DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters, except Adara Passas, who I made up. The others belong to Paramount. This was just for fun, no intent to infringe, insult or profit is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"You did what?" Voyager's resident holographic doctor looked at Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres in appalled amazement.
"I arranged a blind date for you," she said calmly, resting against the corner of his desk in sick bay.
"I'm not aware of any crew members who have an ocular dysfunction."
B'Elanna smiled. "She's not blind. A blind date..well, it's when someone sets up two people who haven't met."
The doctor passed the Lieutenant and sat behind his desk. She turned to face him.
"Let me see if I understand. You want me to go on a date with a complete stranger? Why?"
"Why not? You've wanted to expand your programming, so dating would be a logical step. Isn't that what you've told Seven?"
"Okay then, how about you'll be doing me a favor?"
"What favor?" The doctor sat back and looked up at the lieutenant with a typically suspicious expression.
"Well, there's a Lieutenant in Engineering that seems a little lonely. She just switched to Alpha shift and doesn't know anyone."
"Well, why don't you and the gruesome twosome you call your friends invite her to one of your holodeck programs?" He began looking at medical files hoping the woman would go away.
"We have. She's going to join us at Sandrine's tonight, but I'll be with Tom, and Harry is going with Ensign Smoltz, and we thought it would be nice if she had a date as well."
"Why me? There are several unattached gentlemen in Engineering."
B'Elanna sighed. "I just thought you two would get along." She chose to ignore the second part.
The doctor looked away from his computer. "Who is the young woman?"
B'Elanna smiled in hope. "Lieutenant Adara Passas."
The doctor furrowed his brow as he ran through his mental database. As ship's doctor he had met every member of the crew at some point during their seven years in the Delta Quadrant. Obviously the Lieutenant was healthy as he had no record of her visiting sickbay with the exception of the annual required physicals. He pulled the Lieutenant's record which featured a picture as well as her vital statistics.
"Hm," he muttered simply.
B'Elanna's brief flicker of hope died at his unenthusiastic response. That was pretty much the same response from the other guys she had asked in Engineering, except due to his enhanced subroutines, the doctor did show better manners in his dismissal.
While Adara was unusually bright and friendly, (even if almost painfully shy), she would never be called beautiful. She had pleasant enough features including very open and pretty blue eyes, but was rather short and somewhat stocky, and men, in their infinite wisdom, focused more on her outward appearance than the heart that she had to give. B'Elanna understood rejection only too well, and it pained her to see this woman be treated this way. She had thought the doctor would be different, but hologram or not he was apparently as shallow as any flesh and blood man.
"Look, I know she's not your type."
"I'm a hologram, Lieutenant. I don't have a type," he interrupted primly.
"Yes you do, doctor. She's currently regenerating in Cargo Bay 2," she replied gently.
The doctor looked away from the Chief Engineer in what could be termed as embarrassment. Apparently his one sided infatuation with Seven of Nine had become ship's news.
"I don't mean to embarrass you doc, but...."
"Never mind, Lieutenant. Seven and I are just friends."
B'Elanna shrugged, dropping the subject. But she couldn't help but feel sorry for Adara. Every since Seven had come on board and been turned back to mostly human, and since the doctor had put her in those ridiculous skin tight biosuits, (which B'Elanna suspected couldn't be comfortable for Seven to wear), the men despite their dislike of her haughty personality and Borg implants, seemed to trip over their tongues whenever she passed by. A normal woman wouldn't stand a chance in comparison.
"Well, doc? Will you do it?"
The doctor looked at his friend. He supposed it wouldn't hurt to escort the young woman.
"Fine B'Elanna. I'll do it."
She smiled. "Great. Why don't you meet us at Sandrine's?"
"Provided that we have no medical emergencies, I will see you then."
"I'll tell her you'll be joining us then. Thanks doc."
The doctor just gave a humph and went back to his duties as B'Elanna left his office.
B'Elanna saw a look of what could almost be fear on Adara's face. "The doctor is going to be joining us at Sandrine's tonight."
"Well...yes." B'Elanna and Adara were both in the process of routine diagnostics of all systems and she had to stop talking for a moment to focus on adjusting a minor fluctuation in one of the plasma injectors.
"I don't know Chief," Adara said, handing her a spanner from the toolkit. "I'm.."
"Don't stress out about it, Adara. Just look at it as a group of friends meeting for drinks, a couple of games of pool and a good time."
Adara let out a laugh at that. "Some how those things and the doctor don't seem to go hand in hand."
B'Elanna laughed in agreement. "Well, we need to help him loosen up a bit then."
"I don't know how I let you talk me into this B'Elanna," Adara sighed with resignation.
"I don't think I gave you much of a choice," she smiled back.
Sandrine's was crowded by both off duty crew and holographic patrons. B'Elanna, Tom, Harry, Elizabeth Smoltz, and Adara were sitting at a large table and Tom Paris had made a comment that had the whole table laughing.
"Good evening all," came the almost too polite voice of the doctor. They all turned and smiled at him, and gestured for him to sit next to Adara.
B'Elanna noticed the blush that tinted Adara's cheeks, and smiled. She had a hard time fathoming how a woman reached the ripe old age of thirty five and the rank of Lieutenant and remained so skittish of men. Even holographic ones.
"Good evening, Lieutenant Passas," he greeted the woman next to him.
"Hi doctor," she replied nervously. Adara had no idea what to say to the holographic doctor. She had never been comfortable in social situations, especially with men. And the doctor had always intimidated her with his haughty and aloof demeanor. But what she had never mentioned to anyone as she would die of embarrassment, but she always thought he had nice eyes and a great smile. She knew he was only a hologram, but she couldn't help it.
Unfortunately, the doctor spent the evening talking to everyone but her and she had suddenly lost the ability to speak, so she just sat there drinking more and more until she felt dizzy. She stood up deciding to go back to her quarters. Apparently she stood a little too quickly as she nearly knocked the table out from under the others. They looked up at her startled.
"Adara, you okay?" Tom asked with concern. Adara took in the arm he had draped casually around B'Elanna's shoulders. That just served to depress her further.
"I'm fine. I guess I just had one too many," she smiled weakly.
B'Elanna laughed. "We'll have to work on that low tolerance of yours Adara."
Adara just smiled. "I think I'm going to call it a night. If you all will excuse me?"
"Lieutenant, if you're not well, I can."
"That's alright doctor. Thankfully it's synthehol so it will all be copasetic by tomorrow."
"You sure you can make it by yourself? You're looking a little shaky," B'Elanna said with a concerned smile.
"I'll be fine, really. Thank you for inviting me B'Elanna. I had a great time. Doctor, it was nice seeing you again."
"You too, Lieutenant. We'll be seeing each other again."
Adara raised an eyebrow eerily similar to the way Seven of Nine often did. "We will?"
"Yes, I checked my records and you're due for your annual physical. Shall we set up an appointment now?"
Adara sighed. She should have guessed. "Not right now, doctor. I'll stop by tomorrow before my shift to set up something. Goodnight everyone,"
The group watched as the shy Lieutenant left the holodeck and then Harry gave a chuckle. "That was pretty smooth doc. 'Shall we set up an appointment?'" he mimicked. "And you talk about Seven's lack of social ability?"
The group laughed at the doctor's confused expression. He obviously thought he had been the consummate companion.
B'Elanna shook her head. "Honestly doc, I thought you had a better grasp on the dating concept."
"I have no idea what you're talking about. I thought the evening went fine."
"Of course you did. You spent a good deal of it discussing the finer points of Exobiology. Riveting stuff by the way," Tom stated with a grin.
"I...Oh, look they put in a karaoke machine!" He left the table and promptly took his place for a turn.
"Geez, it's no wonder Seven's social skills are still lacking with him giving the instructions," joked Paris.
B'Elanna laughed with him, but couldn't stop feeling that she had caused some unhappiness for her newest friend.
Adara decided it might be wise to keep very close to the bulkhead as she felt that it very well may be the only thing holding her upright. She really shouldn't have had that last beer. Suddenly she found herself near tears. She cursed her weakness, and reached up to wipe the tears from her eyes and immediately tripped over her own feet. She threw her hands out and found herself clutching something that felt like an arm. The arm turned and caught Adara before she ended up kissing the floor.
"Are you alright, Lieutenant?" Asked a cool but polite voice.
Adara turned blurry eyes up...and up at Voyager's most unusual crewmember, Seven of Nine.
"Thank you. I guess I tripped ma'am," she slurred as the former Borg helped her straighten upright.
Unlike most of Voyager's crew, Adara had never feared the woman standing in front of her. Well, not once the full Borg regalia had been removed. She had found her rather intimidating though. Seven was everything she wasn't. Tall, brilliant, thin and gorgeous. But the thing Adara most admired about her was her ability to maintain complete control over her emotions. She never let people's comments and insults hurt her, or if she did, she never let on. But Adara never quite felt comfortable calling the taller woman by her first name, even if she was a good eight years younger than Adara. It seemed somehow...disrespectful.
"You're welcome, Lieutenant. And you may call me Seven," Other people would have construed that last as an arrogant proclamation, but Adara didn't.
"Thank you," she said again. "I'm Adara."
Seven looked down at the woman who was even smaller than Lieutenant Torres. She rarely had contact with this Lieutenant, but she seemed rather pleasant and always smiled a polite hello when she saw Seven. And she called her ma'am. Seven wasn't sure why that was relevant, but a part of her recognized the small courtesy. She felt her mouth twitch in amusement. "You are inebriated, Lieutenant," she said bluntly.
"No I'm not," Adara slurred, stumbling once more. And once more Seven grabbed her.
"Perhaps I should help you to your quarters."
"That's okay," Adara slurred glumly. I'll be al.." and with that, to both Adara and Seven's dismay, Adara promptly burst into tears.
"Lieutenant?" Seven's light blue eyes which were always the one true indicator of her emotions if people took the time to look at them, widened in alarm as she looked down at the crying woman. She had no idea what to do. No one except the children had ever let their guard down enough around her to show any emotion other than fear or anger. She didn't know how to comfort anyone. She watched with concern as the Lieutenant slid back against the bulkhead and down to a seated position. She dropped her head down onto her bent knees and continued to weep.
Seven, giving a sigh, recalled how the Captain had often helped her when she was troubled. She sat down next to Adara and cautiously put a hand on her shoulder. To her amazement and terror, Adara just cried harder.
"There, there" Seven muttered trying to come up with something comforting to say to the distraught woman. Giving up, she just let her cry, sensing that perhaps Adara just needed a shoulder to cry on.
Finally, the sobbing stopped and Adara lifted her head. It took one, maybe two seconds for her to realize where she had been crying. Her eyes widened in shock.
"I am so sorry, ma'am." Seven raised her eyebrow at the title, causing Adara to give a watery smile. "Seven. I didn't mean to."
"That's alright Adara. Are you damaged?" She asked politely.
"No. Well, yes, apparently I am."
"Explain," Adara couldn't help but smile a little bit at that. People always found Seven's one word requests for clarification as orders or bossiness, but Adara found it rather endearing.
Her smile faded as she thought back to the travesty of an evening. "It was brought to my attention earlier tonight that I'm so 'damaged' that even a holographic doctor doesn't find me good enough."
After approximately a half a minute of listening to the doctor sing, B'Elanna decided she really should go check on Adara. She knew the "date" hadn't gone well for the Lieutenant, and she cursed herself for trying to help. She told Tom, Harry and Elizabeth she'd be back and she left the holodeck. She hadn't gone far when she saw her target up ahead. Adara was apparently a bit drunker than she'd let on and B'Elanna watched with amusement as Adara clung to the bulkhead like a long lost friend. Her smile faded as she saw her personal nemesis Seven of Nine coming down the corridor towards the staggering Engineer. There's no telling what the former drone would make of this.
She started to move to intercept when she saw Adara stumble. To her complete and utter amazement, Seven caught the Lieutenant and put her gently to her feet without any words of criticism. She saw Seven's sincere look as she talked to Adara. B'Elanna couldn't hear what they were saying but she could see that the ex-drone really was concerned for Adara. Again she began to move forward to tell Seven she'd help get the drunken Lieutenant home when she saw Adara burst into tears. She briefly and unfairly wondered if Seven had said something to cause the tears, but immediately knew that wasn't the case. She knew Seven well enough by now to know that despite all appearances the former Borg wasn't nearly as cold and heartless as she pretended to be.
B'Elanna watched as Adara suddenly slid to the floor. A surprisingly gentle smile crossed her face as she saw the wide eyed terror cross Seven's face as she looked at the crying woman before her, but then her jaw dropped as Seven sat on the floor next to the sobbing woman and put a tentative yet comforting arm around her.
B'Elanna had seen Seven vulnerable on several occasions. She had watched how she cared for Naomi Wildman and the Borg children. She had seen the devastation on her face after One had died. But never had she seen the other woman let her guard down with any of the 'grown ups.' Well, that wasn't exactly true. There was Captain Janeway and there was the time when Seven had turned to B'Elanna of all people for spiritual guidance. But for the most part, Seven seemed wary of the crew. This was a side of her B'Elanna never would have imagined. The sight of the lonely and isolated Borg comforting an inebriated woman she barely knew brought a lump to B'Elanna's throat and an unexplained warmth to her heart. She didn't want to intrude and scare Seven back to her icy Borgness or make Adara feel any worse, so she turned around and headed back to the holodeck, lost in thought.
B'Elanna entered the mess hall and after getting a big serving of grey gelatinous blob, she turned to join Harry and Tom at their usual table for their pre-shift breakfast.
It had been two weeks since the ill fated blind date, and since then, B'Elanna and Tom had decided to go their separate ways. After being stood up again for another of Tom's hobbies, this time designing a new Las Vegas themed holoprogram, complete with showgirls, B'Elanna had finally had enough. They had talked and realized that she wanted more than he was fully able to give. They agreed to remain friends and things pretty much returned to how it had been before her foray into the disturbing world of Pon Far.
She had just sat down and greeted the two men when her eye noticed the messhall door slide open. Seven of Nine walked in, but instead of being alone as she normally was, she was accompanied by her new friend, Lieutenant Adara Passas.
The sight in and of itself wasn't so much of a surprise any more as the pair had been seen together quite frequently since the night Seven had helped the distraught drunk woman. What did surprise B'Elanna was the flicker of irritation that blew through her at the sight.
It seemed like every time she saw Seven these days she was with Adara. B'Elanna supposed she should be happy that Seven had finally bonded with someone outside of the Captain and the children, but for some reason, she wasn't. Damned if she could explain it.
She watched as Seven got her glass of whatever the hell it was she drank, and Adara got a serving of the mystery meal the rest of the crew was eating and the two women sat at a nearby table. She heard Harry and Tom laughing about something, but she couldn't stop watching the interaction between the aloof Borg and shy engineer.
Two weeks, and B'Elanna couldn't stop thinking about the private moment she had witnessed between Seven and Adara, and especially the strange feelings that had filled her as she watched the innocent expressions cross the blonde's face as she tried to comfort a virtual stranger. It was such a small thing really, but it had caused B'Elanna to see the former drone in a new way as well as wonder what it would feel like to be comforted by the normally taciturn woman.
B'Elanna jerked realizing Harry had just said something to her. "What?"
Tom had noticed where his ex-girlfriend's eyes had strayed and grinned. "You still with us B'Elanna?"
Tom really wanted to tease her for her inattentiveness, but not relishing a trip to sickbay, he refrained. "Just checking. Your mind seemed to be elsewhere."
"Sorry guys. I was just thinking of the new slipstream drive."
"Sure you were," Harry muttered to Tom under his breath. Both men valiantly fought back laughs. Harry had seen where B'Elanna had been staring as well. He looked up to notice the speculative gaze coming from Lieutenant Passas who was facing their table. He suspected she had noticed as well. Only Seven appeared to be unaware of the odd vibes surrounding her.
Adara had indeed seen the intense stare B'Elanna had focused on Seven and it puzzled her. She was as aware as anyone on Voyager of the occasionally antagonistic relationship between Seven and B'Elanna. But the look she had just witnessed was far from antagonistic. To Adara, it seemed like her Klingon friend was jealous. Suddenly, Adara remembered a brief but odd conversation she had with B'Elanna in engineering a couple of days earlier.
The two engineers were working on design adjustments to the slipstream drive, when out of the blue, B'Elanna had turned on her.
"What's up with you and Seven?" she had blurted, and then looked away. Looking back, Adara realized the other woman had been embarrassed. At the time, though she hadn't paid much attention.
"Why?" she had asked, continuing her calculations.
"It just seems that you two got chummy all of a sudden." B'Elanna had gone back to her own notations.
"She helped me out once. Plus, I like her." Adara said simply, unaware that B'Elanna had witnessed her encounter with Seven of Nine.
Adara had found her friend's curiosity a bit puzzling, but didn't pursue it. But now, her puzzlement had turned to speculation.
"Are you alright, Adara?" Seven said curiously looking at her silent dining partner.
"Oh, sure. My mind just wandered off for a moment," Adara replied with a smile. "I'm going to go get another cup of this poor, but noble attempt at coffee. Do you need anything?"
"No. Thank you."
Adara got up and left the table and Seven found herself to be somewhat uncomfortable. Before she had become friends with Adara, she usually ate alone and occupied herself by reading data PADD's. But now, as she understood it would be rude to read reports while dining with someone else, she had stopped bringing the PADD's with her and that left her mentally fidgeting and feeling conspicuous.
Seven turned to see Lieutenant Torres standing beside her.
"Lieutenant Torres. Is there something I can do for you?"
Seven was surprised by her visitor. While their relationship had improved considerably over the last two years, B'Elanna rarely approached her unless it was related to ship's business.
"Well, I just wanted to say...well, I appreciate your reaching out to Adara." There. That didn't sound too stupid, B'Elanna thought wryly.
"Well, she's not had an easy time making friends and it's great that you two have hit it off."
"She is a pleasant individual," Seven replied simply.
B'Elanna looked up and saw that Adara was making her way back to the table. So she needed to say what she had ventured over to say. "Look, Seven. I wasn't going to say anything, but...I saw what you did for her a couple of weeks ago."
Seven frowned as she remembered the first encounter with the other Lieutenant. "And?"
B'Elanna clenched her teeth. Having a conversation with the former Borg was frustrating in normal circumstances. This was even worse. "And, I just wanted to say that I was impressed with how you handled it."
Seven was completely confused by this conversation, and had no idea how to respond to the rare compliment. She thought back to her 'lessons' with the doctor. "I...thank you, Lieutenant," was all she could think of.
"Yes. Well, that was all I wanted to say," B'Elanna rushed out. Out of habit, she frowned at the confused blonde, and stomped away from the table, embarrassed. She passed Adara on her way to the exit.
"I'll see you in engineering," she grumbled to Adara as she passed. Shrugging her shoulders, Adara moved back to the table and was startled when she caught Seven's expression. Her friend was staring at the retreating form of the Chief Engineer with a mixture of confusion, and what Adara, even with her lack of experience, clearly recognized as longing.
An idea suddenly popped into Adara's head, and she fought to repress a somewhat evil grin as she sat back at the table and smiled innocently at Seven. She decided she would talk to Harry Kim. She believed he'd be willing to assist her with her plan. Though the thought of approaching the handsome ensign made her blush.
Adara sighed and braced herself as she entered Sandrine's. She had been back a few times either with Seven or with B'Elanna but oddly it had never occurred to invite both of them together. She once thought it would be like inviting matter to have a drink with anti- matter, but now she wasn't so sure. Tonight she was meeting B'Elanna, Tom and Harry as Seven was spending time with Naomi Wildman. She was hoping at some point she could get Harry alone to discuss what she suspected they both had seen.
Harry Kim watched the older Lieutenant approach their table. He still remembered uncomfortably the last time they were all together. Poor Adara had had the worst date imaginable. Briefly he wondered why she seemed to have such a hard time finding a date. She was nice, very intelligent and rather pretty. If not the obvious sort of pretty that Seven and B'Elanna were.
The group greeted the newcomer and Adara smiled as she joined them at the table, sitting between Tom and Harry.
"Glad you made it," Tom greeted pleasantly. Adara liked the tall blonde Lieutenant, despite the occasional urge to slap the silly out of him.
"Thanks," she replied simply.
"Where's Seven?" Tom asked blandly. B'Elanna's head jerked up so quickly Adara was surprised she didn't end up with whiplash.
"Seven's coming?" B'Elanna choked out.
Adara bit back a grin, and noticed Tom and Harry doing the same thing. "No. I asked, but she's spending the evening with Naomi Wildman."
At the barely disguised disappointment in B'Elanna's voice, Adara snuck a sideways look at Harry. The Ensign caught her eye and they exchanged a conspiratorial look that went unnoticed by the Chief Engineer.
"Hey, there's a pool table open. You want to play a game?" Harry asked Adara suddenly.
Adara felt her face flush briefly at the invitation, but quickly realized he merely wanted to discuss the oddness they had recently been privy to.
"Sure." She and Harry left the table leaving a puzzled Tom and B'Elanna behind.
"What do you think that's about?" Tom asked his distracted ex-girlfriend.
"I don't know. Perhaps Harry has finally seen what the doctor and every other man on this ship failed to see," B'Elanna said thoughtfully.
"He could do worse," Tom said thoughtfully.
"Okay, I gather you're seeing the same thing I am?" Harry asked as he racked the balls.
Fighting back her instinctive babble reflex when talking to men, she concentrated on her goal. "If you mean the storm brewing between Seven and B'Elanna, than yes. It's not really difficult to miss." She shot Harry a shy smile then looked back to the pool table.
Harry looked closely at the Lieutenant across from him. She seemed to have loosened up since that disaster two weeks ago. She was much more relaxed, though he thought that might have something to do with the absence of the doctor. He couldn't help but notice she had a very lovely smile and an attractive gleam in her pretty eyes. He cleared his throat and brought his focus back to the matter at hand.
"So, do you think we should do anything about it?" He stood back as he made way for her to break.
"Damn," she muttered as she barely made a dent in the triangle. She glared as Harry chuckled and moved to take his shot. It was her turn to laugh as he scratched immediately.
"Nice one, Harry," she grinned. She moved to take her second shot. "I'm stipes," she announced happily. "And I definitely think we should do something."
Both she and Harry looked at the table where Tom and B'Elanna still sat. Tom was smiling at something and B'Elanna was giving him a half hearted smile. It appeared to Adara that her friend was in full brood mode.
Adara and Harry continued to play for awhile, both forgetting they were supposed to be plotting and simply enjoying the moment. Harry was surprised at how fun Adara was. He shamefully admitted to himself that he was like the other men on the ship and never considered her as date material, but he was starting to reconsider his 'requirements.'
"I think a little payback is in order," Adara said smoothly. Harry shook himself out of his reverie.
"Yep. I think I do owe my friend there for setting me up on what could be called the worst date ever."
Harry laughed. "I can see where you'd think that may be necessary."
"Oh, definitely. But I'm hoping my attempt will have better results."
Harry looked at B'Elanna. She was one of his closest friends, and deserved to have someone who could love her and would be a match for her fiery temperament. He knew that Seven would be more than a match.
"How do you want to go about it?" He asked casually.
Adara put down the glass of beer she had been drinking and looked at Harry with an embarrassed look. "I don't know. I've never been good at this sort of thing. What do you think?"
Harry took a swig of his own drink, and looked at his fellow conspirator and an idea struck him. It would not only help (he hoped) his friend B'Elanna, but it gave him an excuse to do something he didn't know until now he wanted to do.
"Well, here's my idea," he said, and moved to stand closer to the small Lieutenant to discuss his plans. He noticed the blush that crossed her face, and smiled to himself. Yes, indeed this may work out for everyone.
"I think I'm going to head back to my quarters," B'Elanna announced suddenly.
"What? Why?" Tom asked looking away from the curious picture of Harry Kim whispering to Adara Passas.
"I'm just really tired all of a suddenly." She faked a yawn to demonstrate her point.
"But don't you want to find out what's going on with Harry and Adara?" He asked curiously.
B'Elanna took a look at her two friends who were standing interestingly close together. She smiled as she saw how far Adara had to tilt her head back to look up at Harry. "I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. If there's anything to find out that is."
"I hope there is," Tom said quietly. "Harry has not had an easy time of it in the female department and Adara, well,.. I think they make a cute couple."
B'Elanna briefly forgot wanting to leave as she looked at her former boyfriend. This was a new mature side of him that she readily approved of.
"You do?" She really expected Tom to look down on Adara as not attractive enough for his best friend.
"Sure. She's nice and honest, and while she's not drop dead gorgeous, like a certain Klingon I know," he waggled his eyebrows at her in pretend invitation, but she just slapped his arm, "but she's pretty in a understated sort of way. And she has a great smile."
"You've certainly change," B'Elanna said approvingly.
B'Elanna grinned as she saw the tips of his ears turn pink in embarrassment. "Okay, Paris. I really am beat. Tell Harry and Adara I'll see them in the mess hall for breakfast."
"Will do. Are you sure you're okay?" He asked seriously. He had noticed the same thing Harry and Adara had, and knew instinctively that they were working on a way to bring B'Elanna and Seven together.
"I'm fine, Tom. Thanks." On a whim, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, then stood up and left Sandrine's.
In the Wildman quarters, Seven had just finished losing her third game of Kadis-Kot in a row.
"Are you okay, Seven?" Naomi looked at her best friend.
Seven of Nine looked down at the sweet face of her littlest friend. "I am...distracted. I apologize for my inattention, Naomi Wildman," she replied. She knew that most humans didn't refer to each other by their first and last name, and Naomi was the only person she addressed in such a way. But Naomi seemed to like it, and it was something special just between them.
"That's okay, Seven. I understand. I imagine you're wanting to check on Icheb."
Seven looked at the sad look on the little face and sighed. She placed her Borg hand under Naomi's chin, forcing her to look at her.
"You are incorrect, Naomi Wildman. Icheb is an efficient young man and does not require my supervision." She looked closer at the young girl and wished the other people she interacted with had such easy to read expressions. "You are worried that now that Icheb has joined us, I will no longer have time for you."
Naomi, who was as incapable of lying as Seven, merely nodded.
Seven frowned. She knew that once Icheb, and the other Borg children arrived, she had spent most of her time with them, trying to acclimate them to being individuals. Once Mezotti, Rebi, and Azan had left Voyager, she had spent time trying to help Icheb prepare for his test to enter the Starfleet Academy. But she had never purposely ignored Naomi and it bothered her that Naomi thought she had.
"Your assumption is flawed," Seven said in the most Borg-like fashion she could manage. She knew that Naomi was fascinated with her Borg nature, and she often over exaggerated her mannerisms to amuse the little girl. She quirked her lips as Naomi's eyes widened with hope.
"Yes. You were my first true friend on Voyager, and I will never forget that. And, as you once told me, we are family. I would not purposely neglect one member of my family for another. Especially you, Naomi Wildman." Seven's eyes widened as the small girl threw herself into Seven's arms and kissed her cheek. She slowly moved her arms around the small frame to return the hug.
Naomi pulled away and looked slightly embarrassed. "You want to play again?" She asked.
Seven didn't want to disappoint Naomi, but her mind simply couldn't focus. She looked at her Kadis-Kot board and all she saw were fierce dark eyes staring back at her.
"I am afraid not," Seven said. "I need to regenerate."
"Oh. Okay," Naomi said pleasantly. Her earlier worries obviously forgotten.
"We will do this again, Naomi Wildman," stated the Borg, causing Naomi to giggle.
"That is acceptable," she agreed with as much Borg coolness as her grin would allow.
Seven rose from her chair and then, having no idea what motivated her to do so, she bent down and placed a tentative kiss on the startled Naomi's head, and with that one completely out of character act she left the Wildman quarters and made her way to the turbolift lost in thought.
She had just entered the lift when she heard a familiar voice yell to hold the doors. The irrational human part of her mind wanted desperately to ignore the voice, but she was unable to do so as she held the lift so that B'Elanna could join her.
B'Elanna felt her feet nearly stumble as she found herself in close quarters with the tall blonde who'd been on her mind all night.
"Seven," she greeted, absurdly pleased by the calmness of her voice.
"Lieutenant," Seven replied just as calmly.
"How's Naomi?" B'Elanna asked to break the silence.
"She is well. How did you.?"
"Adara said she invited you to Sandrine's but you were going to see Naomi."
B'Elanna turned to look at the taller woman. "I'm sorry I didn't think to invite you," she said sincerely.
"There is no need, Lieutenant," Seven turned her head to look into a pair of coffee brown eyes. B'Elanna shivered at the penetrating look and wondered if Seven could see through her. She opened her mouth to respond, when the lift stopped.
Seven tore her eyes away from B'Elanna's and left the lift.
"Good night, Lieutenant," she said quietly.
"Night, Seven," B'Elanna replied as the doors closed between them. She couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to have the full force of that Borg intensity focused only on her.
"Harry Kim asked me out," Adara blurted as soon as she entered B'Elanna's office. She flopped down in a chair across from the Chief Engineer and waited for a response.
"He did? That's great," B'Elanna said with a huge smile. "When did this happen?"
Adara repressed a nervous twitch, hoping that her friend wouldn't see through her deception. She'd never been a good liar, but hopefully B'Elanna would just assume the blush was from nervousness about her date. "Last night, after we left Sandrine's. I noticed you had run off fairly early."
"Yeah. Sorry about that. I just got really tired all of a sudden."
"Hm," Adara replied, but she knew better.
"So where's Starfleet taking you?" B'Elanna sat back in her chair. She was really glad Harry had seen the light, so to speak and asked out the Lieutenant. She was a bit older than Harry, but did that really matter?
"Well, that's the main reason I'm here," Adara said, beating back another wave of blushing.
"Adara, sometimes talking to you is as frustrating as talking to Seven," her small stutter at the mention of the Astrometrics Officer's name did not go unnoticed. "Why are you here, if it's not just to tell me that Harry asked you out?"
"Well, he suggested a movie in the holodeck program that Tom created, and well... this will sound idiotic...but I.."
"Adara," B'Elanna cut off her friend's ramblings with amazing patience. "I would like to hear the answer before we reach the Alpha Quadrant," she prodded gently. The other Lieutenant did tend to ramble when flustered.
"I was hoping we could make it a double date," Adara rushed out. Her nervousness was not all an act. She was terrible at these sorts of things.
B'Elanna frowned. "Double date? I don't...wait. You want me to go on your date with Harry? With who? And it better not be Tom Paris."
"No, no," Adara assured her. "It's just a friend. We...I just thought it would make things a bit more comfortable."
"I see." B'Elanna did understand somewhat. She knew Adara was a bit skittish with men, and Harry was no Tom Paris in the confidence department either. But still.
"I don't know, Adara."
"You owe me, Torres," Adara replied with a smug grin, wordlessly reminding B'Elanna of the horrible excuse for a blind date she'd set Adara up with.
B'Elanna laughed. Her friend was definitely coming out of her shell. "Alright, I'll go. When?"
"Tonight, after our shifts. You can just meet us outside of the holodeck at 2100 hours."
"Fine," B'Elanna agreed as Adara stood to leave the office. "But then we're even," she called after the retreating Lieutenant, before realizing she hadn't said who the 'date' would be.
"You wish me to accompany you on a date with Lieutenant Passas?" Seven asked, not bothering to stop her computations even as Harry had approached her in Astrometrics.
"Yes," Harry replied, wondering if this was such a good idea after all. If she'd stop working for half a second.
"Explain." Seven ordered, finally turning to look directly at the young Ensign. Nope. That didn't help, Harry thought.
"Well, it's our first date, and we just thought making it a double date would make us both feel more comfortable," he answered, mimicking Adara's explanation. It wasn't a great lie, but it was the best they could come up with. He definitely needed to take lessons on dissembling from Tom.
"Because Adara likes you and is comfortable with you."
"Come on, Seven. It's just a movie. Please?"
Seven sighed. It really was difficult to refuse the Ensign much of anything. Besides, she had attended a movie in the holographic theater once before and found that the ancient earth movies fascinated her. Plus she really needed something to take her mind of a certain frustrating Engineer.
"I will join you and Adara at the required time. Who is the person I will be attending with?"
"Uh...I can't say. It's a friend of Adara's," Harry prevaricated. It wasn't really a lie. He couldn't say, and B'Elanna was Adara's friend.
"I will attend." Seven turned back to her console, effectively ending the conversation.
"Thanks Seven," Harry replied, repressing the urge to grin in triumph as he left Astrometrics.
B'Elanna paced nervously outside of the holodeck, wondering what in the world she'd been thinking when she agreed to this. She hated blind dates with a passion. Stopping mid-stride, she had to laugh at herself. She really did have this coming, after what she'd done to Adara. Anyway, it was just a movie. If it helped the shy woman relax and get to know Harry, she'd do what she could. Sighing, she turned back toward the holodeck and was startled to see Seven of Nine headed in her direction.
Feeling her abdominal muscles tighten in anxiety, she told herself to stop being an idiot. She didn't understand why witnessing one tiny moment of compassion on Seven's face two weeks ago stirred up these disturbing and unwelcome emotions, but she needed to nip it in the bud. Unfortunately the nipping was going to have to wait, as Seven stopped right beside her.
"Lieutenant," Seven said politely.
"Seven," B'Elanna returned. "So. You here to see the movie?" Brilliant deduction Einstein, B'Elanna muttered to herself.
"Yes." Seven stood patiently beside the holodeck doors. Her expressionless face didn't reveal the tremble she had felt when she had seen B'Elanna Torres.
"Are you meeting someone?" B'Elanna tried again, curious as to what brought the reclusive Borg out of her alcove.
Seven turned to look at the woman who'd been the cause of her recent inefficiency.
B'Elanna was torn between surprise and disappointment. "Really? You have a date?"
Seven was reluctant to tell the Lieutenant the truth, but she was unable to lie. "I think so."
"You think so?"
"Yes. Ensign Kim asked me if I would."
"Oh god, no," B'Elanna muttered. They wouldn't. They couldn't have possibly set her up on a date with Seven of Nine.
"Lieutenant?" Seven looked at the smaller woman with concern.
"Did Harry tell you that he had a date with Adara and that a double date would make them more comfortable?"
Seven frowned. "Yes, but." She paused as she realized the implication of B'Elanna's words. "Excuse me, Lieutenant. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to assimilate Ensign Kim now," she announced coldly, and turned to walk away. A small hand reached out to stop her.
"Wait." B'Elanna wasn't really sure what she wanted to say. All she knew was that now Seven was here, she wasn't ready for her to leave.
Seven just looked at her, ocular implant in its usual position an inch higher than the other one, and waited for her to explain. The feel of the engineer's firm but gently grasp on her arm seemed to effect her ability to speak.
"Uh. I don't think you should assimilate Harry. The Captain likes him and she might get a bit pissed."
Seven had been around humans long enough to understand that last word. "Very well, Lieutenant. I will not assimilate Ensign Kim, or Lieutenant Passas," Seven conceded, suddenly feeling as if once more she had been the target of the crew's humor, and this time it hurt.
She found she was unable look at the other woman. "I regret that you were made party to this," she said quietly and turned once more to leave.
"Will you just wait a minute?" B'Elanna stopped her again. Keeping her hand on the taller woman's arm to make sure she stayed put, B'Elanna tapped her combadge.
"Torres to Kim." As she waited for the obviously stalling Ensign to respond, she kept hold of Seven's arm, unaware that her thumb was slowly stroking back and forth. Seven noticed however and fought to keep from shivering in response.
"Harry, respond," she ordered in a voice she knew made the young Ensign nervous.
"Oh. Hey B'Elanna," Harry said, not quite able to disguise the trepidation in his voice.
"Are you and Adara planning on joining me here sometime tonight? I believe you're running late."
"Uh...we're on our way. Has um...anyone else shown up?"
"Seven of Nine is here. She says she's waiting for someone as well." She looked over at her "date" and saw the blonde staring blankly at the arm B'Elanna was holding. B'Elanna looked down and saw her thumb performing its caressing motions and jerked her hand back. She smiled weakly at Seven as Harry answered.
"Oh. Well, Adara and I will be there in a few minutes."
"Harry," B'Elanna said calmly. Too calmly, "Seven of Nine wouldn't be the 'friend' you and Adara were wanting me to go out with would she?" She swore she could almost hear Harry gulp.
"Well, sort of."
"Ensign Kim," Seven interrupted coldly, "While I'm unclear as to your intentions, or why you felt compelled to arrange such a situation, there was no need for you to include the Lieutenant in this childish prank."
B'Elanna's eyes jerked up at the words that were spoken so coldly but held an underlying hurt that previously she would have overlooked.
"Seven, no. That's not." Harry started to protest.
"Your denials are irrelevant, Ensign." By now Seven was as Borg as B'Elanna had ever seen her. "I do have to admit to surprise that you as well as Adara would think to harm Lieutenant Torres in this fashion. I believed she was your friend."
B'Elanna frowned and looked up at Seven. It made her sad to think that Seven was only surprised on B'Elanna's behalf, and that she herself fully expected this kind of treatment.
"Seven," B'Elanna whispered, still holding onto the woman's strong arm.
"Seven, you've got it all wrong," Harry added, almost pleading with her to listen.
"This 'date' is over." Seven turned to walk away, yet again but B'Elanna's hand still held her back. "If you wish to keep that hand Lieutenant, I would advise you remove it from my arm," She announced. Her embarrassment and anger were palpable.
The Klingon in B'Elanna stirred, wanting to taunt the former Borg into trying to carry out that threat, but she bit it back. She let go of Seven and watched her storm off.
"Harry, what the hell were you thinking?" B'Elanna all but shouted, glaring at a pair of unfortunate crewman who happened to be entering the holodeck at that moment.
"I swear, B'Elanna we weren't playing a joke."
"Then what the hell were you doing?" B'Elanna ignored the curious stares thrown at her by Lieutenant Ayala and his friends as they too entered the holodeck.
"Look, both Adara and I have noticed that there is something going on between you and Seven, even if you guys can't see it."
"What.?" B'Elanna looked around to see the corridor was mercifully empty.
"I've seen how you look at Seven, and Adara sees how Seven looks at you. We just wanted to help you two...get to know each other."
B'Elanna ran her hands through her hair in frustration, and then paused. "What do you mean, how Seven looks at me?"
She heard a chuckle on the other end of the combadge. "Like you're the last piece of chocolate in the delta quadrant."
The last rational piece of B'Elanna's mind, briefly wondered if Seven ate chocolate, then Harry's words sank in. Seven had been watching her? "You better not be jerking me around, Starfleet," she snarled.
"I wouldn't do that to you B'Elanna. You're one of my best friends, and Adara loves Seven. We just want you to be happy."
B'Elanna released a half groan, and half sigh. "Thank you, and Adara."
"No problem, Maquis."
"Oh, did you and Adara even really have a date?" She asked, as she made her way from the holodeck. She had a tall blonde Borg to track down.
B'Elanna laughed. "Take her out Harry. She's a good woman and would be good for you."
"I think you may be right." B'Elanna heard the smile in his voice and returned one of her own.
"Good. Torres out." B'Elanna tapped her combadge and set out to the one place she knew Seven would go. The only place she felt safe.
Harry cursed softly as soon as he heard B'Elanna end the conversation. He had no idea that Seven would react that way. All he and Adara wanted was to bring their two lonely friends together. They had planned to show up at the movies after they were certain B'Elanna and Seven had both arrived, to avoid any potential repercussions from the perpetually irritable Klingon and the fierce Borg.
Sighing, he decided to pick Adara up now so they could figure out how to make things right with Seven. He found his heart beat a little faster as he left his quarters and made his way to the older Lieutenant's quarters.
Seven had just stepped into her alcove and was preparing to start her regeneration cycle when she heard the cargo bay doors open.
Sighing, Seven stepped out of the alcove to face the intruder.
"Lieutenant Torres?" She fought to keep any hint of what she was feeling out of her voice. But she knew that she had failed when she saw the flicker of compassion fill the dark eyes that had haunted her since she first came aboard Voyager.
"I talked to Harry. He was right you know. You have it all wrong. He and Adara weren't playing a joke on you. Or me. "
Seven stiffened, and moved to the console and pretended to work. "Irrelevant."
"No. It isn't." B'Elanna moved to stand beside Seven who closed her eyes at the scent of the engineer's perfume. How she longed to dip her head and nuzzle the neck that carried the fragrance.
"Lieutenant, if you do not require my assistance, I wish to regenerate." She still had yet to look directly at the other woman, so she was startled to find her arm grabbed once more and she was gently turned to face her tormentor.
"Seven, look at me."
Seven didn't budge.
"Comply," B'Elanna ordered with a small grin, which widened as Seven automatically followed the command.
"Harry and Adara didn't set us up as a joke. They wanted to help us."
Seven frowned in confusion. "Explain."
She looked into the deep brown eyes, and instantly forgot what they had been talking about.
"I." B'Elanna stopped as she gazed into a pair of vulnerable blue eyes that seemed to be pleading for something. She'd seen that look once before and it broke both of her hearts now as it had then. She knew of only one thing to do
Seven gave a start when B'Elanna's hands lifted and cupped her face.
"I'd rather show you," and with that, B'Elanna pulled the blonde head down to hers, and covered Seven's mouth with her own. Seven stood immobile for about a second before she let her arms slide around the smaller woman. Her touch was tentative as she was unsure of how to proceed, and she was concerned that she could inadvertently crush the petite woman who was currently kissing her.
B'Elanna felt the timid embrace and melted. She slid her hands slowly down Seven's face, and around her shoulders, loosening her hair from its usual pristine style. It was as silky as B'Elanna had imagined.
Seven moaned softly as her instincts took over and she opened her mouth to B'Elanna. She trembled as she felt the half Klingon's tongue slide between her lips to caress her own. Her knees came close to collapse at the sensation. Nothing she had experienced since she was removed from the collective could compare to the feeling of having this smaller woman's arms around her and her lips moving hotly on hers.
B'Elanna was equally overcome. She tried to go slow as she knew Seven's experiences with passion were limited if not non existent, but when she heard Seven's moans of excitement, her good intentions were shot to hell. She pulled away from the taller woman with reluctance and couldn't suppress a tender smile at the tiny whimper of protest from Seven. Looking around for suitable accommodations and seeing none, she growled in frustration. She looked up at Seven, forcibly restraining her Klingon half from simply grabbing the former Borg and hauling her out of Cargo Bay 2.
"Will you come with me? To my quarters?"
Seven understood fully what B'Elanna was asking, and was inexplicably touched at the kindness and uncertainty coming from the strong willed and fierce Engineer. "Yes."
Despite the fire burning inside of her, B'Elanna couldn't help but smile at Seven's usual simplistic response. She took hold of Seven's hand and led her from the cargo bay. It wasn't long before they found themselves inside the spacious quarters, and in each other's arms.
They quickly moved to the couch where Seven found herself underneath her former nemesis. B'Elanna's kisses were growing more heated, and Seven had no idea how to handle the fire that was building inside of her. She tilted her head back as she felt hot lips move from hers to trace her jaw and then downward to kiss and bite at her neck.
"Oh, B'Elanna," She ran her hands up B'Elanna's back and into the thick dark silk of her hair.
"Seven," B'Elanna whispered in reply as she savored the taste of Seven's soft skin. She knew she was going to have to stop. It was too soon for them to move to the bedroom, but she didn't really mind. She could stay cushioned on Seven's softness, and kiss her forever.
Seven, however, had other plans. She jerked upright, holding tightly to B'Elanna to keep from breaking contact. Overcome by the passion filling her, Seven's mouth zoomed in on the pulse visible in B'Elanna's neck. She licked, nibbled and devoured the soft skin, unaware of the hickey that would be clearly visible the next day. The throaty moans coming from the hot blooded woman in her arms, was about ready to short circuit every implant in Seven's body and she didn't care at all.
Seven's hands slid from around B'Elanna to rest briefly at her ribcage, taking time to savor each sensation she received from touching the smaller body. When B'Elanna grew impatient with Seven's fascination with her neck, she dipped her head to capture the soft lips once more with her own.
After several more moments of heated kisses that threatened to incapacitate both of them, B'Elanna pulled back and soothed the over stimulated Borg.
"B'Elanna?" Seven was breathing heavily, and deeply confused.
"Easy, Seven. We need to stop." B'Elanna placed her hand on Seven's neck and let her finger stroke gently over the throbbing pulse beat.
"Why?" Seven let her hands start to wander up B'Elanna's ribcage toward her breasts. When they reached their destination, and began to stroke, all thoughts of denial and protests vanished.
"Because." she released a slow groan when Seven's fingertips explored further. Even through her clothes, Seven's skin and metal implants drove her to distraction. "The couch is too uncomfortable. I want to feel you fully on top of me."
"I would like to experience that as well," Seven agreed reluctantly letting go of B'Elanna.
"Come on," B'Elanna ordered gently, standing up and gently taking Seven's hand and leading her to her bedroom where the two women were finally free to express every ounce of desire they had been withholding for so long.
As B'Elanna lowered a now naked Borg to the bed, she was able to manage one last coherent thought. Perhaps blind dates weren't all that bad after all, and Tom had been looking a little lonely lately.
Seven's tongue sliding between her lips stripped her mind of anything but the beautiful woman she was loving, and the overpowering feeling of finally being the recipient of the awe inspiring Borg concentration.
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