A Game Of Velocity
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - they belong to Paramount, they make more sense when I use them.

Set after 'Counterpoint.'

How Suzy Got Her Inspiration Back - she drank caffeine and ate fat.


You come to me the day after, looking for...what? Reassurance? Comfort? Something dependable? What it is you want, you take. That sounds too harsh. You couldn't just 'take' anything from me if I didn't want you to have it. It's as much my choice as yours to give you what you want.

What disappointed you the most was that he lived up to your expectations; he betrayed you. You planned for it, set up a 'safety net' as it were in case the expected happened. It did.

You weren't heart-broken, your life wasn't forever changed...but you were dis-heartened. I imagine it must be relaxing to believe in someone other than yourself for a while. Especially for someone like you - always working too hard, pushing too hard, trying to accomplish so much when the odds are constantly against you.

So I studied you as you sat on my couch, in my quarters, talking about the functions of a ship that you have always called 'ours' but in actuality will never be anything other than yours. This ship is almost an extension of you, a part of you. It's the only thing you let yourself consciously care about. Why? Maybe because it can't talk back. Maybe because it wouldn't deliberately hurt you. Or maybe...you're afraid of anything that cares for you.

I know that in the Alpha Quadrant you had Mark, a family, even a dog. But we're not there. We're in the Delta Quadrant and the situation is a hell of a lot different.

The main problem is your guilt. Problem. That's the wrong word for it. Feeling guilty isn't exactly a problem; in fact I'd find it odd if you *didn't* feel guilty.

The 'problem' is that you've surrounded yourself with a metaphorical cloak of all-encompassing guilt. A gamut of self-blaming emotions like something out of one of those historical holoprogrammes you're so fond of.

I understand, now, why you find those programmes so appealing. Your life in constantly filled with difficult choices, life and death battles, keeping a rebel crew together. Yet you try not to let yourself care about it. Sometimes you can't help but care - even you - but most of the time you try to brush off the latest incident and do your best to prepare for the next one.

In the holoprogrammes *you* are in control. You can experience the drama, tension, and the ridiculous hyperbole of the exciting existance you want to live...but you don't have to care. The other players are merely shadows, controlled by your commands and the computers response.

You're part-way through checking over the crew roster when I notice how unfocused your eyes are becoming. You're tired and I wish that just once you would let yourself be comforted because it's what you're always looking for but won't ask. You will never ask and I can't offer because you'd be offended because you hadn't asked me.

A no-win situation, I think we'd call this.

It doesn't have to be *me* by any means. You could have gone to Tuvok or even Kashyk while he was here. It he had made you genuinely happy and hadn't betrayed you I would have supported your decision to keep him on board. I'm not trying to be selfless, but I think I owe you enough not to have fought it. Besides, I'm sure he would have made an excellent addition to the crew.

I sigh but you don't hear, commenting on B'Elanna's engineering report which is on the padd you hold in your hands. You haven't even noticed that I've yet to say a word since you arrived and you've been carrying the conversation by yourself.

It's only after you ask me a question regarding the calibration of the warp core that you realise I haven't been paying attention, and that my barely responsive grunts as you talked that sounded like my agreements were only my attempts to sound as if I had any real idea as to what you were saying.

You look at me, lowering the padd in your hand. "Chakotay? Are you alright?"

I want to laugh. Alright? I'm never alright when it comes to my Captain. I think I have an ulcer because of you.

I don't voice these thoughts, instead standing from my beige-coloured chair in my beige-coloured room and extend my hand towards you.

"How would you like to join a friend for a few rounds of velocity?"

You're surprised and rightly so. "Chakotay, we still have to go over these reports."

"We can go over them later." My arm still reaches out.

You look down at the padd. "But-"

"I'll have a seat and wait, even if it is a while."

Thinking that I'm joking you start to smile, then look up at me and realise I'm completely serious. The smile vanishes before being slowly transformed into a grin. "Well," you say "these are your quarters. I could always leave."

Damn. "Fine. You leave and I'll follow you around all day."

You seem to come to the realisation then that I'm not going to let this drop. We're going to play velocity and there's absolutely no way I'm going to let you out of it.

"Okay," you nod, placing the padd on the table and reaching out with the same hand to grab my own over the table. "But only three rounds," you tell me as you pull yourself off the couch.

"Eight." I insist, turning away from you but guiding you around the table.

"Alright," you reply slowly, wondering where my new back bone has grown from.

As we walk towards the doors and they open, you give my hand a small squeeze before letting go to tell me that maybe, just maybe, you won't whip my butt and you'll actually let me win a few rounds.


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