(Given) All I've Got
Summary: Chakotay and Tuvok conspire to protect their mutual friend from herself.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok
Codes: Janeway & Chakotay, Chakotay & Tuvok
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 30 prompt: “Do we really have to do this again?” Episode addition to Homestead.
“Do we really have to do this again?”
There’s a raw edge to her tone that makes Chakotay look up, gaze sharpening on her face. “Do what, Kathryn?”
“Say goodbye to another friend.” She won’t meet his eyes; her fingertip slides circles around the rim of her wine glass. “Lose someone else who’s become part of our family.”
“I thought you were supportive of Neelix’s decision to leave.”
“I am… of course I am.” She sighs. “He wants to make a new life, and who am I to deny that? It just feels as though every time I turn around I’m saying another goodbye. Again and again, countless times until I can’t lose anybody else –”
She cuts herself off on a sharp inhale and pushes back her chair, moving quickly to the replicator where she stands with her back to him.
“I know you’ll miss him,” he says gently. “We all will.”
In fact, Chakotay muses, she’ll probably miss Neelix more than anyone. Kathryn has been pulling back from everyone recently – him, Tuvok, Seven – but Neelix seems to have been the exception. The little Talaxian has certainly picked up a few of the Kathryn-handling duties that used to be Chakotay’s: reminding her to eat, bringing her morning coffee, keeping her up to date on ship’s gossip …
He squashes the traitorous thought that he saves those attentions for another woman now: one who is equally dismissive of them, but who responds to his affections in ways Kathryn does not.
He wonders who Kathryn will confide in once Neelix is gone. Who will offer her the emotional support she certainly doesn’t ask for from Chakotay, and wouldn’t accept if he offered it?
“Well.” Clearly having composed herself, Kathryn turns back to the table. “Are you ready to try some home cooking?”
“I’ll alert sickbay,” Chakotay jokes automatically.
She utters a polite laugh that doesn’t reach her eyes, and he feels warning curdle in his gut and resolves to pay attention to his instincts this time, before she can spiral down as she has in the past.
“Do you remember the last time I sought your advice?”
“Indeed,” Tuvok replies. “It was during the captain’s self-imposed isolation in the Void. You were concerned she might attempt to atone for her feelings of guilt through a self-sacrificial act.”
“And I was right.”
“Do you believe she is currently in a similar mental state?”
“Not exactly,” Chakotay concedes. “She’s not consumed by guilt the way she was back then and she isn’t holed up in her quarters, but there are other ways to isolate yourself. And she puts on a good face for the crew, but I can tell she isn’t happy. She hasn’t been for some time. I’m afraid Neelix leaving could be the final straw.”
“Have you addressed this with the Doctor?”
“Not yet. But I will,” Chakotay sighs. “I just wanted to ensure I have your support first. In case I need to take … drastic action.”
Tuvok’s eyebrow rises. “An intervention.”
“I can’t believe we might have to do this again,” Chakotay scrubs a hand over his eyes, “but I’m afraid we won’t have a choice. I don’t know what she’ll do the next time we lose someone.”
“You have my support, Commander,” Tuvok assures him. “But Captain Janeway will always have my loyalty.”
“And mine,” Chakotay retorts. “I don’t want her command, Tuvok.”
“Then perhaps you should decide what it is you want from her,” Tuvok responds placidly.
And, because there is far too much and not enough to say, Chakotay nods tightly and leaves without another word.