DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is the property of Paramount, this story depicts a loving/sexual relationship between women.
SEQUEL: To Denial of Humanity
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Acceptance of Humanity
By Bo McGee

Captain Janeway found herself once again consumed by the memory of her most recent visit to the holodeck. She had avoided returning to any scenario at all since forcing herself to get up and walk out. The eternal walk back to her quarters seemed to just happen. She didn't recall getting into the turbolift. Or stating her destination. Or commanding her unlock sequence into her private quarters. She certainly didn't recall preparing for slumber or even drifting off to a fitful sleep. And when the computer chirped to inform her of the time, she only arose and knew that she would go through the motions of resuming her normal routine.

She tried to see the vast beauty that was her path back to the Alpha Quadrant. She tried to convince herself that this, too, would pass. But mostly she saw only the sad, resigned face of a determined Seven of Nine. And she knew, without question, that what she had heard would haunt her. Until and unless she could regain the distance and the perspective that she'd grown to value, to need. "Chakotay, you have the bridge."

"Aye, Captain, he nodded. His heart ached for her. But he couldn't help her with whatever was causing this until she invited him to.

Captain Janeway tried not to look too much like she was going to be sick as she retreated to the ready room.

Chakotay had begun to see a subtle change in his Captain but had thus far had the good grace not to insist she confide in him. He knew that eventually she would have enough of the internalizing and casually mention her problem when they were alone in her ready room. Or perhaps invite him to a dinner in her quarters. He always looked forward to their talks. It gave him a glimpse of the deeply personal and closely guarded woman.

Their relationship had gone through so many changes over the course of this journey. They were bitter enemies forced to become cautious allies. They were confidants and friends. They had somehow never quite gotten the hang of upgrading to a more intimate level. They had shared a kiss. It had seemed a natural progression. A relaxed laugh and suddenly their eyes met. They both knew what the contact meant and neither resisted. But the instant it happened, they both knew it was wrong. It had been almost chaste and the passion forced. And as much as they both would have really enjoyed the sudden freedom to just be instinctively sexual, it didn't happen. He was unwilling to give up his dominance in that respect and she was unwilling to show herself completely uninhibited.

Thinking back, Chakotay was relieved that it hadn't happened. He knew he'd only see her face at the moment of release every time she gave him that patented glare. The thought made him giggle and he quietly blushed.

"You want to share with the rest of the class, Commander?" Paris grinned.

"I was remembering the time when Neelix put that dish of Sorbegian Shudworms down in front of B'Elanna," he hoped Tom would believe that.

"Ho! I never saw a Klingon jump like that before," Harry Kim laughed.

"I liked the pattern they made as they slid down the wall, too. All sqiurmy and gooey..."

"It took me a week to figure out that the foul smell in my quarters was from the decomposing remnants that had somehow made it from my pockets to the back of my desk before I could finish cleaning up the mess."

Chakotay cringed at the memory. Tuvok continued to work, not showing the least interest in his fellow crewmembers.

Seven of Nine was busily reviewing a chart when she heard the familiar footfalls of her youngest friend. She waited, knowing that the child would not interrupt her. It made the tall blonde smile inwardly. "Naomi Wildman. You wished to speak with me?" She knew that no matter how harsh she may seem to others, that this small girl knew it was only her way.

"Yes, Seven. I can wait until you're finished working, though."

Seven pushed some buttons and spoke softly to the computer. "I have completed my shift. What is it?"

"My mother says that I can't play Kodis Kot until my grades improve. She thinks I've been spending too much time at play and not enough at work."

Seven turned to look at the child. The small face seemed to explode with happiness whenever she became aware that she held the attention of Seven. "Is she correct?"

Seven moved to a bench and invited her friend to sit with her in a simple gesture. Naomi seemed to project such simple joy. It amazed Seven how much this child accepted her moods when no one else, not even Kathryn, would. She would calmly wait for Seven to lose her patience and find it again. She would willingly explain emotions and together they tried to understand the expectations of those around them. It had seemed odd at first, to confide in this young innocent. But when Seven thought about it, they had at the very least, that in common.

"But I'm a child, Seven. And I have the rest of my life to work. I want to play while I still can. It's bad enough I'm the only child on this ship, but now she wants me to behave like an adult. It's not fair!"

"And you have come to me to ask that I speak to your mother?"

"What? No, Seven. I just don't have anyone else to talk to. And you always make me feel better. We can talk about things that I don't always want to talk to Mom about. She's my mother. You're my friend." The smile was so sincere that it almost broke Seven's heart. A term she was becoming far too familiar with of late.

"And you are my friend, Naomi Wildman."

"Good," she sighed her relief.

"Am I to assume that our scheduled game will have to be postponed until your mother sees your work improve?"

"Uh huh, but you could tell her that you want to tutor me sometimes. I mean, if you do. I could learn about astrometrics or some of the other cultures that you know about, from when you were with your other collective. We could talk about everything that is on our minds... " Naomi put on her best smile and waited.

Seven sat stiff and erect. She looked at the star chart displayed at her terminal and considered the girl's request. She seemed eager enough to learn. It would be interesting to discover how a young human reacted to such information. And it could prove invaluable to her own education to have Naomi Wildman around. It was, after all, the age when her own development had been interrupted. The similarities were many when she thought about it.

"Have you discussed this with your mother?" Seven asked quietly. Although she and Samantha Wildman had come to an understanding about her influence on Naomi, Seven was concerned.

Naomi was getting excited. She tucked one leg under and bounced as she spoke. "She'll say yes. She knows how smart you are. And you would never hurt me, Seven. We could learn from each other maybe. I'd really like that. You're my best friend."

Unconditional love. Seven understood it so much more now. Having seen all of her weaknesses and vulnerabilities hadn't lessened her importance to the girl. Her imperfections only seemed to add to her uniqueness. It once made the aloof blonde most uneasy. But recently she had begun to admire that aspect of the human emotional process. For such simple beings, they were really quite complex. "I will consider your request to add some education to our schedule, Naomi Wildman. But it must be with your mother's consent and approval. Now, don't you have studying to do?"

With that the Astrometrics Officer stood to her full height and paused to walk out with her young friend. Naomi jumped up and grabbed Seven's hand. It gave the tall blonde a small start whenever anyone touched her. She wanted to be able to respond with some form of her own affection but had not quite gotten the idea of exactly how to go about doing it. She gently squeezed the girl's hand and raised her off the ground just an inch or so. It seemed to delight the girl and she giggled.

"I wonder if I'll ever be as tall as you are, Seven. Or as big." Her eyes dropped to Seven's breasts and she hunched her shoulders and hid her embarrassment.

"The doctor tells me that it is genetics. Perhaps we could research your own genetic make up and use the computer to speculate an answer."

Naomi's eyes got big and she skipped to keep up. "Really? I think that would be fun. And the doctor has all of the information about my father from my mother's records. We weren't supposed to be here, you know? Mom was supposed to wait until she got back to my father to give birth. But then there was a battle and the ship got pulled over here and well, here we are."

"The Captain has told me that it was our destiny to be here. That perhaps we are meant to be here for a cause greater than ourselves." Seven remembered the philosophical discussions with great fondness.

"Well... if Voyager hadn't been pulled to the Delta Quadrant then we could never have rescued you from the Borg. And Neelix is a pretty good uncle. Mom seems to like it okay. So I guess it all worked out. Do you ever miss your family, Seven?"

"The Hanson's?" Seven stopped walking. "Or the Borg?"

"Either one. They were both your family. Just because most people still hate the Borg, doesn't mean they don't count, right? And it wasn't your fault they assimilated you."

Their path took them to the door of Samantha and Naomi Wildman.

"I do not miss being Annika Hanson. Her parents took her with them on a scientific exploration without asking her if she wished to go along. You are correct when you say that adults seldom consider the wishes of a child." Seven hoped this conversation would end before Samantha opened the door.

"And your other family?"

"I miss certain aspects of the collective, yes. The regiment, the discipline, the shared knowledge, the lack of emotional vulnerability..." Seven stopped herself from saying more.

"But you're getting used to not having the voices so much, right?"

"I have become accustomed to the silence in my head, yes. But the emotions..."

"Yeah, they're not always fun." And with that Naomi reached up and grabbed Seven's arm to pull her head down to her own level. Instead of the expected whisper, Seven felt a soft child's kiss on her cheek. "Bye, Seven. I'll talk to Mom about studying together." Whoosh. Whoosh. And she was gone.

Seven was so overwhelmed that she stood firmly for several seconds. She could still feel the girl's warmth on her face. She touched her cheek with her Borg-enhanced hand, and stopped the tear before it escaped. Why couldn't humans continue being so genuine in adulthood? What training did they take to change the purity of youth? And why? The thoughts were beginning to give her a pain behind her eyes and in her brain. So she did what she always did. She tucked her hands behind her back, stood fully erect and headed back to her work.

If she kept this pace up and the journey continued to be calm, she would soon have to create work for herself. Perhaps a visit to the Maestro was in order. No. Still too painful. A visit to one of Tom Paris's holodeck programs? Absolutely not. The man was preoccupied with heroism, sex or a combination of both. And Sandrine's was always full of people who either didn't want her around at all or those who insisted she drink or play or talk or... be more human. How could she be more human than she was already? Her work was the only diversion welcome right now.

Kathryn hid out in the ready room for most of the day. She went over reports and made adjustments. She updated her logs and read some crew ideas. She checked the progress of some projects and made suggestions. She wandered to the mess hall and tried to feign interest in Neelix's latest concoction. She smiled at her crew and tried to seem approachable.

She felt defeated and lost. She needed to pull back and regroup. She needed to see Seven. Alone. If she could just get her control back - that innate ability to maintain emotional distance borne of a Starfleet Captain. It was at times like this that Kathryn often neglected to consider the fact that most Starfleet Captains were close enough to their homeworlds that they could enjoy the ocassional return. That they were now permitted to travel with a spouse or a companion. That they had a ship's counselor, trained to help ease the difficulties of being so isolated as a Captain. And often, a Captain was made to stay planetside for an extended amount of time to prevent them from getting cabin fever.

Kathryn was unlike any Starfleet Captain before her. She was experiencing so many things that were not covered in any Starfleet manuals; so many species unheard of by them. She was forced to use her own judgement at every turn. How many of those staunch old men could have gotten this far? How many of them would have crumbled under the expectations? And how many would know how to write that new protocol. "Oh, my God!" she whispered as the light went on in her head. She stood up from her desk and held its side. "There is no protocol..."

Kathryn was familiar with the concept of an epiphany but couldn't recall ever experiencing this sudden feeling of euphoria. It was as if the veil had been lifted and freedom was just ahead. It was exhilarating and frightening. She felt the change in her temperature and the pressure eased in her head. The rumblings of an appetite were now making themselves heard. And seeing Seven of Nine suddenly seemed the most important thing she wanted to do.

'Want. God, I actually can allow myself to want,' she thought. But she felt like a schoolgirl with her first crush. Just building up the courage to kiss the girl would be tough. But the idea no longer bothered her. It would take time but that was the one commodity that seemed to be in abundance.

"Captain Janeway to Seven of Nine?"

Seven tapped the communicator and attempted to sound calm. "Yes, Captain?"

"I'm going to the holodeck for some downtime. Care to join me?"

The Captain's timbre always made Seven feel like the tuning fork she'd seen the doctor use. She felt her body thrill at the sound until the sensations reached her in places that only the Captain had ever reached. The first time it happened it was so unexpected and unsettling that Seven had foolishly consulted the doctor. His over reaction and excited response had taught her not to make the same mistake again. "Certainly, Captain. I can be there in twenty minutes." Too eager, Seven scolded herself. She probably only wants to play velocity or join the rest of her crew at Sandrine's.

"Seven..." the Captain spoke more softly. "I'll see you in daVinci's studio. Same courtesies as the last time." And the communicator chirped.

The warm rush enveloped Seven's body and mind. If the Captain meant that they were going to consider themselves equals and it would remain confidential... It meant that the Captain had managed to find her way through her own torment and they could become friendly again. Perhaps she was ready to discuss Seven's revelations in a calm, clinical manner. She did not sound upset. That was a start.

The sudden nervous energy made Seven feel uncomfortable. She was not used to being so anxious about anything. She closed her eyes tightly and pictured Kathryn. The image only made her more anxious. She began to mentally run through all of the research, that the doctor had given her to read, about human dating rituals.

Seven walked to the replicator and stated simply, "One long stemmed red rose." And when it appeared, she retrieved it and started off to the holodeck.

"Computer, dim the lights twenty percent." Kathryn didn't listen when the computer responded. She just stated that it raise the lights twenty percent. She didn't want to give Seven the wrong idea. It wouldn't do to mislead the poor woman.

The whoosh startled her even though Seven was prompt as usual. When it was for their personal time together, Seven was rarely late. Kathryn turned to greet the beautiful Astrometrics Officer and her breath caught. She had her hands behind her back and a slight smile. Her eyes were so full of love and admiration that, not for the first time, Kathryn felt speechless.

"Kathryn," quietly spoken, like a prayer. A rose was presented shyly.

Kathryn was touched at the thought and a little sorry she hadn't thought of such a gesture. "Thank you, Seven. It's beautiful." She held the rose to her nose and smiled at its scent. The replicator did a fine job. "Please, come sit with me. I have something I'd like to say." Seven walked to the couch and sat cautiously next to Kathryn. "May I get you anything?"

"I am in no need of anything, Kathryn. Except what I already have so near me."

"You really are quite lovely in your honesty, Seven. Thank you." Kathryn was trying to muster up her courage. "I've done some serious thinking of late, Seven, and come to some conclusions."

Seven maintained her Borg cool even as she felt a sort of panic rising. She kept her eyes on Kathryn's soft mouth and listened.

"I want this to work out, I do. But I cannot be expected to change overnight. It's going to be slow. I want for you to tell me how you feel right now. Can you do that?"

Seven didn't even take a moment to think about it. She simply stated how she felt. "Fear of rejection. Sadness at the loss. And deep arousal. But the latter has been something I have felt around you for some time now. I would very much like to touch you." And with that she lifted her left hand to Kathryn's cheek and felt the warmth.

Kathryn leaned her cheek into the touch and took the hand in both of her own. She kissed the palm of Seven's hand. "I want that, too. But we... I... Seven, this isn't easy for me." stammered the fearless Captain.

"How can I make it easier, Kathryn?" Seven gently squeezed the smaller hands in her own.

"I have been alone for so long that I am finding it difficult to deal with this sudden surge of sexual awakening, Seven. I feel unskilled and ridiculous. I don't like the feelings of vulnerability. It's unfamiliar and uncomfortable."

Seven saw the internal struggle going on with her beloved friend and wanted to help. "Kathryn, I have never been intimate with anyone that I can recall. Perhaps we can share this experience together and it will be less painful. I will promise to follow your lead and my own instincts. As yet, they have proven correct on most counts."

Kathryn turned to Seven and smiled widely. She couldn't believe how beautiful and kind this oft maligned creature really was. The fear might not be such a bad thing. It could prove most rewarding.

"I don't know where to start, Seven. I don't want this totally based on lust. Not with you. I… I… am… uh…"

"What is it, Kathryn? Do you fear me? My Borgness?" worried Seven.

"Oh, no. You would end your own life before you would risk harming me in any way. I am just having some trouble forming the words that I want you to hear."

"You do not have to say anything. I love you, Kathryn."

Kathryn stood suddenly and walked in front of the still seated blonde. She ran a loving finger over the Borg implant and leaned down to kiss Seven's mouth. It was so unexpectedly delicious that Kathryn didn't even realize that it intensified. She could recall being in Seven's lap and taking her own uniform off. She could recall seeing the exposed flesh of her young love. She could vividly recall the taste and feel of the erect nipple rolling around her tongue. But she was on automatic pilot and the rush of pure adrenaline was so intense that she stopped thinking and started doing.

Seven had the skill of an expert lover. She was gentle and rough. She was sure and confident. She knew exactly when and where to touch Kathryn and she gave herself freely. She kissed the scars and adored the flaws of Kathryn's aged body. She offered no apologies for her own scars or flaws. She spoke gentle words of passion and called out her undying love.

Afterwards, Kathryn lay tucked into Seven's shoulder and wept. Seven felt the tears and kissed the top of Kathryn's head. "Thank you, Kathryn. This is a memory I shall cherish." She wrapped her arms around the Captain and knew it would end soon. They had been so involved in each other that time had escaped.

"I'm sorry, Seven. I didn't want it to happen like this. That wasn't proper of me to move so quickly." She ran a finger along Seven's breasts and smiled as the nipples reacted.

Seven put her hands on Kathryn's cheeks and pulled her up to face her. "What happened here was wonderful, Kathryn. We did not stop this from progressing because we were following our hearts. I wanted this with you. And I can say with absolute certainty, that you wanted this as well. Your body did not betray you. And I am now very aware of the desire that you are capable of."

Kathryn laughed against Seven and heard a moan. She ran her hand down the soft belly and found a welcoming warmth. "Please, Kathryn." Seven kissed her insistently and they lost time again.

Kathryn awoke to the shrill beep of the computer and lay serenely in her bed. She could still smell the ambrosia that was her new lover. She didn't want to rise. Or dress. Or sit on the Bridge. She wanted to invite Seven to her bed and spend hours making sweet love. She would have to endure two more work cycles to get to their two days off. And then they would have to sneak around, plotting like illicit lovers or captain and crewmember. If she could make it through the morning meeting without drooling over that oh-so-sexy-blonde-goddess she'd be all right. It would've been easier if she didn't still feel the intense pleasure between her legs. It was a rich soreness. One she would relish for as long as it lasted.

"Regeneration cycle complete."

Seven opened her eyes and smiled. The sensation had become routine. She smiled more often. She once thought that the happiness she had seen exhibited by others was overrated and frivolous. She was beginning to understand the attraction of being in love. It made her feel lighter and yet more complete. She could recall every moment of their time together. But her favorite image to recall was the one when Kathryn had wept and called out her name as she shook and trembled. The look was pure release. Kathryn had finally dropped her emotional shields and allowed herself to feel. Seven had kissed her through the experience and knew that she would do anything for her Kathryn. Including giving her up. If it was asked of her, she would die for Kathryn. The woman or the Captain.

"Good morning."

Good morning choruses rang out as Kathryn stepped onto the bridge. Everyone waited for her usual invitation into her ready room. Chakotay noticed the carefully guarded smile and the light gait. He wondered what had happened to make her so happy. As she reached the door, the Captain turned around and grinned. "Well?"

Chakotay and Kim laughed. Tom looked confused. And Tuvok just walked into the ready room.

"You're certainly in a good mood this morning, Captain." observed Chakotay.

The doors whooshed and they could hear the voice of the Chief Engineer.

"Just like that? No argument?"

"Would you prefer an argument, Lt.?" Seven smiled and took her usual seat.

Harry Kim was absolutely enchanted by the beautiful blonde's smile. Kathryn thought she actually saw the man swoon. Tom looked confused. Chakotay looked from the captain to Seven and back again.

"I'd prefer to know what's come over you. You're never this cheerful, Seven."

Seven took a fleeting look into the blue eyes of her love before again smiling at B'Elanna. "I am merely attempting to reach a better understanding with you, Lt."

"Okay, are we ready?" The Captain wanted to get this done. She had some hiding out to do. It all went smoothly. Everyone reported and the tension she had worried might be there was not. Seven treated her like the Captain.

The only obvious difference was the way she treated B'Elanna. Instead of their usual bickering, Seven was... sweet. And the half Klingon didn't like it much. She missed the fire. It had fed her belly on more than one morning. She actually pouted.

Kathryn dismissed everyone.

"Okay, you. What gives?" B'Elanna wasn't exactly mean but she was forceful. She put her hand on Seven's arm.

"I don't understand the question." Seven lifted her eyebrow at the shorter woman's touch. B'Elanna dropped her hand and looked incredulous.

"What's happened, Seven? Why the change?"

Kathryn sat at her desk and watched the exchange. She trusted Seven to keep their privacy pact. But she was curious to hear her response.

"I have found another outlet for my aggressions, Lt. Torres."


"I have begun taking regular art classes with the Captain. I find the creativity enriching and relaxing. I am not judged or mocked for my unique visions. It makes me... smile." She looked at Kathryn and smiled.

Kathryn fell in love with her all over again. She was so genuine.

"Art classes?" B'Elanna looked at Seven and then at the Captain. "All it took was art classes? Why didn't you invite her sooner?"

"I ask myself that every class." She bit back a wicked leer.

"I have work to do, Seven. Will you get those figures to me?"

"It is a priority, Lt."

B'Elanna turned and walked out of the ready room. Seven waited for the door to close and turned to look at Kathryn.

"Can I help you, Seven?"

"I want only to say good morning, Captain." She started to leave.

"Wait." Kathryn stood. She walked to the object of her affections. She was slow to place her hand delicately on Seven's cheek. She loved the warmth. Seven met her mouth and the kiss was soft and quick. "Good morning, my love."

"This room is not secure, Captain. And I do not wish to risk detection, which could result in the dissolution of our intimacies. But if I do not leave now, I may take you on your desk."

"I think you're wise, Seven, because I may very well let you take me on my desk. May I see you after our duty shift?"

"Of course. You need only call for me."

"I'd prefer we handle this like a date, Seven. My quarters? For dinner?"

"As you wish, Captain. I would be honored."

Kathryn again touched Seven's cheek. She walked back to her desk and sat down. "Dismissed." She used the voice that she knew would set Seven's quiver off and smiled softly. Seven assumed her usual stance and left the ready room. Kathryn enjoyed watching her walk away. She has a great exit, Kathryn thought wickedly.

Commander Chakotay watched Seven of Nine walk through the bridge and take the turbolift. As the doors closed he could swear he saw her put her fingers lovingly to her lips and smile.

The End

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