Children come from love. That is something I heard Samantha Wildman telling her daughter several years ago and she was right, to an extent. In the best of circumstances a child is born from the physical manifestations of that one emotion, but not all circumstance allows for such things. Sometimes a child is the result of force or unthinking pleasure, other times love just isn't enough to bring a child into existence.
That is how it was for us, all the love we possessed was not enough, never enough, to bring us the one thing we both craved to make our family complete. The Doctor tried everything in his database to help us, in some ways he was as eager as B'Elanna and I to see our union blessed with a child. It didn't happen. The Borg had taken away any chance I had of ever conceiving and despite numerous attempts my wife's physiology just wouldn't accept insemination from any of the donors aboard ship. Four attempts, four miscarriages, four losses from which it became harder and harder to recover.
I don't remember when it became so important to us, this drive to have a family. At first it was just a wishful dream, neither of us expecting the dream to come true and all our wishes fulfilled but it didn't matter, we were content. Then things changed, with each failed attempt we became more and more desperate and more separate from one another. I tried to talk to her about it and I know she tried to talk to me, but somehow we never seemed to bridge the gap that was opening up between us. Our love had been so hard to acknowledge but once we had it seemed nothing or no one could ever spoil it. We were wrong, all it took was the absence of a child and our love faltered.
Not many aboard knew of our struggle, it was something we tried to keep hidden and private, except from our most trusted friends. Even our sperm donors were mostly kept in the dark about who would receive their kind donation, waiting until the pregnancy was more advanced to give our thanks to the generous men. Tom had been the exception, he was the first to offer assistance and even though it hadn't worked he had stood by us through it all. Kathryn and Tuvok were the only others who fully knew of our predicament, offering counsel and advice wherever they could. After much silent debate and meditation, Tuvok had even volunteered to become one of our donors, before the doctor calculated the match was unfavourable.
Unfavourable. All the matches had ultimately proven unfavourable, the calculations and tests done on each one had somehow missed whatever tiny incompatibility that rendered them all useless. Hours spent in sickbay trying to find the perfect match, the one set of DNA that would join with B'Elanna's to form a healthy child. The four donors had all rated high on our tests, the probability of successful conception and gestation had been in the top eighty percent for each. It wasn't enough.
Laying in bed at night, I held B'Elanna against me, my hands caressing her skin in an attempt to try and dispel her rising sadness.
"Why?" She sobbed, in a voice of desolation. It was a question we had both fought with over the preceding few months, but found no answer to. I could have told her of the difficulties of hybrid pregnancies or once again explain the biological butchering I had received at the hands of the Borg. That was not what she was asking, not what had kept us both awake nights in tear filled isolation. She wanted to know why the gods, or spirits, or the Universe, had chosen to punish us, what had we done to be treated this way?
"I do not know." My voice sounded false even to my own ears. I was Borg, wasn't that reason enough for the Universe to despise me? The lives I helped ruin, the children that will never be born because I assimilated their future parents, that was surely reason enough for my current pain. It was just B'Elanna's misfortune to be tainted by my past deeds, my crimes colouring her life with their poison. If I was stronger I would have left her then, before I caused anymore damage to that incredible woman, but I was too much of a coward to give up the one thing that had made my life worthwhile, the one person who made me glad to be alive.
She turned away from me, my obvious lie proving too much for her I supposed. I did not blame her, I would have gotten away from me too, if I only could, away from the poison I was spreading with each try at happiness.
I left our bed. I could no longer stand to be near her, knowing it was I who was the cause of her pain. She made no sound to stop me, I hadn't thought she would but at the same time I'd almost prayed to a god I don't believe in that she would. "I am sorry." The faltering apology is all I could muster before fleeing the room. It wasn't enough.
The corridors of Voyager seemed too bright for my mood, I craved the darkness and anonymity of the shadows, a place where no one would notice the tears that slid down my face. After all those years I was sure the sight of a weeping ex-drone would shock most onboard, for whom I was still seen as a stranger, even if no longer a dangerous one. I wondered how they would react if they found out the woman of metal and flesh was capable of being heartbroken? Disbelief most probably, just as they'd reacted to the idea of me falling in love, of marrying. It was a good thing I never cared what they thought.
I wandered towards my old cargo bay, the place where I had spent many an hour in ignorant bliss of the frailties of human emotions. I last regenerated here over a year ago, the Doctor's extraction of several Borg implants making it possible for me to eat and sleep like other humans. I remember at the time feeling cheated of something, my superiority and distinctiveness lessened by becoming more like everyone else. That was until the first night I fell asleep in B'Elanna's arms, after that I never missed my alcove or my Borg separateness, until that day.
My old alcove was still there, its power switched off but retained just in case of future mishaps and calamities. I didn't suppose heartbreak was what the Captain meant by calamity, but curling up at the foot of the dais I was glad Kathryn had decided to keep it in place. For some reason it had calmed my racing emotions and allowed me to think clearly once more, something I had seemed incapable of when thinking of our failed attempts at a family and what had to be done for the future. Lying there I could recognise the selfishness of my staying with B'Elanna, of extending my Borg curse to the one person I loved about all others. It wasn't fair, she deserved to be happy, to have a family and perhaps with me out of the way she would realise all her dreams.
I heard the cargo bay doors slide open and hoped whomever it was would come and go without discovering my presence. The gentle footfalls turned in my direction, wrecking all my hope until the rhythm of their tread brought my head up to spy a familiar figure. "B'Elanna?"
She sat by me, the tear stains on her cheek evidence of her misery, the pain in her eyes making it hard for me to meet her gaze. "Why are you sorry Seven?" The words were gentle but there was no denying their importance, as brown eyes plead for the right answer.
I thought of lying or telling a half truth, but neither are in my nature and both unworthy of my noble wife. "For causing you pain, for ruining our chances for a family....for being Borg." My tears started again and even with all my control I could not abate them.
"Shhhhh my love, don't cry." Her fingers were in my hair, soothing me, loving me, I just cried all the harder. "It's not your fault," her words were comforting, even if they were a lie. She took her hand away, distancing herself emotionally more than physically. "I'm the one to blame, it's my body that ruins every attempt, my stupid hybrid biology that's made things impossible."
How could she have thought such a thing? She wasn't responsible for what had happened, it was just a matter of chance, of biology, she was not to blame. Moving I sat beside her, wrapping her trembling body in my arms, burying my face in her soft brunette locks, "It is not your fault B'Elanna, it just is." I felt the sobs wrack her smaller body, the pain and self hatred they contain a mirror to my own feelings of only moments before. "I love you and children or not, I always will."
The sobbing eventually subsided and waterlogged eyes sought out mine. "I love you too." Lips met mine in a touch of love and acceptance, the taste so sweet it has stayed with me even though almost two years have passed. It signified a moment when our lives changed, when the love we had thought invincible was challenged and made stronger. It signified the creation of a family, that until today was content to be made up of just us two.
"What are you thinking?" B'Elanna's voice is tired, but the joy she is experiencing comes through in every word.
"Just remembering." I smile at her, my heart bursting with the love I feel for this one woman. It is a love I never thought could be surpassed, but looking into the tiny bundle in her arms I realise that a love of equal, if different, intensity is waiting for me in the near sightless blue eyes of our daughter. She is the child we never thought we would have, a blessing from a momentarily benevolent Universe, or according to the Doctor, superior medical research. Whatever the explanation, I know one thing, this child was born of love.
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