Temporal Discoveries

Disclaimer: The entire Star Trek franchise belongs to... someone else. I'm just borrowing some of the characters, and the events of a couple of episodes, for my own enjoyment.

Summary: This one fits in canon. The events of "Shattered" from Paris' point of view. Oh, a few spoilers for "Lineage" as well. And, of course, it's P/T. I know it's a bit long, but I couldn't find a good place to split it into two chapters.


Lt. Tom Paris straightened slightly after Captain Janeway dismissed them to return to their previous locations, to get themselves ready for what they hoped would be enough to restore the timelines, to get the ship back in one temporal location. He saw her glance over at him, an uncertain expression on her face, and he couldn't help but smile sadly. The Tom Paris she knew wasn't the one who was standing in front of her now. He wished he had the time to explain that to her, to tell her how important she had been in making that transition, but she had been adamant about not risking contamination to the Temporal Prime Directive.

His eyes followed another retreating female figure, and he felt himself frozen in place, unable to even breathe. He had seen her when he came into Engineering to retake the ship from Seska and her Kazon friends—again—but had been too focused on his task to give her even a second glance. Like with the captain, he was tempted to go up and talk to her—hell, he was tempted to do much more than just talk—but Janeway's words about the Temporal Prime Directive were still ringing in his ears. Besides, if the red suede pants and leather boots that went above her knees were any indication, she wouldn't want to hear anything of what he had to say, anyway. He felt his lips twitch into a mischievous grin as he thought about how she would react to him grabbing hold of her shoulders and kissing her passionately. No, he wouldn't do that. He'd have to settle for watching her walk away, a sight he knew he would never get tired of seeing.

She looked different, but at seven years younger, that was hardly unexpected. She was moving stiffly, probably a combination of the tight Maquis fatigues and the constant anger and frustration she carried around then. Her hair was shorter and slightly thicker, pushed straight back from her forehead instead of parted slightly off-center, a style she adopted not far into their journey. Her figure was subtly different, but nothing he could put his finger on, just the accumulation of slight changes that occurred after seven years of living on Voyager, eating Neelix's food, constantly in motion as she worked to keep the warp core running just the way she liked it. And a different form of exercise. That time, he didn't even bother to try to hide his grin.

As if she could feel his eyes on her, she turned slightly back at him and fixed him with a look. This wasn't the slightly confused look she gave him when he first started pursuing her, nor the amused, knowing look they shared after they started dating. No, she looked downright hostile, as if asking him with her eyes what right he had to even look at her. Oh, if only she knew.

In a way, that look pained him, just because of how different it was from the look she gave him last time they saw each other. It had been that morning, hours before, as they said their good-byes before going their separate ways from the temporary quarters they had made for themselves—her office in Engineering. After That Day, as Tom liked to dramatically call it, they had set up quarters with the rest of the crew in Cargo Bay One, their cots pushed together and a sheet separating them from the others. Not that there was any chance of them making love under such circumstances—B'Elanna had refused to let him touch her for a week after they found out just how thin the walls of a starship could be, so in the Cargo Bay in front of half the crew was definitely not an option—but holding each other as they slept was theirs and theirs alone, and not something that everyone else needed to witness.

That lasted almost a week, before B'Elanna started to wake up feeling nauseated and cranky. They wrote it off to the conditions, the Starfleet rations, the hours she was working, and just about everything else they had been under since the explosion. They were both so focused on other things, like getting the ship back into working order, to even consider that it could be something else. And then she passed out in Engineering, and her crew managed to get her to the make-shift sickbay, the mess hall, where a very quick scan confirmed what both should have been able to figure out from the beginning.

After the initial shock and B'Elanna's characteristic overreaction, they finally broke with solidarity from the crew and set up quarters in her office. Nobody was upset or jealous, at least as much as they would share—everyone understood that a cargo bay filled with tired, hungry, and frustrated crew members was no place for a pregnant chief engineer. Besides, if pressed, Tom could always claim executive privileges—with Janeway and Chakotay dead, and Tuvok not too far off, Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas Eugene Paris was the captain of Voyager.

Of course, with the Doctor off-line, he was also the chief medical officer, and it went without saying that he was still the chief helmsman, not as if they were going anywhere. Still, it made for a frustrating few weeks, trying to lead the crew and heal them at the same time. Fortunately, Harry, who actually had more time in the command chair than Tom, was able to take over some of the leadership duties as Tom turned the medical side of things over to Samantha Wildman.

That particular morning, just like every morning since their move into her office, they woke from an all-too-brief, restless night of slumber, eating their breakfasts from ration packs in silence as both wished that somewhere, somehow, there could be coffee. Then, faced with the realization that it would be another long and frustrating day, they turned to each other to say their goodbyes before heading out.

He remembered standing there, just inside the door to her office, holding her tightly and not wanting to let go. She seemed equally unwilling to leave—it was as if they were both holding each other up, somehow transferring the strength that they would need to make it through another day to each other. Finally, she pulled away and turned to leave, but his hand on her jaw stopped her. They looked at each other for a moment, both seeing the exhaustion from too many weeks without a break, without enough sleep, without enough of anything. He kissed her lightly and told her that he loved her and pressed his hand against her still-flat abdomen. She had smiled up at him and rolled her eyes—although she could feel their daughter's first movements, it was still much too light for any motion to be transferred to his fingers. Still, she told him that she loved him, too, and reminded him to pick up their ration packs for dinner from the mess hall before he headed home for the night. All in all, it had been a normal morning.

"I had forgotten how young she was," Chakotay said thoughtfully, falling into step beside the pilot turned doctor turned captain.

Tom chuckled, hearing the underlying message in the words. "Don't worry, Chakotay, I heard the captain's warning," he said, his voice light. "And B'Elanna Torres in high leather boots, no matter how damned sexy that may be, always means a bad day for Tom Paris." He glanced sideways at his commanding officer. "As I recall, whenever she's dressed like that, she comes with a big brother figure ready to space anyone who looks at her sideways."

It was Chakotay's turn to laugh. "Point taken," he said, slapping the younger man on the shoulder. "But I can't imagine how it feels to look at your wife, and know that she doesn't even know she's married."

Tom shook his head, his expression thoughtful. "Well, it's not easy," he admitted, unconsciously twirling his wedding band with his thumb. "But that's not my wife. Not yet, anyway. There's another Tom Paris out there who will see to that happening. My wife is currently bent over a diagnostic panel, or crawling around a Jeffries tube, or up to her elbows in bioneural gel, waiting for her husband to come home to their very uncomfortable 'quarters' in her office with a pair of ration packs for dinner, and if there's one thing I'm starting to learn, it's that you don't keep a pregnant half-Klingon chief engineer waiting."

Chakotay began to chuckle, but then froze and gaped at the pilot as the words sunk in. Paris caught that expression and groaned. "All of my concerns about not breaking the Temporal Prime Directive, and I end up talking to the one person who is going to remember," he muttered. He glanced at his commanding officer, apologetic. "Our timelines are a few weeks apart. I forgot that you never knew."

The definitive choice of words wasn't lost on Chakotay. So, he thought, in Paris' timeline, I didn't make it. Somehow, that didn't bother him as much as he thought it might. "Well," Chakotay managed, still surprised. "I guess congratulations are in order. I didn't even know you were… I mean…" his voice trailed off, not knowing how to finish that thought.

Tom seemed to know what he was thinking and started laughing. "We didn't tell anyone we were trying," he confirmed. "We didn't want it to be a big deal if it didn't happen. But, well, surprise." He was grinning, and Chakotay could see how happy the thought of being a father was to him.

Tom Paris a father… The thought seemed strange to Chakotay, as did the next thought that popped into his head, and his face suddenly became serious again. He cleared his throat. "I don't mean to pry, but just how pregnant is she?"

Tom looked surprised for a second, then realized what his commanding officer was asking. "Ten weeks, as best as we can figure. So, yes, she was pregnant in your timeline, we just didn't know yet." He scoffed. "Some medic I am. I can't even figure out when my own wife is pregnant. And don't you go suggesting that she visit sickbay or anything," he said in a warning tone. "Show me some mercy."

"Mercy? You're going to be living with two Klingons soon!"

It was apparent from Tom's quick expression that there was an unpleasant story associated with those words, but that was gone as quickly as it appeared. "Yeah, let me live in blissful ignorance for another week or so," he said with a grin. At Chakotay's confused expression, he explained, "Think about it—pregnancy mood swings in a half-Klingon. And guess who gets the brunt of that."

"So, boy or girl? Do you have any names picked out?" Chakotay knew he really shouldn't be asking, but he couldn't help himself—especially when he unintentionally looked forward at the half-Klingon engineer who kept giving him questioning glances over her shoulder.

"Girl," Tom said proudly. He made a face. "And if you have any suggestions for names, we'll add them to the list of suggestions from the rest of the crew."

"Miral," a soft voice said from behind them. "After her grandmother." Both men turned in surprise to see Lt. Naomi Wildman standing there.

"Chakotay." That impatient voice, spoken in a heavy Spanish accent, came from in front of them. Paris and Chakotay looked at each other and laughed.

"I forgot she used to say it that way," Tom said.

"So did I," Chakotay admitted. "I should probably go, anyway, before I hear more about my future."

"Yeah," Tom agreed. "And she's probably wondering why you're even talking to me, anyway."

"Right. I'm not your biggest fan right now, as far as she's concerned." He turned to head toward the younger version of his chief engineer, but Tom's voice stopped him again.

"Tell her—" He began to speak, but cut himself off before grinning. "Tell her I didn't forget dinner. That should leave her confused for awhile."

Chakotay chuckled, his gaze going back and forth between the young engineer and the older pilot. She was still watching them curiously, trying to figure out what her captain could be talking about with the man she knew he disliked so much; he was still watching her, as if trying to remember how such an angry woman became his wife, mentally reliving every moment of the last seven years in fast-forward. He grinned roguishly at her and winked before turning back to Chakotay, which earned him an exasperated snort. Chakotay couldn't help but grin. "I'm sure I'll say it again in a week or so," he finally said, turning back to the pilot and speaking loud enough that he suspected B'Elanna could hear, "but congratulations, on the baby. And good luck surviving the next seven months or so." He headed toward Torres without waiting for a response.

As if just remembering that she was there, Tom turned back to Naomi. Talk about looking different. When he saw her a few days ago, she was just a little girl, pretty scared about what was going and the changes that were happening before her very eyes. "So, Miral, huh?"

She brightened. "Miral," she confirmed. "She's a great kid—well, teenager, now. She looks like B'Elanna, but she has your eyes and your sense of humor, and there's no denying that she would rather be at the helm than anywhere near Engineering." He grinned wickedly with the news; no doubt it bothered B'Elanna to no end that her own daughter chose not to be an engineer, but Naomi wasn't done. "She likes to joke around, but she isn't mean about it, and she always makes an effort to be a good older sister."

He paused at her words, and looked at her, incredulous. He was still getting used to the idea of having one kid, and there were more? "Older sister?" he managed.

She grinned. "Another girl and a boy," she confirmed. Her gaze went far away for a moment, then came back. "And despite everything, for some reason, the Paris kids have got to be some of the most well-adjusted children in the universe. They have good parents, Tom."

He returned her grin, then snuck a glance at the half-Klingon deep in conversation down the corridor. She stiffened at something Chakotay said, then yelled out, very loudly, "WHAT?!?" She swung her head quickly in Tom's direction, her expression a mixture of disbelief and anger.

"I guess Chakotay passed along your message," Naomi said with a smile.

"Thanks, old man," Tom called out down the corridor, intentionally using the nickname B'Elanna occasionally gave him, knowing that it wouldn't fail to get a rise out of her. Seven years younger or not, he had to admit there was a certain appeal in seeing just how far he could go.

"It's strange," Naomi said thoughtfully, turning toward a younger version of the man she had gotten used to thinking of as her captain. "Seeing her so young, so angry."

"She's younger than you, isn't she?" Tom asked, suddenly realizing.

She nodded and grinned. "And I outrank Harry," she added with a laugh. "But the strangest thing is not seeing her brighten when she's around you. Even after all this time, after all the ship and the crew have been through, it's obvious you two are still very much in love. I was too young to remember a time when you weren't."

He thought about that for a moment. There was no doubt in his mind that he would always be in love with his wife, but it sounded so strange to hear it that way, considering how new his marriage still was to him. He gave her a quirky grin. "You know, Naomi, you have an awful lot of insight to relationships for someone who wasn't even six years old this morning."

She laughed, and that far away look came back for a second. Her eyes shifted from Paris toward the other end of the corridor, where a lone figure was waiting, then back. "I guess you can say, when it comes to Voyager, there's a long history of engineers making pilots work very hard for their attention. Harder than they should have to."

He didn't miss the weight behind her words, and raised his eyebrows toward the figure waiting for her. "You and Icheb?" he asked in disbelief. "But he's more than ten years older than you!"

"Small ship, limited choices," she said dryly, but he saw the mischievous glint in her eyes. Something told him she was recalling a conversation she had with his wife; after all, if she were a lieutenant in Engineering, there's no doubt the two would have worked closely together.

His thoughts were interrupted by Chakotay's voice. "Tom," he called out from down the corridor. "It's time to go back."

"Right," he muttered with a nod before turning back to the girl next to him. Woman, he corrected himself. Hell, she was close to his age. Impulsively, he leaned over and wrapped her in a tight hug.

"Take care of yourself, okay?" he said softly.

"I always do," she replied with a grin as they separated. He let her walk a few steps away before he called out after her. "Naomi," he said, loud enough that he knew Icheb could hear. "Don't keep him waiting too long. Nobody deserves that kind of torture." He chuckled at her bright pink cheeks before turning away.

As he waited for the turbolift to arrive to take him back to the mess hall, he glanced back at the closed doors of Engineering and sighed. He hadn't thought it was possible, but he found himself wishing that he could just go in there, find his wife and drag her away from whatever repair she was in the middle of, and sit in their 'quarters' and enjoy a quiet dinner of Starfleet Ration Four, or whatever else he managed to scrounge up. Up until that morning, he had hated almost every moment of that, hated the fact that he was forced into command, hated that it was between two field medics to provide prenatal care for his wife, hated the stiffness of the field cots they were sleeping on and the taste of the rations they were forced to eat. Just the night before, they had joked about how bad those were, how they'd rather be eating Neelix's cooking. They had compared what they'd be willing to trade for the rations; he wouldn't go past pleeka rind casserole, but B'Elanna said she'd even be willing to have some leola root stew.

But if this worked, there wouldn't be temporary quarters in Engineering, wouldn't be dinners over ration packs, and Captain Tom Paris could turn over his command to where it belonged and return to the helm. If this worked, the last few weeks wouldn't have happened at all. He felt himself start to grin as he realized that he would, again, get to hear the news that he was going to be a father. And this time, he promised himself, I'm not going to let her assume the worst. He just wished he would be able to remember that promise.

He stepped into the turbolift and was about to call out for deck two when a slight figure slipped in through the closing doors. "Transporter room," she ordered, not turning to his acknowledge his surprised and amused expression. There was no way the B'Elanna Torres of that time would have been close to sharing a turbolift with him alone.

"So," she finally said, still not looking at him. "Torture?"

So she had heard his comment to Naomi. "Absolute torture," he confirmed with a grin. "And worth every moment."

She finally turned and looked at him, her eyes flashing. "I don't know what you're trying to pull, Paris," she spit out, "but that would never happen."

"Right," he said, giving her his best roguish grin. "You have a reputation to uphold. I understand." Under his breath, but loud enough that he knew she'd be able to hear, he added, "After all, what would your Maquis friends say if they found out that you read Klingon romance novels in your spare time?" He tried not to laugh at the trapped look on her face.

At her stop, the doors slid open, and she turned to him, uncertain. "How?" she asked, seemingly honest curious.

She didn't need to explain what she was talking about. For a second, he was tempted to give her the whole story, but knew there wasn't enough time to go over seven years of history. Instead, he just grinned and said, "It must have just been my natural charm."

She snorted and rolled her eyes before turning to leave, but his hand on her arm stopped her. His left hand, complete with the simple gold band they had replicated in the Delta Flyer on that very memorable honeymoon. She looked down at it, her eyes wide as it finally sank in that this might all be serious.

He was tempted to do what he usually did when they went their separate ways before going on duty; draw her close to him, hold her tightly, tell her that he loved her, but he knew that would only get him a few broken bones—and not the good kind—from this B'Elanna Torres. Instead, he simply said, "Take care of yourself, Torres."

Her eyes went from his hand to his eyes, where he knew she'd be able to see everything he wanted to say but couldn't. She swallowed heavily at the expression he was wearing, and then turned and headed down the corridor. He took a deep breath as the doors closed behind her, the humming lift taking him back to the mess hall. It occurred to him as he entered the make-shift sickbay that if this didn't work, that would be the last time he saw his wife. No, he told himself, forcing that thought away. It's going to work.

The situation in the mess hall hadn't changed much since Chakotay came and recruited him to help remove Seska from Engineering. "Tom," Ensign Wildman called out, seeing him approach. "Did everything go okay with Chakotay?"

For an instant, he was tempted to tell her everything that happened—the temporal fields, the fight with the Kazon, the conversation with her grown-up daughter—but he knew he didn't have the time. Instead, he swallowed and nodded. "Everything went exactly as planned," he managed. Let's hope that continues.

---

Chakotay strode into Engineering as if doing so late in the evening was something that happened all the time. Despite the curious looks around him, he didn't say anything as he headed to the main control panel on the rail in front of the warp core.

"Reroute main power to the deflector," he told B'Elanna, moving to the console next to hers. In the back of his mind, he couldn't help but compare the engineer now in front of him to the one he had just seen.

"Why?" she asked with a frown, even as she bent to do so.

"Have you ever heard of a lightning rod?" he asked rhetorically. "Because in about three seconds, we're going to need one."

Sure enough, a few seconds later, a flash of plasma from the nebula came at them, hitting them right on the deflector. "What the hell was that for?" B'Elanna demanded as the lights began to flicker slightly. Without waiting for a response, she half-turned to begin giving orders to her crew.

"It was better than the alternative," he said cryptically. He felt the corners of his mouth lift into a grin as he remembered his conversation with Tom. He was pretty sure it was just his imagination, but she seemed different, almost seeming to glow, aside from the reflection from the warp core. He was about to casually bring up a visit to sickbay, but then remembered Tom's quiet plea to let things unfold naturally.

She was looking at him, her head cocked slightly to the side in a curious expression, very similar to the one her younger version had worn as she watched him talk to the man she now knew as her husband. "What's going on, Chakotay?"

"Nothing you need to worry about," he assured her. He frowned suddenly. "Weren't you on alpha shift today? Shouldn't you be off, spending some time with your husband?" After all, you're not going to get much chance for alone time after the baby comes.

She snorted as she returned to her work. "And do what?" she asked. "Tom's behind on his conn reports—again—and we all know how the first officer gets when reports are late." She gave him a quick grin. "Besides, you just burnt out my deflector dish."

"It's nothing they can't handle," he reminded her, gesturing to her staff. "And tell Tom he can get those reports in to me later."

Her confusion before was nothing compared to what he saw now. "Now I know something's up, Chakotay. What is it? And how did you know exactly when to come into Engineering to reconfigure the deflector?"

He grinned at her. "I can't tell you that. It would violate the Temporal Prime Directive. Now go, and don't make me make it an order."

She rolled her eyes. "So you've the seen the future, old man?"

"Something like that," he said with a slight smile as they headed toward the door.

She couldn't resist asking. "So what happens? Something I'll like?"

"You just don't know when to let it drop, do you?" he asked with a laugh as the turbolift stopped at her deck. "Enjoy your evening, B'Elanna. And now if you'll excuse me, I have a dinner to finish."