DISCLAIMER: Seven, B'Elanna and all else Voyager in this story belongs to the powers that be, and certainly not to this little dragon.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This and everything else I've written is also available at my own fic site http://ryufic.blogspot.se/
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To rosmari.karlssonfaltin[at]telia.com
A Moment in Sickbay
By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson
It was a few months after B'Elanna had gotten married to Tom Paris, and frankly she was long since at the point she could have banged her head against the nearest bulkhead in regret. She had been about to break things up with the man when he, probably sensing this, had turned around and proposed... which was all fine and good, what B'Elanna wanted to know was what stroke of insanity had made her actually say yes in the first place?
None of that mattered at the moment though, as one grumpy yet not really resisting half-Klingon was rushed into Sickbay, fussed over by both the doctor and her usually inattentive husband.
After a longer period of not feeling well at all and suffering from a variety of small physical annoyances B'Elanna had suddenly just collapsed in the middle of Engineering, and that led to her current situation.
Once Tom had been shoved out of the way the doctor went to work, and B'Elanna tried her best to be patient with the poking and prodding, or, well, the waving a small hand-held device in her face and other pertinent parts while the doctor frowned at it and made a few annoyingly indecipherable comments to himself. Finally she just about had enough.
"So what's the verdict doc? Delta Quadrant flu? Or did Neelix latest leeola root stew really not agree with me?" The fact that B'Elanna's voice was just mildly sarcastic and she remained sitting on the biobed was a fair testament to how tired and out of sorts she felt, further worrying her companions.
The doctor shook his head, took an unnecessary breath and quite calmly looked B'Elanna in the eye. "On the contrary, Lieutenant... congratulations, you are pregnant."
When B'Elanna realized the balding hologram was not in fact joking with her, the edges of her vision became a bit black and blurry and the voices of her husband and her friend distant and distorted. The doctor quickly laid her back down on the biobed and pressed a hypospray to her neck, then continued with the waving of the magical cure-all device also known as a medical tricorder.
Regaining her senses rather quickly B'Elanna groaned. "Pregnant? Kahless' left incisor... are you absolutely sure, doc?"
"Yes, I am absolutely sure." There was a grimness to the doctor's reply that coupled with his deepening frown sent a message of alarm to B'Elanna. The fact that he continued to move the tricorder back and forth over her lower abdomen sent a chill down her spine.
"B'Elanna," Hearing the fear entering B'Elanna's voice the doctor tried his best to explain calmly and soothingly. "I am picking up unusual readings from the foetus." Another breath. "It appears there are Borg nanoprobes present."
B'Elanna's eyes widened while Tom, having moved to the opposite biobed to sit down, stunned by events, gasped at this piece of information. After a heartbeat or two B'Elanna resolutely slapped her combadge. "B'Elanna to Seven of Nine." The computer chirped to announce the connection had been made. "Seven, I need you in Sickbay right away."
Silence. Then... "I will be right there Lieutenant. Seven out." In response to the slight tremor in B'Elanna's voice Seven's own was tight and firm with determination. The doctor opened his mouth to say something to B'Elanna, but that was as far as he managed before a brief flash of light announced that Seven had transported herself to Sickbay.
In the stunned silence that followed her appearance Seven quickly strode up to the biobed by B'Elanna's side and locked eyes with the diminutive engineer. "What do you need?"
B'Elanna found herself helplessly lost in stormy blue eyes for some reason and could not answer, thankfully the doctor stepped up to the plate and explained the situation to Seven. Despite listening attentively to everything he said Seven's gaze never once wavered from B'Elanna... and that was why B'Elanna easily caught the moment when the worried blue changed expression, growing pale with some emotion B'Elanna could not read before Seven broke the gaze and looked away.
"I see. So you are... pregnant, Lieutenant? I..." For some reason B'Elanna felt like she should apologize to Seven, she just didn't know for what exactly. "I offer my congratulations."
"So doc says there's nanoprobes present in the baby, Seven." Tom spoke up, thinking he should explain why Seven had been summoned, only to realize that he did not know either. Helplessly he cast a look at the doctor. As it turned out it was B'Elanna that answered.
"Yeah, that's why I wanted you to come. You're the resident expert on these things, I'd feel a lot better if you helped the doc have a look at this."
Seven merely nodded, of course she would do her utmost to help. The doctor sidled over to let Seven look at the readings he were taking. "Could they be some kind of residue we overlooked from when B'Elanna was assimilated during that whole Unimatrix Zero thing?"
"No." Seven's simple answer was so sure that there was no questioning it. "All Borg-components and the residue thereof were purged from the Lieutenant's system immediately after returning to Voyager, as you well know doctor. With the exception of a slightly elevated iron content in her bloodstream for a few days after the removal of the Borg technology Lieutenant Torres was restored to normal."
"And it happened too long ago to affect the foetus." The doctor nodded and took some more readings. "Then that begs the question, how did nanoprobes come to be in the foetus' bloodstream, and why?"
Seven frowned as she continued to check the tricorder from over the doctor's shoulder. "There are no nanoprobes present in Lieutenant Torres' bloodstream?"
"You know she's Lieutenant Torres-Paris now, don'tcha?" Tom sniped, not at all pleased with Seven's continued tendency to omit his name when speaking to or of his wife. He couldn't quite put a finger on what exactly it was that bothered him when Seven did this, but it had been wearing on his patience for a while.
"Oh shut up Tom!" B'Elanna snarled, once more annoyed with him. They had more important things to think of than the unfortunate addition to her name... and in fact, although she wasn't about to admit it, B'Elanna rather liked that Seven never used her married name. It felt... far more liberating than was entirely healthy for B'Elanna's situation. Forcing her mind back on more urgent matters she eyed the doctor whom, ignoring Tom's comment, had apparently understood what Seven was getting at.
"You're right Seven, there isn't a trace of nanoprobe material in B'Elanna's blood, just in the foetus and the placenta." He walked over to his consol, putting some information into it before returning to the biobed. "Which means that the nanoprobes did not come from B'Elanna at all, but rather the baby's father."
Three heads turned as one to look at Tom Paris whom yelped and backed up a step. "Me? ME? I'm no Borg!"
The doctor ran his tricorder over Tom carefully, then once more. "Relax Mr Paris, I see nothing to suggest you've had any Borg nanoprobes in your system whatsoever." As Tom sagged with relief the doctor blinked for a moment and got a strange look on his face. "Erm, Ensign Paris, I would like you to go... put this information into the console in my office, right away. Oh and please, ahh, run a systems diagnostic while you're at it? Just to be sure."
At first it seemed that, under the baffled look from B'Elanna and the quirked eyebrow from Seven, Tom was going to comply, accepting the tricorder and even taking a few steps in the direction of the doctor's office before he stopped and turned back around, frowning. "Doc? Why are you trying to get rid of me?"
In answer to the torn look the doctor aimed her direction B'Elanna growled, the remaining shreds of her patience wearing thin. "Can we please just GET ON WITH IT?! I just found out I'm pregnant, and if that's not enough my baby has Borg nanoprobes... please quit it with the drama and just tell me if I and the baby are going to be alright."
"Very well." The doctor cleared his throat. "Regarding your health, you're fine. We'll have you on some added nutrients, an extra boost of vitamins and you need a lot more iron into your system as well as a lot more rest than what you're currently getting, and everything should clear up just fine. As for the baby, all values look good, indicating a healthy, slightly older than a month foetus, with the nanoprobes being the anomaly. I can't really say much about what to expect from that, but I assume Seven will be able to help us out with that."
"The nanoprobes come from the father, as you don't have them and they don't just spontaneously appear in growing quarter-Klingon babies on their own." A slight twitch in the hologram's facial features. "Tom Paris does not have, nor show any signs of ever having had, nanoprobes in his system."
"Which means?" Tom asked, the circumstances overruling his medical training for a moment.
"Which means... that you're not the father." The doctor's reply was just a trifle testy before returning his attention to B'Elanna and gentling his voice. "You will have to tell me who the biological father is so he can be tested, B'Elanna."
B'Elanna blinked at him. "Huh? What are you talking about?"
"Slightly older than one month..." Seven whispered harshly and suddenly sat down on the edge of B'Elanna's biobed, hard.
B'Elanna's eyes grew wide, and shocking the men in the room, she and Seven instantly blushed quite fiercely.
"Little over one month ago..:" The doctor continued slowly, eyeing his two friends and secretly wishing he had his holocamera present. "That was when Voyager had the... encounter... with the B'pfssari." He and Seven were the only ones onboard that could utter the strange sound that was the name of the overly friendly space-faring people whose acquaintance had proved very embarrassing to Voyager's crew, at least without sounding as if they were spitting.
Tom blinked. And blinked again. For once he actually added two and two together and got four. "You... you... YOU CHEATED ON ME!" He roared angrily and pointed accusingly at the command-red B'Elanna. "YOU CHEATED ON ME WITH HER!" Pointing at Seven this time, but as the women were now sitting side by side there was little difference. "HOW COULD YOU!"
"Oh shut up Tom!" B'Elanna said again just as the doctor inserted himself between her and the helmsman, nudging Tom none too gently a few steps back. It occurred to her in a strange moment of clarity just how often that phrase crossed her lips... why in Kahless' name were she still married to this rodent? "Don't go pointing any accusing fingers over what happened with the... 'Sari, as I recall they had to pry your naked ass out from under a whole pile of them, male and female alike."
The B'pfssari were an attractive, friendly race that were eager to make Voyager's acquaintance, unfortunately what had escaped the preliminary research was that the tall, androgynous-appearing aliens exuded a very strong pheromone, particularly when imbibing their own version of alcohol, and few species that encountered them had any particular resistance to the effects of this, Voyager's crew included. At the party that had been arranged to celebrate the friendly trade between cultures the entire command crew and a large number of others had been subjected to the pheromone, leading them to lose all inhibitions as well as hyper-charging their libidos. That the B'pfssari were a sexually open and accepting people that really did not know what effect they had on others had not helped matters, and so those involved had woken up the following day with the mother of all hangovers, unclear memories of the previous night, and most of them in bed with someone else.
It had been a unanimous decision that what happened with the B'pfssari, stayed with the B'pfssari, and eventually life had gone back to normal.
"Ensign Paris, either you calm down or you leave Sickbay." The doctor warned the agitated man whom, after a moment's hesitation did his best to get himself under control. "So..." The doctor was for once not sure of what to say. "Seven is the father?"
"Y-yeah... I'd think so." B'Elanna did not look at Seven despite the fact that they sat rather close together. How could she have missed the truth when it was so obvious? Of course, B'Elanna had tried very hard not to think of her fragmented memories of the night she shared with Seven, for several reasons. Glancing at Tom it occurred to B'Elanna that she should have known right away that it most certainly was not Tom that was the father, since now that she thought about it, they had not been intimate with one another in a long while... in fact since some time before the whole mess with the B'pfssari.
She felt the knowledge just sink into her bones. Yeah, this was Seven's baby alright. B'Elanna smiled.
"If you would correlate your collected data to that archived regarding my nanoprobes I believe you would have your answer, doctor." Seven sounded a bit nervous, yet she was doing her best to cooperate in any way she could. B'Elanna found herself glancing at the tall blonde finally, charmed by the blush still on otherwise so pale cheeks.
The doctor did as suggested, tapping away at his tricorder. "Yes, yes... you are right, the readings match." He smiled suddenly at B'Elanna. "Seven is definitely the father. That is good news!"
"What?" Tom demanded angrily. "Why the hell would you say that?"
"Because, since the nanoprobes came from Seven we can be fairly sure B'Elanna is not at risk at being assimilated or otherwise harmed by them." The doctor explained, looking vaguely as if he wanted to toss the nearest hypospray at Tom's head. "Seven has programmed hers with special safeguards to prevent that in case of an accident."
"What of the baby?" B'Elanna's hand went to her abdomen, feeling strange that she was so concerned for a life that she had not known existed a few hours ago.
"The foetus... she..." Seven looked more remorseful and apologetic than B'Elanna had ever seen the blonde. "Her nanoprobes will increase somewhat in number as she grows closer to birth, and those already present will be subtly engineering her growth, choosing the stronger, more beneficial genetic traits among the material supplied. There is also strong possibility that by the time she is born she will have a few small implants attached to her internal organs. There is no possibility for her to have grown any greater amount of Borg technology or tubules at that size however, so at birth she would be a threat neither to herself, her mother or this ship."
B'Elanna digested this. "That doesn't sound so bad. After she is born we can treat her so she won't develop any more implants, like a subspace transmitter..." The doctor nodded while Seven merely tilted her head. "She won't have to regenerate, will she?"
"No." Seven spoke quietly now, the look in her eyes pained. "There is no way she would be born with the ability to regenerate, much less be bound to it."
B'Elanna closed her eyes, fully feeling the weight of three pairs of eyes on her as her mind raced. Finally, after long moments of silence in which none of the others in the room either spoke or moved, B'Elanna opened her eyes and straightened herself.
"Doc, if I understood correctly neither I nor my baby are in any immediate danger now, right?" At his nod she continued. "Right. Then I'd ask you if you could perhaps let us have a moment to talk some things through... I promise I'll call you if you're needed in any way."
"Of course B'Elanna." The doctor smiled encouragingly and, with a brief glance to Seven, went to his office and closed the door behind him rather than simply turning his program off. From his office he could still see if something inappropriate happened to his patient while he, with a small adjustment to his program's parameters, avoided listening in on the conversation.
Absolute silence and a thick tension replaced him.
Taking a deep breath B'Elanna decided to get things going. This was not going to be easy, nor fun, but with a little luck... "Well... it seems we are having a baby." Although she did not directly look at either of the two blondes in the room as she spoke, she put her hand on top of Seven's carefully, a bit afraid that the other woman would flinch away from the touch. "We have a lot to talk about, Seven, and we will I promise, I just have to... clear the air with Tom before that. First of all though, I need to know one thing."
There was a small, awkward but encouraging squeeze to B'Elanna's hand, urging her on. "You have a choice to make, and if it doesn't seem fair to you that I am not offering any middle ground I am sorry, but this is how it will have to be."
"Will you choose to be a parent to this baby, Seven, or would you rather have nothing to do with it? If you want to be part of her life you will have to be a parent full-time, the same as me... I'll ask you to be there every step of the way, not only while having her but raising her as well, making decisions for her, whatever comes along and no matter where we end up as she grows." B'Elanna saw Tom gearing up to protest but forged on before he had the chance to. "The other alternative leaves you with neither obligations nor rights regarding her; you will be nothing more than another person aboard this ship to her... if that is what you choose."
Her voice barely above a whisper B'Elanna added. "I can't accept halfway commitment, not when it comes to my child's life."
Seven's voice bordered on gentle when she answered. "When have you ever known me to commit to something halfway, B'Elanna?" There was another tiny squeeze. "If allowed I wish to be a part of this child's life, as much as you will permit me. I would very much like to be there every step of the way, from now until she has children and grandchildren of her own. Likely even then."
B'Elanna said nothing in reply, just smiled gratefully and squeezed the hand in hers. Further talk about the future with Seven would have to wait, for now she had to deal with Tom.
"So you finally have the time to speak to me, huh?" His voice was agitated but he still did his best to keep his anger in check otherwise. "Are you going to ask me the same thing you asked her? I'm your husband! I'll be right there with you, you don't need her!"
B'Elanna couldn't help it; she let out a short, harsh bark of laughter at this. "Tom, you're not even there now!" She calmed down and sighed. "But no, I'm not going to ask you what I asked Seven. Rather I am going to do us both a favour and say something that is long overdue."
She looked him in the eye, calm, immovable and strong. He already knew the words that were coming, knew it was time. "Tom, I am going to divorce you. We're over and we both know it, we have just been too stubborn or too lazy to want to face it before."
"Look me in the eye and tell me that you didn't feel afraid when you thought you would be a father, that you didn't feel relief when it was clear that the baby isn't yours! Can you look me in the eye and tell me that even now a big part of you is feeling relieved because you figure the baby is someone else's problem, not yours?"
Tom had the decency to look away, embarrassed and taken somewhat aback by the truth. Yes he had been afraid, afraid he was going to be forced to give up on the things he loved in life, and yes he had been relieved, still was, that the child wasn't his. Although he had meant it when he said he would be there he had just enough insight to realize that what he really meant was that he would be there when it suited him, when he felt like fitting it into his day between the holodeck and the helm. He lowered his head.
"We're really meant to just be friends, Tom. You can play the part of the fun-loving uncle when you want to, like you do with Naomi, and not have to worry about not being ready to be a parent." B'Elanna touched a hand to her ridges as if to dispel a growing headache. "We weren't supposed to get married in the first place. I was going to break up with you, and you... I know you had grown tired of things too, that you'd much rather be spending your time playing around on the holodeck with the Delaney twins or whoever else that felt up to your ideas of a good time."
"You knew of his... philandering?" Seven interjected with startled surprise, forgetting what little tact might otherwise have stayed her tongue. She deeply regretted her words immediately as she saw B'Elanna's surprise and Tom's horror, and so Seven blushed slightly once more.
"Philandering?" Dark eyes narrowed at Tom whom took a small step back. "Is that so?" In all honesty B'Elanna had thought he had been faithful to her, save of course for the B'pfssari incident and the latest month's indulgence with holodeck characters. She hadn't felt enough for him by then to care that he had broken one of the most important rules they had laid down upon entering a relationship, as long as she didn't have to deal with his advances she had been happy with that. Sighing to herself B'Elanna saw her own blame in how they had gone so wrong... but it was past time to set things right.
She just... looked at him.
Tom put his hands up in a gesture of surrender. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. I'll go get some stuff and stay with Harry until the Captain assigns me back my old quarters."
"For what it's worth... I hope you'll be happy B'Elanna, and if you ever need me, as a friend, you know where to find me." With that Tom Paris walked out of the room, leaving his very soon to be ex-wife with the woman whose child she carried.
"I apologize, Lieutenant. I have been told in no uncertain terms that I should not address this issue with you, and yet now I have." Seven spoke in a quiet, genuinely regretful tone. "I am... sorry."
B'Elanna smiled softly although Seven didn't see it. She had noticed it for several months now, since a short while before her unfortunate marriage to Tom actually, that Seven was really a very sweet person. She just didn't know quite how to express herself sometimes, and B'Elanna could certainly relate to that.
"The only thing you have to be sorry for is for going back to calling me Lieutenant, Seven. I thought we agreed you would call me by my name unless we're at a senior staff meeting or something else along those lines?"
True, after what happened between them that night although B'Elanna's memories thereof were few and scattered they were still enough to make her face burn and her hormones to riot they had both slipped back into somewhat more awkward and stiff mannerisms around one another, and the use of B'Elanna's name had been infrequent. But they were having a baby together, B'Elanna wasn't about to let the other parent of her child go around calling her 'Lieutenant' anymore.
Seven's shy smile in response tugged at B'Elanna's heart, and impulsively she leaned in and placed a small kiss on one pale cheek.
Drawing back from the tiny kiss B'Elanna could not help but blush a little at what she had done, but glancing at the wide and breathtakingly charmed smile that was Seven's reaction to it she relaxed. After all, they were going to have a baby... they had done far, far more than just kissed a cheek or two.
Grinning B'Elanna leaned against Seven, intertwining their fingers. They had much to talk about, certainly, and a future to plan, but for right then and there... B'Elanna just wanted to share the quiet, peaceful moment with the one she was beginning to understand meant a whole lot more to her than B'Elanna had ever allowed herself to see.
She was a free woman at last, free of the ill-conceived marriage to Tom, free of her lingering guilt over what had happened between herself and the woman beside her and what that had meant, and just generally free of all those little weights that had been pulling her down those past few months. Taking a deep breath B'Elanna allowed herself to simply enjoy the quiet sense of happiness beginning to stir inside.
Return to Voyager Fiction
Return to Main Page