Title: ST:Voyager - The Cost of Confession - part one
Rating: PG-13
Summary: The Doctor learns the cost of confession.
Spoilers: Endgame, Renaissance Man
Feedback: Fleable...
Disclaimer: No infringement intended. Star Trek Voyager and her crew
belong to Paramount. This is a parody.

*************************
The Cost of Confession - part one
By Fleable

He should never have told her. The image of her face was burnt into
his memory forever- hard and inerasable. The quirk of her eyebrow, the
implant tilting, the derisive curve of her lip and the sound of her
voice. Forever.

"Doctor." She began, her eyes glinting with impatience after her
initial incredulity wore off, "Your sentiments are irrelevant. You are
a hologram. I am an organic life form." She paused and assessed him
with disdain, before returning to her task, her fingers dancing over
the console as she spoke, leaving him to crumble on his knees. "We
cannot procreate, therefore, the pursuit of a romantic relationship
between us would be an exercise in futility." Her voice crawled like
acid on his skin, searing straight through him. "It would be
inappropriate for me to- Doctor?"

Somehow he got to his feet and ended up in sickbay. Stripped raw by
shame and embarrassment, knowing he had made a complete fool of
himself - again... and that he had done it publicly this time and not
once that day, not only in front of Seven, but numerous times.

That was two weeks ago… and a lot had changed… quadrants had changed.
B'elanna Torres had efficiently restored his system files and he was
no longer under any threat of degradation. The Borg had come and go,
history had changed and Seven was alive… Of course that only made
matters worse. By the end of it all he *wanted* to vanish forever. How
could he live down his confession to Seven? How could he go on seeing
her in Sickbay checking her implants and condition until Voyager
reached Earth? How could he go on, knowing she saw him as nothing more
than a rather pathetic projection of shadow and light? Not a real
person, not a man, not a potential mate. He did not know what hurt
more, Seven's callous rejection of him or the innate sense of his own
stupidity. On returning to Sickbay he wanted to cry or hit something,
but holograms did not do that. He had simply locked the doors and held
himself stiffly against a console, Holograms were not real, did not
feel and did not care, he recited this in his head as a wave of
Mozart's Requiem swelled in the background and swept over him, but it
was no use, this time music held no release for him.

The memory of her face kept jarring him from his work, from his
duties, from himself. Remembering, he sank his head down on the
tabletop, ignoring the data stream on the Padd and sighed, it was
still painful. He supposed it would ache like that for months, a slow
cold flame that licked at his heart, consuming it bit by bit. He was
familiar with such hurt. It was a similar pain to when Kes left the
first time and the bittersweet loss of Danara's - but much worse -
much, much worse... He could hardly breath. God, he loved her and she-

He refused to think any further about Seven's infatuation with
Chakotay. It was disturbing and disgusting, somehow perverse to him...
They had shown no overt interest in each other. Yes, Seven had
experimented with a holographic version of the Commander, but when had
the reality become set in stone? It was rushed and perverse and wrong.
But that was how she sees you, a voice told him calmly. She sees you
as wrong. He twisted his chin away at the thought and cleared his
throat of the ache.

Maybe it was wrong to have allowed him to grow and become so
enlightened? Maybe with Voyagers imminent return to Earth he had
outlived his usefulness and drone like he should sacrifice himself for
the greater good? Two deep lines burrowed in the gap between his
eyebrows and the lines at the sides of his mouth darkened. Barclay
wanted to see him. He set his face grimly, he owed the man that much.

Suddenly he shook his head and trying to be jolly, he laughed at
himself. Of course half the ship would know by now that he had
confessed his love to Seven and- the facade of good humour faded away.
He angrily straightened up and picked up a Padd, glanced at it and
tossed it aside. In his impulsiveness he did not have the foresight to
be discrete before he told her - and the security detail that was
present. It was always the small mistakes that cost him dearly. Was he
so self-absorbed? So hard programmed to learn?

With a dreadful sense of emptiness the Doctor contemplated being
professionally pleasant to Seven and Chakotay.

There was no doubt in his mind that Seven had revealed his little
confession to the Commander. He had seen the proof since, when they
all attended the senior officer debriefing in Janeway's Ready Room.
Both the Commander and Seven considered him with an air of cool
clinical detachment much as a child would as it pulls the wings of
flies... it was gut-wrenching... and totally unnecessary.

It did not surprise him to find that Seven possessed such haughtiness,
only that he suddenly disliked it intensely. The smug smirks she and
Chakotay exchanged made his fists clench and teeth ache from pressure.
The way they touched and shared intimacies as they walked or spoke...
it was as if he were in his own personal version of hell and they were
his personal tormentors.

He puffed out his chest; they were probably sniggering at him behind
his back right now - along with rest of the crew. Being a laughing
stock wasn't a new thing for the Doctor. He was just more aware of it
now than when he was younger and less attuned to the feelings of
others. Exhaling in defeat, he propped his head up on a hand and
rubbed his brow. All the jokes Tom Paris spread about holograms
throughout the ship and the sidelong looks he garnered were probably
the true estimation of his worth and value. There was also the blatant
way Captain Janeway treated him- at times paying lip service to his
'rights as an individual' while at others, having Torres rip him to
shreds. He was a joke of a man, a fake, a copy and a perversity....
that's how they saw him. That's how she saw him... He wasn't worth
their time or humanity.

"Hey ya Doc." It was Tom Paris reporting for duty.

He had not heard him come in and quite frankly could care less. He
watched as Paris went about humming happily and putting away the
sterilised instruments. "Great news about getting home, eh Doc?" Tom
ventured, "Bet you can't wait to get to go to the Zimmerman Project?"

The Doctor shrugged and put on a brave face... He was good at that, he
was only a hologram after all and they excelled in pretence. "Yes." He
replied airily, feeling as if someone had punched a hole in his matrix
and left him ruined. "How about you and Lt Torres, looking forward to
showing off your daughter in the Alpha quadrant?"

Tom smiled proudly, "Yep. We're having a naming ceremony tomorrow. All
the crew's invited. Want to come?"

The Doctor's smile froze, but he recovered quickly. If there was one
thing he did not want to see that would be Seven and Chakotay in a
social setting. "Ahhh." His gaze darting nervously about the room, nor
did he want the embarrassment of standing alone in a room full of
people being whispered about. "Thank you Mr Paris I'd love to." He
lied, knowing full well that there would be some pressing matter in
Sickbay to detain him.

"Great." Tom replied, giving him the time and place, "Bring yourself,
Doc." He added with a feral smile. "And a date."

**********************************
The following day…

The ship was running on skeleton crew. The engine room was quiet, the
bridge hummed with a quiet efficiency, the sickbay was empty and only
one holodeck was operating. It appeared everyone was attending Tom and
B'elanna's daughters naming ceremony.

The doctor sat in the holodeck. The room was dark and rolling
orchestral music moved through the air. He was sitting in a plush
square easy chair, his face blank, the forced smile gone, his eyes and
thoughts faraway. The music reached crescendo and he shifted as if
waking from sleep, rose from the chair and exhaled tiredly.

"Computer end program." He instructed, the music stopped and the
holodeck's grid solidified about him. "Begin Paris 0144A." Sandrine's
evolved about him... and a waitress approached.

"Drink?" She asked.

He nodded, why not? "House white." He replied with a small smile
moving to a barstool.

He could have checked his internal chronometer to find out how long he
sat there listening to the quiet click of pool balls behind him and
the synthetic conversation of synthetic people when the holodeck's
door opened and Tom Paris appeared.

"So there you are, Doc." The man said amiably enough, approaching the
doctor at the bar, his eyes shifting sideways to take in the pool
game. "See you've been using my program again." He quipped, quickly
ordering a synthol from the barkeep. "I got worried when you didn't
show at the ceremony. Thought there was something up at the
Sickbay..." He added, sipping the drink the barkeep poured and eyeing
the doc beside him. "What you doing hanging out here?"

The Doctor did not meet his eyes, just rubbed his thumb and fingers
together in thought and replied, "Spending time with my own people."

Tom Paris blinked and huffed. "These guys? Hey, I've seen more life in
a -"

"Replicator?" The Doctor interrupted bitterly, "Android? An EMH?"

"Hey." Tom's face grew serious. "What's going on here, Doc? You've
been weird for nearly three weeks! We're going home! It's time to
celebrate!"

The doctor looked at the man and felt himself shrinking to a single
photon. "You're going home, Mr Paris." He said. "I'm going nowhere."

"What?"

"Look at me! I'm a hologram, Mr Paris!" He replied, "I'm not
recognised by the Federation as an entity or an individual with rights
or privileges! I will be owned, exchanged, recompiled, updated,
erased-" His voice broke as unbidden an image of Seven's laughing face
came into his head. "No doubt, Mr Paris, you have heard what occurred
when I thought I was decompiling?"

"Yeah, so-"

The Doctor sat back and lifted his chin; "I said things that I now
regret."

"Only because you risked knowing the answer." Tom got in quickly and
then patted the doctor's shoulder. "Hey, come on. We've all made fools
of ourselves, especially where women are concerned. What's that got to
do with going home?"

The Doctor looked up to the mirror above the bar and sadly shook his
head. So he had heard then. He was to become another holograghic joke
for Mr Paris' collection.

"Please," he said softly bending his head over his hands, "Can you
leave me alone."

******************************
to be continued??????????????????????????????????????