"Twas The Night Before Christmas"
By Deb Gramlich
Disclaimer: All of the following character belong to TPTB at Paramount. I'm just borrowing them for fun, no infringement is intended.
Special thanks to Roxann Dawson and Robert Duncan McNeill. They bring these characters to life week after week and make them an enjoyment to watch.
This story came about after I heard Robert McNeill speak at a convention. He spoke of a different side of Paris, how he is supposed to be a womanizer but has only had one woman since the show started. He talked about how there should be more families onboard Voyager, and how he thought Paris would like to settle down.
With all the spoilers of Blood Fever that is out there.... we know who it looks like he's thinking of settling down with. <g>
Tom Paris moaned and rolled to his side. The pain was beginning to diminish, but the hammer banging on his head didn't seem to want to stop.
He slowly opened his eyes, trying to get his bearings. He saw a battered shuttle craft..... how did he get here?
The shuttle went down...... there was an unexpected plasma storm and the nacelle had been hit......
He and B'Elanna Torres had been surveying a near by Class M planet, using the shuttles sensors to look for any resources which could be of value to Voyager.
He saw her near the cockpit of the shuttle. She was beginning to stir.
He crawled to her side. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just didn't like that ride too much." She shook her head slightly, as if she was trying to clear cobwebs away.
"Yeah, that wasn't one of my better landings."
Torres snorted. She reached up to tap her commbadge.
"Torres to Voyager."
No response. She tried again to no avail.
"The plasma storms must be blocking the signal. Hopefully, they'll clear soon." Paris said as he began checking the consoles of the shuttle.
Torres crawled back to her seat, scanning the readouts. "Considering the impact, the shuttle faired pretty well. I can get her to fly again when these storms clear."
Tom glanced out the front window. "The way the sky looks, it will be a while."
Torres got up and sat on the floor behind the cockpit, resting her back against the wall. "What a great way to spend Christmas."
"What do you mean?"
"It's Christmas Eve, and I'm stuck in a downed shuttle craft with you. Not exactly the way I planned to spend the night."
"Sorry I couldn't be more accommodating. I'll just sit over here and leave you alone." He sank to the floor a few feet away from her.
Torres inwardly cursed herself. 'Brilliant move.'
"Tom, that's not what I meant. I just do things differently during the holidays, that's all. I like spending time with you."
He looked at her with his eyebrows raised. "Oh really?" He slid a little closer.
"Easy Lieutenant. That's not what I meant."
He smiled. "I know. You just leave yourself open for me to tease you. Sometimes, it's irresistible."
She glared at him a minute, but didn't say anything.
"So B'Elanna, tell me, what do Klingons do during Christmas."
She shrugged. "The same thing they do every other day of the year. We don't celebrate Christmas as you know it."
He nodded. "But you're part human, you must celebrate somehow."
She looked at him, then turned her stare down to the floor. "I used to celebrate Christmas with my father when I was little. After he left, my Mother forbid that I celebrated it. But, I used to put a little Christmas tree in my room. She hated the fact that I clung to human rituals but...." Her voice trailed off.
Tom looked at her for a moment. "You and your mother don't get along too well huh?"
She shook her head. "My mother is a Klingon. Everything that I never wanted to be. Looking at it now, she did the best she could. I mean, my Dad split when I was 5, she was left with a scared and confused little girl, we muddled through."
"My parents used to go overboard on the holidays. Dad always demanded that everything be perfect. I used to hate it. I never understood why we couldn't just open presents, go to church and eat too much for dinner like most families do."
Torres leaned her head against the wall of the shuttle, then turned it towards Tom.
"You and your family don't get along either huh?"
He shook his head. "My mother's great. We always were close. Me and Dad were too I guess. He was so happy when I graduated the academy, but then the after accident , that was it. It was my fault and I lied about it. He acting like I didn't exist for a while. And when I was run out of Starfleet for lying on the reports, he made me out to be the biggest screw up ever known to mankind."
"That's not fair. I mean, you messed up but he's your father, he should have supported you."
Tom nodded. "Just like your father should have been there to chase your tears away when you were little."
B'Elanna's gaze shifted back towards the floor. She was quiet for a long while.
Paris noticed a small cut on her cheek . He reached forward with his hand to examine it.
But B'Elanna pulled her face back with a jerk. Tom dropped his hand and gazed at her.
"Why do you do that?"
She looked confused by the question. "Do what?"
"When someone tries to touch you, you pull away. Why?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "Klingons don't like to be touched."
"Don't give me that. You use your Klingon heritage as a shield B'Elanna. You don't want to let anyone in.... to see who you really are. I wish you wouldn't do that."
"Why? Do you want to see the whole me, the softer side of me?" Her voice reflected her anger.
He shook his head. Quietly he said "No, I would just like to know more about B'Elanna Torres."
She sat silently again. Finally she spoke.
"It's hard for me.... to share myself with people. I've kept myself at a distance from people for such a long time, it's hard to let people in."
"You've got a brilliant mind B'Elanna. It's nice to sit and talk to you like this. But then, you'll throw this barrier up in front of yourself and push people away. Don't do that to the people who want to get to know you."
She started to speak again, but bit her lip and sat. Tom continued.
"You're a beautiful person, not only on the inside."
She looked into his eyes. Their faces were only a few inches apart.
He reached his hand up and ran his fingers along her cheek. She closed her eyes and sighed at the feeling. Finally, his hand rested on her shoulder.
"My dad used to do that all the time. He would tell me stories of Earth, and rub my cheek until I fell asleep."
Tom nodded. "I understand."
He pulled her against him. She pushed back trying to free herself.
"What do you think your doing?!"
"Easy, it's not what you think B'Elanna."
She finally relaxed and rested herself in the crook of his arm.
He began speaking to her, telling her stories from his childhood, stories of his father's missions, anything he could think of. He just wanted to feel her closeness to him.
After a while, he looked down and noticed she was asleep. He laid his head on top of hers and dozed off himself.
Neither of them noticed the whine as the transporter beam took them.
Ensign Harry Kim stood at the transporter console. He relaxed as her saw Tom and B'Elanna appear on the transporter pad. Then, his eyes widened.
Captain Janeway stepped forward. Tuvok just watched with a raised eyebrow.
Janeway smirked. "Don't they look cozy?"
She walked forward and woke Tom up. Realizing what had happened, his face blushed a deep shade of red.
"Oh captain, we were just-"
Janeway nodded, a smile playing across her lips. "We're going to beam B'Elanna directly to sickbay. The doctor wants to examine both of you."
Tom nodded. The transporter took hold and Torres was gone.
Suddenly, a though struck Tom. "Captain, I'll report to sickbay in just a few minutes. I have something I need to do first."
He stood and hurried out of the transporter room.
The doctor pronounced B'Elanna fit to leave sickbay. She nodded and hopped off the bed, just as Paris came strolling through the door.
She grinned slightly at him. "Thanks Tom."
"For what?" He asked, a devilish grin playing across his face.
"For, for letting me see who you really are."
With that, she turned and left.
She walking briskly from the turbolift to her quarters. She just wanted to go in, get changed and crash into bed for the next few hours.
She entered her quarters and stopped dead in her tracks.
In the corner of the room, a small tree sat. It was decorated with brightly lit lights, and ornaments hung from the branches.
Her eyes widened. She looked around the room.
Hanging from the replicator was a stocking, her name stitched across the top. Inside it was stuffed with candy.
A huge smile broke across her face. 'Tom Paris, you sweet, sweet man.'
There was a wrapped package on her bed. She opened it, and found a book of Mother Goose Fairy Tales.
Inside the front cover was written:
These are the stories you and I can share.
She shut the book and sat on the bed, clutching it to her chest. Finally, she
opened it and began to read.