DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is the property of Paramount. They aren't mine, and I wish they were.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: for this story I shot cannon out of a cannon. The storyline is only the same as in the show until the point were Seven stays/is made to stay, on Voyager. And shortly after that is where this story plays. For this story it is also important for you to know that while it plays almost none of Seven's implants have been removed yet. She still has her body armor, the extruding eye implant, and the metal plates on her otherwise balled head.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Beauty and the Beast
By H.W.

Inside some corridor on Voyager.

"I don't know," Harry said, looking back and forth between the other two people present; Tom Paris, and B'Elanna Torres. "I think that the captain has already made her decision. She just doesn't say it to give all of us a chance to voice our opinions."

"And what makes you so sure of that?" Tom asked.

"Well think of it, the captain is momentarily fresh out sheep to save. First it was B'Elanna... um, no disrespect B'Elanna."

"None taken, Starfleet, believe me, I know as nobody else that there was a time where Janeway hovered over me like a mother hen. Heck, the main reason why I 'straightened out,' as she likes to call it, is to get her off my back," B'Elanna sighed slightly. "Well, that's not entirely true. I am very thankful for the chances she gave me. But, I'm still also thankful that she found someone else to hover over."

"Yes," Harry agreed, "but Kes has certainly outgrown needing Janeway. Heck, nowadays Kes is telling Janeway what's right and wrong."

"So you think that she is now going to concentrate on... her?" Tom asked.

Harry shrugged his shoulders slightly. "I'm not a betting guy, but this is something I would put some money on."

"Really now? How about some replicator rations?" Tom was always looking for a way to earn something extra.

But before Harry could reply they heard a voice coming nearer. They had all learned long ago to recognize the voice of the captain, and the sound of her walking. One simply did not want the captain to hear them complaining. A moment later Janeway appeared around a corner talking to the maybe former Borg drone that was currently staying onboard Voyager. Janeway stopped in front of the little group.

"I don't think we had proper introductions yet. This is Seven of Nine, she agreed that the shortened name was acceptable. Seven of Nine, this is Harry Kim, B'Elanna Torres, and Tom Paris."

The three mumbled something that sounded somewhere in the vicinity of 'hallo,' and Seven of Nine just looked at them in her cool and superior way.

It was of course Janeway who broke the silence finally. "I, um, had some time left, so I decided to show Seven of Nine our ship."

Once again a mumble from the three of them.

"Well, um, if you excuse me, there is more that I want to show Seven of Nine."

Janeway moved on, followed a second later by the Borg drone. They got into the turbolift a little bit further down the corridor and once the other three knew for sure that they could no longer be heard they finally started talking again.

"How about it, Tom. You still want to take me up on that bet?" Harry asked.

Tom was smart enough to shake his head no. "Apparently we have to get used to this walking hardware store on the ship. Did you see that gray/green skin color of hers? Damn, she is ugly."

"Because you're ugly."

B'Elanna shook her head slightly to get rid of the memory that just surfaced but it didn't help. She had been able to suppress the memory for her entire adult life but now it all came back with a vengeance.

Little six year old B'Elanna stood on the playground watching the others play tag. She wanted to join them so badly, but they hadn't asked her. But then little B'Elanna remembered what her mommy had told her the last time. If they don't ask you to join, you ask them. So she did. She walked bravely to the group of children.

"Hi, can I play too?"

"No!" One of the boys had said loudly. It had kinda scared little B'Elanna.

"Why not?" She had asked in a small voice. "I want to play too. I can count just as well as you."

"You can't join us because you're ugly. We don't want you touching us. We might end up looking just like you!"

"You're mean!" Little B'Elanna had shouted, hurt by his words.

"Yeah, well you are ugly, so there. You are ugly, ugly, UGLY." Then the boy had started and singing. "Torres, turtle head, Torres, turtle head."

To make it worse the others had joined in. They had formed a small ring around her and each and every one of them had sung. "Torres, turtle head, Torres, turtle head." All the time laughing while doing it.

But they didn't laugh long. It was clear to little B'Elanna that they enjoyed hurting her. Well, in her six year old mind that meant that it was ok to hurt them back. And apparently the others had forgotten that Klingon children were normally at least twice as strong as human children of the same age. She had beaten the living crap out of the boy that had spoken to her, and everybody else she could get her little hands on.

That day had been a turning point in little B'Elanna's life. It was then that her 'hit first, ask questions later,' mentality was born. And for the rest of the year, until she and mommy moved at the end of the year, nobody had played on the playground when she was there. Little B'Elanna had known that they didn't play anymore because they feared her, and that was ok. Fear was cool. Fear made them shut up. Fear made them no longer call her 'turtle head,' fear made them no longer call her ugly.

But even now, twenty-two years later, B'Elanna could still feel the stinging pain of those words; 'because you're ugly.' It still hurt, it still hurt so damn much. And she knew, that all it had taken back then was one person. Just one of them. If just one of them had said, 'I'll play with you,' her life would have been so different. If just one of them had accepted her for what she was. If only.

B'Elanna shook her head once more, trying to get rid of those painful memories that she couldn't change anyhow. With difficulty she managed to concentrate on what Tom was saying... and it made her blood boil.

"...goodness sake. I don't understand why the captain is allowing her out of sickbay already. She is bound to scare half the crew to death. Poor Naomi is bound to go running all the way to the Alpha Quadrant when she sees that thing. But I got to hand it to the Borg, I never thought that anyone could make a women look so ugly, I... ugh!"

Tom was rudely interrupted in his monologue by B'Elanna grabbing his throat and pushing him against the wall.

"Shut up, Paris. You say one more word and I swear I will kill you."

Harry grabbed B'Elanna's arm and tried to pull her back. "B'Elanna, stop! Come on, he's not worth going to the brig for. Just forget about him."

Harry finally managed to get through to B'Elanna and she let go of Tom with a growl.

"Stay away from me the next couple of days, Paris. Harry is right, I don't what to go to the brig because of you." With that she stormed down the corridor, not giving him time to answer.

"Damn, what's wrong with her?" Tom wondered while he straightened his jacket. "Tell me, Harry, was I really that far out of line? I was just having some fun at the expense of someone else who doesn't know about me doing it."

"Yeah, Tom, you were out of line, but no more than normal. Being out of line is part of you. If it normally bothered her as much as it did apparently now, you would have been dead years ago. Maybe you said something that hit too close to home."

"I wouldn't know what. We were talking about ugly people, and B'Elanna sure as heck isn't ugly."

"Well, what ever it was, I would suggest staying out of her way for a couple of days. Things will probably be back to normal then."

"That sounds like a good idea to me," Tom agreed.

"Well now that we covered everything," Janeway said at the senior staff meeting the next day. "I have a little announcement to make. Seven of Nine has asked if she could stay onboard for now. I discussed this with Chakotay and Tuvok, and they both agree that this might be a good idea. We think that the best idea will be to have her rotate through all of the departments, and only then make a decision on where to put her for good. Any questions?"

Janeway looked around the table and saw that nobody was about to say anything, so she decided to close the meeting. But just as she was about to do so, she saw a hesitant hand going up slightly.

"Yes, B'Elanna?"

"Um, this is probably a stupid question, but where are we going to put her? Last thing I knew all living quarters were taken."

"Well, we figured that since the Borg built those alcoves in cargo bay two, she can just as well regenerate there."

"Wh..." B'Elanna wisely stopped herself before shouting the 'what' that was about to form.

"You got a problem with that, B'Elanna?" Janeway asked.

"Well, with all due respect, I was just wondering if enough thought went into that." B'Elanna was quite proud of herself for the way she said that.

"Why? What's wrong with it?"

"Well, the Doctor just told us that she will need to regenerate for eight hours every two days now, and for about eight hours every three days when he starts removing her implants in a week or two."

"Right, and?" Janeway asked.

"Well, I was just wondering, Captain, what will she be doing the rest of the time when she has no place to stay."

"We had assumed that she would work." Janeway still did not see the problem.

"Oh, yeah, that will show her just how different we are from the Borg," B'Elanna said with a fake chuckle.

"Lieutenant?" Janeway asked, her voice suddenly being a lot colder.

"The Borg had her under their total control, made her do everything. We say that we are different, that we are free. But what will we apparently be doing? Letting her work forty-two hours in a row, sixty-four hours in a row as soon as she can. While others normally only work eight hours and then have sixteen hours off, and let's not forget that we get thirty days off each year. Not that we don't actually work more here, and hardly use our time off, but that's not the point I'm making. The point I'm making is this, if we truly want to show her how different we are from the Borg, then we should treat her just like she was a crewmember. Give her only as many hours of work as the rest, give her days off like the rest. And give her a place she can call home. Maybe even put one of those alcoves at the place that she lives."

"Why?" The Doctor asked. "It's not like she will have trouble sleeping in the cargo bay. She doesn't really sleep; she regenerates. And she is unconscious while doing it."

"I'm still thinking about what you just said, B'Elanna," Janeway said, "but for now I would like to hear your answer to the Doctor's questions."

"Well, it's not about whether she has problems with it, or whether she notices someone being in there while she's asleep. It's about the courtesy we give her. It should be the same as we ourselves want. If someone told me that they had been in my room while I slept, and then left again. It wouldn't matter to me if they disturbed me, or if I was unconscious and therefore they could not disturb me anyway. I would get pissed regardless. That's my room, I'm sleeping there, and nobody has any damn business being there. Even the doctor here got offered his own quarters."

"But I declined that," The Doctor objected.

"That's your prerogative, Doc. The point is that they offered them to you. We want her to be one of us, we have to treat her like one of us. No exceptions. Give her the same things, including a normal work routine, a real place to live, to call 'her quarters,' even the same amount of replicator rations we get. What kind of message would we send her otherwise? We only treat you like one of us, if you have first proven that you don't mind not being treated like one of us. Isn't one of the big things about the Federation that each person gets the benefit of the doubt first? We first trust that they mean no harm. And, um, I also have to admit that this reminds me of that saying 'do onto others, as you would have them do onto you.'"

"I have to admit you make some valid points," Janeway agreed, slightly flushed because she had not thought of these obvious things. Not that anyone could actually see that she was flushed, she was captain 'command mask' Janeway after all, "but I have a feeling that she won't know what to do with the time. She isn't used to having time off, except for regenerating, but that is a time that doesn't register with her. At least when she works she has something to do."

"But is should be her choice, Captain. Just tell her what hours she is expected to work and also tell her that she can work more if she wants, but that this is not mandatory. That she can decide that for herself. It's her free time and she should decide what to do with it, even if that means that she decides to work in that time. It would be her choice, it would prove to her that we are indeed free to make choices."

"Alright B'Elanna, I think that you are right," Janeway admitted. "Thank you for pointing out this oversight." Then to the group in general. "That means that we have to place her somewhere and as B'Elanna just rightfully pointed out, all quarters are taken."

"I think we will probably find two people who are willing to bunker up together," Chakotay said with a smile. Since personal was his department, he knew how more and more people were getting into a relationship with someone else on Voyager. He was sure that at least two would be ready to move in together. "It shouldn't be much of a problem freeing up some quarters for her."

Janeway could see that B'Elanna was itching to say something, but also knew that the Klingon was probably holding back because she figured she had already said enough. "Yes, B'Elanna?"

"Well, um, I really am sorry for pointing things out here and making it sound as if you didn't think of this..."

"Well, B'Elanna," Janeway interrupted, "don't feel sorry, it is clear that we did indeed not think about this all the way. I must admit that I at least thought more along the lines of having a problem and how to solve it. I should really have been the one thinking about her as an individual. So, what else would you suggest?"

"I think that it might actually be better if we put her with someone else. I mean, I can see why you thought she would only work the rest of her time; what else could she possibly do? I can see where that thought is coming from. But if we put her in a room by herself, then she will have hours and hours to just think, and to realize that we are not treating her that much different than the Borg did. We really shouldn't try to do things kinda like the Borg did. Trying to move her away from the Borg gradually might give her the impression that things are not that different here.

"I really think we should throw her in at the deep end. Show her just how different things are here. Have her interact with someone, and also make sure that this person and her are on the same shift, so that when she is home, this person is home. I mean, think about it. If she is by her self and she starts to think about something, she might come to the wrong conclusions. But if someone else is there and she thinks about something that is not clear to her, she can ask that person why this or why that and then that person will answer and give the Federation way of looking at things."

"Come on, B'Elanna," Tom said. "We are talking about a Borg here. If the way she looks doesn't scare the person who is doomed to be her roommate, the idea of a Borg laying in a bed a few meters away, will surely keep the person awake at night."

"Hmm, I'm afraid I agree with Tom on that last part," Janeway said. "Nobody will probably feel comfortable with her so close, we might want to change that with our actions now, but for right now people will still see her as a drone. I can't ask people to place themselves in such a position, but it was a good idea, B'Elanna. Alright, so we clear out some quarters for her. I think that we can do that, and I see B'Elanna's point on that. Mayb..."

"Put her with me."

"Excuse me, B'Elanna, what did you just say?" Janeway was sure that she must have misheard. "I remember you coming into my ready room shouting at the top of your lungs when it was suggested that you shared your quarters with someone else since they are officially designed as a two person place."

"Yeah, well, it's not as if it's a family quarters, I still would have my own sleeping room, as would she. If nobody else is willing to give her the chance she deserves, then I will."

Those words actually stung the Captain, especially since she knew that B'Elanna was right. "Alright, from now on your quarters are assigned as double quarters, and an alcove will be placed in the second bedroom."

"B'Elanna, get real," Tom said laughing, "that drone will scare away all your visitors."

"And that would be a bad thing?" B'Elanna asked, looking pointy at him.

"Alright," Janeway interrupted, "but remember that you asked for this B'Elanna. I don't want to see you in front of me complaining about your roommate. I only want to hear complaints when they are founded. And I will put YOU in the brig for a day or two if I get too many wrongful claims of what you think is misconduct of Seven of Nine."

"Aye, Captain."

"Alright, Harry, B'Elanna, you two know the most about Borg technology, you install one of the alcoves in what's going to be her 'sleeping' room. Chakotay, since B'Elanna is on the Alpha shift, I want to see a schedule for Seven of Nine on the Alpha shift. Have her start out in Engineering for the first two weeks, then we will see where else to put her. Dismissed."

"Explain, why am I reallocated to a new regeneration area?"

B'Elanna had somehow expected some other reaction from the Borg. "Because this is now your room, your private place. The cargo bay was a public place that everyone could walk into."


"You might think so now, but that might change soon enough. The point is that you are staying on the ship, you are going to help us... right?"


"Well then, you should have the same rights and privileges as the rest of us. One of those privileges is your own room. Normally on a ship for deep space exploration there is enough room to give single people a full set of quarters for themselves. But here, since Voyager officially is just a scout ship, we don't have so much room so some people have to double up. The rest of the quarters we share. But this is your room, so it is off limits for me unless you invite me in, and the room on the other side of the living room is my bedroom and is of limits for you unless I invite you in, ok?"


"Can't you just say 'okay' or 'understood?'" B'Elanna asked while she left the room and entered the living room again.

"Why?" The Borg asked, following.

"Well, can you, or can't you?"

"Yes I can, why?"

"It makes for easier conversation. Now, this is the living room, and as I said this will be a place we both have rights to. Um, since I was living here by myself 'til now, I put the things the way I wanted them. We can change some things around, but I think it would only be fair if we first talk about it, before we change anything in the shared rooms. That goes for the both of us, ok?"

"Af... acceptable."

"Well, at least you didn't say 'affirmative.'" B'Elanna sat down in one of the chairs and pointed to a second chair. "Why don't you sit down while we talk some, you got any questions?"

"I prefer to stand."

"But can you sit?"


"Then why don't you? It would make me feel better."

"Am I to do the same as you?"

"What gave you that idea?" B'Elanna asked while she leaned forward a bit.

"Because you are telling me what to do, and if I disagree you tell me to do it regardless."

"No, that's not true. I'm asking you to try," B'Elanna disagreed. "There is a difference. You love to call so many things irrelevant..."

"Because they are," The Borg interrupted.

"...But if it is irrelevant either way," B'Elanna continued as if she had not been interrupted, "then why not try doing it the way others do. We really aren't asking you to do things in a certain way because we like telling you to do it. We tell you because we have experience with those things while you don't. We are doing nothing more than sharing our experience with you. When Harry told you before to use the sonic defibrillator, he told you this because we have found that the easiest way to deal with resonating wave buildup. When I ask you to sit it is because I know it is good to be able to take your weight off your feet. Sitting helps you rest. Try sitting, give it a chance for a couple of days. Whenever people ask you to sit with them, do so. If you still prefer to stand after some time, then you can still do so. As a matter of fact you can do so now if you don't want to sit, no mater what. All I did was make a suggestion."

The Borg sat down slowly as if testing the concept of sitting.

"Good," B'Elanna said with a smile. "It will also make it easier to talk with people. We normally get nervous from someone standing beside us all the time. We want them across from us, so that we can look them in the eyes."

"Tell me more about this."

"Gladly, but I want to ask you a favor first."

"State your request."

"Ok, two favors then," B'Elanna corrected herself. "First, listen to how other people talk. There are several ways to say the same thing, but some ways will make a conversation, and others will end it. 'State your request,' could have been said as; 'yes?' 'shoot,' 'ask,' or if you what to use what we call 'proper language,' you could have said 'you may ask.' Trust me, it will make having conversations easer. And once again, I'm not saying that you SHOULD do this, I'm just suggesting you try."

"I will try. What is your second request?"

"And what is the second favor?" B'Elanna corrected.

"And what is the second favor?" Seven of Nine repeated dutifully.

"Well, I know that the captain already shortened your original name quite some, but would you mind if I called you Seven, in stead of 'Seven of Nine.'


"Because of two reasons. Seven of Nine is a whole mouth full to say all the time when I'm talking to you. Seven, is a lot easier. And Seven sounds more like a first name than Seven of Nine does. So how about it? I call you Seven, you call me B'Elanna?"


"Alright, now, how about you ask me some things you want to know, and I will see if I can answer them."

"Why are you helping me?"

"What?" B'Elanna asked, absolutely not expecting the question.

"I have enhanced hearing. I know that the individuals in this ship see me as something to fear, and as esthetically displeasing. They are uncomfortable with my implants and with what those implants enable me to do if I want. And because of my skin color some of them think that they will get some disease if they come in contact with me. They do not understand that my present skin color is due to the nanoprobes, and that this will change once the Doctor reduces the amount of nanoprobes in my body."

"See this?" B'Elanna asked, pointing to the ridges on her head. She had a feeling that the best way to get along with Seven would be to be as honest as possible with her. "When I was a kid, other children said I was ugly. They were scared they could get ridges like me if they touched me. It was a... hard time for me. I really could have used someone back then who didn't care about how I looked and would just give me a chance.

"So when I heard them say the things about you that you apparently also heard, I decided that maybe you could use someone who would treat you like a person. I don't care about the way you look, I don't care that you were Borg. I'm giving you a chance. You start out with the benefit of the doubt. I will treat you like I would like to be treated by you, and it is up to you to decide where we will go. You can turn me into your friend, or you can turn me into your enemy. But if you do, it will be because of the way that you acted, and not because you have six hundred tons of metal attached to you."

"It is approximately thirty one point six kilos."

"Well, since you don't leave any holes in the floor when you walk, I figured that it really wouldn't be as much. I exaggerated a little."

"I... See."

"I just made a little joke, lightened up some."

"Thank you for giving me a chance."

"You are welcome." B'Elanna smiled, she knew that she had done the right thing. "So, I have four hours before I have to go to sleep, ask away."

And Seven did.

"I can't believe you did that!" B'Elanna shouted, once again. She had been throwing a tantrum ever since she and Seven had left sickbay to go to their quarters. "Damn it Seven, it is time that you start to understand that you are not a drone anymore. You can't trust on your implants all the time anymore."

B'Elanna started walking back and forth through the living room while Seven opted to sit on the couch. It had become 'her spot' as B'Elanna called it. In the three days that she was now living in the quarters, Seven had indeed found sitting an acceptable exercise, but she preferred the couch over the two chairs that were also in the living room.

"I used standard procedure."

"No you didn't! It might be standard on a Borg cube but not here. We don't let people stick their hands in plasma coolant. If I hadn't pulled you away your entire arm would have melted off instead of you just having some burn wounds now. What were you thinking for crying out loud?!"

"This hand has been replaced five times now because it was destroyed. Normally a new artificial hand would have been attached by maintenance drones during my next regeneration cycle. It is an efficient procedure."

"Look, we just don't go around mutilating people because it is convenient, okay?"

"Should I leave?"

"What?" B'Elanna asked, turning around to the other woman.

"Should I leave these quarters? It is clear that you are displeased with me and I can understand you not wanting me here now."

"Seven, get real. We are having a fight, I'm not throwing you out."

"A fight?"

"Yes! You having your view of things, me having mine. You trying to convince me of your right, me trying to convince you of my right. Damn it, Seven, the worst that can happen now is that we will end up not being able to agree on the matter. But if you want to go, I'm not stopping you. If you stay you should know that this won't be the last time we fight. I'm a true Klingon hothead. I can't change that, and if you want to stay you just have to accept that."

"I would like to stay," Seven said, knowing that after spending only a few days with B'Elanna Torres, she would not want to change it back to the cold quiet of the cargo bay.

"Good. Don't do that no more, ok? Your health is important to me. I don't want to see you hurt."

"Thank you," Seven said, while treating the Klingon to a smile. The first smile she had produced since she was a six year old child.

It warmed Seven to know that even though B'Elanna knew they were talking about implants, the Klingon apparently considered those implants part of Seven. Seven liked the fact that the beautiful woman sitting across from her liked her as she was.

Even though Seven had basically jumped from being a six year old child to being a twenty four year old adult, Seven truly was that adult. Her childhood was gone for good. Buried under eighteen years worth of horrific memories supplied by the Borg, memories that would make everyone grow out of childhood in a minute. Seven knew that she had still a lot to learn about emotions. But one thing she did know was that she loved the Klingon.

B'Elanna had been the only one to give her a chance, that had given her trust. Seven had tried it the first night. She had been sure that B'Elanna would have locked her door, but Seven had found the door open. B'Elanna had not fearfully locked the door to keep the evil Borg on the other side. It hade given Seven a secure feeling; someone trusted her.

The only thing that Seven didn't know for sure yet, was what kind of love she had for the Klingon. Was it only the kind of love one felt for a friend, for she was sure she could call B'Elanna a friend now, or was it more than that? And just how much could she trust that? Seven was smart enough to understand that falling for the first person who showed her some kindness might be a foolish thing indeed.

Seven rubbed her hand slightly. It still stung, but luckily it didn't burn anymore like it had while B'Elanna brought her to sickbay. Not that she would actually tell anyone that she could feel pain. Seven was too proud for that.

"How's your arm doing?" B'Elanna asked softly, seeing that Seven was rubbing it the entire time. Softly, but still.

"It hurts," Seven heard herself say.

"And the implant? Is it giving you pain?" B'Elanna forgot about the fight and kneeled beside Seven, carefully taking the hand between her own hands.

Seven was about to say that is was irrelevant, but feeling B'Elanna's hands on her own, seeing the concern in the Klingon's eyes, just felt soooo good. "It hurts too," Seven admitted, hoping that B'Elanna would continue to hold the hand. "The doctor connected three thousand of the six thousand sensors in the hand in a way not designed by the Borg. The Borg designed the sensors to gatherer information similar to the sense of touch, but not to feel. The Doctor connected half of them to give me a sense of feeling in the entire hand. There is now no difference between my artificial hand and the natural one, except the exoskeleton that covers it, and the tools like the assimilation tubes that are hidden inside the hand."

"All the more reason to be careful. Promise you will be more careful from now on."

"I promise that I will try to be more careful."

"Good enough, I guess. So," B'Elanna asked, deciding that it was time to change the subject, "you feel like experimenting with food again today? I'm kinda hungry."

"As yesterday, I will try what you replicate, but I can still not eat much. The Doctor told me today that it would be approximately two months until I will be able to eat what is considered a normal portion. He... told me that just as my hand, my abdominal implant is something he can not remove. I do not have enough of a digestive system left to be able to do without the implant."

"How much do you have left then?" B'Elanna asked while she got up and moved to the replicator, "and when will he start removing the implants that he can remove?"

"He wants to start the removal process in five days, and the only thing I have left of my digestive system is the stomach. The rest is replaced by the implants who regulate the energy flow to the body and transform all food to energy. He tried to joke about it."

"How so?" B'Elanna moved a couple of plates to the table. "Um, Seven, remember the deal? When I replicate the food, you prepare the table."

Seven got up to clean the table since 'preparing' the table really meant cleaning up the padds and other things that B'Elanna had left on the table. "He said for me to look at the bright side. I would never have to worry about my weight. The implants would always ensure that my body has the right amount of energy and would prevent the storage of reserves in body fat."

B'Elanna shucked slightly when hearing that. "I don't know how much of a joke that was, Seven. Even in this time and age, most people are afraid of gaining weight. Why do you think I go to the gym three times a week?"

"I do not know. There is nothing wrong with your body. You have a beautiful body."

"Thank you," B'Elanna said, slightly blushing, "but it takes going to the gym to keep it like this. Klingons are certainly not immune to being overweight. Now, sit. You've got to try this. I stumbled upon it while I was at the academy. I know it doesn't look like much, but once you tasted it... Great."

From where B'Elanna stood she could clearly see Seven working. B'Elanna just didn't know anymore. She wondered why the others had so many problems with Seven, the only other person who was treating the ex-drone with some decency was Harry. The only thing the others saw was implants and body armor. Even the captain was pushing Seven to get her implants removed as soon as possible. But B'Elanna just didn't see it. What B'Elanna saw was the dedication that the woman was showing.

B'Elanna admired Seven's hang to perfection, though one would never hear the Klingon say it. But B'Elanna knew, if Seven had made something, you didn't have to check it, it would be perfect and often even in better condition than it had been for years. Others seemed to have a big problem with Seven coming over superior, but not B'Elanna. She knew that Seven would only act that way when she was absolutely certain of something, and B'Elanna admired the unwavering nature of the woman. Oh, it had led to more than one fight by now, and Seven was learning to give as good as she got in those fights, but B'Elanna loved every minute of it.

'As a matter of fact,' She realized, 'I simply love every minute I spend with her.'

B'Elanna moved slightly when Seven went to work at a different place. The Klingon took in the movements and was fascinated by every single one of them. She had never known that seeing someone turn a spanner could be so... sensual.

'sensual?' She asked herself. 'Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I'm in sooo much trouble.'

B'Elanna knew that Seven was nervous about having her implants removed in two days. It was the sole reason why they were both in engineering while they actually had time off. During the last two days they had spent quite some hours talking about it too. B'Elanna felt sorry for Seven in a way. Seven saw her body armor as an emotional armor as well. Nothing could touch her. The words from the others didn't matter then. But what if the Doctor removed the implants and was not able to heal her any further? What if Seven would be forced to live the rest of her life looking like a lobster peeled out of it's shell?

B'Elanna had told Seven that she should not fixate too much about how she might look. Beauty came from inside a person, and before B'Elanna had been able to stop herself she had also added that because of that, to her Seven was the most beautiful person B'Elanna had seen for as long as she could remember. There simply wasn't a bad or selfish bone in the ex-drone's body.

Of course, Seven had then asked what her bones had to do with it.

Seven was aware that B'Elanna was looking at her the entire time, and she liked it. It gave her a warm feeling that had spread from her middle more and more out until it had reached even her fingertips. She loved the fact that the Klingon cared for her, even if it was just as a friend. But having B'Elanna look at her also distracted Seven. She simply couldn't find the damaged circuit. Afraid that she would not be able to fulfill her work properly at a moment that the Klingon was watching, Seven decided to use the direct way.

B'Elanna saw Seven move her arm in a way that the Klingon had already seen one too many times and she sprinted the short distance across engineering to pull Seven's arm away before she could plunge her assimilation tubes into the mass of circuits in front of her.

"Oh, no you don't!" B'Elanna shouted while holding Seven's arm safely away from her precious Voyager components. "How often do I have to tell you that this is not the way we do things here!"

"It is an efficient manner of fulfilling the task you set out for me."

"Well, then you just have to work a couple of minutes more! I am getting sick and tired of having to tell you this again and again. You DON'T do things like that here. If you do that one more time I mpfff mmmmh."

Seven listened to B'Elanna's barrage of words and soon her eyes were focused on those lips, moving so seductively. Finally Seven could not restrain herself anymore. She took hold of B'Elanna with both her hands and placed a hard and inexperienced kiss on B'Elanna's lips.

B'Elanna closed her eyes and enjoyed the kiss. She could feel Seven's inexperience shining through, but to B'Elanna it felt absolutely wonderful. But after a moment her brain kicked in and she pushed Seven away. "What do you think you are doing?!"

"Ending our argument."

"By kissing me in the middle of engineering?!"

"I... I wanted.... you... I," Seven stuttered before suddenly turning around and fleeing out of Engineering.

"What the..." B'Elanna wondered while she looked at the closed doors. She brought her fingers to her lips, the lips just kissed by Seven. Seven had just kissed her. B'Elanna started to smile, something that soon developed into a grin. Wow, Seven had kissed her. That changed everything. But why had Seven run away? Maybe... maybe she thought that B'Elanna had not wanted to be kissed. She had pushed the ex-drone away after all. "Well we got to change that. It's time to go find me a certain woman who apparently likes to kiss me."

B'Elanna felt so great that she could just barely stop herself from starting to skip when she walked out of engineering.

B'Elanna finally found Seven regenerating in the cargo bay. She looked at the program that Seven had selected and rolled her eyes. "A seventy-four hour regeneration cycle, you got to be kidding me." A few button pushes later Seven's regeneration cycle was ended.

Seven saw B'Elanna standing in front of her, hands on her hips, waiting, and Seven could only say the fist thing that came to her panic stricken mind. "You interrupted my regeneration cycle."

"Well, I was not about to wait three days, that's for sure. Why are you regenerating here and not at home?"

"I assumed that you would not want me in your quarters anymore."

"Seven, do me a favor and stop assuming that I don't want you around, ok? Those are your quarters too, and I like you very much in them." B'Elanna came a step closer and decided to get to the point. "You kissed me."

"I apologize. I should not have done that."

"Why not?" B'Elanna asked, being smart enough to know that Seven thought that she had been wrong, and not that she thought that kissing B'Elanna was wrong.

"You made it very clear that you did not want me to do so."

"No," B'Elanna disagreed, "what I didn't want you to do was kiss me in the middle of engineering with ten people watching. I like my privacy so you might get this into your head right now, if you ever again want to give me more than a quick kiss hallo, I want you to do it in private, where we have the time to truly enjoy kissing."

"You want to be kissed more often?" Seven wondered, almost not believing it, but B'Elanna's smile was telling her it had to be true.

B'Elanna came another step closer and put her hands on Seven's hips,. "Definitely, I want us to kiss a thousand times a day."

"One thousand times?" Seven asked, backing up slightly until her back was against the wall of the regeneration unit.

"At least," B'Elanna said while she pushed herself softly against Seven. "Starting right now."

B'Elanna leaned in slowly, giving Seven time to understand what was coming. She brushed her lips softly against Seven's. "At the very least one thousand times," She whispered before seeking out those soft lips once more. B'Elanna moved her hands slightly from Seven's hips more back until they were resting mostly on the woman's behind, giving B'Elanna the perfect opportunity to pull Seven against her while they shared the first searing and mind-blowing deep kiss in a very long row of kisses. B'Elanna...



"Ewww?" B'Elanna repeated while she looked down at the little five year olds that were sitting on her lap. "What 'ewww?'"

"You kissed again. Kissing is juky!"

"Says who?" B'Elanna asked. She loved to have these little conversations with her grandchild.

"Says everyone! I'll never kiss nobody. It's just juky."

Another person walked into the room and sat down across from B'Elanna. "Why don't you show B'Elanna the gift you got from your mother?"

"Okay," The child said enthusiastically while running off.

"I'm still thankful that you have her call me B'Elanna," The Klingon said with a smile. "I'm only fifty-five, I don't want to be called grandma just yet."

"But you are, mom. No matter how hard you want to deny it."

"Now, kissing is juky?" B'Elanna asked, changing the subject safely away from her being a grandmother. "Where does she get that? Your mother and I didn't raise you like that."

"But I didn't go to a school like Annika is. You would be amazed about the things she hears there. And one of the things she heard there is that kissing is juky."

"Well in that case I better not tell her what Seven and I did later that night."

"Ewww, MOM! Don't you know that there are certain things children should never know about their parents. Parents don't have sex!"

"No? Well, that never stopped Seven and me from having fun," B'Elanna said with a toothy grin.

"Mom, I don't want to hear this!"

"Funny, that's not what you said when you started dating Naomi and asked your mother and me all kinds of interesting things."

Lanna had to smile at that, despite the fact that she now loved to tease her mother about how open they had always been with information, she still was thankful to them for it. When she had asked her mother where babies came from, Seven had given her a very interesting two hour explanation on the how and why. But then, it had been two hours because Seven also had to explain how two women could have children. They had always been so open, even when she had asked them about sex when she started dating her wife.

"Well, that's different. Naomi is ten years older than me. I thought that she would be experienced, so I wanted some information."

"Only to find out that poor Naomi knew even less than you. Experienced she sure was not."

"She is now," Lanna said with just the right amount of smugness. "But there is one thing I have been wondering about for years, and you just telling the story reminded me. Mom, how the heck did you manage to h... To do more that night while mother was still mostly wearing body armor?"

B'Elanna laughed at the question. She saw her grandchild coming back into the room and formulated her words in a safe way. "Borg armor might be designed to withstand phaser fire, but it doesn't stand a chance against a Klingon chief engineer with a mission. It posed a challenge, but I won, much to the delight of Seven."

"B'Elanna?" The child asked showing the Klingon an old fashion book. "Did Seven also turn into a beautiful princess?"

"Huh?" B'Elanna asked, not knowing what Annika was talking about.

Annika opened the book and flipped through its pages for a moment before pointing to the title of the story.

"The beauty and the beast? Hey! I know that one. And just who are you calling the beast here? Seven or me?"

The child started laughing while B'Elanna started to growl. Her grandma could be so funny.

"I'm sorry mom, Naomi told her that story a few days ago, it's one of Naomi's favorites."

"I know it is. She told me once that she came across it on the holodeck and fell in love with it because it reminded her of what she heard about Seven and me." B'Elanna lifted Annika back onto her lap and looked at the drawing that belonged to the story. "Well, let me tell you, little one. For me it never made a difference. To me, Seven was the most beautiful princess from the first moment I saw her. Oh, her outer appearance did change once the Doctor removed the implants he could remove and stimulated her hair growth, but it didn't matter to me. To me Seven has always been the most beautiful person I have ever seen."

B'Elanna saw that the child was focusing her interest on the book so B'Elanna looked over to her daughter to indicate that she was going to talk more to her now. "It was actually quite funny to suddenly see half of the ship trying to date her, all to be brushed off with her cool Borg demeanor. I couldn't stop laughing when Seven told me how she told Janeway that she was too late and that she had to excuse her since she had to go home and fuck me."


B'Elanna's eyes got wide when she realized what she just said with a five year old child sitting in her lap. "Kahless, I'm sorry, Lana. I still hate her for trying to split Seven and me up. The rest at least had the decency to back off and be satisfied with being friends with Seven and me."

"It's ok, I understand, mom. Remember, she also insisted that being in a relationship with Naomi would be bad for me."

"Mhmm, I remember. I also remember it being one of my best days in the Delta Quadrant when the crew decided they had enough and appointed Chakotay Captain for the last three years of our journey. I loved having to see Janeway taking orders from everyone on the senior staff because she even messed up being first officer and therefore was demoted once more."

"Let me guess, you also loved the day that the Federation court-martial cleared us all and told Janeway that she had actually gotten off easy."

"Indeed I did," B'Elanna agreed.

"B'Elanna, will you read me a story?" Annika interrupted.

B'Elanna sighed. "Sure small stuff. Give me that book."

"Are you okay?" Lanna asked when she head her mother sigh.

"Yeah, I just wish Seven was here to do this. I would love to hear her voice now, reading a story to our grandchild."

Lanna got up and placed a hand on B'Elanna's shoulder. "I know mom, I miss her too. I'm going to the kitchen, you want something to drink too?"

"No thanks," B'Elanna declined with a small smile before concentrating on the child on her lap. "Now, what story do you want to hear?"

"I would not mind hearing the story of the beauty and the beast," A voice said from the kitchen.

B'Elanna immediately put Annika down and got out of her chair. "Seven, how... I thought you would be gone for another week."

"It took some work," Seven admitted before kissing her wife properly hallo. "It actually took a Borg King understanding that I do not want to be separated from you for too long and therefore he did not prolong the negotiations unnecessary long..."

"Got to love Jean-luc. We really have to invite him to dinner once again one of these days."

"I already did," Seven said after sharing another kiss. "He will come by once the Borg sign the treaty making them part of the Federation counsel. I also invited a certain captain who happens to be the first Federation captain to serve as a free individual on a Bog cube as commander of that cube, a cube with Trans Warp capabilities I might add."

"It will be good to see Harry again," B'Elanna said, leaning some more into Seven.

"Of course, it also took an admiral to clear this Trans Warp flight inside inner Federation borders."

"Tuvok too? Damn, that's going to be a busy dinner."

"It is actually going to be a party," Seven corrected. "I invited all our friends and they all accepted. Tom said that it would be the perfect chance for him to escape the pressure."

"Is he ok?" B'Elanna wondered.

"He is, but with the Borg joining the Federation, Starfleet security was extremely busy and so was the commander of section 31."

"Poor Tom, nobody told him that playing spy was actually a lot of work," B'Elanna laughed, remembering how Tom had gone on and on about how boring and frustrating his job was... and how he didn't want to miss it for the world. "Come, honey. It is time for you to read Annika a story," B'Elanna said, changing the subject.

There would be time to talk about her friends later, now she had promised Annika a story and she was going to keep that promise. Even though she would have Seven read the story.

"I really wish I could have come with you, love. I hate being separated from you," B'Elanna said, putting her arm around her wife.

They walked back to the chair where B'Elanna had sat in and Seven put her hand on B'Elanna's stomach. "No, Kyamo, when I was pregnant with Lana you insisted that I did not strain myself. Can you blame me for insisting that you do not strain yourself when you are carrying our second child?"

"No, I guess I can't," B'Elanna agreed while she sat down again. "Tell me whose idea was it to have a second child anyway?"

"Yours. When you saw Annika grow up and decided that we were both still young enough to have another child."

"Ah, in that case, you start telling a story to Annika, and to out unborn daughter."

And so Seven did.

The End

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