Now And Then

RATING

PG for some language

CODE

P/T

DISCLAIMER

Paramount owns Star Trek, Voyager, and all the characters below. I have quoted from Michael Taylor’s script only to set the scene.

SPOILERS

SHATTERED, of course. Just about every P/T moment pre-SHATTERED is referenced, too.

Setting the scene

With Voyager stuck by an energy bolt, splitting the ship into multiple timeframes, Chakotay has been on a mission to find a way to make everything right again. In the process, he’s discovered his crewmates, all living in different points in Voyager’s past or future. Captain Janeway thinks she’s in the Alpha Quadrant, on her way to capture Ckatokay and the other Maquis in the Badlands. Harry was with her in that timeline, just after meeting their new ‘observer,’ the recently-paroled ex-Maquis Tom Paris. Tom, on the other hand, thinks it’s seven years in the future, just after he and B’Elanna were married, and a day or two ahead of Chakotay’s point in time. B’Elanna thinks they’ve just destroyed the Caretaker’s array. She knows they’re trapped in the Delta Quadrant, but she hasn’t been invited to join the crew yet. Naomi Wildman and Icheb are adults, Voyager crewmembers from the future. And Seven of Nine is in her full Borg glory, just after coming aboard the ship three years into its journey. They’ve just banded together to stop Seska, a former Maquis/Cardassian spy from their past who was bent on taking over the ship. Confused? So are they…

B’Elanna had followed Janeway’s instructions, even if she still wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. “Seska and the Kazon are secure in the Jefferies Tube,” she said as she returned to Main Engineering. The captain nodded before checking on Chakotay’s progress.


“I’m ready,” he offered, prepared to try out Seven’s plan for returning them to their own times.

 

“The rest of us should return to our sections,” the captain called to her mismatched crew. But before they went, there was something she wanted them to know.

“After Chakotay initiates the warp pulse, he should find himself back in his own time. He’s going to have a few seconds to try resetting the deflector polarity…to divert the chrono-kinetic surge. If the time-line’s restored, the rest of us should have no memory of what’s happened here…” She looked around at faces that were mostly unfamiliar, wondering for a moment what they would all come to mean to each other during their long adventure. She could only guess, yet she was somehow looking forward to finding out.

“…so I’d like to thank you now, for putting your doubts aside…,” glancing at Chakotay, “…and helping me put mine aside as well. Good luck to each of you.”

~*~*~*~*~

The doors to Main Engineering opened and they walked out into the corridor. Out of habit, Tom put his hand on his wife’s shoulder. Only one problem: for her, it was seven years earlier and she knew him only as a traitor to the cause she loved.

“What in the hell are you doing?!” she asked, spinning to grab his wrist—and almost breaking it.

“Hey! Ouch! B’Elanna!” He should have realized from the Maquis clothing; no matter how good she looked, Torres in a leather vest and suede pants meant a bad day for Tom Paris. He now realized she had no way to know that they’d ever become friends much less husband and wife.

“Afraid I’ll break your arm? You should be!” Where had he heard that before?

“I’m sorry,” he said wrestling his wrist and his pride out of her grip. “I forgot. You don’t know.” He rubbed his hand to try to restore the blood flow.

“Know what?” She had calmed down slightly, but was still spitting fire. “Know that you deserted us and flew straight into Starfleet’s hands?! Know that they hired you to help hunt us down? Or that the only reason you rescued me from that planet was because you were trying to save him?!” She gestured to Harry, who looked really confused. In Harry’s timeline, he barely knew Tom. He had never even met this woman before their battle today in engineering.

“Leave me out of this,” Harry said, not realizing how often he had spoken (would speak?) those words to the couple standing before him.

It had been long enough that Paris actually had to place what B’Elanna was talking about. He had trouble even remembering those days on the Liberty. He had been drunk much of the time before he joined the Maquis, and generally pissed off during the brief time he had been Chakotay’s pilot. It wasn’t surprising that those times were pretty much packed up and stored in the basement of his memory. That wasn’t who he was anymore.

He had gotten a lecture from Janeway on the Temporal Prime Directive on the trip down from the mess hall (something he found pretty ironic when he realized how much information about the future she had apparently pumped out of Chakotay!), but what the hell. They were about to be spat back into temporal synch—in which case none of this would have happened. Or they’d be trapped together indefinitely on this fractured version of Voyager. Either way, he had nothing to lose.

“B’Elanna, I’m guessing from what you’re wearing that Janeway just blew up the Caretaker’s array, and you just found out we’re trapped here, right?” She still looked angry, but she was confused and curious, too. “Yes, so?!”

“So…,” Tom went on, “I’m from a point in time seven years later.” She thought he looked a little different. Not older, really, but…beefier. And his hair was different. But a pig was a pig, even if he was a seven-year-older pig.

“Don’t tell me,” she was sure she was onto his game. “In seven short years, you have a personality transplant, I fall madly in love with you, and we get married on the spur of the moment after a whirlwind courtship. Is that what I don’t know?!” She practically spat the words at him.

Well…

“Pretty much.” He was just being honest. She rolled her eyes. “Right,” she said and started walking toward the turbolift. Tom immediately followed, with Harry a few steps behind.

“Where are you going?” Tom asked as he matched her pace.

“The transporter room, you idiot. We’re all supposed to go back to where Janeway found us, remember?” Seeing her like this gave Tom a new appreciation for how far they had come. He hadn’t been close to B’Elanna during ‘her’ point in time. He hadn’t really seen just how furious and full of pain she was in those days. It made him a little sad.

“I know that,” he said, taking a few extra steps to stand in front of her, blocking her way. “But I want to talk to you for a minute before we go.”

He figured he had seven years of experience ducking her punches if she got too mad at his persistence. She, on the other hand, would probably be underestimating his strength. He’d practiced for this fight without knowing it; she was still a novice at pushing him around.

And Harry was really lost. He retreated a good ten steps back down the corridor. He wanted to be out of the line of fire.

“Paris, if you think I’d believe for one second that you and I…” He put his hand up to her lips, even though he knew there was a chance she would bite it off. He didn’t waste any time.

“You grew up on Kessick 4. Your father left when you were a little girl. You quit Starfleet Academy in your second year because you were afraid they were going to throw you out for arguing with the professors. While you were there, you dated a jerk named Max Burke, who used to call you ‘Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato,’ of all things… Right now, you have a crush on Chakotay, but you thought—probably up until today—that he was in love with Seska. And you’re the best engineer in the galaxy, but you can’t cook to save your life.”

This had rolled out in one breath. She was stunned, but recovered quickly. “Someone could have told you all of that. Hell, after seven years trapped in space with you, I could have told you. It doesn’t prove anything!”

Time to pull out the big guns, he knew.

“When you were growing up, you used to wear scarves and hats to cover your forehead because you hated that you looked Klingon. You were afraid that was why your father left.” Wow. She hadn’t told anyone that. Okay, so she was listening…

“You’re afraid of the dark, and you take a stuffed animal with you whenever you’re going to be away overnight. You like to read Klingon romance novels and fall asleep on the beach. You love to sing, but not in front of anyone, even though you’re really good at it.” His voice was getting softer now, and he took a step closer. She didn’t back away.

“Any day now Captain Janeway is going to make you Voyager’s chief engineer, and we’ll end up working closely with each other. A year from now, we’ll be good friends, thanks to Harry. Another year and a half and I won’t be able to look at another woman. Three years from now, give or take a month, you’re going to think we’re dying and tell me that you’re in love with me. Three days later, I’ll say it back to you over an intimate dinner in your quarters. Another three years, a dozen broken bones, a thousand fights, and another ejected warp-core later, I’m going to ask you to marry me, and you’re going to say ‘yes.’” He pulled her close to him and kissed her, quickly but passionately. She was stunned.

“So I think you could forgive me for putting my hand on your shoulder.”

He stepped back. “Harry, let’s go.”

He turned and walked to the turbolift, with a frightened ensign stumbling along behind him.

When the lift door opened, he stepped inside—noticing, when he turned around, that his one-day wife was standing where he had left her, a dumbfounded look on her face. “B’Elanna, are you coming?” he asked with no hint of impatience.

She picked up her composure from around her ankles and walked toward them. She didn’t look at either man on the ride to Deck 4. The doors swished shut behind her as Tom and Harry continued their trips to the mess hall and bridge, respectively.

“Um, Tom, did you mean everything you said to that woman? Was it all true?”

Tom smiled. “Yep, Harry. All true.”

Harry looked a little sad. “So what Chakotay said was right; we’re going to be stranded in the Delta Quadrant for…”

“…at least seven years.” Tom finished. He didn’t mention that, after seeing the grown-up Icheb and Naomi during their just-finished battle with the Kazon, he was now afraid it would be much longer than that.

Harry thought of Tom and B’Elanna, then of Libby, the girlfriend he had left in San Francisco only three weeks before. He wouldn’t see her again for almost a decade, at least. It made him wonder what those years might be like. “So, you guys fall in love and get married. That’s nice.” Tom was afraid of where this conversation was going.

“So what about me?” Harry wanted to know, “Do I meet…?” Tom cut him off before he could finish the question. Paris’s mind flashed: a hologram, a Borg, a planet of killer brides, a bad case of glow-in-the-dark love sickness, a dead woman, and—most recently—a terrorist. “Don’t ask, Harry,” Tom said, shaking his head and putting his hand on his friend’s arm. The doors opened at Deck 2, and Tom stepped outside.

“Trust me: you don’t want to know.”

~*~*~*~*~

the end

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