Title: Spirit Guided ( Pt1)
Kathryn Janeway walked into her quarters, letting the door close behind her, shutting out the light from the corridor, keeping herself in darkness. Wrapping her arms around herself she let her shoulders slump, the weariness taking hold as she walked across to stand at the window, gazing at the myriad stars. But tonight they brought her no comfort.
Her eyes stung, but she refused to shed the tears... Instead she laid her head against the bulkhead, "Computer, begin recording... Captain's Personal Log, stardate..." She trailed off, swallowing hard, realising that she couldn't remember - and not particularly caring. Finally she began again, "I'm getting more and more worried about Tuvok. He still refuses to talk to anyone, pushing any offer aside. And he either forgets or chooses to ignore the fact that I've known him too long not to see through that coolly, logical façade he's sheltering behind, to see the pain and the grief beyond. He's so rigidly in control, but his eyes have no life in them any more. Sooner or later that façade is going to crack... and God help us all when it does."
She sighed, sitting down, "Nor can he see the effect it's having on the crew. It's as if the whole ship is grieving with him, as if they've all suddenly realised that there's a very real possibility they might lose him. Chakotay watches him constantly, as if waiting to catch him when he eventually falls and God knows, I'm not much better.
I've talked to the Doctor, but short of declaring Tuvok unfit for duty there's nothing he can do. And frankly I'm not willing to take away the only thing that's holding him together right now. I'm already worried enough about the amount of time he spends locked away in his quarters when he's off duty. And despite his assurances, I have my suspicions that he hasn't eaten since...
Hell... has it only been three weeks? Was it only three weeks ago that this nightmare began for him? Since then I've watched him grow paler and more withdrawn with each passing day, his usual indomitable strength dissipating into a frail ghost of what it once was. I have a horrible suspicion that the loss of T'Pel may have broken him, dropped him into an emotional abyss that he'll never find his way out of.
I've been in love. I know what that's like. But that was human love... I was never bonded by a mind link to my mate for life, the one who meant most to me in this universe..."
She paused, trying to catch hold of an elusive memory, "What was it he once said about it? *Apart yet never parted...?*"
She shook her head, once more trying to grasp the enormity of the situation, "And now she's gone...
Human beings are left with an empty space in their hearts, but Vulcans... Oh, Tuvok, my friend, I can't even begin to imagine the hole there must be in your life, in your heart, in your mind, in your whole being. But I'm watching you waste away before my very eyes. And the terrifying thing is that there's not a God damned thing I can do about it!"
* * * *
Chakotay opened his eyes, more troubled now than he had been when he sat down to meditate. His spirit guide had, for once, remained silent. Instead Dragonfly had come to him, telling him that it was time for change, time to become who he really was rather than what he *thought* he was. Then Badger had advised him to forge ahead, not to allow his shyness, or his insecurity on this matter to hold him back.
But how could he? How could he possibly confront this thing now? Tuvok was in enough pain. How could he possibly go to him? //Look, Tuvok, I know you've just lost your wife, but you see, I think I'm in love with you...//
Slowly, he folded his medicine bundle, Dragonfly's and Badger's words still whispering in his head. Then his memories snapped back to the Bridge, to the strangled cry of torment that had pulled them all round - in time to see Tuvok's face contort in agony. He'd cried out a name - T'Pel - once, then slumped lifelessly across the console.
Janeway had had to yell at them as everyone moved, screaming at them not to touch the Vulcan, that he was a touch telepath and that whatever was wrong they could do even more damage. Those few interminable seconds until the Doctor had arrived had dragged Chakotay back into the hell he had so masterfully talked himself out of. To see Tuvok in such pain, to watch him lying helpless across the console and be unable to do anything for him had ripped his heart into shreds.
Until that moment he had successfully pushed aside his feelings for the Vulcan, telling himself that Tuvok was married, that any relationship with him was doomed before it started. He had hidden behind duty, reminding himself that it wouldn't be seemly for two senior officers to get involved.
But all that had been ripped away. He had wanted nothing more than to take Tuvok in his arms, to hold him, to tell him that everything would be all right. Instead he was rooted to the spot, unable even to touch him.
Then his heart had broken all over again when the Tuvok who returned to the bridge the next day was colder and even more unapproachable. And yet so much more vulnerable...
And now... now Dragonfly and Badger were telling him to take the plunge, to tell Tuvok how he felt... That hadn't really been the answer he had been looking for. He had been looking for guidance, for someway to try to help the Vulcan. Announcing his undying love somehow didn't seem the right answer.
Unless their message had simply been that he should talk to Tuvok... Perhaps he was reading too deeply into their words...
He pushed himself to his feet, looking at the medicine bundle for a moment. Then he put it down on the table and turned towards the door, "Computer, location of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok."
* * * *
Anger... Hatred... Grief...
< < T'Pel...?> >
Steepled fingers clenched into fists. But he forced his hands open again, < < Calm, yourself! This emotion is illogical! > >
But the pain gnawed at him, expanding to fill him, enveloping his soul and breaking the meditation. Again.
Unhindered a tear coursed slowly down his cheek. He opened his eyes, looking back into the flame of the candle, steepling his fingers once more and beginning the mantra again. But the moment he closed his eyes the empty spaces in his mind, where T'Pel's touch usually rested, amplified the words, echoing them hollowly around his head. He struggled against it, fighting to stay in control. But emotion swamped him again, crashing in on him, driving him down onto his back to lie struggling for breath on the floor.
Anger surged and he rolled abruptly to his knees, sweeping the candle and the incense off of the table. Tilting his head back, he filled his lungs and screamed her name.
* * * *
Chakotay paused outside the door, hand almost touching the chime. //Look, it's easy! Just go in, tell him that you're there if he needs to talk, tell him you'd like to help... Then take it from there. See! Easy!//
"Forge ahead!" Badger had told him.
He took a deep breath and pressed the chime.
* * * *