The Secret Heart
—I didn't ask for this, she thinks, mouth dropping open and steps digging into her side as she stares, trying to understand the words she knows she's heard but can't move into fact. —I didn't ask for this. I can't do this. Be a mother. But… this is good…? No. I can't.
I believe she is pregnant.
A cold light falls upon her and she recoils, knowing she can't do this. She can't go through it again.
But she's going to, because Seven's hardly ever wrong, and somewhere, deep inside where the light is blinding her, she knows. She's pregnant.
::Seven of Nine to Lieutenant Paris. Report to Sickbay immediately.::
That's all he gets, besides a nod from Janeway. He wishes Seven would be a bit more specific. And why isn't the Doctor summoning him? He rises and walks to the turbolift anyway, wondering what he's done wrong now.
The 'lift's silence is deafening to his curious ears, feet beating a non-rhythm of nerves. He exits, and the halls inch by.
But when he bursts into Sickbay and hears the Doctor's news, all he can wonder is why B'Elanna isn't the one telling him he's going to be a father.
The doors swish open and before she can finish turning, the Doctor's spilled the news. She can't look at him from her place on the biobed, can't even reach out to touch him as he takes a few absent steps forward, mouth ajar and eyes trying to connect the dots that just aren't there.
His mouth is opening and closing and no sound is coming out. Her stomach clenches, heart gone wild in her chest.
—Oh, please be happy. Please. You have to. For my sake.
She looks at him, and doesn't know if they can do this.
B'Elanna… pregnant. And here he thought he'd forgotten to shut off the osteoregenerator again. A baby. It's crazy, too crazy. Well, not really. But a baby? Him, a father? What is he going to do? He's not even used to marriage yet, and now he's having a kid?
Father, mother, child. Child. Mother. B'Elanna.
And he's going to her, touching her, tipping her chin so he can see her eyes. "A baby. A baby, B'Elanna," he whispers, and he's suddenly too happy to say more.
She looks at him, eyes raking his face, gaze trembling… and smiles.
She smiles because it's what he expects her to do. Inside, she's shaking, cramming down the panic of memories threatening to engulf her, knowing they'll claim her anyway.
—I can't do this. Not again. What if he stops loving me? What if he leaves?
She looks at him again, but all she wants to do is run away. That won't help her, though, because it's inside her. The baby. She tightens her grip on the biobed to keep from touching her belly, refusing to acknowledge reality. Not yet.
She'd wanted this — they'd wanted this — but now that she has it…
They leave in a daze, words spilling past their lips in an attempt to make sense of what's just happened to them. He looks at the floor, then at her, then back at the floor, trying to gain some perspective. His world has just flung itself upside down and shaken, and he's not sure if he's standing on the floor or the ceiling or a bulkhead in between.
But he knows he's happy, and he thinks she is, too. And really, that's all that matters to him. He has B'Elanna, she has him, and they have the baby.
—A baby. This is good, right? She clips down the hall, eyes on the deckplates and hands clenching, unclenching. —I'm pregnant. I'm excited. I am.
She's half listening to him, half scrambling for some semblance of the life she had before this, the one where he loved her and she loved him and nothing threatened her universe besides the occasional holoprogram or space race.
A baby. It's too much. She wheels to a stop, needing to know. "You're happy about this, right?"
"Of course I'm happy. Just a little overwhelmed, is all."
Overwhelmed. Maybe that's her problem. She hopes so.