"False Miracles"
By Pari106

Disclaimer: Voyager and everything related to her belong to Paramount
and Viacom.

Author's Note: This is a story I've been working on for a while...and is still in progress. Rated G (I guess).
I don't want to give to much of it away, so don't worry about a summary and get on with the reading and
reviewing already :)

False Miracles

He awoke slowly. In a way it was like being underwater and swimming towards the surface with his limbs
weighted. He could sense the bright light behind his closed eyelids, just past the surface; could hear voices
filtering through the haze that clouded his mind. Yet he couldn't quite reach them.

"...remember anything? How can you guarantee he'll be able to function under these circumstances?"

"I can't. I can't even guarantee he'll be capable of forming intelligible speech. I warned you from the very
beginning that I couldn't give you any guarantees."


"No. I'll examine him once he's regained consciousness, and I will truly hope that I will find all is well, but
until then I will not give you a bunch of empty promises that I'm not sure I can keep."

"But how long will that be? Can't you just wake him now?"

That voice was female, though he didn't know how he knew that - or why the voice seemed somehow
familiar to him, but he struggled to remember - struggled to open his eyes and turn them towards the
disembodied voices that argued around him. The pain in doing so was great, but he did not relax.

The voice the others had referred to as 'Doctor' made an incredulous sound. "Wake him?" he scoffed. "I'm
not even sure what this man's condition will be when - or should I say if - he regains consciousness on his
own. There's no telling what the damage could be if we rushed things..."

"But you can't be sure there will even be any damage. Isn't there anything you can do?"

The doctor's voice seemed strained; tired. But the man hardly heard them as he concentrated on his own
task of struggling back to consciousness. He grimaced as the pain in his temples increased. If he could just
move something, anything. A hand, his mouth, an eye lash...

"Darmask..." the doctor was saying, "Now is not the time to grow impatient. We must be extremely
cautious in these matters. We must simply wait..."

"I am tired of waiting!" said the woman. "Haven't we waited long enough? I want to talk to him now ..."

"Lisave..." Darmask began to soothe.

Doctor Bree'aje stepped back from his younger companions, allowing them to talk passionately amongst
themselves. He massaged the tension from the bridge of his nose, arranging the folds of his drab, gray robes
and sighing heavily as he sat upon a nearby stool.

What had compelled him to get involved in this madness? What, indeed, besides the great stakes that hung
in the balance - the excuse he continually gave himself in order to justify his participation in this insanity. It
was an excuse even he was no longer buying.

He looked to the thin, cloth partition that separated their patient's bed from the rest of the small sitting
room. What was the use of any of it anyhow? For all he knew the man behind that screen was brain dead.
After all that his mind had endured he'd have to be blessed with a miracle not to be...

Doctor Bree'aje allowed his attention to drift back towards the couple arguing near the entrance to his
hut...until a resounding crash from the other side of his small living space stilled them all.

Yes! With a grunt of triumph and pain, he managed to roll to his side, fighting the wave of nausea and
dizziness that accompanied that simple movement. He might not have even realized that he'd continued to
roll - straight off the bed - if he hadn't heard the crash, as well. However, he did hear it - as if from a
distance: the rustle of bed sheets as he rolled off of them, the clatter of medical utensils as his body fell into
an instrument tray on its way to the floor, the thud of a body hitting the ground...and then the sound of
footsteps and of voices as the three individuals he'd heard arguing before came rushing to his side.

"What happened! Oh, great Giving-Ones, is he okay?"

"Come on, Darmask. Give me a hand with him will you?"

"See! See? I told you it was time to wake him!"

He no more felt it as the two men lifted him back to his bed than he had when he'd hit the ground, but he
wasn't concerned at the moment with such things. Sharp blue eyes, dulled by his current sorry state, fixed
on their reflection in the shiny, overturned utensil tray by which he'd fallen. His reflection was very similar
in appearance to that of his companions: fair hair; blue, blue eyes with light olive pupils; a light-lavender
complexion and a pronounced bone structure in his brow and jaw line. The bridge of his nose and the bones
around his eyes were ridged. It was the common appearance of a member of his species, he knew.
Somehow, however, his reflection did not seem common to him...it frightened him, terribly.

Suddenly, he began to struggle as Darmask and the Doctor laid him gently on his bed. His mouth faltered at
first, but eventually he spoke.

"Wh-what...Where? Where am I? Who are you?"

His words seemed to hit his companions like a physical blow. The doctor only peered at him through sad,
knowing eyes, but Darmask and the woman...Lisave?...seemed horrified. He saw tears welling up in the
small female's wide aqua eyes. At least he thought he did - concentrating on any one thing was difficult and
worsened the pain in his temples. And why couldn't he seem to focus on anything a few feet past his face?

"Something's wrong!" the woman shrieked. "What's wrong with him? What does he mean who am I?"

Darmask was shaking is head, his voice low. "It didn't work. It just didn't work."

The doctor threw them both scathing looks before turning back to his patient.

"Nonsense," he said, his voice quiet and soothing - no doubt for his patient's benefit. The man wondered if
they even knew he could understand what they were saying. "He's moving, he's speaking. That's an
excellent sign. A little memory loss is nothing - and it could be temporary."

He leaned in a little closer to the man. "Can you remember anything, my friend? Do you know how you got

The man's expression remained blank, but the doctor schooled his features not to reveal any of his concern
or disappointment.

The man grimaced, bringing a shaking hand up to his aching head.

From somewhere he heard a woman's sobbing.

"What about your name?" the doctor continued, encouraging. "Can you at least remember your name?"

Tears welled in the young man's eyes with the effort that remembering required - and still the details of his
life eluded him, flittering around the edges of his awareness. But this last question seemed to snatch one of
those elusive beings from the fold - for once the man had an answer.

"Tom..." he tried, testing the word on his tongue. It sounded right. Didn't it?

"Tom?" The Doctor seemed to be waiting for more - and it came to Tom almost without thought.

"Paris," he said, realizing it was true. "My name is Tom Paris....Doctor. Doctor Thomas Paris." The title
came to him just as the name had, but there was something wrong with that, wasn't there? Was he a doctor?
But there was no time to further his pondering. Suddenly the young woman, Lisave, had launched herself at
his side.

"Oh, Tom! Tom, you do remember!" With tears still running down her cheeks, the woman clung to his side,
and again Tom had the odd feeling that he should somehow know this Lisave. There was something in her
eyes that made the feeling grow. His puzzlement worsened the dizziness that had his head spinning.

Over Lisave's shoulder, Tom could just make out Darmask and the Doctor's smiling faces.

"Well, Dr. Paris. May I be the first - after your wife, of course - to say...welcome home."

Tom didn't know what to think of the welcome, or how to respond. Those words floated around his
muddled mind. Dr. Paris...wife...home...

Then a response was impossible because unconsciousness claimed him once again.

"...welcome home..."