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Can You Hear Me?
After the other two patrons of the bathhouse left the steamy room, Seven and B'Elanna sat there silently. Neither knew what to say. It was finally the engineer who began. She cleared her throat.
"Um, Seven," she began, still at a loss. She looked away, shaking her head. After a moment, she grinned. "You were staring at my ass? Seven, you dog!" she giggled.
The former Borg didn't know how to respond to that designation nor pleased at being laughed at. "I was not staring at your 'ass'," she grumbled. "I was studying the motion of your hips. I found it aesthetically pleasing," the woman corrected.
"Uh huh. Well," she crossed her arms and licked her lips before continuing. "Whatever the motivation, there's no reason to feel embarrassed about it. It's not like you are staring at my chest while asking me questions like Tom has a few times. That I find offensive."
"You don't mind that I take pleasure in looking at you?"
"Why should I? I've looked at you more than once and enjoyed the view so turnaround is fair play."
The blonde looked flustered. "At me?" Seven felt some hope for a moment then her smile disappeared. "Being a Borg, I could be appealing to someone of your engineering expertise. No doubt you find my implants intriguing."
B'Elanna saw the sadness in her friend's eyes before she looked down at her clasped hands. Could Seven actually have more than friendly feelings for her? B'Elanna felt her own hope flutter in her hearts. She moved closer to Seven and took her meshed left hand and placed her other hand on the taller woman's back.
"Seven, look at me," she asked softly.
The woman hesitated then looked up shyly.
"I find you intriguing. I'm part Klingon, remember? We love flirting with danger, and baby, you are both dangerous and gorgeous. Not to mention damned smart most of the time. You've driven me crazy for months."
"Explain," Seven asked, confused.
"Well, you keep doing things that would be considered flirting with a Klingon then back off. I didn't know whether to choke you, kiss you, or throw you over my knee and punish you for teasing me. For all I knew you were goading me for fun. Then you'd say something that made me think you were just oblivious to what you were doing."
"You would not find my advances undesirable?"
"Try me and see," B'Elanna grinned, rubbing her hand over Seven's strong back. To her surprise, Seven stood up rapidly and stepped away.
"I must research this. I will contact you at a later time." Seven asked for the portal to the holodeck and left, leaving a stunned and open-mouthed hybrid behind her.
Seven spent several hours doing research on Klingon customs, mating rituals, and the rules of courtship. In spite of the large amount of information absorbed, she still felt at a loss. A query told her that there was no available timeslot for any of the holodecks so she couldn't speak with Dr. Carol. She decided to contact the Captain.
"Seven to Captain Janeway."
"Captain, are you available for a private conference with me. I need a 'friendly ear'," she told her.
Kathryn's deep warm voice softened. "Of course. I'm in my quarters. Why don't you join me here?"
"Thank you, Captain. I will be there shortly. Seven out."
Seven had sat stiffly on her sofa and hadn't spoken since she had sat down. Kathryn realized she would have to begin this.
"So, would you care to tell me what is bothering you, Seven?"
Seven actually looked lost. "Captain, I B'Elanna "
"Captain, B'Elanna Torres has expressed a willingness to form a relationship with me."
"Oh? Romantic or sexual?"
"I am not certain. I have done some research for Klingon sexuality but I am frightened."
"Because these feelings are disturbing, Captain. I enjoy her company and I find her physically appealing."
"I am not convinced that I am suitable for an affair, sexually or romantically."
"Why not? You have feelings for her, don't you?"
"Of course. If I did not then I would merely decline any change in our friendship."
"Seven, humans have an old saying. 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.' If you think you and B'Elanna could have a satisfactory relationship beyond friendship then take a chance. Talk to her honestly about your feelings. She can't read your mind so you need to express yourself."
"But what if-"
"Seven, talk to her. All you'll do with your 'what if' questions is drive yourself to a tizzy. Sometimes love is like taking off a bandage. It's better to yank fast than remove it slow."
The blonde's ocular implant rose. Humans had such odd phrases. "Very well, Captain. I will speak with her."
"Good. Any other questions?"
"Well, there is one other. What is the reference of putting one over one's knee?"
Kathryn found out she could still get flustered at her age.
A query through the computer let Seven know that B'Elanna was in her quarters and inactive, indicating she was most likely asleep. Seven sighed and decided to begin her regeneration cycle early rather than finding work to occupy her time.
Within moments one of the energy beings appeared nearby and studied the young woman as she stood within her alcove. With a nod to someone unseen, the form of Seven left the cargo bay.
What this being was going to do wouldn't be passed on to Seven.
B'Elanna woke the next morning and sleepily bumped her way to the en suite to undress and shower. After a hot and steamy shower she felt more awake and headed for the replicator to make some breakfast. She was walking past her sofa when she spotted something.
She stopped and looked down. Toby, her stuffed toy targ was laying there. That was nothing new. She often left the toy lying about but something was different. Another toy was with it. She bent down and studied it.
A stuffed plum colored monkey was with Toby, its long thin arms wrapped around Toby. The monkey had closed eyes and on its fuzzy cheeks was pink tinted artificial fur. B'Elanna smiled. It was like the monkey was shy and blushing. She picked up the two toys and saw that a shiny metal starburst was near one of the monkey's ears.
"Computer, locate Seven of Nine."
"Seven of Nine is in the Astrometric Lab, deck nine."
"Since what time?"
"Since 0612 hours."
"And before that time, what was Seven of Nine's location?"
"Cargo Bay 2."
"Hmm. Computer, what time did Seven of Nine enter Cargo Bay 2 and what time did she leave?"
"Seven of Nine entered Cargo Bay 2 at 1933 hours and left at 0558 hours."
B'Elanna studied the two toys. Seven had gone into the Cargo Bay about twenty minutes after she had gone to bed and hadn't left until this morning. The engineer knew Seven couldn't have entered her quarters the night before. Last night was also Seven's scheduled time for regeneration. One of the energy beings must have left the toy in her quarters. She studied the entwined stuffed animals and put them down on the sofa.
Maybe the alien was trying to tell her something. The monkey appeared shy and affectionate with Toby. Perhaps the aliens wanted to tell her that her friend felt the same way about her. B'Elanna traced the pink cheek of the monkey with her finger.
Her dreams had been filled with images of her claiming the tall blonde as her own. She had to admit her own Klingon heritage was screaming for her to rush forward and take Seven as her lover now and without delay.
But the sight of that shy little monkey wrapped around Toby gave her pause for thought. Seven, in spite of her confidence and physical power, was still very young and inexperienced emotionally. Perhaps she needed to woo Seven rather than chase her like a Mountain Targ in heat. Yeah, that felt like the right way to go.
Seven heard the door to the lab open and she glanced up. Surprisingly, Naomi Wildman was walking through the doorway, a pleased grin on her face.
"Hi Seven," she said with a giggle.
Seven removed her hands from the console and stood straight and placed her hands behind her back.
"To what do I owe this pleasure, Naomi Wildman?"
"I was sent here to deliver something."
Seven had noted that her young friend had one hand behind her back. "Oh?"
Naomi grinned and brought her hidden hand forward. She was holding a bouquet of flowers. "From B'Elanna Torres." Naomi quickly left the lab as instructed.
Tal Celes strolled over to Seven, a huge grin on her face. "So, you and Lieutenant Torres, eh? Good going."
Seven didn't reply since she was shyly looking at the small and dainty bouquet of wildflowers and ivy. She had once overheard the Captain explain to Tom that every flower had a meaning. She had been curious at the time and had researched the meanings of each one. If B'Elanna also knew the meanings then well, Seven couldn't sort the emotions she was experiencing. The daisies, bright and cheerful, spoke of affection, love, and loyalty. The ivy usually meant fidelity. And the peach blossoms, well, they surprised her. The symbol of the blossoms meant that the sender was captivated.
The former Borg found herself grinning most of the morning each time she glanced at the happy bunch of flowers. She barely noticed the coming and going of other crewmembers and unaware of the grapevine that was already humming with the newest gossip.
A few minutes before noon, Naomi Wildman once more entered the lab. She held out an old fashioned ivory colored envelope that was sealed with imprinted red wax. The girl didn't wait for a reply. She giggled and hurried from the room.
Now curious, Seven broke the seal and removed the thick note. Written on it in calligraphy was an invitation.
Seven, if time permits, will you give me the pleasure of joining me in Holodeck 2 at 1230?
Seven glanced at the chronometer and wondered what that fluttery feeling in her abdomen was. At 1225 hours she signed out on her console and headed for holodeck 2. At precisely 1230 hours she stepped into the holodeck and found herself in the middle of an old fashioned English garden. She stepped far enough into the holodeck and the portal behind her disappeared.
"I'm glad you could make it," B'Elanna spoke from her right. Seven turned and saw B'Elanna standing there, dressed casually in a summer weight long sleeved blouse and pleated trousers. She wore sandals on her feet. "Care to join me for lunch?"
Seven nodded, still a bit off center and followed the engineer along a garden path until they came to a gazebo. The whitewashed structure had a small round table that was covered in a white linen tablecloth. The table was set with fine china, gold-toned utensils, and dome covered plates.
B'Elanna helped the tall blonde sit and took the opposite chair. "I hope you like the meal," B'Elanna commented, not mentioning that she had used quite a few of her rations to get food not cooked by Neelix. She had also consulted the doctor to make sure of the foods Seven was able to digest.
Seven uncovered her dish and found the large plate covered in a variety of foods, some she was unfamiliar with. She noted that there was what appeared to be chicken in a light sauce, asparagus, and a potato salad made with a clear dressing. There was a basket between them with wheat dinner rolls and a bowl of whipped real butter.
They ate quietly for a few minutes before B'Elanna chose to break the silence.
"Seven, I I want to spend time with you and not just as friends."
The blonde placed her fork carefully to one side and finished chewing slowly, thinking over her reply.
"Then you consider me a suitable candidate for a romantic liaison?"
Seven raised her eyes, confused.
B'Elanna reached out her hand and placed it over Seven's. "A liaison refers to an affair. I wish more than that and hope you will consider me a 'possible candidate'," she grinned, using Seven's own words, "for a permanent romantic interest."
"You wish to court me?" Seven asked in surprise.
B'Elanna got up from her chair and knelt next to Seven so the tall woman could see the sincerity in her eyes. "Yes."
B'Elanna reached under the table and brought out the two stuffed animals and placed them on Seven's lap. "I want us to be as happy as these little critters," she smiled.
The former Borg looked at the entwined stuffed animals and noted that they both were asleep and smiling. She also noticed the monkey had a starburst implant like she did and seemed to be blushing. She felt an answering blush on her own cheeks.
"They do look rather pleased."
B'Elanna stood. She put her warm palm on Seven's chin, tilted it upwards, and placed a soft kiss on Seven's lips.
"Yup, they do."
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