As Tom Paris made his way toward the turbo lift on the bridge, his knees almost buckled from his emotions. Not only was he a brand new father, Voyager was going home, someplace he never thought he would see again. As his best friend, Harry Kim, gave him a genuine look of pride for his buddy, Tom entered the turbo lift and watched the bridge slide away as the turbo lift doors closed. In the lift by himself, Tom couldn't help but grin ear to ear. They had done it! Voyager was returning home, something he never thought would happen. When the door opened to the deck with sickbay, Tom couldn't help but jogging the short route to see his new family.
"Ah. Welcome in, dad." Voyager's EMH said sincerely. As the new godfather, he was almost as proud as the two parents. Knowing the new family would need to spend some quality time together, the doctor slid into his office with a grin on his face and began to document the birth.
As proud as Tom had been making his way to sickbay, he had no clue what to do at this point. At that point in time, his wife had never looked as beautiful, even draped in medic blues and face covered with sweat. As Tom slowly took a step toward his wife and daughter, B'elanna looked up from their daughter's face and gave her warmest and most exhausted smile.
Stepping forward, Tom felt like the luckiest man in the world but also a pang of regret. "B'elanna," he began, his voice shaking. "I'm so sorry I couldn't be here."
B'elanna's face softened. "I think you had a pretty good excuse this time, but I'll only let it slide this once, flyboy," she said with her usual mischievous grin. "Besides, do you really think the Doctor wouldn't have recorded something like this? I almost had to keep reminding him of his medical obligations in addition to his proud Godfather status." She couldn't help but notice Tom's distance and gestured with her free hand. "Come here, Tom. She's beautiful."
Tom was anxious and filled with ecstasy at the same time. He inched toward the biobed and sat next to B'elanna. As he was handed their infant, tears came to his eyes. For an instant, he thought back to the Tom Paris that came on Voyager. He was no longer that man, he was better. Softly, he used his index finger to brush Miral's small face and hair. She was perfect in every way, down to the ridges that were the product of her quarter Klingon genetics. He cautiously held the small child closer and looked up at B'elanna, who was beaming with pride. There were so many things he wanted to thank her for but all he could choke out was a small "Thank you."
B'elanna, still beaming with pride, put her arm around Tom. "I have plenty to thank you for as well, flyboy. For starters, I need to thank you for talking me out of removing her Klingon genes. She couldn't be more beautiful in any way." Although her words were meant to make Tom feel better, she could read the worry on his face. Although this frustrated and perplexed her for a time, she tried to figure out what was causing him worry. Suddenly it hit her "You're afraid what's going to happen when we get to Earth, aren't you?"
Tom, having never been able to lie to B'elanna, looked up. "There's reason enough to court-martial me, B'elanna. I know I'm a changed man, but I don't think Starfleet will understand."
Gently taking Miral from Tom she responded, "Tom, we've all done things on this ship that violate every aspect of Starfleet-from insubordination to ignoring prime directive." B'elanna, as a former Maquis, was also uncertain of her own fate, but was confident in Captain Janeway securing the Maquis a pardon. "Besides, even though you left earth while on rough terms with your father, I'm sure he wouldn't mind pulling a couple strings in Starfleet."
Tom smiled. "I don't even know why I'm thinking about that right now. It won't be until tomorrow that we reach Deep Space Nine. Besides, right now we have bigger problems," he added with a slight grin turning up the corners of his mouth. "We have to convince the Doctor that we're fit to be parents," he stated while watching little Miral sleep.
As if he knew he was being talked about, the good Doctor emerged from his office with a tricorder. "I hate to interrupt, but it's time for a first checkup." He couldn't approach the infant without a smile creasing his face. "I don't mean to show bias, but I think I can declare this little one here the cutest thing in the Alpha Quadrant." After a quick scan with the tricorder, Miral was declared to be in perfect health, as well as an order for B'elanna to get some rest if she wanted to return to the Paris-Torres quarters that evening. As the doctor removed the small infant from weary B'elanna's hands and placing her in a small crib he had replicated earlier, Tom kissed his wife goodnight and although B'elanna insisted she wasn't tired, it wasn't but a few minutes until she slipped into deep sleep. Removing his hand from hers, Tom joined the Doctor in admiring the small bundle of joy.
"So Doc, is there anything I need to know?" Tom asked eagerly.
The doctor, in his ever sarcastic tone replied, "Well, Mr. Paris, I do believe it is a girl."
Tom smiled at the Doctor and was surprised as Captain Janeway entered sickbay with a full cup of coffee. "I thought it would be of the Captain's best interest to investigate this new life form on board." She smiled as she took a sip of her coffee and walked toward the bassinet in the middle of sickbay. As Miral began to stir and join the waking world, Janeway's eyes lit up. "Oh, she's perfect Tom. You should be so proud." Not seeing B'elanna's form on the far biobed she added, "Where's the proud mother?"
"Klingon birth is an interesting thing, Captain." The EMH mused. "During the whole procedure I was glad I am a hologram or else I would be nursing my own wounds. I'm not surprised that she is totally exhausted" Turning to Tom he added. "I hope you appreciate the work it took me to document the event."
The group laughed and Miral looked up and cooed at them. Tom eagerly swept his arms into the small crib and picked up the infant. Both Janeway and the doctor couldn't help but beam with pride for the new father. Janeway moved toward Tom and put a hand on his shoulder, "I never would have believed this a few years ago, Mr. Paris. She will be lucky to have you as a father."
It didn't take long for the senior staff to arrange in sickbay, hovering over the newest member to the Voyager family. Tom was weary of letting Miral be passed around and adored over, but Harry, Neelix, and even Tuvok convinced Tom that allowing social interaction was 'a logical choice'. While gathered, Chakotay gave the good news that Voyager was set to rendezvous with Deep Space Nine by 1400 the next day. After a while longer of nostalgic talk and stories, the majority of the senior staff left, leaving Tom, the Doctor and the sleeping B'elanna once again. Tom stifled a yawn while rocking Miral back to sleep and the Doctor suggested he retire to his quarters for the night. Tom refused to leave without B'elanna. The EMH, knowing Tom could rival his half Klingon spouse in stubbornness, convinced those running the transporter room to directly transport B'elanna from her bed in sickbay to the bed her and Tom shared in their quarters. Tom, satisfied with this compromise, cuddled Miral and made the way to what would not be 'home' for very much longer.
After entering their quarters and making sure everything was somewhat tidy and the covers were pulled off the bed, he tapped on his comm badge to authorize B'elanna's transport. Shortly afterwards, B'elanna's sleeping figure materialized on the bed. Although the transport was not considered to be a huge disturbance, B'elanna woke up and looked over as Tom was pulling a comforter up to her chin.
"I was hoping to get you here without bothering you." Tom apologized while pulling his own covers up.
"Well of all the ways I've heard to get a girl into your bed, this has to be the lowest," she said grinning.
"Well if you're here to prevent certain consequences, you're a little late," Tom retorted while nodding toward the small crib by B'elanna's side of the bed decorated with a starship mobile.
B'elanna giggled and let out a deep sigh. "Do you think we're ready, Tom?"
Lieutenant Paris smiled as he responded. "Come on! We've taken on the Borg. How can this be more difficult?"