'Elanna into the brig.
And Tuvok to bring up the monitors we installed in their quarters.
I watched as Tom changed his daughter, and settled into the inherited Wildman
rocking chair and began to hum some nameless tune to Hannah Belle. The haclkes
on my neck rose as I watched B'Elanna pad noiselessly into the room, utter fury
etched into her flesh. I watched her belt Tom across the side of his head,
heard Hannah Belle wail at the sudden jerk her father gave. Listened to Tom
yell to be careful of the baby. Watched him curl his body protectively around
his daughter, submitting to brutal and unprovoked attack.
She knew that Hannah Belle was there. She knew that by attacking Tom, she could
have hurt the baby.
She just didn't care.
I felt the slap burn my ear.
The punch fracture my jaw.
Heard my shoulder snap, felt my ear bleed, my lip tear.
Felt my daughter curl into my chest in terror, confused at why Mommy was angry
B'Elanna knew I was holding the baby, knew that she could miss and hit the
baby. It didn't matter.
All she felt was her rage, all she saw was *me*.
After she left, I unwrapped my carcass from my daughter and limped to sickbay,
my thoughts consumed by the knowledge that it could have been Hannah Belle that
she hit. That I had to protect my daughter. That I had to be the man my father
"Computer. Access legal database, Paris Delta-Three-Tango."
"Activate petition for divorce, Thomas Eugene Paris, USS Voyager, versus
B'Elanna Torres, USS Voyager.
"Amend petition to include writ seeking full custody of Hannah Belle Paris, age
fourteen months. Attach medical files, Thomas Paris. Authorization
"File for transmission to Starfleet Legal Counsel Office, Starfleet Command,
Earth, on next Pathfinder transmission."