As they moved down the stairway to the sandy beach, the small bridal party passed a jumble of shoes and sandals abandoned at the edge of the deck. B'Elanna took Chakotay's left arm; and, taking a deep breath, nodded that she was ready. B'Elanna and Chakotay followed the captain in a tiny procession toward the shoreline, walking to an opening in a circle formed by about 60% of Voyager's crew. Those who could not attend the ceremony itself because they were on duty would attend the festivities later, but they were going to be able to listen to the vows over an open comm line. This particular pairing had been of interest to everyone on board, even though for some it had been because of betting that the wedding would never take place.
When the captain reached the open area in the center of the circle she turned back to face B'Elanna and Chakotay as they advanced toward her. To her left, flanked by Harry and Tuvok, stood Tom, his eyes locked upon his bride's face as she moved gracefully towards him.
Once Chakotay and B'Elanna reached the captain, Tom moved to stand near his bride, with Tuvok on his right. Harry quietly moved to B'Elanna's left, in an honor attendant's position, if not in name.
The only captain of a Starfleet vessel known to be serving in the Delta Quadrant stood quietly for a moment, catching a whiff of sweetness from the single rose she carried, mixed with the salty tang of the sea breeze. The warmth from the programmed setting sun grazed the side of her face as she listened to the cries of a gull that glided high above on the thermals of the air.
Her thoughts turned briefly to Admiral Paris. Her mentor was the father of this tall, vibrant man who stood before her, who was taking as his wife the beautiful, exotic woman standing by his side. Janeway's impression of her former commanding officer had been changed forever when she had learned of how he had raised his only son. She did not know whether or not the admiral would approve or disapprove of his son's half-Klingon engineer bride, who combined ferocity, strength and intelligence in her graceful body. Once, she had been sure Owen Paris shared the same values as she did; his true positions on these values were now complete mysteries to her.
In the same way that Janeway knew she was standing in for Tom's parents, Chakotay was standing in for B'Elanna's absent parents. They may have been even more derelict in their responsibility to communicate unconditional love and acceptance to their daughter than Admiral Paris had been to his son. She hoped that the commander was as happy for the couple as she herself was.
Smiling at her helmsman and chief engineer, Janeway began: "On this memorable day we stand together, crewmates and friends, the inhabitants of this traveling village that is known as Voyager. It is my great privilege today to perform the happiest and most satisfying of the duties assigned to a starship captain. We are gathered here to witness the joining in matrimony of two souls who have found each other far from their original homes-the union of two of our own, who now embark on their own journey of discovery through a new life together as wife and husband.
"Is there any one present who knows of any true and just, legal impediment to the marriage of B'Elanna Torres to Thomas Eugene Paris?" She paused dramatically.
Despite his sure knowledge that no such impediment existed, Tom could not completely quell the churning of his superstitious stomach. With his luck, even out here, somebody might be able to come up with something from his past, something that he could not even remember, to prevent him from marrying his love. His nerves eased as the only sounds heard were that of the wind flapping loose clothing around the bodies of the guests and the rhythmic sound of the waves as they crashed onto the shore.
Continuing, the captain addressed her chief engineer. "B'Elanna Torres, do you come of your own free will be married to this man?"
Softly came the answering, "I do."
"Thomas Eugene Paris, do you come of your own free will to be married to this woman?" was asked of the helmsman.
His answer was a firm, "I do."
At Tom's reply, Chakotay released B'Elanna's right hand from the crook of his elbow, placed it gently into Tom's outstretched right palm, and then touched his hands to the backs of both bride and groom, to give his own sign of blessing to their marriage. They looked back at him and then at each other as the commander moved back a step.
Once she again had the marital couple's attention, Captain Janeway went on. "Two millennia ago, wise words were written that are as true today as they were then. Tom and B'Elanna have asked that I share them with you." She opened a small booklet of old-fashioned design and began to read from it:
"If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them, and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but I speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.
"If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, but I am without love, then I am nothing at all.
"If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
"Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it also does not take offense, and is not resentful."
Raising her head from the booklet, the captain recited the last few lines from memory, her eyes shifting between the couple who stood before her and to one other, who was in the line of sight behind them. His own eyes were fixed upon his captain, filling with increasing warmth each time they met.
"Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
"Love does not come to an end."
The sea breeze blew softly, tossing clothing and hair lightly in the streams of air. Tom looked at the Captain, and receiving her encouraging nod, turned to B'Elanna to recite his own lines from memory:
"I, Thomas Eugene Paris, take you, B'Elanna Torres, to be my wife. I promise to love, honor and cherish you from this day onward; for better, for worse; in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, for as long as we both shall live. Take this ring and keep it as a symbol of my everlasting love for you." The plain gold band, which he had carried onto the beach precariously perched on the end of his right pinkie, was slipped onto the ring finger of his bride's left hand. B'Elanna had to carefully balance the flowers in the crook of her elbow with the help of her steadying right thumb to prevent them all from landing in the sand.
Then it was her turn. She looked deeply into Tom's clear eyes and said to him:
"I, B'Elanna Torres, take you, Thomas Eugene Paris, to be my husband. I promise to love, honor and cherish you from this day onward; for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, for as long as we both shall live. Take this ring and keep it as a symbol of my everlasting love for you." The gold band that she had slipped onto her right thumb just before descending the staircase from Tom's bedroom was placed safely on his left hand's ring finger.
Both breathed a smiling sigh of relief. Each had been sure they would ruin the moment by dropping the other's ring in the sand.
Now the Klingon part of the ceremony was to begin. B'Elanna and Tom recited a verse from a famous love poem traditionally said at weddings in the Empire, B'Elanna first in Klingon, with Tom following, in a Federation Standard translation:
"bomDI' 'IwwIj qaqaw
tIqwIjDaq ratlhtaH larghIlj.
'IwIlj je 'IwwIj wImuvmoH;
ej no'lI' je no'wI' wImuvmoH.
'Iwmaj ghogh yIQoy.
DaH wa' 'Iw. reH wItay'taH.
"The memory of you sings in my blood,
And your scent lingers in my heart.
Let us join your blood and mine,
Your ancestors to my ancestors.
Listen to the voice of our blood,
Now one blood. We are together always."
Moving the roses she was holding to her right hand, B'Elanna held them so that she and Tom could each grasp a stem where a thorn was visible, pushing a sharp point into the delicate flesh between the base of the left thumb and the forefinger of their left hands until the blood ran. Handing the bouquet to Janeway, B'Elanna clasped Tom's left hand to her own, carefully joining them where the blood welled up from the shallow wounds. Raising their joined hands aloft, Tom and B'Elanna first moved their hands to B'Elanna's lips so that she could taste their blood where it slowly welled out, before moving their joined hands to Tom's mouth so that he could do the same. Placing his right hand on B'Elanna's neck below the ear, fingers cupping the back of her head, his thumb gently grazing the tender flesh at the point of her jaw, Tom said softly to her, "qaSaw rIntaH be'nalwI'."
B'Elanna placed her right hand in the equivalent position upon his neck and jaw, answering him, "qanay rIntaH loDalwI'. "
When they finished speaking the Oath, the Klingon words of which Tom had been repeating over and over to himself in order to make sure he would not forget them, they both relaxed visibly, although their eyes were still fastened upon each other. Janeway's closing words followed: "By the power granted to me as captain of this vessel, I now proclaim to all that Thomas and B'Elanna are husband and wife by the customs of both the human and the Klingon peoples. You may now kiss the bride, Tom. reH tuqIljDaq batlh."
Cheers from the guests rang out, but the newly married pair did not quite hear them. Every sense was centered upon each other. Still holding onto B'Elanna's neck with his right hand, Tom lifted his left to the same position on the other side of her face. She raised her face and returned his kiss.
As their lips parted, they became aware of being surrounded by a sea of their shipmates. Harry was the first to reach them, kissing B'Elanna and giving Tom the hug of a brother. Neelix was next, effusive in his congratulations. Carey. Larson. Lang. Ayala. Samantha Wildman, holding her own little girl close in her arms. The Doctor and Charlene, with Jeffrey and his Klingon friends. Simms and Lamont. Hudson. Myers. Joseph. The crush of wedding guests gathered around them, offering congratulations in the form of words, hugs, kisses, or a combination of any and all three.
Tom was in his element, using every iota of charm and humor he possessed to bemuse the crowd. B'Elanna accepted the good wishes of her crewmates in remarkable good humor, even though she generally despised such a display. Tuvok had advised her that in emotional situations such as this one, the Vulcan would remind himself that it soon would all be over, until it actually was over. Surprisingly, the advice seemed to be working for B'Elanna.
As the crew surrounded the newlyweds, their captain stepped back to survey what seemed at the moment to be her unruly offspring, with one of the newest, Seven-of-Nine, standing close to her. The captain gradually realized that she was looking for one person in particular in the crowd. Her eyes searched until they found him, standing off to one side, waiting for the rush to be over before he offered his own salutations. His eyes met hers with a burning intensity that forced her to look away, but a few minutes later, she was aware of his quiet presence, at her side, as he always seemed to be.
"Captain?" he said quizzically.
"I recognized the last Klingon phrase you said. 'Glory to your House,' wasn't it?"
" 'Honor to your House, forever,' " she amended.
"Ah, of course." He acknowledged the correction. "But what did B'Elanna and Tom say to one another? I didn't catch the meaning, since the Universal Translator was set to leave Klingon words untranslated for the evening."
"Commander, those are really the words of the Mating Oath-the poem before was just window dressing for the ceremony, just like the passage from Corinthians I read earlier was. You could look them up, you know." A hint of amusement graced her lips.
"I was hoping you would interpret for me."
"Well, to paraphrase, Tom said 'I marry you my wife' and B'Elanna replied, 'I marry you my husband.' "
"The Klingons certainly strip everything down to the essentials, don't they?"
"They're famous for that, Commander."
Best wishes dispensed, most of the guests began to walk back up to the beach house as the programmed evening fell, ready to sample Neelix's special wedding delights and to rib him unmercifully if they turned out to be similar to his usual, barely edible fare. Chakotay turned to the former Borg, who was standing on the other side of the captain from himself. "Seven-of-Nine, why don't you go over and congratulate the bride and groom. That is what is usually done." The captain smiled at Chakotay's contribution towards her protégé's education.
"Commander, Captain, do I understand that this 'wedding' is to form a small Collective of only two people?"
"You could say that, although humans and most other races call it a 'family.' And in a few months, Tom and B'Elanna will be adding to their family when B'Elanna gives birth to their baby."
The young woman nodded in comprehension of the captain's answer and went to stand in front of the couple. "Congratulations. Tom. B'Elanna."
"Thank you very much, we are glad you can join with us on our happy day, Seven-of-Nine," replied Tom. The young woman took three steps back to allow Jenny and Megan Delaney and Gerron, who all lingered nearby, a chance to offer their wishes for happiness for the couple, even though their attention by this point was more on Harry Kim than the bridal couple. Tom noticed and waved his friend over. "How are you doing, Harry? I know this must be hard for you."
"I'll be okay, Tom. Thanks for asking." From his face, it was difficult to tell how much truth there was to his answer.
"Come here, Starfleet. I want you to give me a hug."
Harry complied, whispering into her ear, "Be careful with Tom, B'Elanna. He has a heart that gets bruised pretty easily." Her answering squeeze of his shoulders almost made Harry gasp, but he knew his message had been received.
More loudly, so that everyone still standing around could hear, Harry shot out, "You better watch this guy closely now, Maquis. He hasn't had that much practice at being respectable."
B'Elanna laughingly gave him another hug. "Don't you worry. I can handle him. Now, since there seems to be an opening for a playboy on board ship, why don't you go on up to the party with these two women who have been waiting for you. The rest of us will be coming along in a minute."
Despite the somber look in his eyes, Harry chuckled. Turning to Jenny Delaney and Seven-of-Nine, he held out an arm to each one and said, "Ladies, may I escort you to the party?" Seven-of-Nine watched as Jenny accepted Harry's arm, then copied what Jenny had done. The three started up to the party, Megan and Gerron following them after they had said their own best wishes to Tom and B'Elanna.
Tuvok approached the newlyweds thoughtfully. "Lieutenant Torres, Lieutenant Paris. I wish you a marriage as long, as fruitful, and as complete as I have known with T'Pel." As dispassionate as he looked while expressing the sentiment, something in Tuvok's voice conveyed his deep longing to see his wife and family again.
"Thank you, Tuvok. It's a comfort to know that it's possible to be married to someone for decades and still want to be with them." There was no hint of mocking or sarcasm as Tom said these words to the Vulcan.
When Tuvok turned away, the captain and the first officer were the only ones who had yet to offer their congratulations.
"Chakotay and I have been talking about being the father of the bride and the mother of the groom. I can't tell you how much I hope that all your troubles are behind you both." The captain's smile was a bit wistful at the impossibility of that wish.
"Thank you, 'Mom,' " answered Tom, accepting her hug. Janeway turned and gave B'Elanna an embrace before handing back the rose bouquet, which the captain had been continuing to hold from the ending of the marriage ceremony.
"I'll second that, Tom and B'Elanna." Chakotay shook Tom's hand and firmly embraced B'Elanna. The captain slipped her arm under the commander's as they turned to walk up to the house, their steps synchronized, as if they had walked together that way all their lives. The newly married couple watched them go before facing each other.
"Ready for the next step, Tom? Diapers? Midnight feedings? Childish temper tantrums? All of these serious repercussions that we've let ourselves in for?"
"Absolutely. I've had lots of practice with the temper tantrums already, just as you've had with childishness." She raised a fist in mock anger which Tom caught by the wrist, raising it to his lips for a kiss, before adding, "They're going to want the guests of honor up at the house, B'Elanna. We need to go up."
"Let's just take a minute for ourselves first, Tom. It's nice here now."
B'Elanna slipped her arms around her husband and laid her cheek against his chest, feeling his heart throbbing as it pumped warm blood throughout his body. His long, deceptively strong arms closely encircled her, his chin resting on her head, as they stood and listened to the waves break steadily in the gathering twilight.
Her mind returned to the first night they had truly been together, the first time she had placed her ear on his naked chest to listen to the beating heart of this courageous, kind, but insecure man. Huddled for warmth in a crypt built of stone columns, chunks of rocks and phaser-baked mud, their bed a pile of alien straw and Starfleet-issue emergency blankets, they had shared the taste and feel of their bodies without reservation for the first time.
B'Elanna did not feel anymore married now than she did that night. This whole effort had been more for the benefit of the rest of the galaxy, which from now on would recognize their union. She found, somewhat to her surprise, that that recognition pleased her. B'Elanna felt more at peace than she could ever remember being in her entire life. Raising her head to look into Tom's face she found him smiling down upon her. He gently placed his lips upon hers again, communicating to her that he shared her feelings of peace.
"It's time to go, B'Elanna, but before we do, I have something to give you."
"I have a poem for you. And this time, it is a real, honest-to-Gosh, rhyming love poem. Do you want to hear it now, or would you prefer I hold it for tonight? I do have a few others, too, B'Elanna, but I thought you might like to hear at least one now."
"I would love to hear what you would consider a real, genuine love poem, Tom."
Elaborately clearing his throat, Tom recited,
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,-I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!-and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
"Tom, it's lovely, but that last line had better not come true for a long, long time."
"I will do my best to accommodate you, my love," he said, giving her a lingering kiss on the forehead.
In reply, B'Elanna gently drew the rose bouquet across his cheek, to his nose. Flaring his nostrils, he sniffed deeply of its fragrance and grinned at her. Tilting the flowers to her own nose, she drank in their scent.
Separating from their embrace, B'Elanna and Tom caught each other's hands and began to walk. Side by side and laughing as they supported each other, bare feet slipping in the shifting sands, wife and husband headed up to their celebration.
Notes & Acknowledgements
SUMMARY: B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris are stranded on planet with a severe climate and limited resources but find a way to survive using "biological means." After Tom and B'Elanna return to Voyager, they find there has been a change in the relationship of Harry Kim and Kes, while their own lives become complicated by some unexpected repercussions from their exercise in survival.
CAUTIONARY NOTES: This work of fiction is RATED R (M). People who are under age 18, or those who are offended by descriptions of male/female sexuality are strongly cautioned against reading this version. If the very idea of people rationally discussing abortions and premarital sexual relationships also upsets you, you might want to find something else to read altogether.
RELATIONSHIP WARNING: this is a P/T, K/K story, with strong hints of J/C. If your preferences are other than these, sorry, but you have been warned.
GENERAL DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek universe, including all of its characters, the episodes, and officially published works are property of Paramount, Inc. and Viacom. No infringement to their rights to this material is intended. This work of fiction was created for the enjoyment of fans, including the writer herself, and no financial gain will be realized from the writing of this story.
In addition to the characters, I have borrowed elements from many Star Trek: Voyager episodes, for reasons of continuity. I would like to credit the screenwriters and originators of certain episodes to thank them for giving me the opportunity to use my imagination in fitting them all together: Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor, Lisa Klink, Jonathan Glassner, Adam Grossman, Kenneth Biller, Jimmy Diggs, Steve J. Kay, Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky, and Harry Doc Kloor. Thanks for some great stories.
Two characters, those of Ensign Jim Joseph and Ensign Elaine Myers, were wholly invented by me. The actual story as it appears here that is not otherwise the property of Paramount is copyrighted by me.
Many fanfic writers have helped build a mythology around Voyager's crew. Some of my favorite stories are alluded to by the titles of the books in "Tom's room" at the beach house; this is meant as a tribute to those writers for providing me with much enjoyment.
Thanks are especially due to two other writers: Tara "Uisge Jack" O'Shea first wrote of the relationship between Megan Delaney and Gerron in her stories "Shared Joy, Shared Pain" and "Trust No Glass." Tara allowed me to borrow that relationship for this story. Her comments were exceedingly helpful in writing this. Mere words cannot express my appreciation for the assistance of Terri "TerriTrek" Zavaleta, who graciously took much time from her own writing to help me hash out plot elements in this one. She's one terrific editor, too. Thank you, thank you, Terri!
And last, but certainly not least, thank you, AOL's Paris/Torres Collective for your encouragement and support, and to the PT Fever Mail List for encouraging me in writing this, as well as many other stories.
This story was originally written in June, 1997, but it has been revised a bit. At the time I wrote this, I had heard a few spoilers about "Scorpion" and "The Gift." I used what I felt I must, such as the addition of Seven-of-Nine. Much of the rest I discounted, however. I figured I would just use my imagination to describe how I would like to see the transition take place. Although I like what happened in "The Gift," I liked what I did here, too. While I did not knowingly and deliberately deviate from the show's canon as it stood at the end of "Scorpion I" when I wrote this, I took liberties by adding things for which there was little evidence. An example of this is the fact that Kes and Harry were not noted to be lovers during "Scorpion," but since Kes cries out, "Harry's in trouble," rather than "The away team is in trouble," when she first senses danger, I felt free to postulate their much closer relationship in this story.
The rock and roll song Tom tries to foist off as a love poem is "Light My Fire," by The Doors, written by Jim Morrison and The Doors, released in 1966 by Elektra Records.
"Written on the Wall at Chang's Hermitage," by Tu Fu, Tang Dynasty-8th century, translated by Kenneth Rexroth in One Hundred Poems from the Chinese, New Directions Paperbook, 1965.
"This Is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, from Selected Poems, New Directions Paperbook, 1963.
"Sonnet XLIII" ("How do I love thee . . . ") by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese as it appears in A Reasonable Affliction, 1001 Love Poems to Read to Each Other, Edited by Sally Ann Berk and James Gordon Wakeman, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, 1996.
The Klingon Poem is partially my own invention, but it utilizes two phrases that appear in Star Trek: The Klingon Way, A Warrior's Guide by Marc Okrand, Pocket Books, 1996. My feeble attempts at translating into Klingon were made possible by The Klingon Dictionary, also by Marc Okrand, Pocket Books, 1992 revised edition.
There are two passages from the Bible quoted: Tom's poem at Kes' remembrance service was from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, Verses 1-8 and 11. The passage Captain Janeway reads at Tom and B'Elanna's wedding is from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verses 1-7. In both cases, I consulted with several, very different translations of the Bible, including the "King James Version" and The Living Bible, ultimately combining various parts of each to come up with what appears here. Think of it as the "24th Century Version."
By including these biblical passages and referring to Genesis within the story itself, I have not forgotten the fact that Gene Roddenberry had felt that religion, by the 23rd century, would be seen as ancient superstition. He may be right, of course. But with all due respect to Mr. Roddenberry, I personally doubt that faiths which have lasted for millennia, surviving Copernicus, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and the advent of the atomic age and spaceflight, among other things, are likely to entirely disappear by the 24th century. I also strongly believe that because the Bible is accepted as a basis for much of Earth's cultural history and is studied even today by people of all faiths as a great literary achievement, these references will not be unknown to the crew of a starship such as Voyager. Indeed, in a time of universal translators, travel by transporter beam, and faster-than-light space travel, some of these passages would actually have even more resonance than they do today, whatever the personal belief systems of the crewmembers might be, as long as men and women still live, love, dance, and die.
J.A. Toner, AKA Jamelia116 . - July, 1997 - Rev. 3/98