"It Takes A Hologram..."
Rating: R for Anglo-Saxon language and sexual connotation
Notes: A drabble that got too big. Spoilers and a missing scene for "Lineage". The phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child" kept bothering me, and I felt particularly peeved at B'Elanna's easy dismissal of Chakotay as Godfather. Until Tom, seasons 1-4 Chakotay and B'Elanna were the closest thing to family you could see on Voyager for goodness sake! This isn't a Chakotay that I like, but frankly, I think he's entitled. The whole 'EMH as Godparent' thing was obviously more about the writers wanting to make the EMH appear more human to us, the audience, than it was about any logical outcome or nod to Chakotay's and Torres' already well-established friendship. Besides, I just have this image of the EMH throwing the squealing, gurgling little tyke up in the air - as Godparents have done for hundreds of years with their little charges - just as his program gets the blue-screen o'death and pftttt! - Splat! goes the baby ;) And don't get me started on Janeway's O'Irish vibrator. Grrrr!
Disclaimer: Paramount and the Viaborg own them, I'm just playing.
"You do understand, don't you, Chakotay?"
My heart contracts as her news sinks in and I almost blurt out an automatic, 'Sure, B'Elanna' - a soothing platitude that will make everything alright between us. But, I've never lied to her and I don't intend to start now.
She's hurt me, deeply. Losing my godchild to Tuvok, Harry, or Neelix I could understand and forgive, but to a computer program? When I'm right here ; two able hands and a warm heart, ready and willing to cherish her daughter and oversee her spiritual well-being ; to love, guide and understand her just as I've always loved, guided and understood her mother? I thought we were so close... I thought we were family.
Ever helpful, my mind suddenly flash-frames on the hand-carved wooden cradle lying in pieces on the floor of my quarters, just waiting for me to put it together. Every sharp edge carefully and painstakingly smoothed with fine sand-paper as my mind wandered and I imagined what it would be like to be a godparent. Would I be strict, but patient and kindly? Would I be an ally in fights with her parents, and then a bridge between them? Would I be an easy push-over for some manipulative little moppet with big blue eyes and a halo of blonde curls? Or would I be an even bigger push-over for a miniture version of her mother ; another dark-haired Klingon spitfire with frightened doe-eyes, and a huge chip on her shoulder? I guess I'll never know. Just another pipe-dream doing what pipe-dreams do best... drifting away on the breeze. It's B'Elanna's right, her decision - I know that, but I just thought... I stupidly assumed....
I can't do this. I have to get out of here before I say something we'll both regret, but I stand too quickly and my chair falls. Concern fills her eyes and she stands, too.
We stand in tableau for a long moment - her with one hand outstretched, me unable to take it.
"No, B'Elanna, I don't understand. It's true, I know less about raising children than Harry does, but then so do you and Tom, and yet here you are stepping into the great unknown yourself. Raising children is something that's part instinct, part learned behaviour, and part pure luck. It's the same for most species. I don't have a database of childhood ailments and sniffles in my head, but I have a kind and loving heart ; I love you, and I'd love, guide, and protect your daughter like she was my own. So, tell me, what is it with the women on this ship? What is it that makes you so indifferent to the feelings of people who care about you deeply... real people, with real emotions who genuinely love you? Why are holograms the easy, acceptable answer to everything?"
My voice is a little too loud and a hush falls over the room as heads turn, but I'm past caring.
Tossing my napkin onto the table I right my chair and make for the door ; knowing that every pair of eyes in the room is on my back. And wouldn't you know it - just as I get to the door it hisses open to admit the other person I don't need to see right now.
Kathryn. Dull-eyed and tense after yet another empty fuck-fest with a trick of light on the holodeck.
Her face creases into a smile as our eyes meet and she nods a greeting. "Good morning, Commander."
As I go to step past her she catches my arm, using my body to conceal the fact that she's laid her other hand over my heart from the crew. She smiles that practiced smile - the lop-sided one she knows I can't resist - and leans in close. "Join me for breakfast, Chakotay?"
A part of me can't believe it when I turn her down.
"I don't think so, Captain. I'm on my way to the Bridge to make sure I haven't been completely replaced by a hologram. You should join B'Elanna, though. The two of you suddenly have a lot in common."
She opens her mouth to say something, but I'm through the door and on my way to the Bridge before she can say it.