The Admiral’s House By Diane Klepper (This is the fourth part of "The Admiral’s Family series. This part is set a few days after Voyager gets home.) Admiral Owen Paris- Personal Log My boy is home. After seven years of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, Voyager came home six days ago. When I saw Tom again for the first time in eight years I was at a loss for words. It’s funny; I spend most of my time talking in front of large crowds of people but why is it so hard for me to talk to my own son? When I saw him for the first time in eight years, Tom stood in front of me at attention. Next to him stood a half-Klingon woman holding a baby. I smiled at that sight. Not only is my son home, he brought back a wife and a baby girl. I never thought I have a half-Klingon daughter-in-law but maybe Tom needed a strong woman with the Klingon fire to keep him in line. My mother used to always say that it took a tough woman to keep a Paris man in line. I found one in my wife, Maggie. I just hope that B’Elanna makes Tom as happy as his mother makes me. Tom and his family have been staying with us for the last three days. I have a feeling they really didn’t want to stay with us but my wife can be very convincing. After not seeing her baby boy for all those years, there was no way she was going to let them stay in the apartments Starfleet provided for the Voyager crew until they found a place of their own. I think in the past three days we have said exactly ten words to each other. For four years I thought my son was dead. They day I received word that Voyager was missing and the crew was presumed dead I locked myself in my office and cried. I always told Tom that only the weak cried but that day I cried for the child I thought I had lost. When I came home that night, Maggie instantly knew something was wrong. After I told here that Tom was probably dead we cried in each other’s arms and mourned for the boy we had lost. When I received news that Voyager was lost in the Delta Quadrant, I was in shock. Part of me was happy to know that Tom was still alive and that he was the one that was flying Voyager home but another part of me realized that Tom would probably not make it home in my lifetime. When Starfleet informed me that they were going to send letters to the crew I quickly wrote a letter to Tom. As all the letters were being sent I wondered if Tom would read it because in it I told him that I was proud of him and I missed him. Over the last three years I planned out what I would say to Tom when I saw him again even though I knew how unlikely it was that I would ever see my son again. Last year, when Mr. Barclay was able to contact Voyager for a few minutes, I told Kathyrn to tell Tom that I was proud of him and that I missed him. Kathryn told me he heard the message. I immediately went home and told Maggie that I was able to send Tom a message and we spent the rest of the night talking about our lost son. End log. Owen Paris slowly got up from his desk and shut off his computer. The house seemed so quiet with everyone having gone to bed hours earlier. "Admit it Owen," he thought to himself, "you are hiding in your study because you can’t face your own son." He thought back to the dinner that night which was filled with laughter and smiles. Tom’s sisters came over with their families to welcome their brother home. The story B’Elanna gave about Tom chasing her for a year before they admitted their feelings for each other brought laughter to Maggie’s face. It felt good to see Maggie laughing again. Tom’s disappearance and reported death nearly destroyed her. He woke up many nights to finds Maggie crying in Tom’s old room. Owen slowly walked out of his study. :"Computer, shut light," the study went dark. Owen walked towards the stairway and slowly walked up the steps. He thought he heard a faint cry when he passed the door to Tom’s old room. As soon as Maggie heard about the baby, she ran to the attic to take out all of Tom’s baby furniture. She couldn’t wait to spoil her newest grandchild and after all the grief the last eight years has caused her, Owen was grateful that she had something happy to look forward to. Owen Paris slowly opened the door and saw Miral crying in her crib. Tom and B’Elanna were sleeping in the guest room next door but he thought maybe he could calm Miral down before she woke up her parents. He walked to the crib and said, "Hey Miral…don’t cry. Grandpa is here." He picked up the squirming infant and cradled her in his arms. He walked over to the replicator his wife had installed and said, "Miral Formula." A baby bottle appeared. He picked it up and walked over to the rocking chair near the crib. He slowly sat down with the squirming child and put the bottle to her lips. Miral immediately latched on to the bottle and started drinking the formula. Owen smiled at his granddaughter, "I think you are going to be a night owl like your father. I remember when he was a little older than you, he use to wait up for me whenever I had a late meeting at Starfleet Command. I walked into his room to check on him and he was sitting on his crib holding a story padd and looking at the pictures. I would turn to him and say, ‘Tommy what are you still doing up?’ and he would give me his best smile and say ‘Daddy, read please." Owen smiled at the memory. "I would put him on my lap and then read to him from a Jules Verne story padd until he fell asleep. Your Grandma would get so mad at me for letting him stay up so late. But your Daddy was my little boy. He was my pride and joy. Don’t get me wrong Miral…I love my girls too, but when Tom was born I knew he was destined for greatness." Miral started to cry. He put the bottle on the floor next to the rocker. Owen put her across his shoulder and patted her back. He stood up and started walking the floor with her. "It’s okay sweetheart. You are right. I did put too much pressure on your father. I never meant to hurt my Tommy. I just wanted the best for him…Your Grandma and your Aunt Kathleen and Aunt Moira use to complain that I treated Tom more like a cadet than a son. I would always laugh at that and tell them that I knew what I was doing." Owen stared at his granddaughter and frowned, "But Miral…I was wrong. I spent so much time telling Tom what he did wrong that I never got around to telling him what I did right." Miral gave a little yawn and Owen put her back into the crib. "I was tough on your father because I loved him. When your father was young he had such a reckless streak. He always had to climb the highest tree. He always flew the shuttle too fast. I can’t remember the amount of phone calls I got from his flight instructor in high school because your father flew too fast. He was way ahead of his classmates in flying, but he still had to follow the rules. Your grandmother and I were so scared Tom would kill himself doing some crazy stunt" Owen walked over to the dresser and looked at pictures that covered the top of it. The pictures told the story of his family: a successful Starfleet officer with a beautiful wife and three beautiful blue-eyed children. Most people didn’t know how strained his relationship with Tom was until he got kicked out of Starfleet. He picked up one of the photographs and stared at it. It was a photograph of Tom when he was ten years old. He was holding the flying trophy he had just won with a big smile on his face. "I don’t know, Miral. Maybe I pushed your father to fly too soon. I know he begged me let him fly the simulator when he was five but I should of known better. I should of given him more of a chance to be a kid. I only wish…." "Wish what?" Startled by the familiar voice, Owen turned and saw Tom standing there. Tom was dressed in his blue t-shirt and shorts. His hair was messy from sleep and his arms were crossed over his chest as if he was on the defensive. "How long have you been standing there?" "Long enough." Tom walked over to the crib and looked down at Miral. He covered her with her blanket and kissed her on the forehead. Then he turned to his father. "I was going to give Miral her bottle. I usually do the overnight feedings because B’Elanna gets a little cranky when she is overtired and trust me, you don’t want to see a cranky Klingon." Owen smiled at his son. "I already gave it to her. When I passed her room I heard her cry and I thought I’d let you and B’Elanna have a good night sleep." Tom frowned at his father. "I just want to be a good father. I don’t want to mess up with her." "You will be." Tom angrily stared at his father. "How can you say that? You’re the one who told me I couldn’t do anything right." "Tom, I didn’t mean that…I was angry after you got kicked out of Starfleet for lying. I said a lot of things I didn’t mean then…I just needed some time to cool off but by the time I calmed down, you were gone." Tom looked down at the carpet. "I had to get away. I couldn’t face you or Mom or Moira and Kathleen…I felt like such a failure." ‘Tom you weren’t a failure. You made a mistake and you were man enough to admit it even though you knew it would destroy your career. I wish I were man enough to say that to you then. Maybe we wouldn’t have lost all those years together." "Dad…" "No, Tom let me finish. When I first heard Voyager was lost and everyone was presumed dead, part of me died, too. I regretted all those arguments we had over the years. I know I was tough on you when you were a kid but I just wanted to give you something to strive for. You were such a natural pilot…but I knew you could be so much more." Tom turned away from his father. "Yeah, but you never asked me what I wanted to do. Yes, I loved flying but you wanted me to be the youngest Admiral in Starfleet history. You made me eat, sleep, and dream Starfleet. Any interest I had that didn’t deal with Starfleet you called a waste of time." "I know that now. I had a lot of time over the last seven years to do a lot of thinking. I know I can’t make up for all the years we missed but I’d like to get to know my son again." Tom gave a little smile. "You know, when we first got lost in the Delta Quadrant and Captain Janeway gave me back my commission back, she told me I earned it by my work during the Caretaker incident and that she only wished you would know about it." Owen smiled. "That sounds like Kathryn. She made one hell of a presentation to convince both the penal colony and Starfleet to let you go on Voyager. What did you tell her?" Tom Paris smiled at his father. "I told her he would know we got back. Dad, for a long time I was really mad at you…but I never stopped missing you. I only wanted to make you proud of me." Owen walked up to his son and hugged him. "Tom. I am proud of you. I love you, son." Tom hugged his father back and felt tears in his eyes. He looked at his father and saw the same tears in his eyes. "I love you, too, Dad." Owen let go of his son. "I’d better get to bed before your mother calls out Starfleet security." He turned to go then said, "Tom do you have any plans for tomorrow?" "No, I’m watching Miral. B’Elanna is having lunch with her father tomorrow." "Remember the shuttle you crashed in Lake Tahoe when you were sixteen?" Tom frowned at the memory. "How could I forget? You grounded me for six months." Owen gave a small smile. "Last year they cleaned up the lake and they pulled the shuttle out. It’s in a hangar at the Academy and I am repairing it. I wonder if you like to help?" Tom smiled at his father. "I like that, Dad." "Goodnight, Son." "Goodnight, Dad." Just then Miral started crying again. Tom smiled as his father walked out of the bedroom. He walked over to the crib and picked up his daughter. Holding her in his arms, he said, "Miral, it’s okay. We’re home.