DISCLAIMER: No things Star Trek could be considered mine (except for a couple of tapes that are getting kinda worn by now ), you know the drill. It's also a B/7 fic, meaning read this at your own peril. ^_^
In fact, if you'd care to forget all you know about Klingons, Borg, ship's functions and so on, it would probably help as I am making things up as I go along. Oh, and I'm kind of pretending here that the way B'Elanna pronounced her name when she was first introduced (to Harry Kim I believe) is her name as spoken in Klingon – humour me, please.

By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson

B'Elanna decided she did not want to open her eyes.

Granted, she had just woken up, and her alarm would probably go off very soon and force her to get up and face the day, but she really didn't want to. B'Elanna was dead tired, and every extra moment of rest would be needed. She was also very thirsty, and sore all over. Come to think of it, her bed felt rather uncomfortable too.

And there was someone lying on top of her.

_That_ opened her eyes in no time, as her brain frantically went through a list of 'Who', 'What', 'Where', 'Why', 'How' and last but not least, 'Huh?'.

For a moment she couldn't really see anything.

Warm. Breathing. Soft. Heavy, but in a nice way. Smelling kind of familiar… B'Elanna's mind noticed these things while her eyes cleared enough to make out what appeared to be the ceiling of the holodeck above her. She peeked between the strands of blonde hair draped across her face to make sure, and yes, it was the holodeck allright.

Blonde hair?

Slowly she turned her head, barely registering the sounds and grunts coming from around them, as she tried to take a closer look at whoever it was that was draped all over her. But she knew even before the blonde head next to her own moved back to face her.

She would have screamed if her voice had decided to function just then.

She also would have strangled Seven of Nine in sheer reaction, if the pale blue eyes that met her own had not first looked dazed, then cleared and gotten huge with surprise and shock. Of course, that the delightfully dishevelled and flushed woman also gasped openmouthed at B'Elanna helped stay her homicidal tendencies for a moment.

Whatever else was going on, Seven was as surprised as she was.

B'Elanna glanced downward over their entwined bodies as she prepared to speak… and felt her train of thought not only gleefully derail, but hurl itself over a cliff with reckless abandon. "Buuh."

They were naked, completely, utterly and absolutely buck naked, intimately entangled and… B'Elanna's valiant attempt at hyperventilation brought their intermingling scent to her nostrils. And the scent of sex. Her and Seven… together.


B'Elanna meant to push Seven away from herself, she really did. But when she looked back into those blue eyes again, she got rather distracted. Seven looked… vulnerable. And B'Elanna had no idea Seven could blush.

B'Elanna growled.

"_What_…" The voice was only barely recognizable as Kathryn Janeway's. "in the *pfft* world *pthu* is GOING ON HERE! *pfft*" For some reason, Janeway was spitting coffeebeans.

B'Elanna's head swivelled around to the sound of Janeway's voice, wide-eyed as she heard a chorus of confused answers around her. Instinctively she grabbed whatever was handy to try and cover her naked body… meaning the equally naked Seven of Nine.

Captain Janeway was dishevelled and covered from head to toe in coffee beans and coffee powder, and was vainly trying to wipe the worst of it from her face, occasionally spitting out another bean. Not far from her stood Chakotay, similarly covered in what appeared to be mud. To their left was Harry Kim, wearing nothing but a big diaper with tiny green bunnies on it, and Neelix wearing a tigerstriped loincloth.

"Holy hubba!" Tom Paris squealed from the other side of the room, where he was trying to pull up a pair of transparent harem pants over his privates. To the sound of his hoots and wolf whistles, Seven and B'Elanna managed to disentangle themselves and pull apart. Seven merely sat back on her heels, while B'Elanna pulled up her legs in front of her chest and wrapped her arms around them to cover up.

A tiny brown bean missile hit Tom square between the eyes. "Shut up, Tom." Kathryn growled, still sounding odd with all the coffeebeans in her mouth. "What's going on here? And how did we get here?"

"Seven, B'Elanna, you are injured!" Neelix exclaimed and hurried forward to lay a worried hand on B'Elanna's shoulder until she swatted him away.

"Injured?" She echoed uncertainly and looked at Seven. It wasn't until then that B'Elanna noticed the round, bleeding bitemark on Seven's cheek. She gasped.

Slowly she reached up with one hand to her own cheek, and felt it come away with drying blood. She froze and stopped listening to what the others were saying, just staring at Seven instead.

Then staring became glaring.

"Well aren't you at least going to TRY to cover up?!" B'Elanna barked at Seven, peeved that the ex-drone just sat there and let anyone that felt like it get an eyeful… and B'Elanna tore her own eyes away, frowning. It got the others moving though, and suddenly there was several items of clothing offered to Seven and B'Elanna both.

"Neelix, put that loincloth back on!" In a choice between Chakotay's muddy uniform jacket or Captain Janeway's coffee-covered one, B'Elanna preferred to stink of coffee. A turban she tore off Tom's head then shredded served as a tiny wrap around her lower body, while Tuvok's apron and shirt covered Seven, though barely.

Falling into step behind Janeway, they then all carefully crept out of the holodeck.

The hallways between the holodeck and the Bridge were all deserted, but the ship rocked hard, twice, while they made their way towards the Bridge. It seemed as if though the ship was under attack, perhaps even invaded… especially since none of them remembered how they had gotten on the holodeck in the first place, much less what they had been doing.

B'Elanna wanted to go to Engineering instead of the Bridge, and Seven had agreed, saying that if the ship had been taken over, Engineering would be the most efficient place to begin taking it back. Janeway overruled them, ordering them all to go to the Bridge despite the objections.

Entering the Bridge they got quite a surprise.

"Take us out of here, Tal!" The voice that was barking orders belonged to Samantha Wildman, who was standing near the Captain's seat in which her little girl sat, looking decidedly sleepy. For some reason the woman was wearing a frilly apron over a blouse and skirt outfit and waving a cooking spatula in the air to emphasise her words.

At the helm sat Tal Celes, wild-eyed and with the tip of her tounge sticking out at the corner of her mouth as she concentrated, frantically handling manoeuvring the entire vessel. She wore what appeared to be some kind of bikini made from animal furs patched together, nearly identical to the one Ensign T'Lara wore where she stood, handling tactical. Also in the room was Jennifer Delaney, wearing what looked like a pirate outfit from some cheesy romance holonovel, and Vorik, wearing a pink dress.

The ship rocked again, the reason for it apparent on the viewscreen: Voyager was inside some kind of nebula, only it was coloured an angry yellow and there was purple lightning shooting around the vessel. Every time the lightning came too close, the ship shook from the impact.

"Shields down to thirty-two percent." T'Lara managed to sound calm even in this situation.

"We're almost there, just a little further!" Tal Celes cried, and before the senior staff of Voyager had the chance to react, much less replace the junior officers at their respective posts, with a final shudder Voyager wrenched free of the nebula.

Tal Celes slumped back in her chair, and for a moment the Bridge was silent.

"OK… can _someone_ please tell me what is going on here?" Janeway asked, pinning the junior officers with her stare one by one.

"It wasn't me!" Tal Celes exclaimed.

"Well Captain…" Samantha straightened her posture and intended to give a report, while the sleepy little girl in the Tigger footsie-pyjamas shuffled over to Seven and tugged on her arm until the young woman picked her up.

"Where's Megan? Did any of you see Megan?" Jennifer Delaney interrupted nervously.

Apparently neither of the junior officers had any recollections on why or how, but they had all woken up in holodeck two a while ago. They had tried to find out what had happened to the ship, only to find that most of the people on board were located in the cargo bays apart from themselves and Captain Janeway's group in holodeck one. Megan Delaney had been left behind to try to shut the program down in holodeck one and get the Captain and senior officers out, while the rest of them, under Sam Wildman's lead, headed for the Bridge.

They had managed to get enough systems online from there to discover that Voyager was at a full stop inside the nebula, and it appeared that some kind of energy, or possibly invading entities, was moving from the nebula into the ship, and back again. The ship's energy had been draining, and many systems were still down, but they had made a run for it, trying to break free of the nebula while waiting for the Captain to join them. It was at that point that the lightning had begun, and also the point at which Janeway and the rest made it to the Bridge.

"Nice flying, Tal." Tom grinned and ogled Tal Celes' scantily clad form as she hurried to move out of his seat. "You look quite nice with your hair down, by the way." He leered in the direction of her cleavage, making the wide-eyed young Bajoran shudder, then rush over to T'Lara to stand on the side of her that was furthest from the helmsman.

Another bean-projectile hit Tom in the back of his head.

"Seven… you're not wearing any pants." Naomi observed to her friend. "And your cheek has been bleeding." The child looked over to the blushing B'Elanna and noticed a similar mark on her cheek. "Seven!" The little girl started bouncing on Seven's hip. "You and Lieutenant Torres have gotten married!" Naomi laughed and hugged her friend.

The junior officers all turned to stare.

"Umm… congratulations, ma'am." Tal Celes said softly.

"Prosperity to your union." T'Lara added seriously.

"Well I'll be damned! Those two?" Jennifer was temporarily distracted from her worries about her sister. Sam leaned in to say something to Seven as well, when Janeway cleared her throat to remind them of the matters at hand.

Captain Janeway quickly decided that B'Elanna, Vorik and Seven would go to Engineering to start working on the damages as best they were able, while Chakotay, Jennifer, Neelix, Sam and T'Lara would go find the rest of the crew and resuscitate them. Sensors did not pick up any of the strange energy signatures from the nebula, but with the damages to the systems, they could still not be entirely certain there were none of them still onboard the ship.

Megan Delaney was found unconscious in a Jeffries tube not far from the holodeck. She had been tinkering with the holodeck controls when a light entity had appeared at the end of the corridor, and she had tried to make a run for it. It caught up to her within moments, and as it passed through her body, Megan was knocked out cold.

Once Megan was taken to Sickbay, where they quickly got the doctor back online, Chakotay's team proceeded to find the rest of Voyager's crew. They were packed together in the Cargo bays, in suspended animation, and appeared when woken to be tired and confused but otherwise unharmed. Unlike the groups that had found themselves in the holodecks, the others were wearing their everyday clothing, but still no-one could remember what had brought them to the Cargo bays.

As quickly as possible, every available hand was put to work on repairs, while Voyager continued to increase the distance to the strange nebula. The damages of the ship were less than B'Elanna had initially feared, and as long as they found a suitable source to refuel from soon, it seemed Voyager had not fared too badly in the encounter. It was troublesome though that no sensor scans found any sign of the nebula anywere.

This left the more… unusual aspects of the aftermath of the events in the nebula.

Seven of Nine had been authorized to begin working on the memory banks of both holodecks in the hopes of finding out what had really been going on. B'Elanna, Harry and Tom were all assigned to help out part-time, after the first few hectic days of repairs. It was doubly awkward for Seven and B'Elanna as they had barely seen one another since the incident, but both had thinking about the manner in which they woke up since, and the meaning of their bitemarks.

Eventually enough was pieced together for Seven to be able to present everyone involved with a description of what had occurred to them, as well as a small restored image of some events for those that might want to see for themselves. All involved were gathered in holodeck one to go through events.

Chakotay had been communing with nature, sat down in the mud, developed roots, and grew into a tree.

The Delaney sisters were swashbuckling pirates on the high seas as taken straight out of a holonovel.

Tal Celes and T'Lara were apparently stranded on an uninhabited paradise world, together.

Tom was the only male in a suspiciously harem-like environment, where women obeyed his every whim.

Neelix was a primitive, living with a tribe of sentient giant leeolaroot people.

Captain Janeway was commanding an army of coffeebean-armed lucky teacups in a coffee-desert world, fighting the Borg Queen in her demonic little square fortress of decaf.

"Hmm…" Janeway muttered, sounding both amused and chagrined "I think I've dreamt this, before." Several of the others mumbled their agreement, with varying degrees of embarrassment. "I wonder what it means though, that we were somehow made to live our dreams? Not to mention the how and why of it all."

"I want to know why we haven't been told about Seven and B'Elanna yet. " Tom smirked. "Whose dream was that, B'Elanna? Yours? What happened, and can I watch?"

Janeway put her hand on B'Elanna's shoulder before the engineer could decide to lunge at Tom, and cleared her throat. "Seven assured me that all the gathered information about each one of you on the holodeck is stored on the padds you've received, if you want to study them in private. Dismissed."

"B'Elanna, is there anyone you would like to have present for this?" Janeway asked quietly as the others began leaving the holodeck. "Chakotay perhaps?"

B'Elanna shook her head and swallowed, hard. The tension and the waiting was making her nauseous. Was it just her imagination, or didn't Seven seem rather nervous too? Of course, since she had compiled the data, unlike her, Seven would already know what had happened.

Without saying a word, Seven turned on the small holographic viewscreen.

It began with Seven standing, alone, in fairly standard Starfleet quarters. It had the bare necessities but not much more, and could have belonged to anyone. The only thing that said otherwise was a large framed picture on one wall, portraying the Borg children and Naomi Wildman.

Seven in the image moved over to the bed, awkwardly patting it, picking up the pillows and squeezing them, before carefully sitting down on the edge of the bed. It was then B'Elanna appeared in the image.

B'Elanna was stark naked. She stepped up in front of Seven… and within moments the two were in bed, making out and peeling the biosuit off Seven. What followed next was very wanton, very intense, very passionate, and… it turned the watching women three shades of red, from Seven's light pink to Janeway nearly reaching command colour.

"Isn't there a fast forward on this thing?" B'Elanna growled thickly, immediately getting fervent nods of agreement from Janeway.

Seven complied, and for a little while the images moved at an incredible speed.

"So." B'Elanna muttered almost inaudibly. "Am I to assume that I've been dreaming about cornering Seven and ravishing her silly?" Actually that sounded awfully familiar… like a handful of dreams that she'd explained away or just plain willed herself to forget… but no way was B'Elanna about to admit it.

"Not… necessarily you, Lieutenant." Seven spoke with a touch of hesitation in her voice. "Those quarters are mine, from a holoprogram I sometimes use when attempting to sleep."

"What are you saying, Seven?" Janeway asked, intrigued, and frankly quite a bit relieved to focus on something else since Seven had frozen the image while speaking to B'Elanna.

"That Lieutenant Torres could not have 'dreamt' the quarters I designed as she has never seen them, therefore if dreams are what our experiences on the holodeck were based on, it stands to reason the dream was mine."

Janeway fidgeted and B'Elanna was chewing on her lip. "I didn't even know you could dream, Seven?" Janeway's statement came out sounding like a question.

"Yeah, and…" do you often dream about us going at it like crazed rabbits? "was it?" B'Elanna had to ask though she wasn't entirely sure what to do about the answer, whatever it was.

"There has been a few occasions when my mind has been in too much unrest during regeneration, which has caused brief lapses of a dream-like state. It is not dreaming as you would know it, and since it is a malfunction I am brought out of regeneration quickly when it occurs."

"However, since I no longer need to rely on my alcove as much, the doctor does encourage me to attempt to… sleep. During the few times I have done so successfully, I have experienced dreams." It was clear by Seven's tone of voice that dreams was not something she enjoyed.

"And as for your question, Lieutenant…" Seven frowned slightly. "while this particular sequence is unfamiliar to me, I did once experience an erotic dream about you."

B'Elanna bit her tounge. "O-one? Just the one time?" She asked somewhat shakily.

"Yes. The other times I have achieved actual dreaming, the dreams I experienced were nightmares."

"About your past?" Janeway asked gently, thinking that Seven's past would give anyone nightmares.

"My past, my present, my future... presuming I will have one." Seven said matter-of-factly, causing the other two women to flinch. "This is the part you need to see Lieutenant, Captain." And Seven switched the images back on again.

During the next sequence the image had been zoomed in a little on B'Elanna and Seven's faces. It appeared that B'Elanna spoke… then she bit Seven's cheek. Seven's lips moved as if speaking as well, and then she gave B'Elanna the answering bite.

"This is basically photonic residue, so I was unable to produce sound for any of it, but analyzing the lip movements it would appear…"

"We took the Oath." B'Elanna cut in, dazedly touching the cheek where the bite had been. "Oh Kahless, we really took the Oath!"

"Um." Was all Janeway could think to say, her eyes darting from Seven to B'Elanna and back again. "Hm."

The holodeck was completely silent for a moment. B'Elanna stared openmouthed at Seven, Janeway gawked at them both, and Seven was silently watching the still moving images on the viewscreen.

Completely quiet.

"The… rest is more… of the same." Seven said hesitantly and frowned towards the images. "There is no need for you to watch it." She noticed Janeway's sigh of relief when she turned the program off.

"Right!" Janeway said slightly too briskly. "Seven, make sure B'Elanna has a padd with her information, then I think both of you have some thinking to do." She eyed the exit eagerly. "Maybe even some talking. When you've reached a decision, let me know."

"I'll be brushing up on my knowledge on Klingon rituals in the meantime." She bounded towards the door. "And drinking coffee… lots of coffee. Lots and lots of lovely, uncomplicated coffee." She paused briefly in the doorway. "Remember, no fighting!" Then she dashed down the corridor.

B'Elanna glared evilly in the direction of her superior officer, but all the same picked up the padd Seven had given her and started walking towards the turbolift. Seven joined her, and they got on the turbolift in silence.

"Seven…" B'Elanna spoke up after Seven had given her destination to the computer. "those quarters… you said you use that program when you try to sleep, right?" B'Elanna wasn't entirely sure what she was getting at, herself. "Why?"

"I have found that the deck plating in Cargo Bay 2 is not conducive to sleeping attempts. And I also use the program to take sonic showers, when I have the opportunity."

Seven stepped off the turbolift but hesitated, then turned around to add "I feel… uncomfortable taking showers in Sickbay." She lowered her voice. "I… the doctor usually… watches."

The turbolift doors closed around an openmouthed B'Elanna Torres and the exclamation of outrage that was her instinctive response to Seven's revelation. Gasping a little, B'Elanna halted the turbolift, and slammed the flat of her hand into the wall several times. Then she leaned against the wall, thinking.

Finally she growled a change of destination to the computer. She was going to see the Captain.

"It's binding."

"Days of searching through the database, Seven's retained Borg knowledge, and personal recollections, all point to the same thing… the Oath, once taken, is binding. Regardless of the circumstances of _how_ it was taken."

Janeway glanced again at the padd in her hand, even though she knew the contents by heart already, then tossed it on the table and folded her hands in her lap. B'Elanna and Seven sat quietly looking at their own padds, although there was nothing new on them either.

"You know" Janeway began carefully "you could both just… ignore that part. Pretend it didn't happen, and no-one will know. Neither of you even has a scar, and I could have a chat with the doctor and the others that saw the bites if you want?"

"What, and end up in Gre'thor for sure?" B'Elanna exclaimed agitatedly. "_I'll_ know, and that's all it takes."

Seven noticed that both Janeway and B'Elanna chose to ignore the fact that the ship's rumour mill had already spread the news of their 'marriage', and that B'Elanna and herself had been followed everywhere by amused whispers of 'B'Elanna of Nine' and 'Seven Torres' for the last couple of days. Surely she was not the only one aware of this?

B'Elanna sighed. "I've tried very hard for some time now, to have some kind of peace between the two sides of myself, to… accept the part of me that is Klingon, and that part of my heritage." B'Elanna looked down at her hands, it was difficult for her to speak of these things. "I keep failing in some things, but I keep trying."

"But to dishonour one of the most sacred things in Klingon culture? It would send not only me straight to Gre'thor, but probably mother as well." B'Elanna closed her eyes around a picture of her mother's disappointed face. "I can't do that, Captain."

Janeway groaned inwardly and resisted the urge to bang her head against the nearest bulkhead.

"You are the most honourable individual I know, Lieutenant, and I would never wish to be the cause for your dishonour." Seven's obvious and unselfish concern made B'Elanna blush a little, and she flashed Seven a loopsided but genuine grin.

"All things considered Seven, don't you think you could start calling me by my name now?" She was pleased to see Seven's shy answering smile and nod, even if a part of her wondered if Seven even remembered her given name.

"And I appreciate the thought Seven, I really do, but…" B'Elanna sighed. "it's not like I could ask you to take marriage vows, and all that comes with them, seriously just because you, uh, felt a bit of attraction to me at one point." Now B'Elanna was the one to look shy as she fidgeted slightly on Janeway's couch.

"We appear to have reached an impasse. If the Oath cannot be nullified normally, could extraordinary circumstances be grounds for discontinuation?"

"You mean a divorce." Janeway stated, wondering where Seven was headed now.

"Indeed. Is there not an institution to whom the situation could be explained, that may be persuaded that the circumstances calls for an exception of the rule?"

"You mean like, what, the clergy?" B'Elanna had to ask.

"If that's the way you want to do it, we could send a petition through official channels in the next transmission to home… if you really want." Janeway was less than pleased with the idea. "Make sure it really is what you want to do first though, because if you make a request and it is denied, then I can't think of any other options off hand."

"And since it will take quite a while before we'll get a chance at sending it anyway, I advice you to think it through, talk it over, and come up with a darn convincing plea."

"We will, Captain. But I feel certain that to be unwillingly wed to a Borg should suffice as reason." Seven stated calmly and made as if to rise. "Was that not all?"

"Hey!" B'Elanna barked, scowling. "That's former Borg, and will you quit putting yourself down like that? You're the catch of the ship and you know it!"


"Well… damn." B'Elanna muttered and crossed her arms across her chest, ignoring the onset of another blush. "You should darn well know it, anyway."

"So the attraction wasn't exactly one-sided after all…" Janeway muttered thoughtfully and poured herself another cup of coffee. "How do I end up present every time you two should be having a _private_ conversation? I swear, you two will drive me to start drinking one of these days."

A pause. "And I don't mean coffee, Seven." Janeway pinched the bridge of her nose, then looked at the young woman in question. Seven had not listened to a word Janeway was saying, she was too caught up in staring at B'Elanna.

Janeway smiled and shook her head. "You two discuss that through, then bring the matter to me once you've decided what you want to do. Meanwhile, I believe we had another matter to discuss… right B'Elanna?"


"Oh! Yes Captain, there was another thing as well." B'Elanna managed to tear her eyes away from Seven finally. "Seven, do you remember that we spoke about your need for that program? The one with your quarters?" Seven nodded.

"I took it up with the Captain." Seeing Seven's implant rising in question, B'Elanna hurried to explain. "It's just not right Seven, that you should have to use your holodeck hours just to be able to lay down and sleep… or take a shower. No-one else aboard has to do that, not even the Doc in a way."

Sensing that Seven was about to state that the EMH did not require sleep or showers since he was a hologram, and end them up on another sidetrack, Janeway hurried to add her own thoughts on the matter.

"I am glad B'Elanna brought it to my attention, Seven. I really can't believe I didn't see it myself…" Janeway shook her head, clearly disappointed with herself. "It shouldn't have been allowed to go on for this long, and I blame myself. Of course you need quarters of your own, Seven… a door to close behind you when you want some privacy. A bed of your own, a shower, a place to sit" Here Janeway smiled wryly. "…or where your guests would sit as you prefer to stand… it is all very basic rights for any individual."

Janeway moved closer to Seven and put a hand on her arm. "And I didn't even realize that it was being denied you. I am so sorry Seven."

"I know that you are less dependent on your alcove these days, as the doctor keeps me appraised of your progress, and B'Elanna tells me that you two have been working off and on for a while on creating a portable unit. And we actually have the space needed."

"So Seven, I think it's past time you got your own quarters… don't you agree?" Seven almost seemed… stunned. Janeway and B'Elanna shared a brief smile at the young woman's silent reaction, then Janeway picked up another padd and gave it to Seven. "Here."

"This contains a few of the basic data, a few ideas and suggestions, the rest you and B'Elanna can work out as you go along. You have a choice between two locations we can rebuild into your new quarters, so you'll have to decide which one suits you better to start with, then you'll know how much space you'll have at your disposal. B'Elanna has offered to help with all the details, and you know I'm here for you if there's anything you need, but you're of course free to get advice from whomever you want."

"I have to point out though, that even if you decided right now on which space will be the new quarters, and we got all the other basic details ironed out in the nearest couple of days, it would still take a good while before things were ready for you to move in. In the meantime we could put up a few partition walls around your alcoves, that should grant you at least some small privacy while you regenerate, but…" Janeway grimaced apologetically. "no bed, no shower, not even a door to lock."

"Captain?" B'Elanna steeled herself, then charged ahead. "I have an idea for that…"

A few moments later Janeway was staring at B'Elanna, who was fidgeting with another data padd and trying to ignore just how much she had opened herself up for. Rejection of this offer would be tough to take for her prickly sense of pride, but still… she had to do it.

Seven, who had been silent until now, spoke up. "Are you certain? You would be giving up your privacy to spend what would amount to nearly all your free time with someone whom you have previously…" A strange expression flickered past on Seven's face, but too quickly to reveal much. "only been able to tolerate in small doses."

"Look, I know what I'm doing." B'Elanna was a little defensive, but she still sincerely wanted to help. "What I'm offering is my couch, or an emergency bed if the Doc will let us borrow one from Sickbay, my shower and my replicator, until we get you settled. It won't be a picnic for you either, you know… I'm grumpy in the morning." She managed to make the other two women smile a little with the reference to her temper.

"But if you're afraid that I'll, you know, go nuts and attack you, well…" B'Elanna looked down at the floor, not quite hiding the hurt at that possibility.

"No." Seven's voice was low but sure as she laid a hand on B'Elanna's arm. "I would not think that, nor do I fear you. If you are certain of this offer, then I accept. It is very kind of you… thank you… B'Elanna."

B'Elanna gasped a little and looked almost hypnotized at Seven. "You… Y-you said…" She blinked. "…my name."

"Yes." Seven agreed.

"No, I mean… you said it like… pronounced it the way it's meant to, in Klingon."

"I… did." Seven looked a bit unsure. "Do you disapprove?"

If harnessed into energy, the brightness of B'Elanna's answering smile would have solved Voyager's current fuel problems, with a bit extra to boost the warp core in the process. Faced with that unwavering grin, the edges of Seven's mouth began to twitch, then pull upwards until Seven wore her own, full-blown toothy grin to mirror B'Elanna's.

Janeway indulgently watched the two younger women smile at one another for a while, then delicately cleared her throat and made shooing motions with her hands. "That's it, get going before you blind me permanently. You know where to find me if you need me, until then I have some ship's business to take care of, and you… have…" She faltered as the still smiling women barely remembered to wave as they left the room. "…something, for sure."

Janeway shook her head at the closed door in amusement. Then, quietly lest the very acute hearing of either of the two that just left would catch her at it, she mimicked in a breathy, silly voice. "Oooo Seven… the way you say my name…" Janeway draped herself across the couch in a proper swoon. Then she chuckled.

"And those two think they want to get a _divorce_?"

B'Elanna and Seven got an emergency cot from a nearly dumbstruck EMH, and it took no time at all to collect what few items Seven had that she wished to bring, then Seven of Nine had moved into the quarters of B'Elanna Torres. No fanfare, no fuss, just a bit of rearranging things and then it was done.

On B'Elanna's suggestion they eat before indulging their mutual workaholic natures with their new pet project, they went to the messhall together, both in a conspicuously good mood.

While it was no longer such a rare sight to see these two dining together, the fact that they had no other company would have caused quite a stir among the other diners still. Now that the rumours of their marriage were spreading on all decks, though, seeing them together made the whispering observers go wild.

Seven and B'Elanna ate in companionable silence for a while, both aware but studiously ignoring the buzzing comments that filled the room. That is, until finally a thoughtless joke too many made B'Elanna snap. Carefully she put her utensils aside and stood up.

Then she slammed her hand into the table, the bang causing the room to go utterly silent.

"Hasn't it occurred to you lot that we're sitting here hearing every single word you're saying?" B'Elanna's actually didn't sound overly angry, but rather calm, collected, and speaking just loudly enough to sound through the room. "That in fact Seven here could probably hear you all the way from the turbolift if she wanted to?"

"Whether we are or aren't has got nothing to do with any of you, so can it. And as for some comments I heard… " Now B'Elanna did sound angry, and she looked around the room in way that made people shift nervously in their seats. "…if I hear anyone talk about her like that again… let's just say you'll be a lot more sorry than I."

Then she looked at Seven and lowered her voice. "Are you done?" When Seven nodded, B'Elanna reached out to take her hand and, fully aware that every set of eyes in the room were still staring at them, helped Seven to her feet and led her out of the room. B'Elanna thought briefly that she would have to apologize to Neelix later for leaving their trays on the table, but knew that her friend would understand why she had to leave right away.

B'Elanna didn't let go of Seven's hand until they arrived at B'Elanna's quarters.

The first night of living together, Seven and B'Elanna never actually got to bed. They started looking over the information available on Seven's quarters, discussing the pros and cons of the two locations, and eventually migrated to nightclothes and a united pile of pillows and blankets on the floor, talking about anything and everything. They ended up falling asleep there, waking up late the next morning and as such not having the time to feel awkward about the situation.

The second night they fell asleep on the couch, after spending a companionable evening brainstorming about Seven's alcove, and although they were late again the next morning, Seven had her first opportunity to enjoy B'Elanna's sonic shower. On the third night Seven had to regenerate, and B'Elanna found herself curiously reluctant to leave after walking with Seven to Cargo Bay 2. She stayed behind for a while to check and double check the new dividing walls, but couldn't delay leaving indefinitely, and grudgingly trudged on back to her quarters. She was quite amazed at how quickly she had gotten used to having Seven around.

The fourth night Seven got to actually use her new bed, and B'Elanna was quite content to have the younger woman back in the room with her. She burrowed into her plush pillows, settling in for a night of far more restful sleep than the night before… only to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of Seven crying out.

B'Elanna sat up just in time to see Seven arch violently, then, with a chilling cry, lash out her arms and utterly shatter the cot. The clamour of shattering metal and the being dumped on the floor woke Seven up, upset and shaking, but B'Elanna was already there.

Seven barely had time to register what was happening before she was enveloped in B'Elanna's embrace. Strong, gentle arms wrapped around her, soothing words murmured in her ear, a warm shoulder to lean her head on… it was quite a lot of intimacy for the young woman who could count the number of people that felt free to touch her, much less give her a hug, on one hand and still have fingers to spare. Hesitantly, Seven wrapped her own arms around B'Elanna's form, and savoured the sense of safety and comfort the smaller woman was offering.

Still sleepy, B'Elanna pulled herself and Seven to their feet, tugging Seven with her towards her own bed. "C'mon, we'll deal with that mess in the morning."

"But… I should sleep on the floor." Seven protested weakly when B'Elanna pushed her down in the bed and then climbed in after her. "Yeah right." B'Elanna snorted, then pulled Seven over to sleep on her shoulder. "Now sleep, willya?"

And Seven complied.

The next morning was a bit awkward when they woke up to find themselves still wrapped in each other's arms, but they managed to move past the worst of it rather quickly. While Seven was using the shower, B'Elanna gathered up the remains of the emergency cot, not wanting the other woman to feel bad about what really was an accident. Seven, while B'Elanna had her own turn in the shower, decided to show her gratitude for B'Elanna's kindness in the only way that she felt was immediately available to her. Seven cooked breakfast.

B'Elanna was deeply moved by the gesture. She couldn't really remember the last time anyone made her breakfast, in fact outside the messhall she couldn't even remember the last time anyone had cooked for her at all. Tom certainly hadn't during their relationship, his dinners consisted of what he could order up from the replicator, and B'Elanna had eventually lost any inclination to cook for him in return. Too many supposedly romantic dinners had gone to waste while he was busy elsewhere, so she stopped bothering. The little kitchenette fell into disuse.

But Seven had cooked for her. B'Elanna made sure to tell Seven how much she appreciated it, and she began thinking about returning the favour by cooking dinner sometime. What would Seven be able to digest, though? B'Elanna made a mental note to ask the Doc about Seven's diet later during the day, so she could surprise her someday.

It was the first day they woke up in each other's arms, and it was the first day Seven cooked for B'Elanna. It was also the first day that B'Elanna ended up, mid morning, on all fours in the Engineering bathroom, violently divesting herself of the contents of her stomachs.

Illness aside, the day proved to be busy for B'Elanna and Seven both. B'Elanna didn't have the opportunity to go see the doctor about her vomiting spell, instead she just skipped eating and felt better as the day went on. Because they had both been busy, neither Seven nor B'Elanna had done anything about getting a new bed for Seven that day, and when they got back to B'Elanna's quarters it was late and they were both tired. Seven assured B'Elanna that the couch would do fine, and they went to sleep.

Once again B'Elanna was awoken in the middle of the night by Seven crying out in her sleep.

The couch was saved from a similar fate as the cot when Seven awoke on her own. B'Elanna sat down next to her and like the night before, offered the comfort of her arms. They sat for a moment until Seven noticed that B'Elanna was falling asleep, then Seven tried to persuade the sleepy woman to go back to her bed. B'Elanna stubbornly refused to leave Seven alone though, and solved the problem by grabbing her hands and dragging Seven to bed with her. Once there she curled up, tucked herself comfortably into Seven's reclining form, and was out like a light. And with her arms full of sleeping B'Elanna Torres, Seven did not protest further, but joined her in sleep.

They were called to duty earlier than expected the following day, not having time for much in the way of breakfast, as Voyager ran into an unexpected opportunity to restock and refuel. It would take a lot of work, but the ship's reserves would be packed to bursting… and if Seven and B'Elanna both had to continue to work for three days straight, with only brief breaks for nourishment and, for B'Elanna, the odd hour off for fitful sleep, it was a price they gladly payed.

B'Elanna ended up doubled over in the bathroom, throwing up, several times during those three days, which besides being uncomfortable was very inconvenient, and made her largely forgo eating, but there was no time for contacting the doctor about it.

Until towards the end of the third day, when B'Elanna passed out while speaking to the Captain.

Terrified when her sturdy young friend practically collapsed in her arms, Janeway immediately called for an emergency transport to Sickbay. Not having the foresight at the moment to add herself to the transport, she was all but bowled over as Seven sprinted past her at top speed out through doors of Engineering.

By the time Janeway reached Sickbay, B'Elanna was sitting up, looking rather embarrassed and annoyed with herself while the doctor examined her, and Seven fussed nearby.

"I would ask to what I owe the pleasure of your visit, Seven…" The EMH began in his usual smug and superior way. "…but I assume that it is the 'little missus' that draws you here, and not my magnetic personality." B'Elanna growled at him. "Though I'm wounded, really I…"

"Less irrelevant sarcastic commenting, more examining Lahni!" Seven snapped. And while Seven was apparently too worried to notice the utterly delighted smile that spread at the sudden appearance of a pet name, Janeway did notice. She added it to a mental list of things that she was going to smack a certain Chief Engineer in the head with, if she would actually come to her with that official request for a divorce that she had been talking about. And if that didn't help, Janeway was going to kick some ass.

Seven was scowling at the doctor, looking as if she was about to rip the tricorder from him and examine B'Elanna herself, when Tom Paris and Chakotay stormed into the room. "What's going on?" "Where do you need me, Doc?"

That snapped the EMH out of the temporary stupor caused by Seven. "If everybody would just calm down and let me work, I'm sure we might actually find out what ails the good Lieutenant."

"Although, given recent events, I would off hand suspect that what we have here is a good oldfashioned case of exhaustion." The doctor shone a light into B'Elanna's eyes briefly. "You have probably been working nonstop the latest couple of days, with no rest and little food, haven't you?"

"Well, yeah…" B'Elanna agreed reluctantly, then paused as the doctor wanted her to open her mouth. "but there's something else too. I've been, well, throwing up a lot lately."

"What? Why have you not told me this?" Seven exclaimed in surprise. The doctor made a face at her, then cleared his throat. "I believe that would be my line. So Lieutenant, why haven't you come to see me before now?"

"Oh it's nothing, just a bug… and I've been to busy, with all that's been going on." B'Elanna was looking at Seven as she spoke.

"Mmm-hmm. And you got your medical degree where, exactly?" The doctor snapped. There was nothing worse than patients that thought they could self-diagnose. "You could be…" He trailed off, looking oddly at his tricorder. He ran it over B'Elanna once again.

"Tom, give me your tricorder." He ordered distractedly, still looking at the one he already held.

"What's wrong?" B'Elanna asked, and Seven leaned in to read the tricorder just as the doctor snapped it shut.

"Don't worry, I just want to make sure of something." The EMH was less than reassuring as he ran the second tricorder over B'Elanna. He frowned again at the results, then straightened and gave B'Elanna a professional look.

"Well Lieutenant, I was right that you are a bit worse for wear… you have clearly been neglecting food and sleep lately, and I'm going to put you on a medical leave for a while." He held up his hand to stop the protests that so obviously was coming. "You're off duty for a while, but there's more."

He took an unnecessary breath. "Congratulations Lieutenant, you're pregnant."

Everyone was silent.

Then after a long moment, B'Elanna erupted. "WHAT?! What are you saying, you no good piece of malfunctioning…" Seven and Janeway both moved in to stop B'Elanna from jumping down from the bed and charge the doctor.

"You _examined_ me after I broke up with, with… that!…" B'Elanna pointed agitatedly at Tom, who couldn't quite decide whether to be scared or insulted. "…and you said… you SAID I had nothing to worry about! You never once said I was pregnant! Not once!"

"Because you weren't pregnant then! This is a much, much more recent development… just under three weeks would be my preliminary guess at this point." He was quite indignant that she was suggesting he had missed something of that magnitude during an examination.

"What?! Don't be ridiculous, I haven't…" B'Elanna swung around to face Seven, who was standing even more rigidly than before, looking curiously blank. "No Seven… I haven't! I swear I haven't…"

"Lahni…" Seven interrupted B'Elanna's frantic pleading with a quiet voice. "I believe I may have the answer."

Then Seven's knees buckled, and the doctor and Janeway both had to rush in to catch her and help her sit on the bed next to B'Elanna.

Seven swallowed, hard. "I believe that if the doctor would scan the fetus, he will likely find… Borg nanoprobes."

Slowly, in the absolute stillness of the room, the doctor altered his tricorder and scanned B'Elanna's lower abdomen. He repeated the procedure to be sure, but the result was the same. He shut the tricorder and answered simply. "Yes."

Everyone turned to stare at Seven.

"Well eeeeww!" Tom said, cringing. B'Elanna snarled at him.

"You moron, get your mind out of the gutter!" Fidgeting a little and blushing, she added. "Seven is all woman… very much so…"

Janeway cleared her throat. "What I would like to know is… how, Seven?"

Seven stared at her hands, mostly to avoid looking at B'Elanna, and began explaining. "While Borg are asexual and find single cell fertilization too inefficient…" She swallowed.

"There are a number of female Drones that possess an acceptable genetic makeup, and have been left with their reproductive organs intact for the remote possibility that single cell fertilization outside of a Cube would be found necessary."

"There are also a very small number of female Drones who have certain… traits similar to the Queen, and since the Queen is the perfection of the Borg, Drones with a high similarity factor are given another reproductive system. They are meant to… sire new Borg, should the single cell fertilization protocol ever come into effect."

"I was a Drone of the latter category."

Seven looked at B'Elanna at last. "I did not think to check my reproduction tubules after the nebula, as they require conscious thought to implement, and I have never used them before. My internal diagnostic now show me that my tubules…" She hesitated. "…have been used."

Seven and B'Elanna stared at one another. Janeway pinched the bridge of her nose and wondered what would be more appropriate, to send the Borg Queen a 'thank you' note, or to brain the bitch with a ton of decaf. Tom was probably still stuck on the 'asexual' part, and Chakotay was blending into the background.

The doctor was alight with scientific curiosity. While he knew more about the makeup and functions of Seven's body than anyone else onboard save the woman herself, there were still parts that she chose not to inform him about. This had been one of those.

He grabbed his tricorder with one hand, and pried the unsuspecting woman's thighs apart with the other, leaning in to scan her groin and lower abdomen.

Seven gasped softly in shock and flinched visibly.

B'Elanna… exploded.

"GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY WIFE!" She roared, grabbing the hand that rested on Seven's upper thigh with enough force to snap it, had the doctor not been holographic. In one smooth motion B'Elanna hurled herself off the bed and in front of Seven, delivering one powerful fist to the doctor's face that flung him clear across the room and sent him crashing into the wall.

"Now that was entirely uncalled for…" The doctor began complaining. "if I had been human my neck would have been broken!"

"Don't you ever, EVER touch her again without asking!" B'Elanna hissed, shaking with anger. "If I ever find out that you have been touching her or ogling her inappropriately ever again… I swear by Kahless I will start erasing all those damned subroutines you've added, until I get rid of all the unnecessary stuff that make you such a dirty, perverted, conceited egomaniac and cause the rest of us nothing but grief!"

"Hey!" The doctor gasped, shocked all the way down to his holographic core, and actually feeling a bit frightened. Not only did B'Elanna have the knowledge to go through with her threat, she would defy direct orders to do so if it came to that.

B'Elanna moved as if to make another lunge, but Seven leaned into her back, wrapping her arms around B'Elanna and burying her face in her neck. Seven was trembling, just a little, and B'Elanna's anger melted away. She leaned back into Seven's embrace, folding her own arms around Seven's, and closed her eyes.

"Allright, let's all just calm down, or I'll have to get security in here." Janeway warned, stopping the doctor from speaking by levelling one of her glares at him. She turned to look at the two young women wrapped around one another by the bed, and the glare softened. "B'Elanna, what…"

"Captain, he used to watch her when she had to come here to get a shower." B'Elanna said quietly, looking at Janeway. "He's always using her… acting like he's got some kind of right to her, her body or her mind… like he gets to say what she can do or feel…" The arms around B'Elanna tightened as she spoke, but Seven didn't interrupt or contradict her. "And you know it's true, Captain, you've seen it yourself. I just… I won't let him treat her like his plaything anymore. Never again."

Janeway's eyes widened in outrage. Then she turned and nailed the EMH with a look that would have made the Borg Queen squeak. "We will talk about this, you and I. Later."

"Meanwhile… unless either of you have professional concern, at which point we'd have to have Tom examine you, B'Elanna… I should take that as a 'no' then? Very well. Then doctor, are we done here for now? Is there any other tests that needs to be done right away, or can it wait a few days without any risk to B'Elanna or the child?"

The doctor shook his head, there was nothing that could not wait a few days for a more thorough examination, even if there were nanoprobes present in the fetus. B'Elanna's words had shaken him badly, and he wanted to be alone to closely examine his actions and reasoning in regards to the crew in general, but Seven in particular. He already had a feeling the result was going to be… unpleasant, like the upcoming talk with the Captain no doubt would be.

"Allright then." Captain Janeway said, levelling a no-nonsense look around the room. "Tom, you're on duty in Sickbay until you're relieved, and doctor, I suggest you run a self-diagnostic until I summon you. Chakotay, I'll meet you in the Ready room."

"As for you two, go to B'Elanna's quarters and get some rest. I'm putting you both off duty for the next four days, after which we'll see how B'Elanna's doing. No, don't argue! The ship is in top condition right now, let the others handle her for a few days… God knows you've both had your lives turned upside down and inside out too many times lately, you need to regroup." She smiled affectionately at them. "Have some pity on your aging Captain, and don't push yourselves until you collapse, hmm?"

Then she walked up to them and hugged them both. "And in case I forgot… congratulations Seven, B'Elanna… you're having a baby!"

B'Elanna and Seven were ushered all the way to B'Elanna's quarters, given strict orders to eat and rest, lest their busybody friends would come and nag them incessantly until they complied. Once alone however, the two fell into an awkward silence.

Glancing back over to B'Elanna every so often, Seven prepared them dinner, fully intending to keep her promise of making B'Elanna eat, then go to bed.

B'Elanna began chuckling. "Who would have thought?" She said, affectionately watching Seven putter about. "My little stomach bug turned out to be morning sickness."

"I'm… pregnant. With child." B'Elanna was a little dazed, just fully realizing what was going on. "Having a baby…" Looking at Seven's concerned expression. "Having _your_ baby."

B'Elanna grinned. Seven blushed.

"So, granted I wasn't paying that close attention to the details over the roar of all my blood rushing to my face, but why didn't I notice any… ahh… unusual equipment on that holoimage you pieced together?" She sounded amused, but there was a serious undertone to the question.

"I… did not see anything that suggested I used those tubules in the images either." Seven said apologetically. "It might not have been very obvious though, not visible in a smaller image of that kind."

"Where are they located, anyway?" B'Elanna asked curiously. "Down… there?"

Seven's answering brief, embarrassed nod made B'Elanna emit a thoughtful grunting sound but drop the subject. Dinner was soon ready, and they ate in silence, B'Elanna finally realizing that she was starving. She thanked Seven profusely afterwards, wanting the younger woman to know just how much she truly appreciated the meal, and that Seven took the trouble of making it.

After cleaning up, Seven encouraged B'Elanna to go to bed. B'Elanna pouted like a little girl protesting bed time, and stubbornly refused, especially since Seven herself intended to go over their notes on her quarters, over in the couch. The only way to make B'Elanna to go to bed was if Seven joined her so they could talk, and Seven agreed, bringing her data padd with her and crawled into bed with B'Elanna.

B'Elanna had other ideas though.

"Seven? Can I…" B'Elanna hesitated, then after a moment inched closer, trying to indicate with her eyes and a few small gestures what it was she wanted. Eventually Seven got it.

"Yes, of course." Seven agreed and opened her arms. B'Elanna then tucked herself comfortably into Seven's side, her head on Seven's shoulder and her arms wrapped around Seven's waist. Seven herself was a bit more tentative before finally letting her arms surround B'Elanna where she lay.

There were a few moments of silence.

"Seven? What you said about Drones that have these tubules and the Borg Queen… does that mean that you are supposed to have similarities to her, somehow?"

Seven had been dreading this conversation, and she had been dreading it for a long time, in fact ever since she had briefly been returned to the Collective and realized quite a few truths about herself and the Borg Queen's plans for her. She had known then that this conversation was inevitable, even though she had felt a curious human compulsion to try and deny the truth, but when it was not brought up directly after the events, she had almost managed to forget about it. Almost, because Seven of Nine never forgot anything… at least until recently.

In all honesty though, Seven had always assumed that the one person that would ask, that would prompt this discussion, would be Janeway.

"B'Elanna…" She began hesitantly. "When I was with the Borg Queen during our latest encounter, I discovered something… no, she informed me of some things, that I have not told anyone about."

"What?" B'Elanna could tell this was something that was deeply troubling Seven, and reached up to lightly caress her face. "You can tell me anything, Seven."

Seven sighed and leaned into the touch. "I find myself… reluctant to speak of this… when you hear this you will hate me for certain." More quietly. "I… do not want you to hate me."

"Oh Seven…" B'Elanna said thickly and hugged the other woman, hard. "I could never hate you. I just couldn't."

Unseen by B'Elanna Seven nodded slightly, but she was not convinced. However, it was time to tell, and considering that B'Elanna was carrying their child, it was right that she was the one to hear it.

"The Queen is the heart, mind and driving force of the Collective, without her the Collective would eventually falter and be destroyed. The Queen, although her lifespan is far more lengthened than that of any Drone, is not immortal… eventually the body must die."

"The body dies, but the essence of the Queen remains and is transferred, merged, with that of a particular Drone whose body will become the Queen's new vessel."

"Omega is true perfection, but the Queen is as close to that perfection that the Borg can come. For this reason, at any given point in time there exists one Drone somewhere in the Collective that the Queen deems the closest to her own perfection, and that Drone is… prepared. The Drone itself usually does not know, as there is no reason for her to know this, but everything in that Drone, implants, enhancements, abilities, her placing… are created for the purpose of becoming the Queen's next vessel. What sets that Drone apart from others is that…"

"She's left with a little bit of her individuality intact!" B'Elanna breathed, making sense of what Seven was telling her. "Just a tiny bit, because… the Queen is the Collective, but she is also an individual… she makes the decisions, and we've seen that she doesn't always act rationally when there's something she wants. It probably makes the transference easier, doesn't it?"

"Yes. The sum of that Drone becomes a part of the whole of that which is the Queen, but an ordinary Drone could not sustain the Queen's essence for long." Seven fell quiet for a moment.

"It's you, isn't it?" B'Elanna asked softly. "It's the reason she's so obsessed with you, why she's ready to throw away entire Cubes to get you back." She placed a small kiss on Seven's shoulder. "It's why even at the beginning when the Captain severed you, you got emotional… lashing out in anger and fear… and it's why even as a Borg, you'd sometimes use words like 'I' instead of 'we' or 'this Drone'. The only other Borg I know of that's supposed to do that is the Queen herself."

Seven blinked. "I… had not considered those things. But yes" Her voice trembled just slightly. "I am that Drone." Then she sounded positively shy. "You noticed those things about me? It was some time ago."

"Umm yeah." B'Elanna was blushing. "And you listen to me, allright? You may be Borg, the same way I'm Klingon, but you are _not_ a Drone!"

"Thank you." Seven didn't notice that one of her hands had migrated up and was playing with B'Elanna's hair. "But there is more. The Queen told me that she had intended to have me severed when she placed me on Voyager. I was placed here to learn about humanity, so that humanity could be assimilated." She glanced at B'Elanna. "Do you… hate me?"

B'Elanna was surprised to feel Seven's heart pound harder from where she was resting her head on Seven's shoulder. "No sweetie, I told you… I could never hate you Seven."

"So much of my body remains Borg… will always remain Borg. Without them there would not be enough left to make a whole person."

It shocked B'Elanna to find that Seven was crying… and it felt like her own heart would break seeing it. "Oh Seven! My sweet… beautiful… precious little Borg princess…" She interspersed her words with tender kisses to Seven's cheeks, eyes and ocular implant. "They've hurt you so much. I couldn't ever hold that against you."

They both ended up sniffling for a while, clinging to one another. Then B'Elanna chuckled. "And here I thought we would be talking about your quarters, or what to do about your alcove."

"You were distracted." Seven informed her playfully.


"Yes, you. You were curious about my body."

B'Elanna almost choked before she managed to tease right back. "Oh but there's so much regarding this body to be curious about…" She rubbed Seven's abdominal implant a little, then patted her own stomach. "I hear it comes with a lot of optional extras."

"Does it not concern you?" Seven asked, tentatively touching B'Elanna's stomach. "Now that you know what I am, does it not concern you that a part of me is inside you?"

"Concern? No." B'Elanna's hand joined Seven's on her stomach, their fingers entwining. "From what I understand, this baby will be of both of us, and while I didn't exactly plan this pregnancy, I'll love this baby and do my best to be a good mother. As for the rest… I think I pretty much already knew you're perfect, Seven." She winked.

"But, I mean, are _you_ OK with this? You didn't get to plan this any more than I did, and I intend on keeping the baby… are you going to be OK with this?"

Seven's smile was wide and bright, and got B'Elanna grinning in response. "Heh. Guess we're having a baby then, Seven."

"A daughter." Seven corrected, still smiling brightly.

"A daughter." B'Elanna repeated. "Wow." Then she snuggled closer. "Goodnight Seven."

"Goodnight B'Elanna." The last thing B'Elanna noticed before falling to sleep was a hand carefully sliding back up to play with her hair.

"Mmmm." B'Elanna decided that with the right kind of motivation, she could possibly become a morning person. She buried her face further into the sweet-smelling body she was holding. "You realize of course, that I will simply refuse to let you move out?" She muttered sleepily. "You're far too addictive to let go."

Seven chuckled, and B'Elanna lifted her rumpled head up to give Seven a goofy smile. "'Morning there."

"Good morning B'Elanna." Seven watched in amusement as B'Elanna's head dropped back down and burrowed right back in. Apparently Seven was not supposed to get up quite yet, even though she had been lying awake for some time now watching B'Elanna sleep.

"I had a dream. It was not a nightmare." Seven sounded very happy about this. "It featured myself, you" Seven rested her hand against the flat of B'Elanna's stomach. "and our child."

B'Elanna's heart clenched at the happy wonder in Seven's voice, giving her a hard time swallowing past the lump in her throat. So she hugged Seven as hard as she could, crushing the other woman to her so strongly that any other person would have protested the treatment, perhaps even found it painful. But the young ex-Borg was better built to handle B'Elanna's affection, and merely enjoyed the closeness.

"You're even better to hug than Toby." B'Elanna mumbled indistinctly into Seven's shirt.

Seven laughed. "Toby? Your stuffed toy?"

B'Elanna's head shot up and she stared at Seven.

Kathryn Janeway had debated with herself for some time when Neelix had given her the perfect excuse to go and check up on her young friends. Having heard about B'Elanna's collapse in Engineering the previous evening, Neelix had prepared her favorite breakfast… but B'Elanna did not show up for breakfast in the messhall.

Janeway had explained the circumstances to Neelix, about B'Elanna being off duty for the next couple of days, and, unable to keep it to herself, she had informed the friendly little man about the pregnancy. Much like Janeway would have expected, Neelix was delighted and wanted to go to B'Elanna's quarters to present the expecting couple with a new batch of banana pancakes. Unfortunately for Neelix the messhall was quite busy at that time of day, so Janeway offered to bring the late breakfast over herself.

After some deliberation with herself, Janeway decided to just override the lock on the door and go in unannounced, just in case B'Elanna was still sleeping. She didn't want to interrupt her much needed and well deserved rest if that was the case, but would just leave the breakfast with Seven and sneak off.

So it was with some surprise she entered the quarters of B'Elanna Torres, turned to put down her breakfast delivery, and froze staring at B'Elanna's bed.

"Now I've got you! No mercy!" B'Elanna crowed over the sound of Seven squealing and laughing. "Nobody bad-mouths the Targh! Sic 'er Toby!"

B'Elanna was sitting astride Seven's squirming hips, tickling and assaulting the helplessly laughing woman with a stuffed animal. Seven was trying to shield herself, but was laughing too hard to succeed.

It took a moment before the women on the bed realized they had company.

It would have been difficult to tell which one of B'Elanna and Janeway looked the more shocked, one frozen while half leaning over a stasis tray by the door, the other still sitting astride Seven and holding a stuffed toy in the air.

Seven just smiled brightly from where she lay pinned down by B'Elanna. "Captain, you saved me from being devoured by a wild beast." Seven giggled. "I have fallen victim to the much feared wrath of Toby, the toy Targh!"

"Hey!" B'Elanna grinned, poked Seven with the toy and made her laugh again, before remembering that Janeway was watching, and quickly chucked the toy over her shoulder. She gave Janeway a sheepish look. "Umm… hello Captain."

Janeway blinked, then burst out into a deep, hearty laugh until tears poured down her cheeks. B'Elanna shifted, allowing Seven to roll over on her stomach, but didn't let her up.

Janeway felt her heart ache, looking at the two. Even though the implants were as obvious as ever, perhaps more so as Seven was only wearing an oversized T-shirt and her underwear, the young woman looked like just that, a young woman. Her long blonde hair was free from the usual bun, and wildly tousled by sleep and the playing around, her posture was relaxed, happy, and her entire countenance was smiling. Even her eyes danced with mirth, and it broke Janeway's heart to think that it was probably the first time in longer than Seven could remember that the young ex-Borg had experienced this kind of happiness.

B'Elanna too looked more happy and relaxed than Janeway could remember seeing her, and the entire image of the two of them filled her with such a wave of affection it nearly brought more tears to her eyes. Those two were just so right together.

"I apologize for my lack of clothing, Captain, but B'Elanna will not let me get out of bed."

"Keep up the smart remarks, princess, and just see if I don't." B'Elanna grinned and bounced on Seven.

"Does this qualify as spousal abuse?" Seven asked a bit out of breath between bounces, looking at Janeway.

And Janeway laughed.

The three of them had a late breakfast together before Janeway returned to her duties, reassured that her young friends were doing fine. Better than fine, in fact, and it made Janeway smile to think of them. Before she left, Janeway brought up the subject of the EMH, and what B'Elanna had said the day before. B'Elanna admitted that she might have chosen to say the things she did in a slightly too harsh way, but that they were still true. Janeway told them that she had talked to the doctor, and that he had in fact come to the conclusion himself that the many extra subroutines he had added had made him treat his patients very badly on many occasions, and he was working with Harry Kim on reducing some of them and completely removing a few others. It was a grand undertaking of course, but the EMH felt strongly about it.

Moreover, he had officially requested not to be put in charge of teaching Seven any more lessons in humanity, as it was quite clear that it was a subject he was just learning himself, and not something he was able to teach. This seemed to sadden Seven a little, but she agreed with the decision. B'Elanna assured both Seven and Janeway that Seven had passed the point where she needed lessons, and that what she needed now was to listen to what she herself wanted, and get support from her friends.

After Janeway left, Seven and B'Elanna spent much time going over their ideas for Seven's new alcove, and then spent some time playing an ancient Earth game. Finally they went to the messhall for dinner, at which point Neelix got his chance to congratulate them both properly, and from there they decided that Seven would be spending a few hours regenerating, so that Seven wouldn't have to spend an entire night in Cargo Bay 2 later. B'Elanna spent the time while waiting for Seven by working on their ideas, in Cargo Bay 2 where she could be close to Seven.

She had almost forgotten about her morning, or in her case not so morning, sickness, until shortly after Seven came out of regeneration. Instead of throwing up B'Elanna felt the ship suddenly spin and tilt, and the deck came rushing up to meet her.

Seven caught her just before she would have hit the floor, and scooped B'Elanna up in her arms.

"You are going to Sickbay at once!" Seven's tone was clipped because of her concern. "Computer…"

"No! No, there's no need for a transport, and it'll just worry the Captain. I'll walk to Sickbay myself, allright?" B'Elanna stopped Seven from initiating a transport. "Just give me a minute."

Seven looked at B'Elanna for a moment, then nodded. "Very well." And set off at a brisk pace with B'Elanna in her arms.

"Hey!" B'Elanna yelped in surprise, throwing her arms around Seven's neck and holding on tight. "What are you doing?"

"I am taking you to Sickbay. Don't be alarmed, I will not let you fall."

"Oh, it's much too late for that, Seven…" B'Elanna whispered, then continued quickly when Seven looked at her inquisitively. "Um, nothing. If you're set to lug my heavy butt across the ship I suppose I'll just enjoy the ride." She grinned insolently. "Go horsey! Giddyup!"

B'Elanna had hoped they wouldn't meet someone along the way, so of course they did.

The crewmen they encountered merely gawked and whistled, to which B'Elanna decided to respond with dignity and stuck out her tounge. Then as they had almost reached Sickbay Seven stopped and looked troubled.

"Seven, what's wrong? Am I too heavy?" For a moment it seemed that Seven wasn't going to respond, her eyes fixed on some point in the distance. Then she glanced at B'Elanna.

"Will… will I be allowed to be a part of this child's life?"

B'Elanna gasped. There was such pain, such sorrow, in Seven's eyes, and even her voice sounded frail somehow. Seven didn't cry though, so B'Elanna did that for her.

"Of course! Of course you will, Seven, that's not even in question!" B'Elanna caressed Seven's face while blinking some tears away. "Did you really think you wouldn't be?"

Seven looked away. "I forgot to ask… You did not say. And I have lost children before."

A sob escaped B'Elanna as she pulled Seven down until their foreheads were resting against one another. "Not this baby. I swear to you Seven, I will never try to take our baby away from you, and I will never ever let anyone take her from us."

"I want you to be a part of her life, and mine, Seven. In whatever way and however much you want to."

Seven looked shy. "I… I would like to… be there always."

"Always?" B'Elanna felt as if her heart was about to burst. "…always. Yeah." Looking into Seven's eyes at such close range made B'Elanna feel as if the gravity onboard the ship had gone completely haywire. "Sounds like a plan… lets go for always."

"Seven?" She breathed after a moment. "Do you think… could I have a kiss from my wife?"

She saw Seven's eyes widen for just an instant before their lips met, and after that there was no room for logic thought, concerns for the future or even awareness of their surroundings. B'Elanna's hand traced the graceful curve of Seven's neck until it lodged in blonde hair, messing up the austere arrangement, while Seven lovingly cradled B'Elanna to her. One kiss became many, then the kisses deepened and became more urgent.

A door nearby opened and out spilled Sam Wildman, the Delaney sisters and Tal Celes, loudly chattering until the group came to a startled halt in front of the kissing couple.

"Oh… my." Breathed Sam.

"Someone's getting bold I see, making out in the hallway and all." Jennifer teased, grinning at the flustered women.

"Talk about swept of your feet…" Megan sighed dreamily. "Some girls have _all_ the luck."

"Eat your heart out, Delaney…" B'Elanna purred. "…this one is _mine_."

Observing the loving looks and sweet smiles that Seven and B'Elanna shared, barely aware that they had company at all, made the watching women agree that there was no doubting the truth of that statement. And it was about time, too.

"Um, Lieutenant, Ma'am?" Tal Celes spoke up a bit hesitantly. "I just wanted to say congratulations from me and T'Lara, Mr Neelix told us you're expecting a baby…" Tal had been oblivious to the surprised looks from her companions, but the expression on B'Elanna's face made her halter. "Oh… was that a secret?"

Three heads turned back to stare at B'Elanna and Seven after having temporarily stared at Tal Celes. "You're… having a baby?" Megan asked. "Wow."

"Oh!" Sam immediately misted up, and impulsively hugged both women. "That is wonderful news! Congratulations!" The mother of Voyager's first baby smiled widely. "Naomi will be ecstatic when I tell her about this."

Seven and B'Elanna accepted the well-wishes gracefully, until Seven decided that enough was enough. "B'Elanna needs to go to Sickbay, we must continue on our way."

"Oh yeah" Jennifer snickered teasingly, waggling her eyebrows. "that was what you were doing when we came in, right? Just walking along to Sickbay."

"Oh shush, you're just jealous 'cause you don't have anyone that would carry you all over the ship like I have." B'Elanna declared with faux haughtiness. "You may proceed, Seven."

They passed through the doors to Sickbay to the muted sounds of laughter and quietly spoken words on on the subject of 'romantic' and 'cute couple'. B'Elanna thought to herself that at this rate, she would never stop smiling.

B'Elanna couldn't stop smiling. In fact, it felt like it was going to be a permanent condition from now on.

The visit with the doctor, which had at first been a bit awkward for B'Elanna, had given her something to counter the worst of the nausea. She had spoken briefly with the EMH about her words earlier, but he didn't seem to hold a grudge, instead he seemed sincerely wanting to change. It eased her conscience a little.

Then Seven had brought her back to what B'Elanna had begun thinking of as their quarters and, amongst much kissing, cooked her dinner and doted on B'Elanna in a very Sevenish way. Although B'Elanna had worried that they were going a bit too fast, the evening had ended with them making love, and it had exceeded B'Elanna's wildest imagination.

Oh yes, there was no doubt in B'Elanna's mind that Seven was _the one_, and in more ways than she would have thought possible. In short, the younger woman made her deliriously happy, and B'Elanna was determined to do whatever it took to keep that. Including saying a prayer to every deity she could think of.

Hell, she'd even pray to that darn molecule if she had to.

The morning had been divine, just lazying around or making love, until they finally decided to get out of bed, and just spent time together not doing anything in particular. And B'Elanna realized she hadn't had a single thought about Engineering and her warp core for days, which to her spoke tons about her feelings for Seven.

Then they had received a visitor in young Naomi, who had as Sam predicted been quite ecstatic at the prospect of her best friend having a baby. B'Elanna and Seven had played with Naomi until the girl had to go meet Neelix, at which point Seven went to regenerate for a few hours.

This time B'Elanna didn't go with her, but instead grabbed a padd containing blueprints she had worked on before, and went in search of Harry. It had ended up taking a bit longer than B'Elanna had hoped, so in the end she left Harry to put the last parts together on his own while she went back to her quarters to meet Seven, but in another hour the portable energy adapter she had designed for Seven would be complete.

It was meant to be mostly for emergencies or long away missions, but the small machine would just as easily lend itself for general use until B'Elanna and Seven had solved how to rebuild one of Seven's alcoves the way they wanted to for Seven's new quarters. While it only did a small fraction of the things the Borg alcoves did, the adapter would store energy from the alcoves for Seven to use in a form of regeneration, and this way Seven would not need to regenerate in Cargo Bay 2.

Those thoughts of course brought up the matter of Seven actually moving to her new quarters and consequently out of B'Elanna's, which B'Elanna was very firmly against. She was having rose-tinted visions of making their living arrangements permanent, living together, raising their baby together… she was just trying to come up with a good way to broach the subject with Seven.

Entering her quarters B'Elanna immediately knew that Seven wasn't there.

A padd on the couch told her that Seven was off talking to Janeway and would return soon, and B'Elanna appreciated that Seven had thought to tell her where she had gone. Then she noticed Toby sitting on the couch when she distinctly remembered pushing the toy under the bed that morning.

"Hey Toby…" B'Elanna picked up her beloved toy. "what are you doing out here, hmm?"

That's when she saw the package that Toby had been propped against, making her miss it at first even though it was rather big. Curious, B'Elanna put Toby down and picked the package up and looked for a tag.

She found one, but it didn't have the name she expected. Instead, the tag said 'For Toby', and laughing softly B'Elanna carefully tore the wrapping off.

"Oh." It was a toy Targh just like Toby, only blue in color, and… B'Elanna twisted the toy in her hands in wonder. It had what looked suspiciously much like the material in Seven's silver biosuit sewn onto it in a small ocular implant and an abdominal implant, and silvery thread made a small starburst on one cheek and covered one of the front paws. Looking closer she saw that even the eyes were made out of pale blue beads, as opposed to Toby's black ones.

"Oh." B'Elanna sniffled a little, extremely touched by Seven's gesture, and brought the new Targh up her face to give it a good squeeze. It was soft and cuddly, and smelled of Seven. She picked Toby up as well.

"Look Toby, you've got a girlfriend." B'Elanna said in a silly voice, putting the two toys together. "Aren't you lucky?"

"She is not a girlfriend." Seven breathed in B'Elanna's ear, making her jump slightly since she hadn't heard Seven come in.

"She's not?" B'Elanna whispered, a bit hypnotized by Seven's nearness.

"No." Seven wrapped her arms around B'Elanna and held the toys heads in her hands. "They have taken the Oath, so they are married." She turned the heads as if the toys were giving one another the bite. "Like so."

"Oh Seven!" B'Elanna moaned and twisted in Seven's arms in order to kiss her deeply. "I love you!" She pushed Seven deeper into the couch and straddled her lap. "I love you so much!"

When finally they stopped kissing and parted, both women were a bit teary. "I love you too B'Elanna." Seven spoke very softly. "I… think perhaps I always have."

B'Elanna bit her lip and speechlessly just hugged Seven, hard. They held onto one another for a long time, before B'Elanna remembered the toys next to them and mumbled "So what's her name, Seven?"

"She does not have a name, Lahni."

"She has to have a name. Toby has a name." And as an afterthought. "No numericals, Seven."

Seven gave it some thought. "Blue."

"Blue? Seven…"

"She is blue, so Blue will be her designation." Seven declared smugly. "Or she could just be Spousal Targh One."

"Now you're just teasing me." B'Elanna growled playfully. "Allright, Blue it is. Toby and Blue."

"And just for your information, princess, we're not naming our baby 'Infant One' or 'Pink', so you had better not be suggesting anything like that when the time comes."

Seven chuckled, then turned serious. "B'Elanna…" She began, breaking off, apparently unsure how to say something.

"Yeah Seven?"

"I would… I wondered if… Do you…" Uncharacteristically, Seven seemed unable to finish her sentence. Finally she just pulled out a padd and gave it to B'Elanna.

Curiously B'Elanna switched it on. It was a nearly finished design schematic for Seven's quarters - B'Elanna did a double take - Seven's _family_ quarters. It was a basic Starfleet design for family quarters, adapted to the available space and particular needs that they had to work with… a master bedroom and a smaller bedroom, on opposite ends of a larger open family room, topped off by a small kitchen and a bathroom.

B'Elanna looked up to find Seven staring at her intently. "Seven, what…"

"Would you live there with me?" Seven asked quietly. "If you wished it, the larger bedroom would be yours, and our child's when she comes, and I would take the smaller room." She looked away. "Or we could…"

"Or, we could leave the smaller room for when our daughter grows older, as I most certainly won't let you stay an entire room away from me." B'Elanna finished lovingly. "I want you right in my arms where you belong."

Seven's answering smile lit up the room.

"Then there's really just one thing left." B'Elanna took a big breath, then climbed off Seven's lap to kneel at her feet. "I know we intended to try to have our Oath of Union, well, revoked, but… with all that has happened lately between us… I don't want that. I don't want to divorce you Seven."

"In fact, I want the opposite. I want to stand in front of the Captain and our friends, and swear to love and honour you… to be yours forever." Nervously B'Elanna grabbed Seven's hands and fidgeted with them. "A human marriage ceremony, because I want to be able to remember marrying you, but only if you want it too. So I guess what it all comes down to, Seven, is that I'm asking… will you marry me?"

Janeway was a bit surprised when her door opened to reveal Seven and B'Elanna even though both women were still on leave. It concerned her a little as well, having them both come to her like this might mean that they had worked out that darn message they wanted to send, and were going to present Janeway with it now. And if so, Captain or not, she was not going to be responsible for her actions.

But… B'Elanna and Seven were both smiling widely, and they hadn't stopped touching since they walked into the room. In fact, Seven chuckled softly, then pulled B'Elanna to her and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman from behind, causing B'Elanna to lean into her. Janeway felt her eyebrows start climbing up in an unconscious copy of a certain Vulcan who had done the exact same thing when he saw Seven and B'Elanna walking past him.

"Captain…" B'Elanna began. "No, Kathryn…"

Janeway gasped, then smiled. Wordlessly she hurried around her desk to envelop both women in a tight, teary, hug. Both women laughed a little and hugged her back affectionately, and they held on to the hug for a long moment before Janeway finally let them go, stepped back, and wiped a few tears from her eyes.

She looked at them again and grinned.

"Forgive me if I feel compelled to say it, but… it's about time!"

The End

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