by Suz firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer - "My people have a saying...", said Chakotay as he was assimilated by the Para-Borg.
Okay, I'm not usually inspired by song words but these are so beautiful. And considering how long this took me to write, you'd think it would be longer.
Thank you to Neil Finn for writing such a wonderful and appropriate song.
Slight spoiler for 'Extreme Risk', even though I haven't seen it yet!
Ya'll probably gonna hate me...
'Whenever I fall at your feet
You let your tears rain down on me
Whenever I touch your slow turning pain
The finger of blame has turned upon itself
And I'm more than willing to offer myself
Do you want my presence or need my help?
Who knows where that might lead?
There was no answer after I beeped for entry. I honestly wasn't surprised. He had no social life at the moment. After his shift finished he would immediately head back to his quarters, ignoring the invitations to do something with a friend - they were all concerned about him. Even Tom had displayed some worry over Chakotay's behaviour.
I had been the same. Perhaps this sounds selfish, but I thought that if anyone was going to get him to come out of the black hole he'd vanished into it would be me. I was his oldest friend aboard Voyager, and now...probably his closest.
My time in the Maquis had been well spent, not to mention the tips I got from Tom after his time in the New Zealand penal colony. I very quickly and easily entered an access code that would force his doors to open upon my command.
I half expected his quarters to be torn up. That chairs, tables, the few keepsakes he had would be shattered around the room. At least it would prove that he was actually feeling anything. It still amazed us how that on duty he was just the same as usual. He'd get an expression on his face occasionally and look to his right and we'd know who he was remembering. But he never let it interfere. He'd still joke with us, still try to raise our spirits.
If anything, his quarters were even tidier than I ever remembered them being. No lights were on, but the glow provided by the stars outside the viewport was more than sufficient. It didn't take long to discover where he was - sitting on his couch, at the end furthest from the door. Despite the starlight he had somehow managed to find the one spot of the couch that was dark. His entire face was in shadow, as was most of his body. I could see nothing of his expression.
We remained in silence for a moment before he spoke, not moving by the slightest degree. "It's customary to wait for permission before entering someones quarters Lieutenant."
His voice sounded perfectly normal, but then he had always been good at hiding his feelings. Well...except for her. When it came to her we all knew about everything he felt. An irony perhaps. He was always viewed as such a 'private' person, always being able to cover up what he was feeling if he needed to. With her he just couldn't do it. Perhaps, to one who didn't know him as well, he could have hidden it. But he couldn't hide it from me or the senior staff. Or the bridge crew. Or the rest of the ship. He may never have vocally announced it, but he could never disguise the concern when she was in danger from an alien threat or from herself. He couldn't make us forget all the times we had overheard him making suggestions for her to get some rest, to take it easy, to relax. Yes, it could have just been the concern a First Officer has for his Captain, but in this case it was so obviously more than that.
I decided to use his rank too. I could play the protocol game just as well as he could. For a while. No doubt my anger would get the better of me eventually. "To be honest Commander, I didn't think you would allow me entry. You haven't been letting anyone enter for the past twelve days."
He sounded amused and I think his head moved slightly. "Really? And how do you know that?"
His hands landed on his knees with a thump and it was only then that I realised he had been rubbing his face. "Well at least you aren't here to dish out any bullshit Torres." His voice was almost glad.
"No sir, I'm not. May I ask why you've been spending all your time in here?"
I was pushing it, and I knew it. I half expected him to tell me to shove it, but it seemed he wasn't even capable of getting angry. When he responded his tone was soft, as if he were reminiscing.
I finally moved, taking a few steps closer. He didn't move at all.
"About anyone specific?"
"I thought you weren't here to bullshit me?"
So much for doing this delicately. "Alright, you'll get this bluntly then." I wasn't quite sure why, but I started to get angrier at him the longer I spoke. "I don't think you've accepted the Captain's death at all Chakotay. Maybe you're still in shock, maybe you're in denial, but you need to face up to it."
A whisper was his response. "Why are you doing this?"
Moving forward again I knelt down in front of him. His face was still mostly in shadow as I looked up at him, but he kept it lowered. This wasn't going to be easy for me, but it had to be done. "Chakotay...when I was having a hard time accepting the demise of the Maquis," that was putting it mildly "you helped me through it. Rather roughly I might add. I'm going to do the same for you. I'm going to drag you kicking and screaming if it's the only thing that will get you to start accepting what's happened."
Chakotay's hand came down to rest on top of mine which was lying the edge of the couch. "You're a real hard-ass, you know that B'Elanna?"
"So I've been told. Numerous times."
"And I appreciate your offer B'Elanna..." he removed his hand "but it's not necessary."
I drew back slightly. "Chakotay, don't you *dare* tell me you're going to handle this on your own..."
"I'm not saying that at all B'Elanna."
"Then what *are* you saying?"
"That I've done my grieving. I've cried, wanting to scream at the universe asking why she had to be taken. I've remembered every small comment she ever made to me. But now, I'm past that."
I was utterly confused. "What?"
He sat forward for the first time, and he winced at the soft light. I could see the calmness and small amount of confusion present in his features. "And now...for the past five days I've just been thinking. How did it happen?"
I wished I could stop asking questions, but they seemed to be serving a useful purpose. "How did what happen?"
"There was a time B'Elanna...Gods, I could think of nothing but her. Every little thing would remind me of her. Her smile, her hair, her body. Her sense of humour, her voice, her stubborness. The way she would look when she became excited about something. She was so adorable when she found some new scientific discovery. You didn't see her on New Earth B'Elanna. There were sides to her that even Tuvok hadn't seen. And it wasn't until she died that I realised that...I didn't feel that way anymore."
I blinked several times. I was absolutely shocked.
"You mean you weren't in love with her?"
"I was...I'll always love her. And I miss her so much..." he hesitated briefly "...but shouldn't it be more than that? Shouldn't I feel as if I've got some gaping hole in my chest that only she can fill?"
I smiled. "Damn clever woman..."
Now it was his turn to ask a question. "Pardon?"
"Janeway. She's a damn clever woman."
I laughed, something I didn't do very often. "Think about it Chakotay. She'll always have your love. Think of how guilty you feel. Would you really feel this guilty if you weren't in love with her?"
He shook his head. "That's a contradiction B'Elanna..."
"Chakotay, you've always been a contradiction. Why should this instance be any different?"
"But why don't I feel more-"
I cut him off. "Chakotay, love is always changing. It doesn't stay as emotionally intense as it becomes. I'm not saying you *are* in love with her...I certainly don't know everything that's going on in that thick head of yours...but it's a possibility. Maybe it's just the hopeless romantic in me."
Chuckling, he reached down and touched my face gently. "Then in that case it has to be true. The day you admit to being a hopeless romantic is the day Tuvok will admit that Neelix is a good addition to his security team."
I wanted nothing more than to stay there for the night talking to him. It's been so long since we've simply chatted.
My com badge beeped. "Vorik to Torres."
I sighed and pulled back again. "Torres here. Go ahead."
"Sir, we're experiencing a power fluctuation in the warp core."
"I'll be right there. Torres out." I smiled at Chakotay faintly. "I'd stay if I could."
Tapping his knee I stood and turned towards the exit. Hesitating in the doorway, I turned to discover that he had sat back into the shadows again. "Join me at the holodeck in two hours? A group of us are going. Seven and I are going to play a round or two of velocity."
His humour was obvious as he responded. "Sounds like it should be interesting. I'll try and make it."
Nodding, I finally left his quarters, the doors sliding closed behind me. As I walked towards the turbolift I wondered just how long it would take him to come out of his isolation.
I found out two hours later.
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Suz's Voyager Fanfic