Not-a-Mary-Sue, but another spin off Rosa Series
Disclaimer: why do we even bother? Paramount™ owns all the main Voyager characters. Luckily, they don't own mine!
Whatd'ya know? Another Rosa Series Spin Off!
(revised February 6 - thanks to Anne Rose for beta-ing)
* ~ * ~ *
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."
He grinned at her, showing those cute dimples she had noticed earlier. Her friend Jenny had introduced them, but he had only mumbled his name.
"It seems that always happens when people introduce me. You can call me Tom."
"Nice to meet you Tom, I'm Anna."
"The pleasure is all mine. So, how did you get roped into attending tonight? I have a feeling at least half of the people here were forced by our gracious host."
"Jenny was just so persistent. I simply ran out of excuses in the end. What's your story?"
"She blackmailed me."
"That sounds like Jenny. What deep, dark secret are you hiding?"
"I really can't tell you. It is after all my deep, dark secret."
The room they were in was quickly filling up, and Tom carefully steered Anna towards a quiet corner. "Anna, can I ask how Jenny and you became friends? I mean, you're not exactly the kind of people who'd, well you know, be friends normally."
Her expression made him shift uncomfortably in his seat. Anna got up and walked away. Why did she always have to explain her friendship with Jenny? Yes, they were very different. They had been brought up under different circumstances. Now, their social circles were even further apart than they'd ever been.
* ~ * ~ *
They'd met one day in the park. Anna was there with her mother, her aunt and cousins. Jenny had been brought along as a decoy by one of her "uncles", as he was trying to close on of his shadier deals. The two girls were four and five respectively, and their first introduction came when Anna accidentally fell on Jenny's sand sculpture. They discovered they both had wanted to build the same ship, but the sandbox just wasn't big enough and they built their ship together. Over the years they managed to stay in touch and they shared a common passion: the USS Voyager.
* ~ * ~ *
Anna had tried all her regular excuses the moment Jenny had sent her an invitation to her costumed party. But her friend had been extremely persistent, and when Anna thought she was cleared of attending, Jenny pulled her trump card. She told Anna she simply had to come, or she would regret it for the rest of her life.
Luckily for Jenny, Anna had a healthy curiosity. So, here she was at Jenny's Grunge Bash, feeling completely out of place among the other guests. The only other person who had looked as out of place as she had felt, just insulted her. Anna was already dressed to go out into the cold, when someone grabbed her arm. "Anna, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."
"Tom, please let go of my arm." She turned to face him, "You broke a record, you know. For someone who has just met me, you were by far the quickest insulting me, Jenny and our friendship. Now, please let me go."
She could still see Tom's dejected expression, even with his head bowed down.
"I'm sorry, I don't know why I asked you, I'm just paranoid and too conscious of meeting strangers."
"Paranoid and afraid of strangers? Tom, you must lead a wonderful life. Now if you will excuse me, I have a transport to catch."
"At least let me escort you home. You shouldn't be out there alone at night, you know. Besides, my dad would kill me if I ever let a lady walk home on her own."
"All right, but I want to catch the 22:10 to Boston, so we have to hurry."
Tom quickly grabbed his coat, and together they waved good-bye to Jenny before stepping out into the cold.
* ~ * ~ *
-- Incoming communication from Jenny Bowen. Audio only.--
Anna went over to her terminal and activated the message.
"Heyas Annabear, how is life?"
"Hi Jenny, life's great. Did you survive the party?"
"Of course I did. You should have stayed longer, you missed a great entrance by Alex." It was easy to imagine what that would have been like. She'd only met him twice, but he had shown himself to be quite a unique character. Before she could reply, Jenny had already filled her in on all the gossip. "So what do you think of him anyway? You did leave the party in his company. Now tell me, what happened?"
Jenny couldn't see her smile or her blush, and for once Anna was glad her friend had never bought an update for her terminal.
"He was very nice."
"He was very nice? That's all you have to say? My god, Anna, I introduce you to this gorgeous example of the male species, and you say he's nice? Woman, did you even see his dimples? Did you notice the way his jeans fit? Not to mention his tan?"
"Jenny, of course I saw it, but what do you want me to say? He's cute, gorgeous, sexy, kind, charming. He's all that and more!"
"So you noticed. Good. What happened after you left the party? Did he kiss you?"
"Hon, I introduced you to him, I deserve first dibs on your story."
"Well, he walked me to the transport, but it turned out I'd missed it. Instead of letting me wait an hour for the next one, he took me to this coffee bar in San Francisco. You really should go there sometime, it's called the Night Owl. He told me his parents go there all the time."
"And? What happened next?"
"We talked. We talked for hours on end, about anything and everything. It was great! He also told me Tom isn't his real name."
"He did? That's quick."
"What do you mean?"
"I met Tom, well he was using the name Harry back then, about six months ago, and he only told me his real name after I'd known him three months. He must really like you then. So, do you recognize it?"
"What do you mean? Kolopak? The name isn't that unusual."
Jenny didn't answer and Anna was wondering if the link was still open.
"Think hon, think! You have met a cute, gorgeously dimpled, tall, dark and handsome man, whose name is Kolopak, but who also uses other names, like Tom and Harry."
The gears in Anna's brain were finally moving again, and Jenny could almost hear them. "Who knows, Kolopak might actually also have other aliases, slightly more exotic ones, like Tuvok and Neelix and maybe even ..."
A loud thump interrupted her. "Anna, hon, are you still there? Anna? Come on, say something!"
Groaning and clutching her arm, Anna got up again. She could hear Jenny call her over the comm. "Jenny, it's okay. I'm back again. I think. I bruised my arm. But please, never ever scare me like that again!"
"Sorry, but I assumed you made the connection the minute he told you his name. I mean, his parentage is very obvious. Any fool can see it."
"O my god, Jenny!" Anna practically screamed into the terminal.
"What? Are there bones sticking out of your arm?"
"No, my arm is fine. He took me to the coffee bar his parents go to. Do you know what that means? O my god! I can't believe this. Jenny, what am I going to do?"
"What do you mean? You don't have to do anything. He's a gentleman, so he'll probably send you a message or call you directly."
"But will I say? Hi Kolopak, can I meet your parents?"
"Anna, relax hon, don't worry about it. I kinda already told him about our little Voyager obsession."
"And? What did he say?"
"He just told me we might actually know more than he does, because he never wanted to hear the stories."
"He didn't? You'd think anyone would jump at the opportunity to hear more about Voyager."
"You're forgetting one thing though. He's not like us. All his life he's been compared to his larger than life parents. He probably has enough of it by now."
"Right, that makes sense."
-- Incoming message for Miss Anna Farevian. Recorded. Audio only. --
"Hang on, Jenny. I'll get back to you."
-- Playing new message. --
'Hi Anna, it's Kolopak. I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed myself last night. It's been a while since I opened up to someone I'd only met and it felt good. Anyway, I wanted to know if we could meet again sometime. Just give me a call. Bye.'
-- End of message. --
"Come on Jenny, answer already."
-- Incoming message for Annabear. Recorded. Audio only. --
'Heyas hon. Just meet him somewhere. He might even surprise you. Bye and take care. And give a hug to Kolopak from me.'
-- End of message. --
"How did she know? Did he call her first? Why? And what am I going to do?"
* ~ * ~ *
"I'm really glad you could make it. Sorry I couldn't pick you up, but my classes ran late."
"It's okay, catching a transport to Indiana isn't too difficult."
"Of course it isn't, but I wanted to pick you up properly. This kinda is our first date."
"Kinda a first date? What's that supposed to mean?"
Anna hadn't seen Kolopak blush yet, and she decided it suited him.
"I'm sorry, it's just that I'm really not used to dating, and well, it has been a very long time since I went out with someone." Looking down, he continued, "I almost forgot but I got this for you." He handed her a small paper bag with the Night Owl logo on it. When she opened the package inside, it turned out to be tea.
"You mean they served tea? And you had me drinking coffee all that time? Mr. Kolopak, you have some nerve. Drinking tea is an experience, which should not be ignored by all those coffee addicts out there."
"The owners told me they'd forgotten about it. Next time you got there, you can request an Annabear Special and you'll get your tea. And before you ask, Jenny told me about your nickname. It's the only thing I could come up with when they wanted me to name your beverage."
"Thank you, I've never had a drink named after me."
"I'm glad you haven't. You see, it's a once in a lifetime experience."
"It must be. Do you have one?"
"Of course, even though it's an oldie by now. I don't even drink it anymore. My dad made it for me, after an ancient recipe my great-great-grandmother once made for my grandfather. It's called 'Paka's Power Potion'."
"Great name. What does it do? Make you strong and invincible?"
"Nope, it scares away the Bad Spirits after you've had a nightmare."
* ~ * ~ *
They walked outside, when all of a sudden Kolopak pulled Anna away from the main road. They watched in amazement when they saw the vehicle that passed them.
"What was that? I didn't even hear it coming."
"It must be Uncle Tom's latest 'invention'. He was telling me about this thing young people used in the 2nd half of the 20th century, called a scooter. Apparently he's letting Tommy drive it. I never imagined he actually managed to get rid of the awful noise those things made."
"Kolopak, I've been meaning to tell you. Remember the other night when you told me your real name? Well, I didn't quite catch the significance, because the next day Jenny called and she was surprised I hadn't fainted when you let me know."
"Of course I remember. I also remember being extremely nervous as I told you, because I was expecting you to faint or scream. That's what Jenny did when I told her."
"If it's any comfort, the next day I did scream and I almost fainted when the whole situation dawned on me."
"Does it bother you?"
"Well, when you say things like 'Uncle Tom', does that mean we're talking about Professor Tom Paris, formally Lt. Paris of the USS Voyager?"
"Anna, you're not worried are you? Because you have nothing to worry about. They're only people, and their kids are quite normal too."
"Of course, but you see, I almost turned down your invitation because I couldn't stop thinking 'O my god, it's Kolopak Janeway, Son of Chakotay'. See what I mean? Even now, standing next to you, I still freak out."
"But you don't show it. Anna, it's okay to be in awe of the Voyager crew, but please don't put the next generation on a pedestal. Besides, you should see my mom with a bad cold and dad refusing to give her coffee; even the great Kathryn Janeway is very human most days of the week. My dad's humanity, however, is something my sisters and I haven't decided on yet. After all, he's been living with our mom all these years and he still would catch the stars for her, so we think he's really a Sky Spirit or something."
"All these years I have fantasized about the legendary crew of the USS Voyager, but I never considered the human behind the icons."
"Why do you think I took you all the way to the middle of nowhere in Indiana? Lets go, I bet we only have to walk ten more minutes before we can smell my grandmother's famous brownies, made by my sister of course."
" I'm going to meet you parents?"
Anna halted in the middle of the road, just as Kolopak had taken her hand to lead her along. "Tell me you're kidding, please."
"Nope, that's where we're going."
"Kolopak, I can't do this. I'll just turn back and catch the next transport, I'll call you."
He took her other hand and held on tight. "Anna, I'm not letting you go. Imagine what my family will think when I show up without you?"
UFS - TBC?