DISCLAIMER: : I do not own these characters, except the Rousshans, Yurn and Ensign Collins who I made up. The others belong to Paramount and the other PTB. No intent to infringe, insult or profit is intended. Just had a story that needed to come out.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Klingon words borrowed from Voragh’s Notes on Klingon Cursing: yIntagh-stupid Qovpatlh-beneath notice, insignificant qoH- fool.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Defending B'Elanna
By Karjens40


Part 1

Kathryn Janeway sat back in her chair at the head of the conference table and sized up the large alien sitting across from her. He was very pleasant and very handsome in an unusual sort of way with long, almost white hair and pale smooth skin. Even the multi-colored streaks that lined both sides of his wide jaw enhanced his appearance. But something about him didn't sit well with the small Captain.

"I understand your concerns regarding alien ships crossing your space," she stated calmly, "but why did you fire on us without warning?"

The tall alien looked intently at Kathryn. "I must apologize again, Captain, for the…over zealous actions of my weapons officer." He wore a sincere look on his face that Kathryn noticed didn't quite reach his silver eyes.

"Well, you almost overzealously blew us out of space," muttered B'Elanna Torres, Voyager's Chief Engineer, who was going to have to pull consecutive double shifts in order to repair the damage to the engines that the Rousshan ship had caused.

"That's enough, Lieutenant," Kathryn warned calmly. B'Elanna clamped her mouth shut, but crossed her arms over her chest in disgust.

"That's quite alright, Captain." The alien Captain returned, giving the Klingon hybrid a dismissive and distasteful look that only she and one other person in the room noticed. "I can understand this…female's anger and frustration."

B'Elanna opened her mouth to respond to the barely disguised insult, but only the Captain's icy look, and a gently placed, metal covered hand on her arm kept her quiet. She threw a surprised glance at Seven of Nine who sat beside her, but the former Borg's eyes were firmly on the Rousshan 'guest.'

"But you must understand we have had problems with invaders in the past," he continued. "We have unfortunately had to learn to attack before we are attacked."

"I understand, Captain…"

"Yurn," he replied smoothly.

"Yurn," Kathryn replied. "I am glad that we could convince you that our intentions are not hostile, and that we could solve this issue diplomatically."

"As am I," he replied. Suddenly his eyes moved around the room, glaring briefly at B'Elanna than stopping on Seven of Nine.

"It is my great honor to encounter a ship that has such a…fascinating crew." His eyes focused intently on the blonde woman sitting at the end of the table. Seven's ocular implant twitched, but she made no further indication she heard the compliment.

B'Elanna couldn't help but grin at Seven's reaction. Sometimes having an icy demeanor paid off, as Yurn coughed slightly and turned back to the Captain.

"Yes. Anyway, you and your crew are welcome to utilize our space port for your repairs and to rest from your travels. We offer various forms of entertainment and dining for your pleasure, as well as an expert maintenance crew who will be more than happy to assist your… engineer with her repairs."

Somehow the alien made the word engineer sound like an insult, and B'Elanna couldn't keep quiet. "I am more than capable of repairing this ship myself… Thank you," she retorted.

"Lieutenant!" Kathryn snapped. She didn't like this alien anymore than her Chief Engineer did, but she was not going to allow B'Elanna's famous temper to spoil a long overdue shore leave for the weary crew.

"Sorry," she muttered insincerely.

"Yurn, I must apologize for the Lieutenant. We would be thrilled to accept your hospitality."

"Excellent. And you do not need to apologize, Captain…."

"Kathryn," she replied trying to keep these diplomatic talks from blowing up.

"Kathryn," he agreed. "It is quite obvious and understandable that the deformed one's inability to find a mate has affected her temperament and made her possessive of her vessel. This sort of thing is quite common on my home world," he said with blatantly false sympathy.

Kathryn heard mutters of protests coming from the other members of the senior staff that were present, and she clinched her jaw. It ate at her stomach to let that pass, but Voyager had been badly damaged by the Rousshan ships, and according to Seven, the next closest system with a planet that would be able to provide the luxury of repair time and shore leave was over a month away. She couldn't risk this opportunity, no matter how dearly she'd love to wipe the smirk of the good-looking alien's face.

Seven of Nine heard the low growl emanating from the engineer next to her and sensed the hybrid was preparing to attack. She struggled to suppress her own desire to cause severe harm to the Rousshan on the Lieutenant's behalf. Instead, she focused her efforts on attempting to calm the angry Klingon. She was not about to let B'Elanna be sent to the brig instead of going on shore leave, which the smaller woman desperately needed.

"Easy, Lieutenant," she whispered, aware of B'Elanna's sensitive hearing. She relaxed slightly as she heard the growling slowly stop, though she did make a mental note to see what she could do to cause that growl again under more appropriate circumstances. She then refocused her steely gaze.

"PetaQ!" Seven snarled. "Your words are flawed and offensive," Seven stated coldly to the arrogant alien. She noticed B'Elanna stiffen at her use of the Klingon epithet but continued to glare their guest.

"Seven of Nine!" Kathryn barked, also recognizing the Klingon insult. First B'Elanna and now Seven? These two women were going to cause a war that Voyager did not need. Fortunately the Rousshan didn't speak Klingon.

Yurn turned his silver eyes to the former Borg, and let them wander over her breasts and back up to her face keeping his lustful gaze hidden from the Captain. "Those silver adornments on your face and hand," he said as if Seven hadn't spoken. "They remind me of something. Has your species ever passed this way before?"

Seven, opened her mouth, and B'Elanna found herself looking forward to hearing one of the former drone's predictably sharp retorts, but Janeway cut Seven off before she could open her mouth.

"I can honestly say you've never encountered anyone like Seven before," Kathryn replied dryly.

"I imagine not. I don't believe I would be able to forget such a unique and aesthetically pleasing species," he drawled.

Oh good grief, thought B'Elanna as she suppressed a grin at the snort of laughter coming from Tom Paris. She turned her head to see the blonde's reaction to the nauseating compliment and wasn't disappointed. She had to bite her lip to keep from laughing outright at the surprisingly appalled and disgusted look that flashed across Seven's face before quickly transforming once more into her usual aloofness.

"I apologize for Seven's…outspokenness." Kathryn made a pointed effort not to criticize what Seven said, just how she said it. She completely agreed with her friend and knew that someone needed to defend B'Elanna as she herself couldn't.

"Such a beautiful one could never cause offense," he all but purred, unaware of the look of repugnance that flickered in light blue eyes.

"My words were harsh," Seven replied calmly, refusing to apologize. "but Lieutenant Torres is a brilliant engineer who could have any mate she chooses. Your words diminish her and insult her honor."

B'Elanna stared at the former drone in astonishment. She would have expected the Captain to come to her defense, not Seven. Yet Seven was the one who stood up for her. In spectacular fashion to boot.

"I apologize again for my crew, Yurn. It's been a long time since they've been off the ship and it's taking its toll." Kathryn shot lasers at the engineer and the Astrometrics officer, warning them to keep their mouths shut.

"I understand. My crew also gets…irritable if they are confined for too long. And my offer still stands. If your ship will follow ours, we will escort you to the Rousshan space port and you can take time to rest."

"Thank you, Yurn."

"You're most welcome. Thank you for your easy forgiveness about our previous …misjudgment. Now, I must get back to my ship and prepare for our departure."

"I'll escort you to our transporters," she rose with the tall alien along with the rest of the command staff. She turned to look at Seven and B'Elanna. "I want to see both of you in my ready room."

When the others left, B'Elanna turned to look up at the former Borg. "Why did you do that?" She asked bluntly. She wasn't sure if she was pissed off or flattered.

Seven, in her usual manner, didn't pretend to misunderstand. "I did not want you to be thrown in the brig."


"Because, you deserve shore leave more than anyone else on Voyager." She said simply before turning to leave the conference room.

B'Elanna reached out to grab Seven's arm, not really knowing what she should say. All that came out was, "thank you."

Seven nodded in what could be taken as condescension, but B'Elanna read it as discomfort. B'Elanna smiled and followed the taller woman out of the conference room so they could meet their doom together.


Part 2

"What the hell did you two think you were doing?" Kathryn demanded as she sat behind her desk.

B'Elanna knew she could have handled it better, so she stayed silent. Unfortunately, Seven had never learned that restraint.

"The alien insulted the Lieutenant," she replied simply.

"And that excuses your own rudeness?"

"I did not intend to be …rude," Seven stated. "I merely…"

Kathryn held up a hand, slightly amused by B'Elanna's dumbfounded expression at being defended by someone she fought with constantly. "I understand your actions, Seven. I really do. I wanted to tell him off as much as you, but…"

"But you didn't," Seven interrupted. She wasn't judging the Captain's actions, merely stating a fact, but that didn't make Kathryn feel any better about her silence.

"No. I didn't. I don't like myself for that very much," she said looking at her Chief Engineer with apology filling her eyes. "Unfortunately, that's the downside to diplomacy. You occasionally have to make allowances for bad behavior in order to prevent escalations in hostilities."

B'Elanna barely suppressed a snort, and Seven remained silent. Kathryn let out a sigh.

"Seven, you told us when we were attacked that you recognize the Rousshans as Species 9934. They are known for their superior weapons, which we now know about first hand. Is there anything else we need to know? Something perhaps you didn't consider relevant before that may explain Yurn's own behavior?"

Seven furrowed her brow for a moment as she accessed her Borg memories. "They were only considered worthy of assimilation due to their weapons technology. This species was determined to have an excessive fascination with physical perfection."

"Sounds familiar," B'Elanna muttered ignoring the look Seven cast her.

"If you are referring to the Borg, Lieutenant, than you are in error. The Borg find the physical attributes of individuals, in and of themselves, irrelevant as it pertains to their quest for perfection. To the Rousshans, physical perfection is the one true mark of superiority. Any individual with a physical flaw or abnormality is outcast. As is anyone who simply has more prominent physical features "

B'Elanna frowned, knowing what Seven's words implied about Yurn's comments and what they said about her.

"The Rousshan is a fool." Seven, who had an uncanny knack for reading B'Elanna's mind, was not looking at the other woman as she spoke, but her words were clear.

Kathryn bit back a chuckle. She had never seen the Klingon slash former Maquis look so befuddled. It was quite sweet really. She had to fight to keep the fierce look on her face.

"Well, needless to say, I'm still disappointed in both of you for your lack of control. You could have cost this crew some very much deserved time off, as well as repairs and supplies that we need."

"I'm sorry, Captain," B'Elanna muttered sincerely.

"I apologize only for causing you distress," Seven added with a little less enthusiasm. She always regretted disappointing the Captain.

"Very well." Kathryn rubbed her chin in thought, then a grin that could only be described as evil, crossed her face. "Instead of throwing you both in the brig, which was my first inclination, I have decided that a more fitting punishment would be to send you on shore leave together."

"What!" B'Elanna shouted.

"Excuse me?" Seven asked in the most startled voice either woman had ever heard from the former drone.

"I believe you heard me."

"Captain, you can't be serious," B'Elanna protested, eyeing Seven. Suddenly her reluctance lessened as she thought back to how the other woman had stood up for her.

"Oh, but I am. We will be at the space port in less than two hours. I realize you need to work on repairs, but that can wait until tomorrow. I expect you and Seven to take tonight off and enjoy the space port. Together."

B'Elanna opened her mouth, and then shut it.

Seven turned and looked at the engineer with a small smile. "It appears that resistance is futile."

Both Kathryn and B'Elanna had to laugh at that.

"Dismissed," Kathryn said with a grin and the two women left the ready room.


Part 3

"This is ridiculous," grumbled B'Elanna as she waited in the transporter room for Seven. Of all the people to be stuck going on shore leave with, it had to be Seven. She began to pace restlessly.

Questions ran wildly through her mind. Why had Seven defended her? Did everyone else know how the alien captain had insulted her? Had prayed on her insecurities? Or was Seven the only one perceptive enough to hear the slur? After all, she was the only one to speak up.

She pushed long slender fingers through her dark brown hair and sighed in frustration, forcing back the anger as she thought again about what the man had said. She wasn't good enough to attract a mate. Was it true? Turtlehead a mocking voice whispered in her mind and she flinched at the memory.

Seven said she could have any mate she wanted. B'Elanna laughed at that. Men wanted tall blonde perfection like Seven. Not short, dark haired anger and forehead ridges.

"The Rousshan and his opinions are irrelevant," said a throaty voice from behind her. B'Elanna spun around to see Seven standing patiently beside the transporter controls, looking at her intently. B'Elanna found it…unsettling.

"Geez, Seven. Someone should put a bell on you or something."

"That would not be an advisable course of action Lieutenant," Seven replied with a slight smile.

B'Elanna heard Ensign Collins chuckle and couldn't stop a smile herself. "No. Probably not. So are you ready?"

"Of course."

The two women stepped on the transporters. "Okay Chris, Energize," B'Elanna ordered and with a push of a button, they were gone.

They materialized in a pre-arranged semi deserted corner of the space port. As they made their way into the center of the facility, B'Elanna observed the increasing crowd of people who with a few exceptions looked virtually identical.

She and Seven entered the crowded market place and looked over the various booths. B'Elanna's mind was only partially involved in the items on display. Sighing, she picked up various items, feigning interest. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Seven standing rigidly nearby, glaring coldly at the passerby's. Looking around, B'Elanna noticed the stares she was getting from the "beautiful" people and sighed. It's not as if she hadn't experienced this back on Earth.

"You don't see anything you want?" She asked Seven, trying to take her mind off her depressing thoughts.

"I have no need of…souvenirs, Lieutenant. There is nothing of this place that I care to remember." Seven responded with disgust.

B'Elanna knew immediately what Seven was saying and was unaccountably touched that this woman, who fit in so well physically with these people, was offended on her behalf.

"Seven, I…I need a drink. There's got to be a bar on this dump. Let's go."

Seven was about to refuse, but then nodded once. They made their way through the bizarre, and found a saloon that looked fairly decent. Both women ignored the whispers and stares directed toward them.

They found a table not far from the entrance and took their seats. B'Elanna noticed that most of the patrons appeared to be half crocked already. It seemed some things were the same no matter what quadrant of space one found themselves in.

They sat quietly for a moment. B'Elanna was lost in her own thoughts, but Seven couldn't stop looking at the Klingon woman. Just remembering the words of the Rousshan back on Voyager made her angry. The looks of disdain thrown at her companion only agitated her further. She wanted to convince B'Elanna that these people were blind, but she didn't know how.

"Lieutenant, I…"

"You are from the strange ship Voyager are you not?" Interrupted a deep voice from behind her. Both women turned to look at yet another tall handsome Rousshan.

"Yes," B'Elanna replied trying to be friendly. "We…"

"I am talking to the beautiful one," he replied coldly dismissing her.

Seven moved to stand, fully prepared to instruct this person in manners, but B'Elanna gently placed a hand on her arm holding her in place.

Settling back in her chair, she glared up at the smiling male. "Thank you, but I currently have more than sufficient conversation," she declined, her voice dripping ice.

"But you are beautiful. You should be talking with someone who is worthy of you." He continued to ignore B'Elanna, who despite the pain and anger his words caused, found her lips twitching in amusement as she quirked an eyebrow at the visibly irritated Seven. She was anxious to see how the former Borg planned to handle this situation.

Seven saw B'Elanna's enjoyment at her predicament and she met her gaze with a mischievous look of her own, relieved that her companion could manage a smile. She decided to retaliate against the Lieutenant, as well as get rid of the unwanted nuisance at the same time.

Glancing at B'Elanna's legs, she looked at the brunette, raised her ocular implant and placed a hand lightly on the engineer's thigh. In a rare show of emotion, Seven grinned broadly as she felt B'Elanna's reaction. Her enhanced hand on the other woman's leg was probably all that kept the Lieutenant from jumping completely out of her chair. She looked at B'Elanna's startled face with a not quite innocent expression then turned to look at the unwelcome visitor.

"Actually, I find that my mate is more than worthy," she stated in a soft, suggestive voice.

"Your…." Both B'Elanna and the tall fair haired alien replied at the same time and Seven fought back another smile.

"Oh, yes." She replied her voice surprisingly husky. She began moving her fingers slowly over the firm thigh in a slight caress. She ignored the strange quiver that swept over her at the feeling but noticed the tremble in the leg under her hand.

"You? And…her?" he gestured at the dark Klingon hybrid who seemed to have lost the ability to move or speak with the hand caressing her thigh. She heard the insult but was completely unable to respond to it.

"Do you have a problem with my choice of mate, qoH?" Seven asked coldly as she scooted closer to B'Elanna.

When did Seven learn Klingon? Was the only thing B'Elanna could think as the strong hand moved up and down her thigh.

"You can't possibly prefer her to me. You are the perfect compliment to a Rousshan, and she's…" He gestured helplessly toward B'Elanna's ridged forehead. No was obviously a word that these people were not acquainted with.

B'Elanna snapped out of her fog and looked at the man who was insulting her as if she wasn't sitting there. Suddenly the hand on her leg became comforting instead of uncomfortable as each of his words seemed to strike her in her heart and at her deepest insecurities.

"Beyond beautiful," interrupted Seven quietly. The humor of the situation had quickly vanished as she could feel the hurt filling her normally fierce companion at this petaQ's presumption.

She leaned forward to whisper in B'Elanna's ear.

"Ignore him. He is a yIntagh and Qovpatlh" she told B'Elanna gently. Then, as a show for her would be suitor, she gently kissed B'Elanna's silky cheek. She felt a shiver beneath her lips and felt herself tremble. Maybe this plan hadn't been such a good one after all.

She pushed a lock of hair behind B'Elanna's ear completely captivated by the other woman's reactions as well as her own. She looked back up at the Rousshan who was looking embarrassed and angry that he was being ignored for someone he saw as imperfect.

"This is unacceptable. You insult me."

Seven placed her hand back on B'Elanna's thigh and looked back up at the man who was now flushed with humiliation.

"That is not my intent," she said simply as if talking to a child. "My mate and I are here at the invitation of the Captain of one of your ships who attacked us. We simply wish to have a drink in peace and then we will leave. Now if you will excuse us?"

She watched as he turned to look at the table where his own companions appeared to be laughing at him. He turned back to look at her and began to protest once more.

"Comply," at his mulish glare aimed at B'Elanna, Seven put on her most Borg-like expression. "Resistance is futile."

Suddenly the Rousshan realized he was speaking to a Borg. He swallowed and quickly left their table.

He had been gone for about a tenth of a second before B'Elanna let out a burst of laughter. "Oh, gods Seven. I never thought I'd enjoy hearing that Borg tone of yours, but that was a good one." Her laugh continued at Seven's mock offended expression.

Seven smiled, relieved to see the hurt had left her friend's beautiful eyes. "I do believe that was…fun."

Suddenly both women realized that Seven's hand still rested on B'Elanna's thigh and froze. Seven unconsciously moved her thumb over the muscles that flexed when B'Elanna stiffened. B'Elanna tore her eyes away to look blindly at anything but her companion.

"B'Elanna," Seven whispered trying to get the other woman to look at her.

'Ohgodohgodohgod,' was running rampant through B'Elanna's mind as she felt a completely strange and unwelcome wave of desire in the pit of her stomach. She flinched when she felt long soft fingers under her chin turning her face. She looked into blue eyes that were just as shaken as B'Elanna's.

"B'Elanna, please forget the way these people have treated you," Seven whispered. The thought of this proud warrior feeling the faintest twinge of shame and hurt was unacceptable.

"I'm used to it," B'Elanna replied, unable to look away from the intensity of blue eyes that seemed to see straight through her.

"That is a situation that must be rectified. You are so very beautiful B'Elanna Torres," she whispered.

"No, you…"

"Do not interrupt," Seven ordered and B'Elanna couldn't suppress a shaky smile.

"Yes ma'am."

"I realize my past is…I am…abhorrent to you, but I have no other means of describing…" Seven faltered, lost for words.

"Seven, I…" Seven's raised eyebrow caused her to stop. "Sorry. Continue."

"As a drone I have traveled across the Delta Quadrant and seen thousands of species. I …but I…" Seven turned her face from B'Elanna afraid that her explanations would disgust her.

"Tell me," B'Elanna whispered softly.

Seven kept her eyes turned away from the brunette as she spoke. "In my entire existence both as a drone and an individual, I have never seen beauty such as yours."

B'Elanna gasped. Before this moment, any linkage between Seven's life as a drone and B'Elanna would have caused the engineer a great deal of insult. After all, the species' that Seven had spoken of, had been subsequently assimilated. But B'Elanna knew that Seven had no other basis to compare anything. She found her eyes stinging at Seven's words. And what it had cost her to reveal them to her. B'Elanna put a finger under Seven's chin and forced her to look at her.

"I-" B'Elanna swallowed. "I don't know what to say," The noise coming from the now crowded bar nearly drowned out her whisper, but Seven was staring at her mouth and was able to interpret the words.

"I don't either, I didn't mean to offend you but I needed to explain…" Seven stopped talking and lowered her face to B'Elanna's, keeping her eyes glued to deep brown eyes the size of saucers.

Every since she and Tom broke up, B'Elanna had wondered if she would ever be kissed again. She got her answer as Seven lowered her lips to hers and reminded B'Elanna spectacularly of what she had been missing.

Feeling tentative fingers on her cheek, B'Elanna sighed into the other woman's gentle mouth. She had always enjoyed kissing. She just rarely got the opportunity, and she never ever thought she'd partake of the practice with another woman. She bit back a moan as Seven moved to deepen the kiss. She was glad that Seven was only a beginner in the act of kissing as B'Elanna wasn't sure she could survive an expert Seven. She sighed again and leaned into her companion. My yes, she really did like kissing.

Seven was just as surprised to find her lips on another woman's but she didn't have the same inhibitions and concerns that B'Elanna did and just let go and enjoyed the moment. She slipped her arm around the other woman's shoulder to pull her closer when a loud shout coming from a table nearby surprised the couple. Pulling away, Seven rested her head against B'Elanna's, briefly kissing the smooth ridges.


"That was…"

Both spoke at the same time, then smiled in embarrassment.

"I think we should probably head back to Voyager," B'Elanna said in a voice deepened from passion.

"I…I will comply," Seven replied shakily as the two women rose from the table and left the restaurant. This time neither woman was aware of the crowd surrounding them as they headed back to the coordinates for transportation.

"Oh. We never got anything to drink," B'Elanna said half heartedly, as they arrived back where they had started, staring intently up at Seven. She was reluctant to initiate the transport back to the ship.

"I do not require any liquids at this time," Seven whispered before lowering her lips back to the engineer's.

It was some time before they finally transported back to Voyager.


Part 4

Ensign Chris Collins didn't make the slightest indication that he was surprised by the Lieutenant's and Seven of Nine's abrupt return from shore leave for which B'Elanna was grateful. She was no where near able to come up with a reasonable explanation.

She and Seven stepped down from the transporters, and with only a small smile toward the Ensign, the two women left the transporter room. She had only taken two steps down the deserted corridor when she felt a niggling sensation at the back of her already tense neck. Knowing what was causing it, she stopped and turned to ask the tall blonde to stop staring at her but instead found herself turning face first into the chest belonging to the source her distraction. Her last nerve snapped.

"For crying out loud, Seven. Back off can't you?" She all but shouted. She looked up to see the flare of hurt in Seven's eyes, before her face froze up again.

"My apologies, Lieutenant." She turned to leave, and B'Elanna cursed herself.

"Wait, Seven. I'm sorry."

Seven stiffened, but paused. B'Elanna waited to see what she would do, and was relieved when Seven finally turned back to face her. She put her hands behind her back in typical fashion and appeared completely unruffled by everything that had gone on over the last hour, not to mention the sudden outburst of temper. B'Elanna knew better.

"Nice try, Seven. But you aren't fooling me," she said gently. "I didn't mean to snap at you. I just…I'm…"

Seven's posture slipped slightly. "I understand, Lieutenant."

"Enough with the 'Lieutenant,' Seven," she ordered softly.

"Very well. B'Elanna."

The engineer couldn't help but smile. "You realize that's the first time you've ever done what I've asked without an argument?"

Seven's facial features didn't change, except for the corner of her mouth which lifted in a tiny smile. "Perhaps. But I would advise against becoming overly comfortable with the experience."

B'Elanna looked up at the woman who had defended her more in one day than anyone else had her entire life and laughed, appreciating the subtle humor of the former drone. "Come on," she said gesturing once with her head.

Seven looked at the darker woman in mild surprise. "Where?"

"Well, I thought we'd go back to my quarters. If you want to, I mean. We didn't get to eat and I imagine Neelix has probably gone to the space port and…"

"I …am not hungry," Seven replied, and B'Elanna's lips twitched at the hesitant avoidance of her usual phrase of refusal.

"Well, you could keep me company."

Seven looked at her companion for a long second. She knew she herself had initiated the intimate activities at the space port, but now, back on Voyager where there was no one to provoke and no reason to justify such behavior, she found herself unaccountably nervous.

"I-I believe I would like to join you," Seven replied, finally. They hadn't even moved when they heard the transporter room doors open. Seven jerked slightly when a small figure bumped into her, then kept moving.

"Naomi Wildman," she called after the child. Seven's brows lowered in concern. That was very unlike the small little girl. Naomi didn't stop or make any indication she had heard Seven's call.

Suddenly, the doors opened once more and Samantha Wildman, Naomi's mother rushed out followed by Neelix. Without speaking, B'Elanna pointed her in the direction of her daughter. Samantha ran off after her, and Neelix started to follow.

"Neelix. What's wrong with Naomi?" B'Elanna asked concerned.

"Is she injured?" Seven asked almost angrily.

"No, she's not hurt, but I'm afraid I can't talk now, I need to go."

Seven started to protest, but seeing how distraught Neelix was, she let it go.

"Very well. But please inform Naomi Wildman I will stop in to check on her later this evening."

"I will do that, Seven."

"Thank you." She watched the Talaxian hurry away after Naomi and her mother. She had an inclination of what probably occurred, but for now she would leave Naomi in the capable hands of her mother and her godfather.

Seven turned to look at her companion to see her lost in thought and unconsciously rubbing her forehead.

"Are you alright, Lieutenant?" Seven asked with concern.

"Hm? Oh. Yes. I'm just wondering about little Naomi. I've never seen her like that."

"Nor have I. I can only assume that she had received similar treatment to what you encountered."

"What? Why?" B'Elanna was outraged. "She's just a little girl. And she's adorable."

"I agree. However, and please understand I do not mean offense, it appears that your cranial ridges and Naomi's …spikes, offend them. I believe that Neelix probably also encountered the same behavior due to his prominent forehead."

B'Elanna clenched her jaw so tight that Seven feared for the other woman's teeth.

"I can't understand how someone could be cruel to Naomi. Or to Neelix."

"Or to you," Seven added under her breath, but B'Elanna heard her.

"Hm," she replied half heartedly. "These damned Rousshans and their twisted culture really…" B'Elanna felt herself building into a tirade, and stopped herself.

"It has been my observation that their preoccupation with physical appearance is not that different than most humans or any other species I've encountered, except theirs is more…overt."

B'Elanna found she really couldn't argue with that. Her experiences growing up as half Klingon told her that.

"As I am not currently needed at the Wildman's, shall we proceed to your quarters?"

"Do you still want to? I mean, I would understand if you weren't in the mood to…"

"Shall we proceed?" Seven repeated.

B'Elanna sighed. "Okay." The two women made their way down the corridor, trying to calm their emotions.

After a brief, but somewhat uncomfortable turbolift ride, the pair soon found themselves outside B'Elanna's quarters. They entered and B'Elanna cued the lights.

"Have a seat. Can I get you anything?"

"No. I am…fine."

"Lucky you," She muttered. On top of her worry for Naomi, B'Elanna was also still coming to terms with what exactly happened down on the star port. Clearing her throat, she made her way to a replicator, requested a beer, and then sat in a chair next to Seven who was sitting stiffly on the sofa.

Both Seven and B'Elanna looked around the room awkwardly. Both knowing the subject they needed to address, and both desperate to avoid it.

"Are you sure you wouldn't rather be with Naomi?" B'Elanna asked, looking at her guest.

Seven thought for a moment. She was hurt and concerned for the young child, but she was also hurt and concerned for the Klingon sitting beside her. She forced herself to focus only on the woman who had no one to comfort her.

"Naomi is with Neelix and her mother. I will see her later tonight. Right now, I prefer to be here."

B'Elanna blinked at Seven's forthrightness. She should be used to it by now, but… "Uh-huh. Why?"

"I just do," Seven replied vaguely, looking questioningly at the other woman. Finally she decided to bring up something she'd often wondered about, and something she felt was at the root of B'Elanna's reactions to Species 9934. After their behavior, Seven would no longer refer to this race by it's name.

"Lieu-B'Elanna. May I ask you a question?"

"You just did," B'Elanna muttered half-heartedly.

"Was that a joke?" Seven asked.

"Sort of. What's your question, Seven?"

"Why are you ashamed of your Klingon heritage?"

On any other day but this one, B'Elanna would have ripped the Borg a new…but, with everything Seven had done for her, she just couldn't do it. "Isn't it obvious? You see how well this," she gestured at her forehead, "was received by our gracious hosts. It's the same way all over."

"Is that the only reason?" Seven asked, gazing in fascination at the unique ridges. She was unable to refrain from lifting a finger to feel for herself the subtle texture.

"No. Not really," B'Elanna sighed, tilting her head into the caress. "My father abandoned my mother and me because of this. Because we were Klingons." The pain that normally accompanied that pronouncement was oddly absent as soft fingers, moved down her face to stroke her cheek.

"I see," Seven said absently, lost in the feel of the smooth skin beneath her hand. Suddenly she pulled her hand back and looked closer at the Klingon hybrid, whose eyes had slid closed. Her eyes opened at the sudden loss.

"What is it you see, Seven?" B'Elanna asked curiously.

"I see a beautiful woman who has an unfortunate tendency to cling to only part of her past, without seeing the whole."

"I don't understand."

Seven sighed. She'd never been very good at explaining herself and she dreaded offending this temperamental woman who she'd grown…fond of.

"Your focus centers on how your father left because he couldn't adapt to a life with Klingons. That only demonstrates his failure and inadequacy. Not yours or your mother's. But by focusing on that one selfish, yet utterly human act, you have forgotten an important element. Who was it that stayed with you? Who cared for you? It was your mother, was it not?"

B'Elanna frowned. "Yes, but…"

"The question then becomes, who showed more honor? The human or the Klingon?"

B'Elanna stared at the woman across from her. She had never really thought about that.

"I don't know Seven," she finally answered. "I've been so busy hating my Klingon heritage and this," she gestured at her forehead, "for driving my father away and making me feel…unwanted. I never really thought that it was those same things that made my mother stay with me." B'Elanna frowned as the thoughts and memories ran through her mind, this time seeing events through her mother's eyes.

"It couldn't have been easy for her," B'Elanna said absently, followed by a long drink from her beer. "She was the only Klingon woman in our settlement, raising a mixed daughter with a major attitude by herself, because the man she married not only didn't want her, but didn't care enough to stay around his own daughter."

Seven tentatively reached out to take B'Elanna's hand in her own. "And you resented your mother for trying to force the Klingon rituals on you, when at the time you wanted to be anything but Klingon."

"Yes. But no matter how hard I tried or how hard I fought….These," she gestured at her forehead, "would never let me or anyone else forget what I was." Unconsciously, B'Elanna had turned her palm upwards and was now lightly holding Seven's hand in her own.

"You should not fight being Klingon, B'Elanna. Klingon's are obviously strong and fierce, not to mention ill-tempered," she smiled into a pair of deep brown eyes that quickly narrowed at the last comment, so Seven continued, "but they are also loyal, passionate and probably the most honorable species I am aware of. You are proof of all of that," Seven said gently. "As is your mother for raising such a one."

B'Elanna bowed her head, ashamed that she had never looked at this side. Her mother's push to immerse B'Elanna in Klingon culture may not have been as entirely selfish as she had convinced herself. Perhaps it had been done because Miral was proud of her people, and wanted to share that with her daughter, who she believed would make an excellent Klingon.

"These," continued Seven as she reached up to lightly tap the ridged brow, "should be valued and respected. They are the evidence of your proud and honorable nature and should be admired, not reviled and insulted. In the future, I will take any such insult personally and attempt to…correct that person's misjudgment. And that includes you, Lieutenant," she finished, lifting her head as if to challenge B'Elanna.

The Chief Engineer simply blinked at the former drone. "Wow. That was the longest speech I've ever heard you give," was all she could think of to reply.

"That is likely. However, the length of my statement does not diminish the accuracy of it. I will not allow anyone, yourself included, to imply you are less than you are, simply because of this magnificent symbol of your people."

B'Elanna opened her mouth as if to protest, but Seven cut her off. "I am Borg. Resistance…"

"Is futile," B'Elanna said along with her friend with a smile. She knew the saying by rote.

"I am glad that you understand that, Lieutenant," Seven replied primly.

B'Elanna just shrugged her shoulders and laughed helplessly. She couldn't do anything different.

"You're amazing," she said warmly, fascinated to see the other woman become flustered.

"I…thank you," Seven replied quietly.

"No. Thank you. I can't believe how you stood up for me at the meeting today. You could have ended up in the brig."

"Irrelevant. Besides, I did nothing that the Captain didn't want to do herself."

"Well, I do appreciate it."

Seven found herself staring at her former nemesis, longing for something else to say so she wouldn't feel obligated to leave. She watched as B'Elanna finished her beer and placed it on the coffee table. The brunette stared back at her, and Seven noticed her shake her head slightly as if reaching a decision. She nearly jumped out of her implants when B'Elanna suddenly moved from the chair to sit beside her on the couch.

"B'Elanna. What are you doing?"

"I do believe I'm changing seats."

"Explain." The Borg was back.

B'Elanna sighed, wanting to comment on Seven's reversion to her drone personality, but decided to focus on a more important issue. Not touching Seven, she turned to face the blonde woman more directly.

"It's simple, really. I think you've done an admirable job of avoiding it so far, but it's time we discuss what happened earlier…and before you say it," She knew Seven's stalling tactics very well, by now, "you know very well when I mean."


B'Elanna reached out and took Seven's hand. "Seven. I really don't understand you at all. You were so… bold and confident when we were in the bar, and even just a few moments ago. Now you seem afraid. Why?"

"I am…I don't know." Seven was unable to meet B'Elanna's eyes but the other woman wouldn't have it. She put a finger under the nervous woman's chin and forced her to look at her.

"I think I do," B'Elanna said softly. "You were comfortable caressing my leg, and kissing me in front of that ass because you were defending me," she noticed the flush that tinted the normally implacable face in front of her, but she couldn't bring herself to tease her.

"And just now, you were focused on helping me, and you didn't take into consideration your own feelings. Now, it's just the two of us and you don't have anything to hide behind. Am I right?"

Seven stiffened. "No…Yes…not completely."

B'Elanna had a hard time reconciling this nervous, awkward woman with the self assured woman of just moments ago, and one who had nearly turned her into a blob of jelly with just a stroke of her thigh.

"What is it then?" She prodded.

"I never gave you a choice in the matter," Seven muttered glumly.

B'Elanna looked at her confused. "Choice? What choice?"

"What I did on the space port could be construed as assault," Seven kept her voice as neutral as her nerves would allow.

"Excuse me?"

"I said that what I…"

B'Elanna held up a hand cutting her off. "I heard what you said, Seven, I'm just surprised."

Seven looked at the engineer sitting close…too close, to her. "Why?"

B'Elanna just shook her head. "I'm surprised that you can be so obtuse," she said calmly even as she noticed a frown cross the younger woman's face.

"Are you calling me stupid?"

B'Elanna shifted closer to Seven to calm her. "No Seven. You know that I don't think you're stupid. Far from it."

"Then what exactly were you implying, Lieutenant."

Crap. We're back to Lieutenant again. "If you check that dictionary you have for a mind, you'll find another word for obtuse. It also means 'imperceptive'. All I was saying was that I was surprised that you were unable to sense that my reactions were anything but coerced."


B'Elanna couldn't stop a chuckle at the rare, over simplistic response. "What? Silenced at last?"

Seven was becoming discombobulated. She deeply disliked not being in control, and she loathed being laughed at. She moved to stand up, but a gentle hand on her arm stopped her.

"I'm not finished," B'Elanna commented.

Seven sighed. "Continue." She ordered

B'Elanna's lips twitched once more in amusement. Suddenly and idea occurred to her. She decided to show Seven what she had felt when she had touched her. She reached out slowly and placed her hand on Seven's thigh, just as Seven had done to her. However, after about an eighth of a second, her infamous lack of patience prevented her from performing the same lengthy teasing that the blonde had done to her, so she simply leaned in and kissed her.

Never one to prevaricate, Seven didn't even attempt to pull away. She simply leaned forward and opened her mouth to allow B'Elanna in. She slid a hand into thick brown hair and let her fingers glide through the silky strands. She moaned as hands slid around her and pulled her closer.

B'Elanna heard the ardent sound coming from the normally reserved Seven, and released her own. Seven had certainly learned quickly. She slid her hand up Seven's back, enjoying the shiver coming from the other woman and reached around to stroke the soft skin of her neck. B'Elanna's last coherent thought was that she had been right, back on the space port. She very well may not survive Seven of Nine's more experienced kissing, but what a way to go. She leaned forward, pushing Seven backward to lie on the sofa. Without breaking contact, both women shifted to where they were fully extended, long legs entangled with shorter ones.

Seven was overwhelmed. What she had instigated in the bar had in no way prepared her for what she was feeling now. Having B'Elanna's lithe body in such close contact to hers was affecting her senses. Operating purely on instinct, she let her hands roam over the passionate engineer until she finally heard it. The low rumbling growl that she had heard in the conference room. Only this time the growl was a result of desire instead of anger, and she, a former Borg drone, had caused it. She couldn't help it, she felt herself release a matching growl.

When B'Elanna heard Seven's tiny growl, she lost control. As Seven's hands roamed over her, she let hers return the favor. She dragged her lips from Seven's and skimmed them across a smooth jaw, and down to where a long neck met shoulder. She was completely lost in the tactile sensations flowing over her. She was perfectly content to lick, nibble and suckle at the soft neck, until firm hands slid into her hair and forced her mouth back up to where it belonged.

Neither B'Elanna nor Seven had any idea of how long they had been kissing, but eventually they pulled apart. B'Elanna rested her head on Seven's shoulder and Seven slid her arms around the other woman, neither feeling the need to speak, and both waiting for their systems to settle so they could start again.


Part 5

Neither Seven of Nine nor B'Elanna Torres had any idea how much time had passed since they moved from the cramped confines of the sofa, to the much more spacious and comfortable bed. Nor did they much care.

As soon as B'Elanna had wordlessly helped Seven from the couch, they hadn't been able to focus on anything other than each other. This was a new experience for both of them. B'Elanna had never been with a woman before, and Seven had never been with...well, anyone, so they went slowly, exploring and learning each other's bodies and each other's desires. Their needs had built so quickly that it wasn't long before they lay exhausted in each other's arms.

Later, Seven lay with her head resting on B'Elanna's strong shoulder. She sensed, more than felt slender fingers stroking through her tangled hair and she nuzzled approvingly against soft skin before placing a gentle kiss on the area covering B'Elanna's hearts. Immediately she detected the increased beats and she let her lips skim up B'Elanna's chest, stopping at her neck for a lengthy visit with her lips, tongue and teeth.

Kiss me.

No one but Seven could have heard the near silent whisper. And no one but Seven could have responded so quickly and so fervently. Her lips found B'Elanna's immediately and her tongue invaded the engineer's mouth easily. The kiss seemed to last an eternity for both, but finally Seven pulled back for breath. Then it was B'Elanna's turn to play.

She quickly twisted, rolling the longer body beneath her and this time, it was her own lips that played captor. B'Elanna fought back a desperate groan as she lost herself in pure feeling. Never in her life had a kiss affected her so deeply. It wasn't long before hands began to roam and caress driving both women to the edge, and then over once more.

Some time later, Seven reluctantly pulled away from where she lay spooning the small, silky body.

"Where are you going?" Asked the sleepy engineer, as she rolled over to her back.

"I need to check on Naomi," Seven replied, sitting up in the bed. She pushed a lock of blonde hair behind her ear as she gazed adoringly down at the beautiful bronze figure lying next to her. Her hands literally twitched with the effort she was expending to not touch. She closed her eyes with a tiny whimper, but the Klingon heard it and sat up.

"It's alright, Seven. I understand. I'd like to go with you, if you don't mind."

"I am not adverse to your presence."

B'Elanna leered at the woman next to her. "No more Borg speak for now, Seven. It gets me hot."

Seven frowned as she attempted to determine the non-literal meaning of B'Elanna's words.

"Never mind," B'Elanna smirked. "Why don't you go ahead and take your shower first."

Seven's eyes roamed down B'Elanna's body. "It would be more efficient if we utilized the sonic shower together."

"Well. Far be it for me to be inefficient," she agreed happily as she followed Seven into the bathroom.

The two women arrived at the Wildman quarters, and the bliss they had experienced just so recently dissipated as they imagined what the little Katarian had gone through. Seven activated the door chime, but received no response.

"Computer state the location of Naomi Wildman," she ordered coolly.

Naomi Wildman is in the mess hall.

B'Elanna looked in surprise at her tall lover. "That's certainly a good sign," she stated.

"Children are indeed resilient," Seven replied simply.

"Well, let's go to the mess hall then. I do want to check on Naomi, but I'm also starving. I've been trying to get something to eat all day."

"If you are waiting for an apology for delaying the intake of your nutritional bio-matter, B'Elanna, you will be waiting indefinitely," Seven said matter-of-factly.

B'Elanna moved closer to the exasperating woman. "Oh, I don't want an apology, Seven. You can make it up to me another way, later."

Seven lifted her ocular implant. "Perhaps."

B'Elanna just laughed. "Come on, Borg. Let's go."

As they made their way to the mess hall, they both found themselves worried about how they would find Naomi and Neelix, but also fighting their newly discovered passions. They only gave in once, when they entered the empty turbolift.

"Deck 2," B'Elanna ordered even as she nudged Seven back against the wall, and proceeded to kiss her senseless. Seven managed to keep just enough sense about her to detect when the lift doors opened.

"You have become quite good at that, Seven." B'Elanna said running a finger across her still tingling lips.

"I learn quickly," Seven replied, gazing raptly at the Lieutenant's actions.

"Stop that," B'Elanna croaked. "Or you'll soon be getting another lesson. And we still need to check on Naomi."

"Yes, B'Elanna."

They were still smiling as the approached the doors to the mess hall, only to encounter the Captain approaching from around the corner with a tall Rousshan. Seven released a hiss, and B'Elanna growled when they saw the Rousshan was the same one that had accosted Seven down on the space port.

"Oh great," B'Elanna muttered.

"Relax, B'Elanna. He will do nothing to hurt you."

B'Elanna was touched by the sincere vow on her behalf, and she reached out to take Seven's enhanced hand.

"B'Elanna. Seven. How was your shore leave?" Her pleasant tone belied the twinkle of mischief in her eyes, knowing it had actually been their punishment to be sent on leave together.

"It was. enlightening," B'Elanna said looking out of the corner of her eye at her new lover.

"Aside from a brief moment of unpleasantness, I concur with the Lieutenant." She had barely finished speaking before the Rousshan recognized the two women.

"You," he hissed.

"Kend?" Kathryn said, hearing the anger in her guest's voice.

"I remember you. You humiliated me," he accused.

Seven placed her hands behind her back. "Correction. You humiliated yourself when you refused to take no for an answer."

"Would someone care to explain what's going on?" Kathryn cut in.

"This woman offended me."

Kathryn rubbed her forehead. "Seven. B'Elanna. I'd like to introduce you to Kend. The Governor of the Rousshan Space Port."

"Oh crap," B'Elanna muttered. She regretted nothing that happened, but she knew their behavior to this man would upset the Captain.

"Indeed," Seven agreed stoically.

"How exactly did my crew offend you?" Kathryn asked. She didn't particularly care, as she suspected this man had offered first offense.

"This woman publicly chose this inferior creature over me, making me a laughing stock in front of my friends and subordinates. Then she kissed her in front of everyone and told me to leave."

Kathryn, suppressing her shock at the revelation that Seven had kissed B'Elanna, focused on the man's accusations. They were ridiculous and pathetic.

At the start of the Rousshan's tirade, B'Elanna had grabbed Seven's hand knowing the former drone was preparing to remind the alien who and what she was. Before Kathryn could speak, B'Elanna jumped in.

"If you'll excuse us," B'Elanna said, ignoring the heated glance thrown at her by Kend. They passed through the doors followed by the Captain and Kend.

"There she is," B'Elanna pointed to a nearby table where Naomi sat in front of a large ice cream sundae, between Neelix, and her mother.

"She looks much improved," Seven noted.

"Yeah. Ice cream will do that for you."

"Perhaps I will try that someday," Seven replied thoughtfully.

"Tonight," B'Elanna said nearly sub vocal so that only Seven could here. She smiled as she felt the form close to her, shiver.

"You indeed have a beautiful vessel, Captain," came the grating voice of the Rousshan space port's governor in what could only be an intentionally loud voice. "But I find myself surprised."

B'Elanna and Seven had just moved to join the Wildman's and Neelix, but turned back, knowing what he was about to say would not be pleasant.


"Yes." His eyes ran quickly over B'Elanna before moving on to focus on Neelix and Naomi. "That you feel comfortable allowing those so obviously inferior, to mix freely with their betters."

Kathryn had just enough calm to manage a curt "Excuse me?"

"Yes. I do understand your tolerance of that one," he gestured at B'Elanna "as she repairs your ship. And that one," he gestured again at Neelix, "who I understand cooks for your crew. But why are they not kept separate? And the little deformed one. She appears too small to serve any purpose. Why do you not.."

Kend did not have the opportunity to finish his suggestion as Seven was before him in two long strides, and in three more she had him pushed up against the bulk head with his neck clenched in her Borg enhanced hand.

Kathryn was stunned into silence as was the rest of the mess hall, including the Wildman table. B'Elanna didn't even attempt to interfere as she firmly supported Seven's actions. She briefly glanced down and was amazed to see that the feet of the alien who stood inches over Seven herself, dangled helplessly off the ground. In fascination, she watched Seven lean in closely to whisper in the Rousshan's ear. For the first time she truly was grateful for her Klingon genes that allowed her to hear the blonde's words.

"You will desist in insulting the members of this crew further. To my shame I allowed your insults to my mate to pass, but you will not say one further word against Neelix, or against Naomi Wildman." Seven glanced contemptuously over the now trembling alien, and then continued in a voice that had grown, if possible even colder.

"In case you didn't figure it out on the space port," she leaned even closer, "I am Borg." She said the word in such away that even B'Elanna shivered. "I find you irrelevant, and unworthy of assimilation, however should you utter one more derogatory word, or even look sideways at them, including my mate, and especially that little girl, I will demonstrate personally, what else the Borg are capable of." With that, she released him and he fell to the floor gasping for air.

"Captain, are you going to allow this...this assault to go unpunished?" His voice was still raspy, and most likely would be for some time.

Kathryn looked at the quivering alien sitting on the floor, then at Seven who stood placidly with her arms behind her back as if the last few seconds hadn't even happened. Her eyes briefly touched on B'Elanna who was staring at the former drone in such a way that Kathryn didn't know if she should be happy for Seven or deeply worried. She also allowed her eyes to circle the mess hall.

The crew was looking at her in both shock at what they'd just witnessed and curiosity both because they had not heard what Seven had told the alien, and to see how Janeway would respond. The last face Kathryn turned to was little Naomi Wildman's. The tears in her eyes told her she'd heard the Rousshan's cruel words and unfinished suggestion. Diplomacy be damned. Resisting her first impulse to tell Seven to finish what she started, she turned back to her `guest.'

"Yes," looked up at the alien who had finally risen to his feet. "Yes I am going to allow it. Against my better judgment and my own desire, I've allowed you to insult my Chief Engineer and my friend for which I won't soon forgive myself. I have no doubt you and your kind have issued similar offenses to other members of my crew, especially one of the kindest beings I've ever met," she indicated Neelix. "But for you to deliberately target an innocent child with your intolerance and ignorance is beyond enough. I have no doubt your attitude is why your people are attacked so frequently. Now get the hell off my ship, and inform your people to stop working immediately on Voyager. We will depart within the hour."

She crossed her arms over her chest. Two Ensigns from Tuvok's security team happened to be in the mess hall at this time and made their way to the Captain's side, phasers at the ready.

"This is intolerable. After all we've done for you," Kend spluttered. B'Elanna, silent until now, snorted in derision and this time she wasn't reprimanded.

"What your people have done for us is to attack us without provocation, resulting in severe damage to our ship, and treated the members of this crew intolerably. I believe Voyager can do without further assistance from the Rousshan people," Seven announced coldly.

The obnoxious alien opened his mouth to retort but seeing the cold visage of the Captain, the snarling glare of the engineer, and the phasers pointed at him, he clapped his mouth shut. However, it was the deadly smile and the upheld metal enclosed hand that caused him to flee the mess hall and Voyager without further ado.

Kathryn sighed and turned to face the fierce twosome.

"B'Elanna. I know you are technically still off shift, but can you and Seven head to Engineering to check the status of repairs so far and make sure our `guests' have fully departed?"


"Yes, Captain,"

The two women spoke simultaneously as they turned to exit the mess hall. Kathryn noticed that the searing flame had not receded one iota from B'Elanna's brown eyes. Still nonplussed over the events of the last few minutes, Kathryn's mind refused to deal with what she had learned about the new relationship between the Klingon/human hybrid and the former Borg. Right now she desperately needed to call the rest of the crew back from the space port and a cup of coffee. Not necessarily in that order.

Once out of the mess hall, B'Elanna, who had found herself inexplicably turned on by Seven's fierce show of strength, looked both ways down the corridor and seeing it was empty took Seven's face in her hands and kissed her until long legs nearly collapsed.

"B'Elanna?" Seven was breathless but not complaining.

"Thanks," B'Elanna smiled hotly. "I needed that." With that, she headed off down the corridor with Seven following close behind her.


Part 6

"Engineering is cleared of all trash," B'Elanna announced to the Captain two hours later. She and Seven were monitoring the warp core from the main console. The last of the Rousshans had finally left, not bothering to hide their disgust at being ordered about by an "inferior."

"What's Voyager's status?" The Captain asked over the comm system.

"Not too bad, all things considered. I'll say one thing about these aliens, they are, as Seven would say, `efficient'. Carey informed me that with the additional manpower they were able to get the engines back up to sixty percent and shields and weapons are at 80 percent. All critical hull repairs have been made, so leaving now won't be detrimental to anything. We should be able to fix everything else as we go. We'll just need to avoid any further...uh... incidents for a while."

"Any idea of how long before the repairs are completed?"

"Best guess, without having completely checked over everything? I'd say a couple of days."

"Understood. Well I don't know about you, B'Elanna but I'm ready to get the hell out of here."

B'Elanna smiled. "For once, I won't argue with you Captain. Torres out."

"We're all set," announced B'Elanna's calm voice.

Kathryn sat back in her command chair on the bridge and crossed her legs. "Alright, Tom. Take us out."

"Aye, ma'am."

Within moments, Voyager had pulled unceremoniously away from the no longer desirable Rousshan space port.

Kathryn relaxed as she felt her ship shudder to life and take the crew away from these thoroughly unpleasant people.

"You okay?" Chakotay asked from the chair next to hers.

"I will be as soon as this place is firmly out of sensor range."

"I agree," he smiled at his Captain, flashing dimples that Kathryn couldn't help notice were rather attractive.

"So rumor has it that your punishment for Seven and B'Elanna worked a little differently than you had anticipated," Chakotay said with a gleam in his eyes.

Kathryn gave her First Officer a grin. "I believe that's an understatement of monumental proportions."

"I can't say that it's a bad thing," he replied thoughtfully.

"I agree. At the very least, it should be interesting."

The two officers shared a laugh at the endless possibilities for amusement the newest couple on Voyager was bound to provide.


Part 7

"There. That's the last of it," B'Elanna said backing out of the Jefferies tube. She was not unaware of a pair of ice blue eyes staring intently at her backside. Now that her ship had been repaired, she relaxed and allowed herself a flare of mischief. She wiggled her hips slightly knowing the action would not go unobserved. The soft purring she heard behind her proved she had been correct.

Repressing an excited shiver, B'Elanna exited the tube. She found a hand thrust in front of her, presumably to help her to her feet. Looking around and seeing no crewmen around, B'Elanna took the hand and gasped as Seven tugged forcefully, pulling the engineer into her arms with a soft thud.

"My apologies," Seven replied, not sounding the least bit sorry, and not releasing the Lieutenant either.

"I'll let it go this time," B'Elanna said quietly, sliding her hands around Seven's neck. Over the last two days, both women had spent their time working on repairs, only taking brief moments out of their shifts to sleep or regenerate. Aside from dinner breaks, they'd had little to no time to simply be together. Now that she knew the passion that Seven offered, she found she had difficulty being without it.

"That is wise," Seven murmured before lowering her head and taking B'Elanna's lips in a gentle kiss.

After a moment, B'Elanna pulled back. "I missed this."

"I missed you," Seven replied in her usual directness.

The two women reluctantly pulled apart so they could return to finish out their shift.

"Torres to the Captain."

"Go ahead B'Elanna."

"All repairs are completed. Systems all at one hundred percent."

"Excellent. Good work to the entire Engineering staff. Especially you and Seven. I'm glad you two were able to work so `effectively' together."

B'Elanna ignored the amused implication in her Captain's statement, which she knew would only provide further enjoyment.

"Me too, Captain," she looked at Seven, who continued to stare at her with those damned expressive eyes.

"Well, seeing as how your day off was cut short, I'm ordering you and Seven off duty as of now, and continuing through tomorrow."

Seven released a slow wicked half grin at these words, Her blood began to race faster than the nanoprobes could keep up with at the thought. The flash of heat in B'Elanna's eyes told her that her reaction was observed and reciprocated.

"Thank you Captain. I'd also like to give the rest of the engineering crew alternating days off. They worked as hard as anyone."

"Agreed. Now, I imagine you're still in Engineering with Seven, so pack it up and call it a day."

"Aye ma'am," B'Elanna said with a smile. "Torres out."

Seven's intense gaze had never wavered from the Klingon woman. Normally B'Elanna would find such scrutiny uncomfortable, and irritating, but coming from Seven.

"Hungry?" B'Elanna asked, thinking they could stop by the mess hall for dinner. She hadn't eaten since breakfast, nearly ten hours earlier, and Seven hadn't had her nutritional supplements in as long.

"Yes." Staring down at the beautiful, passionate woman in front of her, Seven was pleased she was able accomplish even just that one word reply. As soon as the Captain said she and B'Elanna would have the rest of the night and the next day away from ships responsibilities, her systems, both organic and Borg became overloaded and it was all she could do not to grab the Lieutenant and flee Engineering as if it were on fire.

B'Elanna immediately picked up on Seven's desire and felt her own flare in response. In silent agreement, both women turned and left engineering with as much patience and dignity as they could muster, knowing in a few moments, they would quickly be in B'Elanna's quarters and finally alone.

They entered the empty turbolift and before she knew what was what, she was in Seven's arms, and a soft breath tickled her ear as she heard Seven whisper quietly to her:

"She's beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won."

B'Elanna melted on the spot.

The End

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