Disclaimer - Mighty Paramount (double cough) own the names, and the ship. That is all.
Seven of Nine.
Seven of Nine, tertiary adjunct of unimatrix zero one.
Harry was a dead man.
That last phrase repeated itself in Tom's mind, almost matching the frequency that the other phrases insisted on repeating themselves with. It was - in Tom's opinion - a situation that could almost exclusively be blamed on young, green, innocent Harry Kim. His best friend. The man he could trust better than anyone.
The events leading up to this situation had nothing to do with Harry; that had been combination of Tom's own ability for screwing up a perfectly wonderful life and certain other people making bad choices.
Nope, for those early instances, Harry was absolutely blameless. He wasn't even aware of everything that had happened. No doubt at some point he'd enquire politely - he was almost always polite - and they'd talk, laugh manfully, and try to boost Tom's testosterone and sense of self-importance by programming women like Rikki or Sandrine to lavish all their attention on him.
Naturally, they always ended the evening feeling worse than they started, but that was the point. There was almost nothing better than getting utterly depressed with your closest friend.
Right now though, Thomas Eugene Paris wanted to kill Harry Kim.
He had been fine, before. No, that was an outright lie. He'd been less than fine, but it had been bearable. Tom was somehow managing to deal with the whole Janeway...and...Chakotay situation. He'd told himself he was going to stop avoiding Seven, even if it meant coping with a migraine every time he saw her.
The idea, of course, had already been there. Somewhere, deep deep in the murkiest recesses of his mind, he knew that he found Seven attractive. He knew that he enjoyed her company and she his. He knew that somehow - although how right now was beyond him - they had a lot in common.
But the idea, if it had even appeared focused in his mind for just an instant was instantly rejected because of Harry (despite Harry's own confirmation that he'd be just fine with the idea), and the fact that Tom was, really, still wondering exactly how he should be moving on after Kathryn Janeway and if there was any chance in any known universe that it was possible.
Tom's pillow was the recipient of it's seventh punch of the evening.
Collapsing back onto his noticeably empty bed, he sighed. Of course it was the seventh punch.
The seed had been there. And though the metaphor was wearing more than a little thin, Harry had added the water, so to speak. The idea was growing, spreading it's arms through his mind, suggesting little things he could say, things he could do.
And then an idea crossed Tom's mind. Not a long particularly long journey, he knew, but maybe...maybe thinking about Seven was a good thing. If he could think about another woman he certainly wouldn't be thinking about Kathryn...the Captain...so much. It was keeping his mind occupied, and the less he thought about her, the less he figured it would hurt. Perhaps he should embrace this idea with open arms. Metaphorically, of course. He wasn't about to embrace Seven with open arms; he'd lose said arms shortly afterwards, and he'd become very attached to them over the years.
All in his mind then. He certainly wasn't going to go about actually starting a relationship with her, but establishing their friendship further would be good for both of them.
There was one problem to even that, though. One that - unsurprisingly - he didn't know how to deal with.
Then he did.
Getting out of bed, throwing the covers one way and his pillow the other, he grabbed his robe, pulled it on, and left his quarters.
As expected the Doctor was humming as he categorised/analysed/somethingised a sample he was studying under what looked like an electron resonance scanner. Noticing the sound of someone entering, he lifted his head and it wasn't long at all before his eyebrows also lifted.
"Mr Paris, is there something I can do for you? Standing in my sickbay...in your nightwear...and barefoot?"
Blinking, Tom looked down at his feet and saw his own toes wiggling up at him.
He quite liked his toes, anyway.
Looking back at Doc he smiled disarmingly, and it was only then that he came to the worrying realisation that he had no idea what he was going to say. Something along the lines of "How do you really feel about Seven?" Or..."Just so you know, I plan to get closer to Seven but *strictly* as friends so you don't have to worry about possibly losing out on any opportunities," Or even "Doc! Why haven't you made a move?! Are you crazy?!"
Tom considered all of these options, and more. He considered how he would say it, how he would deal with a multitude of possible responses, how he would try to soothe any hurt feelings...he considered all of it, then made his decision.
Still smiling he leant forward, said "Never mind", then wiggled his toes once more for effect before bolting out of the room.
When Doc hailed him several moments later in confusion, Tom babbled incoherently before closing the com line and deciding that he would deny all memory of ever being in sickbay on that particular night. He'd simply put it down to a very bizarre form of sleep walking.
Yeah, yeah. That would work. He was sure of it.
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