In the spring of 1997, only a few weeks after I wrote my first Star Trek: Voyager fan fiction story, the idea of writing another, much longer, piece consumed me. B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris, stranded upon a planet with a harsh climate, could survive only if they banded (and bonded) together. The third season Voyager episodes "Blood Fever," "Real Life," "Distant Origins," "Displaced," and "Worst Case Scenario" had convinced me that Tom and B'Elanna were destined to become intimate some time during the show's fourth season. I wasn't the only fanfic writer who was rushing out a "first time" story at the time. I wanted to get my idea out on the Internet, too.
Somewhere along the way, the story of survival got mixed up with two others I had planned to write. In one, B'Elanna misreads his intentions towards her and breaks up with Tom, only learning she had become pregnant by him after their break up. At first she is reluctant to let him know of her condition, but Tom discovers the truth and asks her to marry him, not because she is pregnant, but because he loves her. The remaining story was a "Tom and B'Elanna Get Married" story. (There were plenty of those being written around that time, too.)
As the readers of this introduction may know, these three stories evolved into one long fanfic novel, "Warmth." At the end of that novel, the newly married couple strolls up a holographic beach, their bare feet slipping on the shifting sands, supporting each other as they join their crew mates at their reception. I liked that metaphor, of a couple supporting each other as they traveled over shifting sands; it was very much the way I view marriage. I thought the story was over.
Naïve me. I was flooded with requests from readers who wanted to see more. Ending a story with Tom and B'Elanna expecting a baby? And not seeing that baby born? Horrors!
Finally, after multiple requests, I succumbed to the pressure. I would write the sequel—someday—but I didn't know exactly when. Before I actually started to write, I wanted to be inspired by the fourth season of Voyager. I intended for my AU version of the show to converge, as much as possible, with the canon the producers would establish for the series.
During the summer preceding the fourth season, Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom) confirmed that he and his wife were expecting their third child. Shortly after the season began, other rumors swept the Internet. Eventually, the rumors that Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna) and her husband were expecting a child, their first, were confirmed as well. Then there were other rumors that Roxann's pregnancy was going to be written into the script. I began to feel rather prescient, to say the least. I began to wonder if I had received some sort of psychic vibes during April and May of 1997 that made me write about B'Elanna having a baby by Tom!
Ultimately, despite some reported dissension in the production hierarchy, Roxann's pregnancy was not written into the series. I was initially disappointed, but later, sound reasons for this decision were identified, particularly by the actors at conventions, mollifying me about this decision. One side effect of this controversy, however, was that I decided to write this sequel in a series of separate stories, instead of one long novel, so that pieces of it could appear on the Internet long before the whole was finished. Some of these pieces, including "Honeymoon," "Nanny," and "The Devil's Own," were published on my AOL website. When AOL discontinued web hosting operations, I lost the ability to publish any more episodes there, although, thanks to the "Wayback Machine" website, just about everything I had published up to the date of AOL's termination can still be viewed at the address shown in my Fan Fiction Net profile.
I also finished a couple of stories in 2000 that were published in other venues, including "Gramps" and "Deliverance," but by then I was in a severe quandary. Several episodes that took place at the beginning of the fifth season did not fit well within the parameters I had set for myself in my overall story. I wasn't sure how to finish "Warmth 2," or even if I wanted to. The resulting Writer's Block affected me so completely that I wrote very little during the next few years. In fact, it was not until the fall of 2008 that I could come up with a concept that held any promise for me, and even then, I was not sure I wished to proceed.
In June 2013, Katie "Redshoes" asked me a question about the original "Warmth," and I reread the novel. I also reread several other stories I had written years ago, some incomplete, as well as many that had been finished. I was inspired to pick up "Warmth 2" again to see if, finally, I could finish it. Whether or not any of those folks who had pestered me into writing the sequel would ever read it, I felt the need to finish it, for me, if not for anyone else.
Some aspects of this story were extremely painful to even contemplate, let alone write. In a volume of letters written by J.R.R. Tolkien, he describes how Faramir "walked into the story" in Ithilien, in "The Lord of the Rings," and insisted upon being portrayed in the novel, even though Tolkien didn't particularly want him. Since I have only the greatest respect for Professor Tolkien, I listened to him and went with what the characters told me I had to write.
So, here it is, the story of how Tom and B'Elanna's accidental parenthood prompted them to form a marriage, made in the Delta Quadrant, if not in Heaven. If anyone reading this series is upset about the way things happen, well, may I remind you: I was never planning on writing this at all. I was going to leave it all up to your own imagination.
Be careful what you wish for, indeed.
J. (A.K.A. jamelia116)—6/24/2013
The hypnotic sound of pounding surf sifted through the open window. The rhythm was not perfectly even. Every now and then, a wave curling its way up the sands might be just enough out of synch to save the listener from classifying what she was hearing as monotonous. That slight hesitation before the holographic waters crashed on the edge of the beach made the illusion complete. Instead of flying through the Delta Quadrant, far from everyone's home, it was as if Voyager sailed the seas of Earth, in the Alpha Quadrant. The salty womb of all life on that planet, (and the majority of others, as it turned out, once humanoids began to explore the cosmos to discover such things) seemed to exist outside the window of a simulated beach house on the Holodeck.
Tonight, the beach house was a honeymoon cottage for two people who had consummated their marriage a few hours before, not that this had been the first time the couple had known each other in a carnal sense. That first time had taken place months ago, on a desolate, inhospitable world designated Tantrum IV by the inhabitants of the starship known as Voyager.
As she pulled the satin sheet and soft blanket higher over her naked form, the chief engineer's thoughts drifted back to what had happened on Tantrum. In a natural cave, to help each other survive, B'Elanna Torres had seduced Thomas Paris. B'Elanna accepted that as truth. Despite her qualms about his long-term intentions and her uneasiness about her own looks, especially when compared to someone with his classically handsome human features, B'Elanna had asked her only companion on that desolate planet to "keep her warm."
That he did. Repeatedly. Thoroughly. Deliciously.
And today, he promised to continue to keep her, in good times and in bad times, for as long as they both lived. To be one blood, in the Klingon reckoning.
B'Elanna snuggled a bit deeper into the bedcovers, to lean against the toasty warm body of that same Thomas Eugene Paris, Lt. j.g.. The chief helmsman/pilot/flight controller and resident hero of Voyager was soundly sleeping, his arm thrown casually over her stomach, wherein dozed another life form. B'Elanna guessed her daughter-to-be was dozing. What else would a fetus do in the womb most of the time? It was pretty wet with all that amniotic fluid sloshing about her. It's not like she would be swimming around in there. Or would she? Babies kicked in the womb when they got to be a certain size. Was that because they were used to having lots of room to swim around, and when they got too big to do that easily, they'd kick to try to free themselves so they could swim again? To have a temper tantrum, in other words?
Temper tantrum. Tantrum IV. B'Elanna's thoughts had been circling around like this for a while now. With a sigh, she wiggled her butt against Tom's stomach, hoping he'd wake up and treat her to another session of love making. Whenever they were involved in bringing each other to a sexual frenzy, B'Elanna didn't have to think about cold caves, misunderstandings, words of love, marriage vows, tantrums (planetary or emotional), amniotic fluid swimming pools or what a baby thought about before she was born. All B'Elanna would think about was how great she felt and how she could make Tom feel just as good as he made her.
After several more deliberately provocative movements failed to change the even pattern of Tom's breathing, B'Elanna used one last tactic in her arsenal of methods for arousing her sleeping mate. To encourage him to engage in some marital fun and games with her, B'Elanna stretched her petite but strong frame from the top of her fingers to the tips of her toes, then lowered one arm to her side to allow that one hand to creep down to about hip level and explore a bit behind her. She was in luck. Her fingers encountered a nice patch of wiry hair and a fleshy appendage that began to stiffen the more she played with it. It wasn't the only part of his body moving now, either. His arm began to tighten around her, and another hand, not attached to her, was on the move. As his hand reached breast level and began to squeeze gently, Tom's lips, likewise, grazed against her shoulder.
"Okay. I'm up. You can have your way with me if you want to."
B'Elanna rolled over, quickly engaging Tom's mouth and body in joining with her in the kind of pleasures they had come to expect from each other over the past few months.
One thing B'Elanna could always count on. Once you woke the man up, you knew he'd be enthusiastic about whatever it was you wanted him to do-especially if the whatever was sex.
Tonight was no exception, even if this wasn't the first time tonight. The man was good, there was no question about that. Every touch was calculated to induce the most wonderful feelings inside her. B'Elanna sighed into his mouth as he drew his lips against hers, his hands busily stroking over her pregnancy-enhanced breasts before slipping down to the swell of her belly.
By the time she was on top of him, enjoying the feel of him beneath her while her hands stroked over his skin, B'Elanna found herself thinking this being married wasn't so bad at all. Not at all.
"After is a good time, too, you know that, don't you, B'Elanna?" His arms cradled her body, his shoulder pillowed her shoulder. His breathing rocked her gently as she lay sated in his arms.
"Pretty good. I still prefer during."
"My wild Klingon beauty, always ready for battle."
"Tom, cut the Klingon crap for one night, okay? It's my wedding night. I don't want to fight with you tonight."
"I don't know. A fight might be nice, too. Break that clavicle. That'd please the Doc."
"No, thanks. I'd rather all four of our clavicles stayed in working order so the Doctor can't weasel himself into my honeymoon cottage."
He laughed, then held her in silence for a while. His breathing became so even, she thought he might have drifted off to sleep again. She was about to turn over and try to go to sleep herself when she heard him murmur, "I wonder what it's going to be like?"
"What's what going to be like?
"Being a father. Parents. I was talking to Chakotay today at the wedding. He said I'm going to have to be responsible. Hope I can manage it."
"As long as you aren't expected to keep your mouth shut, I think you'll do fine."
"Thank you so much for that vote of confidence."
"I will have to talk to her sometimes, you know."
"Of course, Tom. I was joking. You're going to be a wonderful father. You're really good at telling little stories about your life to help people get through bad times. I'm sure you'll do the same to help her."
"Thanks, I hope so," he murmured, shifting his weight around underneath B'Elanna. She shook her head. As much as the man talked, paying him a compliment about his more sincere tendencies always seemed to make him uncomfortable.
"And if you don't have any little life lesson of your own, you can always study up on the standard Mom and Dad lectures. I'm sure the database is full of them."
"Oh, man. Lectures. I hope I don't ever give the 'just think what this will look like to the general public, Thomas,' speech. Or the 'Thomas, how come this grade is a B, not an A?' speech. I really hated those."
"I don't think you'll have to give your daughter any lectures that have you calling her Thomas. All we have to do is not name her Thomas."
"Very funny, B'Elanna. Don't you have a list of things you don't ever want to hear yourself saying?"
"You mean, the 'your behavior has been dishonorable' speech? How about, 'That is not the Klingon Way!' Or all those lectures when I argued about how I wouldn't need to follow Klingon traditions in Starfleet. 'Who needs the Day of Honor, anyway, Mother?'"
He tightened his hold on her, obviously thinking about what had happened only a few weeks ago, on the Klingon Day of Honor. "I thought we were goners, B'Elanna. Here we had just made up and then we manage to blow up the Cochrane."
"We didn't blow up the Cochrane, Tom. The Caatati did."
"I'm not sure the captain much cared who did the actual blowing up. We lost another shuttle. And I thought, for a moment, I would never be able to touch your face again, or ever see our daughter's face."
The slight choke in his voice made her snuggle her face against his chest before murmuring, "It turned out okay, Tom. We're okay. You'll see her."
His grasp around her shoulders tightened a moment before he whispered back, "Sure."
They both fell silent, lost in their own thoughts about what had happened so recently. So many dangers, yet they were still here, together. No guarantees about tomorrow, though. That was one thing both had learned to accept. Today's wedding was just the final acknowledgement. No matter what happened now, there was one thing that could not be taken away. Tom Paris had taken B'Elanna Torres as his wife, and she him for her husband. Death could not change that.
"This is a pretty morbid subject for a wedding night, isn't it, Tom?" B'Elanna finally said, breaking the spell of silence-or perhaps it was a pall-that had fallen over them.
"Yeah, I guess. Let's talk about something else."
"Okay. What do you want to talk about?"
"Well, I don't know. What about Janeway and Chakotay? Do you think they're going to do it?"
"Become lovers, what else?"
"Don't be a pig, Tom. Why does every conversation with you have to center on lovemaking?"
"Every conversation doesn't. I like to talk about flying, too, but we promised no shop talk, remember?"
Shaking her head, B'Elanna started to chuckle, then stopped. That strange feeling was back again. She wondered if it was what she thought it was.
"What's the matter? B'Elanna? Is something wrong?"
"Oh, nothing's the matter. Not really. I just . . . "
"Just what?" She detected the note of concern in his voice as Tom propped himself up on his elbow, the better to see B'Elanna's face in the faint light of simulated stars.
"Oh, it's just this little fluttering I'm feeling, right here." She took his free hand and pulled it to her lower abdomen, over the swelling of her belly that, in her eyes, was becoming noticeably more pronounced every day.
"Flutter, huh? Is Baby Girl making herself a part of the festivities?"
"Maybe, you never know."
"It's about time for it." He softly moved his hand over his new wife's stomach, so lightly that she shivered.
There was another flutter. No, this time, it was more than a flutter. Most definitely like a jump. Like a swimmer, taking a turn against the far wall of a pool. "There it is again. Think it's a tic?"
He shook his head in the dim light, his teeth reflecting just enough light so she could tell how broad his smile was. "Not a tic. The girl."
She covered his hand with her own and moved it to the spot where she had felt the movement. This time, she was certain, he was right. Baby Girl. There wouldn't be any way for him to possibly feel it, yet, but from the way his hand was grazing her skin, she knew he was happy to share this moment with her.
Tom moved his hand away from her. Lifting his elbow from the bed and balancing himself on one hand, he carefully bent over her and kissed the spot she had shown him. As his lips broke contact with her skin, he turned his head to rest his cheek where he'd kissed her. Dragging her hand through his hair, she encouraged him to stay where he was. She felt it only fitting that on this night, of all nights, she should feel life for the first time.
"I wonder what she'll be like."
"Don't know, B'Elanna. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess."
"I wonder what her life will be like?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? I just hope she'll be happy."
"Me, too. As happy as I am now."
He smiled before turning his head to kiss her belly again—to kiss both of them, really-his wife and his child-to-be.
B'Elanna sighed as she felt his arms settle about her. She was content, yet filled with curiosity and a sense of wonder, too. There were so many things that could go wrong. So many dangers. So many obstacles to overcome. Yet, with Tom's arms around her and his face pressed against her belly, as close to the third member of their family as he could get, she felt that somehow, it would come out all right. Somehow.
Outside the window, the surf continued to pound, as restlessly and as unceasingly as the real seas of Earth.