TI: "De Lacrima: Sequel to Carpe Diem" (VOY-AU, K, P/f, T)
AU: SnoopMary (
DI: Paramount owns the characters Kim, Paris and Torres, and the universe
in which they live. I,
however, own this story and the other characters.
RA: PG-15 (language, ooh!)
AN: This is part of the Latin Series, which can be found at
SU: A view from the top... the Big Top, courtesy of Ensign Eager himself,
Harry Kim.

Before you read: If you haven't read the rest of the series, you may be
confused. They can be found at the aforementioned link. The order is as

Passer Mortuus Est
Familia Omnia Vincit
Arma Capere
Carpe Diem

Were they crocodile tears, Tom?

All those years ago, when you finally told me that it was over, that you'd obtained a permanent, non-countermandable restraining order against B'Elanna in order to protect Hannah Belle and yourself, were the tears you shed on my sofa real?

You really did it, Paris. I have to congratulate you on that, at least. You
weaned yourself off her. Finally. It took you such a long time. You told me
once that she was an addiction, more pernicious than the booze. But you broke

And right after you told me she was your most dangerous vice, you swore that
you were through with women. I laughed uneasily. I remember that you looked at
me and said, "I mean it, Harry. We may have had the marriage annulled, but I
still feel married." I didn't believe you.

And I was apparently right not to.

After you finally walked away, I cheered, Paris. I cheered because I thought,
finally, B'Elanna will have to get off her ass and grow the fuck up, you know?
She'd have to get over herself, over this... obsession with you.

It was an obsession, Tom. I don't know why you of all people couldn't see that.
You, who have a more than passing acquaintance with the dangers of obsession.
Or were you just trying not to see it? Your sisters think so. They think you
didn't want to admit that B'Elanna was your Arachnia.

Your father and I talked about you, swapped stories, while you were in surgery
that night. No one knew whether you were going to live or die. Hell, most of
fucking Voyager was waiting in the cafeteria for news. The Captain showed up in
an evening gown; she'd been at the Federation President's for dinner, left the
minute she got the news. Do you know that Tuvok hopped a transport from Vulcan?
Janeway called him, woke him up in the middle of the night, and that man, whom
you teased mercilessly, caught the first transport to Earth. He wanted to be
here to help you, Paris; he walked through the door, sat down, and told your
father that you were the most dogmatic survivor he had ever had the pleasure to
serve with. You would not die. Tuvok refused to accept the possibility. It was
illogical and emotional, but there you have it.

We sat there, waiting for a decision, for nearly 48 hours. You were in surgery
for nearly 48 hours, Tom. B'Elanna did so much damage that it took two surgical
teams rotating in and out of the operating room, the Doctor overseeing the
whole thing, to put you back together.

Did I ever even know you, Tom Paris? You never, in all the years we knew each
other, told me that you'd always wanted a big family, that you'd planned on
being married with at least four kids by the time you were thirty-five. Your
father told me, said you had it all planned out by the time you were twelve.
Two boys and two girls, a new baby every two years. They all would have your
eyes and their mother's smile. You even planned out holidays; beach trips,
sailing the Pacific.

Who are you? Who were you? Do you even know?

But you sat there on my sofa so many years ago, telling me that you doubted
you'd ever move on, that she'd wormed her way so far into your soul that the
mere idea of someone else left you cold. You said that you doubted you'd ever
be able to trust yourself to love anyone ever again. You said that you would
never be able to trust your own judgment on relationships. You doubted that
you'd ever be able to sleep beside another person again.

You were... terrified, Tom. Terrified of yourself, of what you'd become.

You apparently recovered. You dropped B'Elanna so fast I swear I can still hear
the sonic boom.

Then, four months after what Janeway referred to as the B'Elanna Incident, I
finally got that promotion to Commander. Commander Harry Kim of the U.S.S
Cornwell, deep space exploration vessel. I had to leave before you were off
sick call. I made you promise that in the three years I was going to be out of
contact, you would get help. That you'd try to move on.

You promised me that as an added bonus, you'd work on your career and try not
to get arrested so often. You promised me that Lieutenant-Commander Thomas
Paris would start to live again.

Personally, I thought you were lying through your teeth, but I didn't have the
time, and I admit, the energy to fight you. At that point, any movement would
have been a positive development. The inertia you were trapped in was cold and

You really scared me, Tom. I didn't know what would happen to you. All that
passion for life that I envied so much had just melted away, leaving this dead
thing in front of me that was not my friend. You were not the man who kept my
spirits up, who protected me when I really was Ensign Eager, so green you
could've run a lawnmover over me.

I came back, after four years away, four years of nervousness because I
couldn't contact you to find out how you were doing. Deep space exploration is
not for me, I think. I can't hack the silence like I could on Voyager. Maybe
because you weren't there?

I was stunned by all the changes. Chakotay dead, Seven, excuse me, Annika and
the Doctor married. But I found myself stunned and utterly flabbergasted to
hear about the friend I'd worried about for so long.

Captain Tom Paris of the U.S.S. Potemkin, victor of Galornden Core, conqueror
of the Romulan Empire.

You took an assignment, leaving Hannah in your father's care. You needed a
break, he said. You needed to find out who Tom Paris had become. You ran off to
become second officer and chief helmsman of the U.S.S. Castlereagh. Six months
into the assignment, Lieutenant-Commander Paris, faced with a dead command
crew and a few fresh-faced ensigns, led the remains of a mauled merchant
convoy and his badly-damaged cruiser escort against the five warbirds that had
attacked them without warning.

Lieutenant-Commander Paris wiped them out of existence. He was outclassed and outgunned, and he still managed to send the Romulans packing.

You received the medal for Courage Under Fire With Valour Cluster, and a
promotion to Commander.

Commander Paris became the first officer on the Potemkin. Commander Paris found himself with another dead captain in battle, and led the Potemkin in what
everyone thought was a no-win situation: protecting a defenceless farming
colony against a Romulan incursion. Commander Paris won and won big, capturing a warbird intact, giving Intelligence the best Christmas present they'd ever had.

You were decorated again. Medals for Exceptional Valour and Courage Under Fire. And you were promoted. Again.

The newly-minted Captain Paris of the Potemkin, the most junior commander in
Starfleet, was sent as part of the armada against the massive Romulan invasion
force en route to Galornden Core. The Enterprise under Riker and Voyager under
Janeway were waylaid by a smaller force under Commander Sela. They couldn't get there to take command; they'd had to hide a nebula in order to survive. The
Romulans managed to destroy the Dauntless, the Melbourne, and the Walker Keel
with their opening salvos. The Intrepid and the Nebraska were on fire, with
heavy damage. The Potemkin, the Al Batani, the Defiant, and a couple dozen
heavy cruisers and destroyers were bloody but unbowed.

The Federation was wide open for invasion. That miniscule force, compared to
the Romulan fleet, was the last, best hope we had to pull our butts out of the

You'd think that after watching you yank us out of death's clutches so many
times on Voyager, it wouldn't surprise me. I sometimes think that my fatal flaw
is underestimating you. I always forget who you are, Paris: the heir to the
most prominent and powerful Starfleet dynasty, bred from day one to command
ships and control fleets.

So, faced with this inexpiable force, Captain Paris seized command of what was
left of the fleet.

You massacred the Romulan fleet. There isn't really another word for what you
did, Tom. You erased more than half their ships out of existence. You drove
them back over the Neutral Zone, back into their own territory, back to the
skies above Romulus. You extracted an unconditional surrender out of a people
so cunning and ruthless that the best the tacticians and strategists had
expected was a draw.

You beat the hell out of them and made them admit it.

At the ceremony a few months later, the C-in-C walked right up to you and
smiled. He looked at you and said, "Captain Thomas E. Paris, I hereby bestow
upon you the Federation Medal, which commemorates significant contributions to
the propagation and maintenance of the ideals and principles of the United
Federation of Planets, for your actions during the Romulan incursion at
Galornden Core." The most decorated and admired Starfleet officer since Kirk
shook your hand and declared you, the cashiered ex-con redeemed by the grace of God and Janeway, you, the man busted down to ensign for trying to break the
Prime Directive, an exemplary officer and captain.

Your father looked like he was going to bust right through his shirt when
Admiral Picard pinned the medal to your uniform. You made history, Tom. Again.
This is the first time two serving members of the same family have held that
medal concurrently.

You did it in three years, Tom. You got what I always wanted in three fucking

You don't even like Command, you bastard. Or you didn't. When I knew you, you
would've run kicking and screaming down to sickbay to volunteer for shifts
rather than command Voyager. All you ever wanted to do was fly.

Now, you command the Potemkin and meet with Janeway, Riker and the rest of "The Big Six", the captains of the ships of the line. You drink coffee, gossip about
your crews, and make recommendations to the strategy committee on the
implementation of long-range strategic goals.

Did I ever know you, Paris? Because there are times when I don't think I even
scratched that icy surface.

I bet you're wondering if there's a point to this letter right now. Shifting
uncomfortably, disturbed by the discordant notes you can hear in my words.
There is.

We put into port, three years and one mission extension later. I disembarked
from the Cornwell, and found B'Elanna there, waiting for me.

Calm, happy, with a weekend pass from her mental hospital.

We had lunch, and talked about old times. She told me that she hadn't seen hide
nor hair of any Parises since she was committed. She pretended it was all
right, but her eyes, Tom....

They were bleeding. She was bleeding to death before my eyes, Tom.

She took me to the circus the next day. Some holographic circus program that
was so damn popular it took her weeks to get the tickets. We sat, laughing like
we used to, remember? Before everything incinerated in a vicious inferno? We
ate cotton candy, or whatever that pink shit you got her hooked on is called,
and enjoyed the show.

Then I saw you.

And them.

Front row box, obviously in the exclusive price range.

Admiral Owen Paris, Kathleen Paris, Reg Barclay and Moira Paris-Barclay, and
Captain Thomas Paris.

You weren't alone, though.

It was the two little boys in the stroller that made me panic. Two little boys,
obviously twins, and obviously the spitting image of their father.

The beautiful blonde beside you, laughing at the antics of the bears on the
balls, holding your arm and pointing out the monkeys on the trapeze. Making you
smile a smile I hadn't seen in years. If I'd ever seen it.

Pure, unadulterated, undiluted joy. No bitterness, no sardonic edge, nothing
but happiness shining out of your face. I swear, you were so beautiful, Tom, I
nearly cried.

I didn't know what to do. I remembered the restraining order, I thought of
B'Elanna's mental health, I thought of how long it would take me to get her out
of there without upsetting her.

Then you saw me and your face froze into a stone mask, the likes of which I've
never seen. You saw B'Elanna and the naked pain, the anguished longing in your
eyes, Tom, cut me to the bone. You still loved her. You still needed her.

Then the beautiful blonde turned to look at what had made you stiffen so
suddenly. I expected anger, a sense of offended pride, something less than
polite to fly across that lovely face.

There was no pity, no anger, no resentment. Just sympathy and compassion. I saw her smile at you, ask if you were ok?

You nodded, bent down and picked up the toy one of the boys had dropped. And
the smile returned. You pushed us away, out of your mind, as if we didn't exist.

Then Hannah Belle walked down, carrying three sticks of cotton candy. She
handed you one, laughing as one of the boys demanded some. Then she handed one to "Momma".

She called the blonde Momma, Tom. And I thought, What the hell was that? She is not her mother, Tom!

B'Elanna shifted and saw that, Tom. Saw her former husband with another woman.
Saw her daughter call that woman Momma. And she didn't even flinch, Tom. She
knew who they were.

"That's Tom's wife, Elaine. The boy on the left is Egan Owen Paris. The one on
the right is Evan Thomas Paris."

She was so calm it was almost eerie, unnatural even. She told me that she'd
signed papers allowing Elaine Fletcher Paris - "Admiral Fletcher's daughter,
Harry" - to adopt Hannah Belle. B'Elanna let another woman take her child. I
was shocked. B'Elanna assures me you didn't pressure her, or anything like
that. She did it voluntarily, so that the circle would be broken.

She's broken, Tom. You broke B'Elanna.

You were married less than four months after I shipped out, Paris, after
claiming you were a bachelor forever. You were expecting twins within six
months of the wedding.

So, Tom, I ask you again:

Were they crocodile tears?

Next up: "Ipsissima Verba"

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