Lessons, Part Three
Disclaimer - Paramount are the mighty, I am the weak (giggle). All characters belong to them.
This follows the events in 'Initiations', so you need to have seen that ep or at least know what it's about.
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"That was a damn foolish thing to do Commander."
"I know that Captain."
She was pacing back and forth in front of him. "What if he had gone through with it? What if he had actually fired the phaser and killed you?"
"I was willing to make the sacrifice Captain. Besides, I have full confidence in the Doctor's abilities. I have no doubt that he would have been able to revive me."
"That's not the point." She moved forward until they were almost toe-to-toe and looked him in the eye. "You have a responsibility to this crew. To this ship." To me. "How is it going to affect the crew if you feel the need to sacrifice yourself when it's not necessary?"
"I felt it was necess-"
"Well you may have Commander. But I think you could have come up with another way out of the situation. Getting yourself killed to save a young boy's pride is not a worthwhile objective."
He sulked into his glass of Romulan ale in the mess hall. Neelix had tried to cheer him up, but eventually he managed to chase the Talaxian away. He appreciated his efforts, but…well to be honest Neelix got on his nerves sometimes. He was a little too enthusiastic about everything.
"Want to talk?"
He looked up at his fellow Maquis. "Not particularly."
"Bull." B'Elanna replied as she sat opposite him. "If you didn't want to talk you'd be in your quarters. You can't honestly tell me you came here just to look miserable."
"I like the view out of these windows."
"It's exactly the same view from your quarters Chakotay. Stars. An occasional planet perhaps, but mostly it's just the stars. Spill it."
"I'm just…having a bad day." He admitted, although it had to be obvious.
B'Elanna rolled her eyes at him. "And…?"
"Well that's it."
"Why are you having a bad day?"
"No particular reason." He replied, glancing up from his drink, then immediately decided to revise his answer. The look on her face indicated that he was about to get his throat ripped out. "It's just that the Captain's angry at me. I suppose I can see why…but I thought she'd understand."
"About being willing to sacrifice yourself?"
"Yeah." He mumbled, taking another sip.
"Maybe it's because she's Starfleet. They don't usually realise what it really means to sacrifice."
"I was Starfleet." He immediately responded, angry at her. "She works damn hard as a member of the Federation. Don't think she doesn't know what it means to sacrifice."
It was true, and B'Elanna knew it. Most members of the Federation, especially Captains, sacrificed their personal lives for their duty. Few Captains married or had long lasting relationships.
"That's not what I meant," she insisted "you know how much I admire her."
Chakotay's anger cooled somewhat at her admittance. She was right, of course. He knew how much she respected Kathryn, especially since the incident with the Sikari.
"I know you do B'Elanna…it's just that I don't want to make her job any harder. She has a tough enough time as it is."
She examined him thoughtfully. "This really bothers you, doesn't it?" He nodded slightly and she continued talking. "I can understand why you'd want to make the Captain happy - it's good for morale, creates better efficiency…but you're taking it so damn personally."
"I know I am B'Elanna." He leant forward, his frustration evident through his body language. "I can't explain it, but it's very personal to me."
She continued looking at him, examining his face, his expression, his eyes. Her own eyes widened slightly as she came to her conclusion.
"You're in love with her."
He looked away slightly. "I'm not sure. Maybe I am."
"Kahless, you are!" she exclaimed, the exasperation in her voice rising. To his ears she sounded almost jealous. That didn't make any sense. Why would she be jealous?
"Do you mind if we don't discuss this in public? I'd rather not let the whole ship know my innermost feelings."
B'Elanna visibly tried to control herself, noticing that the mess hall was now filling up as Beta shift ended. "I'm sorry Chakotay. You know I only want you to be happy." She placed her hand on his forearm. "I only hope she can give you that."
Chakotay paused as he carved into the stone he had picked up from the planet he and Kar had been trapped on. It was a symbol of his passing life, but also of the things he had experienced. It would help him to always remember. Was it his imagination or had his door…?
There it was again.
"Enter." He called out, expecting it to be B'Elanna. He was wrong.
"Captain?" If his expression didn't give his surprise away, his voice certainly had.
She came into his quarters, arms behind her back. "Commander." She said by way of a greeting. Slowly she started moving around his quarters, taking everything in with a few glances. "You know, this is the first time I've been in these quarters since you became my XO. I've only seen them twice before. The first time was when I first boarded the ship and was given the 'grand tour'. The second time was when I introduced Cavit to his quarters."
He had to admit he was confused. "Captain…why are you here?"
Kathryn ceased her examination of his room and ended up staring at his reflection in his bathroom mirror.
"Officially, I've come to have a chat with my First Officer about the smooth running of the ship." She turned 180 degrees until they were face to face. "Unofficially…I've come to apologise to my friend."
"I'm afraid I haven't been very fair to you lately Chakotay. I've been under a great deal of stress and well…things just added up. It was very unprofessional of me to do that to you."
"But very human." He insisted.
"Perhaps," she smiled "but nonetheless I owe you an apology. I'm not saying that I agree with what you suggested…but we can agree to disagree, can't we?"
"Of course. As long as we keep…a united front." He added, smiling deeply.
She laughed as her own words were turned back on her.
"Well I have to say that I'm very relieved. Tuvok is certainly a very good friend…but he's not half the dancer you are."
Chakotay grinned. "Trying to find a replacement for me already?"
"Well…Harry didn't know how, Tom was too flashy, Neelix was too embarrassing and Tuvok was too stolid."
"Sounds like you've already gone through the male contingent of the Command staff. Have you considered asking B'Elanna?"
"She can dance?"
"Well her foxtrot isn't that good but she can do a mean salsa."
END PART THREE