DISCLAIMER: Star Trek: Voyager, and all related entities belong to Paramount Studios. This fiction is not intended for profit nor does it intend to infringe on any copyrights. This piece contains F/F romance, techno-babble & character death. If any of these are not your cup of tea, hit the back button. Also, this is an A/U piece that closely parallels canon.
AUTHOR'S NOTE - CdS: Star Trek writers for years have slaughtered the Stardate system. Yes, you can find 'calculators' everywhere, but within the same calculator, you can cause errors quick. Gene Roddenberry had some fun things to say about them – he hated them too. If you ever can't sleep I suggest you read one of the many dissertations on Stardates in Star Trek. Regardless, it is generally accepted that post ST:TNG every integer equals roughly 8 ¾ hours. Keep this in mind. Finally, huge thanks go to Jillo.
AUTHOR'S NOTE - JILLO: Many thanks to my friend and collaborator Cirroco DeSade both for the idea and the invitation to co-author this piece. Thank go out also to Vivian Darkbloom, whose prose ever echos in my mind.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.


Broken-Hearted Dreams
By Cirroco DeSade and Jillo


Stardate 54734.85 – 0517 Quarters of B'Elanna Torres

B'Elanna smiled, enjoying the soft skin and sweet smell of the taller woman in her arms, her body still vibrating from their previous activities. She wondered if she deserved to feel this much joy. She watched her own hand, with its dark skin contrasting with that of the woman beneath her, slowly meander over the divine path her mouth had trailed earlier.

"Stay here tonight," the engineer said. "I want to wake up by your side."

"I can't, B'Elanna," the blonde replied.

"Why?" the Klingon felt bewildered. Something was off here. Finally, she looked up into crying eyes.

"I'm not here," the former Borg answered her, a phantom touch upon B'Elanna's face belying that statement. "I'm gone."

B'Elanna bolted up in her bed, realizing it was, yet again, all a dream.

Stardate 53719.8 – 2243 After Icheb's Return to his parents

"Seven?" Mezoti asked as she was led back to her alcove.


"What if the Borg try to assimilate Icheb again?"

"His people lack resources," Seven answered firmly. "The Borg have little reason to return to his planet."

"What if Icheb's on a ship?" the little girl pushed.

"Unlikely," the tall blonde answered.

"He was on a ship last time," Mezoti said as she turned to her alcove.

"You are mistaken. He was on the surface when he was assimilated," Seven said with a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

"No. He wasn't," Mezoti replied. Pulling the data from her memory, she recited for her mentor: "A class one transport was detected in grid 649. One life-form. Species: Brunali." The little girl then leant back into her alcove as the regeneration cycle began.

Immediately after Mezoti's pronouncements Seven began researching the inconsistencies in Icheb's father's story. When she felt she had enough data, she contacted the Captain. At slightly past 0300 hours, the older woman entered Astrometrics, trying to be patient with her surrogate daughter. As she sipped her coffee she listened to Seven's information and debated why they were even discussing it.

"All right, let's assume your information is accurate. What does it prove?" Janeway asked.

"His father was lying," Seven answered.

"Why would he do that?" Janeway rebuffed gently.

"I am not certain. But we have an obligation to find out."

Janeway sighed. She tried a few more arguments with Seven, but was eventually surprised by an emotional plea from the former drone. While hard data might not have melted the Captain's resolve, this did.

"I know what you are thinking: that I am having emotional difficulty accepting my separation from Icheb. And you are correct. But if there is a possibility that he is in danger, even a remote one, I have to do whatever I can to protect him. If I do not, I will be no better than my own parents."

Stardate 53722.4 - 0937 The Bridge

Captain Janeway drummed her fingers on the arm of her command chair, the cup of coffee nearby long forgotten and cold. "Come on, come on!" hammered in her brain. "Helm, can we get any more out of her?" she directed to Ensign Paris, who turned in surprise.

"She's making warp 9.2, Captain," the startled helmsman said carefully. Everyone on board knew that they were pushing their little ship's limits as it was. There was an uncomfortable silence on the bridge.

"Of course, Tom," gritted Janeway through a forced smile.

"We'll get there in time," assured her executive officer as he covered her drumming fingers with his own large, warm hand. She looked over at him, his deep brown eyes reflecting his concern and sincerity. Visibly she relaxed and smiled genuinely this time, turning her hand over to lock her fingers with Chakotay's. She shook their joined hands briefly before letting go and turning to face the view screen once more, her mind going back to the events of the past few hours.

When Voyager had returned to the Brunali home-world and confronted Icheb's parents, they discovered that the young man had already been sent away. Harry and Tom working in concert discovered that the young man was in a ship that was nearly at the Borg conduit's location and emitting a false reading of warp 9.8. Upon being confronted, Icheb's parents told the Captain that the young man was their only hope against the Borg. The couple was using him as a biological weapon, purposely having their son assimilated.

Voyager had immediately laid in a pursuit course to rescue Icheb. After what seemed an interminable wait, their goal was in sight.

"A Borg sphere has entered the portal," Tuvok dispassionately announced.

"See if you can get a lock on Icheb," Janeway ordered. Before they could manage to transport Icheb from his ship, the sphere used a tractor beam, capturing both ships. At that point it became a fight to the death between her crew and the sphere. Seven tried every method she could think of with and without the Captain's permission to transport the boy she considered a son off the doomed vessel, but Janeway had to fight for the survival of Voyager. Only the crew's prior knowledge of the Borg and their absolute belief in the Captain managed to get them out of the grip of the tractor beam.

Despondent, Seven of Nine could hardly be of use to her collective, and in the end it was only her love of one woman and the three remaining children that gave her the will to act. If she destroyed the sphere she killed her eldest son. If she did not, everybody else would die. Her final decision was to save the rest of her children, and she told the Captain of a way to succeed.

She watched as the sphere blew into pieces after she transported a photon torpedo into Icheb's vessel. Voyager broke away when the sphere's tractor beam faltered and Janeway immediately called for warp. As Tuvok announced that the sphere would not be pursuing Voyager, Seven fled the bridge, unexcused. Never before had she left during a red alert, but her emotional walls could not endure the sight of the decimated sphere, knowing she had just killed her own son.

Stardate 54734.9 – 0543 Quarters of B'Elanna Torres

B'Elanna sat in the dimly illuminated living room holding a PADD. It and her memories were most of what she had left of a relationship that never had a chance of beginning. Every morning she came out and it tormented her. Sometimes she would activate it. Other times she would just hold it as she did now, wondering why it all had to be this way. What was the sense in it all?

"Damn you," B'Elanna muttered. She wasn't sure whom she spoke to anymore. Was it herself or Seven she damned now?

Stardate 51929.3 - 0440 Cargo Bay

Personal log, Seven of Nine:

The twenty-ninth day in the Mutara Nebula. I believe I am beginning to feel the effects of this prolonged isolation. My dreams have been... disturbing, but I am determined to fulfill my responsibilities. With the Doctor confined to Sickbay, I have taken on increasing duties. Ship's systems are beginning to require constant maintenance in order to avert disaster. This morning I must purge the auxiliary plasma vents. I have been finding the Doctor's company . . . annoying. I am almost relieved that he is unable to emerge from Sickbay. And yet, I desire company. I have begun to wish that Mr. Paris would again awaken from stasis so that I would have some companionship. Honesty requires, however, that I admit it is not the company of Mr. Paris that I desire. Her fierce beauty compels me. I long to . . . end personal log.

Stardate 54129.4 – 0532 The children's return to Wysanti

This was nothing like when Icheb had gone. There were no arguments, and even Seven knew that Azan and Rebi's family would care for the young boys, that indeed they would thrive better on Wysanti. Azan and Rebi's parents had not known the threat of the Borg, nor would they have put them in danger had they known. Of all of the rescued Borg aboard Voyager, perhaps the boys were the only ones who could say this.

Mezoti had chosen to go with the boys because she knew that this was the only way she could stay with at least some of her family. In her mind, it would only be a matter of time before Janeway found her family and forced her to leave also. At least this way she stayed with some of her "family," somebody who knew what it was like to hear the Collective, to know the sound of the many in their head.

Seven accepted her daughter's decision and even understood it. It did not mean that her heart was not breaking as she watched the three of them gather their things to leave. She knew how happy the boys would be to be around all the other twins on their home-world where twins were so common. That did not mean she would not die a little inside every night when she saw the empty alcoves.

Her children were leaving her, but she had to let them go. They were better off where they were going than trapped upon a ship where former Borg were second class citizens to most of the crew. If the crew treated her and the children this way, how would the Federation be? Seeing the love that poured from Rebi and Azan's relatives over the children, Seven knew that this was the best thing for them.

"On Wysanti, it is customary not to say goodbye," Mezoti told Seven, "But I think I prefer the Human way." The little girl then set down her bag, strode forward and hugged Seven tightly. After she stepped away from Seven each boy took a side of the former Borg to hug also, simultaneously.

When the transport finally occurred, B'Elanna, Seven and the Captain were there to see them off. Seven stood by and did her very best to keep her heartache in check. Many would think she felt nothing at all. Some might know she was hurting, but she felt like she was dying inside. She closed her eyes, a headache developing. Why did love always end in pain?

Opening her eyes, she watched her children's happy faces as the transporter beam disintegrated them, never to be seen again. Swallowing, she fought the urge to run away.

"Seven, you're crying," B'Elanna said to her, worried. The engineer didn't know Seven could cry, at least not from her left eye. It wasn't the right eye her human eye that had a trail of tears escaping.

Seven reached up and touched her face. "My ocular implant must be malfunctioning," Seven answered, turning away.

Stardate 54132.08 – 0500 The Messhall

Seven sat in the darkened messhall contemplating the swirling emotions that were keeping her from regenerating. Even her alcove rejected her tonight. She could not think clearly, could not escape the pain. Everybody left her: One, Icheb, Mezoti, Rebi, Azan, all gone. To the one woman who always held her to the ship, the Captain, she was uncertain whether she was her project or friend, daughter or subordinate.

The one woman she still loved treated her like a nuisance. She had tried to get close to Lieutenant Torres, especially after Paris's failed bid to marry her. Yet the hybrid rebuffed even attempts at friendship. So why did Seven love her so? Tuvok had always said love was illogical.

Seven sighed. It was all she could do not to lay her head down over arms folded upon the table and weep.

Why did Kathryn always try to convince her that it was better to feel? Why did the older woman think it was better to be an individual and experience all this pain? At least with the Borg, there was clarity, order, predictability. There was no pain. There was only service to the Collective, harmony, and then deactivation.

The door hissed open as Neelix entered. She had not realized how long she had sat there thinking. It was odd how these headaches were keeping her from thinking clearly. She did not remember ever losing track of time before this point. She briefly wished she could be more like the affable little man. He never cared if he fit in or clashed, was loved or not. He was happy no matter the circumstance.

"Seven!" the little Talaxian said, startled. "I had no idea anyone was here already. Can I get you something?"

"No," Seven replied quickly, her Borg mask slipping back into place. "Thank you." She remembered the Doctor's insistence that she learn the niceties. They seemed to make people happy, she had to concede.

She tried to carry on a minimal conversation with the man but it was difficult when he kept appearing doubled. She was just telling him that she would let Lieutenant Torres look at her malfunctioning alcove when she slid to the deck, unconscious.

Janeway stared down at the young woman she had rescued from the Borg as she listened to the EMH outline what was happening. He had yet to wake Seven, and he was currently explaining why he had not come to the Captain earlier, letting her know that the former Borg was having medical issues.

"She has asked for doctor-patient confidentiality, Captain," the Doctor defended himself. "Either she is an individual or she is not."

Janeway pinched the bridge of her nose, knowing that this was exactly like Seven. She was prone to hiding whatever she considered flaws or imperfections. "Wake her," she commanded.

At first confused, Seven tried to stand to get out of the biobed. Janeway and the Doctor quickly corralled her and bade her lie back down.

"What is happening?" she demanded, looking from one to the other. She noted the Doctor's quick glance over at the Captain, then her slight nod. Without a word the Doctor handed the PADD to her.

It took Seven little time to understand the readings. "The node is destabilizing," she stated flatly.

"Yes," the Doctor confirmed, looking down at her. "Seven, I can't remove this particular implant." He let the rest of his diagnosis hang in the air, unspoken, his eyes full of sympathy and grief.

Seven turned her head to stare up at the ceiling.

Unwilling, as always, to accept defeat, especially when it came to matters concerning Seven of Nine, Janeway leaned over her until Seven was forced to look at her. "How would the Borg have repaired this damage?" she asked urgently.

"They would not. Trying to repair the node would be a futile exercise. They would simply replace it," Seven stated firmly.

Making a decision, Janeway nodded. "You're to stay here, as the Doctor ordered," Janeway said. "We will find a solution in time, Seven. Just hang in there."

The Captain, Tuvok and Tom Paris backtracked to a Borg debris field that the ship had passed a week ago and after scanning found what the Captain wanted. In a very small region of the debris field there were dead but intact Borg drones. Tuvok and the Captain beamed over to retrieve a node from one of the drones while Tom kept an eye from the Flyer.

The Doctor had instructed Janeway on how to extract the cortical node, and they had little difficulty finding a drone with a node that had no apparent damage. She transferred the node to a carrier just in time before a scavenger beamed aboard to tell Janeway she was in his debris field. Timely intervention and fancy maneuvering by the helmsman got them out of there.

However, once they had returned to Voyager and the Doctor had run many simulations of the surgery with the salvaged node from the dead drone, they found that it would not work. Janeway stormed out of the holodeck in a fury, prepared to find another node.

"No matter how many debris fields we sift through, a node from a dead drone isn't going to work," the Doctor told the Captain as she stormed down the hall, the Doctor almost running to keep pace with her.

"Who said anything about a dead drone?" she growled, stopping suddenly and facing him.

"What's that supposed to mean?" The Doctor knew that look, and he never liked to see it cross her face.

"We've infiltrated Borg vessels before. If that's what it takes to save Seven, we'll do it again," she said firmly, turning to continue down the hallway.

"Are you suggesting ending one life to save another?" the EMH asked in shock, pulling her by the arm to face him.

"I'm not giving up on her," she cried, wrenching her arm free.

"Neither am I!" Her grabbed her by the shoulder and stopped her headlong dash. "I'll do everything in my power to help her. But we both may have to face the possibility that it may not be enough."

Captain Janeway's face registered first anger, then confusion, and finally grief. "She can't die," she whispered, her eyes searching the Doctor's. "She can't." His arms encircled her, and she allowed herself to be taken into his embrace.

When the Doctor and Captain broke the news to Seven that the salvaged node would not work, she knew her time had become limited. The Doctor tried to encourage her by telling her that Harry and B'Elanna were going to try to repair the node with parts salvaged from an alcove.

"They will fail," was all she had said. She had turned to leave, but was stayed by the Doctor's hand upon her arm.

"And where do you think you're going?" he'd asked.

Stardate 54135.9 - 1429 Engineering

"He's looking for you," B'Elanna told the blonde as she rode the lift to Engineering's second level.

Seven had overridden the EMH's autonomy protocols and shut down the Doctor after the Captain had left for the bridge in order to flee the stifling atmosphere of Sickbay. She had left her badge there also, but she knew that eventually somebody would try to find the Doctor, and then he would find her. Yet, each moment of freedom was something to be cherished now that they were numbered. The irony was not lost on her considering her thoughts the night before.

"The Doctor," B'Elanna shrugged, clarifying. "I ran into him in the corridor. He's about thirty seconds away from calling a ship-wide alert."

"Are you going to tell him where I am?" Seven asked softly, not looking at the Klingon beauty.

"Nope," B'Elanna answered simply, walking behind the blonde over to a console beside her. "I know what it's like to be stuck in Sickbay. I've escaped the Doctor myself once or twice," she said over her shoulder.

"Thank you," Seven said as she watched the engineer. The Klingon's back was to Seven, so the former Borg took advantage and memorized the image that was presented to her.

"Anytime," B'Elanna answered. Torres turned to walk away.

"Lieutenant," Seven stopped her, "when you die, do you believe your spirit will go to Sto-Vo-Kor?"

B'Elanna's forehead ridges crinkled. "You shouldn't be thinking about dying," she said.

"According to the Doctor's simulations, any attempt to adapt the salvaged node will fail," Seven stated plainly, pressing her case.

B'Elanna sat down in shock, trying to absorb the information.

"Sto-Vo-Kor, Lieutenant," Seven reminded her. "Do you believe you will go there?"

"I guess it all depends on how. . . honorable my death is," B'Elanna said, looking up at the tall woman.

"But you do believe there is something after death?"

"I hope so." There was a long pause. "What about you?" she asked.

"The Borg have no concept of an afterlife," Seven replied. "However, when a drone is deactivated, its memories continue to reside in the Collective's consciousness. As long as the hive exists, so will that drone."

"You don't seem to take much comfort in that," B'Elanna observed.

Seven looked at her pointedly. "My link to the collective has been severed for nearly four years. If I die, everything I've accomplished in that time, everything I have achieved as an individual, will be lost." She looked away from the Lieutenant. When she spoke again, it was with a wistful tone. "My memories, my experiences. . . It will be as if they. . . as if I never existed."

B'Elanna stood and took her by the arm.

"I think. . . you're a little more memorable than you give yourself credit for. You don't need the Collective to validate your existence. You've had an impact on every member of this crew. That's your legacy." She gave Seven's arm a little shake.

The moment was broken by the hiss of the door.

"There you are! I should've known she'd be the one to harbor a fugitive," the Doctor observed petulantly.

B'Elanna smiled wryly at Seven. "We difficult patients need to stick together."

Ignoring the Chief Engineer, the Doctor turned to Seven and said, "I want you to return to Sickbay immediately."

"Have you devised a new treatment?" she asked.

"Not yet," he replied.

"Then it is best that I don't distract you from finding one," came the logical refutation.

"Seven," he pleaded, "if you continue to exert yourself, your condition will only deteriorate more rapidly. Is that what you want?"

Seven turned to a console. "What I want is to be useful."

"I really could use her help," B'Elanna stepped in. "I promise to not let her overdo it."

Frowning, the Doctor relented. "You can stay. . . provided you wear this cortical monitor." He took the device from a case and tossed it up to Seven. Sighing elaborately, he left Engineering.

Seven turned to face B'Elanna again. "Thank you," she said softly, her human eye sparkling with tears.

B'Elanna nodded and returned to work, oddly comforted by the opportunity to help the ex-Borg.

That evening, Seven stood in Astrometrics studying the planet she would never reach. Something finally compelled her to look at pictures and data about Earth, to try to understand a little more of what motivated the crew to endure what they did. The features she studied did not seem all that different from many of the planets they had already bypassed, and she thought sadly that Earth and its pull upon the crew would remain a mystery to her.

The Captain found her like that. A study in false cheer, her Captain's mask firmly affixed, Janeway tried to approach Seven with small talk but met with little success. The former drone preferred to discuss openly what the Captain was avoiding. . . her imminent death. Seven knew that Janeway was having trouble accepting her death and reasoned it was because she was disappointed in Seven's failures. In the end, the Captain fiercely denied that.

"You haven't failed, Seven," Janeway said passionately. "You've exceeded my expectations. You've become an individual, an extraordinary individual. If I'm having trouble accepting your . . . condition," the Captain said sadly, "it's only because I don't want to lose a friend."

Stardate 54734.94 – 0604 Quarters of B'Elanna Torres

B'Elanna watched as the log finished. It hurt so badly to see the face of her love, but to be unable to touch her; to hear her voice, but to be unable to speak with her. She wondered for probably the hundredth time if she were losing her mind, wondered why she put herself through this torture. Every time, her heart told her that it was as necessary as water and air.

This was the last thing Seven gave to her: access to all of her logs and thoughts, every recording ever made by the former drone. It wasn't like the time B'Elanna broke into the former drone's logs to understand what was wrong. This was everything, unencrypted, freely given.

She remembered when she found it and how she had wanted to scream at the Borg at the time. How cruel it had seemed to be given everything only to have it all be taken away. Occasionally B'Elanna railed against the blonde, wondering if she realized what she had done. Over time, however, B'Elanna realized that Seven would never have done it out of cruelty. It was simply the only way left to her to communicate what was never spoken.

Stardate 54137.7 – 0615 Engineering

B'Elanna entered her domain earlier than usual determined to find a solution to replace Seven's failing cortical node. There had to be a way to integrate the technology available in the alcoves with the salvaged node. The Borg may have considered it a futile exercise, but then again they didn't understand how to overcome Species 8472 either, did they?

She noticed with annoyance that the door to her office was shut. Striding across Engineering she was perplexed to find that she actually had to punch in a code to get into her own office. She realized that she shouldn't have been surprised to find Seven here.

"Seven?" B'Elanna asked softly as she saw that the blonde was stretched out gingerly on the too-short couch.

"Lieutenant," Seven said groggily, sitting up slowly. "I apologize. I had intended to vacate your office before you needed it." She made as if to rise.

B'Elanna strode over to keep the woman from rising, gently staying her with a hand on her shoulder. "That's okay, but why are you sleeping here? Surely the Doctor wants you in Sickbay."

"I no longer care what the Doctor wants, B'Elanna," Seven said quietly. "I simply . . . "

When the Borg let the sentence hang, B'Elanna had to prompt her. She was still in shock that Seven had used her name. It had only happened a handful of times in all the years B'Elanna had known her, and always only after she had been prompted to do so. "You simply what, Seven?" B'Elanna asked, kneeling down in front of the blonde to try to look her in the eyes.

"I wanted to be closer to you," Seven whispered. "If I am to die today I wanted—want--to be closer to you."

"You're not dying," B'Elanna growled. "We won't let that happen."

Seven finally looked directly into her eyes, and the pure bleakness in the sky blue eyes crushed the Klingon. "If you say so, Lieutenant."

"I do," the engineer answered with a firm nod and a grin.

"If I were dying," Seven said carefully, and the only reason B'Elanna didn't interrupt her angrily was because she could see that whatever Seven was about to say was difficult for her, "would you grant me a wish?"

"If it were in my power," the hybrid answered.

Seven stared at B'Elanna intently, and the engineer wondered if she was going to continue. "Would you . . .?" Seven stopped. She lifted a hand and made as if to touch B'Elanna's face. "May I . . .?" she began again, her hand poised in the air, not touching her. Her eyes drifted down to take in B'Elanna's lips. Before she could remove her hand, B'Elanna took it in her own and pressed it to her cheek. Seven looked into B'Elanna's eyes for a long moment before slowly leaning down to her.

Stardate 54138.9 – 1646 Sickbay

The shimmering blue field of an emergency transport filled a space just in front of the Doctor's office and he ran out to investigate. He was astounded to find B'Elanna Torres naked and kneeling next to an equally naked Seven of Nine. The former drone was convulsing rigidly, her eyes rolled up to show only whites. As he watched another implant ripped through the surface of the woman's chest.

"Doctor!" B'Elanna shouted angrily, "Do something!"

The hologram snapped out of his shock and picked Seven up, carrying her over to the nearest biobed. "I would suggest you put on some clothing before the Captain arrives, Lieutenant," the Doctor said acerbically. "Just where were you and what were you two doing before this?" He didn't wait for an answer as he began running diagnostics and trying to find a suitable dose of sedative and anti-convulsant.

The Klingon called for pants and a t-shirt from the nearest replicator, barely getting the pants on and the shirt over her head before she heard the hiss of the doors to Sickbay opening behind her. She ignored the newcomer and ran back beside the bed barefoot. "Is she okay?" B'Elanna questioned the EMH. The blonde was no longer convulsing, but she was paler than B'Elanna had ever seen her. The engineer reached down to hold the blonde's hand and noticed that it now sported a large rip where an implant had burst through the area above her wrist.

"Report," Janeway barked as she stormed across the room.

"If you two would calm down long enough for me to figure out why Seven's cortical monitor didn't give me any indication that this was happening. . . " the Doctor grumbled. He disconnected the device and scanned it, his face slowly transforming to anger and disgust. "Did you help her reprogram this, B'Elanna?" The Doctor pinned the engineer with an angry look.

"What?" B'Elanna was incredulous. "No. What did she do?" She looked back down at Seven in growing comprehension and fear.

"Doctor," the Captain growled, "I think it's time for explanations, not accusations."

"Well," the EMH replied huffily, "it would appear our resident Borg here decided she no longer wanted to be monitored. The cortical monitor was programmed to only transmit normal readings, no matter the circumstance. Apparently since 2100 last night I've been being fooled."

"Does it really matter now?" B'Elanna asked anxiously. "I just want to know how she is now." The Captain looked at B'Elanna oddly, wondering at the engineer's sudden possessiveness, but since she agreed with her she simply nodded and stared at the Doctor, who sighed and looked away.

"She's dying," he replied. "And without a new node in the next 20 minutes, I won't be able to stop it. Even if we were to get it by then, her body might be beyond repair with all these new implants." He looked at each woman in turn. "Once I wake her, she'll only have a few minutes left. So, if you have any ideas left, any at all, now's the time."

Stardate 54137.71 – 0619 Engineering

"Wow," B'Elanna said breathily as the blonde finally pulled away from her slightly, ending the passionate kiss. "Not, that I'm complaining, but where did that come from?"

"It is something I have desired for a very long time," Seven replied. Looking at the brunette intently she gathered her courage. "Take me to your quarters, B'Elanna," she said, both a command and a plea, "grant me the rest of my wish."

B'Elanna stared at the blonde in shock. She gently traced the taller woman's jaw line with her fingertips ending at the dimpled chin. She touched the luscious lips she had just found herself captivated by, and wondered if she had the power to turn down such a request. "Do you really know what you're asking for, Seven?"

"Yes," the blonde answered immediately. "Please, B'Elanna."

The engineer stood and held her hand out to the woman to help her stand also. "All right," B'Elanna answered. She logged herself as off-duty and unavailable, and they left engineering still holding each other's hand.

Stardate 54137.73 – 0629 Quarters of B'Elanna Torres

Once they actually arrived at her quarters and B'Elanna had led the blonde back to her bedroom, she was momentarily indecisive. She wondered if this was really a good thing to do considering Seven's condition. Yet, the woman was wearing a cortical monitor, so she was sure the Doctor wouldn't hesitate to hail Seven and demand she return to Sickbay if necessary.

The taller woman had no such qualms. She reached out and began to undo the engineer's uniform jacket. The smaller woman chose to look back into her eyes, and Seven smiled into the dilated brown orbs. Leaning down, she kissed B'Elanna again, this time with all the pent up passion of the last few years of longing.

That was what it took to snap B'Elanna out of her doubts. She began to help Seven with the removal of the barriers between them. As flesh started to be revealed each would take opportunities to touch or kiss newly discovered territories, causing the disrobing process to take some time, and by the time they were finished, both women were more than ready to sink down onto the bed together.

B'Elanna was naturally aggressive in bed and covered the blonde, one leg between the other woman's long legs. She felt how wet and warm Seven had already become in just the time they had stood there stripping, kissing and petting. She could smell the scent of the woman's arousal in the air. A deep vibrating purr came unbidden from some primal part of the half Klingon.

Seven said something in a Klingonese growl and B'Elanna understood next to nothing of it, picking out only "yes" and "my love." Somehow the words sounded right coming from the blonde, and she felt her Klingon side rising. The former Borg pulled B'Elanna further up and began kissing her passionately again. B'Elanna could feel one long leg wrapping around the one she supported herself on. The blonde's center slid along B'Elanna's thigh and she moaned.

Seven's hands were roaming freely over every inch she could reach of the beloved body above her. She couldn't believe she had taken the chance to ask B'Elanna for this; she couldn't believe she was here experiencing it. However, she had no time left to deny herself any chances due to fear. She gasped as B'Elanna began licking and biting all along the side of her neck. The sensations left her breathless.

B'Elanna paid attention to the smooth skin of the blonde's neck. When she got down to her collar bones, she avoided the angry red skin where an implant had obviously erupted recently, moving on to the voluptuous breasts before her. She carefully kissed and touched all around the breasts, avoiding the nipples until the blonde was begging in Klingon and Standard. Then she took turns loving the pink buds with both hands and mouth.

Seven was writhing and moaning, holding B'Elanna's head to her, unaware of what she was saying specifically except that she was saying everything she had ever wanted to say. She hadn't expected how overwhelming this experience would be. She wasn't able to keep thoughts together in her mind for more than brief moments. She had no sense of time, no idea if B'Elanna had been making love to her for minutes or hours, but knew that a pressure was building, knew she needed more.

"Touch me, B'Elanna," she begged.

The brunette slowly caressed the body beneath her, having actually to hold Seven down as she got closer to her womanhood. She cooed softly, "Be patient, Sweetheart. I've got you." Running her fingers through the copious moisture in the blonde curls, she parted the folds of Seven's center, touching all of her gently. She briefly swirled a fingertip around an engorged clitoris and found herself nearly bucked off the blonde. Deciding that she was more than ready, based on her reactions and the constant verbal interplay coming from the woman, she stretched herself out more comfortably over Seven so she could kiss her first.

After a heated kiss, she pulled back and looked into wild blue eyes and thrust into Seven. She felt something she hadn't expected, a barrier she hadn't thought about, but the blonde didn't indicate any pain. B'Elanna waited a few seconds as Seven arched into her, whether from pleasure or pain, she wasn't sure. When her eyes seemed to beg B'Elanna for more, she leaned down again, kissing her gently while establishing a slow and steady rhythm with her hand.

Seven felt as if her world had contracted down to this woman's loving touch. This was beyond her wildest imaginings, and her mind had long since lay down and surrendered to her body's will. She felt as if she would soon fly apart from pure joy, as if she needed to hold B'Elanna tighter or else she might pass out and never return. She was dizzy and could barely control her breathing and certainly couldn't control the keening cries and pleadings issuing from her. Then suddenly her world exploded, and she felt as if she had expanded to include the vastness of the Universe.

She felt B'Elanna's warm breath in her ear and heard her say sweet things, nonsense but beautiful nonetheless. She realized she must have lost consciousness momentarily. Her entire body felt as if her muscles had been replaced with the material from one of Neelix's desserts. Turning her head, she looked into the soulful brown eyes she had fallen in love with all these years ago and saw love reflected. She didn't know what kind or how to quantify it, but that didn't matter. It was still the most beautiful sight she had ever seen and the best gift she could have been given.

Hours later, after the two women had explored each other again and again, B'Elanna slept. Seven left the room and crossed to the engineer's replicator. After replicating a clean PADD, she entered a few commands into the screen quickly and input all the correct encryption codes to download what she wanted. Finally she spoke briefly, recording what she wanted to say. She set the PADD down on the workstation when she was done, in an area well separated from the other neatly stacked PADDs. Using the workstation, she set up a delayed message for her mentor to receive after the EMH had declared her status as deceased.

Walking back to the replicator, she keyed in a request for banana pancakes, knowing they were B'Elanna's favorite breakfast food, and various other items that they could share. About the time she set the last dish on the table, B'Elanna strode out of her bedroom, still gloriously naked and a most breathtaking sight. The brunette peeked around the blonde, saw the table full of food, and beamed at the woman. Living up to her decision to just do what she felt at the moment for what little time that she had left, Seven strode across the remaining space between them and kissed the Klingon until she was weak in the knees.

"I think we should consume nutrition, B'Elanna," she said as she ended the kiss.

B'Elanna hummed, her eyes still closed. "Hm? Oh, yeah," the smaller woman answered, "that's a great idea. I'm starving."

Breakfast was a fun time, Seven enjoying watching B'Elanna dig into her food happily, even if she didn't receive the same pleasure from it. Eventually, B'Elanna was finished, and Seven lured her back to the bedroom. She was growing tired, and she wanted to be held in B'Elanna's arms again. It might be for the last time.

Stardate 54735.03 – 0651 Quarters of B'Elanna Torres

B'Elanna stepped out of her sonic shower and began dressing for her day. She would eat in the messhall and do everything to appear all right or else she would have to endure the hovering of busy-body friends. After she finished in her ensuite, she stepped out into her bedroom, and, as had become her daily routine, walked over to the clothing that hung upon the wall as if waiting for its wearer to reclaim it. She touched the soft fabric of the suit that had been left behind. Complete with Seven's comm. badge, the suit had never been returned or recycled. It smelled like the woman still even after all these months.

At first, the Captain had tried to convince her to give it up. However, after one try and one honest answer, Kathryn never made another attempt. Upon their appearance by emergency transport into Sickbay, the Doctor had questioned Seven's prior location, but never again after that. Janeway must have spoken to him.

Leaning down, she inhaled the scent on the fabric deeply, then turned away to face her day.  As she passed through her living room, she wondered yet again when Seven had found the time to leave her the PADD.  And again she recognized the fact that she shouldn't be so surprised at the ex-Borg's independent strain.  She chuckled mirthlessly at the irony of the Captain's efforts to convince Seven to reclaim and celebrate her individuality.  Planning her final minutes as she had, the former drone displayed strength of character and a sense of self that must have chagrined the stubborn Captain at times.  As she zipped up her mustard-shouldered jacket, she grieved anew at the loss of what might have been.

B'Elanna left her quarters, knowing that she would forever carry with her these broken-hearted dreams.

Stardate 54138.72 – 1511 Quarters of B'Elanna Torres

Seven fought the urge to cry, for she couldn't guarantee that she would remain weeping only from her joy. "Happy tears" had seemed so illogical before. They still did. But now she understood them.

B'Elanna, warm and sleeping, stirred and snuggled more deeply into Seven's flesh. Gently the blonde traced the beautiful brow ridges, eliciting a soft murmur from the half-Klingon. She smiled sadly and leant down to place a soft kiss on the proud ridges, the only concession she would make to her desire to wake her, to tell her all that she had not said in four years, all that she wanted to say to her now.

Sliding silently away from B'Elanna, she climbed out of bed, knowing what she could do in the little time left to her as her body began its final battle. A single tear escaped her control gliding quickly down her face, a pain suddenly throbbing in her temples causing her to have to close her eyes and concentrate to turn it away. There wasn't much time left now. Purposefully she turned away and left the room to give her love what little she could. A few commands later she had a PADD ready to record.

"B'Elanna, my love, I know it was unfair of me to ask for your love, to take your precious gift and then. . . leave. However, my heart finally conquered my fears. I have loved you for longer than you have known, but I was a coward and could never admit it to you. You have given me my heart and set my soul free. I give to you all I have left to give: my thoughts." She swallowed with difficulty past an emotion-choked throat. "Be happy, my B'Elanna. I love you."

The End

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