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Honorable mention in FOLK tales '99

Will You Still Need Me?

By: Akire

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the ship, TPTB do, but I had to write this story to serve justice and give poor Harry Kim a promotion!!

"Happy Birthday, dear Harry! Happy Birthday to you! Hip Hip, Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray!!" The cheers echoed down the corridors of Voyager as every crewmember who could make it crammed into the mess to celebrate the birthday of one of the more popular members of the senior staff.

"Blow out the candles, Harry!"

"Yeah, come on Starfleet, this cake looks almost edible."

"B'Lanna, if I didn't know any better..."

"Cool it Neelix, she's just jokin-" Tom's sentence cut off as B'Lanna elbowed him in the ribs.

Harry laughed, then lent over and blew out all the candles, to the cheers of the crew. Neelix took the cake away to cut, and people pushed forward to give Harry their gifts, and to see what others gave him.

Birthday parties on Voyager had become quite social events.

There was replicator rations from Tom, a duty shift off from B'Lanna, and a pair of socks from Harry's third goddaughter, Liana Paris. Too bad they were too small, but Harry pretended not to notice.

Tuvok gave him a piece of Vulcan music, and the offer to play duet with him at the next ships concert. The party was Neelix's gift. Astrometrics discreetly passed him an invite to a slightly more interesting party occurring in holodeck two after. It was signed off by both Delaney sisters. Harry had to grin.

However, he thought he'd be accepting Seven's invitation to the Cargo Bay instead.

Just when Harry thought he'd made it through, Captain Janeway came up, stately as always.

Wordlessly, she handed him a small black box. Inside was a small, gold, gleaming pip.

"I thought it was about time I did something about that, _Lieutenant_ Kim." She shook his hand and smiled warmly up at him. "Congratulations."

Harry was shocked speechless. Then, as word made it around what had just happened, a cheer rose in the group. They were finally quieted by Neelix, pushing his way through.

"Here we are, liola root-less cake -" another cheer. "And there's enough to go around."

He handed the first piece to Harry, his grey-haired and wrinkled hands as steady as they had been when he had helped Harry out of that hole in the ground on Ocampa.

"You need a lot of cake if you are going to try and fit 63 candles on it." He said with a conspiritorally grin.



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