~*~ October 2383 ~*~
Dew sparkled on the cemetery grass like countless glass beads in the slanting morning sunlight. Harry stood near a worn old granite tombstone, fourteen-month-old Danny squirming in his arms. Woofie, tethered to him by his leash, sat beside him. About ten meters away, Tom and Miral stood before a relatively new headstone. Miral clutched a rose. Tom lay a hand on her back, spoke to her. She took a single small step towards the grave, stretched out as far as her arm could reach and dropped the rose before the stone. Tom hugged her against his leg briefly with one arm, then released her, and she ran back to Harry, the grass scattering dew around her feet. She threw her arms around Woofie, burying her face in his fur. The dog looked down at her, surprised, then licked her head.
Tom dropped to one knee in front of the tombstone, and lay one hand on the top of it. He bowed his head. He stayed that way a long time. Harry was about to walk over, to see if he was ok, but then he heaved himself to his feet and started back towards them. There was a wet spot on his knee where hed knelt in the damp grass.
Tom didnt look up until he was practically on top of them, but when he did, his eyes were dry.
Lets go, he said.
They walked back to the transporter in silence.
It was the first anniversary of BElannas death.
Harry sighed in exasperation and dropped his hands to his sides, glaring into the mirror in the master bathroom. The bow tie refused to tie. He was about to call Tom, when Miral dashed into the room.
Dad, dad! I cant find my targ!
Look between your bed and the wall, hon, he said, gently sweeping past her. Tom! I need you!
Da-aaad! I looked there! Dad!
Tom ducked out of the closet, wearing black slacks and the top half of his dress uniform, which he struggled to fasten as he walked.
Hey, Mir, he said, as he passed her. Dam- er, darn it, he said, as the whole contraption once again eluded his grasp.
Make you a deal? Harry said, grinning. I fix your shirt if you tie my tie?
Done, Tom said.
Dad! Dad, my targ!
Danny, who had been toddling around the room, fell over and began to cry. Harry started where Tom had left off, fastened the shirt, and then let Tom have a shot at the bow tie. As soon as it was relatively tied, he picked up Danny and headed for Mirals room.
A quick kiss was enough to halt Dannys tears, so he released the boy back onto his unsteady feet, and stuck an arm behind Mirals bed. Sure enough, a moment later, he pulled out the stuffed targ and handed it to her.
For about three seconds, all was well. Until, that is, Danny wobbled his way over to Mirals toy box and actually dared lay a finger on her stuff...
Somehow, they managed to get their tuxedos on and the kids things packed. They dropped the kids off at Harrys parents house and headed on to Starfleet Headquarters.
Tom looked radiant as Nechayev pinned the last of the six pips to his collar. Granted, the promotion was largly for administrative purposes, since Tom had been doing an admirals job with only a captains rank, but it was still an honor, and it still made Tom one of the youngest admirals in the Fleet. Nechayev smiled and shook his hand.
The rest of the officers on the stage echoed her as Tom passed. He stopped in front of his father. Owen grasped his hand, as though to shake it, and then, unexpectedly, yanked him into an embrace. When the two men stepped back, they were both grinning broadly and blushing a bit. Owen squeezed Toms shoulder, said something too soft for Harry to hear from his place in the audience, and then Nechayev released everyone with a terse, Dismissed!
Tom battled his way through the crowd of well-wishers. Harry grabbed his hands and kissed his lips quickly, nothing that would seem unbecoming of a Starfleet admiral, then released him.
So, how does it feel?
What did your dad say?
Tell you later.
At that moment, a deep voice interrupted.
Tom turned, shifting back into decorous Starfleet officer mode in an instant. A Klingon in full traditional armor stood before him.
I am GDren, an aid to Chancellor Martok.
Can I help you? Tom asked, seeming not at all intimidated by the man, who was easily a foot taller than him.
I merely came to extend my congratulations. And a word of warning.
Harrys heart stopped. Oh, gods, Tom was about to be mauled by a Klingon. The instant that thought crossed his mind, he mentally berated himself. His children were a quarter Klingon, for crying out loud. How could he be so racist?
Warning? Tom said, his calm demeanor cracking for an instant.
GDren turned his head, slowly, and latched his eyes on Harry for a long moment. Harry tried not to look like a deer in headlights... but he guessed he probably failed.
This is your fiance, I presume?
Harry nodded a greeting, feeling a little safer for some odd reason, now that the warrior knew his name. GDren returned the nod, and then turned his attention solely to Tom.
Your children are one-quarter Klingon, correct?
Do you have any intention of instilling in them Klingon values?
We hope to, yes. Their maternal relatives plan on taking Miral to Qo'NoS during the summer.
The Klingon considered this, then spoke again.
You should know that if you formalize this union, you will bring terrible dishonor upon your children and their house.
Toms eyebrows jumped, then furrowed.
I dont understand.
Any marriage that cannot produce genetically related offspring is considered the ultimate dishonor against ones house. It is essentially a declaration that one does not believe ones lineage is worthy of being preserved.
Tom opened his mouth, shut it again, and frowned.
Wait, Harry said. The Klingon looked over at him sharply, but Harry steeled himself and continued. That doesnt make sense. What about infertile couples?
One who cannot produce offspring due to physical inability is not inherently dishonorable. However, one who chooses to marry such a person...
Thats disgusting, Harry wanted to say, but he bit his tongue just in time. Never insult a Klingons code of honor in front of them. You probably wont live to regret it. But still. The policy seemed downright barbaric. Socially stigmatizing people on the basis of a physical condition over which they have no control...
What if we could produce an offspring? Tom asked suddenly. Harry and I. Would it be ok then?
Now it was the Klingons turn to frown. He mulled this over a long while, then answered, If it could be proven that the child was indeed your own.
Its terrible, Tom. Its stupid. I dont see-
Its their way, Harry. Were not in any position to argue with them.
Tom walked into the house behind Harry and shut the door behind them. They had been arguing all the way home.
Look, Har, Im not saying I agree with them. I dont. But the fact is, thats how they feel, and, no matter how stupid it is, its going to mean a hell of a lot of trouble for Miral and Danny down the road.
Harry turned around at the bottom of the stairs and glared at him. Tom stopped in the hall.
So what are you saying? Harry said, You want to call this whole thing off because the Klingon rules of conduct were written by a bunch of homophobes? Is that it?
Toms shoulders slumped.
No, that is not it at all, he said, his voice suddenly soft. I just think... we cant just ignore this. He said if we could have a child it would be ok. Who says we cant?
Harry laughed hopelessly.
Tom, its never been done. Besides, neither one of us is exactly equipped to carry a child.
Well, thats the easy part. We just need to find a surrogate.
Harry shook his head.
I know youre charming, but still, I cant think of many women whod jump at the chance to give birth to someone elses kid.
We can at least talk to a geneticist. It cant hurt.
And what if they say theres nothing they can do? Then what?
No answer. A thrill of fear squiggled through Harrys chest. He walked over to Tom, slipped his arms around him and lay his head on his chest. Tom touched his lips to the top of Harrys head, his breath ruffled Harrys hair.
I dont want anything to take this away, Harry said, I cant stand the thought of losing you over some archaic Klingon tradition.
They held each other a long time in the dim hallway. Harry listened to Toms heart beating beneath his ear, and breathed in his scent. Sometimes it caught him off-guard how much he loved him. Hed been so afraid that if they became romantically involved theyd lose their friendship. But that hadnt happened. Tom was still first and foremost his friend, the one person he could talk to about anything in the universe, from the most trivial little thing to the meaning of life. They still joked around, teased each other. They still argued good-naturedly, never really got angry.
But it wasnt as though nothing had changed. Obviously, the sex was a new thing, but it went beyond that. They touched each other more, simple things like holding hands, hugging. Harry had never realized how nice it could be to just hold someone, like he was holding Tom now. With his previous relationships, hed always felt an obligation, but never really a desire, to do more. Especially with Libby. With Tom, he could actually be himself. And he always felt a desire to do more...
Tom nuzzled his head and whispered, I have an idea. Lets worry about this tomorrow.
Best idea Ive heard all night, Harry said, pressing his cheek against the warm cloth of Toms uniform, then twisting his head up to meet Toms soft lips. They exchanged a quick series of kisses, then Toms tongue darted out and trailed around Harrys jaw. Harry sighed and sank into his arms.
Normally, after sex like that, Harry would have been instantly asleep. But he couldnt stop thinking about what the Klingon had said, and Toms response to it. It was pretty clear Tom did not want to dishonor his children. Harry could understand that. Tom had always been fighting to get BElanna to embrace her culture, naturally, hed want the same for his kids. But still. What Tom didnt know was that Harry had already looked into the possibility of having children, and what he had found was not promising.
He cuddled closer to Tom, listening to his soft, regular breathing, and tried to imagine going back to life without him. He couldnt do it. He literally couldnt remember what it was like to sleep without Tom beside him, to live alone.
The problem lay in a specifically-worded law. Back when the current laws regarding genetic engineering had been put into place, a clause had been added which stated that attempts to create an embryo though any method other than the combination of an unaltered egg and sperm were considered genetic engineering. Since neither he nor Tom seemed likely to naturally produce any eggs, ever, that meant something along those clearly illegal lines would have to be done.
And Harry wasnt even sure it could be done, even if there was some way around the law. After all, since genetic engineering was so feared, no one would have dared risk researching the idea. Every time he thought about it, a swirl of rage rushed through him. Stupid laws, written by ignorant, fearful, prejudiced people over a hundred years ago, and yet, still in effect. It seemed to go against everything the Federation stood for, and yet, there it was.
Tom sighed in his sleep and pulled Harry closer. Harry couldnt help but smile, and he forced himself to stop thinking about the whole subject. He relaxed against Tom and shut his eyes, counting Toms heartbeats until he finally drifted off to sleep.
Miral dashed out the door onto the deck, Woofie barking at her heels. Harry collected Danny into his arms and sat down on the couch in the living room, watching Tom on the screen of the computer on the coffee table.
Its illegal, Tom said, over the commlink. You knew, didnt you?
Yeah, I knew, Harry said, shifting Danny around until he was resting on his knee.
Tom shook his head.
Harry agreed. Danny squirmed in his arms.
Harry released him and watched him with one eye as he weaved through the living room. Tom was sitting at his desk in his office. He touched his knuckles to his lips and thought for awhile. Then he sat up and looked straight into Harrys eyes.
That doesnt mean it cant be done, Har.
No, but it does mean we could both be thrown in jail for it.
Danny wobbled to a halt in front of Woofies food bowl, wavered back and forth, and then plopped down to the ground. He reached one hand towards the tantalizing, tasty-looking kibbles, and Harry jumped to his feet, dashed over to him, and scooped him back up into his arms. He heard Tom say, So what? Its got to be against the Constitution of the Federation.
Oh, right, Harry said sarcastically, as he sat back down. He tightened his grip around Danny, Name the clause that gives everyone a right to reproduce.
Maybe the one that says no one can be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation? Tom shot back. Danny looked at the screen, briefly connecting that voice to someone he knew.
Harry considered Toms comment. Actually...
Maybe, he answered slowly. But even if thats true, well have to find someone who knows how to do it.
Danny reached out and touched the screen.
Harry, we know someone who can do it, Tom said, touching Dannys fingers through the screen. Danny squealed with delight.
Oh? Harry said.
Look, if we still had replicator rations, Id bet you a months worth that the Doc can pull it off. Especially if hes working with Icheb.
A child of his own. In spite of himself, Harry felt a tingle of hope. He violently suppressed it.
Maybe, he answered, noncommittally.
Dats Dada! Danny chirped brightly.
Well, its never been done before, to my knowledge, the Doctor said.
They were meeting in his office in the headquarters of Starfleet Medical. Miral lay quietly on her stomach on the carpet, doodling on a PADD, and Danny was asleep in his carrier. Tom and Harry sat across from the Doctor, loosely holding hands, a fact which seemed to be distracting the poor hologram to no end. He continued to speak.
And genetics arent really my field, and neither is reproductive therapy. I am, after all, more of a field medic as far as my programing goes. Not to say that I cant work outside my programing or anything- he paused and stood up, glancing at their linked hands. But in any case, I would be willing to see what I could do.
Weve already tracked down Icheb. He knows a lot about genetics. We thought he might be able to help, Harry said.
The Doctor nodded.
And you need this worked out by when?
November, Tom said.
The Doctor blinked.
Well, of course. Certainly. Why not rush brilliance? Its not enough to perform miracles, I have to do it on schedule.
Tom stood up.
The Doctor sighed heavily, then waved his hand.
Oh, no trouble, no trouble at all. But, if they do decided to decompile my program for this, Im haunting you forever.
~*~ November 2383 ~*~
What difference does it make, Mom? Theyre flowers. The color of the flowers has nothing to do with-
Mary Kim laid her hand on Harrys arm and exchanged a glance with Toms mother, Diane.
Harry, dear, just relax. Let us handle everything.
Mom, for crying out loud, Im not a kid anymore. Im raising two children and-
And doing a very fine job of it, dear, Mary said, releasing his arm and returning her attention the to PADD Diane held. But planning weddings is an entirely different ball game.
He sighed. John Kim took him by the arm and gently led him to another table in the yard.
Never interfere with your mother when shes in a mood like that, son. You should know that by now. His eyes were twinkling. Harry sighed.
Shes making a mountain out of a mole hill, Dad. So they dont have the right color. Big deal. Its the... the commitment that matters... why... He let out an exasperated breath. Mothers.
John just chuckled. Silence fell between them. A breeze rustled through the garden, bringing with it the smells of fall: leaves, smoke, apples. Harry took a deep breath of the air and let it out slowly. He clasped his hands on the table in front of him.
Speaking of parenthood, John said, quietly, not meeting his eyes, How is the Doctor doing?
Harry had feared that question was coming.
Not too good. Theres a problem, um, genetic imprinting or something... I dont really understand it, but... well, it sounds serious.
His father didnt speak for awhile.
So, what happens? If he cant do it?
Harry stared at his hands.
I dont know. I dont really want to think about it. He pushed back the fear with forced laugh, Mom wont be happy if we have to reschedule the wedding.
But you would reschedule.
The breeze filled the air between them, then slaked off abruptly.
Yeah. Wed reschedule. But... but if he cant... cant do it at all... I dont know.
Johns petted his shoulder roughly, awkwardly.
Itll work out all right, son. Dont worry.
I hope so.
Tom was late. Usually, he called when he was going to be late. Harry fed the kids with only half of his attention, using the other half to worry about what might have happed this time. It seemed like they were fated for misfortune. He wouldnt be surprised if it turned out a transporter malfunction had snapped Tom instantly out of existence. Devastated,yes, but not at all surprised.
The kids ate and then Harry settled Danny in his crib, as Miral hovered around his legs.
Wheres Daddy? Miral said.
I dont know, hon, Harry said, patting Dannys shoulder and then pulling his blanket up to his chin. He smiled at the little boy, whose eyes were already shut, and breathing already slow. Night, Dan Man. Come on, Mir, well wait for Daddy downstairs.
Why didnt he call you? Miral said, as she followed him out into the hall.
*Because hes an asshole,* Harry thought.
Probably because hes busy, Harry said.
Oh. Miral picked up her targ from the living room floor. Well, he should call.
A few hours later, Miral sat on the floor, bleary-eyed and still clutching her targ. Harry had intended to let her stay up until Tom came home. She was going through a phase, constantly worrying about Harry and Tom, needing to know where they were every second. Harry had been a bit concerned, to the point of talking to a child psychologist, who had quickly assured him it was normal.
He set aside the book he had been reading. Damn Tom, anyway. He should have called. He knew perfectly well that Miral would be worried.
Ready for bed, kiddo?
Miral nodded wordlessly. Poor thing. If shed stopped talking, she must be really tired. Harry picked her up, and she rested her head on his shoulder, sucking her thumb. She held on with one arm around Harrys neck and sighed a tired, damp sigh into his neck. Harry stroked her back as he carried her upstairs.
Wake me up when Daddy comes home, ok? she murmured.
Harry nodded. He aided her through her normal bedtime routines, although she sagged further with every passing minute. By the time he finished reading her a quick story, she was fast asleep.
He stay there at the edge of her bed a little while, watching her sleep, with her thumb embedded in her mouth, the other hand holding her targ close. The soft glow of the night light set off her ridges, and glinted off her dark, wavy hair. Harry lifted one hand and brushed her hair back. He smiled in the dark. He didnt need a child of his own. He already had two.
Love you, Mir, he whispered, and then crept out of the room.
Finally, at nearly 2200, Woofie looked up, barked twice, and Tom burst through the door. Harry stood up and walked to the entrance of the living room and glared down the hall.
Where the hell were you, Tom?
He did it, Harry.
Tom reached him and stopped, grinning.
What? Harry asked, scowling. Gods, Tom, how could you be so inconsid-
Harry, are you listening? He did it, Tom said, catching Harrys unwilling hands in his own, and looking him in the eye. He figured it out. The Doctor.
Finally, the pieces fell into place. For a moment, Harry forgot his anger.
He did? Really?
Tom nodded. A thousand thoughts and emotions hit Harry all at once and all he could manage to say was Whoa.
He pulled away from Tom and wandered back into the living room. It didnt seem real. He didnt dare believe it.
Well still need a surrogate...
My sisters going to do it.
Harry turned. Tom was smiling in the hall.
What? When did this happen?
Oh, about a week ago, Tom said, I thought Id surprise you.
Yeah, no kidding. Harry drew a deep breath. You could have called. Miral was upset.
Some of the wind went out of Toms sails.
Sorry. The Doc called, I got caught up in it. I didnt realize how late it was.
Dont apologize to ME... Harry said. There was an uncomfortable silence. He crossed his arms, then uncrossed them. Well, lets eat. Im starved.
They wound up in the living room after dinner. Tom sat down on the couch, but Harry didnt join him, choosing instead to return to the armchair.
So, hows he going to do it? Harry said.
Tom looked relieved. Harry hadnt said much during dinner.
I didnt understand all of it, but the important thing is, he needs a sperm sample... Tom raised an eyebrow. That should be fun.
Oh, really? After what you did? What on Earth makes you think youre not going to be sleeping on the couch tonight? Harry said.
Tom pondered this a moment, then slid off the couch and knelt in front of Harry.
My irresistible charm? he said, softly, gazing up at Harry, his eyes soft baby blue.
Harry somehow managed to resist.
Tom oozed up into Harrys lap, squirming around until he was sprawled over Harry in the chair that was not really made for two. He kissed Harrys lips, lightly, quickly and slid his hand between Harrys legs.
Harry caught his hand and pulled it away gently.
Nope. And youre cutting off the circulation in my legs.
Tom relented, retreating to the couch for the time being.
Oh, come on, I said I was sorry, already.
Tom, you know how sensitive Mir is right now.
I know, Im sorry, I really am. I didnt notice the time, I swear. Should I go wake her up?
Harry shook his head.
You ok? Tom asked.
Harry didnt answer for a long time. Woofie whimpered in his sleep. Outside, the alpine wind wailed.
Harry had spent the last month trying not to get enthusiastic about this concept. He didnt want to be let down. But now that it seemed to be a reality, he had to seriously consider it for the first time. Was it really right? At face value they were bringing this child into the world for purely logistic reasons.
Tom, why are we trying to have a baby? he finally said.
Tom frowned, caught off guard.
Um, because we need to have a-
I mean, isnt it a little unethical? Harry pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them. To have a kid just because its convenient?
Tom blinked, twice, quickly, and then Harry could practically see the light bulb go on.
Thats hardly the only reason, Har.
Tom left the couch again, this time to sit on the floor in front of Harry, cross-legged.
This isnt about Klingons, Harry. This is about us.
Us, huh? Harry said, suspiciously, but hoping Tom would continue.
Tom leaned forward slightly.
This is our chance to have a child of our own. You and me. Forget the whole honor thing. Do you want to have a baby with me?
Harry tried to forget the whole honor thing. It was actually surprisingly easy.
Its not just convenience, then, is it?
He had a point. Harry shrugged, not willing to give in so easily, now just playing hard to get.
Well, then, Tom said, standing up and offering his hand to Harry to pull him to his feet and into his arms, we each owe the Doctor a sperm sample, and I was thinking there are probably some pretty creative ways we could-
Tom? Harry said, his eyes shut, his whole body crushed against the warmth of his lover.
Yeah? he said, sounding concerned.
Harry forced himself to keep a straight face.
Shut up and kiss me.
A swarm of sperm cells jostled on the computer screen in the Doctors lab.
Theyre kind of cute, Harry commented, and Tom chuckled. They didnt know whose sperm it was, the selection process had been random to make it easier to prove to the courts later that what they were doing was not, in fact, genetic engineering at all.
All of the cells have already been screened for genetic maladies, which, ironically enough, is allowed under our strange genetic engineering laws, so you can rest assured that your child wont have any congenital disorders, the Doctor said.
He walked over to the contraption he had set up and continued.
The first step is to ensure that none of these sperm are carrying a Y-chromosome. That way, we know for sure that we wont end up with a YY embryo, which would be inviable. To do that, the computer will measure the mass of each cell. Since Y-chromosomes are smaller, Y-carrying cells will have less mass. Once the computer has determined which cells carry the Y-chromosomes, they will be eliminated.
As though on cue, the computer beeped, and abruptly, the cells on the screen halved in number.
Ah, thats done. Now, the cells will be immersed in an enzyme bath which will reimprint them, which essentially involves methylation of certain genes...
Harry and Tom looked at him blankly.
Basically, it changes their genomes from boy genes to girl genes. And yes, there is a difference. Even if you inherit the same allele from your mother and your father, it will act in different ways-
The Doctor shook his head at their continued uncomprehending looks and said, Anyway, moving on: next a single cell will be randomly selected, and its nucleus will be transplanted into an egg cell whose own nucleus has been removed. And then, the second set of sperm will be released near the egg and nature will take its course. Hopefully. At least, thats how it worked in the simulations.
We really didnt need to hear that last sentence, Doc, Tom said, looking nervous.
Harry squeezed his hand and they waited as the computer carried out the finally steps. He felt his throat go dry as the sperm approached the egg. He found himself chanting in his mind, *work, work, work...*
And then it did. One of the sperm cells united with the egg. The Doctor stepped forward and tapped a few buttons. A moment later, a few characters scrolled across the screen. The Doctor watched them dance past, incomprehensible gibberish to someone who was not in the medical profession, and the turned to Harry and Tom. And smiled.
Ahh, the miracle of life. Congratulations. You are now the parents of a healthy baby boy.
The final week before the wedding was hectic. Tom was working even longer hours than usual, hoping to lessen the ocean of paperwork he would come home to after their honeymoon, and Harry had been swept into the whirl of last-minute preparations. They barely saw each other that week, except for a few minutes before they both collapsed, exhausted, into bed.
The night before the wedding, Tom worked ridiculously late. It was about 0100 when he finally appeared at the door to their bedroom, shed his clothes down to his boxers and crawled in bed next to Harry.
Hey, love, Harry murmured, as Tom spooned up behind him.
You didnt have to wait up, Tom said.
Cant sleep, anyway, when youre not here.
Tom nuzzled his ear.
Hopeless romantic, he whispered, kissing the corner of Harrys mouth when he grinned.
They woke up early the next morning tangled in each others arms, heads on the same pillow, so close together they were breathing the same air.
Everyone was silent, which was an impressive accomplishment when one considered the fact that there were about two hundred people present in the Starfleet Academy garden. Harrys hands were shaking, he was so nervous. Which was really stupid, when he thought about it, because, hell, hed essentially been married to Tom ever since he returned from that merchant ship. Well, maybe the nervousness had less to do with the commitment and more to do with the fact that several high-ranking members of the Starfleet brass were present.
Harry swallowed hard and glanced at Tom. He offered a reassuring smile, then turned his eyes to Janeway.
Greetings, one and all, she said to everyone, startling Harry, It is my pleasure to welcome you here today. I see so many familiar faces. In fact, I dont think Ive seen this many of my former crew in the same place at the same time since our homecoming ceremony. Of course, there are others here as well, families, loved ones. But were all here for one reason: to celebrate the joining of these two wonderful men, Tom Paris and Harry Kim, in matrimony. She paused, smiled, Didnt see that one coming, did we?
The audience laughed, and Janeway continued to speak, but Harry stopped paying attention. Tom was far more interesting. He was standing at ease, that Starfleet posture so driven into his mind that it came naturally to him. The cloudless blue sky reflected in his eyes just right, in that way it had that made them vibrant blue, made them positively glow. The sunlight played over his hair, sparkling, catching highlights of red and gold. When he grinned, he took Harrys breath away. Harry couldnt believe it was real. He was really standing here, beside the one person in the universe hed die for in a second, but would rather live for. This one man, annoying at times, yes, even flawed, but still, somehow so perfect. Just standing there beside him, Harry fell in love all over again.
Tom, if you would, Janeway said, please face Harry and recite the vows you prepared.
Tom turned to him. He held both of Harrys hands, and captured his gaze with those blue eyes, now earnest and loving.
Harry, he began, and seemed to get trapped for a moment by that one word. Harry, you are everything to me. From the moment we met, you never once turned your back on me. You believed in me when I didnt even believe in myself. You were always there for me. I dont know what I did to deserve you...
The blue of his eyes was not dimmed, but enhanced by a sheen of tears.
... But whatever it was, I hope I keep doing it. Because there is no one in the universe I would rather be with. I love you, and I will love you for the rest of my life.
He released Harrys hands to retrieve the ring. Harry blushed at how his hand shook when he held it out to Tom. Tom caught it, gently, steadying it.
There isnt anything in the world rare and valuable enough for how I feel about you. But this ring kinda gets the general idea across.
Warm hands slipped a cool gold band around his finger. There was a breathless silence before Janeway spoke again.
When he looked up at Tom, a strand of hair fell over his forehead. They both smiled. He drew in a long breath, feeling the air fill his lungs, then let it out, just as carefully.
I have no reason to be this nervous, he began, Because Ive never been so sure of anything. Every day, every time I hold you, it feels so right. Ive never felt like that before. You are... youre what my whole life has led up to. Ever since that moment, back in that bar on DS9, when I first saw you. And when you came back for me. You didnt have to. No one would have thought less of you. Everyone was wrong about you. You are the kindest, most giving, loving, person Ive ever met. Tom, it is an honor and a joy... to be able to spend the rest of my life with you.
He reached for the ring.
May this ring represent all the things that words cant say, he whispered as he placed the ring on Toms hand.
Janeway let these words hang in the still air, and then continued, quietly.
By the power vested in me by the United Federation of Planets, I now pronounce you wed. You may now seal your vows with a kiss.
Tom pulled him close, and Harry got lost in the heat of his kiss.
Tom and Harry Paris-Kim. Harry liked the way their names fit together. Sure, it meant adding a somewhat awkward extra two syllables to his name, but he liked it. It made it all so real.
His husband was currently out on the dance floor with their daughter. He was dancing with her, holding her with one hand, clasping hers with the other, spinning them both around. Miral was giggling in a decidedly un-Klingon manner.
Harry was content to stand on the sidelines, holding their son and watching the two extroverts make fools of themselves and love every minute of it. Danny was tired. It had been a rough day for him, surrounded by new people and sights and sounds. He leaned heavily on Harrys shoulder, clutched his shirt with one hand. Harry really loved him at moments like this. Danny got very cuddly when he was sleepy.
A moment before Harry decided to try and find some quiet place for Danny to rest, Bianca, Toms sister, and the surrogate-mother-to-be of their child, appeared out of the crowd.
Hey, Harry, the little guy looks beat. Want me to take over for you?
Sure, B, he said, handing over Danny with a final pat. Bianca let the baby settle in her arms, and was about to vanish back into the crowd. But before she got too far, Harry called after her, Oh, B. Thanks. A lot. You have no idea-
Bianca looked over her shoulder, gave him that Paris family grin.
No problem, Harry. Whats nine months, right?
She chuckled as she walked away. Overhead, the fast tune faded and gave way to the opening strains of a slow ballad. Harrys eye went involuntarily back to the dance floor, and he saw Toms other sister, Marty, leading Miral off into the crowd. Tom caught his eye and held out his hand, like he had that night that seemed so long ago when hed first said he loved him. A hush fell over the room and there was no way out.
//We've been friends for a long, long time
You tell me your secrets and I tell you mine
She's left you all alone and you feel like no one cares
But I have never failed you, I've always been there//
Harry hated dancing. But he walked out on the floor anyway, took Toms offered hand and let Tom arrange his arms until they were holding each other the proper way.
//You tell your story, it sounds a bit like mine
It's the same old situation, it happens every time
Can't we see, oh, maybe you and me are what's meant to be
Or do we disagree//
Har, relax, Tom whispered, low enough so no one else could hear.
I cant dance! Harry hissed back.
Tom kissed his ear.
You just havent been dancing with the right person, then. Relax! Do what I do.
//What if I told you, what if I said that I love you
How would you feel, what would you think, what would we do
Do we dare to cross that line, between your heart and mine
Or would I lose a friend, or find a love that would never end
What if I said//
Seemingly without effort, Tom moved with the music. Harry did his best to follow, but he still felt hopelessly uncoordinated. As he moved, Tom relaxed, his body almost molding itself to Harrys. The physical proximity alone was enough to distract Harry from his efforts, and he gave up on rhythm and just melted into Toms arms. He pressed his face against Toms neck, breathing him in. He felt Toms hand moving slightly on his back, one finger stroking his spine. He sighed and so did Tom, a second later.
//Oh, we've both had our share of loneliness
So who's to say we can't have a little happiness
And if I found that in you
It would make my dreams come true
Or would you walk away
Hear what I have to say//
They were wrapped so tightly around each other, Harry could almost feel Toms heartbeat. Toms lips tugged at the hair above his ear, and he felt no desire to inform Tom that they were in a public place and their daughter was watching. Contentment weighed down on his bones. He could have stayed there forever.
//Oh, what if I told you, what if I said that I love you
How would you feel, what would you think, what would we do
Do we dare to cross that line, between your heart and mine
I've always wondered, from the day that we met
What if I said, what if I said, what if I said//
He stepped reluctantly back when the song ended, and moved his hand up from Toms back to tilt his head down for one kiss. The look in Toms dark eyes sent contradictory waves of heat and chills all the way down to his toes.
A rush of applause finally reminded him that they were not alone, and he took Toms hand and dragged them both off the dance floor into the crowd. Congratulations bombarded them from all sides, all of which they answered with a polite thank you before hurrying on again. Miral latched onto them somewhere in the ruckus, and Harry picked her up and carried her with them.
They located their targets near the back of the room. Harrys mother was standing guard over Danny, who was fast asleep in his baby carrier. They dropped Miral off with her and made a break for the exit. It took about fifteen minutes to extract themselves from the crowd, but then they were free.
Harry hooked his arm around Toms shoulder and Tom wrapped his around Harrys.
Tom Paris-Kim, Tom said, shaking his head. I am never going to get used to that.
Harry just pressed closer to Tom and smiled.
Well, good. I wouldnt want you to get used to me.
They bumped into each other with every step, which made them weave and stumble down the path to the transporters like two very happy drunks.
Tom was still lying where he had collapsed on top of Harry, but he was showing some signs of life, nuzzling Harrys shoulder blade and nibbling at his skin. This was pretty impressive given that theyd both come twice in the past hour or two. Harry himself couldnt do much more than lie there bonelessly beneath him and grunt.
Oh, come on, Harry, youre supposed to be the energetic young thing here.
Harry mustered the strength to reply, Hmph. Right. Yeah, but Im also the guy who got laid exactly three times in the past eleven years, not counting the past few months. Im not used to all this. Give me a break.
Poor Harry, Tom murmured, his voice dripping with mock sympathy. I guess that means youre not up for topping, then, huh?
Harry propped himself up on one elbow and looked over his shoulder.
Tom! Thats not playing fair.
Tom grew serious, and rolled off of Harry, leaving only one hand touching Harry, caressing his shoulder.
Weve got all week, Har. No need to rush.
Harry leaned in, only intending a brief kiss, but somehow ending up with Tom writhing under him, their mouths locked together as though they needed each other to breathe, skin hot and sticky with a fresh sheen of sweat. Harry wasnt really sure exactly where this was going, since he really doubted either of them had the sexual stamina to make it to a third time... but as it turned out, the question became irrelevant.
They both froze when someone began hammering on the door.
What the hell? Tom mouthed at Harry, and Harry shrugged.
The silent inquiry was answered with a shout from the other side of the door.
Starfleet Police. Open the door.
As in stand up? Ugh. Harry did not think that particular option was available to him right now.
Just a minute, he shouted back, and pushed himself up with his arms, then slowly pulled his legs under him until he was in a sitting position. He winced as the protests came in from muscle groups hed never known he had, nor really wanted to know he had.
Tom chuckled, and Harry gave him a dirty look.
Hey, at least Im trying!
He turned until one leg dangled off the bed, then heaved himself up onto his feet. Luckily, theyd taken the precaution of keeping their robes nearby, so he threw one on and headed out to the front room. Tom went to the extravagant effort of pulling a sheet over himself. Harry rolled his eyes and opened the door a crack.
Two men in gold starfleet uniforms stood on the porch. The one on the left spoke first.
Im Lieutenant Darant with the Starfleet Security. Are you Harry Kim?
Well, yes and no. Im Harry Paris-Kim. Just changed today. Can I help you?
The two officers exchanged a glance.
And Mr. Thomas Paris, hes here as well?
Harry nodded, annoyance swirling through him.
Yes, *Admiral* Paris-Kim is here. Generally when two people get married and go on a honeymoon they do it together. What seems to be the problem?
I have a warrant for your arrest, the man said, holding out a PADD.
Oh shit, Harry thought. Already? He tried to act nonchalant as he reached one hand out through the crack to take the PADD. He gave it only a cursory glance before he handed it back.Yup, the baby. Genetic engineering.
Right. So you do. Do you think you could give us ten minutes? Were not exactly presentable at the moment.
Yeah, make the bastards uncomfortable. But the men on the step did not seem fazed.
Ten minutes, no more. You do understand that any attempt to escape will result in a charge of resisting arrest.
Yeah, got it, Harry muttered, slipping back into the house and shutting the door. Tom? You hear that?
Tom had heard. They showered and threw on clothes silently, then met the men outside. They barely said another word until they were with their lawyer. They had been prepared for this. They knew it would happened eventually, and so, before they baby had even been conceived, theyd spoken with a civil-rights lawyer who had some experience with genetic engineering. He agreed that they had a strong case, and had advised them in what to do to ensure they didnt inadvertently violate any laws that actually made sense.
They were released after the initial questioning with anklets and orders to stay on Earth. They were found guilty at their trial since, by the current laws, they had solicited genetic engineering. They had expected to lose that case.
Now, all they had to do was win the appeal. Until then, however, since they were convicted felons, they were stuck in jail.
Harry hated them. All of them. The guards, the jury, the lawmakers, those two cops, everyone who had played a part in putting Tom back in jail. He was even mad at himself. He felt like he could have done something to keep Tom separate from the whole fiasco. But he hadnt done anything. Well, at least they were together.
Harry spent most of the day sitting on his cot with his back resting on the wall, missing the kids. His mother refused to bring them by to visit, feeling that seeing their parents in a prison would be very bad for their moral development. His mother herself did stop by weekly, to give them reports on the kids, and to deliver letters back and forth. Toms dad also dropped by occasionally, something that obviously did a world of good for Toms self-confidence. Their lawyer also visited them often, usually bearing good news.
When there were no visitors, there was nothing to do. Consequently, he and Tom played so many hands of cards, Harry began to feel like he could take on the entire senior staff of the Enterprise in a round of poker and trounce them all.
Granted, he couldnt have asked for a better cell-mate. And a Federation prison was infinitely better than Akritaria. And he had more time to relax than hed had the whole rest of his life combined.
And the guards werent really so bad. They understood the situation, understood that these two were hardly your common criminals. As a matter of fact, the guard on their row was a surprisingly friendly young man, who had a vested interest in their case, since his brother was married to another man, and they were desperate for children of their own.
But still, hed kill for a bed big enough for him and Tom to share (not to mention a little privacy, so they could put that bed to good use), and a chance to see Miral, Danny, and even Woofie.
He fell asleep every night listening to Tom breathe on the bunk across from him, and hoping his kids were doing ok without him.
It took a long time for all of the legal shenanigans to go through. Finally, in February, three months after thier arrest, and one month since theyd been thrown in jail, Tom and Harry were freed.
The Federation Supreme Court had ruled that the law was indeed dated and prejudiced, and the procedure that had led to the conception of their child should be legal. Also, on the day they were freed, they received a message from the Klingon High Council itself declaring their union legitimate and honorable.
~*~ August 2384 ~*~
Miral had come home from her month on Qo'NoS speaking fluent Klingon and carrying a d'k tahg knife. Tom had been thrilled, Harry slightly less so. Theyd compromised by letting her wear a pin with her houses crest.
School started in a few weeks, so Harry and the kids were making the most of the last few weeks of summer. Danny, who had just turned two, was walking and talking like a pro. Harry was dreading the day hed have to send him off to preschool. The house would be too quiet without him. Well, no it wouldnt. Not with the new baby.
Which was due any day now. Which made Harry nervous and thrilled just thinking about it.
They were about to walk out the door to go for a hike in the mountains. It would probably be the last chance theyd have to do it before it got cold.
Harry tossed a few replicated sandwiches into a bag and called to Miral as he headed for the door. She trotted out of the living room, leading Woofie by his leash. Harry still hadnt gotten over the fact that the dog was bigger than she was.
Danny was perched on Woofies back, balanced precariously, and clinging onto handfuls of the dogs thick fur. Woofie didnt seem to mind, but Harry did. He dashed over and snatched Danny off of the dog.
Mir! Thats not safe!
Hes riding a pony, Dad!
Woofie is not a pony, and Danny is too young to-
Pony! Wanna ride pony! Danny squealed stretching his little arms towards the dog. Then, of course, he started crying. Harry sighed. The best laid plans...
Woofie looked back at Harry with a jingle from his collar, and his mouth dropped open in a doggy grin.
Dad! Dad, come on! Youre so mean! Miral said. She put her hands on her hips and glared up at him. When she stomped her foot, she accidentally hit Woofies paw, and the big dog gave a deep, deep woof from the back of his throat in protest.
Mir, honey- Harry began.
I hate you! Miral declared and ran up the stairs. Harry just stood in the hall, bemused, holding a crying two-year-old and thinking to himself that he would never, ever understand women, of any age.
And then, as though the situation werent complicated enough, the doorbell rang. Normally, Woofie was well trained enough to keep quiet, but with all the excitement, he must have lost his head, he barreled down the hall, collided with the door, and burst into a frenzy of very loud, deep, big-dog barks.
Harry hoped the person on the other side of the door was not prone to heart attacks.
Woofie! No bark! he shouted above the clamor. No! Bark!
Woofie turned his head, with an expression on his face that seemed to say Who, me? Barking? Never! and then he trotted back to the living room and flopped down on the carpet, looking wounded.
Harry looked at him with narrowed eyes to make sure he would stay there and then he opened the door.
Hey, Jenny, what are you doing here?
Jenny Delaney, their friend and babysitter waltzed right in the door.
Well, I thought you might need a babysitter.
Danny had cheered up at the sight of her.
Denny! he said.
Hi, bud, she answered, tickling him.
Harry was confused.
A babysitter? Now?
Jenny grinned, her eyes twinkling.
Well, yeah. Bianca *is* in labor, after all, she said, as though this were intuitively obvious.
Harry nearly lost his grip on Danny.
Yeah, Tom called and told me to tell you. Here, hand me Danny before you drop him.
He did, numbly.
Shes having the baby? Right now?
No, Harry, yesterday. Come on, out the door with you! Jenny said, giving him a light shove.
Yeah, yeah, ok. Um, Mirs upstairs, shes mad at me... um, if you could, we were about to go for a walk-
Jenny pushed him a little more forcefully.
Tom and his father were both hovering nervously outside the door to the delivery room, still in their Starfleet uniforms. Harry noted with amusement the startled looks they merited from the nurses who scurried up and down the hall, who probably never expected to have not one, but two admirals on their floor at the same time. Tom smiled a tight smile when he saw Harry approaching.
So, hows it going? Harry asked, coming up beside Tom.
Tom threw an arm around him and shrugged.
I dont know. They wont let me in.
Harry twisted around to look at him.
They wont let you in? Why not?
Only the husband is allowed to be present for the delivery, Tom said, quoting the hospitals policy.
To tell the truth, Harry was a little relieved. He had been a bit nervous about watching Toms sister give birth. It just seemed like something private. Even if it was their son.
It turned out that Harry had arrived right on time. A few tense minutes after he first walked up, a nurse leaned out of door.
All right, the parents can come in now. But only the parents, she snapped, keeping the rest of the crowd at bay with her eyes.
Here goes, Tom murmured, taking Harrys hand and nudging him towards the door.
Harry walked in first, Tom trailing right behind him. Bianca was lying on the bed, utterly exhausted, but she managed a smile for them. In her arms was a small bundle of blankets. With a few small steps, Harry made it to the side of the bed, and Bianca lifted the bundle and held it out to him. A little bit of pink skin peeked out of the top of the blankets.
Here he is, Harry, Bianca said, still smiling, but through tears now, Take good care of him.
Harry took the infant with the greatest care, cradling its head and body in his arms. The top blanket fell back and revealed a red, scrunched little face.
Oh, Tom, Harry whispered. Look at him.
At the sound of Harrys voice, the babys big eyes opened, and he gazed up at him.
Hi there, Harry said, before the lump in his throat made further speech impossible. Tom leaned against his back, wrapping one arm around him to touch the childs feather-soft hair.
Hes beautiful, Harry. Our son.
Stephen Eugene Paris-Kim went home the next day.