Title: A Promise Kept
Author: Zappy Zaps
Summary:  A trip to a DQ planet and a special anomaly result in the acquisition of a new little crewmember. (After ‘30 Days’)
Category: P, P/T
Author’s note:  This story was written just for the sake of getting this idea out of my head (it was obstructing better ideas). ? Enjoy (if you can).  By the way, if something doesn’t make sense just ignore it or accept it.  I wanted to go back and add some more information to the story but I forgot what I was going to add (I know, I know, stupid me).

It was early in the morning on Voyager. The Senior Staff was having one of their meetings.  The current topic of discussion was the area of Space that they were approaching.  Tom had brought the anomalous reading to the attention of the Captain the day before.  He now had to explain the situation to the rest of the senior Staff.  
“Mr. Paris, you were saying something about an unstable area of subspace, yesterday.” The Captain asked.
“Yes,” Tom said getting up from his seat.  He walked over to the monitor in on  the wall and brought up an sensor scan of the next area of space they were bordering.  “Part of this sector we’re entering has some unusual subspace disturbances.  We aren’t sure what caused them but it may have been some early tests of accelerating matter to light speed that cause these disturbances.”
“What effect will this have on Voyager.”
“Warp travel through this area will be limited.  If we ran into one of these pockets going at warp speed Voyager would be torn apart even with shields up.  There are however areas of subspace that are undisturbed.  We can go at Warp in theses areas but it will be a bumpy ride.”  Tapping a few keys on the panel a scan of the area where there were no disturbances.  There were patterns in that area that looked like ripples in water. “The subspace ‘bubbles’, as the navigational department has dubbed them, have had an effect on the surrounding subspace.  These won’t damage Voyager much as long as whoever is at the helm can make adequate corrections to our course and the nacelle outputs.”
“Are all the pilots competent enough for this sort of thing.” Chakotay asked looking at the sensor data.  It would be hard enough for him to pilot through that mess; how would a less experienced pilot handle it.
“Hamilton, Baytart, myself and you Commander should be able to handle this.  If you’re up to it that is.”  Tom said with a bit of a smile, issuing Chakotay a challenge that Chakotay couldn’t refuse.  “I would suggest however that we have relief pilots on standby at all time in case whoever is at the helm is tired and that no one does more than half a shift without at least a break after a few hours.  Fatigue will cause careless mistakes and unnecessary damage to Voyager.”
Janeway nodded. “Agreed.  Prepare a schedule for the pilots that will be at the helm and the relief pilot that will be stationed on the bridge.”
“Done and done, Captain.”  Tom said handing her a padd with the schedules already on it. “All it needs is the Commanders approval.” Since he was the one in charge of the duty roster.  Janeway handed Chakotay the padd.
“Well then I guess all that’s needed is some training for the pilots so they no what to expect.” Chakotay suggested.  Tom was always one step ahead of people when it came to issues about piloting.
“Already scheduled.  During Beta shift I have Baytart and Hamilton in the holodeck with me so that we can go through some simulations.  I still have to schedule at time for you, Commander to take some time in the holodeck to run through the program.”  Chakotay nodded. 
“When will be ready to go through this area of space?”  Janeway asked.  
“It will be about six hours before we reach it at our current velocity.  I’ve got Jackson covering alpha shift for me so I could finish plotting the course that we will be taking.  It’ll be on your desk by the end of Alpha shift.  But I don’t suggest that we start our journey through until each of the departments has had enough time to do any systems checks or lockdowns that need to be done.”
Janeway turned to Harry and B’elanna. “How long will you need?”  

Harry answered first. “Alpha and a bit of Beta shift probably.”  B’elanna nodded her agreement.  There wasn’t much to be done.  They had passed through a pretty dull area of space recently and had ample time to do all repairs.
“All right.  Mr. Paris when we reach the border of this area we’ll go to all stop at until tomorrow morning.  If there’s nothing else-”
“Actually Captain, I’ll need you to inform Seven that I have permission to use Astrometrics for Alpha shift.”  Tom said quickly.
Janeway nodded.  “Dismissed.”  Each person filed out of the briefing room; Harry, Chakotay, Janeway and Paris to the Bridge and B’elanna to Engineering.  Tom told Jackson to go to all stop when they reached the border of ‘bubble subspace’ before he headed to Astrometrics.
“Hello Seven.” Tom greeted the former drone cheerily. 
“Ensign,” Seven said in her usual tone.  Tom stepped up to the main console and brought up a sensor scan of ‘bubble subspace’.  Using the Astrometrics scanners he refined his previous scans.  He punched in subroutines into the computer to extrapolate the most efficient course through bubble subspace, which avoid going at impulse.  He then refined the course and took a closer look at each segment of the course.
Seven watched Tom for a while, ready to offer her assistance if needed.  Seeing that she wasn’t needed she went to occupy herself at one of the consoles on the wall.  She had briefly entertained the idea of going over the Doctor’s latest social lesson for her but she discarded that idea. 
A few hours later Commander Chakotay walked into Astrometrics to check on Tom’s progress.  He nodded to Seven as he went to see Tom.  “How’s it going Tom?” Chakotay inquired.
“All right.” he said distractedly and not taking his eyes off the screen.  “There are some interesting patterns in the ripples in subspace.  You see here,” Tom enlarged a portion of the sensor scan “The subspace ripples are have interference effects on each other.  When two subspace bubble are fairly close to each other the ripples they cause overlap and create interference patterns like nodes and anti-nodes of a standing wave.  Travelling through the areas with nodes will make the ride smoother but if we happen to wander off course there are areas of high interference on each side.”  He continued to tap commands into the console.  Right now Tom reminded him a lot of Janeway when she was in her scientist mode.  Totally engrossed in the task at hand and giving everything else around her nothing more than a fleeting thought.  
“Just don’t forget to eat and breathe.” Chakotay reminded him with a friendly pat on the back as he turned to go.  
“A message from B’Elanna no doubt.” Tom threw over his shoulder to Chakotay.
“From Harry and B’Elanna and the Captain and myself actually.” Chakotay threw back.  
“Will do.”  Chakotay left Astrometrics and headed to Engineering to check on B’elanna’s progress but his thoughts were elsewhere.  He was thinking about how his relationship with Tom Paris had progressed over the last few years.  On Voyager Chakotay had come to know a different Tom Paris than the one he knew in the Maquis.  Tom had proven himself several times that he could be trusted and had earned the respect of everyone on the ship if not their friendship.  He and Tom had founded a relationship, based on mutual respect that had slowly turned into a friendship.  How things have changed; that he can stand here today and call Tom Paris a friend.

Beta shift was just about to begin and Irene Hamilton and Pablo Baytart walked together towards the holodeck to meet Ensign Paris.  They talked about various happenings around the ship until the reached the holodeck. They had expected Tom to be outside waiting for them.  “I hope we aren’t late.” Irene said to Pablo as they walked into the holodeck.  
Stepping inside they founds themselves on the bridge of Voyager.  The duty stations were empty except for the helm where Tom was sitting.  The bridge shuddered a bit but Tom soon compensated for the disturbance and the ride was smooth again.  They watched for a few moments before making their presence known.  
“Oh, hi.” Tom said smiling “Your right on time.  I was a little early and waiting has never been my forté so I decided to run a couple of sims through bubble subspace.” He said rising from the seat at the helm.  “Did you look over the data I sent.” They both nodded “All right then who’s the first brave soul to try my program.”  He asked rubbing his hands together. 
“You mean victim.” Pablo corrected playfully.
“Mr. Baytart, I’m glad you volunteered.” Tom said ushering a surprised Pablo to the helm while Irene laughed.  Pablo went first but by the time the simulated Voyager had reached the first subspace bubble ands dropped to impulse Pablo was pooped.
“I hope that you programmed this simulation to be harder than reality.” He said
“Maybe just a little.  But then again I’ve never piloted through subspace ripples before” Tom said walking back down to the helm from the Ops station.  “You did a good job though.  Very little damage.”  
“Maybe, but this is pretty tiring.  I don’t know if I could do this for four hours.”
“This is the type of challenge pilots live for, Pablo.”  Tom said enthusiastically. “Don’t worry so much.  You’ll get a little break every time we enter an subspace bubble and if you feel too tired to continue at any time, all you have to do is get the relief pilot to take over for a little while..”
“If you say so.” Pablo said getting up from the helm to let Irene have a turn.  Tom had more confidence in Pablo and Irene as pilots than they had in themselves, he did train them after all.  For Pablo and Irene, Tom’s confidence in them was a great compliment.  Neither of them had ever met anyone with as more skill at the helm than Tom.  During there time at the academy no one had beaten his records in the flight simulations.  He had almost all the records.
At 2030 Tom let Pablo and Irene leave.  They had run simulations for hours learning different techniques and tricks that would make the trip through bubble subspace easier.  They had left the holodeck exhausted.  Making so many calculations, compensating for every single fluctuation in the nacelles or from subspace was hard and tiring work.  Tom decided to stay for a little while longer to do some more practicing.  It was 2310 when Captain Janeway walked into holodeck two and kicked him out.  She had checked the logs and said that he had had enough practice for one night.  They couldn’t have a tired pilot at the helm tomorrow morning.

Tom walked into his quarters to find B’elanna sitting on his couch waiting for him.  “Hello.” She greeted him giving him quick kiss.  “The Captain finally got you out of the holodeck?” she asked although she knew the answer.
“Why do I think that you had a hand to play in that.”  He said wrapping his arms around her waist.  
“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.”  she said twisting out of his grip.  “I know that you didn’t eat dinner though, so…” she dragged him over to the table that was set up nicely for a dinner for two.  “I thought we could share a nice late-night dinner together.”
Tom wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed the top of her head. “You didn’t have to wait for me.” He said feeling guilty.  She turned to face him.
“I wanted to.” She said looking into his eyes.  Tom could loose himself in those beautiful brown eyes.  He smiled and kissed her tenderly on the lips. 
That night they shared a quiet evening together enjoying each others company.  A night that seemed to pass by too quickly and they had to go to bed if they wanted to be awake the next morning.  B’elanna changed into one of Tom’s T- shirts and lay next to him in his bed, deciding to stay the night in his quarters.  They fell asleep quickly, with one of Tom’s arms around B’elanna holding her close to him.

The next morning Tom and B’elanna made it to the bridge slightly early after eating a replicated breakfast.  Knowing glances flew around the bridge when they enter together but no one said anything.  Tuvok was in charge of the bridge at the time, filling in for Janeway and Chakotay until one of them got there.  Only moments later Chakotay and Janeway arrived on the bridge ready to begin alpha shift.
“Mr. Paris” Janeway said sitting in her seat “Engage when ready.”
“Yes ma’am.” 
Voyager pivoted to the port and in a flash of light jumped to warp.  The bridge was more quiet than usually.  Due mostly to the fact the person who usually does most of the talking was occupied.
The first moments after entering bubble space was pretty turbulent but Tom had soon compensated and the turbulence decreased tremendously.  Tom was silent throughout his half shift at the helm.  For four hours Tom slid from one end of the helm controls to the other, controlling each nacelle separately and constantly monitoring engine readouts and external sensors.  Tom seemed to be enjoying himself though, sliding from one side to the other.
“Looks like fun.” Janeway said quietly to the Commander making him smile.
When Hamilton came to take the conn Tom didn’t seem tired at all.  He had asked the Captain to let him do full shifts at the conn but she had said that would be a double standard and was reluctant to have anyone at the conn for such a long period of time doing so much work.  It will take Voyager at least a week to transverse this part of space when it would usually take only four days at warp six.  Going around though would have taken  at least two months and since this area of space could be transversed with relatively little difficulty the Captain decided to go through.
On the third day of travel through this are of space the crew was getting fed up with the constant vibrations when they were at warp.  Everyone on board could tell when Paris was at the helm; that’s when the ride was smoothest.  He made several minute adjustments that kept Voyager riding the ripples rather than going through them.  This of course required a lot of work on the part of the pilot.  Rotating the EM frequency so that it would coincide with the fluctuations of subspace.  All resulting in a smoother more pleasing ride for the crew.  Hamilton, Baytart and Chakotay found that they were too busy keeping the nacelles on the ship to worry about a bit of shaking.  Some crewmembers even suggested that Tom pilot during Gamma shift so that the crew could get a good night sleep. 
Other than the almost constant vibrations, it was a pretty boring trip.  The only people that were busy were the pilots.  With some of the systems locked down many people where left with very little to do.  The holodecks were busy and Neelix was planning some sort of party to break the monotony.  Finally on the seventh day the monotony ended -a day early too.
 “We’re through Captain.  Back to regular subspace.” Hamilton said with a smile as her relief pilot came to take the helm.  She had just finished the second half of Gamma shift after Ensign Paris and was going to bed.  Janeway smiled and nodded to the helm officer as she made her way to her quarters.  Sleep sounded good.

Three hours, at high warp, later Voyager approached an M-class moon with warp fairing humanoids.  “Hail them.” Janeway ordered.
“They’re responding.” Said Harry at Ops.
“Welcome to Obsadan Space.”  The man on the screen greeted.  Janeway smiled.  Finally a species that didn’t shoot first.  
“I’m Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Starship Voyager.  We’re travelling home to the alpha quadrant and are hoping that we would be able to spend some time on your planet and perhaps do some trading of resources.”
“Of course Captain.”

The next day, Thursday, people began beaming down to see the planet.  And just like every Thursday Tom Paris had a date with Naomi Wildman.  Tom and Naomi were going planetside together and were dragging Seven along with them.
“It’ll be fun Seven.  You’ll see.”  Naomi said pulling on Seven’s hand for her to hurry up.  Seven had restrained herself from making one of her usual ‘recreation is an inefficient use of time’ comments.  She had just picked up Naomi from her quarters and were on their way to Transporter room two to meet Tom.
When they entered the transporter room Tom was making conversation with the Ensign at the controls, until he saw Naomi anyway.  A huge smile spread across his face.  Naomi ran to Tom with open arms to be picked up and he gladly obliged.  “And how are you today Munchkin?”  
“I’m not a munchkin.” Naomi protested.
“Are you sure?”  Seven watched as the two went through their usual script.  Stepping onto the tranpsorter pad Tom put Naomi down so that they could transport to the surface.  The blue transporter beam engulfed them and they were deposited in a busy market place.  Naomi looked around excitedly.  There were shops everywhere.  The Obsandans were also very interesting.  Their skin was tanned and they had dark hair.  They had spots on the sides of their faces that were just slightly darker than the rest of their skin tone.
Naomi grabbed one of Tom and one of Seven’s hands and pulled them to a little shop that sold precious stones.  Naomi was captivated by an orb that changed colour depending on how much light was on it.  Tom bought it for her using some of the local currency that they had.  He also bought something for B’Elanna.  She was working with the Obsadan engineers, trading components and materials.
After leaving the marketplace the trio walked through a park.  Seven was holding Naomi’s hand while Tom was holding a bunch of bags.  Naomi had found a lot of things that she liked and found a lot of things that she thought her mom would like.  Naomi even got Seven to buy a couple of things. 
They decided to stay in the park for a while and Tom was grateful.  Carrying packages around wasn’t his idea of shoreleave.  A playground!  Now that looked like fun.  The park had a small playground with swings and slide and a jungle gym (sort of).  Tom and Naomi took off to for the playground racing each other.  Tom was one of the few crewmembers that could keep up with an active Naomi.  They played together for a while before they had to return to the ship.  
Tom was holding Naomi’s hand as they walked through the less crowded marketplace.  Naomi was chatting happily about everything they did that day and the people of the planet when a small child ran into Tom’s leg and latched on.  Tom was startled and stopped walking.  The child looked up to Tom and with pleading blue eyes asked to help him.  Tom let go of Naomi’s and telling her to hold Seven’s and kneeled to talk with the frightened child.
The little boy had dark blonde hair and light blue eyes exactly like another person that we know.  
“Hey what’s the matter?” Tom said softly as he looked at the child.  If he were human he looked like he would be about four years old.
“Don’t let them take me!” The little boy cried and buried his face in Tom’s chest. Tom instinctively wrapped an arm around the child and tried to soothe him.  Tom looked up to Seven for help but she was as confused as he was.
“There you are!” yelled a man in a security uniform.  The little boy moved closer to Tom.  “Your coming with me!” he said maliciously.  He reached down to grab the child but Tom grabbed his wrist and kept him from touching the boy.
“Who are you and what is going on?” Tom picked up the child and stood to his full height towering over the shorter security guard.  
“Is he your child?” the guard asked noting the similarities between the child and the man holding him.  Tom was confused.  His child?
“What?  No he’s not my-” Tom was interrupted as the guard grabbed Tom’s wrist and looked at the back of his hand and then looked at the back of the child’s hand.
“You’re not his father or of kin.” The guard stated slightly perturbed.  They looked so similar though.
“I said that already.  Why is he supposed to come with you?”  Tom was tired of being in the dark about what was going on.
“He stole a samby fruit from one of the merchants.”  Tom looked at the child and saw that he was holding a small fruit in his hands.  Tom rolled his eyes and reached into his pocket.  It was a tiny little pink fruit.  Tom took out some of the currency he had and dropped it in the guard’s hand.  
“Will this cover it?” Tom asked.  The guard looked at the currency and did a quick count.  He nodded and walked away from them to the merchant.  “Hey! Will you take this child home?” Tom called to the retreating figure.  
“Not my problem.” The guard called over his shoulder to Tom.  Tom looked to Seven and Naomi and then back to the child in his arms.  Tom couldn’t leave the child in the Marketplace alone.  He came to a decision.
“Seven you take Naomi back to the ship.  I’ll take him home.”
“I believe that your shift in Sickbay starts in less then thirty minutes.  You will not be able to take the child home and be on time for your shift.”  Seven said
“If you’ve gat a better idea Seven, I’m listening.”  She didn’t have one.  “All right.  I’ll help you take the packages to the beam out point and after you two have beamed up I’ll find where he lives.”  Tom grabbed some more bags and they made there way the short distance to the beam out point.  Tom tried to talk to the child he was carrying but the child remained silent.  He was eying Seven and Naomi curiously.  His eyes grew as big as saucers when he saw them disappear in the blue light.
Tom put the child down and crouched so that he was eye level with him.  “What’s your name?” Tom asked for the third time.  
“Demian,” he said quietly.  Tom smiled finally a response.
“Do you know how to get home?” Demian nodded.  Tom smiled more making Demian smile as well.  “Well then you lead and I’ll take you home.  All right?” the little boy nodded vivaciously.  Tom lifted the child so that he sat on his shoulder.  The child put his hands on Tom’s forehead to sturdy himself.  He was amazed by the view from that height.  Usually he saw everything from a much lower perspective.  From Tom’s shoulders it looked like he could see forever.
“Lead on.”  Demian was smiling broadly and point in the direction of the other side of the marketplace.  Demian guided Tom away from the marketplace to the outskirts of the city.  The further from the marketplace they got the worse the housing got.  Finally Demian pointed to a run down little home.  Tom took Demian off his shoulders but carried him.  He knocked on the door and waited for someone to open.  He waited for a while and Tom had a horrible thought the child might be living alone.  Just then a small woman opened the door just a crack so that she could see who was at the door.  The moment she saw who Tom was carrying a huge smile spread across her face and she opened the door fully.
“Demian!” she cried taking the boy from Tom.  Another man came from inside the house when heard her yell ‘Demian’.  He eyed Tom dubiously and ushered Demian and the woman closer to the house.  The woman gave Demian to the man and approached Tom smiling.  “Thank you so much we had looked for him all day at the marketplace.  He was separated from us when we were there.”
“Are you his parents?” Tom asked.  Both her and the man had dark hair and dark eyes and he wondered if they were his real parents.  She shook her head and showed him the back of her hand.  It was glowing a faint blue colour.
“I’m his mother’s sister.  Our connection is not as strong as parent and child.” She said looking at her hand.  That was why the guard looked at the back of their hands when he asked if the child was his.  When in close proximity to those of close relation the backs of their hands glowed blue.  
“Your not Obsadan are you?” she shook her head again.
“We are Hevan.  We were workers here years ago but gained our freedom.  Most of the Hevan left for our home planet but during the mass evacuation.  Demian was separated from his parents and was left behind.  We’ve taken care of him for the past year.  We’ll be going home soon hopefully as well.  Hevan are not welcome here anymore.” She said quietly.  Tom was about to say something when Harry’s voice called.
“Kim to Paris.”
“Go ahead.”  Tom said tapping his commbadge.
“You’re out of the designated area for shore leave and your late getting back to the ship.” Kim said
“I’ll be back soon. Paris out.”  Tom cut the link before Harry could ask anymore questions.  He turned to the woman before him “I’m sorry…” he didn’t know her name.
“Aggel.” She supplied.
“Aggel, but I have to get back to my ship.”
“Voyager?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m late I have to go. Bye Demian.” Tom waved to the child who waved back smiling at him. “Aggel.” Tom said and then began to jog away.  Aggel watched him until he was out of sight.  Tom was in a full out sprint when he reached the beam out point.  Calling for transport he was beamed into the transporter room.  After nodding his thanks to the crewmen at the transporter controls.  Tom began to run toward Sickbay.  He reached Sickbay four minutes late for his shift.  
“Mr. Paris you’re late.” The Doctor said as soon as Tom enterd.
“Sorry Doc.  I’ll make it up to you.  You can come back late from the planet.  Just not too late I have plans for tonight.”  The Doctor nodded happily and after telling Tom the things he wanted him to do while he was here he left to take his shore leave and take some picture with his imager.  

His shift in Sickbay was boring.  Most of the crew was on leave.  He was going through the list of jobs the Doc wanted him to do.  ‘Take an invertory’.  Tom went to work.  The work was mundane and monotonous.  He began humming to himself without realizing it.  

 Several minutes later Harry Kim walked in to Sickbay.  He was greeted by a tenor voice singing softly.  Harry knew that it wasn’t the doctor and had a suspicion about who it was.  He didn’t see anybody at first but as he walked further into Sickbay he saw who it was.

 The Doc arrived soon after Harry had entered Sickbay and Tom and Harry left together.  Harry was chatting away while Tom was thinking more about the trip back to the surface he and most of the crew of Voyager are going on tonight. The Obsadan where through a huge bash; pulling out all the stops.  It was formal event but the Obsadan insisted to that uniforms where not worn which meant something other than the dress uniform.  
 “I had no idea.” Harry said.
 “What?”  Tom hadn’t been listening completely.
 “That you could sing so well.  You’ve been holding out on us.  Now you have no excuse not to participate in talent night.”  Harry said.
 “Thanks, but no Thanks.”  Tom said as they entered the turbolift.  “Deck eleven.” Tom called.
 “Don’t worry Tom, I’ll make sure that they leave you a space for your performance.”  Harry said playfully.  Tom shook his head and stepped off the turbolift.  “I’ll be in the audience, front and center!”  Harry yelled just before the doors slid shut.  

 Tom entered main Engineering and he exited a few minutes later though his mood was much worse than when he entered.  In the few minutes that he was in her company they had managed to get into an argument.  Tom had left before he said something that he would regret.  For some reason his presence at the time seemed to irritate her.  He couldn’t remember doing anything lately that would make her angry at him.  He returned to his quarters.  He had to get ready for this …thing that was happening later this evening.  He ran a hand through his hair.  He still had to find something to wear.  Looks like he would be going to the party without a date tonight.

 B’Elanna was already on the surface of the planet and was talking with her long-time friend Chakotay.  She was feeling a little guilty about what she had said to Tom earlier.  He had just come in at the wrong time and caught her in a bad mood.  Everything was going wrong and she wasn’t in the mood for his usual light-hearted banter.  She hadn’t seen him yet and guessed that he had yet to beam down from the ship.  
 At that moment a blue transporter beam appeared not too far from the main gathering of people and Tom’s form coalesced.  He looked around the large hall.  It was ornately decorated with tapestries and paintings.  Tom looked at the crowd of people that were there.  He noticed B’Elanna.  She was wearing a burgundy dress that ended just above her knees showing off her finely toned legs.  It was sleeveless with a ‘V’ neck.  She looked amazing in it.  Their eyes met briefly before Tom turned and went to look around.
 There were several of the crewmembers and even more Obsadan officials present. Tom greeted them cordially as he made his way from painting to painting.  He wasn’t an artist but he was curious of what era the paintings were from.  Some seemed more modern and other seemed archaic.  So pre-occupied with his thoughts he did not notice the eyes that followed him around.  
 Tom was wearing black pants with a royal blue silk collarless shirt and a black fitting vest.  He looked very handsome and had caught the eye of several of the female crewmembers and the female Obsadan when he had beamed down.  The Voyager women knew that Tom was taken even though they had all heard about the argument that he and the chief engineer had earlier but they could still look.  The female Obsadan where very blatant.  They just stared.  Obsadan where all very open about sexuality and made no secret of any attractions they had.  
 Tom joined Harry who was talking to a couple of Obsadan women. They talked for a while before the main event happened.  The main event was and arts show that displayed the history and heritage of the many Obsadan tribes.  
 After the show people mingled in and aroundthe building.  Tom was outsides, alone, walking through the gardens.  The lamps provided soft lighting.  Some of the flowers seemed luminescent in the soft lighting. The path through the garden was winding but Tom wasn’t in any hurry.  He stopped walking and crouched down to get a closer look at the plant.  
 “Do you like them?”  a voice from behind him asked.  He turned and saw a young girl dressed in formal attire.  He smiled at her.
 “They’re beautiful.”  He satated.  She seemed pleased with that.
 “I helped plant them.” She stated proudly.  She couldn’t have been more that twelve in human years.  Tom stood and dusted off his hands.  “There called Arysis Blooms.”
 “Do they always glow like that?” Tom asked.
 “During the nights.  Most of the plants glow at one time or another, usually during the night.  It’s so pretty when they all glow at the same time.”  She smiled.  “Would you like to see some more of my plants?” she asked excitedly.
 “Sure.”  Tom said.  He couldn’t say ‘no’ to her.  She grabbed his hand and began leading him to another patch of plants.  While they were looking at them a loud rumbling sound in the distance caught their attention.  The sky was streaked with several exhaust lines from the engines of some sort of crafts.  “What are those?”  Tom asked.
 “The Hevan are going away.” She said a little sadly.
 “They have a new home now.  There going to the vortex that will take them home.  It only opens once a years so they have to leave together.  The grown ups don’t want them here anymore.”
 “But you do.”
 “Imeer was my best friend and now she’s going away.”  The girl said sadly.
 “Maybe you can visit her.”  She didn’t answer.  Tom took her hand and they went back to the building.  Once there she rejoined her family.  Her father was one of the officials that the Captain had been trading with.  Tom spent the rest of the night hanging out with Harry.  He guessed that the vortex that Reem, the young girl spoke of was some sort of wormhole.  He asked Harry if he had heard about a wormhole around here.  Harry had during one of the discussions he had with some of the Obsadan scientists.  It was a wormhole but it was unstable, and only showed up about once a year.  It was too small to take Voyager through as well.  It would only take a couple of months off their trip anyway so it wasn’t a big loss.  The Voyager crewmembers left late in the night.  They would be breaking orbit the next day. 

 At 1000 Voyager left the Obsadan home-world.   Tom was at the conn.  It was a normal day on Voyager until the subspace disturbances appeared again.  The ship began to shake violently.  The inertial dampeners where having trouble compensating for all the motion.  
 “Mr. Paris, report.”  Janeway said as she tried to stay seated.
 “There are more subspace bubble here Captain.”
 “Why didn’t we detect these before?”  Chakotay asked.
 “The just appeared now.”  Tom was working on finding the calmest areas and moved voyager along that course.  The shaking became less violent and crewmembers released the death grips the had on their consoles.
 “Captain I’m receiving a distress call.”  Harry said from his station.
 “Can trace it?” 
 “It’s coming from heading 375 mark 43.”
 “Tom.” Janeway said to her helmsman who was still battling the helm controls. “Can you navigate Voyager along that heading.”
 “Probably, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Voyager would take heavy damage.” He said not taking his eyes off the helm controls.  “A shuttle could make the trip more easily though.  It would be able to ride the subspace ripples more easily.”  Tom said.
 “Commader take the conn, Tom take the flyer and try to get to them.”  Tom nodded and left his station. “Tuvok.”  The Vulcan nodded and entered the turbolift with Paris.  “Harry tell them that help is on the way.”  
 “Message has been sent but I’m not receiving any response.”

 A few minutes later on the flyer.  “The ship has appeared on sensors.”  Tuvok stated.  Sensors weren’t completely accurate due to the subspace interference.  “No response from hails.  I am detecting two life signs.”
 “Can you get a transporter lock?”  Tom asked as he brought the flyer close to the damaged vessel.  It wasn’t very big.  May two and a half time as big as the flyer.  It was badly damaged however.  From the Flyer they could see some hull breaches and the plasma leaking from the engines.  
 “I can not.”
 “It still has an atmosphere.  We can go in and set up pattern enhancers.” Tom suggested and Tuvok agreed. They equipped themselves accordingly, Tom also taking a mad kit with him, and beamed to the other ship.
 The was a strong smell of burnt materials but the air was breathable.  They were on the bridge of the ship.  Most of the consoles had exploded and bulkhead lay broken on the floor of the.  “Tuvok, over here.”  Tom said.  There was a life-sign in that direction.  Tom and Tuvk followed the sensors and found a large piece of metal the was pinning somebody down. Together they managed to lift the piece of the body.  
 “Aggel!” Tom exclaimed. He scanned her with the medical tricorder.
 “You know her.” 
 “I met her while we where on the Obsadan homeworld.  She’s badly injured I’m not sure even the Doctor could save her.”  Tom pressed a hypo to her neck.  He couldn’t do much but he had to do something.  He closed the med kit while Tuvok set up the transporter enhancers.  Tom looked around using his eyes and the tricorder.  If Aggel was here then Demian and the other man she was with might also be here.  He came upon another body.  The body was badly burned and it was easy to tell that he was dead.  Tom continued walking.  He followed his tricorder readings and came up to a set of doors.  They were jammed shut but according to the tricorder the other life sign was on the other side.  Tuvok came and helped Tom pry the doors open after he had transported the woman to the medical bay of the flyer.  The doors slid open only a few centimetres but it was enough for someone to slip through.  Inside the room was a light grey smoke that made it impossible to see more than an arm’s-length in front of them.  Tuvok scanned the smoke and determined that it was toxic but short exposure would not do permanent damage.  Without another word Tom slipped in through the small opening.  It had to be Demian in there and he had to get him out before it was too late.  
 Tuvok waited outside.  If Tom didn’t come out soon he would go in and get him but both of them should not go in at once so he waited.  He didn’t wait long.  Tuvok heard Tom call his name and he hand a child through small opening before he himself slipped back out.  Tom was coughing as he took out his medical tricorder.  The child was Demian.  He looked at the tricorder readings and pressed a hypo to Demians neck.  “He’s alright just some smoke inhalation.”  Tom said after a cough.  
 “The engines are unstable we must leave.” Tovok said.  Tuvok carried the child while they went to where the transporter enhancers where ser up.  The beamed back to the flyer.  Tuvok went to do what he could in the medical area for the child and the woman while Tom took the shuttle back to Voyager.  He noticed absently on the sensors that the other vessel exploded.  The shuttle made it back to Voyager no problems.  As soon as they were within range Tom, Demian and Aggel where beamed to Sickbay while Tuvok brought in the shuttle.

 “Report.” Janeway said as she entered Sickbay a few minutes later.  The Doctor was still hovering over the woman the was under the medical arch while Tom was talking to and healing the now conscious little boy.  
 The Doctor stepped closer to the Captain and spoke quietly so that the child couldn’t here them, or so he thought.  “The child will make a full recovery but there is nothing that I can do for the woman. Her injuries are too severe.”  
 “Can you wake her.”
 “Yes.”  The doctor picked up a hyposparay and they walked over to the woman.  Her face had no abrasions on it.  The doctor had healed what he could.  On the other biobed.  Demian was startled. “Is she going to die?”  He asked suddenly.
 “What?”  Tom was confused.  How did Demian know that Aggel was probably going to die.
 “Aggel,”  Tears were forming. 
 “I don’t know.”  Tom said softly.

 “Where am I?”  the woman on the biobed asked.
 “Your on the Starship Voyager.  We responded to your distress call.”  Janeway informed her.
 “We didn’t make it.”  She tried to get up but was too weak.  “What’s wrong with me?”  She looked between the Doctor and Captain Janeway.  They were hesitant to tell her.  
 “You were injured very badly.”
 “Am I going to die?” she asked before the Doctor could go on.
 “Yes, I’m sorry.”   Aggel swallowed.  
 “Hiral?  Demian?”  She asked fearing the worst.
 “Your companion didn’t survive.  The little boy id fine.”  The Doctor said.
 “Can I see him?”  she said.  Tears where blurring her vision.  The doctor hesitated noticing that her bioreading where weakening.  She didn’t have much time.  “Please.”  The Doctor nodded and a moment later Tom brought Demian over to Aggel.
 “Aggel!”  Demian cried when he caught sight of her.  Tom placed him on the biobed.  Aggel smiled weakly at him.
 “Demian I have to leave you.”  She began.  Demian didn’t understand. “I’m going to the ‘Life After’.” She said trying to explain it to him.  
 “No, you have to stay here.”  He said.  A tear escaped and coursed over his cheek.
 “I’m sorry Demian.” She whispered.  Her strength was leaving her.  “I love you and so do your parents.” She wiped the tear from his face.  She looked up to Tom. “Tom … please take care of him.” He nodded to her last request.  She looked back at Demian. “I’m sorry.”  She whispered with her last breath.  Her hand fell lifelessly to the bed.
 “Aggel?”  Demian waited for her to respond.  “Aggel! Wake up!”  He began to shake her.  Tears of frustration and sorrow followed same path as the one before.  “Aggel!” he yelled her name.  Trying vainly to bring her back.  He got no response.  He understood death but was unwilling to accept it.  “Aggel.” He sobbed.  He rested his head on her trying to stay as close to her as he could.  Sickbay was silent except for broken pleas and sobbing.  “Don’t leave me.”
 The crying had softened when Tom picked up Demian.  He continued crying on his shoulder as the doctor covered the body of the deceased.  Tom sat on one of the other biobeds while he gently rubbed Demian’s back trying to soothe the child.  Janeway and the Doctor went to the Doctor’s office to talk. 
 Half and hour later on the bridge.  Janeway walked out of the turbolift and onto the bridge, her face set in  a grim expression. What she had seen in Sickbay had affected her as it would any other person.  “Ensign Kim,  Are we within range to hail the Obsadan homeworld?”  she asked.
 “Yes Captain.”
 “Hail them.” She sat heavily in her command chair.  From his seat next to her, Chakotat noted the differences.  He wondered what had happened to the survivors.
 “They’re responding.”  Harry said.
 “On Screen.”  The viewscreen changed showing a picture of one of the officials that she had talked with before.
 “Captain Janeway, I trust your crew is well.”  The man said neutrally.
 “We’re fine, thank you, but we have a passenger on board that is from your planet.  We responded to a distress call but there was only one survivor.  I thought that it was best that he be with his own people.”  Janeway said. She had talked briefly with Tom before she left sickbay since he seemed to know the child and the woman who died.  
 “There is an Obsadan with you?”  The man didn’t understand how that was possible.  Obsadan rarely left the planet unless it was to get resoures from the asteroid field and Voyager was in the opposite direction from it.
 “No he’s Hevan-”
 “I’m sorry Captain but there is no place for him here.  There are no Hevan here anymore.”  
 “But surely there is a place where he can go, a home for children without family-”
 “Not for him.”
 “He’s very young and we can’t take him with us back to the Alpha Quadrant.”
 “I’m sorry Captain but we will not accept him back.”  The man was adamant.  Janeway conceded.  They obviously did not want any Hevan on their planet.  “We can send you the information on the Hevan that we have: their culture, language, biological records.  You may be able to find their world.  We do not know exactly where it is but it is in the general direction of your home.  We’ll send you the information immediately.”  Before Janeway or anybody could say anything the man ended the communication. Janeway nearly sighed.  Nothing was ever easy in this quadrant.
 “Captain?” Chakotay turned to his Captain.  Nobody had any idea what was going on.
 “Assemble the Senior Staff.  We have something to discuss.”  Chakotay nodded.  

 Twenty minutes later. Tom walked into the conference room.  He was the last to arrive.  He had to convince Demian that the Ensign Wildman was a friend and that he would be back.  He sat in the only vacant seat, which unfortunately for him was across from B’Elanna.  They hadn’t talked to each other since the argument in Engineering.
 The Captain explained what had happened to the woman who had made it back to Voayger before dying.  “Mr. Paris,  you seem to know them.  When did you meet them?” Janeway asked.  
 “While I was on shoreleave I took Demian back to his home after he got into some trouble in the Market place.  That’s where I met Aggel.” He said.  The Captain nodded and then after a pause she continued.
 “According to the information that we were given the new homeworld of the Hevan is in the same path as our’s to the Alpha Quadrant.  The wormhole however streches for several light years.  Our sensors couldn’t determine the length exactly but it will take us months to get to the other end.  Until then Demian will have to stay with one of the crewmembers.”
 “How about Sam Wildman.  She knows how to take care of children.”  Harry suggested.  The Captain disagreed.
 “It would be too much for one person to have take care of two active children.”
 “Demian seems most comfortable with Mr. Paris.”  The Doctor said “It would be advisable for the child to remain with someone who he feels safe with.”  Everybody looked to Tom.  
 “You can’t be serious!”  Tom said.
 “You already babysit for Naomi Wildman and she is very comfortable around you.”  The Doctor stated.
 “That’s different.”
 “I don’t see how.  You’ll just have to be Uncle Tommy more often.”  The Doctor said.
 “Tom, are you up to it?”  The Captain asked him.  Tom nodded.  “We’ll take care of the additions to your quarters.  Dismissed.”  Tom and the Doctor went back to Sickbay.
 When they entered Sam was reading Demian a story.  The Doctor went into the office to read up about Hevan physiology.  Tom hung back waiting until Sam finished the story before approaching.  “Tom,” Demian raised his arms to be picked up when he saw Tom coming over to him.  Tom thanked Sam and then talked to Demian.
 “So you’ll be staying with me for a while.  Is that okay with you?”  Demian nodded silently.

 Demian was playing with some toys on the floor of Tom’s quarters.  They had already moved another little bed into Tom’s quarters and put up some temporary dividers so Demian could have something like his own room.  Tom was reading up on the information that the Doctor had given him.  It was just one of four padds that he still had to read.  He would try to adhere to Hevan customs and culture as much as possible so that when Demian was returned to his people it would not be a cultural shock for him.  Tom was sitting on the couch looking up occasionally to check on Demian.  A few minutes later he felt a tugging on his pant leg.  He lowered the padd.  Demian was looking rather saddened.  Tom pulled him into his lap.  “Are you okay?”  Tom asked gently.  Demian leaned against Tom and nodded.  He just wanted to be held.  Tom looked down at the child that was in his lap.  He had never noticed the similarities in their appearance before.  Same fair skin, same blue eyes, and same dark blonde hair.  
 A child is a huge responsibility.  Tom could baby-sit children but this… this was much more.  Having Demian with him would mean more than a change in his daily schedule.  There was now someone depending on him to keep them safe and be there for them.  That meant no more taking the extremely dangerous missions.  He had always been willing to take those before thinking that it was worth the risk but then he didn’t have someone depending on him.  B’Elanna and Harry are adults, they don’t need him but Demian does.  B’Elanna, where does this put them.  They still haven’t talked about the argument in Engineering.  They had maybe once talked about having children when they were talking about whether they ever wanted to have a family but they had never had any conversation where they talked directly about having kids.  
 He shook his head to clear his thoughts and went back to reading the padd, while Demian sat in his lap content where he was.

 Two days later in the Mess hall it was lunch time.  Most of the crew was talking about their new crewmember.   Very few people had seen Demian yet since Tom was slowly introducing him to things around the ship so that Demian wasn’t overwhelmed but those who had were astounded by the resemblance between Tom and Demian.  The doors to the mess hall opened and Tom Paris walked in carrying little Demian.  It was their first visit to the Mess hall.  Demian had only eaten replicated food until now.  The doctor wanted to make sure that Neelix’s cooking wouldn’t be harmful to Demian’s physiology.
 Tom walked over to the always boisterous Neelix and introduced Demian to him and vice versa.  Demian said a small hi to Neelix.  Neelix smiled at the shy child and got them something to eat.  Tom joined Harry and Ensign McCormick at their table.  Neelix put the trays down and Tom thanked him before Neelix went back to the kitchen.
 “Demian this is Harry Kim and Elise McCormick.  Elise, Harry this is Demian.” 
 “Hi.” They said in unison.  Demian waved at them.  Tom put him in the chair across from him but noticed that the table was too high for him.  He would have to get Naomi’s old booster chair if it was still around.  Unitl then…he picked up Demian again and sat him in his lap and moved his tray of food over to that side of the table.  
 Harry and Elise shared a smile.  Tom was very natural with Demian and the resemblance was uncanny.  Everybody in the Mess Hall noticed the resemblance.  Several glances went to the direction of Tom and Demian.  After their meal Tom took Demian to meet Naomi.  Demian would be spending the afternoon with her and Crewamn Celes who would be watching them.  Tom had not gone on duty yesterday so that Demian wasn’t alone.  
 Tom left the holodeck after saying bye to Demian who was less than thrilled with having to spend the afternoon with strangers.  Tom took his usual place on the bridge and he could almost feel the stares as he sat there at the front of the bridge. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see the Captain.  “How are you holding up Tom?”  she asked with a smile.
 “Alright I suppose.  I can’t help wondering if I was as hard to dress as a child.”  He joked.  He had grossly underestimated the time it would take to dress a child.  “Demian is alright too, I think.  He’s really quiet.”
 “He’s probably just getting used to the crew and the ship.”  Janeway said and patted him on the shoulder before going back to her command chair.

 Kathryn Janeway was right, as always.  Demian was just getting used to all the different people on the ship and the ship itself.  A week later Demian was just like any other hyperactive child.  He and Naomi where good friends now and the two of them were finding more ways to get in trouble than Tom could during an away mission.  Demian was always wanting to explore and press the buttons.  Tom had to have a serious discussion with Demian on why he should push buttons around the ship.  He let Demian press the button whenever they had to take the turbolift.  
 After the initial timing difficulties Tom had found it easy to work his schedule around Demian.  He also found that he enjoyed having Demian around.  Someone who would always be happy to see him after a long and dull shift on the bridge or Sickbay.  He and B’Elanna had talked finally, but they hadn’t seen much of each other lately since Tom was busy with Demian and B’Elanna was busy in Engineering.
 Currently Tom was using his day off to play with Naomi and Demian.  This past Thursday Tom had to cancel his usual date with Naomi but had promised to make it up to her.
 It was just past lunch time in the mess hall.  The noon rush had passed and the Mess hall was only moderately filled with crewmembers.  The doors slid open and in dashed Naomi Wildman followed by Demian.  They ran right through to the other exit and left.  A few seconds later Tom Paris ran in.  He stopped momentarily to look around.  “Have you seen-”
 “That way.” Chorused several people, pointing to the other exit.  
 “Thanks.”  And with that he ran out of the Mess hall I hot pursuit of the two little people.  They were playing tag and Tom was ‘it’.  Home-free was the window in the Mess Hall.  Tom caught up with Demian first since he was smaller and therefore slower.  He ran up behind him and scoped him up.  Demian let out a squel of delight as he was caught.  They soon caught up with Naomi as well.  
In General Demian’s presence on board had enhanced Tom’s life, in most aspects.  Tom’s love life, or lack thereof, was a different story.  

 A few weeks later.  Tom was asleep in his bed when a soft scared voice was calling his name.  Tom woke up and went to Demian.  He was having a nightmare of some sort and was calling out for Tom in his sleep. “Dem!”  Tom ran over to him. “Demian, I’m here.  You’re okay.  You’re safe.”  Demian woke up and startled blue eyes stared at older calmer ones. Tom sat on Demian’s bed and pulled Demian ont his lap and soothed him.  Tom had learnt that Demian liked to sit in other people’s laps.  It comforted him.  After a few minutes Dem was calm again but was unwilling to go back to sleep in case the bad dreams came back again.  Tom lay down in Demian’s bed with him so that Dem would know that he was not alone.  He fell asleep a few minutes later and so did Tom.  The alarm woke Tom early the next morning, too early in Tom’s opinion.  They did their usual morning routine and life was normal, well as normal as normal gets on Voyager.
 Voyager had not been involved in a battle since Demian had been on the ship but everybody knew that could change very quickly.  That was one of Tom’s greatest fears.  That Voyager would come under attack and Demian would get injured, or worse.  But luck was with him and the rest of the crew and they were passing through a fairly deserted and uninteresting area of space so there was no immediate danger to the ship or its crew.

 A few days.  It was about 2030 hours and B’Elanna was at the entrance to Tom’s quarters.  She had confirmed with the computer that Tom was inside but he wasn’t answering the chime.  She inputted his code, the doors slid open and she walked in.  The illumination was low.  She stopped when she saw Demian and Tom.  They were adorable.  Tom had fallen asleep on the couch and so had Demian.  He was snuggled under Tom’s arm leaning against his chest.  She walked softly over to them being careful not to wake them.  She took the padd that was hanging loosely from Tom’s hand.  He stirred a bit but didn’t wake.  It was Demian that woke.  B’Elanna hadn’t noticed.  She placed the padd on a table and looked back to the pair on the couch.  She noticed that Demian was awake and looking at her.  She smiled at him and he smiled back.  He slipped out of Tom’s arms and went over to B’Elanna.  The motion woke up Tom as well.  He had been sleeping more lightly since Dem had started living with him.  
 He saw B’Elanna crouched down talking to Dem.  He yawned and stood up.  It was Dem’s bedtime anyway.  The most dread time of day for any child.  Actually second most dreaded after bath-time.  After dressing in his pyjamas he got B’Elanna to read him his bedtime story.  He fell asleep halfway through the story and Tom put him to bed.  
 When he came out of Dem’s ‘room’ B’Elanna was smiling at him from the couch.  It had been a while since they had been alone together.  Tom would have to arrange for Harry to sit again so that he and B’Elanna could go out again.  Harry was always willing to baby-sit Dem.  Dem loved listening to Harry’s clarinet.  Dem, like all Hevan, had exceptional hearing and a good ear for music and tones.  He could sometimes tell when Harry played a wrong note, when the music sounded funny.  
 Tom joined B’Elanna on the couch and they enjoyed the others company until B’Elanna left later that night.

 A month later Demian was well integrated into the crew and very well into the life of Tom Paris.  B’Elanna had also been taking a more active role in caring for Demian.  She would stay over nights in Tom and Dem’s quarter’s when Tom had to work the night shift or was on an away mission.  Demian was very comfortable around B’Elanna and they got along easily.  The crew had not been particularly surprised when Tom first started taking care of Demian.  Tom was just a natural with children.  B’Elanna on the other hand had never spent much time with Naomi so it was more of a shock for the crew when Dem would be sitting on B’Elanna’s lap when eating meals.  Naomi’s old booster seat was available but Dem preferred his usual place on Tom or B’Elanna’s lap.  Tom however wasn’t particularly surprised when B’Elanna found it so easy to take care of Dem.
 It was 1348 hours on Voyager when one of Tom’s worst fears came true.  They had just narrowly escaped being annihilated by a hostile species and where working on repairs.  Tom had secured the helm controls when he tapped his commbadge.  “Paris to Demian,”  There had been a few battles, emergencies, special anomalies and other things that put the ship in danger since Dem had been on board and it was well known custom that Tom would comm. Demian after the crisis had passed just to make sure that he was alright.   Everybody was expecting the boy’s voice to come over the commline but there was only silence.  Tom tried again with the same result.  “Computer location of Demian.” 
 ‘Demian is on deck four section B’ the computers voice intoned.  Tom checked the internal sensors from his console.  There where no lifesigns with that commbadge. He refused to believe that Demian was dead.  He looked for the child’s lifesigns and found them; deck three section C.  That where their quarters.  Demian should have been with Neelix and Naomi, in the Mess Hall or someone’s quarters but at least together. There were no other crewmembers in that location.  
 “Captain-”  Tom was going to ask for permission to leave the bridge to get to Demian.  He didn’t know that the entire bridge crew was listening with half an ear for any news on Dem’s condition.  Janeway knew what Tom was going to ask.
 “Go, Tom.”  He nodded his thanks and like a bullet headed to the turbolift.  He got out on Deck three and made his way towards his quarters.  There was some smoke wafting through the air and he had seen some damage to the ship.  He hoped fervently that Dem had not been near any of the falling debris. Rounding the next corner where his quarters where located a huge pile of debris lay where part to the bulk head had collapsed taking part of the ceiling and several conduits with it.  Tom started calling Demiann’s name hoping to get some sort of response.  He heard a small whimper but thankfully it wasn’t coming from beneath the rubble.  Fighting his way through the debris Tom emerged on the other side.  “Demian!” Tom called.  Only faint sobbing was heard.  He followed the sounds.  Relief flooded through him when he found Demian huddled in a corner, crying and scared but safe.  “Demian!”  Demian opened his eyes and saw the answer to his pleas for help.  Demian got up and Tom hugged him and held him close.  He pulled back and examined Demian with his eye looking for any signs of injury.  Tom noted the tear stains on his cheeks the dishevelled hair and other features but there were no injuries.  He hugged Demian again and stood picking him up.  
 “Janeway to Paris,”
 “I found him Captain, he’s alright.”  The relief in his voice was evident and made his words soft and airy.  Most of the bridge crew released a breath as they heard the news that Dem was alright.  He was the crews second child for them to spoil and loosing him would have been loosing one of the members of their closely knit family.

 That night in Tom and Demian’s quarters.  Demian was sleeping peacefully while Tom just watched him from the doorway to his little room.  He was unimaginably thankful to whatever deities where out there that Demian was safe.  After he had found Demian he asked the Computer for the location of Lt. Torres praying that she was alright as well.  She was in engineering tending to her precious engines.  Usually Tom would wait on the bridge for when the usual report from Engineering came just so that he would know that B’Elanna was safe.  The good thing about being on the bridge is that he could check up on everybody, whether they were close friends or just casual acquaintances.  They had been extremely lucky today; no fatalities.
 The chime rang softly and Tom called for the person to enter.  He had turned down the volume of the chime so that it wouldn’t disturb Demian.  B’Elanna entered the softly lit quarters and walked over to Tom.  They ambraced.  “You okay?”  she asked.  She had heard about the scare with Demian.
 “Uh-huh.  How about you?”
 “I’m fine.” She smiled up at him.  She could tell that he had some heavy thoughts on his mind.  They went over to the couch and sat down.  “He had you scared for a while.”
 “Scared is an understatement.” He said wearily.  “I don’t know how Sam does it.”  B’Elanna understood what he meant.  Sam had to deal with the worry that Naomi may be in danger every time there was a problem on the ship.  It would be very stressful and Tom was beginning to feel that stress.  Voyager was not the ideal place to raise a child but it was home.  
 “Do you think you could handle it for the rest of both your lives?  Always worrying?” B’Elanna asked.
 “What are you talking about?  The Hevan home-world is only a few months away.  Demian will grow up with his people.”  He stated as if it was law.  B’Elanna shook her head.
 “The Obsadan thought that their home-world was in this direction.  Our scans of the wormhole may be flawed as well.”  Tom was about to protest but she continued. “Hypothetically.  What if you had to take care of Demian?  What if we can’t find the Hevan home-world?”  Tom was about to respond but closed his mouth again to think his response through.
 “I would still take care of him.  I made a promise to Aggel.  Unless we find his parents or his family, he’s my responsibility, one that I am fully prepared to take.”  He answered seriously.  He had given that some thought before but he also believed that they would find the Hevan home-world and thought that in a few months his life would be back to what it was before.  Tom had already forged a strong relationship with Demian and it would only get stronger in the coming months.  He wondered how willing he would be to just let him go into the care of people he didn’t know and had never met.  
 B’Elanna noted Tom’s pensive mood and was content to sit there with him in his arms.  Tom had a lot to work through.

 Three months later.  Tom was sitting at the helm of the flyer.  They had installed some new additions to navigation and helm controls and he was testing them out while the data was collected form the Flyer on Voyager.  If the tests where successful they would install similar components to Voyager. “Done and done.”  Tom said as he completed the last sequences that where planned so that they could get the proper data from the system.  “Now what?”  he asked.  There was an open comm line betweent he Flyer and Voyager.  After a pause Janeway responded.
 “Go wild.”  She said smiling.  Tom paused.
 “Yes, really. Just be careful.”  Janeway said.  Her smile was evident in her voice.
 “Yes ma’am.”  Tom said excitedly as he prepped the Flyer for some fancy flying.  He moved out to a greater distance from Voyager and had some fun.  
 The flyer jumped to low warp and then out pivoted and then a split second later jumped to warp again.  Each time he did it the time spent turning would decrease.  On Voyager several people where watching the sensors.  Harry was trying to keep visuals of the shuttle.  Chakotay being a pilot was particularly interested in the sensor readings.  He noted the pattern that Tom made was a star (a pentangle to be exact).  Chakotay had seen Tom doing theses sort of manoeuvres before on the holodeck with Voyager.  He was supposed to be practicing tactical simulations but he was soon bored with running conventional attack patterns.  
 The Flyer dropped out of warp.  Tom began doing some more moves.  The shuttle spiralled, looped and somersaulted (which was not and easy thing to do).  The shuttle would be going at high impulse in one direction and then suddenly change directions and flip end over end at the moment of direction change such that the shuttle was moving backwards.  The shuttle then turned to go forwards again with out slowing down in the least.  “The inertial dampeners must have been straining on that one.”  Chakotay said only loud enough for Janeway to here.  Tom executed some more high speed turns with flips and inverts all over the place.
 “What is he doing to that shuttle?”  B’Elanna asked heatedly in Astrometrics.  When those engines gave out she could be the one having to fix them.
 “Yes Captain.”  Tom said not letting up in his manoeuvres.
 “I think that’s enough.” She said smiling knowing that Tom would be out there for hours, practicing moves that she would never allow him to do on Voyager, if he had his way. 
 “Alas all good things must come to and end.”  Tom said melodramatically.
 “You done showing off?”  Harry asked from his station.
 “How many times do you think I’ll be able to do this again *with* the Captains permission?”  Tom asked as he was bringing the shuttle back to Voyager.  Harry thought about that and didn’t respond. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.  I’ve got to maximize these rare opportunities.”  Tom said teasing his friend over the comm line.  A beep on his console too Harry’s mind back to his job.
 “Captain, I’m receiving a distress call.  There seems to be a ship caught in a nearby asteroid field.”
 “Tell them that we’re coming.”  Janeway said.
 Twenty minutes later Voyager arrived at the asteroid field.  Tom was back at the conn.  “Voyager is too large to go into the field, Captain.” Tom informed her.  He brought the ship to all stop just at the boarder of the field.
 “I am detecting residual weapons signatures.”
 “They were attacked?”  Janeway asked.
 “It is a logical assumption.”
 “Can we tractor them, Mr. Kim?”
 “No, Captain.  We’d only cause them to collide with other asteroids.  A shuttle would be small enough to get in, beam out the survivors and bring them back to Voyager.”  Harry suggested.
 “Tom, Chakotay, take the Flyer.”  Janeway ordered.  They left for the shuttle bay.  “Harry run continuous scans.  We need to keep and eye out for their attackers”

 The Flyer was guided cautiously into the asteroid field.  Tom was at the helm while Chakotay manned the sensors.  They were careful to avoid hitting the asteroids.  It took fourteen long minutes to reach the damaged ship.  They made contact with the ships occupants and began beaming them over.  The ship had a small crew of only eleven people.  It was some sort of freighter that was transporting goods when they were attacked.  They fled into the asteroid field but where unable to manoeuvre the ship out again.
 “Chakotay to Voyager.  We have the crew of the other ship and we’re on our way back.”  
 “Wait!  What about our cargo?”  the Commanding officer of the ship was on the bridge of the flyer.
 “Your ship is being bombarded by the asteroids.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in being here when the engines breach.”  Tom said as he punched the keys on the helm controls to bring the Flyer about.
 “Our ship is strong.  Send me back so that I can try to get it out.  We can’t loose our cargo.”
 “We can’t send you back.  It’s too dangerous.”  Chakotay was saying.
 “Maybe we could transport as much of the Cargo to the flyer as possible.”  Tom suggested seeing that the man they had just saved wasn’t willing to go without the cargo.  At Tom’s suggestion the man seemed hesitant but then agreed to Tom’s suggestion.  Chakotay told the Captain what they were going to attempt and the closed the line.  The transporter beam could not lock on the cargo.  
 “We need to move closer.”  Chakotay said.
 “We can’t.  There isn’t a clear path.  I could beam over and move the freighter closer.”  Tom said.
 “I’ll go with you.”  Said the freighter officer.  Chakotay beamed them over and then placed a force-field that separated the rest of the freighter officers from the bridge.

 On the freighter.  Tom and the officer appeared on the bridge.  Tom familiarized himself with the controls before moving the ship.

 Twenty minutes later on Voyager.  The Captain was pacing the bridge waiting for the freighter Captain to contact her again.  She wondered how her crew got dragged into these messages and why Tom Paris was usually the one in the middle of it.  She stopped her pacing and went back to her chair.  Things had gone wrong the moment Tom was beamed over to the freighter.  On long range sensors they had detected several ships that had the same energy signatures as the weapons fire that Tuvok had detected.  They people had hailed Voyager saying that they were chasing contraband and weapons smugglers.  They harboured no ill feelings towards Voyager for helping to save the crew of the ship but they had been warned that if they helped the smugglers they would be fired upon.  
 The Captain of the freighter had also detected the ships and had put a gun to Tom’s head telling him to pilot the ship out of the asteroid field.  The Captain was not a pilot himself, but thought that if Tom could get the shuttle into the asteroid field without damaging it then he would be able to get this ship out of the asteroid field. Tom communicated briefly with Commander Chakotay to tell him to take the Flyer out of the field.  If the ship exploded the Flyer had to be out of the blast range to be able to survive.  
 Tom had managed to get the ship out of the field but not without causing more damage.  The spaces between the asteroids where too small for the freighter so it required using weapons to destroy some of them and just ploughing through some of them.  They had been reluctant to use phasers to destroy the asteroids because they didn’t want to cause a chain reaction that would cause the other asteroids to explode as well. The small fragments from the destroyed asteroids also damaged the ship since the main deflector was offline but they didn’t have choice. 
 The Captain of the freighter had politely thanked the Captain of Voyager for her help and then asked for the rest of his crew to be returned and said he would hold her officer (Tom) as a hostage until.  His crew was returned.  Janeway was in a pickle.  She had the Freighter Captain holding one of her crewmen hostage and then the vesseld that were pursuing the freighter saying that if they in any way aided the freighter then Voyager would be considered an enemy.  One crewmember or her entire crew.  
 They have the freighter Captain’s crew in the brig.  “Captain, we’re being hailed.”  Harry said from his station.
 “On screen.”
 “Captain Janeway.”  The other Captain greeted.  On the screen the freighter Captain had the phaser or disrupter aimed at Tom’s head.  Tom was staring straight ahead at some invisible point.  He seemed calm but Janeway and Harry could read the signs of nervousness.  His breathing was coming a little faster and he seemed tense, but he hid it well.  The Captain was thankful that B’Elanna wasn’t on the bridge right now.  She shouldn’t have to see this.  “I hope that you have come to a descision regarding the hostage transfer.”
 “I have.  We’ll give you one of your crewmen back if you return Lt. Paris to us.”  The freighter had some sort of shielding that they could not transport through.  It was the same shielding that had been on the cargo when Chakotay had originally tried to transport the cargo from the freighter to the Flyer. 
 “Unacceptable.”  Before Janeway could say anything else the freighter Captain shifted his position and pulled the trigger on the weapon.  A blue beam of energy erupted from the weapon and hit Tom near his left shoulder, just above his heart.  Tom fell to the ground but was still conscious.  His uniform was burnt and blood was beginning to soak the material.  “Next time I won’t miss.  You have fifteen more cycles to decide.”  The screen went black.  There was silence on the bridge.
 “He can’t kill Tom or else he won’t have anything to bargain with.”  Harry said, trying to believe that his friend would be alright.  
 “I don’t want to take that chance.” Janeway said.  “Janeway to all Senior officers, meeting in the conference room, now.”  They had fifteen minutes to formulate and plan and forty minutes before the authorities after the freighter came into weapons range.
 In the meeting no one came up with any viable sure-fire ideas to get Tom out.  They had to meet the demands.  They weren’t willing to give up one of their own for a conflict that was, really, none of their business.  They would beam the occupants of the brig over to the freighter and then beam Tom of the freighter.
 At the appointed time the freighter Captain hailed Voyager.  Tom was standing again with the disrupter at his head.  For the first time, B’Elanna saw Tom since this ordeal began.  
 “Captain,  I hope that you have come to your senses.”  The freighter Captain said.
 “We’ll beam your crew over to your ship but you’ll have to drop your shields.”  Janeway told him.  That caught Tom’s attention.  He had been struggling to stay on his feet but now he was struggling to comprehend what the Captain was thinking.  He was aware of the fact that some people who were after the freighter where on their way and out numbered Voyager.  If the Captain returned the freighter crew then Voyager would attacked.  One crewmember was a small price to pay for the safety of one-hundred fifty. 
 The Captain was thinking that they would have a good chance of getting away if they had their chief pilot with them.  It wasn’t there place to arrest these people anyway.  They only wanted to offer their help and they had done that so they should move on.  Also Janeway was aware of the effect that Tom’s death would have on her crew.  He was a good and trusted friend to many and more so to Harry and even more to B’Elanna and Demian.  They could get away if they were pursued.  The odds had been stacked against them before and they made it every time.  This would be no different.
 “Very well but I will not allow you to beam back your crewman until I have my crew back on board.”    Janeway was not going to agree to that.  The moment they had beamed his crew over he could just kill Tom.  “I give you my word that I will not harm your crewmember.”  The freighter Captain said knowing that Janeway was reluctant to go with his plan.  His word did not make Janeway or anybody on the bridge feel any better.  They didn’t have much of a choice though.  Agree or Tom’s dead.  In the few seconds that it took for Janeway to contemplate her decision, Tom made a decision of his own.
 His arms weren’t bound but the weapon at his head had kept him from trying anything –well it had before.  Using his good arm Tom quickly hit the phaser out of the other man’s hand.  It landed and slid to the other side of the bridge.  Tom was larger ans stronger that the other man but was unarmed and for the moment so was the freighter Captain.  Tom went to work immediately on  a console hoping that he could get the shielding down.  Before he could though he saw the freighter Captain pullout another weapon that had been concealed under another console.  Tom ran for cover behind what he assumed was the Captain’s chair on the bridge.  A meter away was the phaser that Tom had hit away only a moment earlier.  
 Taking a chance he swiftly grabbed the weapon.  He had not been injured during the brief moment that he was not behind the chair.  Tom took a quick peak around the side of the chair to locate the console that he believed controlled the shielding.  The viewscreen was still active and Tom briefly saw Captain Janeway giving out orders to the bridge crew.  He took a few deep breathes in preparation for his nest move but was interrupted when searing pain coursed through his right side.  He wasn’t completely protected by the chair and his exposed area had finally taken a hit.  He pushed the pain to the side.  He may only get one chance at this.  Shifting quickly he aimed the phaser at the console that he had located and fired.  The console sparked and died.  The shielding however only faltered but remained.  Tom waited a few moments hoping that the shot had been able to knock out the shielding but when he wasn’t transported he assumed that it hadn’t been enough.  
 The next time he came out of hiding he aimed at the Captain of the freighter.  The shot hit him square in the chest and he collapsed to the ground.  Tom breathed a sigh of relief along with the rest of the bridge crew.  He came out from behind the chair and saw Captain Janeway on the screen talking but he couldn’t hear her.  The communication system had been damaged when he had destroyed on of the consoles and there was no audio.  
 Tom walked weakly over to the console that was in front of the screen.  He tried to bring down the shielding again.  He almost had it when the frantic movements of people on the bridge caught his attention.  
 On the bridge of Voyager the crew breathed a sigh of relief when Tom had phasered the other man.  They noticed that the shielding had gone offline for a second but it was not long enough from them to lock on and beam him out.  Harry reported that the audio link had been severed.  Tom was currently working on a console.  They could tell that he was having trouble staying awake.  His injuries where taking their toll.  
 Behind Tom they noticed some movement.  The Captain of the freighter was stirring but Tom had not noticed.  Tom didn’t notice when the Captain rose to his feet or when he pulled out some sort of blade.  The crew was waving their arms trying to get Tom’s attention but he was having such difficulty concentrating on the console in front of him that they didn’t notice the actions on the screen.  
 When he finally looked up the other man was only two steps behind him and had the blade raised above his head ready to plunge it into Tom’s back.  Tom rolled out of the way as the blade came down smashing into the console.  Tom had not been injured by that attack but he feared that his last best chance to get off this freighter had just flown out the window.  
 The puling the blade out of the console he went after Tom who was struggling to stay on his feet.  Tom had difficulty protecting himself from the assaults and soon found himself pinned against another console, the freighter Captain above him trying to sink the blade into his torso.  Tom tried to keep the blade away from him but his injuries made him weak and he lost the battle.
 “The shielding is faltering!” Harry said from his station.  The shielding was flickering in and out of existence but never long enough that he could lock onto Tom and beam him out.  The knife in the console had damaged the shielding and hopefully it would go down soon enough for them to get Tom out of there. “It’s down!”  Harry already had the targeting scanners working and it took half than a second to beam Tom out.  Half a second too much.
 The rest of the bridge crew watched helplessly as the end of the blade broke through the flesh and into Tom and then a moment later he was gone.  
“He’s in Sickbay.”  Harry said.
“Beam *the Captain* to the brig.”  Janeway ordered, anger seeping into her words.  “Janeway to Sickbay.  What’s Tom’s condition?”
“I have to operated on him.  I’ll have a full report later.”  The doctor answered brusquely and then closed the link.  The bridge was eerily quiet. Janeway walked over to B’Elanna who was staring blankly at her console.  
“B’Elanna.”  Janeway put and hand on her shoulder.  B’Elanna pulled her self out of her daze and looked up to the Captain.  She wanted to saw something but her brain couldn’t formulate any coherent thought.  “He’ll be alright.  The Doctor will take care of him.”  Janeway reassured.  B’Elanna could only nod.  He would be alright.

In the Mess Hall Demian and Naomi where with Neelix.  Neelix took care of them when the ship went on alert.  Seven had come in earlier and picked up Naomi but no one had come to pick up Demian yet since Sam was helping the Doctor.  Neelix had been informed of Tom’s injuries but he had not told Demian.  Feelings that he had when Naomi had almost been left without a mother began to return but this time centered around Demian.  “Neelix,”  He looked down to see blue eyes identical to ones that he had seen for several years. “Where is Tom?”  Neelix tried to say something but he didn’t know how to break the news to someone so young.  He wouldn’t understand.  Neelix was saved trying to explain when the doors to the mess hall swished open and Harry and B’Elanna entered.  Demian saw them and ran to them, Neelix forgotten.  Harry picked him up thanked Neelix and they left the Mess Hall. 
“Where’s Tom?”  Dem asked.  Harry and B’Elanna where reluctant to talk.  They went to Tom’s quarters where Demian would be most comfortable.  They sat down with him and told him in simple terms that Tom was hurt and that he would be away for a while.  Demian didn’t even entertain the thought that it was something serious.  Tom always came back in time for his nightime story no matter what and he assumed that today would be no different.  
It was 2300 hours and Tom was still unconscious in Sickbay.  There was poison on the blade that had done some damage and the Doctor had kept Tom sedated so that the medication would have time to work.  The Doctor was confidant that Tom would make a full recovery but B’Elanna still kept vigil at his side.  She held one of his hands in hers and idly traced a pattern on the back of his hand.  She heard the door slide open and then close again but she did not turn to see who had entered.  
  Chakotay walked into Sickbay where he knew he would find B’Elanna.  She had been there for at least two hours.  Chakotay nearly sighed.  He was going to have to drag her out of here kicking an screaming. “B’Elanna he’s going t be fine.”  Chakotay told her.
 “The Doctor *thinks* that he’ll be fine.”  B’Elanna corrected.  They had never come into contact with a poison like the one that was on the blade but the initial tests held promise that the medication would work against it.
 “And he will be.  You on the other hand need to get some rest.” Chakotay said.  B’Elanna nodded and got up from the stool.  She kissed Tom lightly and whispered something that Chakotay couldn’t hear.  She left Sickbay with Chakotay.  
 He walked B’Elanna to her quarters.  She was silent most of the way.  “How’s Demian taking it.”
 “He threw a tantrum when Tom didn’t show up for his Story.”  She said tiredly as she recalled what happened.  Usually Tom is the one to reason with Demian when he throws a tantrum but it had been B’Elanna and Harry this time.  After too long Demian finally went to bed after he relented and let Harry read him the story.  “I think he’s scared that Tom won’t come back.” B’Elanna said to Chakotay.  “He’s dependent on Tom.  I don’t know what would happen if something happened to Tom … Why did he have to take so many chances!”  B’Elanna’s anger was coming through.  Chakotay knew this was coming and was prepared.
 “He’s been careful lately though.  Not putting himself in dangerous situations but I doubt that he’ll ever stop completely.”
 “Why didn’t he just wait?”
 Chakotay hadn’t been on the bridge at the time, he was in the brig helping with security, but had been briefed on what happen.  “He probably didn’t want to put the ship in danger.  After the Captain gave the crew of the freighter back we would be enemies of the Erasii Authorities instead of welcomed guests.”  The Erassi where the people that where pursuing the freighter.  They had invited Voyager to there home-world and offered to trade with them.  
 B’Elanna only grumbled and entered her quarters after saying good night to Chakotay.  He stared at the closed door for a moment before going to the nearest turbolift.

 The next day Tom awoke in Sickbay.  The Doctor was hovering nearby, tricorder in hand.  “Good Morning Mr. Paris.”  
 “Doc.” Tom greeted sleepily.  He tried to sit up but the pain in his side and chest stopped him half way.  He lay back down.
 “You’ll experience some discomfort for a few days.  I want you to stay here for twelve more hours and then I’ll release you to your quarters.  You won’t be on duty for another two days.  I don’t want you overexerting yourself.”  Tom just nodded.  “Doctor to Captain Janeway, he’s awake.”
 “I’ll be right there.  Janeway out.”  A few minutes late Captain Janeway and B’Elanna, who she had called on her way to Sickbay, entered sickbay.  Tom smiled at them and they returned it.  “How do you feel, Tom?”
 “Tired, but mostly alright.”  He said.
 “I’m glad to here it.”  She patted him on the shoulder and left sickbay.  B’Elanna stepped closer to him.
 “Don’t ever do that again.”  She kissed him lightly.  They talked to a short while. “Demian was less than pleased that you missed story-time.” She said smiling.  She could smile about it now but yesterday it wasn’t nearly as funny.
 “I can imagine.  I have to thank Harry for taking care of Demian.”
 “Yes you should but he wouldn’t have to if you would keep out of trouble.”  She scolded him.  “Just be careful Tom.”  She kissed him lightly again and left sickbay saying that she would stop by again later.

 Twelve hours later (2030) Tom was getting ready to leave sickbay.  The Doctor was giving the usual lecture of dos and don’ts but Tom was only listening with half an ear.  He wondered absently how many times he had heard the Doctor give this speech.  The doors to sickbay slid open and a little ball of energy flew in and into Tom’s welcoming arms.  “Where were you?”  Demian asked.
 “I had to stay overnight in Sickbay.”  Tom explained.
 “You better now?”  Demian asked.
 “Mostly. I fact I’m on my way out now.”  Tom put Demian down.  Usually Tom would have no problem carrying Demian but his shoulder and side where still aching a bit.  Tom smiled at he dishevelled Harry Kim who stood just inside the doorway of Sickbay.  He could just imagine what Harry had to go through to get Demian to take a bath and then get him dressed.  They left Sickbay and went back to Tom’s quarters,  Harry went back to his own.  Tom and Demian entere their quarters.  It was Dem’s bedtime.  Tom, continuing their usual routine, read Demians bedtime story and then settled him into his bed.  Demian was reluctant to let go of his grip around Tom’s neck when Tom placed him in his bed.  “You’re going to have to let go sooner or later.”  He tired to coax him into letting go.
 “Promise you won’t leave me.”  He whispered sleepily.  Tom was a little taken aback.  
 “I promise.”  The grip around his neck loosened and then released.  Demian smuggled into his covers and clutched his stuffed by teddy bear to his chest.  Tom had replicated it when Demian had first come on board.  He was soon asleep while Tom was crouched next to him just looking at him as he slumbered peacefully.  He would never leave him.  Tom knew what it was like for a child to loose someone that they depended on from first hand experience.  His mother had died when he was eight.  He would do everything in his power to make sure that Demian didn’t have to go through the same thing.  Tom kissed him softly on the his head and then after one last glance back he left Demian’s room.  He didn’t know how he was going to be able to just give him up when they found his people; that was a recurring thought in Tom’s mind.

 The five-month mark finally rolled around.  Five months since Demian had come on board and found a place on the ship and in the heart of the crew.  They had just found what they believed was the termination point of the wormhole that was near the Obsadan Homeworld.  Initial scans didn’t find any M or L Class planets with Hevan lifesigns.  The small ships that had gone in the wormhole where short range vessels they could not have gone too far too quickly.  Astrometrics and Stellar Catogrphy where being put to their full use in trying to locate the Hevan home-world. There were no ion trails to follow so they would just have to look.  
 Tom was nervous about having to saw goodbye to Demian but he was also happy that Demian would be with his family soon.  Or so everybody hoped but even as they made their way slowly through the area, going only at warp 2.5, so they didn’t miss anything, they still did not find any Hevan and none of the species that they contacted knew of the Hevan.  
 Demian had not been told that they were looking for his people.  They didn’t want to get his hopes up and then disappoint him.  

 It was nearly six weeks later when they met another Hevan.  There was some sort of Military ship that had tracked voyager down because they had heard that the crew was looking for the Hevan.  After hearing that there was a Hevan on board they escorted Voyager to their system.  Captain Janeway met with some of the Hevan officials while Tom explained the situation to Demian.
 “No!” The child yelled and slid off Tom’s lap.  He ran to his room and began playing with his toys like nothing was wrong.  Like his world wasn’t being ripped away from him.  Tom sighed and walked to Demian’s room.  
 “Demian, I know you’re scared.  You don’t know these people but that will change.  You’ll have your parents again and you’ll make lots of new friends.”
 “No!”  Tom sat down next to Demian.  What was he supposed to say?  He had to convince Demian that staying on this planet with a bunch of strangers was best when Tom really needed someone to convince him of the same thing.  He had expected this to be hard but he didn’t expect all this turmoil and conflicted thoughts.  “You want me to go?”  Demian asked sadly.
 “No.  I don’t want you to go but these are your people.  You belong with them.  And your parents, your mom and dad, I’m sure that they miss you.”  Tom wasn’t sure how much about his parents Demian remembered.  He was probably about two and a half three the last time he saw them.  “They want to see you.”
 “What if they don’t like me?” he crawled back into Tom’s lap.
 “Impossible.”  Tom smiled at him. “Everybody likes you.”  Demian was silent.  “Just meet them.  We’re going to see them today.  Okay?”  
 “Okay.” He acknowledged softly.

 Tom and Janeway beamed back up to Voyager.  They had met with Demian’s parents and had decided to leave Demian with them for a little while.  They had some catching up to do.  Demian’s mother had blue eyes and platinum hair while his father and greyish eyes and red-brown hair.  They also had noticed the similarities berween their son and Tom and had been a little tongue tied at first.  Demian had remembered them and had taken to them immediately.  
 Janeway and Tom stepped off the transporter padd.  Tom had been quiet on the was back to the transporter beam out point but she could only imagine what it was like for him to have to give up Demian.  Tom walked out of the transporter room without a word to anybody.  He went back to his quarters.  He compared his quarters now to what they were before.  The change astounded him.  Everything had happened so fast that he hadn’t had enough time to note the changes.  The living area was much smaller since most of it was occupied by Demian’s room.  There were several toys strewn about.  How could a child accumulate so many toys so quickly.  
 Tom got a bag and began putting Demian’s items in it.  Demian would probably want to keep most of these.  Tom placed Demian’s clothes in a different bag.  After he was done the room seemed much emptier.  
 That evening. Tom, B’Elanna, Harry, Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Sam, Naomi and Neelix where on the planet saying goodbye to Demian.  Naomi was sad to see her playmate leaving but she knew that she would want to be with her mom if she had to make a decision like this.  The other’s beamed back to the ship and only Tom was left to say goodbye to Demian.  He knelt down so that he was on Demian’s level.
 “Be good for your parents.”  Tom said.  Demian nodded.  He didn’t want Tom to go.  Tears fell from his eyes.  Tom wiped them away.  “Shh, don’t cry.  Everything will turn out fine. You’ll see.”  He hugged Demian for a long moment. Beore pulling away so that he could see his face again.  “Goodbye.”  Tom whispered to him. Demian hugged Tom again.  They stayed that way for a while until Tom knew he had to go.  He kissed Demian on his head and then pulled away.  Wiping the last tears from his cheeks he stood up and stepped away.  
 Tears stung his eyes and blurred his vision as he looked for the last time at Demian.  “Take care of him.”  Tom said to his Demian’s parents.  The nodded solemnly.  Tom looked back to Demian.  More tears had taken the place of the earlier ones.  Tom knew that he wouldn’t be the one to comfort Demian anymore;  he would not be the one to make the hurt and sadness go away.  Not anymore.  “Good bye, Demian.”
 “Bye.” He had his blue teddy bear clutched to his chest and more tears fell.  
 “Paris to Voyager,” Tom manged to get out before his voice cracked with emotion, “One to beam up.”
 “Don’t forget me.”  Demian said a second before the transpoter beam took Tom away.
 “I’ll never.” Were the last words he said before he disappeared and was out of Demian’s life.  

 Voyager broke orbit soon after and continued on their way home, minus one special crewmember.  It was 2327 hours when B’Elanna entered the Observation deck.  She saw Tom sitting on the floor cross-legged in front of one of the large windows.  The stars outside went by quickly as the ship failed through the vastness that was space at warp 7.  She approached him slowly.  If he knew that she was there he didn’t make any indication.  
 “Tom.”  she called softly.  He turned his head so that he could see her.  He smiled briefly but his expression changed back to that of sorrow.  
 “Hey, B’Elanna.”  He said despairingly.  She sat down next to him.  
 “Penny for your thoughts.”
 “I miss him already, and it’s only been four hours.”  He responded after a moment.
 “It’ll get easier, Tom.” She reassured him.  Tom could only nodd not trustinghis voice.  B’Elanna kissed him on the cheek knowing that Tom probably wanted to be alone for a little while.  She got up and left him to his thoughts.  
 Demian was with his family, with his people.  It was where he belonged.  His parents would love him and care for him and he was safe.  Tom nodded to himself.  He had done the right thing and in doing so kept his promise to Aggel.  He would never be able to play with Demain or carry him in his arms or sing to him when he couldn’t sleep at night, but he had done what he had to do.  His mind understood but the single tear that rolled down his cheek told him that his heart did not agree.


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