DISCLAIMER: I don’t own them… if I did there would have been kissing and such. This story is not intended for profit but simply to test my ability to create something I am happy with that others might enjoy. Voyager and its characters are the property of Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Jillo for agreeing to beta this story.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Annette


From the Latin desideratum, "a thing desired," from desiderare, "to desire." Something desired or considered necessary.

Part 1

Time stood still. She knew that in reality it hadn't, but she now understood the meaning behind those words. For even though the time between watching her crewmate fall and rushing to her side had only been a fraction of a second, she found that it felt like an eternity.

The Starship Voyager had been stranded in the Delta Quadrant for nearly seven years now and her rag tag crew had formed a cohesive unit in that time. Living day to day with no real idea of what lay ahead had made them resilient, but the practicalities of running a ship of this size forced them to be resourceful as well. On this particular day they were in need of fuel and had spotted a group of small planets on long-range scanners that seemed promising. Two away teams were formed to take a closer look at the most probable sources. Seven of Nine, Astrometrics officer and B'Elanna Torres, Chief of Engineering found themselves on their way to investigate a planetoid that was showing possible deuterium deposits that long-range scanners couldn't pinpoint. It was a simple mission; deploy a few signal enhancers to clear up the sensor readings and get a reading of the surrounding space to determine the feasibility of retrieving the deuterium. B'Elanna had been monitoring the placement of the enhancers while Seven scanned the planetoid. There were no signs of any malfunctions when the brunette's console suddenly exploded.

The impact of the blast hit B'Elanna squarely in the chest, propelling her across the room into the far wall and rendering her mercifully unconscious. Seven watched as the half-Klingon smashed into the bulkhead with a sickening crunch. Running to her aid, the blonde cradled the limp body of the once vibrant hybrid and felt fear and a pain that was not physical, yet it left her breathless. Slapping at her combadge, she made a desperate plea. "Seven to Voyager. Lock onto Lieutenant Torres' combadge and initiate an emergency beam out directly to Sickbay!" She took in a great gulp of air as she felt the woman in her arms dissipate into a shower of sparkles.

The sight and sound of the Engineer slamming into the bulkhead seemed to be playing on a constant loop in Seven's mind as she attempted to pilot the damaged shuttle back to Voyager. Seven had yet to explore any aspect of spirituality. Nevertheless, she found herself praying to Kahless to look after the well being of one of his warriors. In retrospect, she could not recall – even with her eidetic memory – her journey from the shuttle bay to Sickbay. But she did remember, with startling clarity, the sight of the unmoving and unresponsive body of B'Elanna Torres, the sound of the Doctor's frantic voice shouting instructions to a visibly pale Tom Paris, the smell of the blood that seemed to be everywhere, and the frantic beating of her own heart. Her reactions were illogical; she'd seen other crewmates with more grievous injuries, yet somehow this was different – she felt as if her own well being was dependent on that of Lieutenant Torres'.

When the flurry of activity surrounding the injured woman ceased Seven found herself forgetting to breathe as she awaited word of the woman's condition. The Doctor quickly ran a tricorder over the unresponsive blonde. "Ah, Seven, Lieutenant Torres should recover fully thanks to your quick thinking and my obvious talent, not to mention experience, with patching up said Lieutenant." Gazing at the instrument in his hands he snapped it shut. "It appears you're none the worse for wear but I suggest you get cleaned up and begin an extended regeneration period. An additional two hours should suffice." He saw Seven gazing toward the resting brunette and placed his hand on her arm. "She'll be fine, but she won't be conscious for at least twenty-four hours. You'll have plenty of time to visit tomorrow."

Seven made use of the Sickbay's sonic shower and replicator before making her way to Cargo Bay 2 to begin regenerating. She was still being haunted by the accident but she was also confused by her reaction. It seemed that the Klingon-Human hybrid was some sort of emotional catalyst for the former Borg drone. No one else aboard this ship could elicit the depth of Seven's emotions quite like Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres. After adjusting the settings for an extended cycle, Seven stepped into her alcove, and with this as her final thought, began regenerating.

Regeneration cycle incomplete.

The computer stated the obvious just before Seven stumbled from her alcove to fall to her knees on the dais. Her breathing was heavy and erratic, and she felt an overwhelming sense of dread. B'Elanna! It was coming back to her in distorted fragments, a recollection of the accident, only this time the Lieutenant had not survived. Seven knew it must have been a dream, no a nightmare, a hallucination brought on by the stress of recent events and her unfamiliarity with sleeping as opposed to regeneration. She would speak to the Doctor about this but right now she needed to reassure herself that the Lieutenant was indeed alive and functioning acceptably.

As soon as she entered Sickbay, Seven could hear the even breathing and steady beating of the brunette's twin lungs and hearts. Moving closer to the biobed, she noted the relaxed expression on the brunette's face. She gazed upon the sleeping woman as she recalled the many incidents when she and this deceptively powerful person had nearly come to blows. She remembered all of the derogatory remarks and accusations thrown at her by this individual and realized that she never took any of them to heart. She knew, somehow, that they were only spoken in the heat of the moment and that the half-Klingon had not meant them in the same derisive way that others who've said similar things had. A grin tugged at the corners of Seven's mouth as she recalled the many and varied countenances the Engineer would adopt when angered. Reaching out, she brushed her fingers gently over the brunette's brow ridges. "You must never scare me like this again, jup*. I believe my continued existence is greatly enhanced by yours." Seven sat next to the biobed as she realized the truth behind her admission – she would do everything within her power to ensure the safety of this woman. Seven hoped perhaps she might even one day call her friend while she was conscious.

It was 0530 and Captain Kathryn Janeway was restless. She hadn't had a chance to get to Sickbay and see that her Engineer was indeed in one piece. Nor had she been able to check up on her other surrogate daughter, Seven of Nine. Seeing as she was wide-awake, the Captain decided it was as good a time as any to pay a visit to Sickbay. "And by the time I finish getting the Doctor's update on B'Elanna I'll swing by Cargo Bay 2. Seven should just be ending her regeneration cycle by then." With that plan in mind the redhead made her way out of her quarters.

Arriving in Sickbay, the Captain was just about to call for the EMH when she saw something that stopped her in her tracks. There, just off to the side, was her Chief Engineer lying in a biobed and seated next to that bed and leaning against its side was Seven of Nine. Kathryn moved quietly toward the pair and noticed that Seven appeared to be fast asleep and that B'Elanna appeared to be scratching soothingly at the back of her neck. Walking to the opposite side of the bed, she whispered softly to the semi-awake brunette. "I'm glad to see you really are in one piece, Lieutenant." Kathryn smiled at the woman and nodded toward the slumbering blonde. "How long has she been here?"

B'Elanna took a deep breath to try and focus her slightly fuzzy brain. "I'm not sure. I woke up a little while ago and she was there. She seemed a bit agitated so I just reached over and started scratching her neck. It seems to have done the trick." Her thoughts turned serious as she asked, "Do you know what happened? I don't really remember much after the console overloaded and I feel like I've been tossed out an airlock."

"Actually, that's why I'm here. I wasn't able to get a full report from the Doctor yesterday, so I'd thought I'd drop by this morning and pay you a visit while he filled us in." Turning away from the bed, the Captain called for the Doctor to be activated.

"Please state the…"

"Shhh!" Was the sound that greeted him – in stereo.

"Ah, Lieutenant, I see you're awake. And it appears you've also garnered some company." He spoke softly as he scanned B'Elanna and then turned the tricorder to the still slumbering blonde. "Well, I suppose actual sleep will have to take the place of regeneration for our wayward Borg today." Punching a few buttons on the biobed console, the Doctor turned his attention to the redhead. "Captain, I suppose you're here for a full report on the Lieutenant's condition and not an examination, hmm?"

"And you would be right Doctor, so let's hear it."

"Well, Lieutenant, when the console you were in front of exploded, it propelled you with a great deal of force directly into the bulkhead. You sustained a fairly severe concussion, as well as extensive damage to your spine and a few broken ribs. Fortunately you were unconscious for the extent of the procedures that had to be performed in order to save you. You should have no lasting issues but you will be required to spend at least two weeks in Sickbay."

"What!" The brunette exclaimed loudly as she attempted to sit up. The sudden searing pain this action caused forced her back down onto the bed and woke the sleeping blonde.

Seven of Nine came instantly awake at the half-Klingon's exclamation. "B'Elanna, what has transpired?" Seeing the look of intense pain on the hybrid's face Seven turned to the Doctor. "Assist her!" The blonde ordered icily.

"Seven," the Captain moved between the Doctor and the blonde. "Let the Doctor do his job, all right?" The redhead placed her hand on the blonde's arm feeling the tension coming off her in waves.

"Hey, Seven." The brunette called out as the pain began to subside. "I'm all right. It was my fault, I tried to sit up too quickly and my back reminded me of my recent meeting with a certain bulkhead." B'Elanna watched as the blonde's agitation slowly subsided. "Thanks, by the way. The Doc says your quick thinking helped. So, are you okay?"

"I am undamaged." Seven answered briefly. She was suddenly becoming aware of the fact the she must have fallen asleep during her nocturnal visit. She also felt an odd tingling sensation at the back of her neck. "I slept." She stated although she appeared slightly confused.

The Doctor chimed in. "That's right. Apparently you were able to achieve a brief period of REM state although regeneration would have been more efficient." He ran the tricorder over the blonde again. "I would still recommend a few hours in the alcove this morning."

"I must report to Astrometrics this morning."

The Captain held up her hand. "You've got the day off, Seven. I know you were relatively unharmed but I still think you could use the time, so you can regenerate as long as you need to and prepare for duty tomorrow in both Astrometrics and Engineering."

"Captain…" B'Elanna began to speak but the redhead, thinking to forestall the argument against having Seven in Engineering, spoke over her.

"Now B'Elanna, you're not returning to duty for at least two weeks, we need someone to fill in while you're gone, and Seven is the most qualified."

"Actually, Captain, I agree with you. Seven is the most qualified, and I have no problem with her keeping tabs on Engineering." B'Elanna smirked as she saw the blonde's look of astonishment. "I was just going to request that Seven stop by each day after her shift and fill me in on what's going on."

"B'Elanna, you really should be resting." The Captain stated as she walked over to stand next to Seven. "Seven can handle things just fine. I'm sure if she has any questions she'll come to you."

"Doc, help me out here. You know I'm a terrible patient – especially if I get stuck in Sickbay." The Engineer turned pleading eyes on the EMH. "It'll only be for an hour or so, Seven and I can have dinner while we discuss things. I promise not to overdo it but I can't make any guarantees if you make me stay in here with nothing to do."

All eyes were on the EMH as he attempted to come up with a response that would satisfy all parties involved. "Well I suppose an hour a day, while consuming a nutritious meal certainly wouldn't hurt anything. And if it keeps you from decompiling my program I'm all for it."

B'Elanna's face split into a huge grin at the battle she'd just won. She turned to the blonde and asked. "So, whadaya say Seven?"

The Borg-Human hybrid answered with a grin of her own, unaware of the effect said grin was having on everyone in the room. "I will comply."

Part 2

*Authors Note: jup means friend in tlhIngan Hol.

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