By Shayenne

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything but I doubt they want this.

Rated G


The song If Wishes Were Fishes was composed and sung by Scottish-born Australian folk singer, Eric Bogle.

And I wish I was home again, at home in my heart again
It's been a long time since my heart talked to me.
Wasting my precious days,
wishing my life away.
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea

And I wish I was young again, my song still to be sung again
The sweet tunes of my life have gone sour and off key.
Writing my tidal rhymes
trying to turn back time.
And if wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea.

If wishes were fishes, I know where I'd be
casting my net in the dark rolling sea.
And if my net is empty when it comes back to shore
I'll throw it away and go fishing no more.

I wish I could care again, reach out and share again
and mend what's been broken and let it run free.
The older I get it seems
the more wishing takes the place of dreams.
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea.

The mournful song died away in the darkened quarters. Naomi was asleep, lulled into dreamland by the old lament. Kathryn sat by her bedside a while longer. While not a lullaby, the lilting, wistful quality of the tune had seemed appropriate and had sprung into her head when Naomi requested a lullaby. She could remember her mother, Gretchen, singing the old tune in her rusty voice as she worked around the kitchen in Indiana. She could hear the dying echoes of many singers, across the centuries and across the galaxy spinning the words into the silence of space. She sat silent, contemplating the words until a gentle clearing of the throat alerted her to the presence of another person.

"Captain. Sorry to intrude." Sam Wildman, Naomi's mother, stepped into the darkened quarters. "But the song was so lovely I just had to listen."

"It is, isn't it. Sad, but true in so many ways."

"It made me think..."Sam's eyes were far away. "It made me think of all that I'm waiting for in the Alpha Quadrant, and all that I'm missing out on in the Delta Quadrant."

"Maybe you don't have to miss out, Sam." Kathryn's voice was soft. "Talk to your heart again, like the song says. In the meantime, I'll leave you with your precious daughter." She bent and brushed a kiss on Naomi's forehead and turned to go.

"Thanks for baby-sitting." Sam turned to escort her to the door.

"Any time." And she left, leaving a very contemplative Sam staring after her.

* * *

The refrain of the lament ran through Kathryn's head all the next day. She was humming it under her breath when she and B'Elanna were repairing one of the panels in the jeffries tube.

"Pretty tune, Kathryn." B'Elanna was intent on the panel.

"Sorry. I didn't realize I was humming aloud. I sang it to Naomi the other night and it's been running through my head ever since."

"Songs have a habit of doing that. Normally ones you don't want to remember. Like Klingon opera. That one is pretty though. Does it have a name?"

"If Wishes Were Fishes. Silly, eh?"

"No... wistful, not silly. I'll have to look it up in the database. Tom is into playing music to my pregnant stomach. I've no idea why, but maybe he can add that one to the list."

* * *

Sam too had the tune in her head. The words of the tune wouldn't leave her. That night, she asked Megan Delaney to look after Naomi and she went and hunted Joe Carey down in his quarters. Quiet words were said, and a relationship, broken in the hope that a child's true father would be found again, was forged anew and new family ties were wrapped careingly around the little one.

Wasting my precious days,
wishing my life away.
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea

* * *

Neelix was singing when Seven entered the messhall. She listened to him clattering the pans and singing a mournful dirge, most unlike his normal upbeat choices.

"Neelix. Your choice of song is most unusual." Seven raised a perfect eyebrow slightly in question.

"I'm glad you like it, Seven. I heard Sam singing it yesterday and thought it was lovely. Quite lovely." He leaned forward confidingly. "To be honest, it reminded me of Kes. I thought it was the kind of thing she would have liked. I can almost hear her singing it."

"It is a tune from Earth." Seven was definite. "My mother used to sing it to me. Kes would not have known of it."

"But she would have liked it. That's the point. It makes me think... about being young."

"In Talaxian years you are barely middle aged. To think about being young again is irrelevant."

"I don't expect you to understand, Seven. But the song is talking about me. I'm a sour, unhappy person under the jovial exterior. Since Kes left, I've only been marking time. Putting on a false front of bonhomie. I must learn to accept that Kes is gone and try and make a life without her."

"An egotistical idea, to imagine that a song from ancient Earth is talking about you."

"Oh!" Neelix threw up his hands. "You are too literal. But, in the spirit of moving on, and being happy, I will ignore it. Now... we have scrambled Kevorkian eggs with butterwhip squash or sautéed leola root with sliced granahot. Which will it be?"

"Coffee. Black."

As Neelix bustled away, he was heard to mutter, "Some people are defiantly spending too much time with our captain."

* * *

The tune strung tentacles of memory around Seven's mind. When she kept her appointment on the holodeck with the Doctor that evening, it wouldn't be suppressed any longer, and she said she would teach him a new song from old Earth.

He was moved and delighted by the simple tune.

"Seven. That is truly beautiful."

"I believe it is called a lament. The useless meandering of a tired mind, wishing for what cannot be." Seven was as pragmatic as ever.

"No, no, no..." The Doctor was fired up by imagination, if a hologram could be said to have such a thing. "It is a beautiful expression of what might be, and a call to all who hear it not to waste their lives, but to seize every opportunity with both hands."

"And what opportunities would you seize, Doctor?" Seven was curious.

The Doctor paused. His hand rubbed his chin in the practiced gesture of deep thought. But there was nothing practiced about his next move. He walked over to Seven, and laid an arm around her shoulders.

"Seven..." And he bent his head and kissed her.

Never had there been a kiss more analyzed to the minutest detail in all of Voyager's romantic history. Subroutines stored data, catalogued response and calculated the next move most likely to succeed down to 0.0001%. The other party to the kiss was wide-eyed and analyzing her physiological responses. When her lips were parted and a real feeling tongue thrust inside, all reasoning stopped.

Seven and the Doctor spent several glorious minutes examining first hand the details of sexual response.

* * *

The song wound its way around the ship. It was heard echoing down a deserted jeffries tube, fluttering through quiet quarters in the artificial dark of Voyager's night. The messhall rang with it, robust and hearty in the dinner hour. No less than three separate acts performed it on Talent Night, including the Doctor and Seven, whose emotional rendition brought tears to many eyes.

It seeped through the cargo bays, permeated the bulkheads, stole into the shuttle bays and resounded on the holodecks.

All throughout the ship the effects were felt. Tal Celes plucked up the courage to ask Harry Kim to accompany her singing on talent night. Their act required many hours of practice, and culminated in an all night session in Harry's quarters, that left both parties sated, in love, and more than a little bemused as to how they could not have loved each other in this way for the last seven years.

The refrain echoed off the metal gratings down on deck 15 and Mortimer Harren lifted his head from his theories for long enough to notice that there was a world outside the abstract. He dined with Billy Telfer that night, and a new friendship was born, one that led to a gentle kiss offered and accepted in the dim bowels of the lower decks.

Tom indeed searched the ship's databases and found the ancient song. He added it to his selections and played it to his and B'Elanna's unborn baby. Inexplicably, B'Elanna was soothed by the refrain, and their daughter sensed the new feelings of peace and acceptance. The part Klingon child turned gentle somersaults in time to the music in her mother's womb.

And I wish I was home again, at home in my heart again
It's been a long time since my heart talked to me.
Wasting my precious days,
wishing my life away.
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea.

* * *

The S'lerie were a gentle race of non-corporeal beings who inhabited a quiet region of the Delta Quadrant. Peaceful and non-confrontational, most travelers who passed through their territory were unaware of their presence. The S'lerie had the ability to silently infiltrate the minds and hearts of people. Their touch was gentle and seldom were they detected. They showed up on no sensor, they had no fixed abode, they existed in the darkness of space. They rarely interfered in the lives of the people whose minds they touched, but occasionally, they were moved enough to offer soul's ease to weary travelers.

When Voyager entered their space, the curious beings infiltrated the hull, seeking out the leader as they always did. Finding the mind of Kathryn Janeway, they sensed the loneliness, the isolation, the eternal distance from home and they were distressed. Such a great burden carried on such small shoulders.

Probing further into the alien ship, they encountered many such minds and souls, struggling under the knowledge of how far distant was their homeland. They touched each consciousness with gentle wisps of fingers and sought out each persons wishes and desires. And they saw how they could help.

Planting the seeds of a simple song from the forgotten memories of the captain, they watched as the song spread and curled throughout the ship, bringing hope to those who heard it, and the realization that life need not pass them by.

They watched in rapture as new couples formed, as people found peace within themselves, accepted that which could not be changed, absorbed loss into their hearts and were strengthened by it. They delighted in what they achieved.

Only three remained, seemingly untouched by the siren song.

* * *

Tuvok was in his dim quarters, comfortable in his robe, his mind focused on his meditation lamp, his whole mind directed towards the Alpha Quadrant and his mate, T'Pel. Lately meditation had been more difficult for him, he had been unable to collect his thoughts sufficiently to achieve the trance necessary for satisfactory meditation.

The song that permeated the ship had largely passed him by. He had briefly thought that such a song was illogical; one could not undo the past, wishing served no purpose. Although he had thought that the composition of notes that formed the melody line was interesting.

A knock on his door roused him from the light trance he had acheived.


The door opened to reveal the bustling little Talaxian, with a bowl of soup and some bread-like substance.

"Mr. Vulcan. I didn't see you today down the mess hall, so I brought you some nourishment." Neelix put the tray down on the low table and looked around. "I'm sorry, I see Ihave interupted you at a private moment. I'll be off now."

An impulse that Tuvok would have defined as illogical crept over him. None the less, he gave into it and said. "Mr. Neelix, please stay and keep me company."

Neelix's mouth hung open for a moment. "I would be delighted."

He settled himself on the couch and proceeded to prattle away. Tuvok listened as he ate the soup. Mr. Neelix was a kindly soul. If nothing else, after this meditation would come easier.

The S'lerie performed unseen aeriel acrobatics in the high corners of Tuvok's quarters. With their help, one of Voyager's most unlikely enduring friendships was helped along.

* * *

Chakotay rang the chime on Kathryn's quarters. In one hand he held a bottle of chilled white wine, in the other, a small replicated item. He had noticed the introspective mood of the ship over the last few days, had heard the haunting refrain that seemed to pulsate from the walls of his quarters as he lay alone. The melody was as much a part of him now, as it was of the rest of the crew. It was pushing him towards a conclusion that he couldn't see.

He didn't know what would eventuate, but over the last few days, his thoughts had clarified as to which direction he would take.

She admitted him into the room, the table was set for dinner as it always was. But instead of leading him over to the couch, offering him refreshment and talking about the ship, she hesitated. He took the initiative and pressed a small item into her hand.

She looked down and gasped. "You've given me a wish." Resting on her palm was a small silver fish charm.

He smiled. "Yes. I thought you might like one."

She crossed over to the table and picked up something small. Returning to his side, she took his hand and placed something small and cool inside it, closing his fingers over it. He didn't need to look. He knew that a second silver fish was now clutched in his hand.

"I wanted to give you a wish too." She whispered the words as she gazed up at him. "I wonder if we will wish for the same thing?"

He closed the gap between them and wrapped a hand around the back of her neck, entwining it in her hair and tugging gently, bringing her even closer to him. She settled both hand on his waist.

"I wish that you and I might have a future together, as man and woman, as lovers, as partners."

"I wish the same. Starting tonight and moving on together." Her eyes were large and dark.

He bent his head and kissed her softly. She returned his kiss, letting him explore and take whatever he pleased. Their kiss deepened as he gathered her close to him, holding her tightly. He felt her slight body press against his and knew that finally they had come home. His heart was singing, he was listening, and the song was familiar.

As they kissed, the unseen forms of the S'lerie wove around them in ecstasy, winding through their minds, and hearing their hearts finally speak free.

I wish I could care again, reach out and share again
and mend what's been broken and let it run free.
The older I get it seems
the more wishing takes the place of dreams.
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets in the sea.

Feedback? Please. Shayenne

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