Summary: Chakotay helps B'Elanna put herself back together after an away mission gone bad.
Characters: Torres, Chakotay
Codes: Chakota & Torres
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for #fictober2018 Day 4 prompt: “Will that be all?” Episode addition to Faces.
It’s disturbing how quickly she’s become used to this feeling; this sense of depleted energy. The Doctor says it’s the degradation of her DNA, but then, he’s also told her she’ll be back to normal in no time. She has only two more treatments until her Klingon DNA fully reasserts itself; surely she should be feeling stronger by now?
She suspects, because in her current form she is not so afraid to obscure the truth from herself, that her weakness is psychosomatic. She doesn’t want to return to her normality.
Because this is the closest to normal that she’s ever felt.
Several of the crew have stopped by to visit her over the past two days – Harry, Carey, the captain, even Tom Paris – but the one person she’d expected to see, the one she’d hoped would be there for her, hasn’t made an appearance. Until now.
Chakotay steps into her quarters carrying a bottle of something golden-brown and wearing an expression of remorse.
“Before you start calling me names, I’m sorry,” he starts. “I have no excuse.”
She shrugs. “Forget it. You’re here now.”
His eyebrows rise. “That’s very forgiving of you, B’Elanna.”
“It’s very unlike me, you mean.” She shoots him a dark look that’s only barely lit by the upward curve of her lips.
“Touché,” Chakotay smiles, and passes her the bottle.
She swigs from it and tries not to cough. “I guess my human self doesn’t tolerate Saurian brandy very well.”
He laughs, and she pats the cushion beside her, inviting him to sit.
“How are you feeling?” he asks gently after they’ve shared a few more sips.
“Oh, you know.” Her fingers stray to the faint ridges that have appeared on her forehead. “More like myself, I guess.”
“You don’t sound too happy about that.”
She’s been putting on a convincing act over the past two days, or at least she thinks she has, telling people she’s looking forward to being her old self again. And it’s the right thing to do. She can see that from Harry’s relief, Joe’s smile, Henley’s clasp on her shoulder. Without the Klingon chip on her shoulder, she can admit that they want her to be happy.
But Chakotay has always been able to see through her bravado.
“Talk to me, B'Elanna,” he urges.
She takes the bottle from his hand and drinks from it liberally, wiping her mouth to give herself a little extra time to formulate her answer.
“That feeling of peace,” she says haltingly, “I can feel it ebbing away with every treatment. Every time the Doctor infuses me with more of her DNA, I feel less … I feel … I don’t know,” she bursts in frustration.
“Your DNA,” he corrects, his voice gentle.
“It’s your DNA, B'Elanna. She’s a part of you.”
“Do you think I don’t know that?” She pushes to her feet. “Do you have any idea what it’s like to feel there’s a part of you missing and not want it back? To know what it’s like to be at peace at last, only to have it ripped away from you?”
He watches her with sympathy. “No,” he admits, “I guess I don’t know how that feels.”
All the fight goes out of her on a shaky exhale, and she sits beside him, head bowed. “I don’t know if I’ll ever stop fighting that part of myself,” she says, plaintive. “I finally understand how it feels to be content, and now I can’t help but wonder, will that be all?”
Chakotay’s hand is warm on hers. “You’re more than the sum of your parts,” he reminds her. “Without her – that part of yourself – you’re not B'Elanna Torres. And I miss her. I want my friend back.”
“Bad attitude and all?” she asks, almost smiling as she glances at him sidelong.
He laughs. “Who would B'Elanna Torres be without the attitude?”
“Nobody I know,” she says, her smile full and genuine, and she curls up next to him on the couch and rests her head on his shoulder.