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Disclaimer:  No infringement intended. Clearly, I don't own these characters even if they do have more fun with me. Also, I'm a writer not a doctor and this fiction may have stretched the bounds of medical science.

Notes:  Thanks to QS for betaing this and giving it an ending.  Thanks to the MOTW for running the exchange.  And thanks to AF for the wonderful first line.

Feverish by Cheshire

No matter how hard he tried, no matter how far he ran, this particular truth would always find him.

The women in his life were going to be the death of him.

It started the minute he’d been born, with his mother being the exception. There’d been a few don’t-tell-your-father moments growing up but nothing serious. His sisters, on the other hand, were not the exception but more the start of a lifelong trend. 

He’d gotten in more than one fight on their behalf only to have them snicker and laugh at his failed attempts to defend them. Apparently, they hadn’t needed protecting at all; they’d just wanted someone besides them to kick his ass.  Or pants him.  Or leave him naked at the lake after daring him to jump in sans clothing. Oh yes, they’d gotten him in many a tight situation during his formative years.  He’d quickly learned how to talk his way out of most of them: a skill he grudgingly gave them credit for.

A skill that he wasn’t able to use at the moment since his speech was entirely cut off by the large blue hand wrapped around his neck. The looming, seven foot tall alien prime minister apparently took exception to Tom dragging away the woman he was interested in seducing. The captain would thank him for intervening in the morning…if he lived to see morning, but at the moment she was merely frowning up at her pilot in disapproval. 

And it was B’Elanna’s fault he was even in this predicament. When Chakotay had come down with the hallucinatory fever that was sweeping through the crew, Tom’s lovely wife had offered him up as a substitute escort for the captain. B’Elanna was punishing him for an imagined grievance. When his eight months pregnant, half-Klingon wife suggested he was in the wrong, Tom simply accepted the declaration rather than trying to argue that he had been nowhere near the Delaney twins at the alleged hour of the crime. 

And oh wouldn’t B’Elanna be sorry when she realized she had sent him to his death at the hands of an amorous blue giant that was being egged on by their now-feverish captain. 

Managing to get a tricorder reading to confirm that Janeway was, in fact, feverish had been no small feat. He only wished he’d recognized her symptoms sooner. Her laugh had been a little too loud and her comments a little too loose. He’d thought she simply had a buzz. It was only when he’d suggested she switch to juice that the direness of the situation had become clear. 

She’d thrown the juice in his face. Literally. 

He’d been supremely relieved that he hadn’t suggested she switch to coffee.

Instead, he now hung a few inches off the ground, clawing at the hand that was so effortlessly holding him up. The blue behemoth laughed at his efforts and easily slung his free arm around the captain’s shoulders, pulling her in close and sharing a laugh with her at Tom’s expense. Finally, it was she who relented, poking the prime minister in the belly, demanding the release of her pilot – only because she didn’t want to have to find a replacement. 

Tom dropped to the floor in a boneless pile, pulling at the neck of his uniform, coughing and dragging in as much oxygen as he could.  He slapped his comm. badge.  “Paris to Voyager.”

“You all right, Tom?  You sound funny,” Harry responded.

Trying to keep his captain in sight, Tom moved through the crowd, considering his options.  An emergency beam-out of the captain without reason would ruin the trade agreement. Trying to force the captain to leave her new date (again) would likely end in his death. He ran his hand through his hair.  “Harry, I need you to send me a particular hypospray, no questions asked.”

Harry had been good for it, and Tom tucked the requested hypospray up his sleeve and straightened his collar. He was going to have to time it just right. He approached the now-entangled couple from behind, his feverish and clearly-addled captain practically sitting on the prime minister’s lap. She caught sight of Tom at the last second.

“Not you aga-”

That was as far as she got as Tom swept her up to her feet and into a very low dip, planting his mouth on hers, one hand cradling the back of her head and the other jamming the hypospray against her rear. The blue man jumped to his feet but Tom was already standing Janeway back on her feet, moving to her side out of harm’s way while still managing to keep a supporting arm behind her.

Janeway swayed for a second, looking furiously at Paris before paling and bringing a hand to cover her mouth.  She swallowed tightly, appeared to gag, and then looked at him again but in alarm this time. Tom grimaced and pointed out the nearest exit; she ran for it. 

Tom watched her go and then turned back to the prime minister, executing a proper low bow. “My apologies, sir, it would appear my captain has taken ill. I need to get her back to the ship to receive medical treatment. I’m afraid we’ll have to conclude our negotiations in the morning.”

He didn’t wait for a reply, just grabbed an empty ice bucket from a table as he hurried after his captain.  She was going to need it. 

***

The lights of sickbay were a harsh pain-inducing glare and he groaned, throwing up a wobbly arm to shade his eyes. 

“Ah, Mister Paris, you’ve decided to rejoin us.”

Squinting, he looked sideways at the EMH standing next to him, scanning him.  “What happened?”

“You kissed the captain and administered a very high dose of an emetic. For your protection, I sedated you,” he said quietly and gestured furtively for Tom to look past him. The Doctor raised his voice back to normal level. “Just another case of the fever, I’m afraid.”

Tom squinted and could make out his wife and his captain standing together near a biobed behind the EMH.  Janeway broke away, her forceful stride a clear indication that she was not happy. “He was hallucinating then?”

The Doctor nodded.  “He likely thought he was in one of his Captain Proton stories and needed to save the damsel in distress.”

Tom blinked blearily at the captain. Her dress uniform jacket was gone and he had a vague memory of thinking he’d be responsible for replacing it. “I don’t really remember what happened. Did I do something wrong?”

Janeway’s hands settled on her hips as she gazed coolly at him for a long minute. Finally, with a deep, indrawn breath she said, “Apparently nothing that requires further explanation.”

After one last glare at the Doctor, she turned on her heel and left sickbay. B’Elanna shook her head at her husband, patted his leg, and followed her captain out of sickbay. The Doctor visibly relaxed when the doors closed behind them. “Congratulations, Mister Paris, you discovered the fastest way to cure the bacterial fever. Induce vomiting. Messy, but effective.”

Tom sat up. “So the Captain, she-”

“Had a one hundred and three degree fever, but we both know that being the captain makes one immune to the illnesses that affect lesser beings,” the EMH said, using a regenerator on the bruises wrapping around Tom’s neck. “Don’t we?”

Tom was still confused. “And I had the fever too?”

 “So far as the captain and your wife ever need to know.”

A knot of imminent danger in his insides unwound.

“Thanks, Doc,” Tom said, for once truly grateful for the EMH’s uncanny astuteness.

Because Tom doubted he could run far or fast enough to escape the feminine consequences of this particular truth.


Thanks to Audabee for giving my words a home!

 



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