Disclaimer: See previous part(s).
So it began.
I guess if you were to ask me how I felt, I felt like shit. I mean, not ill, but just crappy. Something monumental must’ve happened to make them into shadows of themselves; yet they were only shadows when they were together.
For some, it was harder then most. Harry really felt it. Though he never went out of his way to be near the commander, Chakotay was like the older brother he never had and it hurt him to see Chakotay not the same. And as for the captain. . .let’s just say it was like losing his second mom.
B’Elanna had stormed around my quarters one morning, dressed in that horrid red thing she liked to sleep in. Her hair in complete disarray. Not only did I get the entire dissertation of her drag and jerk relationship with Seven, but her protecting of Chakotay showed through.
"How could she notduty of hers get in the way. He’s hurting; doesn’t she care?"
I got up and went to her, putting my hands on her shoulders. "It’s not for us to judge, B’Elanna. He’s the one who stopped it, not her. Frankly, after all this time, I think it’s for the better."
"If she cared, she would have stopped him, Tom. Why is it always him that gets hurt and never her?"
I didn’t have an answer for that. As much as I admired Kathryn Janeway, there were times I didn’t like her. As much as my father and I didn’t get along, there was always something we agreed on; Kathryn Janeway’s inability to take the advice of others.
She was and is, great as a leader. I won’t debate that, but there were times when I know she’s asked Chakotay, Tuvok, even some of us grunts, for advice. She listens, nodding her head, interjecting comments here and there, but she doesn’t ever really take them to heart.
For example, when we entered Borg space and she came up with this great idea of an alliance. I watched Chakotay. God, did I watch him. He reminded me of my grandmothers pressure cooker, not saying a word, not looking at her.
When we left, he stayed behind. Truth be told, when the doors shut, Harry hit the manual switch and he and I, under the disapproving eye of Tuvok listened to part of that argument. Harry’s look said it all to me; why didn’t she listen to him? Chakotay was right. . .and he knew first hand what could happen. Only a handful of people could come out of what he did.
That whole time was fraught with tension from the two of them. It kept going back and forth and to be honest, when he broke her alliance, it was the best thing.
Simple fact is, she is wrong. Kathryn Janeway is beauty with brains, but sometimes, she lets herself become something not human…and she is impervious to the hurt she causes.
Hopefully, before it’s too late, she’ll at least rebuild the friendship. Together, they are an unstoppable team. Apart, they are just pale imitations of their full potential.
Tom Paris wasn’t the only one noticed the coolness. At lunch, at Sandrine’s, at work, comments swirled around like leaves in a fall breeze. Neelix would comment on how when they walk down the corridor, they don’t walk together. In fact, he walked behind her.
Seven would comment that the commander was curt, but it bordered on almost nothing. When asked to explain, she would say that he would blunt, to the point and his tone indicated she was not to argue.
From the highest officer to the youngest member of the crew, it didn’t matter. They saw it, felt it.
Chakotay began keeping to himself; more so then before. He spent a great deal of time, working on the crafts and traditional aspects of his life and heritage. He’d go a few times a week to play sports with B’Elanna or Tom, even Harry. But he was quieter.
Sometimes, one would forget he was even in the room.
Chakotay again sat in the comfort of his quarters. In his hand was a book…a real, tangible book. His fingers were curled around the handle of his mug and he let his eyes skim flawlessly over the words.
"Come in," Chakotay said, looking up at the door. It was Tuvok.
"Commander, I just wanted you to know that the Captain will be beaming down at 0900 hours to meet the Zemya ambassador. Will you be joining her?"
"I prefer to sit this one out, commander. Besides, I thought she had requested that you go with her."
Tuvok placed his arms behind his back and raised an eyebrow. "She did."
Chakotay sat back, looking over the rim of his cup at Tuvok. "Then why are you asking me? It was my understanding that I was going to be staying here."
"Forgive me commander, but I thought you may be inclined to change your mind."
Chakotay laughed slightly, rising to get another steaming cup of tea. He turned to Tuvok while the replicator came up with his tea. "She’s a big girl. I’m sure your guidance will be much more appreciated then mine."
Tuvok stood, pondering this for a few moments, then turned to leave. Though he wasn’t a fond member of the ‘captain/first officer romantic relationship club’, he did have a underlying feeling that all was not well…that all was surface warm with an icy under layer.
Without another thought, he sat back down on his couch, picked up his book and resumed reading.