DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. However, I sure wish that Paramount would create a new Star Trek series of good quality that would keep the idea alive so that we Fan Fiction writers don't have to do all the work. :)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: There are several sex scenes in this story. On top of that, sex is talked about. However, this story is not just sex (talk). It simply turned out to be a good base to build on other stuff. Note that this story deals with a relationship that has a more dominant and a more submissive partner. However, this is not Dom/sub by any stretch. This is merely two people that fit well together where BOTH people have an equal say in their relationship, just that they prefer to fulfill different roles in said relationship. Also, note, the Delaney sisters are in this story and they are close. Very close. So close that some people might have a problem with it, but rest assured it's not so close as some Voyager people would wish it to be. :P On a side note, Tal Celes also has a pretty decent role in this story. If you read some Voyager Fan Fiction, you will probably know her because she is very often featured as a supporting character. But when I was checking out her bio, I discovered that she has actually only been seen in two, count them, two, episodes. My point here is I find it interesting how some characters can just stick with you and appeal to so many; not just Tal, but also the Delaney sisters or Ro Laren. (Ro is not in this story, just using her as an example for this side note.) She was also in only a few episodes of TNG yet everyone pretty much knows her. But on the other hand, characters like Tuvok and Neelix are often nothing more than just mentioned because they are part of the main cast and therefore basically have to be mentioned. Strange.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mhw.weckseler[at]gmail.com

Twenty-five to Life
By H.W.


Chapter 4

Day one. (Beginning of the Urdian month)

Kathryn opened her eyes slowly, to see two golden colored eyes looking back at her. She just looked for a moment and then the tears started to flow.

"Hey, what's wrong, Kitten?" Brika asked concerned. She caressed Kathryn's cheek, glad to see her wife leaned into the touch, so whatever it was the problem wasn't with Brika.

"You're here," Kathryn said as she closed her eyes.

Brika softly kissed Kathryn and brushed some of her hairs away. "You know Kitten, if I didn't have a good feeling about what you mean, I think I would be really insulted by my wife crying because she wakes up beside me."

Kathryn smiled. "You're too funny. It's... for years now I woke up every morning in bed alone. I was surrounded by people on my ship that knew me, but I always had this distance towards them because I'm the one in command. Now, after years, I wake up and open my eyes to see someone who wants to spend her life with me. I love you."

Brika smiled before assuring, "And I love you, my little Kitten. I could tell you that you shouldn't keep this distance between you and the crew, but I know it's not that easy. Even if you wanted to be best friends with every one of them, they wouldn't completely relax around the head honcho. I have experienced it myself only too often. But you know what, my love?"


"That time is over. If you can't allow yourself to be close to your crew, twenty different people have the same rank as you. There are twenty other captains in our armada. It's time for you to make new friends, the kind that can interact with you on an equal basis."

"What about you?" Kathryn asked. "Won't you be the lone person now?"

"Why? I have you, don't I?"

"You do, most definitely," Kathryn assured right away. "But what I mean is,"

"Don't worry," Brika interrupted. "I have the advantage of being an Admiral and therefore passed the direct interaction stage. My task is to sit back and let the Captains do their thing, only stepping in if things happen that I cannot allow. We have experience with this. Meaning, the Admirals that leave with the fleets aren't treated as if they have some kind of disease and should be avoided. In fact, as far as that is concerned, I'm more accessible by the crews because I'm not their direct superior. As for the other Captains, by now, since they reached the rank of Captain, they don't get scared anymore of saying 'hi' to a person that is higher in rank than them. This is like you were on a first name basis with some of your Starfleet Admirals."

"Ah, I told you about my life in the Federation?"

"You did. What, did you think the only thing we did was stay in bed all day?"

Kathryn chuckled. "That's a tempting proposal." Then she sobered. "Yet another layer of awkwardness to all of this. I have no idea what I already told you about my life. Should I even bother to tell you something? I don't want to burden you with hearing things I already told you."

"Kitten," Brika said softly, "You never burden me. You drive me to frustration sometimes but you never burden me. If you want to tell me something, tell me. I rather hear something twice, than you starting not to tell me stuff. Love, you didn't have secrets from me. I now know that this was because you simply didn't care, but tell me. Do you want to start having secrets now?"

Kathryn could see the pain in her wife's eyes from just the thought of Kathryn wanting to keep secrets from her or not wanting to share parts of her life with her. Making her choice, and not caring in the least about the rest of the universe or Starfleet regulations, Kathryn assured firmly, "Never. I love you. My life is your life, every single detail of it."

Brika came closer and then rolled them over until she was lying on top of her wife. "And I love you, my most wonderful Kitten. Let me show you how much."

"We're supposed to be on duty soon," Kathryn said in a weak objection.

"We'll make it up by staying longer. I want you. Now, my stubborn wife, do you really want to leave or do you want me to show you just how well I know your body?"

"Well," Kathryn said, pretending to think about it. "As a good friend of mine likes to say, resistance is futile."

"I like B'Elanna's counter to that a lot more," Brika said as she lowered herself a little. She pulled the V of Kathryn's nightshirt down a little and placed a welcome kiss where the swell of Kathryn's left breast started.

"You, oh yeah, you know them?"

"I got to know them, Harry, and Tom, a little better while we were preparing the transition to you all continuing your journey to the Alpha Quadrant. That's when I heard B'Elanna's reaction when Seven said 'resistance is futile'."

"And what did B'Elanna say?" Kathryn asked only to gasp when Brika suddenly ripped her nightshirt wide open.

"Resistance is fun."

B'Elanna was beat; not from work, she hadn't done much that day, but because of emotions. On separate occasions, she had talked with ten of her engineers. Some more as if to catch up on the latest news, but two had actually broken down when they realized they lost that time for good. One didn't even want to go to his new home, knowing he had a partner waiting there he didn't, couldn't remember having met but that he was supposed to love. B'Elanna had assured him, explained to him time was a factor and given time he would get to know his partner again. Then B'Elanna had to deal with his anger. He was angry at the situation and she was a convenient target. She had managed, somehow, to calm him down and eventually got him to promise he would try building the relationship from where it is now.

As hard as that was, it had been even worse for B'Elanna to stand there and hear the Urdian Engineers come by talking about how they had to rip 'this and that' out of Engineering to fit the new engine. It felt as if someone was twisting a dagger in B'Elanna's heart. She had spent years making sure everything worked. She prided herself on the fact Engineering's upkeep record was ninety-eight percent; far above the Starfleet mandate of ninety-two percent. Hearing those Urdian talking as if it all was scrap metal made B'Elanna feel as if all her skills were brushed aside as useless.

Oh, she knew that in a few days she would be over it. Then she would be thrilled to be working with the new and advanced technology. Still, to hear one of those engineers ask another how 'this stuff can even reach warp at all' had hurt more than she cared to admit.

The day finally ended. When B'Elanna walked into the quarters, she was relieved to see Seven wasn't there. She smiled. "Great, at least I can get a shower and get rid of this strain before having to talk to her. She walked down the corridor into the bathroom... and stopped as soon as the door opened and she could very clearly see that Seven was in the quarters after all. The blonde was standing under the hydro shower, obviously totally naked, and with her back to the Klingon.

B'Elanna knew she should turn around and leave, but the erotic image of Seven's shapely body, with water cascading over it in the most sensual of ways, held her rooted in place. Hair normally worn in a tight bun was now hanging loose and reached over halfway down the blonde's back. The water made the strands cling to the pale skin like a silk veil. Seven lifted her hands and gathered her hair before lifting it off her body to settle it into more of a ponytail. As Seven lifted her arms, B'Elanna could clearly see the sides of Seven's ample chest. The arms were lowered again, and B'Elanna's eyes followed them until they found something else to look at that was worth lingering. 'Kahless be damned, that woman has one hell of an ass.'

Seven heard B'Elanna as soon as she had entered the quarters, and most definitely, when she entered the bathroom. She also knew the Klingon hadn't deliberately walked in, searching for a confrontation, or, for that matter, to look at her naked with some weak excuse. Seven always hated how people looked at her and saw nothing but an object to lust after. Somehow she felt flattered now instead. B'Elanna had walked in accidentally and apparently liked what she saw so much she actually stopped breathing for almost a full minute.

Seven smiled, she knew that she should let B'Elanna know that her presence was no secret but somehow she felt complimented by the eyes she felt on her. She figured, as long as B'Elanna looked, there was nothing that forbade Seven from enjoying the feeling of being watched. Especially, her rational mind added, since she had married B'Elanna and had been intimate with the woman numerous times, even if she couldn't remember it.

B'Elanna started to feel like a peeping tom and was just about to make some noise or silently walk back out. She had been deciding on which of the two, when Seven moved and B'Elanna's Klingon mind decided that neither of the two options was still viable. Her eyes still firmly on Seven's behind, she saw how the blonde shifted from one foot onto the other, making her very shapely cheeks move. B'Elanna wanted to groan desperately but she knew that she couldn't make any sound. She knew she had to go, had to leave, and pretend she hadn't walked in and watched Seven. Yet, she was still rooted to the floor.

Seven turned slightly. B'Elanna was sure that she had been caught staring but apparently she was still just out of Seven's field of vision. Her heartbeat increased when she saw Seven take a bottle of shampoo, apply some of the purple liquid to her hair, and then apparently decided that there was no reason to turn back under the nozzle again. The way Seven was standing now B'Elanna could still see every wonderful curve of the blonde's back, while that wonderful behind was still in view, which B'Elanna decided she loved to see more. She could see Seven's long legs but now she could also see one of her breasts more. She could see the shape, see that the blonde's Scandinavian heritage resulted in rosy pink nipples.

The one nipple B'Elanna could see was erect, probably from the water temperature, B'Elanna assumed. B'Elanna had to admit that she loved how Seven's breasts looked, the part that she could see at least. She was almost begging mentally for the blonde to turn further. Then again, the side view she now had was even better to see the shape of her breast. Seven's bio-suits had never made a secret of the fact the blonde had an ample chest. B'Elanna would never have guessed the tight outfits would have done the blonde such a disservice though. Seven's breasts, like her behind, looked different than when she wore the bio-suits.

The bio-suits made Seven's breasts look like they were positioned relatively close together, more to the center of the body, with only their large size making them bulge slightly past the frame of her body. Reality was nothing like that. In reality, they were positioned very nicely in such a way that B'Elanna would be able to see the sides of both breasts from behind if Seven lifted her arms, like Seven had when she lifted her hair before. B'Elanna was sure there had to be a very nice valley between those breasts. Perfect to place soft kisses and at the same time feel Seven's warm flesh against both cheeks...

'If Seven is standing upright,' B'Elanna couldn't help but add in her mind. Because she knew that those perfectly formed breast would submit to the laws of physics if the blonde would be on her back or side. B'Elanna knew for sure when Seven started to wash her hair. The breast B'Elanna could see was swaying and moving enough to make it clear Seven's breasts were supple and had to be wonderful to play with.

Once the hair was washed, Seven took the soap and started to move it over her body slowly. By now, B'Elanna was simply taking it in without thinking; otherwise, she would have realized this wasn't a shower meant only to clean oneself. This had turned into a slow shower from someone that wanted it to last, to entice.

At one point Seven dropped the soap and she bent slowly, at the hips, to pick it up again. B'Elanna had a clear view of Seven's center and she could only swallow. She wondered how the hell a person could be so perfect? From what she could see, even there Seven's proportions were like B'Elanna liked them. As Seven stood up again, B'Elanna started to move.

"And just what are you going to do when you reach me?"

The words were like a bucket of ice to B'Elanna. The haze that had settled since entering the bathroom lifted from her mind. She saw Seven turn towards her, giving the Klingon a frontal view of her body.

"You... you knew I was there."

"I am Borg."

"With enhanced hearing," B'Elanna groaned in realization. "You knew all along."

"I did," Seven admitted. "And even if my hearing had not warned me, I could see you once I turned to reach for the shampoo. Are you now going to accuse me of deliberately tempting you and that it was entirely my fault that you have been watching me for the last five point two minutes?"

B'Elanna went over the potential list of answers and questions that came to mind. 'Yes' was tempting, but she knew that Seven would totally destroy that reasoning, and rightfully so, by reminding that B'Elanna had walked in, that B'Elanna had intruded on Seven's privacy. A question begging to be asked was if Seven would have done the same thing regardless of who had walked in. She knew, though her darkest part of her mind wondered about it, she would never ask the question. She knew the question would cause more damage than even she wanted; despite not wanting to be married to the blonde. Finally, she decided the best answer was not to answer the question. Instead, she asked boldly, "Do you want me to leave now?"

Apparently, it was a good question to ask because Seven smiled, the broadest smile B'Elanna had ever seen the blonde give. "No. You flatter me."

B'Elanna's mind was screaming. This was the perfect opening. All she had to say was that she knew enough people who would love to watch Seven naked and that she could contact them. It was perfect. Seven would realize B'Elanna was truly not interested and from then on, it would only be a matter of waiting for the twenty-five days to be over. Yet instead, she settled for a blunt, but honest, "Flattering you was not on my mind."

"And that is why you flatter me," Seven said as she lowered her eyes to look at the soap she had dropped again when she had heard B'Elanna move. "Your emotions are basic. You were affected by raw lust, yet a part of you held back longer than anyone else I know would."

'That answers that question,' B'Elanna couldn't help but think. Now she knew for sure that the suggestion to contact others would have hurt the blonde, and she also felt a great relief she hadn't said it. Then she saw what Seven was looking at and couldn't help but bark out a laugh. "Go ahead, I promise I won't move this time."

Seven looked back up, and B'Elanna swallowed when she saw a smirk on those lips. She looked back down when she saw Seven's leg start to move. Her eyes got wider when she saw the blonde kicked the soap leisurely to the wall before turning around and bending to pick it up. Once again, the blonde bent at her waist, but this time with her legs about one foot apart.

"Are you testing that Borg mantra of 'resistance is futile'?" B'Elanna groaned, only wondering after she said it how Seven would react to the person that had used the word 'Borg' as an insult countless times, now using that word as part of a conversation.

Apparently, Seven liked the comment. Slowly she stood again and turned to B'Elanna with a smile on her lips. "You liked what you saw?"

"Seven, even if I tell you out there again that I hate your guts, here I have to admit that I liked all I saw and still like all I see."

"I like your honesty," Seven admitted, her smile getting a bit wider. "We will see what happens when we leave this bathroom when the time comes. 'Out there' will come when we leave this room. However, we are still 'in here'. In this room, let me assure you, as you can see, I am not ashamed of my body, but I do believe people have to earn their right to see it. Regardless of 'out there', know that 'in here' you are always welcome to watch me, as long as you make me feel good."

Seven started to use the soap to wash her body, again. B'Elanna decided now that she had been so openly welcomed to watch, there was no reason to keep standing around. She hopped onto the vanity, sat between the two sinks, and basked in the guilty pleasure of seeing Seven wash herself. It was clear to B'Elanna that the blonde had reached some compromise with herself. She was washing herself slowly, playing to B'Elanna's watchful eyes. Yet, at the same time, she wasn't doing something that wouldn't be part of normal washing.

Seven took her time to wash her breasts. B'Elanna felt she had to say aloud what her mind was screaming at her. "You have a great body and truly wonderful breasts. In fact, but this is only a suggestion though, you might want to think about starting to wear the other clothing instead of those bio-suits. You know, the t-shirts and sweatpants and such. It's clothing that hides your body more but I think they would look ten times better on you."

B'Elanna frowned for a moment. "Um, that would mean you need real underwear though, especially bras. Some women actually prefer to skip wearing panties. There are benefits to wearing them and not wearing them. If you don't wear them, they can't ride up and become uncomfortable. I personally prefer to wear them though because I don't like the fabric of my pants chafing over my bare ass and, um, even more sensitive spots."

She pointed at Seven to indicate the blonde's ample chest. "But as I said, you will definitely need bras. You don't want the fabric of shirts to scrape over your nipples all the time. I guess you can go braless with the t-shirts though... as long as you don't go running more than a few steps. Hmm, I wonder why you have a lot of t-shits and normal shirts, but no bras."

"Maybe I am willing to put up with the discomfort against my nipples in exchange for the feeling of not having my breasts confined," Seven guessed. "The absence of panties is easily explained; I am used to not wearing any. Why would that be different when wearing pants?"

"Guess you have a point," B'Elanna admitted. "You don't think having your boobs move around all the time would drive you crazy, though?"

"I like the feeling of them moving around," Seven pointed out. "Though as far as I can remember the situations where I could have them free to move, so to speak, were very rare. Maybe that is why I never started to wear bras. Why go from one restriction in my chest area to more restriction in my chest area?"

Seven lowered her fully human hand and started to wash her center. "However, that is in regards to normal clothes. Why do you suggest I should use them more? What is wrong with the bio-suits?"

"Kahless Seven, you really want me to answer that right now?"

Seven laughed. She laughed so much that she even had to catch her breath for a moment. "Maybe I should not have asked the question while I had a hand between my legs," the blonde admitted. "But I am only washing the area, honest."

As if to prove her point, Seven hurried with washing that part of her body before starting to move her hands over her rear. "Maybe..."

"Maybe... what?" B'Elanna asked while in her mind she really wanted to ask Seven to turn around. Then, seeing what was going on between them anyway, she shrugged mentally and added, "I, um, would not mind seeing that as well, if you are so inclined. I think you have a great ass, sorry, behind."

"You can say 'ass.' I do not mind if you say it and if it fits the situation in a positive way. In this situation, it fits. And because you asked so nicely..." Seven let her words trail off but did turn around for B'Elanna to see how the blonde moved her hands over her own cheeks.

B'Elanna smiled when she realized that here, Seven clearly was washing her behind slightly different then one would do if one truly wanted to clean the area thoroughly. Then she wondered if that was actually the case. Just how did someone that didn't need to use the bathroom wash her behind? As she decided that maybe it was better to not think too much about it but simply enjoy the view, she realized Seven hadn't answered her question. "What were you going to say when you said, 'maybe'?"

Seven sighed before turning around again and starting to wash her legs. "I was going to say that maybe if you were good I might let you watch something else that looks like the movement that I was doing. However, on second thought I did not want to say it because I do not want it to look as if I am bribing you. B'Elanna, you were right when you said there are so many things we still have to deal with that having sex would be a mistake. I know I could have sex with you and not let in influence my thinking, but I also know that you cannot. If you change how you behave towards me, I want it to be because you want to and not because by doing so you might get to see me masturbate, or experience more than that."

"I see," B'Elanna said in understanding as she watched Seven wash her feet. She realized the blonde had drawn out the shower as long as she could with the excuse of cleaning herself. Now the cleaning was done, and probably also this weird, but wonderful, moment of being allowed to ogle so freely at the naked body of the woman she was supposed to hate with a vengeance.

"Would you do that?" B'Elanna then asked, "Have sex to get what you want?"

"It depends," Seven admitted. "For instance, if the both of us wanted to be married to each other, you would not have to worry about me having intercourse with anyone else. I would not do that to you. Nor would I try to bribe you with sex. I know you, and I know that I would achieve much more with you by keeping you sexually active on an ongoing basis, rather than only rewarding you or bribing you. Having said that, relationship or not, if by having sex I could manipulate a dangerous situation, then I would do it."

"Let's see if I understand this right. If you are in a relationship you are totally loyal, but if you were... say captured, you would not hesitate to have sex with a guard to get out of the situation?" B'Elanna surmised.

"That is correct. After all, if I have sex with a guard and manage to escape that way, I at least still have the rest of my life to be fateful to my partner. I would hope my partner would agree that me having sex, and taking a bath once I am free, would be better than me saying 'no' and being killed."

"I guess you got a point," B'Elanna had to admit. There was a difference there, but at the same time, the core thought process was the same. On the ship or in any other secure situation, a partner of Seven's could totally trust the blonde to be faithful no matter what. However, in a situation of mortal danger, that partner could also trust the blonde to do whatever it took, use her body in whatever means necessary, to survive and come back to the person she loved. It was surmised in one word, trust.

B'Elanna remembered something else Seven had said. "You say that keeping me sexually active would be more effective, than giving me sex as a reward?"

"That is correct," Seven agreed. Then she smiled. "I need an excuse to keep standing in this shower. Do you have a suggestion?"

B'Elanna swallowed at the question. She suggested with a blush, "I believe you missed a spot on your breasts."

Seven looked at her chest before looking back up with a smile. "I believe I did." She took the soap again and slowly started to wash her porcelain colored skin, making sure to do so in a slow way that succeeded very well in showing off her assets.

As she watched Seven, B'Elanna knew for sure that the blonde had done this before. Seven's movements were the perfect mix between being exotic and erotic. Yet at the same time, she never gave any real impression of doing anything else but simply washing herself.

The Klingon couldn't help but wonder if she had sat like that before and watched Seven. She had hopped onto the vanity to sit without even thinking about it. Why not on the toilet seat? Why not lean against a wall? No, hopping onto the vanity seemed like the most normal thing to do. She may not have done it that bathroom, but she had sat on a vanity and watch Seven wash herself before, more than once, she was sure.

"To answer your question," Seven said while softly massaging her breasts, only to wash them of course. "You are part Klingon, and because of that, very complex. Offering sex to you would seem like a logical thing to do to control you. However, as much as Klingons like sex, they do not like being controlled. You might fall for the bribe of sex once or twice, but then you would decide the sex is not worth doing things you do not want to do. You would especially not like the unmentioned threat of not getting sex if you do not do as I ask. However, if you were to have sex on a regular basis, which is not tied to any specific favors, then you would be open to doing things for me. Simply, because I am the person that keeps you happy and still has sex with you even if you have a different opinion than me."

"That sounds... calculative," B'Elanna said with a frown. "As if having sex with me would be a task to perform just to be able to live with me."

"But who says that I would not enjoy that task?" Seven countered. "Just because it is a task, does not mean that it is also a chore. You are part Klingon. That is a fact. Any partner of yours should keep that in mind. Either your partner should accept you having sex with others or going to the holodeck, or your partner should be willing to please you daily. You, B'Elanna Torres, are a person that needs to know, for sure, she will have sex that night. You would not cope well with having to go days or weeks with having to wonder and ask if maybe you can 'get some' that day. You need to know, for sure."

"If that's so, if I need to know for certain that I need to have sex every day, then tell me, how can it be that there have been months between sex for me? Once it was even two years between times I had sex."

"Maybe it would have been better if I had said that you need an orgasm daily," Seven admitted. "You say that there has been a time where it was two years between you having sex. Tell me, did you also not masturbate then? Did you not go to the holodeck? Let me form the question this way. Ever since you have been sexually active, what is the longest time, ever, that you can remember between orgasms?"

B'Elanna thought about that for a moment. "The longest time I can think of was the away mission on Vama II, three days."

"Ensign Kim and I were with you then, and the away mission lasted a week," Seven noted.

"That's why it took me three days. As we talked about yesterday, the three of us shared a room, you and I, even a bed. I couldn't, you know, with the two of you in the room, and you even feeling the movements of the bed. But once I realized that the construction material they used in that building was totally sound proof,"

"Your daily shower became fifteen minutes longer," Seven added with a smile while remembering.

"Yeah," B'Elanna admitted before swallowing when she saw Seven, for the smallest of moments, actually pinch her nipples. Then the hands lowered and Seven started to wash her body again, apparently knowing that she had taken the washing of her breasts as far as believably possible.

B'Elanna thought about what Seven had said and had to admit the thought of knowing for certain she would have sex every day sounded like something that could be a very strong pillar of a relationship. Not the only thing, not something to build a relationship on, but definitely something that would keep a good and strong relationship even stronger. As she had told Tom and Vlasana, the fear of no longer having sex after some time was a serious one, and something to keep in mind. So to hear Seven assure that she would...

Then she frowned. "Damn it Seven, that is not fair. Knowing that you would do that will influence me."

"You asked," Seven reminded. "However, be assured that I would not enter into a relationship with you if I had the feeling that you were only doing it for sex. I would not deny you in a relationship, but I would deny a relationship built only on sex. However, seeing we still have many other things to work out, how about we move to safer areas and you tell me why you object to my bio-suits?"

Having taken the washing of her body as far and as long as realistically possible, Seven put the soap in its holder before closing her eyes and taking a small step back, fully into the warm water.

B'Elanna watched for a moment as Seven merely stood under the water, clearly enjoying the feel of it on her body. Then she explained, "Seven, you truly have a great body. I mean perfect proportions. Well, what 'I' find perfect. Nevertheless, until now I didn't know that, not counting what happened in that time that we both can't remember. Those bio-suits? They push you in all the wrong places. Mind you, I liked how you looked in them, but then I thought that was simply how your body was shaped. Now I know that you have a great ass with just the right roundness. The bio-suit it pushes differently."

B'Elanna made a pushing motion with her hands as if trying to push something slightly upwards. "They lift your ass, and... strap it in, I guess. In the bio-suit your ass looks a lot smaller than it is, and almost painfully heart shaped. Meaning more flesh on the top than on the bottom of it. But in reality, that..."

At 'that', B'Elanna pointed at Seven, who had dutifully turned around to show the body part in question. "That looks ten times better free from the bio-suit. Great form, nice round shape. That ass would look damn hot in some tight pants that are snug to your body but don't alter the shape. And not to forget, now it actually looks like it can act as a counterbalance for those perfect breasts."

As on cue, Seven turned around again, and saw how B'Elanna lifted her hands to the sides of her own breasts and pushed them inwards.

"Same there," the Klingon continued. "You have great breasts, large, nicely shaped, and great natural curves. They would look blood boiling hot in a T-shirt or something, especially if you do decide not to wear bras and they hang more in their natural position, like now. The bio-suit just pushes them in line like this and lets everyone see that you have big breasts, but not how wonderful they are."

B'Elanna moved her hands to her hips and pushed in there. "Same here. That bio-suit ties you in here, gives you an hourglass figure that makes you look more like a figure 8, with the middles, proverbially, almost touching. But in reality you have the perfect 7 to 10 waist to hips ratio."

Looking at her own body, Seven couldn't help but correct, "It is 7.2. My waist is seventy-two percent of the width of my hips."

"Right, like I said, 7 to 10 ratio," B'Elanna said with a smirk. "That ratio is considered the sexiest by both Humans and Klingons. The thing is, that bio-suit gives you a tight ass, shows off how large your breasts are, and gives you a slim waist that looks sexy on the first look."

B'Elanna shook her head before adding, "But, compare that to those real shapes I see now... this is ten times better. This looks real. In the bio-suit, you look like someone designed your proportions on a PADD, but now you look like one hot blonde that was created by Mother Nature when she was having one of the best days of her life. You have natural beauty. You're sexy anyways, but you have killer natural looks. That's what you should go for, natural, real. Not that sex object look that the bio-suit gives you."

B'Elanna thought for a moment before continuing. "Did you ever notice some women in the Voyager crew have, what I call, neutral looks? That has nothing to do with how good or bad they look, but all with how easy they can look different. Give her a different hairstyle and you might walk pass them without recognizing them on the first look. You're the opposite. Long hair, short hair, blonde, brown... it doesn't matter. You'll still stand out. You simply have certain lines to you. Your face has them, your jaw. And the rest of your body has them. But the bio-suits try to hide them. Frankly Seven, they look too good to hide. Show them off. They're worth it. Let people see that you aren't just the next blonde in line. Let people see that you have looks that set you apart from those that are a dime a dozen."

"You make a compelling argument, and a flattering one at that," Seven admitted. "Personally, from time to time, I do like the fact that people like what they see when I wear a bio-suit. It does seem to give several people the idea that I am indeed merely an object. You say a 'natural, real' look. Does that mean something people will find attractive, yet at the same time will want to get to know the person?"

"Mostly, yes," B'Elanna agreed. "But to be fair, with your looks, you will always find that people will come to you and start conversations while in the back of their mind they are wondering what they should say next, and how likely that would be in helping them get you into bed."

As she said it, B'Elanna couldn't help but feel appalled by the idea of someone else being in bed with Seven. Then it hit home like a sledgehammer that 'someone else' meant that she 'could' see the idea of herself being with Seven... for more than just sex.

"Would you?" Seven asked.

"Forgetting that I'm sure once we're out of here you'll do something within five minutes that will piss me off? Yeah, I would probably have tried. Or more to the point, I would've had the decency to look you in the eyes and not at your boobs, but I would still in the back of my mind have hoped that I might get my hands on your breasts later that night, literally."

"I thank you for your honesty," Seven said, and B'Elanna was glad to see that the blonde did not mind the answer. "However, I think that I should remind you that you might be bias. You find all proportions of my body perfect; that is not realistic."

"Are you saying that I'm lying?" B'Elanna asked hotly.

"No," Seven assured. "I said that you might be bias, not that you were lying. B'Elanna, you have to remember we spent four months together. We do not remember them now, but your subconscious mind still knows what happened. Your subconscious idea of what you find perfect proportions will have changed, just as I am certain that I will think you will have perfect proportions if I were to see you naked. Try thinking back to further than four months ago, would you then still say that I have perfect proportions?"

B'Elanna thought back, rationally thinking what she had always liked in a woman. Finally she admitted, "You would still come close, but I don't think that I would call it perfect anymore. Hot, gorgeous, jaw dropping, yes, even a dream come true, but not perfect, no. But, even with keeping in mind what I liked before, I still stand by all I said about you not wearing bio-suits. Really, the only clear change that sticks out is, that now I really like blonde, but before I always found that a redhead looked damn hot. Real red, not the red kinda of haze that Kathryn has."

Looking at the blonde in silence for a moment, B'Elanna finally sighed and asked reluctantly. "So, now that you are done washing yourself, should I get out of here so you don't have to keep standing under the water?"

If it were her choice, she would be more than happy to look at the blonde for a little longer, maybe a day or so.

"I like the water," Seven pointed out. "Also, considering what you have already seen, I think we might as well leave this room together, after I dried off and dressed."

"Well, I sure will watch it if you allow it, but I originally came in here for a shower, so I'll do that before I leave."

"I see," Seven said, an idea forming in her mind, but something she didn't yet tell B'Elanna. "May I ask you one more question, keeping in mind the honest answers you have given me until now?"

"Sure," B'Elanna said with a shrug.

"What do you think of my implants? One advantage that the bio-suit does have is that it hides implants like my abdominal implant, and only indicates that there is 'something' there."

B'Elanna's jaw sagged a little at the question. "Kahless, you know that I didn't even see them?" Seeing Seven lift an eyebrow, B'Elanna explained. "Well, of course I saw them. What I mean is, they're so much a part of you that they didn't register as something strange. Just like being blonde is a part of you and I was therefore not surprised to see that you also have blonde pubic hair."

B'Elanna decided not to add that she found those golden curls sexy as hell, especially since they only grew above Seven's center. As she wondered about that, Seven explained it without knowing B'Elanna's thoughts.

"It seems I stimulated my hair growth there in the time that we cannot remember. I was bald before."

B'Elanna had the decency to blush as she could guess the reason why Seven might have stimulated it.

Seven smiled when she saw the blush. "I see. You enjoy a nice lawn in front of a temple?"

B'Elanna closed her eyes and chuckled before guessing, "Tom?"

"No. Dailson to Jones in Jefferies tube twelve."

"I see that I have to have a little talk with my engineers about what not to talk about in places where everyone can hear them."

"Everyone with enhanced hearing," Seven reminded as she shut off the water before stepping out of the shower and starting to dry herself.

"Ah, right, and that brings us to your implants." B'Elanna took a moment to look at the implants on Seven's body before finally shrugging. "I like them. But if it is honesty you want; some people might be appalled by it."

When Seven looked at her, B'Elanna explained. "Just like some people might be appalled by my Klingon head ridges. There are bound to be some people out there that have a problem with your implants, but there are also bound to be people out there that have a problem with every living being that doesn't have two heads. Personally, I like your implants, and that's all I can really tell you. I think they fit you. And from a sex and sexy angle... hello, ridges on the fingers of one hand, a V shaped implant at the small of your back that curves nicely along with your ass, an abdominal implant that makes sure that the weight of a lover lying on top of you won't bother you? When I was exploring these quarters I found that you own some interesting lingerie..."

"Yes, I found that as well when I explored these quarters earlier today," Seven agreed.

"Did you find that black number?"

"With 'number' you mean the black lingerie set? Yes I did, I tried it on actually. I do not see why I would have gotten that though. There is no value to wearing it, and it even felt slightly uncomfortable. But then, as you know, I am not used to wearing underwear."

B'Elanna shook her head vigorously. "I disagree. Seven, there is a very big value to wearing that. I think you have that for the same reason as why you now having those nice golden curls down there. Anyway, as I was going to say, when I found that, I imagined you in it. Obviously I didn't know you had the implant right above your behind, and if I have to be absolutely honest with you, if I now envision you in that black number and seeing that blue/gray colored implant above it..."

The first time B'Elanna had thought of Seven in the black lingerie she had growled. Now she did again, but this time she didn't try to stop it because she knew the growl would say a lot more than she could with words. Then she asked, "I wonder why you would have an implant there, and especially one that is formed so sexy, curving so nicely with your cheeks."

Seven turned again, showing her back to the Klingon. She touched three visible circles on the implant. One positioned at the bottom of the V shaped implant, and the other two at the outer tips. "I do not have to get rid of bodily waste products, but I still need to connect with my alcove to charge the implants that regulate my digestive system, and that takes care of turning what would normally be waste products from food, into energy. The arms of this V, as you call it, curl around my buttocks simply because that way it does not restrict my movements."

"Well, it may be a glorified energy plug, but I for one find it sexy as hell." B'Elanna shrugged.

Seven turned again and finished drying off. Then she took a bathrobe and put it on, smiling when she saw B'Elanna sigh in slight disappointment. "I thank you for your honesty. And as a reward I will show you something that not even the doctor knows."

"What?" B'Elanna asked. She frowned when as an answer, Seven came closer and placed her Borg enhanced hand on B'Elanna's arm. Before the Klingon could ask, she felt the fingers start to vibrate. B'Elanna gasped, the possibilities of those vibrating fingers clear in her mind. "Why would you be able to do that?"

"Magic?" Seven asked, making the Klingon laugh. Then she explained. "B'Elanna, you yourself have a sonic-vibrator tool in engineering to work on the warp core. This is the same, only I lowered the vibration frequency by a factor of one thousand."

"You can even set the speed on that?" B'Elanna asked in disbelief. Seeing the blonde nod, the Klingon shook her head and hopped off the vanity. "Well, add one more to the sexy angle then. Alright, time for me to take a shower. So..."

"B'Elanna, are you planning to masturbate now?"

"What?! No. Why would you..." Then the 'why' registered and she smiled ruefully when realizing it was a damn good question. "No, as much as I enjoyed what you showed me, I wasn't planning on doing that, now."

"In that case." Seven lifted herself to sit on the vanity, in the same spot B'Elanna had just vacated. "If you really want to, you can ask me to leave."

B'Elanna closed her eyes and warred with herself for a moment. Only an hour ago, the thought of Seven watching her as she took a shower would have sent the Klingon into a tirade of profanity. Now things had changed, though. Seven made the first offer, and now it was for B'Elanna to take the second step. She knew that she still didn't want to be married to the blonde, but she had offered Seven that she was willing to work to get to a point where they could share quarters. There was the not so small fact that Seven would be sleeping beside her tonight, nude, and there were bound to be times in the future where the blonde would see B'Elanna change clothing.

B'Elanna knew that a choice had to be made there as well. Either they would live together like people that would close the door every time they had to change and pretend to be horrified if the other happened to see a glimpse of their body. Or they would have to move to a point where nudity wasn't an issue. Where she wouldn't mind getting dressed in front of the blonde, or the fact that Seven slept nude wasn't something that would keep her awake at night. Or that B'Elanna could do something as simple as walk into the bathroom to use a hairbrush while Seven was taking a shower.

Besides, B'Elanna reminded herself, Seven had invited her to come and watch her again in the future. Even though they couldn't stay married and they could never have sex, that didn't mean B'Elanna couldn't enjoy the visual pleasure of seeing the blonde naked.

She knew that since she had Seven and sex while being married, it was clear she never had a problem being nude in front of the blonde or had gotten over it very fast because of the benefits that being nude with Seven brought. However, that was different. That had been in a situation where she was under the influence of a trace element that would make her ecstatic that Seven wanted to see her nude, and do more. Now she was her true self again, a person that had been insecure about her body for her entire life, for different reasons in different stages during her life.

"Same conditions?"

"I agree," Seven hesitated before asking, "Are you sure, you are extremely nervous."

"Seven, shut the fuck up and let me pretend I'm totally comfortable with this."

Seven opened her mouth to rebut the blunt statement, but then closed it again. If there was a chance for her and B'Elanna, there were some things she didn't want the Klingon to change, ever. Seven hadn't been lying when she said that she would not mind having sex on a daily basis. In fact, she would prefer it if she could. And just like she didn't want B'Elanna to stem her sex drive, she also didn't want her to actually start thinking too much about the things she said when angry. Yes, sometimes it could hurt, but she knew it was because B'Elanna hated her and wanted to hurt her. If she would be in a relationship, and in love, then hearing those same things would be very amusing. So she smiled and dipped her head. "Very well, I will pretend I do not see your hands shaking."

"Alright, Seven, don't take this the wrong way, but until I relax, you aren't here."

"I understand," the blonde assured softly as she watched how B'Elanna actually moved to the door and pretended to just come in and not see the Borg. Seven looked and decided she liked this. "B'Elanna, I think I will enjoy this," She said so softly that for a moment the Klingon had thought she had imagined the words. "I am not here. Until you get dressed again I am not here. Relax, do what you want to, I am not here."

The soft repetition of 'I am not here' had the desired effect and B'Elanna finally calmed down. But then she surprised the blonde by turning to her and looking her directly in the eyes. "Seven, I thank you, but now shut the fuck up, because I do want you here. Just please, for the other things we have to work out, please don't use it against me that I said that."

"I will comply," Seven said with a smile. "And now I will 'shut the fuck up.' Show yourself to me, B'Elanna."

Tal Celes ran through the corridors of The Glory. She was excited, to say the least. She had been reminded, as the process was generally called, and now remembered the time before they reached the planet. Remembered how she had just been existing on Voyager. Remembered how Voyager had never become her home. For a moment, she had been hopeful that she had found a new home on the planet. But after watching her data crystal even that hope had been dashed. She had liked the time on the planet, but it seemed one of her biggest problems had haunted her there as well.

Celes had the potential to be brilliant, just that it was disguised behind a thick layer of shyness, insecurity, and self-doubt. While the element in the air on the planet had taken away limitations people had put on themselves, it hadn't affected things like shyness or self-doubt. As a result of this, she was one of the people who hadn't started a relationship or found a new interest in life.

So now she had decided that her living on this new ship, this new chance, this was the one she wasn't going to mess up. This was truly her chance and she was going to take it. As she visited her quarters on Voyager for the last time, she had used a computer unit to pull up the schematics of her new quarters and started to drool. On Voyager, she had shared quarters so small they had only one bathroom, one small living room, and one bedroom with two beds in it. However, her new quarters were huge, and best of all for just her. A big bedroom all for herself, and a bathroom with a real bath, a living room, and if that wasn't enough there were even a walk-in closet and a kitchen. Amazing.

So she had left her old quarters as they were since apparently she had already moved all her personal belongings anyway, and beamed over to The Glory and now she was almost there. As she had approached her new quarters, she had become more and more excited until she started to run just to see her new start in life. She ran around a corner, and straight into a wall.

Or at least it sure felt that way as she bounced right back off whatever it was she ran into and fell down and ended up sitting on her butt.

She rubbed her nose as she looked up at the wall, and then kept looking up and up when the wall turned out to be a huge man with tattoos covering every part of his body that she could see.

"Oh my."

The man extended a hand in offering and after taking it, Celes felt herself being pulled onto her feet as if she weight nothing at all. Even when she was still standing, she still had to look up to see his eyes. Being one meter and seventy centimeters tall herself, Celes sure wasn't a small woman, so she guessed the man to be two meters tall at least.

Huge, and not just tall. He was broad-shouldered and full of muscles. Being that he was covered with tattoos, including on top of his bald head, he looked very intimidating. Celes had a feeling that if he were to growl at her, she might just pee her pants. Instead, he treated her to a tolerant smile.

"In somewhat of a hurry?" He asked with a deep rumbling voice that fit the rest of his person perfectly.

For a moment Celes thought of just slipping passed him and moving on, but then she remembered her vow that this time she was going to make her life work. And that meant not cowering just because someone looked intimidating. Of course, that didn't take way her shyness. "Um, yes, I, um, I'm on my way to check out my new quarters. And seeing that I had to share quarters on Voyager, I'm kinda excited to now have my own."

"Really?" The man said looking at her in a very appreciate way. "And just where might your quarters be, maybe I can accompany you to your door, just to make sure that you don't run into anyone else."

Celes felt herself starting to blush under his appreciative gaze. "Um, well, it's, um, the address is deck twelve, section sixteen, quarters eleven."

"Ah, well you got the deck right, but you are walking in the wrong direction. Section twelve is in the direction where you are coming from."

Celes knew the man was wrong, but didn't want to say it. However, walking passed him now would only basically say that she didn't believe him. Of course, she could just walk back and come back once the man was gone, but that would mean that...

"What?" The man asked, seeing the frown on her face.

"Well, um, it's, I, well, I appreciate the help, but, um, it really is in that direction," Celes braved to say, feeling a bit better when she was him frown, clearly he wasn't so sure of himself either.

"Are you sure?" He asked. "I came from that way and there I only saw section numbers higher than twenty."

"And I only saw sections lower than five in that direction," Celes said hesitantly, her self-doubt reassuring itself.

The man hummed. "Well, I'm new to the ship myself, I have to admit." Then he saw someone in an Urdian uniform coming down the corridor. "Ah, maybe he can help us."

"Yes sir?" The man asked when he realized they needed his attention. To Celes' surprise, the newcomer was staring at the mountain of a man in open awe.

"The beautiful lady here is looking for section twelve, and I myself am looking for the recitation area on this deck. Could you tell us where to find them?"

"But of course, warrior," the newcomer said with a dip of his head. Then he pointed down the third corridor of the T junction. "Both can be found in this direction. You will come to section twelve first. When you then walk on until the end of section nineteen, there you take the corridor to the right and you walk straight to the rotational area."

The tattooed man chuckled and looked back at Celes. "It seems that we were both wrong." He thanked the newcomer before making a hand gesture down the corridor in an invite to walk in that direction.

"Are you someone I should know," Celes asked when they were moving. "He seemed in total awe of you."

"Oh yeah, such a beautiful lady like you should know me really well," the man replied smoothly.

Hearing the comment, Celes blushed a deep crimson. Celes had never thought of herself as beautiful, her self-doubt had made sure of that. The fact that she had never been in a relationship only enhanced that picture. She long since resigned herself to only the occasional one-night stands with people who didn't have better options. Of course, she never realized her self-doubt kept her insecurity from pursuing relationships and that people were often sincere when they suggested they stay in couch.

So, she was wondering why this stranger kept referring to her as a beautiful lady. From the way he kept stealing glances at her, she had a feeling that he wasn't just being nice. Then she saw that one of those glances was taking in her Bajoran nose with its famous ridges and finally realization set in for her. On Bajor she may have looked average, on Voyager she may have gone unnoticed, but here she was someone of a species these people had never seen before. And normally, at least in most cases, new species were considered exotic.

Suddenly realization set in for Celes. Amongst these people she was an exotic beauty instead of a clumsy Ensign. She wondered why she hadn't realized this on the planet. Or had she and she just couldn't remember? It wasn't like she was going to tell herself on the data crystal that people had found her beautiful. Clearly she had made a choice to go back to Voyager for some reason. The last thing she would want to hear herself say would be something like, 'oh, and people looked at you like you were the Greek Goddess of love, but don't worry, being a nobody on Voyager will be great too.' The realization of her new status amongst these strangers spread through her body. She felt herself square her shoulders and lift her head. No more always looking down for me, she decided.

"It's the facial tattoos," The man answered Celes' original question only a second after his comment about her having to know him. "On our world you can tattoo your body all you want, but you are not allowed to tattoo your head unless you earned those tattoos. We Mountain Tribes use tattoos a lot, but they are also used by other people in society. Nobel families sometimes have a crest that they have tattooed on their cheek, certain levels of education allow for a tattoo as well, when someone becomes an academic or medical doctor or professor for instance."

Celes looked at the man and took a moment to really look at his head. "And all of that has a meaning? I can see four different designs."

The man chuckled. "Oh, there are a lot more than just four. But we try to make the different tattoos work together so it looks good. People that know what they mean can still distinguish the different tattoos, and for those that don't know what they mean, the amount of skin covered still tells enough."

They stopped at a place that indicated they were at section sixteen and Celes looked down the smaller corridor that led to the individual quarters in the section. "Mine should be just down this corridor."

"I did promise to bring you to your door," The man reminded as he looked down the corridor as well.

Celes knew that she could decline and be on her way, or... "That you did." They walked a little further and Celes was disappointed to find that her quarters were not too far down the corridor. Soon they were standing in front of the door to her new home. She really wanted to check out her new place, but she had to admit she was enjoying the look in this stranger's eyes way too much. She knew she could invite him in of course, but even if they were only to talk, that was a bit too fast for her.

Then an idea came to her. "Well, now that I know where my new home is, I think I should really check out the public places on this deck. Um, weren't you heading to one of those anyway?"

The man treated her to a charming smile. "Yep, I'm looking for the recitation area. I need to find a place to train if I want to keep looking like this." He flexed an arm, making the muscles bulge.

"I see," Celes said, managing not to drool. The best thing about the muscled man was that the body was covered by skin with just a bit of padding under it. You could clearly see the muscles but there were still flowing lines instead of nothing but ugly hard muscles. Something Celes appreciated a lot. "Would you mind some company? I'm also intrigued about those tattoos. If they all have a meaning, mind telling me them over dinner? That's the least I can do for my savior in my time of need."

The man made a little bow. "It would be my pleasure, beautiful lady."

"My name is Tal Celes, but with our species we use our last name like you use your first and our first name like you use your last."

"Ah, it's Celes then? Well, Celes the beautiful, I'm Olik of the Red Hand Clan. We Mountain Tribes really don't use a last name; we go by Clan name."

I see," Celes said as they started to talk down the corridor again. "We Bajoran, that's the name of my species, with us it's actually common for people we don't know to use our surnames."

Olik frowned for a moment trying to work that out. "Alright, let me see. You use your last name like people here use their first name, but strangers have to use your first name, which would be considered the last name here, or better said the surname. So, wouldn't you be better off to just tell people your name, Tal Celes, and they would automatically use Tal to address you, and therefore use the right name without you having to explain it."

Celes needed a moment to digest that, then she laughed. "I guess you got a point. But it's really the interaction with other species that makes it hard. For instance, take Humans, they make up most of the crew of Voyager. With them strangers use the last name but then use a title of address in front of it. So to use the name of my captain as an example, she is called Kathryn Janeway. So they would either call her Captain Janeway, or more unofficially they would say Miss or Mrs. Janeway, depending on whether she is married. But the problem is that Humans are really easy with giving permission to use their first name. As soon as someone gets to know them a little they start using the first name."

"Alright, that's pretty much as it is with us... well with us Urdians since I don't count since I'm Mountain Tribe and don't have a last name. On documents that demand a last name I'm registered as Olik RedHand."

They reached the recreation area and Celes had to smile when instead of checking it out, Olik pointed to the sign that said Mess hall. Clearly he was more interested in her than in the recreation area. Celes liked it that way.

"The problem is that people that are used to that would start addressing me with Ensign Celes," Celes explained as they started to follow the sign that promised food. "And by the time they realize they should have called me Tal first, they reached the stage of familiarity where Humans would switch to the first name so they just keep calling me Celes, not realizing that with us just familiarity is not enough to use the second name. It is considered a privilege to be allowed to use the second name of a Bajoran. I just learned to live with it and just accept that more people than I would like call me Celes instead of Tal."

"So what should I call you?" Olik asked as they reached the mess hall.

Celes smiled what she hoped was a charming smile. "Well, you did save me from going in the wrong direction; I have to make allowances for that. Please call me Celes."

To her utmost surprise, she saw some of the skin not covered with tattoos color a little. Apparently she had succeeded to make the mountain of a man blush with nothing but a smile. Amazing. Things definitely looked promising.

B'Elanna looked at Seven from the corner of her eyes. The blonde was sitting at her side of the desk and was working on something that required three different PADDs to be within reach to look things up, while she was working on the fourth PADD.

The tension between them could almost be cut with a knife. The shower had proven interesting. B'Elanna had showed herself to Seven, though the Klingon had not dropped the soap and bent to pick it up like Seven had done. At first they had been quiet, but then it had been B'Elanna that who had finally spoken up; asking Seven what she thought.

Seven had assured her that to Seven, B'Elanna also had perfect proportions. Seven had not been able to help herself and used the opportunity to point out that it indeed must be their subconscious mind that made this so, since B'Elanna's left nipple was a centimeter higher than the right one and therefore could technically not be perfect proportioned. There had been a moment of amusement when Seven asked about B'Elanna having no pubic hair, and B'Elanna admitting that before she did have pubic hair but apparently she must have blocked the hair growth.

Seven could not say if she liked B'Elanna having pubic hair because she could not remember seeing B'Elanna like that, but she did admit that she did like how B'Elanna looked bald there. B'Elanna had then pointed out maybe Seven commenting on it had been all that had been needed for B'Elanna to stop the hair growth. She had thought often enough about it, but never quite got herself to go see a doctor to have it done. B'Elanna had answered the question of 'why' by pointing out that her hair was also Klingon. And while she loved the fact that her head hair was thick and grew ten centimeters in a month, she didn't like that with Klingons pubic hair behaved just like head hair and that before she had to trim it at least once a week. But now she didn't need to anymore.

But all good things had to come to an end and eventually B'Elanna finished her shower as well and took the second bathrobe. They had entered the living room together, and it had seemed as if they had walked straight into an invisible wall.

Suddenly they had not known what to do. The day before there was not much time to spend together before it was time for bed. But now, not only had they just shared something really strange in the bathroom, but it was also way too early to go to bed just to prevent having to deal with each other.

B'Elanna sighed. She did not like this tension at all, not if they still had weeks to spend like this, and especially not if they did decide to stay roommates after getting a divorce. Suddenly she had an idea and got up from the couch. She walked over to the desk and placed a hand on the box that she had given to Seven the day before.

"I scrambled this thing last night before going to bed. I bet you solved it already since you were out of the bedroom before I woke up. Do I get a price for being right?"

"That all depends on what you ask as a reward," Seven admitted with a smile, amazed how B'Elanna had been able to break the tension between them by starting to talk. Just not about what had happened in the bathroom. She knew trying to analyze it would be wrong; instead she simply had to take the small victory. She knew the bathroom scene had been an important step on the road of winning B'Elanna back, or once more, or for the first time, all depending on how she looked at it.

B'Elanna opened the box and took a look at the Rubik's Cube, and snorted when she saw that not only were all colors back but all sides were also perfectly flush. "Is there anything you don't want to do painfully exact?"

Seven swallowed her first retort to the question. She had to admit it was not an unreasonable question to ask. Finally she asked on turn, "Why should I? If I am capable of placing things exactly, then why should I deliberately not do so?"

"Convenience?" B'Elanna asked before going to her side of the desk and taking one of the PADDs. "Surely it must be a lot easier to just simply drop something or just put it down without looking at the exact angle."

"You are correct, it is easier to drop something," Seven partially agreed. "However, it is not easier to place something haphazardly."

"It's not?" B'Elanna asked surprised as she sat down on her side of the desk.

"No. My cranial implant regulates my motor function. Every time I put something down, my cranial implant calculates exactly which angle I should place something, when I should let go, with how much force to grip something."

As if to explain, Seven took the cube and placed it on the desk, exactly straight with the edge, despite being in the middle of the desk.

"My cranial implant has to calculate this just as much as this."

Once more, Seven picked up the cube. This time she put it down in an angle.

"For me there is no difference."

"Hmm, you know, knowing that makes it somehow alright," B'Elanna said thoughtfully. "Knowing that it really is exactly the same for you makes it different than thinking that you want to be little Miss Perfect all the time."

"Did you think that?" Seven asked surprised. "I thought it was the fact that my data is always correct that annoyed you so much."

"Do you really want me to start listing all the things that annoy me about you?" B'Elanna countered. "And just for the record, as I have tried to explain to you several times before, just because data is correct, doesn't mean that it's also the right thing to do. Sometimes you have to sacrifice things like exact data or efficiency so things work better in the long run. But you never seemed to get that, did you, Blondie?"

Before Seven could answer, B'Elanna handed her a PADD over the low divider between the two desk halves.

Seven looked at the PADD and saw a 3D image of her cube turning and tumbling slowly. All the color sides were fully in tact, with the exception of one square on each side. Seven merely looked back up at the Klingon.

"I told you that I would give you... codes I guess, to do with that thing. That should be enough to warm you up. Once you finished that one I'll give you a new code."

"Thank you," Seven said softly, realizing only now the cube had been more than a one time gift; it was a commitment of sorts. B'Elanna had committed herself to spend a few minutes per turn to think of new combinations, as long as Seven wanted to spent time on solving them.

"You're welcome."

B'Elanna walked back to the couch and after she was sitting once more she looked at how Seven was looking at the PADD for a moment, only to then put it down and look at the cube. The blonde slowly turned it in all directions, but didn't start shifting colors around yet.

"Are you thinking up some plan of attack?" B'Elanna wondered.

"Yes," Seven agreed. Then she suddenly got up as well and sat down on the couch across from B'Elanna. As she did so the fabric of her bathrobe was pushed up slightly, making the sides open up a little to show off a very seductive strip of skin that reached from Seven's navel up in a slight V showing a little of the sides of the blonde's breasts. Apparently not realizing she was treating B'Elanna to an interesting visual, Seven looked at the cube for a moment longer.

Suddenly she looked up at B'Elanna and started to twist the cube at the same time. "Very well, convince me."

"Convince you of what?" B'Elanna asked confused while her eyes were still on the cube being twisted in Seven's hands. She could not believe Seven could actually handle the cube without even looking at it.

"You said and I quote, 'Sometimes you have to sacrifice things like exact data or efficiency so things work better in the long run. But you never seemed to get that, did you, Blondie?' No, I indeed do not get it. So, convince me."

"Hmm, alright, I'll try... if you answer me one thing."


"Don't you have to look at that damn thing?"

"I do not," Seven assured. "There may be over 283 trevigintillion possible combinations, however there are only 150 squares on this cube. I can keep track of where every square is on this cube at any time. And when I put it down and start again tomorrow I do not even have to look at it because I still know where every square it."

Suddenly B'Elanna gave a devilish grin. "Good to know. Just so that you know, I won't let you get away with that. Sometimes I'll open the box and turn the cube around. Let's see how fast you can solve it when suddenly all the squares are in a different place than you think they are."

"I will make sure to look before starting from now on," Seven assured with a smile, still not looking down at the cube.

"Seven, are you showing off?"

Now Seven laughed.

B'Elanna was amazed. She had seen Seven laugh before, but this laugh was different. This was a spontaneous laugh. The infectious kind that makes you laugh as well or at least smile, simply because the other person was laughing. It looked great when the blonde laughed like this. It looked... natural.

She pointed a finger at the blonde. "You should do that more often, just let go and laugh without holding back."

"I have done so before," Seven pointed out. "You have seen it in fact."

B'Elanna tilted her head a little and then shook it. "Yeah, you're right. Can you believe it; even there those bio-suits hurt you. When you have that piece of elastic wrapped around your body your laughs seem more... aloof. I guess it goes along with the natural look we talked about. Without the bio-suit on, you look more natural, and that laugh is a great natural laugh."

Seven smiled and B'Elanna couldn't help but point out, "As is that smile."

"I will think about it," Seven assured. "However, I do like the fact that the bio-suits are very comfortable to wear and keep me cool or warm in situations that would otherwise be uncomfortable."

"Hmm, I guess that's a good point for wearing them," B'Elanna agreed. "Especially when I have to admit that our Starfleet uniforms are not the most comfortable thing ever invented. I wear them a lot now simply because I got used to them. Strangely enough, if your wear something uncomfortable long enough you begin to feel comfortable in it and you actually prefer it over other clothing. Weird but true. You could wear the bio-suits while on duty and then shift to the other stuff while off duty."

"I will think about it," Seven promised again, still twisting the cube in her hands.

"So, are you showing of with that thing?" B'Elanna asked again with a grin.

"Yes," Seven admitted. "I really do not have to look at it, but hand eye coordination is something very basic, even my cranial implant prefers to use it. If possible, I prefer to look at what I am doing."

"I just knew it. Some of the things you do, you simply do to show off."

"I never stated otherwise," Seven defended. "People merely never asked."

B'Elanna opened her mouth to reply, but figured Seven actually had a good point. Everyone showed off at one point or another. So why shouldn't Seven be allowed to do the same thing? She nodded to herself before deciding to change the subject.

"Alright, you asked me to try and convince you. Here goes. On the warp core, what is technically the best place to fit the magnetic constrictors, at the top, or at the bottom? Forget about schematics, pure raw basics, what is the best place?"

"Technically the best place is at the top, directly over the center of the warp core."

"Then why are the magnetic constrictors located at the bottom, and around the core?"

"Starfleet inefficiency?" Seven offered.

"Come on, that's a cop-out. But I'll tell you why. Because placing them on top is the most efficient for running the warp core, but it is the most inefficient place to put them for anything else. Can you imagine trying to replace a broken magnetic constrictor and it slips out of your hands and falls onto the warp core distribution conduit? You could trigger an emergency warp core ejection. No, you can't place them on top because of the risk and because of ease of maintenance. So you have to go for the second best place. Which is?"

"On the bottom, where you have to put them around the warp core because directly under it is where the core is bolted to the core ejection system," Seven admitted. "Very well, you have a point in this theoretical example, but that still does not convince me that sacrificing efficiency for the sake of simplicity is a proper thing to do."

"I partially agree," B'Elanna was forced to admit. She looked at how Seven continued to twist and turn the cube without looking at it. Finally she just shook her head and continued. "You are right. You shouldn't do things in a certain way because it's easier. You should look at how things work the best, and then downgrade until you find a way where it's also maintainable. You have to remember there is a reason why there is only one chief Engineer; not everyone has the same level of competence. Not everyone is competent enough that the word 'educated' in educated guess stands for something. Let me move away from engineering for a second. Take Tom. Now a lot of people, including me, have called him a goofball, a big child, or an ass. But all of us agree that on the subject of piloting he knows his stuff. If he makes an educated guess we literally trust our life on that. And why?"

"Because, as you said, we know that he knows what he is doing," Seven said, before finding she had to add, "At least on that subject."

"Right," B'Elanna agreed. "But would you also trust your life on an educated guess from Watts? He can fly Voyager too, even serves on the Gamma shift as pilot on occasion."

"I would not trust an educated guess on the subject of piloting from him because his piloting skills are basically nothing more than knowing how to keep an eye on the auto pilot," Seven said.

"And that's my point about Engineering," B'Elanna came back to the original subject. "In the design of Engineering some compromises have to be made because a lot of tasks in Engineering have to be able to be done by people that only had a base course in Engineering. Even if you could set the settings of the engine at the absolute best, you can't really because it would mean someone has to stand beside it to monitor it all the time; you, since nobody else can do it. But what would you do when you need to regenerate? Hope that all keeps working? No, you need to set the engine at a point where it's safely the best, where any engineer can monitor it and if something goes wrong, there is actually time for them to contact the Chief Engineer."

"I am still not convinced, please continue."

"Well, let's see. Sometimes..."

Once they were in the bedroom to go to sleep for the night, B'Elanna suddenly asked, "Can I look at that room once more?"

Confused, Seven gave her agreement and looked how B'Elanna opened the room that held her alcove. B'Elanna called it a closet before, and it was clear to see it was indeed intended to be another walking closet. With two by two meters it was a decent size for a closet, but extremely small for a room to use otherwise.

Then B'Elanna walked to the middle door and opened that. There her original guess was confirmed. It was a bathroom with only a toilet and a sink. The third door revealed another two by two meter closet.

"Why are you so interested in these rooms?" Seven finally asked.

Well," B'Elanna said as she walked back to her side of the bed. "We might share the rest of the rooms, and we already agreed neither of us object to the other walking into the bathroom when we are taking a shower. But what if we need a moment alone?"

B'Elanna grinned before asking, "What if you piss me off so much that I don't want to see you for an hour or so? If I go sit in the living room, I could potentially still see you if you go there or to the kitchen for that matter. I was thinking. Yes, those rooms are small, but they're still big enough to hold a desk, a cabinet, and a chair. We could make those our private rooms. Where one is only for me, and the other only for you, as soon as we moved the alcove out of course."

Seven was tempted to ask B'Elanna why she wanted time alone, if maybe she had urges to take care of. But then she decided not to, because she had somewhat agreed the subject was off limits. Besides, Seven herself would love a place where she could be alone; there were still certain files she would love to watch in private. "You have a point," she finally said. "Placing some furniture in these rooms will not take long, and it is only an order to the computer to make sure the one door only opens for you while the other only opens for me."

Seven turned to the bed and took off her bathrobe with a total casualness that simply amazed B'Elanna.

"I, um," B'Elanna chuckled. "As you might have found out someway, I kinda got a glimpse of you nude today."

Seven lifted both eyebrows at the gross understatement.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. The point is that despite that, I'm amazed that you can just get nude so easily."

"Do you think I should feel shame now after showing you my body in great detail mere hours ago? I do not see the logic in that."

"Yeah, I guess so," B'Elanna admitted. She too got out of her bathrobe and pretended not to see how Seven's eyes drifted over her body for a moment. B'Elanna took her nightshirt and pulled it over her head.

"Are you uncomfortable with getting into bed with me naked?"

"Are you kidding? Of course," B'Elanna said honestly. "But separate from that, I have always slept in a nightshirt." She slipped into bed before adding. "I don't like to feel the sheets move over my body when I move in my sleep; it always wakes me up."

"I for one do like the feeling," Seven countered. "I always relished the feeling on the few occasions I slept in a bed. It was rare I could get nude and enjoy the feeling. Normally I wore bio-suits every hour of the day, with the exception of five minutes when I put on a fresh bio-suit. Today I have enjoyed the feeling of no restrictions to my body; starting with the shower. I believe that I will take your suggestion of wearing other clothing. However, you might want to prepare yourself for seeing me in a bathrobe a lot. I really liked the feel. I would even contemplate being nude at home, but I do not want to make you uncomfortable."


"Do you not think that being horny on an ongoing basis will be uncomfortable for you?"

"You are so funny," B'Elanna said before slapping the blonde's shoulder, only realizing after she had done so that it had been a friendly gesture. 'Damn it, I'm supposed to hate this woman.'

She sighed. "Look, seriously, if you really want to do that, you can you know? I can see where you are coming from. I didn't even realize you wore those things pretty much every minute of the day. So yeah, I can see how you would enjoy the feeling of not having to wear them. I mean, yeah, in the beginning I would look at you from time to time, but if you didn't mind the shower thing, do you really think I would have a problem with you being comfortable in that way?"

"Thank you, but I prefer the bathrobe," Seven admitted. "I was just teasing you a little. As much as I appreciate the unconfined feeling, while I was drying off in the shower my movements did cause a distracting breeze across my skin. But I might take you up on the offer at a later time, depending on how much I get used to the breeze on my skin."

"Your choice. Just so that you know, it's up to you. Though if you do start walking around nude, then we have to change the settings on the doors and internal sensors. We don't want people to walk in when you are walking around like that."

"If I change my mind, I will let you know," Seven assured.

"Well, it's yet another busy day tomorrow, so good night, Seven."

"Good night, B'Elanna Torres."

Part 5

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