SUMMARY: a daughter's reflections of her parents
DISCLAIMER: I make no financial profit from this work. My profit comes from the enjoyment people may get when reading my work. The story here though is my own work.
NOTE: There is character death in here, some good, some bad. I got the idea for the one after reading the latest rumours/spoilers surrounding Endgame. That one particular thread needed some rework I thought!
Sometimes I find it hard to accept that dad was once considered, and still is by some people, a terrorist. A cold-blooded killer. I find it even harder to reconcile that image to the one I now have in front of me. That of a mild-mannered man standing in my kitchen, cooking me breakfast, while reminiscing about mother.
"You drink far too much coffee," he says to me, waving a spatula in my direction. "Just like your mother."
I smile at him. "So?" I ask. "At least it means you didn't have to give up your little lecture. I know how much you enjoy giving it."
"Your mother," he continues, "Was a liability. If it wasn't the coffee it was the long nights in her ready room working. We would have to almost drag her out sometimes."
"Bet you enjoyed that," I laugh.
"Hardly. You know what it's like to be at the other end of a Janeway glare."
And I do. I would be more afraid of that than any punishment she could give me. Dad said she could shame or embarrass any poor crewman into changing their ways without having to throw them in the brig. I believe it.
It's been a good ten years since she left us. The ironic thing is that shortly before she did go she was preparing to retire, give up her long-established Starfleet career. For us. I think she knew how much we loved her and missed her every time she was away from us. Dad especially, probably because they had spent seven long years in the Delta Quadrant serving side by side. But when they returned to Earth his career was over.
And I think that's when mother realised just how much she felt about him. The story I've heard is that dad had loved her for years, but she had never returned that feeling. So he had eventually given up and married someone else. That someone else died in an accident shortly before they made it back to the Alpha Quadrant. Upon their arrival back dad immediately lost his field commission while mother was elevated to an almost God-like status. Their consequent time apart while mother continued her career served only to show her how much she missed him. Barely six months after their return they were married. I guess dad hadn't given up after all. Less than a year after they were married I was born and dad decided he'd raise me while mother pursued her career.
Fifteen years of that soon wore on her and that hoped-for admiralship never materialised. And finally I remember one awful night when she was home. The argument was loud and went on into the early hours of morning. I don't remember much but I do remember them agreeing that perhaps she would never get that promotion, that perhaps Starfleet saw him as a hindrance to her career. And then I remember dad saying that perhaps he should leave. Mother made her decision there and then. She would retire and spend the rest of her days with us.
She told me the following morning. I was thrilled. Despite the time we spent apart, mother and I were fairly close. This would mean more time for us to spend together.
And then the shuttle accident occurred. Dad now puts it down to bad luck, his bad luck. Both of his wives had died the same way. Not a great track record when you think about it. But at the time he was devastated. We both were. Former Voyager crew members came from far and wide. Some I'd never met before, like Tuvok. People were in tears. I remember B'Elanna Paris trying hard not to weep. I think Dad was the only one not to cry. He just stood
there as the minister went through the ceremony. It was later, much later when a select few of us went through the ancient death and burial ritual that his emotions began to show, increasing until B'Elanna and I had to help him finish.
That was ten years ago. This is now. This former Maquis terrorist is now making omelet and trying to convince me that it's good to eat properly. He does this a lot. I have my own apartment now, near the university where I teach history, and he is almost always there. I don't mind. I used to mind, feeling that he was trying to protect me, just like he used to protect mother. But now I enjoy his company. Except when he lectures me on my eating habits. Mother beat the Borg on a lousy diet, I tell him. His response is that the only reason the Borg didn't assimilate her is that they didn't want to assimilate her bad habits.
"Do you have a date tonight?' he asks me.
As a matter of fact I do and tell him so. It's when I tell him who it is that he looks like he's worried.
"Owen Paris?" he asks. "He better not take after his father."
This is not the first time I've heard this debate. I personally think that Uncle Tom is a great person, someone to be looked up to. Mind you, so's my father. They've both completely turned their lives around, despite the factors against them. I laugh and tell him not to worry. Owen also takes after his mother, who is dad's other best friend.
He sighs and flips a slice of omelet onto the plate in front of me. "Eat," he commands and I do. For despite my protests I know deep down he is right. Just as my mother always knew.