A New Friend

Summary: During Tom’s last summer at home he meets a new friend

Rated G

Paramount owns Tom, Starfleet and the Paris family 100%. I’m just giving Tom a little fun

Comments etc to JanF

A New Friend

Tom walked through the park close to his home. It was his last summer of freedom. His last summer of being Tom. Not Cadet Paris. Not Starfleet-Admiral-in-Training Paris. Just Tom. His father wasn’t going to let him get away with no study, no extra preparation and he resented that. He’d got into the Academy aged 15 - a long time before most others there. He wished he could just go to the Academy and enjoy it like the others would.

Tom banished these dark thoughts from his mind as he savoured the feel of the soft grass beneath his feet, felt the sun warming him through. The lake sparkled in the distance. He liked to be here. Here he could just be.

He had first seen her as she had gracefully dived into the lake and shown herself to be an exceptional swimmer. She was full of life and radiated happiness. Beautiful brown eyes complimented silky golden hair Tom thought it would be heaven to run his fingers through that hair over and over. That first day he’d not had the courage to approach, afraid she might shy away.

The next day he’d been pleased to see her at the park again. She’d approached him as he ate his lunch. Tom offered up his best smile and offered to share it. He was surprised at how eagerly she’d accepted. Lunch had gone well. He felt so comfortable with her it was uncanny. It was as if though he could tell her anything and those brown eyes would not judge him too harshly. Tom was not unaware of his charms when it came to the female sex but was amazed at her unabashed enthusiasm for his company that afternoon. He wasn’t used to girls being quite this forward - unless, of course they were after Admiral Paris’ son Thomas Paris - and somehow he didn’t think that interested this girl at all.

She left without Tom knowing if he’d see her again. He really hoped he would.

Tom was delighted to discover her at the park the next time he was there. He began to make a daily pilgrimage, spending less time with his studies and more time with her. She encouraged him to stop and play. They walked for miles, content in each other’s company. Swimming became a competition - she had power underlying her grace. He started to pack her favourite foods in their picnic hamper. At the beginning Tom had wondered how she could spend so much time with him without being missed by her family - now it seemed the truth was she didn’t really have a family to speak of.

One day he invited her home and she had been pleased to follow. His mother had been gracious as she’d received his new friend into the house. Tom could tell that she was apprehensive about how his new relationship might upset the balance of the household. The biggest surprise was that the Admiral had taken an instant liking to her. It turned out that the whole family was pleased with Tom’s new friend.

Tom had quickly become used to her happily sharing his silence as he studied. When his studies were causing him excess strain she seemed to sense it and coax him outside. He particularly loved the way she would comfort him after being berated for yet again failing to live up to the Admiral’s expectations.

The family became used to her presence as "Tom’s Shadow". There had been little comment in the house when she’d first started to spend the night. Tom knew his mother had initially tried to find out who was responsible for her with no success - and she hadn’t been very forthcoming. It seemed that she had no-one who missed her, no one who cared. Tom found this tragic in 24th Century Earth, especially someone with so much to offer.

Tom’s first day at the Academy went well, in fact most of his first week went well, but he was still looking forward to his first furlough. His mother had promised to keep an eye on his friend and he knew she stayed at the Paris residence even when he wasn’t present. Tom knew his mom was wise - if his golden haired beauty was at home Tom was more likely to be there, too.

As time went by Tom’s visits home became less frequent, but the two friends still revelled in the time they had together. She still understood him as no-one else did. Her capacity to listen was amazing - she’d listen to stories of his new friends, to his grizzles about Academy food, to his sounds of conflict with his father. Now he was going away for three months and it was time for his last visit home. Tom was happy at the moment, he’d just met a girl called Suzie at the Academy and he couldn’t wait for her to meet his friend at home. He knew they’d love each other.

He entered the house and playfully ducked her affectionate charge. He wiped off her big sloppy kiss of welcome almost immediately. Her present of a well-gnawed stick was thrown away, only to be brought back repeatedly. Finally as he neared exhaustion he dropped to the floor and rolled over and over with her - finally winning their wrestling match by scratching that area above her tail that sent her into ecstasy.

"Come on girl, let’s go for a walk."

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Postscript: Inspired by the episode "The Cloud" where Tom reveals that not only does he like dogs but that he always had one.