The Wrong Man Was Convicted

The Wrong Man Was Convicted
Written January 2001
Rated PG
Synopsis: Chakotay watches Janeway and Paris dance.
Spoilers: “Resolutions” and various episodes explaining the relationship between Janeway and Paris

Disclaimer: All of the characters and situations featured herein are property of Paramount Pictures. Stephen Duffy and Steven Page wrote the words and music for “The Wrong Man Was Convicted,” and I am borrowing the song. No infringement is intended.

A Youtube version of the song can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEjlJHc84Sc


I was always under the impression that protocol meant more to her than love. She turned me down, denied my affections, and told me that she was already in a relationship–with Voyager. I knew she was lonely, but I wasn’t going to pressure her. I honestly believed she would come to me when she was ready.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We were all settled in Paris’s latest holodeck creation. She was sitting with me. I was surprised she had even come, but she supported her crew and wanted to be a part of them. I was quite pleased; she definitely needed to get out more. If the entire crew was to be stuck in the Delta Quadrant for the next sixty years or so, she would have to be more accessible on both a personal and professional level.

At a first glance, Paris’s program was less than exciting. When we walked into the holodeck, our eyes were forced to adjust to the darkened room. It was part bar, part night club, part concert hall. The neon lights buzzing over the bar provided most of the light. Each of the small round tables had a lit candle inside a glass sconce. There was a stage with instruments waiting for a band to play them. A space in front of the stage had been cleared for dancing.

There were a few holographic patrons inside, either sitting at tables or at the bar. We took a table together and ordered some drinks from the server. Slowly, other senior staff members arrived. It was Paris’s night to shine. Some other officers arrived, and soon the whole place was more or less busy.

I nodded a greeting to Ensign Kim and B’Elanna. They smiled back and took a table together. I was amused by their apparent relationship. B’Elanna and Paris had separated after a year-long courtship. Everyone knew Harry had a crush on her, but I think it was Paris himself who pushed the kid into asking B’Elanna on a date. Apparently, her feelings weren’t all that different. I was happy for them; I’ve known B’Elanna for a long time, and I’m glad she’s finally found someone who will keep her Klingon side in check.

The band appeared, and everyone cheered. The five men took their places on stage and began to perform. I leaned in to Kathryn, speaking to her over the drum introduction. “Ensign Paris tells me this is a late 20th century Earth band. His favorite, apparently.”

“What do they call themselves?”

“The Barenaked Ladies.”

She laughed. “Somehow, I’m not surprised that Tom would like a band called the Barenaked Ladies.”

I smiled at her remark. Ensign Tom Paris had been a sort of project to her over the years. She had been his father’s protégé, and she grew up hearing all about him. It was fate that brought them together on Voyager–she as the captain, he as the observer. She had given him a field commission of lieutenant as well as the helm, a position he took great pride in. She knew that all he needed was a bit of self-confidence after the Caldik Prime incident to prove himself. She was absolutely right. Paris was a superb officer, and although he and I have our differences, I still respect him for all he has accomplished. He’s a damn good pilot. It was his own self-confidence that got him thirty days in the brig and a demotion to ensign.

I know Kathryn was glad to have him back at the helm. She missed his antics and his company. They were good friends, and Paris prided himself on being one of the few people who could make her laugh. He also brought her out of her captain’s shell, getting her to play pool and enjoy the company of her crew. Because of each other, they were both better people. I didn’t mind their relationship; I didn’t see Paris as much of a threat.

Tonight changed that.

It seemed harmless enough, that much was certain. Everyone else was dancing, so why shouldn’t she? My offer was turned down, but it didn’t bother me. Kathryn can be fickle, but that was one of her endearing qualities. It gave me hope that she would turn right around and change her mind.

Paris pulled a chair up next to her at our table. “Enjoying yourself, Captain?” He had to shout a bit since we were so close to the stage.

She knew what he said and nodded. “They’re great. Their songs seem to fit every situation.”

“That’s part of their appeal. What about you, Chakotay? Enjoying yourself? Can I get you anything from the bar?”

I politely shook my head. I was enjoying just sitting with Kathryn, her chair so close to mine. “You did a good job on the program, Ensign.”

“Thanks. Figured I’d share my love for ancient Earth culture with the rest of the crew.” A loud, contagious beat emerged from the stage. Paris’s eyes seemed to light up. “Oh! This is a great song! Come on, Captain, dance with me.”

Dance with me. I nearly laughed. Surely she wouldn’t… I started to take a drink from my glass, trying to act uninterested. I couldn’t wait to hear her refusal.

I never heard it. She took his hand–and held it, I might add–as he led her to the center of the dance floor. I nearly choked on my drink and had to cough. My eyes were wide. The woman who had refused my offer just moments before was now twirling in the arms of another man.

I was never one for being jealous, but this was completely unacceptable.

I’ve devoted myself to making life easy for her. Everything I do is for her. No exceptions. And she knew that. She knows that. But where was the justice in this? I may want her to be happy, but I was kind of hoping she’d be happy with me, not him.

Still, I maintained my hopefulness. The song would end soon, and she’d be back at my side. I nodded to myself, pleased at my conclusion. She wasn’t planning on dancing with him the whole night. That would certainly get the rumor mill started, and I didn’t think there were any betting pools relating to a relationship between them. There were tons for the two of us. Everyone seemed to want us together…everyone, except her.

I glanced around the holodeck again. Most of the other couples were dancing, including Harry and B’Elanna. I was quite surprised to see Tuvok sitting at a table. He wasn’t one for these holodeck programs. I don’t think I’d ever seen him at Sandrine’s playing pool. I gestured to him, and he came to my table.

“Yes, Commander?”

“Have a seat, Tuvok. What brings you to the holodeck?”

He looked positively irritated. “Ensign Paris insisted that I ‘make an appearance.'”

“I’m sure the captain appreciates it.”

“It is dubious that she has even noticed my arrival.”

Ooh, this was good. Someone else who was annoyed by the dancing. I tried to think of a good way to get him on the subject. “Are you as shocked as I am that she’s dancing with Paris?” Ah, hell. Might as well be straightforward; subtlety will get you nowhere with a Vulcan.

“On the contrary. Her relationship with the ensign is rather logical.”

“Logical? In what sense?”

“She is in need of a more personal relationship with a member of the crew.”

Maybe this was a bad idea… “I agree, but Paris?”

“He has shown an interest in her that she has reciprocated on several occasions. She does not intimidate him, and he does not appall her. She has expressed a desire to be included in more crew activities, and he has gone out of his way to make sure she is comfortable with the arrangements. It is, therefore, a logical pairing.”

Yep, definitely not the answer I wanted to hear. I mustered a smile. “I appreciate you informing me of situations involving Captain Janeway.”

Tuvok nodded dutifully and rose from his chair. “I will be returning to the bridge now, Commander. Good evening.”

I leaned back in my chair hard. A second song had started, and they were still dancing. She didn’t even glance in my direction. Her eyes seemed to be locked onto his. It was another upbeat song, so I didn’t feel the need to exit the holodeck in blatant shock.

I still didn’t get it. Tuvok could explain his logic all he wanted, but it still didn’t make sense to me. I’ve never seen Paris and Kathryn together, and I certainly haven’t seen her reciprocate any feelings that he may have for her. Well, okay, there was the time in Sandrine’s playing pool, but that was strictly platonic. And she may have been upset about demoting him, but who wouldn’t? Of course, there was also the Captain Proton scenario with Kathryn wearing that amazing dress. And then the…

I wanted to hit myself over the head. It just seemed so wrong. She was much older than him, and she was his commanding officer! At least I was closer in age and a member of the Maquis. No protocol there. Well, technically, there was no protocol in their sense either; Paris had been rescued from prison to go on Voyager‘s mission to find my ship. It just so happened that we got sucked into the Delta Quadrant, forcing all of us to be officers on her ship.

I suppose I could go up to them and cut in on their dancing. If she wasn’t enjoying herself, that would give her an escape. But if she was having fun, she’d probably stick me on waste management detail. Never mind.

I had made myself clear on New Earth, hadn’t I? She knew I loved her, didn’t she? Yes, she must have, and I knew she loved me, too. Perhaps I should have been more clear since then. She must think that my lack of advances meant that I was uninterested in starting a relationship with her. She needed space, time to sort out her feelings; it’s only natural for her to think that I need it too. Was this whole incident my fault?

The song ended, and the dancers applauded. I looked for any indication that she would be returning to our table. Instead, the band began that slow song I had been dreading. I leaned forward in my chair in anticipation; I know I must have looked foolish, but I didn’t care. Kathryn turned from the stage to look at Paris. He actually seemed nervous; I take it this wasn’t part of his plan. However, he held out his arms in a position indicative of a waltz.

I kept leaning forward in my chair, waiting to see what her response would be. Deep down, I think I already knew.

Very slowly, very gently, she took one hand and allowed him to put the other one around her waist. She kept her eyes locked onto his as if she was still debating whether or not the dance was a good idea. Finally she smiled and placed her head on his chest. After he got over the surprise, Paris closed his eyes and rested his chin on the top of her head.

I must have been holding my breath because I let out a long, labored sigh. The look of pure peacefulness on her face made me tremble. Something told me that I was down for the count before I even had a chance to fight.

Calmly, I rose to my feet. My legs were weaker than before, but I doubt it had anything to do with my sitting. I finally understood what Kathryn meant by “Their songs seem to fit every situation.” The one playing seemed to mock my situation. I walked to the exit, careful to resist the temptation to glance over my shoulder, and was greeted by silence.

***

Who’s lonely now? Which one of us is suffering?
Who’s in his cups? Which one of us recovering?
Who likes to look at pictures and cries, but way too late?
Who doesn’t want to change a thing, accepting it was fate?

The wrong man was convicted
You know I did the deed
I thought that you would wait for me
Your wants I needn’t heed
The wrong man lies beside you
And waits for you to wake
And all because I lacked conviction
The judgment’s my mistake

Who’s breathless now? Who only hyperventilates?
Who’d die for you? Who’s dying inside anyway?
Which one of us is sunshine and which one’s growing dim?
While two men dream of you at night, do you just dream of him?

The wrong man was convicted
You know I did the deed
I thought that you would wait for me
Your wants I needn’t heed
The wrong man lies beside you
And waits for you to wake
And all because I lacked conviction
The judgment’s my mistake

Who’s lonely now?
Who’s reaching out to no one?
Who’s lonely now?
It takes one to know one
I changed my mind; you said that I could change it back
I wanted space, and now change has fallen through the cracks
If I’m again beside your body, don’t tell me where it’s been
It’s cruel, unusual punishment to kiss fingerprinted skin

The wrong man was convicted
You know I did the deed
I thought that you would wait for me
Your wants I needn’t heed
The wrong man lies beside you
And waits for you to wake
And all because I lacked conviction
The judgment’s my mistake

It’s my mistake
It’s my mistake
It’s my mistake

–Barenaked Ladies “The Wrong Man Was Convicted”

The End

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