Never Before, Forever After: Scenes from the life of Tom and Kes
Butterflies

By Pari106

pari106@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: Tom, Kes, Voyager, etc., belong to Paramount.

Summary: AU. Based on the episode "Before and After". Second in the trilogy Never Before, Forever
After: Scenes from the life of Tom and Kes.

Author's Note: I didn't know anything about the pregnancy and anatomy of an Ocampan…so I made all
this up.

And if you like Paris/Kes check out my fanfic archive at http://pari106.homestead.com/pkearchive.html.
Other installments to this story will be posted there.

A/A/N: Okay, I know this one's a little weird...but please review. And be nice! (And, no, I don't have some sort of weird obsession with child bearing - in case you see a trend developing between this and "Twist of Fate". But Tom just makes such a cute daddy!)





Never Before, Forever After: Butterflies





Butterflies.

That's what it felt like when Tom's child kicked within its mother's sack – like butterflies trying to break
free from their cocoon. And all too soon their little butterfly would do just that.

Lying in their bed that night, as Kes slept on her stomach, Tom ran his fingers through his wife's long,
blonde hair. He lay there simply watching her, feeling their child move within her, and it was the most
amazing experience he'd ever had – proud and humbling at the same time.

Tom let his fingers trail down over the rounded protrusion on Kes' back that housed their unborn child.
Whether it was a girl or a boy, they didn't know. Ocampans generally allowed the sex of their children to
remain a mystery until the child's birth – a tradition some humans still practiced, as well, and that he and
Kes had decided to uphold. Either way – male of female – Tom couldn't be happier. Imagine – Tom Paris
a father. He shook his head and smiled as the little life kicked again – he or she was definitely ready to be
out; to see and hear and move. It would be an inquisitive child, curious and determined and brave. Like its
mother. Tom planted an affectionate kiss on Kes' bare shoulder.

It was unbelievable.

Even now, Tom couldn't believe how blessed he had become. His life had once been marked by his own
mistakes and by tragedies that were out of his control, and yet now he had a family – a wife he loved more
than life itself and a child he adored, even though he hadn't yet met it. He was overcome by his love for
the two of them – the two most important people in his life. But beneath that love, lurked fear. Never
before had he ever felt such strong emotion…and never before had he had so much to lose.

Tom again ran his hand over Kes' back. She was so far along in her pregnancy now that she couldn't sleep
comfortably except on her stomach. The elgia – the opening to the sack from whence their child would
emerge – had elongated another full centimeter in the last twenty-four hours. And as Kes' due date grew
ever nearer, Tom became more and more anxious.

Their lives were just so uncertain. Each day they neared the border of the Krenim territory, but each day
brought the possibility of another attack, all the same. What if something went wrong with the baby?
What if Kes were injured? Whatever treatment she received would be from him – he was still the only
truly qualified doctor on the ship, besides Kes, that was, and she could hardly be expected to deliver her
own baby. Since the doctor went off-line, he'd delivered two babies on his own, but neither had been
Ocampan. How could he live with himself if he did something wrong?

Tom was sure Kes was aware of his feelings. The connection they'd felt since the day they'd met had
grown into an unbreakable mental and emotional bond when they'd announced their love for one another.
They were extremely aware of one another's thoughts and feelings – could even communicate
telepathically when they wished. Still, they were very respectful of each other's privacy. Whatever secret
demons that had lurked in Tom's soul had long ago been exposed to his gentle, but determined wife. Even
so, Kes knew Tom needed the occasional privacy of his own thoughts. Which was a blessing now – Kes
had enough to worry about already, Tom didn't want to burden her with his own doubts and fears as well.

Tom lightly caressed the profile of Kes' lovely face. Besides the natural fears any husband had over his
child's impending delivery, there was also another reason Tom was afraid.

Even after all this time, after falling love with Kes, marrying, and becoming a father, the death of B'Elanna
Torres still haunted Tom. They hadn't had the relationship that he and Kes had – the deep bond that they'd
forged – but B'Elanna had been special to him, just the same. When she'd died it had nearly killed him. If
it weren't for Kes, Tom knew, he probably wouldn't have made it past the loss. So what would he do if he
lost Kes? If he lost both her and the child?

That possibility didn't even bear consideration – it was just too horrible.

Tom snuggled closer to his sleeping wife, her petite form taking up more of their bed now that her sack had
grown so considerable. Tom smiled. Kes was a very grounded, very tolerant person, not vain in the least,
but she had been known from time to time to lament the awkward form of her pregnant figure. Tom
thought she looked very cute, though she'd just laughed when he'd told her so. Stubborn Ocampan. Tom
grinned as Kes stirred in her sleep, one arm reaching towards him. He took her hand and, as though
soothed by her very touch, he felt his fears began to recede as he drifted into sleep.







The next morning he felt ready to strangle the very women he'd adored just the night before.

"No, absolutely not."

"Tom…"

"Lieutenant Commander Paris has a point, Kes," Captain Chakotay interceded, and Tom threw him an
appreciative glance. Kes frowned.

"Have I been officially relieved of duty, Captain?"

"Well…"

"Captain…"

"Stay out of this, Tom." Kes pointedly ignored the furious look her husband threw her at that. "Have I
been relieved of duty?"

Chakotay grimaced. Damned but he didn't like to be in the middle of this. He hadn't come up against such
an obstinate woman since the late, great Kathryn Janeway – and he'd always made a point of staying out of
Kathryn's way when she had her mind set on something. That was probably the best advice he could give
himself when dealing with Kes, he realized, even if Tom was feeling too protective of his wife to see the
logic in such a strategy.

Finally, the captain responded. "No, you haven't been relieved of duty."

Kes smiled and Tom sighed.

"A week! You officially become unfit for duty in a week!" he said.

"And that leaves us a week to complete this supply mission," Kes insisted. "Since it shouldn't take us more
than a day we should be fine."

Tom's jaw clenched. This wasn't going well.

"What's your decision, Captain?"

Chakotay grimaced again, looking from his Chief Medical Officer to his First Officer and back. It was
either battle with a stubborn Ocampan or an equally stubborn Paris. Damned, but he *hated* being in the
middle of this.

Then Kes interceded.

"Captain, you have to have someone on this mission who knows what they're doing. Noone on this ship
knows flora and soil samples better than I do. If you send someone else, it could take them two days,
perhaps longer, to scout that planet for food resources. I can have us in and out in a day. Why risk it by
having the shuttle out for any longer than that?"

Chakotay considered this a moment…then sighed. She had a point.

"Okay…you're on the mission."

Kes grinned triumphantly, and Tom shook his head with a groan.

"But the second you start to feel strangely…the first indication that there might be something happening
with the baby, you turn back, understood?" Chakotay knew he didn't have to look to Tom to see his
agreement on that.

"Of course, Captain," Kes agreed, gracing both him and her husband with another smile before exiting the
captain's ready room.

That left him and Tom. Alone.

The captain shrugged. "What could I do? She was right."

Tom just turned and left, glaring daggers along the way.







They were nearly done with their work on the planet before either one of them said anything that wasn't
related to the mission. Usually they rarely argued, and when they did they quickly made up, but the stress
of giving birth was getting to them both and they remained silent.

And then Kes stretched, working a kink out of her lower back, groaning softly at the discomfort, and the
silence was broken.

"What is it? What's wrong?"

Tom immediately dropped what he was doing – which just happened to be carrying a crate of berries that
now covered the ground in a sticky red goo – and was at Kes' side. He had a medical tricorder out before
she had a chance to speak.

"It's the baby, isn't it? You've overworked yourself? Damn it, I knew this would happen!"

Kes, startled, just blinked.

"Tom…"

"I can't deliver a baby here! Jesus, how far along are the pains?"

"Tom!" Kes leaned over and snapped the tricorder shut, giving in to the laughter that had bubbled up at her
husband's comically panicked expression. Her smile became sympathetic, however, when she sensed how
truly upset Tom was.

"Tom, I'm okay. The baby's not coming. I just needed to stretch."

Kes spoke slowly, as if to a child, but it still seemed to take Tom a moment to calm down.

"You're okay?"

"I was just stretching. Everything is fine."

Tom sighed, sitting down on the crate he'd just dropped with a sheepish smile.

"You scared the hell out of me!"

Kes smiled, reaching out to brush a lock of Tom's hair away from his face. "You're just being jumpy," she
told him. "Ocampans have been having babies just as long as humans – perhaps, longer. Would it really
mean the end of the world if I went into labor now?"

"You need to be on the ship when you have the baby," Tom insisted, taking Kes' hand in his own. The
argument they'd had that morning was completely forgotten. How could he stay angry at the woman who
meant everything to him?

"And I will be," Kes said. She squeezed Tom's hand reassuringly, then grinned. "But not if we don't get
back to work. This is our last load. Let me run one last scan of those crates, then you can load them and
we can get out of here."

But Tom grabbed her tricorder.

"Or how about this? *I'll* run a final scan on what we've got, then I'll load it on the shuttle and we can
go."

"Tom…"

"Otherwise I'll just tag along after you and by the time you finish we'll both be nervous wrecks."

Kes sighed. He had a point. Then her eyes narrowed. She hated it, but he had a point. And then she
laughed and shook her head, torn between affection and exasperation.

"You're incorrigible."

And Tom really grinned for the first time that day.

"Thank you."

Kes retreated to the shuttle, smiling.

'Fine. If he wants to do all of the work, let him,' she thought. Kes lay down on her stomach on a cot in the
rear cabin and rested. 'It's a good thing Ocampans only give birth once. I don't think Tom could survive
going through this twice.' Kes giggled at her husband's overprotective nature, but then sighed – her back
was still sore. Maybe Tom was right; maybe she could use a little break after all.




That 'little break' turned out to take two hours. And then Kes awoke to discover that Tom had loaded the
shuttle and taken off without waking her.

'What the…'

"Tom? Tom, why…"

Kes began to stand up when a sharp, stinging pain shot through her shoulder blades straight down her back.

"Oh!"

And then she collapsed back onto the cot. "Tom!"

Kes finally became aware of her husband's voice, which had been coming from the cockpit where Tom ha
been talking to her for sometime now.

"We've left the planet?" she asked.

"Yes…just stay there. I'm coming to help you."

Kes started to tell him that she was fine, but her tongue felt oddly thick. She wondered what had gone
wrong – Tom's voice was strained. She could feel his anxiety rolling towards her in waves, but she
couldn't pinpoint the reason for his feelings. She felt light-headed.

Kes could feel the change in vibration as Tom brought their shuttle to a stop, but she still couldn't hear any
sounds of disturbance coming from outside. And they didn't seem to be under attack.

Soon her curiosity got the best of her and Kes ventured into the shuttle's forward cabin despite Tom's
warning.

"What's wrong?"

"Kes! Lie back down!"

"Why? Tom, what's happening?"

Tom looked frazzled – his hair was disheveled and he looked like he was shaking. His teeth were
chattering as though he were freezing.

"Tom…"

"Lie back down! I'm not ready for you yet – you're going into labor."

Kes laughed. 'No I'm not.'

"That's ridiculous. I think I would know if I…"

But Kes' words soon faded into a startled scream as another sharp pain suddenly rippled through her back.
This time the sensation carried on throughout her whole body. She could feel her own heartbeat in her
tongue and in her feet and she suddenly realized how clammy her skin felt. She was soaked with sweat.

"Oh, Tom! I'm going into labor!"

Before her husband could even consider an "I told you so", Kes shrieked again at yet another pain and
found herself clinging to the shuttle's wall.

Tom glanced back nervously from his console and swore.

"Damn it! I told you…Kes, hold on. I'm coming, honey."

Kes nodded, but didn't speak. She was suddenly uncertain that she was capable of it. And then Tom was
at her side in a movement.

"How are you holding up? Kes? How far apart are the contractions?"

Kes shook her head. She concentrated for a moment, then the blood flow in her tongue began to recede.

"I d-don't know. I…"

Then another pain hit. Tom had eased his wife down onto a nearby bench, but now she erupted from her
seat. Her instinct was to get into the birthing position – standing up with her arms elevated to support the
muscles she needed to help her baby push through the birth sack.

"Two minutes!" she suddenly yelled. She was starting to breathe hard and her eyes were wide. She'd
prepared herself for the intensity of giving birth, but she hadn't prepared to wake up in the middle of the
experience.

Tom bit back another swear. His eyes were probably wider than Kes' – he'd never been so frightened in all
his life and he was practically choking back his panic. He'd wanted desperately to get Kes back to the ship
before this happened. Out here, alone in space, they were sitting ducks to the Krenim, and if a battle
ensued, he couldn't fly, fight, and deliver their child all at once.

When Tom had gone to check on Kes after performing the scans, he'd found her peacefully at sleep.
Happy that she was resting, he left her alone and began loading the supplies onto the shuttle.

Then he noticed something was wrong.

Tom and Kes had a telepathic and empathic bond that remained even when they were asleep. But now,
when Tom reached out to his wife with his thoughts he was met with a mental barrier he could not cross.
This was a common symptom of the birthing process, he knew – Ocampans' telepathic abilities are
severely compromised during the Elogium and the birthing process when an Ocampan mother must focus
all of her mental energy on helping her child develop its own advanced neural pathways. Tom wasn't
worried about the change in Kes' telepathic presence – but he was worried about what that change meant.
He'd known then and there that the baby was coming. And then, when he'd gone to Kes' side and had felt
how fever had heated her skin and dampened her hair, his fears had been doubly confirmed.

Now he stood beside his panting wife, supporting her bodily. She wrapped her arms around his neck,
clinging to his shoulders, and feeling the pain in her back lessen somewhat in this position.

"What happened?" she asked then, her voice rough.

"You went into labor," Tom repeated, misunderstanding her question in his own anxiety. He was at a loss
as to what he should do. When he'd first realized Kes' condition, he'd given her a compound to keep her
asleep and to slow the onslaught of the contractions. He'd prepared the hypospray for the mission, hoping
the whole time that he wouldn't need it. Now he was glad he'd thought ahead. But the inhibitor hadn't
worked for long – Tom had heard Kes moaning in her sleep long before she'd awaken – that was when
he'd started to stop the shuttle. Then he'd barely had time to try and contact the ship and scan the area
before Kes' contractions had practically doubled her over. Now he knew they'd have to act – and quickly.
Kes had said that her contractions were two minutes apart, but now another pain was coursing through her
petite form and his chronometer had barely gotten half way through counting off the second minute since
the last one.


"No," she was saying. "I mean what happened…here…to the shuttle. You're shaking. And why didn't I
feel any contractions until now?"

Tom quickly explained to her about what had happened – how he found her and administered the inhibitor.
Kes merely nodded.

"And I'm shaking because it's about fifty degrees in here. I lowered the shuttle's internal temperature to
allow for your fever."

Tom brushed another sweaty strand of gold hair away from his beloved's face.

"Now I need you to stay here, okay?" he told her. "I'm going to gather some things we'll need…"

But Kes grabbed him.

"No!"

"Kes…"

"No! Don't leave me!"

Kes looked up into Tom's eyes, her own slightly glossy – whether from the pain or the aftereffects of the
drugs he'd given her, Tom couldn't tell. Her fear and discomfort ate at him.

"Don't leave me!" she insisted.

Tom took Kes' face gingerly in his hands, caressing her features and tucking her hair behind her lovely,
lobed ears.

"I'm not leaving you, honey. But I need to get some water and towels for the baby."

Kes shook her head. And then another contraction hit, and Tom held her through it.

'Damn that was close!'

He began looking around them at the shuttle's ceiling. This shuttle was no Ocampan birthing chamber, but
it would have to do.

"Kes, I have to go *now*."

Tom eased his wife further into the shuttle's cabin towards some piping he'd seen overhead. Before Kes
could object, he pulled her arms above her head and placed her hands over the pipes. Then he tested them
for durability. Good – they were sturdy; Kes couldn't damage anything or herself by applying pressure to
them.

Tom usually cursed their poor, run-down shuttles. Almost all of them had a rough patch of replacement
plating or supplemental piping and circuitry like this somewhere on their hulls. Many were held together
by little more than that – the Krenim had not been kind. But now, for once, the rough condition of their
vessel would come in handy – the piping made an excellent grip for a laboring Ocampan.

Tom helped Kes move into the most comfortable position for her condition – with her feet spread shoulder-
length apart and her back slightly hunched. Then he loosened the back of Kes' jumper, noticing how much
further the elgia had dilated since just the night before. The sack beneath was pulsing in anticipation; it
would open any time now.

When Kes was comfortable, Tom rushed about the shuttle collecting what he needed. Then he rolled his
sleeves up to his elbows and ran a dermal sterilizer over his hands. His mind raced over everything he and
Kes had discussed since she'd first gone into Elogium – he didn't want to forget anything.

Kes was standing with her back to the cockpit, so Tom rarely left her line of vision. She comforted herself
with the thought that he would take care of everything; he knew what to do. Soon, however, the
contractions had gotten significantly worse and were coming too fast to count. Simply seeing Tom wasn't
enough – Kes wanted her husband there at her side, near her.

"Tom?"

Tom hurried through the rest of his preparations.

"Tom!"

"Okay! We're ready…we should be ready."

Tom came back to Kes, setting his supplies out around him. He kissed her on the forehead, then on the
lips, then on each cheek.

"It's okay – we're going to be fine. Everything is ready, we're ready. It's okay."

Tom said the words like a mantra for both of them, kissing his wife and reassuring her. Kes nodded, but
she was hardly conscious as Tom began helping her out of the top of her outfit. Her whole upper torso felt
ready to explode.




"Where are we?"

Sometime later, Kes was nearly exhausted. Her Ocampan instincts, however, were stronger than her pain
and her grip on the pipes above her didn't loosen.

Now that she'd had a while longer to accept what was happening, Kes felt more calm, less frantic. She'd
worked hard to maintain that inner peace, focusing her energy not on her emotions of fear and shock, but
on the life trying to find its way out of her sack. And, also, on the man standing behind her, resting a
comforting hand on the back of her neck.

The man answered.

"We're exactly where we shouldn't be," he told her. "We're on a shuttle. Giving birth. Now hold still."

Tom, too, had managed to curb his panic with time, but he felt like each of Kes' contractions were coursing
through his own body as well. He was fatigued, and he'd give fifty years of his life for that birthing
chamber back on Voyager. If they were on the ship, Kes would be much more comfortable, and they'd
have assistants to help massage her feet and adjust the chamber's temperature in sync with Kes' bouts of
fever and chills. As it was, the birthing process was taking much longer than it should have, and was
putting much more strain on his wife's body than was actually necessary.

As for Kes, her screams had long ago been reduced to mere grunts and groans, and she indulged herself in a
few now. She panted, trying to form her words carefully.

"That's not what I meant," she said.

Meanwhile, Tom was totally immersed in the delivery – even more so than herself – and he was muttering
to himself. "I told you you were in no condition to go on this supply mission, but did you listen to me?"

Kes had to smile at his tone.

*Calm down, Tom. You're not the one having the bay,* she thought to him. Her telepathic abilities were
returning. The baby would come soon.

Tom snorted.

"Of course, not! So why should you listen to me, right? I'm just your commanding officer…and the
pilot…*and* your husband, by the way. And did I mention that I'm the one *delivering* the baby?"

Kes smiled again.

"Don't worry, Tom. You're doing fine. I…"

And then she yelped. So did Tom.

"The sack is opening!"

There were no more complaints as Tom reached through the elgia, deftly positioning the baby so that its
kicks would be more effective and would work with Kes' contractions to ease the elgia open neatly. He
began massaging the muscles surrounding the opening. Everything seemed to be going fine.

'I wish the Doctor were here,' Kes found herself thinking. Tom sighed.

"Me, too."

But once again he'd misunderstood her. Kes smiled gently and focused her mind – projecting her feelings
of pride and love towards her husband; conveying her disappointment that their friend wasn't here to see
what an excellent physician his former assistant had become.

Tom looked up from his work, touched. And he sent her a message in return – sent her a sample of all his
love and appreciation; his gratitude for this gift that she was giving him – the gift of their child. Then he
planted a small kiss on Kes' shoulder.

And then a startled gasp from his wife brought Tom's attention back to the elgia.

"I can see the toes!"

There was a sort of child-like wonder in Tom's voice, as well as a thickness caused by emotions that
brought tears to Kes' eyes and joy to her heart. But now, the birthing process was at an end, and,
consequently, at its most intense. She could do little more than cling to the shuttle and pant, letting Tom
and their child take over.

"We're almost there, honey," her husband assured her. "Just a little further."

Tom couldn't believe what he was seeing. He stared at the tiny feet protruding form Kes' back – at the tiny
little body barely visible beyond it. As he helped their child emerge, his eyes focused on ten tiny, perfect
little toes. He'd never imaged anything so amazing in all of his life.

"Kes…Kes, the baby's almost here…it's coming. Sweetheart? It's…"

Suddenly the baby emerged in one swift movement, sliding into its father's waiting hands. Tom's voice
rose.

"Kes! Kes, it's a girl! Do you hear me? Oh!…Oh, Kes…"

In between groans, Kes laughed, and when the baby emerged her sounds of pain were replaced in the
shuttle's cabin by the sound of a baby's cry. Where once there was pain and urgency, a profound peace
now settled over Kes. And age-old relief filled her, and Kes sighed in contentment.

"Kes…oh, Kes."

Tom just seemed to mutter the same thing over and over to himself. And then Tom presented his child to
her mother. Kes gasped.

"It's a girl."

"Oh, Tom!"

Tom swaddled the new little being in a blanket and handed her to Kes, who immediately collapsed on a
nearby bench.

"She's beautiful!"

And she was – the child was perfect. There was the slightest sprinkling of golden fluff atop her tiny little
head, and her bright blue eyes were wide and curious. Her tiny Ocampan ears looked almost human, as
Ocampans do not develop their lobes until will into their third month. The only sign, in fact, that the child
wasn't human was the absence of a "belly button". With time, however, the child would eventually
develop traits resembling her mother.

Kes looked down at their daughter, overwhelmed with love. Her husband joined them.

"Yes, she is," he responded to her exclamation. Then his eyes turned to his wife. "Just like her mother."

"I've never seen anything so perfect!"

"I have."

Overcome with maternal pride and awe, Kes didn't immediately notice Tom's intent stare. When she heard
the soft note in his voice, however, she looked up to see him gazing at her through suspiciously bright eyes.
Never before had so much been conveyed between two people with so brief and simple a gesture as that
look. They looked at each other as if they were seeing one another for the first time in their lives. Fitting –
considering the fact that their daughter was watching them watching each other for the first time in hers.

"I love you, Kes," Tom told her, sincerity and love marking his voice.

"I love you, too, Tom."

They simply stared at one another, connecting, communicating, until their new family member began to
feel left out and started to cry anew.

Tom stared down at one of the two most important women in his life and laughed.

"Hello, baby," he told her, feeling foolish but not knowing what else to say to this perfect, beautiful little
being whom he was meeting for the very first time. There was something very moving about such an
introduction. Kes felt it, too.

"I guess we're going to have to name this little one soon so I know what to call her."

Kes cuddled their baby close to her.

"Well, you know how I thought of naming the baby, if it turned out to be a girl, after my mother…"

"Martis Paris sounds good." Tom smiled, and his wife smiled back.

"Yes…but I think I've found another Ocampan name you might like better."

"Oh?" he asked.

"Yes. Linnis."

"Linnis. It's beautiful."

"Guess what it means?"

Tom shook his head.

"Butterfly."