Okay, before we start, Iíd just like to say thanks to Sarah, for her encouragement and support that resulted in me actually finishing this.
This story takes place after the episode, ĎSomeone To Watch Over Meí, so everything thatís happened in the show since then never happened in this universe. It starts off five years into the future and then goes back to that time.
Itís a Paris/Seven story that I just had to write. My muse just wouldnít leave me alone. :-)
Having said that, I would also like to add a warning. If you donít like to read of major character deaths, then this story is definitely not for you. Later in the story, there will be a death. :-(
Because of this - major angst - and the mature nature of the story, I am rating it PG-15.
Pairings: P/7, P/T, C/T
This is my first attempt at P/7, so I would really appreciate some feedback.
Disclaimer: Voyager and all her crew belong to Paramount/Viacom. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit will be made, as this story is just for fun.
"Ms. Paris. You know you should not be in here." The voice was stern and reproachful.
A giggle was the only answer.
"Come out now."
There were more giggles and then a high-pitched voice called out. "You hafta find me."
"Ms. Paris. This is not a game. Come here at once."
"Aaawwww Tuvok! Youíre not aspost to say that. Youíre aspost to say, ĎHere I comeí."
"Ms. Paris. I am not playing a game. Does Ensign Newman know you are here?"
"She finks I went to the bafroom."
"I see. She will no doubt be looking for you by now. Come out from behind my desk at once."
A small golden head appeared from behind the desk. Golden curls bobbed up and down as big blue eyes gazed over at him. "Howíd you know I was here?"
"I am Vulcan, Ms. Paris."
"Ms. Paris!!! Small children should not use vulgar language."
"But Iím big. Iím free."
Tuvok walked over to his desk and peered down at the earnest face looking up at him. "This incident will have to be reported to your parents."
"Isabelle Kathryn Paris." A harassed looking Ensign came hurtling through the doors of Tuvokís office. She stopped abruptly. "Commander! Iím - Iím sorry. She got away from me."
"So it would seem."
"She wanted to go to the bathroom. And then she was gone in a flash."
"Ms. Paris is a handful, Ensign. The Captain once commented that you need eyes in the back of your head."
Ensign Newman nodded vigorously. "Truer words were never spoken, Commander." She turned to the little girl. "Come on Isabelle. Letís get back to the classroom."
Isabelle walked slowly around the desk and stood looking up at the tall Vulcan. "Heís going to tell Daddy on me."
"It is my duty Ms. Paris. Your parents must be informed."
"Isabelle! You mustnít talk to Commander Tuvok like that. You know youíre not supposed to roam around the ship on your own. Iíll be telling your Daddy too."
Isabelle frowned fiercely. "Damn!"
"Isabelle Paris. How many times have you been told not to use that word?"
"Donít know. Lots and lots?"
Ensign Newman gave a small sigh. "We must get back. I left Naomi watching the twins. Who knows what mischief those two can get up to." She held out her hand and Isabelle quickly grasped it. "Iím terribly sorry for the intrusion, Commander."
"Iím sorry too, Tuvok." The little girl smiled brightly up at him. "Youíre not mad at me, are you?"
"No Ms. Paris. Of course not. It could be dangerous to wander around on your own. I am concerned for your welfare only."
The little girl blew him a kiss. "I love you too, Tuvok." She skipped merrily from the room.
Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris hesitantly entered the childcare center. Tuvok had already briefed him on his small daughterís Ďescapeí earlier that day.
He saw her, at the far end of the room, finger painting with Naomi Wildman. Naomi was talking a mile a minute, and Isabelle was listening with rapt attention, occasionally nodding.
Naomi was the Ďlittle motherí to the group of Voyager children. At the tender age of ten years, she took her role as eldest child very seriously. She was an earnest, decisive child - old beyond her years - and the other children all listened to her.
Tom glanced over towards Ensign Newman, who was busy with the twins and smiled. There were two other children on board Voyager, besides these four.
Two year old, Danny Jacobs and the baby, seven-month old Holly Crosby. Danny was the son of Jenny Delaney and Michael Jacobs, an Ensign in security. They had married four years ago and then to every-ones surprise the other Delaney twin, Megan, had married Lieutenant Jeffrey Crosby, from the science lab, a few months later. Their baby, Holly, was the latest addition to Voyager.
Ensign Newman noticed Tom standing in the doorway smiling and smiled in return. "Hello Tom."
At the sound of her fatherís name, Isabelle looked up quickly and with a squeal ran over to him. "Daddy. Daddy." She wrapped her arms around his neck as he picked her up and hugged her closely. "I made a painting. Itís blue."
Tom laughed. "So are your hands by the look of it." He grimaced a little. "I think my neck may be too."
Isabelle giggled as Tom put her back down on the floor.
"Youíd better go and wash your hands, Izzy."
"Iíll help her," Naomi offered. "Donít worry. It comes right off with water. Iíll bring a cloth back for your neck."
"Thank you sweetheart."
As the two girls hurried over to the cleaning area, Ensign Newman left the twin boys and came over to him. "We had a small problem today, Tom."
Tom nodded. "I know." The smile left his face. "Tuvok told me. Iíll have a talk to her. I donít understand why she ran off from you, Sal. Sheís been taught from the time she first walked not to run off by herself."
Sally Newman laughed. "When I tackled her about that she told me she wasnít going to be by herself. She was going to be with Tuvok. She has an answer for everything, that one. I donít think sheíll wander off again too soon. Not after the lecture young Naomi gave her when we got back." She shook her head at the memory.
Tom gave a small chuckle. "Iíll still have a talk to her."
Sally nodded. "We have another problem however."
"Izzy has a favorite word. Sheís been using it more and more. Today she said it in front of Commander Tuvok."
Tom winced. "Tuvok told me. The way he spoke, I was expecting something a lot worse than damn, let me tell you."
"Damn, still isnít something a three year old should be saying," Sally said sternly.
Tom held up his hand. "I know. I know. Iíll talk to her, I promise."
"Perhaps if you didnít say it so much, Izzy might not."
Tom rolled his eyes. Heíd known, before entering the center, that Sally would lecture him about his daughterís language. "You sound like her mother."
Sally smiled. "Izzyís mother is a very smart lady. You should listen to her." She frowned suddenly. "Iím worried that the twins may pick it up from her. I hate to think how their mother would react."
Tom looked over at the twins, who would be four any day now, and quickly looked away again. They looked so much like their mother. Even now, over five years after the break up, it still hurt to be reminded of her.
"BíElanna is a hypocrite," he mumbled. "She swears all the time."
"Sheís very careful in front of the boys though Tom."
Tom nodded, knowing it was true. BíElanna was the perfect mother. It was like a knife twisting in his stomach and he swallowed hard to keep the bitter taste from his mouth.
He watched gratefully as Naomi led his daughter back over to him. "Bend down, Tom. Let me clean your neck for you."
It wasnít long before they were ready to leave and Tom once more bent down and picked up his small daughter. "Thanks Sal. Weíll see you tomorrow."
Just as he was about to step up to the doors, they opened, and BíElanna Torres stepped through. She stiffened slightly as she saw him. "Tom," she nodded, her voice cold and distant.
"BíElanna," Tom answered, his own voice even colder. It was their usual greeting.
He pushed past her and stepped out into the corridor.
"Daddy?" Isabelleís little arms hugged him tightly. "I love you Daddy."
"I love you too sweetheart. Youíre everything to me, Izzy. Everything."
Seven of Nine looked up from the readings she was attempting to analyze, as the doors to astrometrics opened. She looked sternly at the little girl running across the room towards her. "It is late, Isabelle. Why are you not in bed?"
"Daddy said I could come and see you first."
Seven glanced across at Tom, who was standing just inside the door. He shrugged slightly. "She wanted to say goodnight."
"I see." Seven knelt down, so that she was at eye level with the small child. "Goodnight Isabelle. Pleasant dreams." She leant forward and kissed the child softly on her cheek.
Isabelle hugged her fiercely. "Night, Mummy. Will you be there when I wake up in the morning?"
Seven nodded. "Definitely." She stood up and looked over at Tom once more. "I will be very late." Her voice was flat, emotionless. "Do not wait up for me."
Tom nodded. "I understand," he said softly. "Come on Izzy. Time for a piggyback ride."
Seven sighed as she watched them leave. Feelings were irrelevant. She had been telling herself that for almost two years, now. When, oh when would she believe it?
Captain Kathryn Janeway stood reading the padd in her hand as she waited for the turbo lift. She looked up as she heard a loud squeal of laughter. "No Daddy. Youíre going the wrong way. You hafta turn around."
Kathryn smiled as Tom came around the corner groping blindly along the corridor walls, his daughter on his shoulders, her hands covering his eyes. "Tell Daddy when to stop, Izzy."
"Stop now," the little girl giggled. "And look - síprise. Aunty Katís here."
Kathryn laughed as Isabelle took her hands away from Tomís eyes. "Hello you two," she said as the turbo lift arrived and Tom, ducking down, entered it behind her.
"Hello, Aunty Kat. Daddyís taking me for a ride."
"So I see. Shouldnít you be in bed, young lady?"
"Iím going right now. I just had to say gínight to Mummy."
"Oh?" The Captain quirked an eyebrow at Tom. "Seven still working, is she?"
Tom nodded, the glow in his eyes fading. "She has a lot to do."
"I told her to take it easy."
"Did you make it an order, Captain? Thatís the only way youíll get her out of there."
Kathryn frowned. "Sheís pushing herself too hard. She needs to rest."
"You donít have to tell me that." Tomís voice was bitter.
"Iím sorry Tom. Of course I donít." She sighed sadly as the turbo lift stopped and Tom stepped out.
"Night, Aunty Kat," Isabelle smiled.
"Goodnight Captain." Tom didnít smile. He looked so sad; Kathrynís heart lurched. Everything was such a mess.
"Goodnight," she echoed softly.
As the turbo lift continued on its way, Kathryn thought about the past five years and realized with a pang just how much Tom had changed over the years. The only time he seemed to be alive was when he was with his daughter. She was everything to him.
Kathryn closed her eyes. Isabelle was a lovely child. Bright, mischievous - in fact everything she imagined Tom had been as a child. She adored her Daddy, as much as he adored her, but Tom needed more.
The turbo lift stopped and Kathryn stepped out. Seven needed more too. She had come so far and then everything had changed. Kathryn turned back to the turbo lift again with a determined look on her face.
Stepping inside she ordered, "Astrometrics."
Seven looked up, a slight look of irritation crossing her features, as the doors swished open once more. She thought it might have been Tom again, trying to talk her into coming home. Every now and again he did that. Not as often as he used to, but he still did.
She was surprised to see the Captain striding purposefully toward her. "Captain? May I be of assistance?"
"Why are you still here, Seven?"
"I have work to complete."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You heard me Seven. The work doesnít have to be completed tonight. I thought I told you to rest a little. Take it easy. Since you became pregnant with Isabelle, you have needed to sleep, just like the rest of us."
Seven opened her mouth to protest, but the Captain held up her hand. "All right, perhaps not as much as the rest of us, but you do need to. You only regenerate once a week now. You need sleep between regenerations."
"I know this Captain. I slept last night for six full hours and am due for regeneration tomorrow evening. I do not need sleep now. Three hours at some stage later tonight, is all I need."
"You still need to relax."
"I will relax then."
"Seven, please. Tuvok doesnít need as much sleep as us either, but he still has his off duty hours. Itís necessary. You have a small child you could be spending time with."
"I will be spending time with Isabelle in the morning. She is sleeping now. It would be pointless to be there."
"You could spend the time with Tom. Iím sure he would like to see a little more of you."
"You are wrong. Tom is - relieved, when I am not there."
Janeway shook her head. "Thatís not true. He cares about you. Perhaps you should tell me exactly what happened between you two. Sometimes it helps to talk."
Seven pursed her lips. She knew that the Captain cared about both her and Tom, but couldnít continue this conversation. "Thank you for your concern Captain, but we do not require your assistance."
Janeway stood looking at her for a few more moments, before giving up. "Very well. But my door is always open. To both of you."
And that was the problem, Seven decided, as she watched the Captain walk briskly from the room. The Captain cared about them both. A lot. In a motherly way. Although she was not old enough in years to be a mother to either of them.
She couldnít tell the Captain what had happened. It may force her to take sides and she couldnít bear that.
What if the Captain thought she had taken advantage of Tom? Which she had, she admitted to herself. Or even worse, she blamed Tom for everything? Tom would be crushed if the Captain thought badly of him. He needed her approval. She could never betray Tom in that way.
The Doctor was the only one who knew even a little of the real story and he had made some rather scathing remarks about Tom. She had told him at the time to shut up. In fact, she remembered yelling the words. The Doctor had looked completely shocked, - she did not speak that way - and then hurt, as she growled that he knew nothing about the situation and to mind his own business.
She had known she was acting completely out of character - she did not yell and she did not tell people to shut up. But she had been acting strangely for a number of weeks, by that time.
She sighed and bent over her work once more. No. She could not take the chance that the Captain may feel the same way the Doctor had. Her burden could not be shared.
Janeway made her way once more to the mess hall, her heart heavy.
Entering she saw Chakotay, sitting at a table watching the stars, and approached him quietly. "Iím not interrupting anything am I?"
He smiled as he turned to her. "No. I was just thinking."
"Is everything all right?"
Chakotay nodded. "No replicator rations left until tomorrow and I needed a cup of coffee. Neelixís substitute is quite good."
She sat down across from him and smiled. "Thatís good, because my stomach is rumbling."
"Donít tell me. You skipped dinner again."
Kathryn smiled wryly, just as Neelix hurried over with a tray of steaming food.
"Captain, I was hoping you would stop by. Iíve kept something warm for you."
"Thank you Neelix, that was very thoughtful."
The Talaxian bustled away and Janeway picked up her fork.
Chakotay watched her as she toyed with the food on her plate, a thoughtful frown between her eyes. She started as he finally asked. "Is something wrong? You look worried."
"Itís nothing new," she answered, her frown deepening. "I just came from Seven. Sheís still working."
Chakotay sighed. "Thereís nothing you can do Kathryn. You have to let them sort it out."
"I can order Seven away from Astrometrics."
"Youíve done that before. She just takes the work somewhere else."
"Theyíre both hurting so much, Chakotay. I want to help."
"I know. Iíd like to help them too, and not just because of my own vested interests."
"Theyíre special to me Chakotay. I know I shouldnít play favorites, but I canít help it where the two of them are concerned."
"They were both your personal reclamation projects. I understand."
"I just want to make things right. For both of them."
"I understand that too. But you mustnít interfere."
Kathryn looked up at him, her eyes bright with unshed tears. "Donít say it Chakotay. If I hadnít interfered in the first place, none of this would have happened. Youíre the wrong person to be talking to about this anyway."
"Kathryn, that isnít what I was going to say. You had no way of knowing what would happen. At the time, well, something had to be done. You did what you had to do. The chain of events that followed, were not your fault. People are responsible for their own actions. Myself included."
"I just want them both to be happy, Chakotay."
"I donít think thatís possible Kathryn. And that worries me to admit it. They are both happy when they are with the child. I think that will have to be enough."
"And they are so desperately unhappy the rest of the time. And no matter what you say, I feel responsible. Can they ever be happy together?"
"I donít think so, Kathryn. I truly donít. It pains me to admit this, but Tom is still in love with BíElanna. He would deny it, of course."
"Oh Chakotay. Iím sorry. I shouldnít have started this conversation."
"Itís all right Kathryn. BíElanna doesnít love him. She never did. Not really. Itís always been me with her. It just took her a while to realize it."
Kathryn sighed. "I know. And youíre both completely happy?"
"Iíve never been happier. BíElanna and the boys make my life complete."
Kathryn looked at him closely. There had been a slight hesitation before he answered. And he had looked troubled when she first saw him. The more she thought about it the more sure she was. He had been brooding.
The silence between them lengthened. "Iíd better get back," Chakotay said suddenly. "I told BíElanna I wouldnít be long. Sheíll be sending Tuvok to find me soon."
He gave a small laugh and stood up quickly. "Try not to worry, Kathryn."
She nodded. "Thanks, Chakotay."
She watched him leave and cursed silently.
Seven of Nine entered her quarters and glanced around in apprehension. She sighed, as she saw no one in the room. Tom had not waited up for her. She was not disappointed, she told herself sternly; she was relieved.
Crossing quickly over to the small bedroom, she crept in quietly. Isabelle was curled up into a little ball, fast asleep. Her golden curls hid her features, so Seven carefully brushed them back from the sweet little face.
A lump formed in her throat, as it often did, when she looked at her daughter. This was the time that she cherished the most. When there was no one to witness her vulnerability. She could let down her guard and just enjoy the feelings that consumed her.
Bending down, she kissed her daughterís forehead and then tucked the blankets more snugly around her.
Backing silently from the room, she then made her way to the main bedroom. Hesitating, she listened for a few moments, but unable to hear anything she stepped inside.
Tom was curled up, in much the same position as their daughter, sound asleep. Seven had hoped he would be. She had waited until after zero one hundred hours to come home.
Sitting in the chair in the corner of the room, she watched Tom as he slept. And again, she let the feelings consume her.
Tom woke up to the feel of a warm body curled against him. Slowly rolling over, so that he didnít wake her, he studied Seven closely in the dim light. She looked so different when she slept, soft and vulnerable. He ran his fingers through her long blond hair, loose for sleeping, and she stirred a little.
Smiling, he noticed she was wearing the bright pink pajamas he had given her for their first wedding anniversary. Tom sighed a little. Things had been so different back then. Seven snuggled in closer to him and he rubbed her back gently. If only it could be like this all the time.
He wondered what time she had finally come home and then gone to bed. He knew that she didnít need much sleep, since she would be regenerating that evening, but worried about the hours she was working anyway.
Glancing over at the chronometer, he realized that their wake up call would be going off shortly and he sighed once more. He knew exactly what would happen when it did. It was the same thing that had been happening every morning for almost two years now. Of course, that was the mornings that she woke up after him. Most mornings he woke up to find her already up and dressed.
He closed his eyes once more as he pictured it. She would stiffen in his arms and roll away. She would then ask him in that precise, polite way of hers if she could use the bathroom first. He would agree, and she would emerge no more than ten minutes later, her usual, immaculate, cool, calm and efficient self.
Opening his eyes once more, he was startled to see that she was awake and staring at him. She stiffened immediately.
"Good morning," he said softly.
"Good morning," she replied, rolling away from him and sitting up primly on the side of the bed. "It is desirable that I use the bathroom first. Is this agreeable to you?"
"Go ahead." He found he was gritting his teeth and tried to unclench his jaw.
She glanced at him curiously for a few moments before standing up. "I will not be long."
Tom forced a smile. "Take your time. Iím in no hurry."
Seven didnít answer.
"Mummy? Why are you and Daddy diffírent than other Mummies and Daddies?"
Tom, who had been in the middle of pulling on his boots, sat up straight on the bed. Isabelle and Seven were in the main room, just finishing their breakfast. Tom listened unashamedly.
"I am not sure I understand the question. Explain."
"Danny was at childcare yestíday, just for a bit. I helpted look afta him. His Mummy and Daddy kissteded. I saw them."
"That was most inappropriate." Sevenís voice was heavy with censure. Tom winced and closed his eyes.
"What does inaproprat mean?"
"It means, they should not have done that in front of you."
"Because, things like that should be done in privacy."
"When they are by themselves. So that no one else can see."
"Oh." There was a small silence. Tom finished putting on his boots. "Daddy and you kiss me when other ones can see. And so does Naomiís Mummy and the twins Mummy and Daddy. Are you all inaproprat?"
"No. That is different. Adults should kiss each other in privacy."
"Do you and Daddy kiss in privaty?"
Tom felt his stomach lurch and then sink to his shoes.
"Why do you need to know this?" Sevenís voice was a little higher than normal.
"Cause Naomi said all Mummy and Daddies do it and the twins said that their Mummy and Daddy kiss and hug all the time and she even sits in their Daddyís lap and you and Daddy never do any of that."
Tom swallowed, as an image of a laughing BíElanna, curled up in Chakotayís lap, sprang into his mind. He shook his head to clear it and jumped up from the bed quickly.
"We are all different," Seven was saying as he entered the room. "That is what makes us unique individuals, Isabelle. I would not be comfortable acting in that way."
"Oh. Naomi said it was Ďcause you were Borg."
Seven looked up as she sensed Tom standing there. "Naomi is correct," she stated, quickly looking away from him.
"But you kiss and hug me."
"That is because you are my daughter."
"And you love me," Isabelle finished.
Seven nodded. "That is correct."
Isabelle frowned suddenly. "But donít you love Daddy?" Her voice wobbled a little bit. "Heís the bestest Daddy in the whole universe. You hafta love him."
"Of course he is Isabelle. He is the best Daddy, ever."
Isabelle bobbed her head up and down and smiled again.
"Now I think perhaps you should go and wash your face and hands."
"Okay," the little girl answered cheerfully. She looked over at Tom and smiled. "Mummy and me have been having a consersation."
"Yes. I couldnít help hearing the Ďconsersationí," Tom said staring hard at Seven. As soon as Isabelle had left the room, he turned to Seven. "I think we need to discuss this."
"There is nothing to discuss. I have answered her questions satisfactorily."
"For now," Tom hissed. "What about the next time?"
"There will be no next time."
"Stop being naïve," Tom said fiercely, trying to keep his voice down. "Sheís getting older. She notices things. This was bound to happen sooner or later."
"It has happened and I have dealt with it." Seven looked at him coldly and he had to fight the urge to go over and shake her.
"This wonít be the end of this. Sheís nothing if not persistent."
"Well then, what do you suggest we do? Tell her the truth?"
Tom shook his head in confusion. Heíd been worried for some time that the relationship between Seven and himself would eventually affect Isabelle. "What is the truth Seven? I donít think I even know."
"Answer one question for me. What would your answer have been if Isabelle had asked you, if you loved, me?"
Tom looked at her in surprise. What was she getting at? "I would have said that I care about you a great deal. That you are very important to me and that you are a wonderful mother."
"But, you would have not said that you loved me. We do not lie."
"Seven, Iím not upset that you didnít tell Izzy that you love me. I agree. We shouldnít lie to her."
"Then it is as I stated. There is nothing to discuss."
Tom wasnít sure what was happening here. There was something going on with Seven that he didnít understand. But then he had never understood her. For a time he had thought he had, but that had been an illusion.
"Seven, I think we have a lot to talk about, " he began, as Isabelle came back into the room.
"Iím all clean now," she stated.
"Well done," Tom said with a smile.
"You had better go now," Seven said, not meeting his eyes. "You will be late for duty."
"Will you get in trouble with Chokay, Daddy?"
"No sweetheart, not if I leave right now." He bent down and picked her up, hugging her tightly. "Iíll pick you up this evening, when I finish in sickbay, Izzy. Mummy has to regenerate tonight."
Tom placed her back down on the floor, and turned to Seven. "Iíll see you tomorrow morning, if I donít see you during the day."
Seven nodded. "Of course."
Tom left his quarters and hurried to the bridge, disturbed at what had just occurred. He would have a talk to Chakotay. See if he could get tomorrow morning off. It was time he and Seven made a few decisions. Theyíd put it off long enough.
Heíd let things drift along, hoping that one morning heíd wake up and everything would be different. That wasnít going to happen. He would insist that they had the talk they should have had almost two years ago.
Seven, once more, entered her quarters quietly and crossing the main room quickly checked on her sleeping daughter. She then went across to the room she shared with Tom and sat in the chair in the corner of the room.
Her regeneration was complete and she had just over one hour before Tomís wake up call began.
She watched him once more as he slept. He looked peaceful and far younger than his years. A great feeling of tenderness welled up within her as she gazed at him. Seven did nothing to dampen down the feeling. She loved this man. Loved him with all her heart and soul.
She sighed thoughtfully as he mumbled and turned over in his sleep. He had sent her a message yesterday, telling her that he had that morning off and that they had things that had to be discussed. She didnít want to discuss these things.
He had said yesterday morning that he didnít know what the truth was regarding the two of them. She wondered if she could tell him. He was a kind, thoughtful and considerate man. He would pity her and life would become unbearable.
No, she couldnít tell him the truth. He would never feel about her the way she did about him. Never. He loved BíElanna. Still. Even now - five years later. He would never stop loving her.
Seven of Nine, who had once believed that emotions were a messy, irrelevant, waste of time, knew how he felt.
End Part One