It Had To Be Said (a dénouement to 'Repression')
By Eydie Munroe
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them. Paramount runs their lives. Paramount is a silly dictator that needs to be deposed (along with those Disney people – RCMP belong in Canada!)
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The captain was securely entrenched behind her desk in her quarters, scanning through the numerous reports of the recent Maquis re-incursion. Reports from Starfleet personnel that had been locked down, Tuvok's unknowing victims – everyone had a different take on what happened because of Teero Ren's sense of vengeance.
She finally leaned back in her chair and rubbed at tired eyes. Taking in Tom's double feature in the holodeck had cut into her valuable work time, but she saw it necessary to clear her mind for a while and tend to the frazzled nerves of her crew. It had been Paris' idea for the movies, but it had been hers to force Tuvok to attend. And in getting it arranged, it was the only complete sentence that she had spoken to her first officer all day.
Kathryn Janeway was unwilling to admit it, but she was furious. Even though Tuvok was an unwilling conduit for a mad Bajoran half a lifetime away, even though Chakotay was coerced into reclaiming his former militaristic style – she still felt utterly betrayed. He knew it too, judging by the distance that he kept from her while they were all in the theatre. The threat to her life may as well have been from her mother.
Her musings stopped as soon as that thought crossed her mind. Why not? My father already tried it, she thought to herself, a smile creeping into her expression as she laid the padd in her hand down on the table. It was going to take some effort, but she would put this behind her with time. But now it was late, and for once she was willing to give a good night's sleep a try.
The computer screen was deactivated, the coffee cup recycled, and the captain in bed and halfway to sleep when the door chime sounded. Her eyes snapped open, and with a growl she questioned, "Computer, who's outside my door?"
"Commander Chakotay,"it replied.
"Who else?" she muttered. For a while she considered just ignoring him and pretending to be asleep, but a second, insistent bell changed her mind. After grudgingly dragging herself out from under the covers and into the front room, she called out, "Come in."
The commander stepped inside, his eyes taking a moment to adjust to the dark. When he could see, she was just passing him on her way to the windows that stretched through the length of her quarters. The light mauve fabric of her sleepwear caught the limited light that filtered in from outside, and it was enough to show him that she was purposely keeping her back to him. The silence between them was heavy, but she was the one who eventually broke it when she said, "Are you going to tell me why you're here?"
"To be honest, I'm not even sure if I know why I'm here."
"What does that mean?"
He shrugged, then decided to get directly to the point. "Kathryn, you know that I would never consciously try to overthrow you."
"You make me sound like a queen," she huffed.
"Well you act like it sometimes." That was enough for her to slowly turn around and reveal the anger that was smoldering dangerously close to the surface. "I'm sorry," he added, making it clear that he meant the revolt and not what he had just said. "I don't know what else to tell you."
After a long pause she questioned, "Do you still think of yourself as Maquis, Chakotay?"
"No." She simply stared at him, knowing full well that he was probably the only member of this crew that would not wither under her glare. So it was a surprise when he changed his mind and told her, "Sometimes." Chakotay consciously kept his distance from her, preferring to stay within the relative safety of the door. "There are days when I think that you still treat us as second class citizens."
"I have never treated you as second class," she shot back, her temper flaring.
"Not consciously, but you do," he reminded her, now closing some of the space between them. "You always said that we were just as important as your crew, but I could see that it wasn't true. You've gotten better, but it's still there."
"My crew?" Janeway defiantly folded her arms over her chest, then started slow, measured steps toward her desk. "You still refer to them as my crew, after all these years."
"What do you want me to say?" he challenged as she passed him.
She looked up from the padd that she had picked up. "I don't want you to say anything. I want you to go."
"Just go!" she snapped, slamming the padd down on the edge of the desk. But she wasn't about to let him go without the outburst that she had been holding in all day. "I can't even stand to look at you. Today you proved just how easy it is for me to lose control of my own ship, to the man I trust more than anyone. And you threatened my life, just to test Tuvok's loyalty. What would you have done if your plan didn't work, and he actually killed me?" He didn't answer her, so she demanded, "What?"
He squinted at her through the dim room. "You didn't die."
"That's not the point."
"It may not be the point, but it's the only way I can live with myself right now." She was shocked into silence, and was suddenly enraptured by the guilt that was plain in his face. "I can't say that it was like being outside my own body and watching someone else threatening you. I can't even tell you why I suddenly became the man I was seven years ago. But all I know is that I feel this incredible sense of guilt because I tried to have my best friend murdered, just for a show of loyalty that I would never ask anyone for." He took a step or two toward her. "I may as well have killed you for the way I feel now, and all you can seem to think is that it was intentional."
"I didn't say that," she growled.
"You didn't have to." Chakotay headed for the door, stopping just as it opened. "I'll see you in the morning."
He left then, the implication of his words ringing clearly to her. Despite how hurt she was feeling right now, life had to go on. She had to command this starship through the remaining thirty-five thousand light years, and she had to do it with him at her side. No matter how much she needed him or hated him, loved him or loathed him, he wasn't going anywhere. So despite her harsh words, she found herself slowly backing down from her defensive position.
Sleep did not come easily, nor in abundance that night. Kathryn finally gave up a full two hours before her shift started, dressed, and headed directly into her ready room once arriving at the bridge. He arrived later on, simply taking his station with the knowledge that he knew she was in there, and she knew he was out here. And everyone knew that they would be tiptoeing around each other for at least a few days anyway.
Her call to him came as a surprise, but Chakotay put it aside as he turned the bridge over to Tuvok and went to her door. She was up on the couch, neither relaxed nor tense as she watched him enter. "You wanted to see me, Captain?" he asked, putting on his best professional air and his hands behind his back.
"I did." She waited patiently, watching as he decided just how far into the room he was going to go. It was a gage on his mood. If he came all the way in she was forgiven – if he stayed at the door she was in for a fight. He decided for halfway, and stopped at the base of the step. "I wanted to apologize," she said quietly. "I shouldn't have said what I did last night."
His mouth dropped a little – she had surprised him again. "I'm sorry too. I guess neither of us has grown as much as we both like to admit." Kathryn started to fiddle with her coffee cup, and he now noticed that there was a small pot of coffee and another full cup laid out on the small table in front of her. "Is that ready?" he asked.
Kathryn nodded, and he finally moved up to join her on the couch. "Two sugars," she announced as she handed it to her friend, "just like always." He started to lift the cup to his lips, but stopped as he eyed the contents. "I didn't poison it."
"Two sugars," he echoed, eventually lifting his gaze to look directly at her. "You know me better than anyone, Kathryn. And I'd like to think that I know you. But maybe we need to start over again."
"Maybe," she quietly agreed. Then summoning the hope that had asked him in here, and extending her hand toward him, she couldn't quite hide a smirk when she said, "Kathryn Janeway."
He grinned, squinting a little as he regarded her. "No captain?"
"Not right now. I'm working on a friendship."
Chakotay shook her hand, then lifted his cup and tapped it to hers. "So am I."Return to main page