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.
From the Latin desideratum, "a thing desired," from desiderare, "to desire." Something desired or considered necessary.
B'Elanna was trying her best to keep her cool while trapped in Sickbay, she really was. Her daily visits from Seven of Nine had become the focal point of each day and she would often find herself thinking, Hang in there, Seven will be here soon! Conversely, she found herself dreading when Seven would leave and had often found ways to keep the Borg past the allotted time. Of course, Seven being Seven, she called B'Elanna out the very first time she tried it.
"Lieutenant, you are attempting to delay my departure by asking irrelevant questions. Explain your reason for doing so," the blonde demanded.
B'Elanna wasn't sure how to respond. She hadn't really thought about what she was doing; she just didn't want to be alone. The half-Klingon figured she must really be desperate to seek the company of someone she would normally avoid but in truth, she was enjoying the blonde's company. Seven's Engineering reports were concise and helped B'Elanna feel that she was in the loop with the goings on in her department. Beyond that, B'Elanna was enjoying the dry wit the young Borg would often display. She just never took the time to really talk to Seven and she began to regret the time they had wasted. Seven would make a great friend and B'Elanna was determined to change her behavior toward the blonde. After accepting the truth of her discovery, and knowing that Seven would likely see through any subterfuge, she decided that honesty would be the best policy.
"Um, well Seven, I just don't like to be alone here at night. It's dark and there's nothing to do to pass the time." The half-Klingon shook her head. "And you've been great about keeping me updated on Engineering and even some other ship's gossip. I'm sorry for trying to keep you here. I'm sure you have things to do."
Seven took a moment to observe the brunette before answering. She needed to be certain that she was in fact telling the truth. Seeing no hint of deception in the dark brown eyes peering up at her she admitted her own truth.
"I did not question your motives so that I might be able to leave; I simply wished to know why you would prolong my visit by engaging in discussions that did not pertain to Engineering." In truth, Seven was pleased that B'Elanna would prolong their interactions. She herself had often wished to remain at the end of their allotted time. "Cargo Bay 2 is quite dark and isolated and I have often felt the same way . Now that I no longer need to regenerate for extended periods of time I have often wished to leave but had nowhere to go."
The Engineer was surprised by the admission and sympathetic to the Borg's plight. "Oh Seven, why didn't you say anything? I'm sure the Doc would have found a way to rearrange your regeneration cycles so that you wouldn't be awake in the middle of the night."
Seven was once again caught off guard by the concern evident in the brunette's eyes. "The Doctor has instructed me to attempt sleep in combination with regeneration." The distaste was evident in the blonde's tone and facial expression. "During the hours in which I am not regenerating he wished for me to come to Sickbay and utilize a biobed that would monitor my progress toward attaining a state of REM sleep."
Seven was a bit unsure about revealing her innermost fears; she had not yet spoken of them to anyone including the Captain. Somehow, after B'Elanna's admission, she felt that the half-Klingon would understand.
"I attempted to comply with the Doctor's directive but found that I was unable to achieve anything greater than a stage N3 slow-wave sleep. Upon reaching that stage I began to experience NREM parasomnias involving activation of my autonomic nervous system and cognitive processes." The blonde shuddered as she recalled her aborted attempt at sleep. "It was a most unpleasant experience, and I have decided to forgo the Doctor's plans to wean me from the alcove."
B'Elanna could sense the level of fear in Seven's voice and felt even more compassion for the young woman standing before her. She also understood just what it took to admit what B'Elanna was sure Seven saw as a weakness. "So you're having nightmares?"
Seven considered B'Elanna's question. "I believe that is the common terminology used to describe the parasomnias I am experiencing."
"What does the Captain think of all this?"
"I have not spoken with the Captain about this. I am certain she would attempt to have me reconsider."
B'Elanna was stunned to realize that Seven had entrusted her with a very private look into the young Borg's life. She also understood all about nightmares that would put you off sleep, and could only imagine what a former Borg drone's dreams might be like, so she decided to offer the insight she had discovered shortly after returning from a horrendous experience in a Cardassian prison camp.
B'Elanna looked directly at Seven to make sure she had her attention. "I'd like to make a few observations and suggestions about all this, Seven. Would you be willing to listen without interrupting before telling me to jump out an airlock?"
Seven considered the request and found she was strangely curious. "I will comply," she stated and waited for the brunette to speak.
"I think you should think about stopping or greatly reducing your dependence on the alcove. There have been a few situations where you were unable to access them for a few days and it took a lot out of you." B'Elanna held up her hand to forestall any comment the blonde was about to make. "You said you'd let me finish first, remember?"
At Seven's nod she continued. "I might be able to help you with the sleep issue. I was in a Cardassian prison camp for a while, and let's just say, it left a lasting impression." B'Elanna took a deep breath hoping to dispel the tension she was feeling by recalling this memory. "Afterward I was lucky to get an hour or two of sleep a night, and never consecutively. It took a toll on me. I had no idea just how much of an affect it had on me until " The half-Klingon took another calming breath. "I became withdrawn and extremely aggressive. I would go off at the slightest provocation."
B'Elanna looked up at the young Borg and noted her raised ocular implant. "Oh no, Seven, take my usual behavior and multiply it by a thousand." She smirked as she saw the blonde's eyes widen. "Yeah, I was in a really bad way, and I didn't want to listen to any body. Then I met Tre'gok. He was just a kid, small for a Klingon, probably about ten or eleven. I was on a transport going to or coming from somewhere. I didn't really care at the time; I just needed to keep moving. The transport was crowded and I had to bash a few heads to claim a good spot for the night. You might think all that fighting would make me tired, but, just like every other night, my mind just wouldn't shut down and I couldn't sleep."
"I lay there listening to the sounds all around me trying to shut them out but too worried that someone would sneak up on me to do so. It was then that I heard this whimpering sound; it appeared to be coming from the wall right next to me. I noticed the loosened screws and reached over to pull away the panel in the wall. That's when I saw him. He was curled in a ball and appeared to be having a nightmare. I don't know why I didn't just yank him out of the wall and toss him across the room. Maybe I was just too tired to bother."
B'Elanna shook her head as she recalled what would be a defining moment in her life. "I reached in and put my hand on his shoulder and the whimpering stopped, so I just kept my hand there and shut my eyes. When I opened my eyes, I realized it was suddenly much brighter and people were milling about. I looked at the wall and saw the kid there, curled around my hand as if it was a lifeline and it dawned on me: I slept! I felt better than I had in ages, less irritable and more focused, but as I pulled my hand away, the kid woke up and looked at me with wide, fear-filled eyes. Normally I would have taken advantage of that fear but instead I reached into my bag, pulled out a Zilm'kach, and tossed it to him. Apparently he was more hungry than afraid as he barely took the time to remove the pit before eating it."
"I realized something that day that has stuck with me ever since: I was suffering, but I wasn't the only one. There were many people on board that ship and all across the universe who were worse off. I was healthy and whole and the only thing weighing me down was me. I had to let go of the past but I would never forget it. I had to learn to feel again and maybe even trust again."
Tears began to well in the half-Klingon's eyes and she fought to hold them back. "This little boy couldn't intimidate his way through life; he had to hide and sneak around and dodge the blows and kicks aimed at him every day, yet he was still able to take comfort in a stranger's touch. He had to steal or beg scraps or root in the trash for his meals and yet he thanked me for a small piece of fruit."
The brunette brushed an errant tear away. "He told me his name was Tre'gok and that his parents were both dead so he was alone. He said if I was alone too he would like to stay with me so we could help each other." At this point B'Elanna gave up her futile attempts to stem the flow of tears and allowed them to course down her cheeks as she spoke. "I don't know what it was about him or what had happened in the course of one night, but I agreed and we stayed together for almost two weeks until we met up with a group of Klingons and discovered that one of them was his uncle. It was difficult to let him go but I was glad he found family to look out for him."
The brunette paused, collecting her thoughts and taking a few cleansing breaths before looking over at Seven. "You must be wondering what I'm prattling on about and what it has to do with you and your nightmares. I guess it just showed me that I didn't have to face the bad things alone, that sometimes you need to share your fears with someone and trust them to keep your secrets."
B'Elanna blew out a breath and ran her fingers through her hair as she attempted to gather the courage to put her words into action. "So what I'm saying, Seven, is I'd like to be there for you to help you adapt to this and all the other stuff you're gonna face. You've been there for me more than you know, and I'm not just talking about these past couple of weeks."
To say that Seven was stunned would be a gross understatement. Never in her limited experience with imagination had she expected such a turn of events. She found herself at once elated and confused,. Finding her vocal subprocessors functioning again, she expressed her concerns.
"I apologize for my delayed response. It appears that I might be experiencing less than adequate function. Your words are confusing. I do not understand. Our interactions have always been adversarial in nature and yet you are implying otherwise."
B'Elanna considered the blonde's words and once again decided to be honest in her response. "I know it's confusing, Seven, and maybe even a little bit embarrassing, but I actually enjoyed most of our arguments." The brunette almost lost it as the young Borg's ocular implant nearly leapt from her forehead. "You're the only one on this ship, other than Tuvok, who is an actual match for me in a fight. I'm not saying that I want to have a physical altercation with you, but knowing you are a worthy opponent makes our arguments more worthwhile. In a nutshell, our fights gave me a chance to blow off some steam."
Once again, Seven found herself both elated and confused by the half-Klingon's admission and so she decided to make an admission of her own. "I often wondered why you would exacerbate the situation far beyond what seemed necessary. I must confess that I too found our arguments to be stimulating. You are the only person on this ship who would stand up to me and I also found your emotional outbursts fascinating."
"Well, aren't we a pair?" Before Seven could ask what they were a pair of, B'Elanna made a suggestion. "So Seven, how about you drop by tonight to try and get some shut-eye? Maybe, if you know someone else is nearby, you'll find it a little easier to sleep."
"Although I appreciate your offer I would not wish to disturb your rest. I do not believe the Doctor would approve either."
"Then we won't tell him, and I haven't been sleeping all that well anyway." B'Elanna winked at the blonde. "It's not exactly the most comfortable place to sleep so the company might actually do us both some good."
Seven considered the brunette's suggestion, and although she was apprehensive about attempting to sleep, she was willing to give it a try in order to prolong her interaction with the half-Klingon. "I will comply. My duty shift is over and I must regenerate for at least three hours; therefore, I will return to attempt sleep at 2300 hours. Is that acceptable?"
"Sounds like a plan, Seven . See you in a few hours."
Seven merely nodded and made her way out of sickbay to begin her short regeneration cycle in cargo bay two.
B'Elanna watched as Seven exited sickbay, I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew, she thought, I'm still dealing with my own dreams. Although she was loath to admit it, the half-Klingon was truly exhausted. She wasn't sleeping well, her own demons keeping her company at night. She tried to reason that being cooped up in sickbay was the cause, but she knew these same demons had been following her for years.
B'Elanna was a fixer from an early age, always fascinated with how things worked. It was part of her nature, and she was exceptionally good at it, as long as it was not her own problem. No, the half-Klingon would usually just bury them under heaps of work.
This time was different though. Never one to openly share her own past she had readily related a very personal experience to Seven of Nine. She hadn't thought about Tre'gok in years and was pleased to find the memory no longer held the pain it once had. In fact, B'Elanna found the whole thing quite liberating almost cathartic. Somewhere in the back of the brunette's mind, she hoped that helping Seven might also provide her with some insight of her own.
At precisely 2300 hours, Seven entered sickbay. She had been anticipating the evening, excited at the prospect of spending more time with B'Elanna and nervous about attempting sleep again. The sickbay was eerily dark and quiet, and as Seven approached B'Elanna's biobed, she realized the woman was sleeping. She sat next to the bed and observed the half-Klingon, noting how peaceful she appeared in slumber. She knew the brunette did not think her Klingon features were appealing but Seven could not disagree more. She found the forehead ridges, strong jaw and full lips quite aesthetically pleasing and the strong, slightly muscular frame supporting them equally as pleasing.
Seven continued to observe B'Elanna's countenance and soon noted a subtle change, a slight wrinkle between the brunette's closed eyes and a tenseness in her jaw. As she noted these changes, she also began to hear a low-pitched growl coming from the half-Klingon, which was followed by erratic movements. Seven realized that B'Elanna was experiencing parasomnias nightmares as the brunette liked to call them. Remembering the story B'Elanna had told her earlier, she reached out and touched the Engineer's shoulder and found, to her amazement, that the parasomnias seemed to stop.
It was 0530 hours and Captain Janeway was well on her way through her second cup of coffee. She found her thoughts wandering to her Chief Engineer and Astrometrics Officer and the seeming friendship that was developing between the two former adversaries. She was relieved to know that she no longer had to worry about the two women coming to blows or causing a scene. Although it went against her command training, she couldn't help but hold a special place in her heart for these two young women, and with that thought in mind the Captain made her way to sickbay to check in on one of the two.
At precisely 0540 hours Captain Janeway entered sickbay and made her way to B'Elanna's biobed experiencing a moment of déjà vu when she spotted the blonde head resting at the side of the bed. She had to smile at the sight although she did begin to wonder how it was that Seven seemed to end up in this particular position yet again. Deciding that it was time to awaken at least one of the sleeping beauties, Janeway started toward the biobed, but stopped short when she saw B'Elanna begin to stir, deciding to stay back and see the young woman's reaction to finding the blonde once again sleeping at her bedside.
B'Elanna rose slowly to wakefulness, blinking to clear her sleep-heavy eyes. She would normally wake rather quickly, part of her Klingon heritage and conditioning from her days with the Maquis, but she found herself enjoying her current semi-conscious state. As she became more aware, she realized that she was still in sickbay and she was not alone. Looking to her right she saw the top of a blonde head resting against her forearm and a mesh-encased hand resting lightly on her shoulder. She smiled, reaching over and lightly stroking the fair head with her left hand.
Janeway nearly gasped out loud at the sight of the Engineer's beaming smile. She couldn't recall a time when she'd seen such a smile grace the dark woman's countenance and was loath to interrupt, deciding instead to continue her observation.
Seven was slowly becoming aware of her surroundings and her current position leaning against B'Elanna's arm. She was also aware that the half-Klingon was currently awake and lightly stroking the top of her head. Seven found that she was enjoying the contact very much and so she did not attempt to end it, at least not until B'Elanna caught on.
"All right, sleepyhead, I know you're awake." B'Elanna had to chuckle at the speed with which the young woman raised her head.
"My apologies, Lieutenant. I was not aware that you were awake." Seven wasn't completely certain but she believed that she was currently feeling embarrassment. It seemed illogical to feel this way and yet she was unable to control the increased blood flow to her facial capillaries.
And so it was that Janeway witnessed yet another first, Seven of Nine was actually blushing! As she continued to observe the scene before her, she noticed the two young women seemed at a loss and so she decided it was time to intervene. The good Captain backtracked to the sickbay door to trigger it open and then proceeded to act as if she had just entered.
"Lieutenant Seven," Janeway addressed both women, as she made her way closer. "I thought I'd stop in and see how you were doing B'Elanna but it seems Seven beat me to it." Janeway quickly smiled at the young blonde and then turned her attention back to the brunette. "So, Lieutenant, I understand you'll be getting out of here in a few days."
"Oh, yeah, can't wait to get back to check on my engines no offense, Seven. , I know you've been doing a great job in Engineering."
Seven was somewhat surprised at the compliment. "It was not difficult to oversee the operations in Engineering Lieutenant. You have your team very well organized."
Janeway almost laughed out loud as the two young women shyly accepted their respective compliments. "Well, Lieutenant, as you were. Seven, I'll see you at the staff meeting this afternoon." And with that, the good Captain left sickbay and made her way to the bridge to start her day.
"Please state the nature of the medical emergency," the Doctor intoned in his usual cheerful manner as he turned toward the person who had triggered his appearance. "Ah, Captain, what can I do for you? Are you finally here for your annual checkup?"
Ignoring the sarcastic remark, Janeway got right to business. "Doctor, I just came from Engineering and I want to know why my Chief Engineer is working when I was under the impression that she required at least another day or two to recuperate?"
"B'Elanna's injuries were extensive, but I've repaired her broken ribs and the three fractures of her lumbar vertebrae. As you know her Klingon physiology allows her to endure physical injuries that would most likely have killed anyone else on board - well, with the possible exception of Seven of Nine of course - and with the addition of my exemplary medical skills she's functioning well enough to work for short periods of time." The Doctor blanched a bit at the Captain's disapproving look. "Captain, you know B'Elanna is not the best of patients. I believe allowing her to return to limited duty is the best decision for all of us."
"And I'd be inclined to agree with you if she were actually limiting her duties." Raising her hand to forestall the Doctor's response, the redhead queried, "Computer, how long has Lieutenant Torres been in Engineering?"
Lieutenant Torres has been in Engineering for 6.2 hours
"What!" the Doctor exclaimed, "I told her no more than four hours a day, Captain."
"And when have you ever known B'Elanna to take medical advice, Doctor?" The redhead smirked. "What damage will she cause by overextending herself?"
"Well, her back injury is still healing, so standing for long periods of time will be uncomfortable for a while. Other than that she should be fine."
"As you were, Doctor. I'm off to Engineering to have a chat with the Chief."
"Good luck Captain," he offered to the retreating figure. "Computer, deactivate EMH."
Seven of Nine was growing concerned over Lieutenant Torres' pained expression. Since the moment B'Elanna entered Engineering Seven did her best to remain in close proximity to the woman in the event she should require assistance. She knew this might also prove to annoy the volatile Engineer; but spending all that time with B'Elanna while she recuperated in sickbay had made great strides in their less than amicable relationship, and the blonde knew that her presence was more easily tolerated. It was a most frustrating predicament Seven found herself in. She enjoyed being around the half-Klingon woman, and had just recently acquired the knowledge necessary to extend their interaction past that of workmates. She needed a friend, and of all of the beings on Voyager, Seven chose B'Elanna Torres. As her eyes trailed to the brunette, Seven saw her seize up and clutch at her lower back and rushed to her side.
"Lieutenant, allow me to assist you." Seven stated, a bit more emphatically than she normally would.
B'Elanna turned her pain-filled eyes to the blonde, wondering for a moment at the look of concern she saw reflected back at her. "Ow. My back is acting up. Seems I've overstayed my welcome. Now if I could just get to my office I could sit for a bit and take the pills the Doc gave me."
"Allow me to assist you," Seven said again as she reached toward the woman.
Caught off guard, B'Elanna's attempt to shift away brought on another spasm of pain that nearly dropped her to her knees. Seven moved toward her again. "Comply," she stated as she placed her hands on the Engineer's back. B'Elanna could only nod, as the pain was too intense to do otherwise (?)Upon seeing the affirmative nod, Seven began to knead the muscles of the half-Klingon's lower back. Slowly and firmly she soothed the knots of strain from each muscle, working her way toward the spine.
B'Elanna began to relax under the firm ministrations, her head lolling as she felt the tension melting away. She didn't know how long Seven had been working her tense muscles; she only knew that a different sort of ache was slowly replacing the pain. As Seven's hands moved closer to the brunette's spine, the blonde had no idea she was inadvertently stimulating an erogenous zone.
Seven was intent on her mission and pleased that the brunette's muscles seemed to be responding favorably to her massage. She had been monitoring the Lieutenant's respiration and heart rate, and they appeared to be evening out, but then they suddenly increased and a low growl began to emanate from the Engineer. Just as Seven was registering these changes, B'Elanna gasped and Seven quickly removed her hands. "Have I injured you further, Lieutenant?"
B'Elanna attempted to regain her composure but the arousal coursing through her was making that difficult. She took a deep breath and responded to Seven's question. "No, Seven, you didn't hurt me. As a matter of fact my back feels much better."
"Then why do you still appear to be in distress?" The real concern in the Borg's voice caused B'Elanna to look up at her, and it was Seven's turn to gasp when she saw the darkened eyes of the Engineer gazing at her. "You are aroused?"
The brunette chuckled. "Yep. Apparently you hit a hot spot during that massage you gave me."
"I did not detect any deviation in temperature, Lieutenant." Seven stated as she recalled the details of the massage. She then referenced that against her knowledge of Klingon physiology and realized, to her horror, that she had in fact stimulated the woman to the point of deep arousal. "I was in error! I did not realize that I was stimulating you in that way!"
"It's all right, Seven. I'm sure it wasn't your intention to put me in this state."
"No, it was not. I merely wished to ease your discomfort."
"Yeah, and I got more than you bargained for."
"What may I do to rectify this situation, Lieutenant?"
"Well, other than finishing what you started, I'd like to get to my office and practice some of Tuvok's meditation techniques. But in my current state I don't think walking is gonna cut it."
Seven was about to ask what B'Elanna wished to sever but upon seeing the look of pain in the Engineer's normally clear brown eyes she simply scooped the woman up and started to carry her to her office.
"Whoa, Seven! What are you doing?"
"Although I have done extensive research on sexuality I do not have the practical experience to finish what I started; therefore, I am assisting you to your office."
B'Elanna was rendered speechless at the blonde's response, and as she considered the implications of Seven finishing what she started her arousal increased. "Kahless, this is just like a bad holoromance."
As the doors to the Lieutenant's office closed the figure that had been observing the recent events in Engineering moved from her hiding place. "Well, I guess B'Elanna is in good hands for now" the Captain chuckled as she made her way back to the bridge.
Seven deposited the Engineer gently onto the sofa and rose to take her normal parade-rest stance. She was growing more agitated by her own body's response to this situation and was at a loss as to why she was feeling these things. Her gaze returned to the woman on the sofa and she realized that B'Elanna seemed to be staring at her upper chest. When Seven looked down to see the cause, she noticed the protrusions on her mammary glands and moved her hands to them. As soon as her hands made contact, she gasped at the sudden sensation almost like an electrical charge that shot straight to her lower abdomen.
"Apparently I'm not the only one aroused by all of this." B'Elanna chuckled as she watched the blonde continue to touch her own nipples. "Um, Seven, would you mind stopping that? It's not exactly helping me."
Seven was experiencing a sensation she was completely unfamiliar with and it was wreaking havoc on her system, so much so that she fell to her knees. B'Elanna saw the blonde crumple and, forgetting her own discomfort, hurried to the blonde's side.
"Hey, Seven what's wrong?" B'Elanna touched the young blonde's arm and could feel her trembling. The half-Klingon was still highly aroused, and although her concern for Seven had put a damper on it, she still found herself struggling for control. That control was put to the test when Seven turned desire-darkened eyes on the Engineer.
"I believe I am hyper-stimulated. I am unfamiliar with these sensations and am unable to control them." Seven's expression was now a bit frightened. "I am malfunctioning! I have lost control of my ambulatory function and my breathing is labored."
The brunette moved so that she was kneeling directly in front of the blonde and took Seven's hands into her own. "Listen to me. You are not malfunctioning, okay? You just need to breathe, Seven, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Concentrate on your breathing."
Although B'Elanna's intentions were good, she didn't realize that her touch and softly spoken words were actually increasing Seven's discomfort. Seven swallowed hard and spoke. "Lieutenant, I believe you are making things worse." The blonde pulled her hands from the half-Klingon's.
B'Elanna couldn't believe what had just happened. She was trying to help Seven out despite her own issues and now the Borg was blaming her!
Before B'Elanna could respond, Seven continued. "Your touch and close proximity have increased the sensations I am experiencing. I am uncertain but I believe I am aroused and that you are the primary catalyst."
To Be Continued
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