Title: Souls
Author: Jesse
Contact:
Rated: PG-13, I guess (14A). Whatever.
Archive: Do it without telling me, and I'll hunt you down like the rats you are! ;)
Disclaimer: Paramount this that and the other thing
Comments: Mail me or die!

"It's a simple thing to do, Doc," explained Tom Paris.

The Doctor regarded him skeptically.

It was then that Seven chose that exact moment to walk into Sickbay.

"Just watch," whispered Tom.

Nervously wide-eyed, the Doctor watched as Tom Paris turned toward Seven of Nine.

"Hello, Seven," he said.

"Ensign," she acknowledged.

"Seven, I have something very important to tell you." He gave a side glance to the Doctor.

"Yes?" asked Seven.

Tom smiled, "Seven, I love you."

Her eyebrows rose a considerable height. She gave him a suspicious stare. She was totally speechless. The Doctor just stood stiffly and quietly, mouth agape.

The young ensign was quite pleased with himself. "You don't have a witty comeback for that one, do you?" he asked, amused.

Seven smirked slightly. "No, I do not."

Tom gave her a luminous grin. "You're a good friend, Seven, and I love you for it."

She hesitated for a moment before replying. "Thankyou, Ensign." She cocked an eyebrow and looked at him mischeviously. "You, too."

Tom's grin remained wide. "Thanks, Seven." He then turned to the Doctor. "See, Doc. Piece of cake."

Seven's face faltered. "Piece of cake?" she asked.

Tom explained, "Oh, I was just telling the Doc how easy it is to tell someone you love them." He then gave the EMH a wink and headed out the door, whistling superiority.

Seven of Nine watched Tom Paris leave, and then moved to the Doctor. Her face asked a multitude of questions, and demanded an answer. The Doctor just smiled and let out a small and very self-conscious laugh.

**************************************************

Tom Paris strutted down the halls like he had just saved the universe. Stopping at a bulkhead, he began to fix his hair using the reflection in a computer console, all the while humming distractedly to himself.

Captain Janeway stopped, coffee in hand, and watched the unaware ensign. She smiled inwardly, and continued forward.

"You look fine, Ensign." she said as she neared.

Ensign Paris looked up. "Not with this cowlick here," he replied as he fiddled with an out-of-place golden lock.

Kathryn smiled. "Aren't you supposed to be working in Sickbay?" she asked.

Tom turned and looked at her, unsure of what to say. "Uh, well, yeah, should be. But the Doctor didn't really need me, so he said I could go."

The Captain paused, then responded. "I see. Well, have a good day, then." She then walked off.

Tom watched her disappear around the corridor corner. He gained a look of puzzlement. That was unusual, he thought. He shrugged his shoulders, shoved the thought aside, and went about his vanity.

**********************************************

Kathryn Janeway knew her crew. She knew them very well. And she knew Tom was lying to her.

There was more to it, though. She recognized that it probably wasn't a big deal, but the Doctor would never let Tom off of a shift. No matter how little there was to do, the Doctor always found something menial for the ensign to do. Figuring perhaps there was an arguement between them, or some other undisclosed thing, she decided to go directly to the doctor. Two arrogant heads colliding could create quite a few problems on Voyager. Taking up the incident with the most senior officer was the more.....professional...thing to do. Besides, the Doctor was a little more straightforward than Tom Paris.

****************************************************

Seven raised her eyebrows, awaiting an explanation. The Doctor, hands fluttering about each other, moved to another topic.

"So, Seven, what brings you here?" he asked, in a slightly high-pitched voice. He cleared his throat. "I suppose you're looking for the pathogen results regarding Icheb. Well, they're right here..." He picked up a PADD and handed it to Seven. She did not take it.

With an exasperatingly emotionless voice she asked, "Who do you love?"

It was such a ridiculous statement to make, and it sounded even more odd coming from someone who was very serious.

The Doctor looked stunned. "I think that would be considered a private matter, don't you think?" He tried to make sure his tone would not be accusatory or confrontational. He failed.

Seven's face took on a hurt look. "Of course. I'm sorry, Doctor. It is none of my business." She reached out and took the PADD. "Thankyou," she said, before turning to leave.

Feeling absolutely torn, the Doctor blurted out, "Seven, wait."

She stopped, turned, and waited.

The Doctor walked over to where she stood. He looked at her, into her eyes, with an almost pained look. He had no idea how to go about this, or even if he should at all.

Seven realized the Doctor was having trouble telling her something. "What is it?" she asked.

"I'm....I'm just going to say it," he began. Seven waited expectantly. The Doctor moved slightly closer to her, till they were less than a foot away from each other. He looked off to the side, then at her again, unsure of how to put together the words. Seven stood quietly, patiently, with her arms entwined behind her back. She felt a little nervous, and her breathing got heavy. She seemed to be getting very warm.

The Doctor wet his lips, and gazed into her eyes. He started, "It's...uh..it's about you, Seven. You...and me." He choked out the last two words.

Seven watched him intently. "You and I," she repeated, "Continue."

"Um..." he began, and then hesitated. He swallowed hard, looked deep into her eyes, and, without thinking, quickly leaned in and gave Seven a soft, short kiss on the mouth. He backed off swiftly, eyes dilated, mouth open, surprised at what he had just done. He waited for her response.

Seven made no move. She stared at the EMH, her mind reeling. She felt dizzy. She had been very unprepared, not only for what the Doctor had done, but for what she was now feeling. Steadying herself, arms at her side, she fixated her gaze onto his. He was most nervous, every darting movement of his eyes betrayed his composure. Seven slowly came to a realization. In a deep, firm voice, consciously devoid of any emotion, she said,

"Do that again."

The Doctor swallowed heavily. He was not expecting this response. "Seven....?" he asked, carefully.

"Doctor" she intoned, and gave him a gentle look. More quietly now, she repeated, "Do that again."

The doctor, not wasting a moment, leaned in and kissed his love once again. He broke away and searched her eyes. Seven brought her hand up and touched the Doctor's cheek. He smiled and took her face in his hands. He kissed her again, this time long and soulfully, deepening it. Seven kissed back, a little unsure at first. She wrapped her arms around the Doctor and pulled him in closer.

********************************************

Captain Janeway walked purposefully through the halls and up to Sickbay's doors. She walked in, turned, and stopped. Taking in a sharp breath and nearly spilling her coffee, she walked right back out of Sickbay. She stood still just outside the doors, not quite sure which way to turn. After hesitating several times, she finally was able to speak.

"Computer," she hissed, "Where is Tom Paris?"

"Tom Paris is in Holodeck 2"

Squinting and mumbling to herself, Captain Janeway stalked down the halls towards Holodeck 2.