LA FIGLIA CHE PIANGE
SUMMARY:The Doctor watches Seven of Nine on the holodeck, as something happens between her and Chakotay. Will he be able to overcome his fears and just be there for her, and, moreover, could this be the start of something else? A poemfic to "La Figlia Che Piange" by T.S.Eliot, which is transcribed at the end. Done from the Doc's POV (and the first time I've ever attempted such a thing.)
RATING:PG. Just in case. Never know what's gonna be in these things! And this is most definitely NOT a C/7 story! D/7 allll the way! (And mentioned J/C. It ain't a shippy fic without J/C…)
DISCLAIMER:I do not own the characters or the poem. Eliot can keep his poem, as my purposes are now finished. B&B do not deserve to keep their characters. The fic is mine. (There is also a "Phantom of the Opera" version in that section of FFN, if anyone is interested…)
AUTHOR'S NOTES:I got the idea for this after analysing the poem for my Twentieth Century Poetry class and this just wouldn't go away. Enjoy! (P.S. "Renaissance Man" didn't happen, or at least the 7/D part didn't. "Endgame", unfortunately, did…)
La Figlia Che Piange
I was beginning to wish I'd never gone to the holodeck. No, let me rephrase that. I was beginning to wish Mr. Paris hadn't designed the new holo-programme and forced me to see it for myself. It was only to stop his constant whining that I was in there at all.
I admit, it was rather nice. He'd managed to construct a very convincing replica of a very large Victorian English garden, complete with summer house, swing, and maze. It was set on two levels, with a set of stone steps leading from one to the other. It never fails to amaze me where he gets his ideas.
So, there I was, in le jardin de Paris, as he had aptly called it. The holodeck doors opened into the summer house, at the top of the steps, and from there the rest of the garden was in full view. From my vantage point I could see two stone urns on either side of the steps, and I was just about to venture out, when the one thing (or rather, the two things) I didn't want to see came into view.
Seven of Nine, under any other circumstances, I would have been thrilled to find enjoying the programme… not, however, when she was arm in arm with a certain First Officer. My first instinct was to leave; after all the weeks I'd had to get used to the idea, I preferred to vacate the area in their presence. Something made me stay. Call it instinct. So, rather than leaving, I hid in the summer house, and watched them.
Chakotay stopped halfway up the steps, but Seven continued to the top, leaning on one of the urns and surveying the landscape in her usual, critical manner. Mr. Paris' holographic sun reflected brilliantly off her hair from that angle, I noted. The Commander regarded her with interest for a few seconds, obviously thinking about something, then said something I couldn't make out. A second later, a bunch of flowers appeared in his hand.
I couldn't help but think that if it was me, the flowers would at least be replicated, if not authentically grown. Pushing the thought aside, I carried on watching as he approached and handed them to her. It was difficult to tell whether she liked them or not. They were now both within earshot.
"Thank you," she said. "Any reason?"
He seemed nervous. But then, most people did around Seven. "It's a peace offering."
"For what I'm about to tell you." Ah, so he had a reason to be nervous, at least. My curiosity was piqued by this point. Realisation had apparently already dawned, but she said nothing. "There's no easy way to say this, Seven. I can't see you any more."
She bristled, which was definitely a bad sign. "I see," was all she said in reply. "Dare I ask why?"
"If you must know… there's someone else… there has been for a while now. For as long as I remember, actually."
He was met with silence, then, she slowly spoke. "Then… I suppose… it's over." A pause. "But answer me something."
"Is it Captain Janeway?"
I presumed he was unable to stop the smile. "I guess everyone does know after all. Seven, I hope we can still be friends after this."
"We'll see," she stated, bluntly, and with that, dropped the flowers unceremoniously at his feet and stalked past him down the steps again. I was immensely proud of her in that moment, when she simply turned and left him. Her blonde head was the last thing to vanish into the trees, still reflecting the sun.
He stood there for quite a while, so long, in fact, that I was going to venture out to give him a piece of my mind. Eventually, though, he moved, straight through the summer house and out the holodeck doors. I was quite perturbed when he didn't even notice me.
I paced for a long time, waiting for her to re-emerge. After all, she had to leave at some point. I almost wished she had stood her ground rather than walk away, but I suspected she was more upset than her pride would let her show, which is why she walked off. The flowers were dumped in a messy heap on the floor where they fell. They definitely looked better in Seven's arms.
I started to wonder where she had gotten to. I felt like I should admit I'd been watching, at least. More than this, I wondered if she would accept comfort from me now, even if it didn't lead anywhere. I could only hope…
At that moment, I heard the swing creak, and there she was. She didn't look happy, to say the least, so, venturing cautiously 'outside', I went to sit next to her.
She turned to look at me. I could see she'd been crying, although she'd never be one to admit it. "Hello, Doctor."
There was no need to beat around the bush. "I… saw what happened just now."
"You were spying on me?"
"No! No, no. I only saw the two of you part company. I assume it wasn't good news?" Well, it was only a little lie…
"It was not."
"You want to talk about it?" I wasn't expecting her to do any such thing, but at least the offer was there. To my surprise, without even acknowledging my question, she started to do the very thing I had suggested.
"He… is in love with someone else."
Her head dropped. "Yes." There was a brief silence. "I had suspected as much…"
To my dismay, Seven decided that this was enough 'talking' for one day, and made to leave. Instinctively, I grabbed her wrist to stop her. She looked at the point of contact with amusement, but didn't flinch. Still keeping an insistent hold on her wrist, I stood up as well. I wasn't really sure of what I was going to say, or even what I wanted to happen. (Well aside from the obvious, but I wasn't expecting that to occur any time soon.) Somewhat clumsily, I asked,
"Would you care to show me around? Lieutenant Paris told me about it, but neglected to offer me a guided tour."
The eyebrow raised, as anticipated. "There's not really much to show," she stated.
"Maybe for someone who's already seen it. Humour me?" After thinking, she nodded, conceding defeat.
Several minutes later, we were still walking, more or less silently. Occasionally, Seven would point out a particular plant or feature that interested her. We soon ended up back at the swing and summer house. She tried to excuse herself again.
"Doctor, I really should go. I have duties to attend to." I nodded. "Thank you for walking with me."
"It was my pleasure," I said. She hesitated before walking off, and again, I called her back. "Are you going to be all right?"
She stopped and turned to face me again. "I will be fine once I get back to my station. I'm needed in Astrometrics."
"I understood. It's just… if you feel the need to talk, you know where to find me."
She nodded again, and I let her go. The day had certainly been eventful, but ultimately unproductive.
The day after proved more fruitful. She had apparently decided to take up my offer, and appeared in Sickbay that evening, looking rather sheepish.
"Ready to talk?" I asked, rather presumptuously. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't help but push her. To my relief, she didn't run, or reprimand me, but nodded. I gestured for her to sit in my office, waited while she did, and allowed her to tell me whatever she needed to say in her own time.
After a few seconds of silence, she surprised me out of a distracted reverie (during which, all I could envisage was Seven holding flowers - incidentally, the dozen red roses I never got around to giving her all those years ago) by simply saying, "Why?"
She sighed almost irritably but I couldn't tell if it was with me or herself. "Why would he do that? If he was already in love with the Captain, why would he pretend he wasn't?"
Ah! Progress. "Well, I can't answer that. I'm sure he didn't intend to hurt you." I had given up the idea of Chakotay as some kind of soul-destroying ogre a while ago, so at least I could speak with some element of truth.
"I know," she said, "but that doesn't mean he hasn't.." She'd already said too much, in her opinion, and made to leave I barred her exit, by standing square in the doorway.
"No. You're not leaving until you talk this through. I'll try to help, and I promise, it doesn't leave this room." There was another sigh, but she didn't move further.
"I don't know whether to hate him or congratulate him." Apparently, he had confessed all to Janeway that morning in her Ready Room - it took her quite by surprise - and if Mr. Paris' inane grin was any indication, it must have gone well.
"Maybe you should do neither," I ventured. "Just try to be civil, hm?"
"I am always civil." I could have sworn she was joking.
"Well, maybe so, but don't hate him, and don't make him feel guilty. It won't help. Just try to act normally."
"As if nothing happened?"
She processed the information. Then her mood changed again. "I'm beginning to wish I'd never agreed to the procedure... I dislike these feelings."
"I'm afraid I can't reverse the process."
"It'll take time, Seven. But it'll get better, I promise." God knows, I spoke from experience.
I wasn't entirely aware, then, of quite now I ended with my arms around her, or which of us initiated it. I imagine it must have been me, if the sound of her light sobbing was any indication. I only just registered the fact that she was crying, willingly, in my presence, and allowing me to comfort her.
As I tried to calm her down, I wasn't completely aware of my words, since my simulated brain chose that moment to abandon me.
"It's all right…"
After a time, she did stop, and pulled back to face me. Immediately, I hugged her again, tighter, as if it might somehow erase her pain. When we faced each other a second time, something came to me. Should I tell her? Might there be the smallest chance?
I stopped, and focussed my attention on the present before my imagination got ahead of me. My hand had already defied my conscience by reaching to wipe what was left of her tears. She didn't back away, but obviously avoided my gaze. I tried desperately to think of something, anything, to say, and eventually came up with:
"I'm reminded of something I heard once. No matter what happens, just remember…" I stopped. It was far too obvious…
"Remember what?" Damn! No backing out of this one. She had me cornered.
I swallowed and tried not to look nervous. "Just remember that… there's always someone who loves you." I cringed.
She had either guessed, or suspected nothing, as I received no answer. Then…
"Such as you?" She KNEW??
"I suppose now it's unavoidable. Yes." I paused and lifted her chin so I could at least look her in the eyes. She seemed inexplicably terrified. I grasped her hands firmly, and made my first conscious decision in what seemed like hours.
"I… I love you, Seven." It was impossible to gauge her reaction… was she pleased? She seemed slightly less scared, anyway. I decided to continue. "I'm sorry to break this to you now, after… everything… and for not telling you sooner, when I had the chance."
She still said nothing. As a matter of fact, I never gave her the opportunity. In a moment of supreme insanity, I leant forward and kissed her… I didn't care if she destabilised my matrix for me afterwards.
As it transpired, she didn't…
Le jardin de Parishas a lot to answer for…
La Figlia Che Piange
O quam te memorem virgo…
Stand on the highest pavement of the stair -
Lean on a garden urn -
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair -
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise -
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.
So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.
She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon's repose.