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Hi, everybody! The day I posted this, December 18th, 1996, was my birthday (30! omigod!) and I decided that my boy deserved a birthday, too. Enjoy!
Happy Birthday, Tom (Humor, PG-13)
by Sarah (email@example.com)
Tired, happy and ever-so-slightly drunk, Tom Paris stumbled into his darkened quarters. His arms were laden with a motley assortment of new possessions -- birthday gifts from his crewmates on Voyager. The precariously piled load swayed as he made for the desk and dropped them on top.
He couldn't remember a happier birthday celebration since -- well, since never. The parties he had had as a child had been formal affairs, designed to show off the Admiral as a doting father with a perfect son. Once he had caught on to the real reason for the balloons and music and carefully chosen 'friends', he'd gone out of his way to ruin his father's plans as best he could. He still remembered fondly the year he had dumped cake and ice cream on the Andorian Ambassador's lap. Soon his birthday was a day like any other, unremarked and unobserved.
At the Academy, birthdays had been an excuse to party and Tom had dived in wholeheartedly, embracing his new image as a rowdy and a rogue. But somehow people always assumed he was 'the boy who had everything' and rarely even made a token gesture toward gift-giving. Most years he had ended up standing drinks for the entire bar where they were celebrating and wound up the next morning hungover and broke.
After Caldik Prime he hadn't felt like celebrating his birth.
But Voyager and the Delta Quadrant had changed a lot of things for a lot of people, especially Tom Paris. He had a whole new life and it only seemed fitting to mark the occasion. He hadn't planned on anything elaborate; he had asked Harry to join him for a replicated meal in his quarters instead of Neelix's dubious fare. Harry had accepted and suggested that they move on to the holodeck for a game of pool afterwards.
To Tom's utter astonishment and great delight, they had walked into Sandrine's and discovered -- a surprise party. Harry clapped a pointed hat on Tom's head, pushed a drink into his hand and grinned. "Happy Birthday, Tom! Welcome to your party."
Tom spent the rest of the evening in a cheerful daze. The Delaney sisters cornered him near the bar and insisted on kissing the birthday boy while certain members of the crew cheered them on. He was only allowed a quick gasp of air before B'Elanna's growl drove them away and she took their place. He found himself dipped back over her arm and kissed quickly and thoroughly.
"B'Elanna, I didn't think you cared! Does this mean we're dating?"
"That's if I bite you, Paris. This just means happy birthday. And watch where you put those hands unless you want to fly Voyager with your feet."
Various gaily wrapped parcels appeared before him. He tore into them without regard for neatness. "Neelix, how...thoughtful of you. The recipe for Tarjelian yarg stew in case I ever want to replicate it. And Kes. What's this? A miniature tomato plant! Hey, yellow tomatoes. You'll have to give me advice on keeping this one alive, I tend to have a black thumb with plants."
He shook the Morale Officer's hand gravely then turned to the pretty Ocampan. One teasing eye on Neelix, he leaned over and gave her an affectionate but brotherly buss on the cheek. "Thank you both."
From Tuvok, a small volume of Vulcan poetry. "Determined to lure me into an appreciation of logic, I see."
"Some Humans have shown themselves capable of grasping the concepts of precision and elegance....you might try applying them to something other than flying."
"Mr. Tuvok, if I didn't know better, I'd think there was a compliment buried in there somewhere."
Something vaguely obscene from Megan and Jenny....with directions for proper use. "Do I need a license to use this? I'm not sure I'm old enough. And I think you've made Harry *and* Commander Chakotay blush."
"Just make sure you only share it with, ahem, friends."
"Captain! Great party. Nice hat."
She flashed a grin at him and handed him another gift. "From the senior staff. It's meant to be shared, too. However, I doubt it'll provoke any blushes."
A data chip was revealed. "A holoprogram?"
"A very special one. We checked Voyager's library and found an old twentieth-century 2-D movie about pool. We converted it into a holonovel for you. It's quite the period piece -- it was recorded in black and white."
He read the title. "'The Hustler?' Sounds right up *your* alley."
"Oh, I think you'll be able to fit right in. Besides, you've got the right eyes."
She moved away before he could ask what she meant by the cryptic comment.
The party continued until the wee small hours as crewmembers drifted in after their shifts. Tom was one of the last to leave as he gathered his presents up and wandered home.
"Great party, great food, great presents, great friends," he informed the empty room. "The only thing that would have made it better is if I'd gotten -- no, best not to even think about it."
But the picture had already popped into his head....the present he wanted most, laying on his bed, wrapped only in a shiny ribbon. "Yeah, like that's ever going to happen. In your dreams, Paris." But the thought was seductive and he indulged himself for a minute. He'd trained himself not to let the fantasy intrude during his duty hours but what could it hurt here in the privacy of his quarters?
He imagined himself untying the bow, falling into those welcoming arms, losing himself in the sweet give and take of passion. He sighed and swayed a bit, almost feeling warm skin under his hands, against his body.
A soft sound, perhaps the rustle of skin on fabric, brought him back to reality. He shook himself and cocked his head, listening.
The sound came again. This time he could locate it. It was coming from the sleeping alcove.
Tom cautiously walked over to the bed and said, "Computer, lights."
There, laying on his bed, wearing only a strategically placed bow, was the best present he'd ever gotten.
Okay, folks, if you know me you know who's really there. But my present to you is leaving it unwritten so you can insert your own favorite. Everybody have a great year!