Author’s Note (12/00): This was written in response to a P/T Archive Challenge. It’s merely my version of the scene we never saw in the episode "Drive," between rescue of the Flyer and the champagne scene in said impulse-only Flyer. Rated PG.
Thank you doesn’t seem to cover it, but…thank you, DangerMom!
Disclaimer: Paramount owns it all. Always has. Always will. I accept this.
A Wedding, Yes
by Diane Bellomo
The Delta Flyer drifted. Two people lay unconscious in her cockpit. Smoke from shorted-out consoles filled the small space. One of the two was dreaming.
…she was…where? A wedding, yes. Her grandmother Torres had taken her to a wedding when she was four. It was a human wedding in a church, full of music, flowers, and flickering candles, spoken in the language her grandmother had told her was "Spanish." Because she was so small, she was allowed to stand up on the pew so she could see the bride when she made her entrance.
And that was what she remembered most about the wedding. The bride. She was a black-haired, bronze-skinned beauty, wearing a dress of pure white lace, with a train that seemed to her young eyes to go on forever.
And now she looked down at herself, realizing suddenly that she was the bride in the white lace.
Faintly a voice called her name, but she could easily ignore it and continue with her lovely dream. Much closer, however, cynical laughter rang out and was harder to ignore. She opened her eyes, but all she could see was herself in a Starfleet uniform, laughing at the image of the bride in the white lace.
Yet the faint voice continued to call…
"B’Elanna!" She struggled to sit up, not quite sure what was real and what was not. A sharp intake of smoke brought her to full wakefulness and with it the realization of where she was and what had happened, including Tom’s proposal, which she immediately pushed to the very back of her mind.
"I guess we lost."
Tom rolled into a sitting position across from her. "That depends." He turned and began crawling towards the pilot’s seat.
She went to move and found it painful, her breath hitching on her words. The pain caused her to entirely miss his tone. "Ah! On what?"
Tom had by this time gained the pilot’s chair and was pulling himself into it, pushing buttons to vent the cockpit and checking the Flyer’s status. "On how you answer my question."
She froze. The image of the bride loomed in her mind’s eye; the cynical laughter echoed in her head, and she could not stop her sharp response. "I thought you only asked it because we were about to explode."
So far, Tom had not even looked at her. For this she was grateful, but what he said next caused her stomachs to heave unpleasantly. "Well, we’re still alive," and now he swiveled in the chair to look directly at her, his expression deadly, "and I’m still asking."
The bitter taste of adrenaline filled her mouth, providing her one odd moment of sympathy for Seven and the ex-Borg’s angry (and sometimes surprised) responses to her body’s physical reactions to outside stimuli. She struggled to maintain an emotional balance, but she knew she’d better put a move on or she’d be completely locked in place. She stood and walked towards the seat beside his, trying to ignore her hammering heart, using the method that always worked best for her: hateful denial.
I don’t believe it. I do NOT believe it! He can’t be serious. He’s a playboy, a flyboy, he doesn’t care about me, he never really has. All he’s ever cared about was himself and his precious toys. That stupid car, Captain Proton, Alice, the wonder ship, Fair Haven. God, even the damn Monean waterworld was a game to him. It’s only because we were about to die…
One glance at him, which he did not notice, and every thought died on the vine. Who did she think she was kidding? He was as serious as a heart attack, and she was, well, she was… Yeah, Torres, she chided herself, what are you, you big, scary Klingon? Ha. Scared to death, is what you are. She made it to the seat and cast her eyes warily to him, still outwardly on guard, while inside her emotions played havoc with a number of major organs.
This was not the first proposal of marriage she had ever received. However, it was the first wherein the person doing the asking was someone she was desperately in love with and everything was at stake. Still, in spite of her honesty about her fear, she could not bring herself to accept that he might actually want to marry her, even after all the crap they had been through. Intellectually, she knew she was being ridiculous, because she could see the truth of it right there in front of her, but for this moment, her heart argued, for this one moment, it just seemed safer. A mixed-race survival technique she could not quite get past. It never occurred to her that all the over-thinking was in itself a survival technique.
"How come you’ve never asked me before?"
He shifted towards her, his expression softening, his big, blue eyes brimming with adoration and just a touch of anxiety. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God… "And how come you’re still avoiding the question?"
"I’m thinking," she said stiffly, knowing it had come out a trifle too quickly, but wanting to buy more time.
More time for what?
He answered just as swiftly, leaning in closer to her. "Think faster."
Again, she could not stop a smartass retort, easily adding a genuine smirk. "Why? You going to withdraw the question?" She would have laughed in his face if she had not been looking right into his face. Into his open, honest, painfully pale face, into those incredible, bottomless blue eyes.
"No, but I might start to beg." They were so close now, they shared breath. "Could get embarrassing."
And in that moment, fear fled. B’Elanna met his lips firmly, every molecule in her body singing with love for this man who had rescued her from herself more times than she could count. How could she have ever doubted his sincerity? Her heart and her stomachs heaved in harmony. Yes, oh yes. She was in it for the long haul.
* * *
The kiss would have lasted for quite some time if it hadn’t been for the dissonant sound of a console exploding and the sudden feel of weightlessness. They pulled apart abruptly when they felt themselves floating away from the chairs. B’Elanna grabbed the back of her chair to keep her in place. Tom did the same.
"Whoa, there! Oh, great, Tom, this is just great!"
"Yeah, hold on a minute, let me check." Tom maneuvered to the blown console, punched a few buttons that hadn’t gone dead and got only computer raspberries in reply. He sighed. "Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news." He punched one more button, and his feet immediately settled lightly onto the floor. "Okay, there’s some better news."
"Don’t tell me, let me guess. We haven’t quite lost all the gravity, just most of it, and you probably can’t restore it any more than you just did. That the bad news?"
She noticed her rear end was in the chair, but that her seat was a bit lighter than usual. It was disconcerting, but nothing like microgravity, and her stomachs didn’t seem to have any problem with it. "So what’s the good news?"
Tom maneuvered back to her, an impish grin on his face. He reached out and brought her to her feet, taking her chin in his fingers and directing her lips to his. After the kiss, he circled his arms around her and whispered into her ear, "Ever made love in low-grav?"
She considered this, even smiled at the prospect, before she remembered her duty as an officer. "Tom, we can’t! What about Voyager?"
He asked with mock innocence, "What about Voyager?"
"Well, they aren’t that far away, you know, and they know right where we are…"
As she blustered, he worked his way behind her, pressed himself against her and propelled them both backward until he was bumping up against the bulkhead.
He moved her hair with ease, kissed her neck, licked it, and moved up to nibble an earlobe. In between nibbles he said, "Here’s what we do…we leave a little message for… Captain Janeway…okay?"
She dropped her head to one side, giving him better access to her neck. She was having trouble finding words.
"Huh…uh…the Captain? Right. A message. Right. Mmm…don’t stop that."
Tom had no intention of stopping, not for a long, long time.
Sometime during their little low-grav test, Tom’s combadge beeped once, indicating the message he had recorded was being heard.
* * *
Janeway stood by her chair, hands on her hips, eyebrow quirked at the image on the viewscreen. "Hail the Flyer, Mr. Kim."
Harry punched the usual button and got an unusual noise in response. He checked his readout to verify what he had heard and bit back his customary surprised stuttering. He had forgodssakes grown out of that by now, hadn’t he?
"There’s a code on the response, Captain. It’s marked "Eyes Only. Captain Kathryn Janeway."
Both Janeway’s eyebrows shot up. What was going on now? Aside from the fact the Flyer no longer had its warp core, the ship looked fine, if a little dead in the water. And why would…? Oh, hell, no sense wasting any more time wondering. She moved towards her ready room.
"All right." She waved her hand in the air. "Forward to my ready room, Harry." The doors swished open at her approach and closed with a soft hiss behind her.
She marched to the big window and stood staring blankly out, arms akimbo as they had been a moment ago on the bridge. She addressed the computer.
"Computer, play message, authorization Janeway Alpha One."
The computer politely obliged, warbling once pleasantly before beginning playback.
:::Audio only. To Captain Kathryn Janeway. From Lieutenants Paris and Torres.::: The playback opened with what Janeway could have sworn was a throaty chuckle and then Tom Paris’ familiar voice, sounding far too casual for the lengths he had gone. "Hi, Captain, uh, if you’re listening to this, it means you found us in less than ten minutes, which is fine, really, but we, uh, that is, B’Elanna and I are taking a little break right now and we, uh, we can’t be disturbed. Well, we shouldn’t be disturbed." This time, Janeway did hear the throaty chuckle, which was clearly B’Elanna, sounding as if she were right on top of him, and then Tom was continuing. "B’Elanna and I have reached an epiphany over here, Captain, and it has nothing to do with the race. We’d like to make a request of you. Will you marry us when we return? Just a standard ceremony, okay? No Klingon bloodletting or anything like that." This time she heard B’Elanna snort. "Ask Har to be witness, and would you ask him to get with Neelix to arrange a quick reception, please? No sense in cheating the crew out of a chance to party. I know, I know, I’m asking too much…"
He was babbling on, something about taking advantage of her, but Janeway had pretty much stopped listening.
Epiphany, indeed! "Computer, stop playback." She dropped to the couch, leaned forward, and let her head fall into her hands. She knew that to advise or counsel, or to even question, would be utter nonsense at this point. In all honesty, she had seen this coming months ago. Well, it was either this or something else entirely, as there had never been much middle ground with Tom and B’Elanna. They would either marry or separate, possibly with Tom staying behind on some nice, advanced M-class planet somewhere. She realized she was glad it had come to this.
After another minute of wool-gathering, she climbed to her feet, asked the computer to replay the entire message so she could discover just when it would be safe to fetch her officers, and then went to her desk to whip up some plans.
* * *
They stood before her, still dressed in the sleek white racing outfits, smudged and otherwise disheveled, but smiling to beat the band. In fact, Janeway could honestly say she had never seen the two of them so giddy. Certainly, she had never seen B’Elanna in such a state.
In the end, the ceremony had been brief, with Janeway reading standard words from the database. But that was really the only thing standard about it.
* * *
Immediately after the tractor beam brought the Flyer into the shuttle bay, Tom and B’Elanna arrived on the bridge, followed by pretty much the rest of the crew – or at least as many as could fit in the turbolift along with the happy couple.
This was a small ship, after all, and even if Tom and B’Elanna had been trying to keep their plans secret, it would not have taken long for every member of Voyager’s crew to learn what was up. Of course, they had not been trying to keep anything a secret, announcing to all and sundry on the way to the bridge that they were engaged and about to be married.
Beaming and filthy, they exited the turbolift and crossed to stand in front of their captain. Tom tugged at his outfit. B’Elanna smoothed hers. Tom coughed. Someone over by the lift giggled with delight and a bunch more people began whispering among themselves. After a minute, the whispering stopped, and the quiet became one of anticipation, like people waiting in a dark room to yell surprise.
Janeway cast her eyes to the crowd by the turbolift, then at Tuvok, then at Ensign Jenkins, who was filling in for Harry, who was off coordinating God-knows-what with Neelix, and finally Chakotay. This whole thing was growing more outrageous by the minute, but she’d be darned if she was going to let it get the best of her. She could handle a little wedding. She glanced again at Chakotay and decided he was not going to get away without some involvement.
"What’s this, Commander, not giving away the bride?" She turned a warm smile to B’Elanna, who blushed ruby and shook her head.
Chakotay never missed a beat, moving around to the other side of B’Elanna and taking her arm, ignoring her scowl of disapproval. "C’mon, daughter, you’ve got to make a better entrance than this." He cocked his head back to Janeway. "Permission to use your ready room, ma’am?"
"Permission granted." In for a penny…
Chakotay steered B’Elanna into the room, leaving Tom looking just a little bewildered and the group by the turbolift playfully pushing and shoving for a better view. A few of them used the lift to leave the bridge, no doubt to summon the balance of the crew.
"Tom," Janeway said softly, placing her hand gently on his arm, "relax. It’ll all be over in a few minutes." Somehow, she didn’t think he believed her. The turbolift doors reopened to admit more crewmembers, including Harry, who walked across the bridge to stand beside Tom, looking devilishly pleased with himself. He handed Tom a damp cloth. "Wipe your face, buddy, and close your mouth."
* * *
In the ready room, B’Elanna removed her arm from Chakotay’s and stood facing him, trying but failing to look pissed.
"Okay, Chakotay – or should I say Dad – now what?"
Chakotay’s black eyes danced and he smiled fiercely. "Depends on you, I guess."
Pissed was hailing her and it could be heard in her voice. "What are you talking about?"
"I wasn’t really joking when I said you should make a better entrance. You should. You’re the bride."
And into her head came the image of the bride in white lace. The bronze-skinned, black-haired beauty of her distant past and more recent dream. The years had blurred the bride’s face, but B’Elanna knew it did not include Klingon forehead ridges. All of this must have shown on her face, because Chakotay suddenly went from cheerful to concerned.
"B’Elanna? What’d I say? Spirits, whatever it was, I’m sorry."
She stopped him with a shake of her head. "Oh, no, Chakotay, what you said was fine. I was just thinking of something…someone I saw a long time ago." It was another minute before she raised her eyes to him, but when she did, it was clear she had come to a decision. "I think I wanna make an entrance."
Chakotay’s grin returned twofold as they stepped to the replicator.
* * *
Tom insisted on remaining on his feet, even though Janeway invited him into Chakotay’s chair beside her, suggesting that it might be a while.
"No, no, that’s okay. I’d rather just stand." Harry took the chair instead, and Tom stood, nearly ramrod straight, for almost an hour. During that time, the bridge filled with crewmembers, as did the conference room and the turbolift, whose doors were programmed to remain open. Most were holding small, colorful pouches.
The doors to the ready room finally hissed opened and everyone who could see into the room took a great gasping breath. Tom heard, but he dared not turn to look. That B’Elanna was progressing towards him could be heard in the continued oohs and ahs sounding behind him and a shirring sound he could not identify. When he could stand it no longer, he turned and stopped breathing.
She was a vision in what he recognized (from a memory of his sister’s wedding) as Peau de Soie satin and white lace, her dark skin setting off the intricate pattern of the lace against her neck and shoulders and down her arms. The full gown bloomed around her to her feet and he realized it was the train (cathedral) that was causing the shirring sound. His knees almost didn’t support him. He hadn’t seen Harry move, but his best friend was right there, grabbing his arm to keep him from going down.
B’Elanna arrived near him, her arm in Chakotay’s. The big man was grinning like a fool, his dimples flashing in amusement and pride.
* * *
Janeway was nearly speechless. No, she was speechless and was never more grateful for her command training, which told her to keep the datapadd with her, all the words already neatly spelled out. As it was, she nearly choked on the first question.
"Who…who gives this woman to be married?"
Chakotay carefully removed B’Elanna’s arm from his and put her hand into Tom’s outstretched one. "I do." He stepped back.
The bride and groom turned as one to face her. She solemnly nodded to Harry, who handed a padd to Tom. She had been surprised when Tom first asked if he could read something – which turned out to be something taken out of context from an Old Testament book of the Bible – but now she realized it was the perfect thing to use, and even more perfect for him to recite it to B’Elanna. He cleared his throat nervously and began. His confidence and assurance rose as each word passed his lips.
"Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you." He lowered the padd and stood staring into B’Elanna’s face, a small smile lifting the corners of his mouth.
Before Janeway could make a move towards continuing the ceremony, B’Elanna turned to Chakotay and held out her hand. He placed a padd into it. B’Elanna turned back towards Tom and began to read, also from the Bible, this time from the New Testament. Somehow, Janeway was even less surprised to hear B’Elanna recite these words. Despite her recent brush with the Klingon Barge of the Dead, she suspected the young woman held in her heart more of her father’s customs than she might admit to anyone.
"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." She paused and then began again, this time in the ancient language of her human ancestry. The Spanish flowed from her as if she were born to it, which, Janeway realized, she had been.
With these recitations, the bridge had fallen quiet, too quiet, and Janeway realized someone had lowered the volume on the feedback, so there was none of the usual hums and beeps associated with normal bridge operation. She heard someone sniffling up near the aft science station and quickly continued before she started sniffling.
Things progressed rapidly to finish from there, with everyone answering in the right spots, but Janeway was not at all sure anyone but the audience was paying attention.
She heard herself make the pronouncement and saw Tom and B’Elanna turn to kiss, but she hadn’t fully realized it was over until a great whoop erupted from the crew and the rice showered her. So that’s what was in the pouches. She spotted Chakotay, aiming rice right for her. She put her arms up in a defensive gesture but knew it was hopeless. She’d be picking rice from every crevice for the next two weeks. This thought did not upset her.
The festivities moved to the mess hall, turned quickly into a combination reception and post-race brouhaha, and no one quite noticed when the bride and groom slipped away.