Seven sits alone at the far back of the mess-hall, her eyes closed in the vague hope of blocking out the world around her. The chattering of meal time patrons penetrated her consciousness with total disregard for her wants or feelings, a continual reminder that she cannot escape from this world of individuals. The noise is invasive, threatening, not the life giving community of the hive mind, unified but separate. Here the sound just acts as a barrier, keeping out the uninitiated, the unwanted, keeping her constantly on the outside.
Through the mix of voices navigates the sounds of the familiar, sweet and unattainable their barrier the most impregnable of them all. Laughter, joyous and heartfelt comes from the other side of the void, the side where all were accepted, all welcomed. Raising her lashes Seven searches out the source of the sound, the sight she knew would cause her nothing but pain with its indifference.
There, over the other side of the room she stood, smiling and touching those near to her, a part of them, and they a part of her. Carefree or perhaps just better at acting that way than a former drone with separation issues. A ghost of a smile caresses Seven's face, the doctors prescription for her feelings of loneliness had been to learn to sing, as if a hobby would take away the knowledge that her whole life was gone, and that it hadn't even been her life, just what the collective had enslaved her to be. These people, these individuals, they didn't understand, they didn't care. She just stands there laughing with her friends, unaware or just uninterested in the longing she inspires in a lonely soul.
More noise assails Seven's ears, more signs of enjoyment, of fitting in. Closing her eyes she tries again to block them all out, erase them from her world, but it doesn't work, nothing ever does. Standing slowly she makes her way passed the crowds, her passage ignored at best, at worse her departure welcomed, a threat gone, an outsider vanquished from their presence.
Laughter follows Seven as she escapes the confines of the room, and the false promise of camaraderie and friendship. Her laughter rang still in Seven's ears, oblivious to the damage it wrecked on a fragile heart. Walking through the empty corridors the gaping abyss of loneliness receded, solitude a strange antidote to feeling alone.
The journey to the cargo bay is uninterrupted, those she passes avoiding contact with her body and her gaze. The entrance to the bay is closed, the alcoves within empty, this is a room for storage not a home for a lost soul, but it was all that they had given her, all they thought she deserved. Perhaps they were right, perhaps she was nothing more than a piece of equipment to be brought out of storage when needed, but otherwise ignored.
Walking towards her alcove and the oblivion of regeneration Seven becomes aware that she isn't alone. The soft sounds of breathing are just audible in the cavernous room, their frequency increasing as time crawls by.
"Who is there?"
There is no answering voice but movement signifies the other occupant, the slight sound of cloth brushing metal announces a bodies pathway through the containers, until finally a figure emerges from the darkness of the room. The form is familiar and pleasing to the eye, but it is the look on the caramel face that steals Seven's breath. There is a calm about her features that is usually masked by anger or impatience, a look of single minded clarity.
"Is there something you require Lieutenant?"
Still she does not speak, instead she walks closer eyes fixed on the blue of Seven's own, mouth devoid of a smile or frown. Closer still she walks to stand a mere breath from the young blonde, her gaze unwavering in its communion with the lonely soul.
Fingers lightly press down on Seven's lips, stopping all sound, all interruptions, as a body moves in even closer. Arms reach out to enfold the taller woman in a comforting embrace, bringing them closer still, hearts beating against one another in a synchronised dance.
The contact is alien, a memory from the too distant past, a warmth to be repulsed less its loss cause irrevocable pain. Body stiffening Seven tries to retreat, but the hold simply tightens, the contact increased. Frantic to escape the fragile woman fights to break free, the fight lost before it truly begins as gentle finger begin a slow caress of her back and a low vaguely recognisable melody reaches her ears.
As the embrace continues the dark void of loneliness recedes, the ache that had been a constant companion to her heart is lifted. Warmth begins to infuse her body as fear is chased away by acceptance, and tears make their way down sculptured cheeks as emotions once hidden are released.
The embrace is loosened, but contact remains as brown eyes caress blue and a smile of contentment edges B'Elanna's lips.
"How did I know?"
Seven just nods, the look so warm and solely for her is too much, it steals her voice and engulfs her heart in joy.
"We share the same pain of difference, and when I stopped blaming my own loneliness on you I was able to see the truth."
"That only you can make me feel complete, and only I can ease your pain."
It was a truth that Seven had not envisioned, she had thought her salvation would come from the laughing eyes of her Captain, but she'd been wrong. Here in this place of isolation she had finally found somewhere, or more accurately someone, for her to belong. It was here that two lonely people finally found a home.
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