DISCLAIMER # 1: This story is an original work of fiction set in the pre-existing universe of Star Trek: Voyager. As such, many of the characters and references used within belong solely to Paramount Pictures. I have borrowed them for the purpose of creating this scenario and promise to return them unscathed, and smiling, as soon as I am done. No gain, monetary or otherwise, is expected from their use and no copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.
DISCLAIMER # 2: All original characters and storylines contained herein belong to the author. (Like anyone else would claim them! ) This story may be archived upon request with the stipulation that it must be posted exactly as it was written, with all disclaimers intact.
DISCLAIMER # 3: This story depicts a romantic relationship between two women. Some scenes may be graphic but lovingly so. If this bothers you then you can take a flying fuck at a rolling jelly donut. If you are under 18 please close your eyes when you see a dirty word (Woops, don't read the sentence before this one.) If this is illegal where you live then you really need to ask yourself if it's time to move out of your mother's house
WHO TO BLAME: Thanks must go out to Ky for coming up with all new ways to insult me. (Please notice that this story is almost completely hyphen free.) As well as to Andrea for beating the beta bush. Thanks to The Janeway/Seven Faction, The Voyager Conspiracy, Ralst, Sazzy (For the inspiration), Beachbum because her stories are beautiful, Traevlr for showing where the cool kids hang out, aw61 for getting me woefully addicted to Motivators (I told you I would work the chin thing in there somewhere!) and the multitudes of mailing lists I have found myself on. And thanks to GL Dartt Just Because
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay Beachbum, we both have the basic arc. Now we each get to see what we make of it. On your mark, get set . GO! This is dedicated to Kristen (My Boo), for showing me it really can be like this. There is a potty mouth warning in effect. Sorry, it fit. (And yes, I blushed) No furniture was harmed during the writing of this story, but 'dining room table' took on a whole new meaning
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
What Comes After Part II
By Patricia L. Givens
"She just reached in
and put a string of lights
around my heart."
Chapter One: Coming Home
Seven of Nine, former Tertiary Adjunct to the Unimatrix 01 was nervous.
It was not an emotion she was familiar with, nor was it one she appreciated. She glanced down at the small form sitting next to her on the shuttle.
Admiral Kathryn Janeway was reclining back in her seat, her eyes closed as her breath moved evenly through her delicately shaped nose. This was the woman who had braved the Borg Queen twice and the most ferocious fighting sect in the Alpha Quadrant, to save her.
She was asleep.
Seven felt her heart swell almost painfully as she watched her, wondering how perfection could come in such a small package.
Reaching out, she traced the noble jaw line and strong chin with her fingertips before caressing her cheek.
"Like what you see?" Janeway smiled, not opening her eyes.
"No." Seven replied evenly, causing the admiral to blink and look at her questioningly. "I love what I see."
The older woman gave her a shy, happy smile and leaned over to kiss her before closing her eyes again. They would be in the air for another thirty minutes, and then they would be home.
It was a place Seven had never seen before, but one she had wondered about often. What would it look like? How would it feel to be there? And, most importantly, how long was she going to be staying?
It wasn't something they had discussed as of yet and it was that uncertainty that was causing her apprehension. Since she had parted ways with Chakotay, she had had little time to give any thought to where she would live. She knew where she wanted to be, with Kathryn. Startled, she realized she had not yet voiced her opinion on the matter and decided to do so immediately upon their arrival.
The shuttle finally set down at Starfleet Headquarters where a hover car was waiting to take them to Kathryn's house. They rode in silence. Janeway was in full Admiral Mode and Seven respected it. Kathryn was a very private person by nature and she did not want to add fuel to the already out of control gossip mill that had surrounded her since their return to the Alpha Quadrant four months earlier.
It was a short ride and when the hover car pulled to a stop, Seven stepped out to study the building before her analytically. It was an attractive two story structure, constructed of deep red brick and mortar. The front was lined with a series of tall trees that blocked much of the view from the street.
The ensign that had served as their driver pulled their bags from the vehicle and left them at the door as instructed. When he had gone, Kathryn took her hand and smiled. She keyed the lock pad and motioned for her to go inside before she grabbed up the bags and tossed them into the entryway. Closing the door behind her, she turned and wrapped the tall blonde up in her arms, sighing contentedly before drawing her head down for a kiss.
"Welcome home." She whispered.
The Borg looked down at her, a soft smile curling the corners of her mouth. Gently, she rubbed the back of her fingers across the admiral's lips.
They were interrupted by a chirping sound from the other side of the room. Janeway sighed and squeezed her one last time before letting her go. "I have messages. Let me go take care of them."
As Kathryn worked at her desk PADD, Seven slowly walked around the room. She ran her hands over the elegant furniture, thinking how perfectly it fit Kathryn's taste. Some of the statues and mementos on the shelves were fascinating, while others were familiar. She could remember having seen them before, in the Captain's quarters on Voyager.
Suddenly, the sensation of finally being there broke through her calm and she felt her senses heighten acutely. That was when she noticed it.
It was everywhere. The light, musky lavender that she had come to know and adore permeated the entire dwelling, causing her head to swim momentarily as desire sharpened within her. They had only made love once and her body remembered the encounter perfectly, without the need of her eidetic memory. She flushed hotly as she recalled the feel of Kathryn's hands on her body, of Kathryn's lips on her breasts
Swallowing, she felt her pulse quicken as her breathing became shallow. The sound of her own heart pounded loudly in her ears as she walked over, coming up behind the smaller woman to wrap her arms tightly about her waist and bury her face in her neck, biting lightly at the pulse that beat just beneath the skin.
The panic in Janeway's voice caught her attention and she glanced up. It took her a moment to realize she was looking directly into the face of an attractive older woman who was staring back at her through the vid screen. She recognized the refined features immediately.
"Well " Gretchen Janeway blinked several times as though she was trying to clear her vision. "I get the impression that a lot of things changed while you were away. I can't wait to hear all about them. I think a visit home is in order."
"I'm not sure when we'll be able to " Janeway began.
"Kathryn Elizabeth Janeway!" Her mother raised one finger at her. Seven was immediately captivated, understanding from whom Kathryn had inherited not only her hands, but her mannerisms as well. "Don't you even try to tell me you don't have a huge amount of leave saved up after seven solid years of service. I expect to see you here by the day after tomorrow. We'll have a nice visit, just the three of us, unless I can persuade your sister to come back from Paris to meet your new friend."
"You don't have to do that, Mom!" Janeway rushed. "No need to bother her in the middle of one of her exhibits. We'll see you the day after tomorrow."
She said goodbye quickly and closed the link, sighing as she turned in Seven's embrace to give her a dry look. "Not exactly the way I imagined introducing you to my mother."
"I apologize, Kathryn." The Borg leaned in and kissed her. "There is just so much of you here "
Janeway broke off the kiss to catch her breath. She looked into Seven's eyes and it left her again when she saw that the love there was darkened by an almost desperate desire. Need rolled off the younger woman like waves of heat as her body shook with barely contained passion. Kathryn understood and she nodded almost imperceptibly.
Seven saw it and gave in to the emotions that were threatening to immolate her. She kissed Kathryn hard, pushing her back against the wall as her hands came up to tear her sweater open, throwing it aside as she reached for the belt at her waist. Once she had it unfastened, she picked the older woman up and sat her on the edge of the desk, pulling her slacks and undergarments off her legs. She stepped back just long enough to tear the biosuit from her own body before sliding between her legs again and kissing her possessively.
Janeway wrapped her fingers into the Borg's pale golden hair, freeing it from it's confinement as Seven's lips closed on her neck, raising a trail of red marks as she worked her way down to take one nipple into her mouth. Kathryn groaned as teeth bit down firmly on her swollen flesh. She felt moisture flood out from between her legs and gasped when the younger woman threw her head back, her nostrils flaring.
In one fluid movement, Seven slid her Borg enhanced left arm under Kathryn's buttocks and lifted her from the desk. She felt strong legs encircle her waist as she slipped her other hand between their bodies to tangle briefly in dampened curls before dipping lower to slide firmly between the thickly moistened folds of her lover's sex.
Janeway cried out as Seven's fingers rubbed briefly over her clit before burying themselves deeply inside of her. For a moment, they were both still as the Borg reveled in the tightening muscles surrounding her fingers, then she began to move, lifting her up and back, grinding against her with her pelvis as she controlled their rhythm with the strength of her left arm.
Kathryn wrapped her arms around Seven's neck, moaning in pleasure as she gave up control, letting the younger woman set the pace as she undulated her hips against the fullness inside of her.
The sensations were intense, the contact constant and sweet; the skin under her hands slick with sweat as Seven's muscles clenched with her exertions. Small grunts were the only sounds the Borg made as she increased her tempo, lifting Kathryn higher before pulling her back down. Her fingers flexed deep inside, looking for and finding all the places that she had memorized from their first encounter, playing her fingers over them, relishing the sounds of passion they pulled from her lover's lips.
"Dear god Seven!" Kathryn began to shake uncontrollably from the exquisite sensations the younger woman was creating within her. Her fingertips dug into Seven's shoulders as she whispered, "Harder fuck me harder "
The vulgarity tore through Seven like a bolt of lightning. She pushed Kathryn back onto the desk, leaning over her to capture a nipple between her lips as she used the lower half of her body to thrust into her, bringing her thumb up to play across the swollen bundle of nerves at the apex of her cleft.
Janeway leaned on her elbows, her head thrown back as she cried out her pleasure. "Oh god .Seven .oh !" She closed her eyes tightly as the strongest orgasm she had ever felt rocketed through her, making her grind her teeth together and causing stars to swim in the darkness behind her eyelids. "Oh my GOD SEVEN!" She knew she was screaming but she couldn't help it. Her muscles contracted almost painfully and she hung there, caught at the very peak until the waves of release crashed over her and she slid back, falling heavily onto the desk.
Seven withdrew her fingers and slowly wiped them across Kathryn's lips before kissing her with a hunger that was not yet sated. She glanced up, seeing the dining room table a few feet away. She picked her lover up and carried her over to it, laying her down and spreading her thighs to bury her face between her legs. She suckled the small bundle of nerves ferociously, joyously, as she felt the delicious nectar flow down her chin.
Kathryn grabbed Seven's head with one hand, holding her firmly in place as she used her other arm as leverage to lift her hips off the glass tabletop. She was amazed when she felt another wave growing within her even stronger than the first. Her body shook with the force of it as the vibrations echoed out from between her legs, causing her toes to curl and roots of her hair to tingle. When the crest finally broke, she knew she was crying out loudly but she couldn't hear herself over the pounding of her own heart. She fell back limply, closing her eyes as her head swam from the force of her release.
She wasn't sure how long she was out, but when she came to her senses, Seven was resting her cheek on her thigh as she gently kissed and nuzzled the tender flesh between her legs. She laughed weakly and stroked her lover's pale golden hair. "You are incredible." She whispered. Sitting up, she gently lifted the younger woman's face to hers with her fingertips. She kissed her softly, tasting herself and saltiness of the tears that rolled unchecked down Seven's cheeks. "Come here."
She wrapped her lover up in her arms and held her quietly as she wept.
"Will it always be like this?" Seven whispered, her voice catching.
"If we're lucky." Kathryn slid off the table and pulled the Borg to her feet. "And you know luck has always been a good friend of mine." She could feel Seven's need vibrating through her body but instinct told her the young woman needed something much different for her own release. "Come with me."
She took Seven by the hand and led her up the stairs to the bedroom. Laying her out on the bed, she stretched out next to her and linked one leg lightly through the long ones trembling beside her. She kissed her gently, using her lips and tongue to convey her love as her fingertips traced patterns across Seven's chest. She trailed them lightly across the full breasts and the tight stomach, running them in between the bands that crossed over her midsection. When the younger woman was able to breathe easily again, she took one nipple between her lips and rolled her tongue over it, feeling Seven relax into the pleasure building inside of her.
Reaching down, she ran her hand up the inside of one smooth, firm thigh, shocked at the amount of moisture she found and by how far down her thighs it had traveled. Kissing her way down the long, lanky body, she moved her tongue slowly into Seven's flesh, finding the ridge of nerves that was swollen and distended. She suckled it gently with her lips and tongue as the body beneath her began to move.
Everything was slow, sensual, exquisitely soft and loving and Seven's hips moved in a lazy tempo, keeping time with her ministrations as the passion built up inside of her. It wasn't long before she felt her lover's body go rigid, felt her hands tangle tightly in the sheets beneath her and the soft sounds of a gentle release fell from her lips. Kissing the swollen flesh one last time, she traveled back up Seven's body to wrap herself around her.
"Thank you." Seven whispered, nuzzling the auburn locks beneath her lips.
Janeway laughed. "Thank you! That was quite an ambush!"
The younger woman flushed. "I do not know what happened to me. One moment I was admiring your furnishings and the next moment the only thing I could think of was being inside of you. I apologize."
"No, no. You can ambush me anytime you feel like it." She tugged at the sheets, pulling them up to wrap around them both. "Are you tired?"
"I am weary. It has been a very eventful week." She rolled them over so that she could spoon the admiral from behind. "But as it has led to a most pleasing series of events, I do not feel that I can ever regret it."
Kathryn pulled the arm around her stomach tighter, relishing the warm skin that pressed up against the entire back of her body. "I regret that you were hurt. I swear to you, I won't ever let that happen again."
There was only a mumbled reply and the Kathryn realized that her Borg had already succumbed to her tiredness. Smiling contentedly, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Seven of Nine slowly opened her eyes, taking in the room around her as she shifted slightly against the warm form in her arms.
A small smile curled her lips as she remembered the events from the previous evening. Part of her had feared that the admiral's want of her would have been sated after their initial sexual encounter. This was one of the few times she had ever found pleasure in being wrong.
Her body shook slightly as she thought of the passion they had shared and her nerve endings cried out to be touched again, but she did not want to wake her companion. Kathryn had sustained serious damage to herself during the rescue and while the injuries had been repaired, rest was still required to complete her recovery.
Instead, she occupied her time by studying the objects scattered about the room. The small items that her lover found too personal to store in the more widely visited parts of her domicile. There were many books on the shelves as well as plaques calling out to various achievements. The most incongruous item she saw was a small stuffed bear that held what had to be a place of honor on the night table next to the bed. It was threadbare in many places and was missing one of the buttons that were meant to represent its eyes. Reaching out, she touched it.
"You found Boo."
The words were uttered in an adorably lazy voice and Seven looked down at Kathryn, thinking her beautiful with tousled hair and sleepy eyes. "Boo?"
"Yes." The admiral rolled them over and grabbed up the bear, setting it on the Borg's ample chest. "Mister Boo, this is Seven of Nine. She'll be occupying your place for the rest of my life. Hope you don't mind."
The younger woman looked at her curiously, making her chuckle.
"I used to cuddle with Boo when I was a child. He helped me relax and fall asleep."
"Ahh." Seven kissed her softly on the nose. "So now I am to be your 'Boo'?"
"I certainly hope so." She put the bear back. "If you want to."
The Borg heard the tentative note in her voice and squeezed her gently. "I do." She took a deep breath. "I would like to stay here with you, if you will allow it."
"Allow it?" Kathryn lifted her head and gave Seven a long, sweet kiss. "I expect it. We just have to figure out where we're going to put your alcove. I think that corner over there is a good spot."
"It is an excellent vantage point for watching me regenerate while you are reclined in bed."
"My thoughts exactly." She began to slide her hands across Seven's stomach lightly as she snuggled one knee between the blondes pale thighs.
"State your intentions."
Kathryn looked up at the beautiful face of her lover, aware of the change in respiration that caused her perfect breasts to begin rising and falling more quickly. "I think you know what my intentions are."
"Indeed." Seven kissed her passionately, her lips opening to allow the gently seeking tongue entrance into her mouth. At the same time, her thighs parted, allowing the older woman's knee to rest more fully against her tender flesh.
"Mmmm." The admiral pulled away reluctantly. "As much as I would like to continue this, I really need a shower."
"Your shower will wait." The Borg said firmly, raising one hand to cover her lover's breast.
Janeway laughed. "Why don't you join me? I'll wash your hair. It's one of the small pleasures in life that I would love to share with you."
Intrigued, Seven allowed her to climb out of bed and followed her into the bathroom, watching closely as she turned the knobs and checked the temperature of the water that ran down in a cascade from the showerhead.
Kathryn pointed to a tiled bench in the corner of the large stall. "Get yourself wet and then go sit over there."
One eyebrow raised, Seven did as she was told. When Janeway stepped into the shower with her, she found herself fascinated by the way the water moved over her body, gathering into waterfalls that fell from her breasts in small torrents. She continued to watch as her lover filled her palm with liquid from a dispenser and turned to her.
"Ok, lower your head just a bit." Kathryn rubbed her hands together and then slid them into the golden mane, using her fingertips to massage her scalp gently.
"Oh." The Borg took a quick breath, her entire body tingling from the feel of those long elegant fingers playing in her hair. "That is very enjoyable." From her seat she was in the perfect position to take a plump nipple into her mouth and she did so with great enthusiasm.
"Yes," Janeway breathed. "It is." She continued massaging her hands through the mass of golden hair even as she felt her back arch to press her breasts more firmly against Seven's questing mouth. She found she had to focus intently on her task otherwise she would cease moving altogether.
The younger woman brought her other hand up and cupped the admiral's left buttock, using it to pull her closer. The combined sensations did much to stimulate her desire and she bit down firmly on the nipple between her teeth, making Kathryn gasp softly.
"I think we need to get the soap out of your hair now." She purred.
Seven rose and allowed the water to flow over her until all of the suds were gone. Then she stood expectantly as the older woman grabbed a bar of scented soap and worked up a good lather. When Janeway moved towards her, she began to shake, anticipating the feel of the warm hands on her wet skin.
It was more than she was ready for.
The beloved hands and fingers moved over her, smooth and slick, creating a heat between them that she would not have though possible without friction. They touched her everywhere, paying extra attention to the nipples that were jutting out, swollen in their need, before sliding around across her back and buttocks. Finally, they moved around to the front of her body and slid between her legs.
"Oh my." Janeway breathed, feeling the slicker than soap moisture already gathered there. Losing herself in the feel of her lover, she allowed her fingers to play firmly across her swollen ridge, encouraged by the soft moans emanating from Seven's lips.
The Borg placed both of her hands against the shower walls, trying to hold herself up as her legs became weak. When Kathryn finally ceased playing and entered her in one smooth movement, her head fell back against the wall and she groaned. "Yes please "
The admiral smiled, taking one nipple between her lips as her hand snaked around Seven's back to pull her more fully against her. She felt the powerful hips start to surge and she lost all control, devouring her breasts as she thrust faster and harder into the warmth at her fingertips.
"Kath ryn ." Seven was having a hard time breathing and standing erect but she held on, not wanting to lose the exquisite feeling of the slippery body moving against hers. When her orgasm hit, it was hard and strong, sending her senses reeling as she crushed her lover's body to her. "Oh Kathryn OH!"
Kathryn didn't stop. She felt the muscles around her fingers convulse wildly, felt the strong arms around her tighten but still she continued. "Seven..." She said in a wicked whisper. "I know you have one more for me I want to feel you come again."
Seven began to shake wildly, Kathryn's words doing as much to push her towards a second release as her hands were As she felt it build, she brought her mouth to Janeway's neck, biting down on the soft flesh, leaving a red mark behind before moving to capture the older woman's lips. The kiss was hot, almost harsh, lips pressed together in mutual need as Seven groaned her second release into her mouth before sliding back down onto the bench, her body shaking as the waves of pleasure moved through her and finally subsided.
"Do you wash your own hair in this fashion?" She asked weakly.
The admiral chuckled. "For seven long years."
The Borg looked up at her, her intent plain on her face and the older woman had no time to react before she was pressed up against the back of the shower stall, her legs spread with Seven kneeling between them.
"Oh my god!" She gasped as her lover's velvet tongue captured her bundle of nerves and two fingers slid smoothly inside of her. She laid her palms on Seven's shoulders as the younger woman suckled her with wild abandon, her fingers thrusting into the slick channel with a firmness that met her need and enflamed it to new levels. She wound her fingers into Seven's hair as the Borg cupped her buttocks and pulled her hips forward to meet her fingers, her tongue never losing contact with the hard ridge of nerves that was singing with pleasure.
"Oh god oh god OH GOD!" Janeway's cries were amplified by the close quarters and she wondered briefly if she was going to be hearing from her neighbors but then decided she didn't really give a damn as Seven's fingers found the spot within her that made her lose the ability to think altogether "OH SEVEN YES!"
Seven didn't hear her. She was lost in the movements of Kathryn's body and the gentle feel of the water cascading down off her back. But when the strong hips bucked wildly and then began to shake uncontrollably, she knew her lover was close. She thrust one last time, pushing in as far as she could before she flexed her fingers strongly, feeling Kathryn's release as it flowed out and down her palm. Leaning back, she gently withdrew and brought her fingers to her mouth, trying to lick the moisture from them before it was washed away.
Janeway stroked the blonde head gently. "I love you, Seven." She whispered, drawing the younger woman up to kiss her passionately.
"And I love you as well." The Borg smiled. "I am glad that you convinced me to allow you to shower."
"I'm going to need a shower to recover from our shower." She laughed. "Come on, let's finish getting cleaned up. I think I've worked up an appetite."
They lathered and rinsed each other off, taking a few moments here and there to tease each other in the process, before exiting the shower and drying each other with large, fluffy towels.
The admiral pulled on a silk robe and replicated another for Seven and then took her hand, leading her down the stairs to the kitchen. She ordered a pot of coffee and an omelet then turned to the younger woman. "What would you like to eat? I'm afraid I don't have 'Nutritional Supplement #18' programmed into this replicator."
"An oversight, no doubt." Seven programmed in a small bowl of oatmeal and they sat at the kitchen table, both of them enjoying the comfortable silence that fell over them as they ate their meal.
"You know," Janeway drained her cup and put the dishes back into the replicator to be recycled. "We're going to have to get you some clothing appropriate for winter in Indiana."
Seven stiffened and looked away.
"What's wrong?" She sat down again and took her hand gently.
The Borg looked at her apprehensively. "What will occur if your family does not approve of me?"
"Seven," She squeezed the younger woman's hand. "My family is going to love you."
"You cannot be sure of that. I was Borg. I cause uneasiness in most individuals."
"Well, I think you will find that my mother is not like most individuals." She laughed. "In fact, she isn't like anyone else I've ever met. She won't care what you were. All she'll care about is who you are now. And what you are to me."
Seven looked into the blue gray eyes filled with warmth and love and allowed herself to relax slightly. "I desire her approval." She leaned her forehead against Janeway's and sighed.
"I know, love. I would feel the same way if we were going to meet your mother."
"If we were going to meet my mother you would not be feeling anything at all." Seven quipped, making the older woman laugh.
"You're developing quite a sense of humor."
"I have found it helpful when dealing with Starfleet Captains and Admirals."
Janeway smiled and leaned closer, bringing their lips together in a rapidly deepening kiss. When she felt Seven's arms encircle her, drawing her into a tight embrace, she broke the kiss off regretfully. "As much as I hate to say it, we have a lot of things to get done before we head to Indiana tomorrow. Sex on the kitchen table will have to wait."
The Borg let out an exaggerated sigh as she eyed the aforementioned piece of furniture. "Unfortunate."
"I agree. But I'm sure we'll get around to it eventually."
Seven gave her such a smoldering look of desire that she felt her knees go weak. Oh yes, there's no doubt that we will get around to it eventually.
They spent the rest of the afternoon replicating outfits for Seven and sending communiqués to various Starfleet personnel, explaining Janeway's continued absence as a decidedly lengthened vacation. The information was accepted without debate, as she knew it would be. In truth Admiral Neyechev seemed pleasantly surprised that she was interested in leave at all.
They still don't know what to do with me. Janeway thought to herself. Well, they will. As soon as Voyager is space worthy again, they'll know in no uncertain terms what they'll be doing with me.
She knew that taking command of her vessel again would mean a demotion, but as it would be her choice, it didn't concern her overly much.
The last call she made was to Tom Paris, requesting that he leave the now fully repaired Venture dry docked at Fleet headquarters where Seven could access its alcove safely from the transport station in Indiana When they returned they would begin the task of relocating it to their bedroom. The idea of watching Seven regenerate from her bed was greatly appealing and she looked forward to it immensely.
All of the busy work done, she decided that it would be a good time to show her love a little of the city. San Francisco was well known for its food and its nightlife. In fact, there was a little café within walking distance that she was sure Seven would enjoy.
She, herself, enjoyed watching the Borg slide into a pair of pale blue jeans and a black turtleneck sweater, her hair left down to gently blow about her face in the breeze that welcomed them as they strolled leisurely down her block to the slightly busier area of her neighborhood.
Café Pernod was packed when they arrived, but the maitre de took one look at who was requesting a table and ushered them over to the best spot in the house, a quiet corner with its own window overlooking the bay.
"This is quite pleasing." Seven gave her a soft look as she sipped the wine Kathryn had ordered for them.
"I'm glad you like it." Janeway smiled. She realized she had been doing quite a bit of that lately, smiling, so much so that the muscles of her face were becoming sore. Then again, they could be sore for other reasons She blushed at the errant thought, beginning to think it had taken her very little time to become decidedly oversexed. But then, who could blame her with six feet of blonde passion constantly within arms reach.
"What are you thinking, Kathryn?"
She looked up to see the Borg watching her intently, a small smile curling the corners of her own mouth. Reaching out, she grasped Seven's hand and brought it to her lips, allowing her tongue to linger briefly on her index finger.
Janeway looked towards the sound of the voice, her eyes widening as she took in the form that had moved to stand next to their table. "Mark?" She squeaked, and then cleared her throat. "Mark! Hello, how are you?" She glanced at Seven, noticing that the blonde's countenance had gone from curious to stony in the moment it took her to utter his name.
"Oh my god, it is you!" He grabbed a chair and dragged it over to their table to join them. His gaze moved over her with frank appreciation. "You look incredible! What have you been doing with yourself? I've tried to get a hold of you more times than I can count but you never returned any of my messages."
"I'm sorry, Mark. Things have been hectic at Fleet Head Quarters lately; messages have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle." She lied shamelessly.
"That's alright. I understand." He glanced at her companion for the first time. "Who's your friend?"
"Mark Johnson, meet Seven of Nine. Seven of Nine, Mark Johnson."
Mark looked startled. "Oh the Borg! The one you brought back from the Delta Quadrant. I read about her in the newspapers." He turned to face Seven, slowing the tempo and increasing the volume of his voice. "It's nice to meet you. I hope you are finding yourself acclimating to Earth easily."
Seven raised one eyebrow. "It has been difficult on occasion, however, my auditory senses have not been affected."
Janeway bit the inside of her cheek, trying not to laugh at the redness that crept into her ex fiancé's face.
"Oh, right." He frowned for a moment as he took in their hands, which were still linked together. "So you two are "
"Together?" Seven finished for him. "Yes, we are."
"Well that was quick."
"I would not consider seven and a half years 'quick'." The Borg informed him in a cold tone. "Not nearly so brief a period as four and a half years."
"Seven!" Janeway whispered before turning her attention back to Mark. "Seven and I have been courting for quite a while, longer than either of us knew actually. I guess you could say it was inevitable that we ended up together. It just took me a while to realize it."
"She is very stubborn." The Borg said quietly.
Mark looked from Kathryn to Seven and then back to Kathryn again, his face finally registering that they were, in fact, a couple. Shock and a great deal of respect were apparent in his features as he studied the admiral carefully. "I guess some things really have changed."
"Yes, they have." She smiled at Seven and squeezed her hand reassuringly. "And they keep getting better all the time."
That brought a smile to the Borg's face and Mark stared at her, transfixed as her features changed from cold and forbidding to warm and loving in a single heartbeat. He coughed slightly, uncomfortable with whatever was passing between the two women. "Well, I just stopped in to pick up dinner. I guess I should get going."
As he stood to leave, Janeway tore her gaze away from Seven. "It was nice to see you, Mark. Give Melissa my regards."
"Who? Oh, right." He flushed. "Well, we're not together anymore, hence the takeout." He lifted the bag a little sheepishly. "Maybe you and I could get together sometime soon? Talk about old times?"
"We'll see." She smiled. "Take care of yourself."
"You too." He hurried out of the restaurant only to stop outside and gaze back in through the window. Neither woman noticed.
"You enjoyed that." Kathryn accused.
"I did not enjoy him inviting himself to join us." Seven retorted. "As for anything else I might have said, it was merely the truth."
"Maybe," She laughed. "But he certainly left quickly."
"That was my intention." Seven tightened her hand. "I do not wish to share you with him in any manner."
"You're being a little possessive aren't you?" The older woman said quietly.
Seven looked her full in the eyes. "And if Axum were to suddenly appear at our table?"
"Point taken." Janeway smiled ruefully. "I don't want to share you either."
"I am gratified that we are in agreement."
Their dinner arrived and Seven looked down at the angel hair pasta the admiral had ordered for her. Picking up her fork, she tried to keep the food on the utensil long enough for it to reach her mouth with varying degrees of success.
"Here," Kathryn took the fork from her and glided it through the pasta before pressing the tines into a spoon, using it to wrap the stands around the utensil tightly. She then raised it to the Borg's mouth, watching in fascination as the ruby lips opened to accept the food. Seven chewed carefully before swallowing, then wet her lips with the tip of her tongue. "Incredible."
"Yes, you are." Janeway said softly as she handed the implements back.
Seven blushed and smiled, following the admiral's example until her pasta was gone. The waiter came and took away their plates, replacing them with a slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee.
"You are not having dessert?" The Borg asked.
"Later." Kathryn said in a low, husky voice that made the hair on the back of Seven's neck stand up.
She finished her cheesecake quickly and stood. "I am ready to return home."
Janeway laughed and placed her thumb on the padd the waiter had left, paying for their meal. Outside, she took Seven's hand in her own as they strolled casually down the street to their house. As soon as the door had closed behind them, she pounced on the surprised Borg, burying her fingers in her hair as she caught her lips in a passionate kiss. She broke away breathlessly several minutes later to whisper, "I've wanted to do that since we left the house."
"Then why did we go out?"
Kathryn ignored her as she pulled the sweater over her head, pushing her backwards towards the stairs. Seven stumbled over the first step and sat down heavily with the admiral ending up on her lap. The older woman continued kissing her as she fumbled through the buttons on her jeans, stopping only long enough to pull them off, tossing them into a pile with the rest of her garments and her shoes.
Seven stripped Kathryn of her clothing quickly before allowing herself to be pressed backwards, resting her elbows on the steps behind her as she was kissed senseless. She threw her head back and moaned as the small, quick hands began to stroke the skin of her stomach, playing across the metal bands before sliding up to cover her breasts. Fingers closed firmly on her swollen nipples as hungry lips raised red marks along her throat. She brought her own hands up to caress the smooth skin of her lover's back, her nails digging in slightly when Kathryn slid one smooth knee into the wetness between her legs.
"And what were you thinking about during dinner, my love, that you are so wet and ready now?"
"How you taste." Seven said simply, sending a shockwave of passion rocketing down Janeway's spine. "How you feel against my lips, how you shake when you achieve orgasm." She paused for a moment. "How you sound when I 'fuck' you."
Kathryn groaned loudly, moving her leg back to replace her knee with one hand, sliding through the slick warmth she found there to enter her effortlessly. She brought her thumb up to play against the swollen bundle of nerves as her fingers began to thrust firmly in and out. She drank in Seven's moans with her lips, tangling their tongues together as the Borg brought her own knee up between the admiral's legs. Whimpering, she began to move her hips, matching the tempo and rhythm of her hand until they were moving as one body, all muscle and ache and warm slick desire.
Seven felt herself lose awareness of everything except Kathryn; everything except the fingers and mouth that were driving her to the very edge of consciousness. She closed her eyes as she slid her hands around the older woman's buttocks, using them to pull the smaller form more firmly against her thigh. She could feel Kathryn's peak approaching and held her own back forcefully, wanting to share the experience with her completely.
When it came, the ferocity of it took them both by surprise. A huge, crashing wave of all consuming ecstasy slammed into them both, causing them to shudder uncontrollably as it washed over them, leaving them limp and spent in each others arms.
They lay that way for several long minutes until Kathryn began to kiss her way down the long lanky body, stopping only to wrap her arms around her lover's strong thighs before lowering her face into the heat between Seven's legs. The Borg cried out at the contact, her muscles spasming at the touch of her tongue, her fingers wound tightly into Janeway's auburn hair as she tried to hold onto at least some of her senses.
It was futile.
The muscles of Seven's back and legs stiffened and her vision darkened as the orgasm hit her full force, the strength of it driving her head back as she cried out loudly, "Kathryn oh Kath yes .CAPTAIN!!" And then she collapsed, her body twitching only slightly as Janeway withdrew and climbed back up to kiss her softly.
"I'm an admiral now, you know." She teased.
Seven returned the kiss weakly. "You will always be my Captain."
Touched beyond words, Janeway gently kissed the red welts she had left on her lover's throat before stroking her hands down the warm body beneath her.
"Sto stop." The Borg gasped. "Do not move your hands on me. Not yet."
Kathryn smiled. "Have I actually worn out the Borg?"
Seven's gaze cleared immediately and she looked at her arrogantly. "Is that a challenge, Captain?"
Janeway climbed to her feet and looked down at her. "You bet your sweet Borg ass it is." She laughed as she ran up the stairs, calling down after her, "What you catch, you keep."
The younger woman was on her feet in an instant, chasing after her lover as she tore through the house, heading for the bedroom.
Chapter Two: Family Ties
Kathryn shifted uncomfortably in the driver's seat of the hovercraft, the muscles of her arms and legs aching as she operated the controls. They had transported from San Francisco to Bloomington and then picked up the small vehicle that would take them to her mother's home in the Traditionalist Agriculture Park The park disallowed most types of technology, making this the longest part of the trip.
Seven eyed her with a small smirk. "I informed you that you would be sore this morning if you insisted upon your course of action last night."
"Are you actually saying 'I told you so'?" Janeway growled. "You didn't seem too adverse to my attentions."
"I was not."
"You were not what? Not saying I told you so or not adverse to my making love to you until you passed out?"
"I did not pass out. Borg do not pass out." Seven looked out the window, watching the snow covered farmland as is sped by. "I was simply resting."
"Ha!" Kathryn laughed. "Resting yeah, right."
"I am not sore this morning."
The admiral threw her a poisonous look. "Well You're just more limber than I am."
"And younger." Seven mumbled under her breath, feigning interested in a passing snow bank as Kathryn looked at her sharply.
"You can't blame me, love. I had to get enough of you to hold me over while we're out here."
The Borg looked at her suspiciously. "Hold you over? Explain."
"This is my mother's house, Seven. We are not going to make love in my mother's house."
"Kathryn, you are forty six years old. Certainly your mother is aware that you engage in sexual activities"
"What my mother is aware of and what I will risk her hearing, are two very different things."
"Then you should endeavor to be quieter."
Janeway glanced over at the Borg, taking in her stubbornly set jaw and sighing. "I am not going to argue with you about this, Seven. We just have to behave while we're here. End of story."
She was about to retort when she realized they were actually having their first fight. Well, as first fights went, there were worse things to be arguing about than the fact that your lover wanted to spend more time in bed with you. She slowed the vehicle as her mother's house came into view. "We'll talk about this later, alright?"
"Yes," Seven replied calmly. "We will."
Kathryn brought the vehicle to a stop outside of a two story, sprawling ranch house, complete with porches on three sides and tall red barn half hidden behind it. She watched the Borg with a small smile on her face as she stepped out of the hovercraft and sank knee deep into the snow.
Seven reached down and picked up a handful, bringing it closer to her face for inspection. After a few moments, a wide, delighted smile appeared and she began to wade through it, kicking her feet out to watch the snow fly up into the air before slowly falling back to the ground. She stopped in place and breathed out hard, watching as her breath turned into white smoke and grinning at the effect, before looking up at the slate gray sky that dropped more flakes onto her face, her smile only growing brighter as she blinked away the ones that caught in her long blonde lashes. She turned her smile back towards the hovercraft and Kathryn thought her heart would break at the joy apparent in her features.
"Snow." Her pink tongue appeared between her lips and caught a falling snowflake, her smile never faltering as she felt it melt in the heat of her mouth.
"I'm glad you like it." All thoughts of their argument were gone as she watched her love trudge back and forth, leaving a trench behind her as she went. She hadn't considered that this would be the Borg's first experience with real, honest to goodness snow. It was something she had always taken for granted, but now, after seeing the affect it had on her lover, she knew she never would again.
Finally, Seven stopped, breathing hard as she looked around her. The white covered everything, from the top of the house and the barn to the trees whose branches seemed to bow under the snow's weight. The air was crisp and clean, harsh in her lungs as she drew it in but pleasant nonetheless. Smiling, she came around the small craft to wrap her arms around Kathryn, sliding her chilled fingers up under the sweater the older woman wore.
"Seven!" Kathryn squealed, twisting to try and avoid the cold, metal tips of her left hand. "You're fingers are freezing!"
"Yes, Kathryn." The Borg leaned in and placed a soft, loving kiss on her lips, a teasing twinkle in her eye. "It is wonderful!"
"It is cold!" Janeway's teeth began to chatter. "We're going to need to get you some gloves if you're going to be playing in the snow. C'mon, let's get the bags inside. I'm sure mom thinks we're crazy, tramping around out here."
Seven reached down and picked up all three of the bags, ignoring Kathryn's protests as she trudged through the snow up onto the porch. She watched as the older woman stamped her feet, knocking most of the wetness off her boots. She mimicked her movements, holding her breath in anticipation as Kathryn opened the door.
Warm air rushed out to meet them and the scent of wood burning in the fireplace invaded her senses as they stepped inside. She dropped the bags in the entryway as Kathryn instructed and then turned in a small circle, taking in the house with wide, childlike eyes.
It was very different from their home. Where the San Francisco house was decorated with elegant furniture and modern appointments, this home was furnished with soft brown and beige colors. The floor was hard wood, rubbed smooth and shiny after years of heavy use and even the banister that led upstairs held the patina of well worn and well oiled love. All together it was very welcoming and delightful in a wholly different way.
Seven turned to see an attractive woman in her late sixties enter from the kitchen. Her hair was the same auburn red as Janeway's, only shot through with strands of silver that lent to her beauty instead of detracting from it. Her frame, though slight, was straight, almost statuesque and she carried herself with a grace that seemed to have been passed down directly to her daughter. Her blue eyes were bright and shining with emotion and her entire countenance seemed to radiate warmth and welcome.
"Mama." Kathryn shook the last of the snow from her hair and moved quickly into her mother's waiting arms. She stayed there for several long moments, the elder Janeway rubbing her back and shoulders.
"You're freezing! What is wrong with you two? You aren't even wearing jackets!"
"It is snowing!" Seven said with a smile, causing Gretchen to laugh softly.
"I take it you didn't get much of that out in the Delta Quadrant."
Kathryn turned to look at her in surprise, never having heard that tone from her lover before.
"Well, Kathryn." Gretchen looked at her expectantly. "Are you going to introduce me to your friend or am I going to have to do it myself?"
"I'm sorry, Mom." She reached out and took Seven's hand, pulling her forward. "Mom, this is Seven of Nine. Seven, this is my mother, Gretchen Janeway."
"It is very nice to meet you, Mrs. Janeway." Seven looked a little flustered. "I have heard many things about you."
"Oh, stop with the missus bit, just call me Gretchen." She took the young woman's hand and pulled her into a light embrace.
Seven stiffened for a moment and then relaxed, enjoying the warmth of the hug from this enigmatic woman.
"I've heard a bit about you as well," She looked at her daughter pointedly. "Although apparently not as much as I should have."
Kathryn was about to reply when a voice called down from upstairs.
"Is that my big sister, finally home from gallivanting all over the quadrant?"
She turned to Gretchen. "Mom you didn't."
"I couldn't very well tell her not to come, now could I? She wanted to visit with you too."
Sighing, Kathryn flashed the Borg a lopsided grin. "Yeah, it's me Pheebs."
Seven watched in fascination as a tall blur flew down the stairs and tackled her lover, propelling her backwards into an overstuffed chair where she wrapped her arms around her and hugged her hard. The newcomer shared the same hair color with her sister, but that was all. She stood nearly three inches taller and massed nearly twenty pounds more than her older sibling.
"God, I've missed you, Katie!' She climbed off the admiral, who looked decidedly undignified at the moment. "I'm glad you came home again!" She rubbed her hands together gleefully. "So where is this blonde beauty that Mom was telling me about?" She glanced behind her, noticing Seven for the first time. Kathryn almost laughed when her jaw hit the floor.
"Yowza." She breathed, walking in a circle around the now very nervous Borg. "I don't know what your problem was with men, Katie, but your taste in women is flawless."
"Phoebe!" Gretchen reached out and put an arm around Seven's shoulders. "Don't scare the poor child."
"You don't look like any Borg I've ever seen." She smiled. "You are definitely a hottie."
Seven raised one eyebrow and looked at the younger Janeway curiously. "A 'hottie'? Explain."
"All right, that's enough." Kathryn climbed to her feet, waving off Seven's questions with one elegant hand. "We're starving, Mom. Please tell me whatever is causing that fantastic smell in the kitchen is almost done."
"Well, I had expected you earlier, so you missed lunch. Dinner isn't for a little bit but I can whip up something to tide you over."
"I'm sorry about that. Seven and I got caught up this morning " She paused as Phoebe snorted, earning a glare that she cheerfully ignored. "And we ended up running a bit late."
"It's all right, Kathryn. This will give you girls some time to get settled in upstairs. I made up your room for you. Get your things put away and then we'll sit down and have a long chat over tea and biscuits while we wait on the pot roast."
"My room?" Janeway said weakly.
"Yeah, your room." Phoebe leered at her behind her mother's back.
"You know the way, Kathryn."
Seven picked up the bags and followed her lover up the stairs, slowing to look at the pictures hanging on the wall along the way. Near the top of the stairs she came to a dead stop, staring intently at picture of a very young Kathryn Janeway who was rocketing down a snow covered hillside on a small wooden toboggan. The simple joy and happiness on her face captivated Seven and held her rooted to the spot so long that Kathryn came back to see what was keeping her.
"Seven?" She said softly, a small smile playing about her lips.
The Borg looked up at her, surprise apparent in her eyes. "You were young in this picture."
Kathryn stepped down to stand beside her, looking at the picture herself for the first time in more years than she cared to think about. "I was twelve. Phoebe was supposed to be riding behind me but she jumped off at the last moment, thinking it would scare me to go down the hill by myself."
"She obviously did not know you very well."
"She knew me well enough." The older woman laughed. "I was frightened."
"But also exhilarated," The Borg glanced at her, smiling knowingly. "Even then fear did not stop you."
Kathryn shrugged and took her hand, leading her up the rest of the stairs and down to the last room at the end of the hall. She opened the door slowly, years of memories flooding back on her as she flipped the light switch.
It was exactly as she had left it. All her medals and certificates still hanging on the walls, the models of space ships she had built still standing proudly on the shelves. Even her bedspread was the same, a thick down comforter with images of constellations and black holes strewn about it. She breathed in deeply, thinking she could almost catch the scent of the ink she used to use when she wrote long hand, something her parents had demanded she do on a regular basis.
Seven moved around her, taking in the small room reverently. This was where her Captain had grown up. This was the room that had held all her hopes and aspirations, all the thoughts and dreams that had led her to become a Starfleet Captain; that had led her to the Delta Quadrant that had led her to save one Borg drone. She placed the bags on the floor and sat down on the bed, laying back to run her hands over the bedspread, her Borg senses caught the slightest scent of Kathryn, captured in the sheets, even after all the time that had passed
Janeway came and sat beside her, leaning back to look up at the ceiling with Seven, where the glow in the dark stars she had stuck there as a child still hung.
"This room it is very much you." Seven said softly. "I find it very soothing."
Kathryn laughed. "I spent a lot of time up here as a kid. Studying quantum physics and space charts while my friends were out on dates in the city."
"Even back then, you knew where you belonged."
They were quiet for a moment then Seven whispered, "Your Mother only prepared one room."
"Seven." Kathryn groaned. "I expect you to behave yourself when you are in this room. This is my childhood bed."
The Borg leaned up on one arm and looked down at her. "Have you never made love on this bed, Kathryn?"
The admiral flushed, shaking her head.
"I see." Seven stood and began opening their bags, neatly placing their garments into the empty chest of drawers.
"What do you mean 'I see'?" The admiral got up and helped her, pulling out their toiletry items and taking them into the bathroom.
"I meant, I see, Kathryn." She said innocently.
Janeway didn't buy it for a second.
They finished unpacking and Kathryn ran her hands through her hair. "Well, I guess it's time to go downstairs and be sociable."
"Wait" Seven stepped closer and wrapped her arms lovingly around the smaller woman, bringing their lips together in a very sweet, and very chaste, kiss. Afterwards she rested her forehead against Kathryn's and smiled. "I like your family, Kathryn."
She smiled. "Come on. Let's go get some of my Mom's biscuits. They're to die for."
Phoebe picked up a warm biscuit and slathered it with butter, shoving the entire thing in her mouth as she groaned in appreciation.
"Phoebe!" Gretchen frowned at her. "You're going to choke if you keep eating like that. It isn't as though there aren't enough biscuits."
"You forget the way Katie can put 'em away, Mom. I have to be sure I get my fair share."
"Funny, I don't remember you getting your fair share ever being a problem in this house." She reached out and ruffled the unruly bangs that fell over her youngest daughter's forehead before pulling open the oven to check on her roast.
Phoebe took a long drink of her iced tea and pointed to the ceiling. "So what's the deal with them?"
"I don't know much more than you do, dear."
"C'mon, Mom. You told me they were 'involved'. You have to know something."
"Well, I was talking to your sister on the vid conn the day before yesterday when Seven showed up behind her. I don't think she knew Kathryn was on a call." Gretchen continued shucking peas as she spoke, her hands working in almost perfect rhythm with the cadence of her voice.
The youngest Janeway leaned forward, a huge smile on her face. "What did she do?"
Gretchen flushed. "She wrapped her arms around your sister and kissed her on the neck."
"Whoo hoo! Way to go, Katie." She laughed lightly as she chewed on another biscuit. "What is she, like twenty years younger?"
"I'm not exactly sure how old Seven is." She dropped the vegetables into a pot of boiling water, adding butter and salt before setting it to simmer. "What I do know from your sister's letters is that the Borg took her and her parents when she was only six years old and that Kathryn stole her back from them, more than once apparently."
"Katie went up against the Borg for her?" Phoebe frowned. "So what the hell was she doing with that knob of a first officer that Kathryn had under her? What was his name? Chickory? Chakootle?"
"Phoebe, language!" Gretchen put a kettle of water on the stove to make warm tea for those who wanted it. "I don't rightly know. The letters I got from Kathryn led me to believe that Seven was very important to her. Of course, none of them mentioned a romantic involvement. I don't believe they were together while they were lost out there."
"You've got to be kidding me? Have you seen the way Katie looks at her?"
"Yes I have." She picked up her coffee, sipping it quietly.
"It's like she just saw her first starship or somethin'."
"I know, dear."
"Then what the hell?"
Gretchen sighed. "Language, Phoebe. You know as well as I do that Kathryn didn't have a whole lot to say about what happened out there when she got back. I think a lot of her reticence to talk about it came from her concern for our peace of mind. But I do know that something was bothering her after she got home, something the led her to accept the promotion to admiral. I never thought she would do that, at least not so long as she was still physically able to walk onto a bridge. But something kept her Earthside. And I think that something is upstairs in her bedroom right now."
"Well, that 'something' would certainly keep me Earthside. And I don't even date women much."
Gretchen stared at her wild child affectionately. "You go easy on Kathryn and Seven. If this relationship is as new as I think it is, they are going to have plenty of things to work out without you making it more difficult."
"Moi?" Phoebe threw her a look of mock hurt before becoming serious. "I want her to be happy too, Mom. I never thought Mark was right for her. He was too simple, too nice. She needs someone that will shake things up, keep her on her toes." She grinned wickedly. "Or completely off her feet."
"Phoebe!" Gretchen shook her head. "The way you talk."
"Have you looked at her, Ma? That woman was made for sex."
"Oh my goodness, what am I going to do with you!"
"You think they're gonna do it up there? In her old room with all those fake stars floating over their heads?"
"Alright, this conversation is now officially over." Gretchen tried to look stern but couldn't keep herself from laughing. "What your sister does in her own room with her girlfriend is her business. We certainly do not need to be speculating about it."
"Yeah but it's fun to speculate!" Phoebe laughed along with her mother. "What is it the Borg say? Resistance is futile?"
When Kathryn and Seven entered the kitchen, her mother and sister immediately fell silent, but Kathryn couldn't miss the look of humor that passed between them and she sighed heavily. "What have you two been talking about?"
Phoebe opened her mouth to answer, only to have her mother place a biscuit firmly between her lips. "Nothing, sweetie." She smiled. "You two all settled in up there?"
"Yes Mom, thanks for getting the room ready for us."
"You sure the bed is going to be big enough?" Her sister snickered, moving over to the other side of the counter, out of arm's reach.
Kathryn threw an exasperated look at her but Seven merely nodded. "It is quite comfortable. The sheets still smell faintly of Kathryn."
Phoebe snorted merrily as Gretchen bit the inside of her cheek. "Well good." She placed her hand on Seven's arm. "Come and try my biscuits, they're still warm from the oven. Would you like some tea, dear?"
"Yes I would, thank you."
"I'll have coffee." Kathryn pulled out a stool next to the counter and slid onto it, motioning for Seven to do the same.
"Of course you will." Her mother smiled. "There are some things that never change." She pulled two mugs from the cabinet, placing them on the counter, followed by a full plate of biscuits before she filled their mugs and slid onto a stool herself.
Kathryn grabbed up a biscuit and split it open. She spread sweet cream butter liberally over one half and held the still steaming bread up to Seven's lips. The Borg looked faintly surprised but opened her mouth, biting off a piece. Her eyes closed in appreciation and a soft sound issued from her throat as she chewed. She swallowed the morsel with a sigh and opened her eyes, blushing at the warm smiles that were centered on her from all three of the Janeway women. Kathryn fed her the other half with a smile, relishing the enjoyment so plain on the younger woman's face. "What do you think?"
"It is good " Seven licked the remaining butter from her lips causing Kathryn to breathe in sharply. "It is very, very good."
"Sure looks good from where I'm sitting." Phoebe grabbed another biscuit for herself, ignoring the warning looks she received from both her sister and her mother. She covered her biscuit with butter and fresh strawberry jam and handed it to Kathryn. "Have her try that one, Katie."
Seven wondered briefly why Phoebe had not just handed it to her directly but she parted her lips obligingly, noting the flush that crept up into her lover's cheeks as she fed her the next piece. The sweetness of the jam cut into the saltiness of the butter and bread and she reached out, taking hold of Kathryn's hand to pull the remaining piece back to her mouth. A small bit of jam remained on one of her lover's fingers and she flicked her tongue across it, claiming it as well.
"Wow." Phoebe watched the scene with rapt attention and even Gretchen seemed absorbed in watching her daughter feed the beautiful woman she had brought into their home. There was something so completely loving about it.
Kathryn cleared her throat. "Yes, well, I'm sure you get the idea, Seven." She picked up her mug and took a long drink, thinking to herself that maybe iced tea would have been a better idea.
"So, Seven what kind of name is Seven anyway?" Phoebe kept her focus on the Borg, ignoring the glare her sister was leveling in her direction.
"It is not a name. It was my Borg designation. Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to the Unimatrix 01."
"Well that's a mouthful."
"Kathryn thought so as well. She was the one that reduced it to Seven. I found it imprecise but acceptable."
"I see." Gretchen smiled, completely charmed by the forthright young woman. "What was the name your parents gave you?"
"Annika Hansen." She reached out tentatively and took another biscuit, covering it with butter and jam before bringing it to her own lips.
"That's lovely." The elder Janeway smiled. "You don't like it?"
Seven considered the question carefully. "I am not used to being addressed in that fashion. On Voyager, I spent a great deal of time alone, it seemed more expedient to continue using the designation I was familiar with."
"So you didn't socialize with the rest of the crew?"
The Borg shook her head slowly. "My few attempts at interacting with others led to much embarrassment and a few injuries on their part. It was apparent that most found themselves uncomfortable in my presence, except for Kathryn of course. From the first moment I stepped onto Voyager, I most often found myself on the company of the Captain. She took it upon herself to help me learn to embrace my humanity." She flushed slightly. "I do not believe I was a very good student."
Phoebe threw her a lopsided grin. "You look like you did all right."
"It was all Kathryn's doing. She spent much of her free time with me. We used to spend many hours engaged in philosophical discussions, most often late at night in her quarters."
Kathryn's sister snorted. "I bet."
"On what?" Seven replied.
Gretchen and Phoebe laughed softly as Kathryn gave her a gentle smile. She had seen the twinkle in her lover's eye and knew she was displaying more of her burgeoning sense of humor.
"I just meant that I'm sure Kathryn enjoyed your conversations as much as you did." The youngest Janeway clarified.
"I assume so, since she often sought me out at various times during the day to indulge in verbal discourse. It was an odd occurrence when she did not show up in Astrometrics at some point during my duty shift, even if it was simply to share a greeting or make an appointment to spend more time together later in the evening. I found her company very appealing. Our frequent games of Velocity were also quite enjoyable."
"Velocity?" Phoebe looked at her sister in surprise. "I never thought you were into the physical sports, sis. Well, not that kind anyway."
"Actually, Kathryn was the best player on the ship. I, myself, have never defeated her, something which was a constant source of irritation as the difference in our ages and physical abilities should have made mine an obvious victory. But if there is one thing I have come to learn about Kathryn, it is that she is a very surprising and adept individual."
"So you two were close from the beginning?" Gretchen asked.
"No." Seven flushed slightly. "I did not appreciate Kathryn's intentions initially. I demanded that she return me to the Collective. I also tried to use Voyager's communications array to signal a cube, but I failed and ended up in the 'brig'."
"That must have pissed you off." Phoebe laughed, her use of the slang earning a frown from her mother.
The Borg leaned her head to one side. "I was infuriated, but I have since come to appreciate that moment in time immensely."
"How so?" Gretchen leaned forward, resting her chin in her hand and Seven was amazed at how much she looked like her daughter.
"It was the first occasion that Kathryn placed her arms around me."
Phoebe started laughing. "You hit on her in the brig?"
"I most certainly did not!" Kathryn's face was bright red. "I was trying to calm her down. She had just taken a swing at me and she was out of control."
"You tried to hit her?" The youngest Janeway smiled.
The admiral smiled. "In all fairness to Seven she did warn me that she would kill me if I entered her cell."
Gretchen cleared her throat nervously. "Well, I am happy to see your relationship has greatly improved." A timer chimed and she stood to remove the roast from the oven. "Would you girls mind setting the table?"
They all pitched in and soon they were sitting around the dinner table eating pot roast, mashed potatoes, peas and more fresh biscuits.
"So the crew had a hard time getting to know you, huh?" Phoebe asked around a mouthful of potatoes.
"It was often simply a matter of miscommunication." Seven clarified. "One such example was Ensign Kim. He often tried to engage me in flirtatious behavior. I was unfamiliar with such social interaction so I informed him that if he wished to copulate he should remove his clothing."
Kathryn choked on her coffee as Phoebe and Gretchen broke into laughter.
"He did not seem inclined to engage in flirtation after that." The Borg continued. "And there was also the occasion where the Captain implied that I should consider participating in the human courtship ritual of 'dating' Unfortunately, I tore a ligament in Lieutenant Chapman's arm when I attempted to dance with him and I made no further efforts to participate in social engagements."
"Ah." That came out as a strangle squeak as Phoebe tried to wash down the piece of roast she was choking on. "So, if it wasn't love at first sight, when did you start to think that Katie was the girl for you?"
Seven leaned her head to one side, a thoughtful look gracing her features. "I believe it was after the first time the Captain watched me regenerate. She engaged in that activity often when I first came on board and the frequency of her visits increased as the years went by."
"You watched her sleep?" Phoebe grinned at Kathryn. "That's kind of creepy, sis."
Janeway flushed beet red.
"Actually, I found it very comforting and confusing, although at the time I did not understand why." The Borg replied.
Gretchen turned to her eldest. "What about you?"
Kathryn gazed at Seven, a soft smile on her lips. "When she told me her favorite color; I knew then that I was a goner."
"When was that?"
"A week after I let her out of the brig."
"Wait a minute." Phoebe wiped her mouth with her napkin and pushed her plate away. "Are you telling me you both had it bad for each other for years and you didn't do anything about it until you got home? What's the deal with that?"
Kathryn sighed. "Starfleet protocols prohibit Captains from fraternizing with members of their crew."
"But she wasn't even a member of Starfleet."
"That was a technicality, Pheebs. I was still responsible for her safety and well being. I couldn't allow how I felt to get in the way of those responsibilities."
"Forgive me for saying so, sis, but you are a dork."
"Phoebe!" Gretchen started to gather the plates and Seven stood to help her. "Your sister did what any Starfleet officer would do, including your father. She doesn't need you second guessing her now."
"I'm sorry." Phoebe put a hand on Kathryn's arm in apology. "I just don't understand how you could stand to be so close to her feeling the way that you do and not act on it."
"Apparently she spent a great deal of time washing her hair." Seven responded, smiling at Kathryn as the admiral's ears reddened.
Phoebe looked from Kathryn to Seven and back again before deciding she really didn't want to know.
After they cleaned up, Phoebe headed to her room to finish up some sketches she needed to take back to the gallery in Paris the next day and Gretchen made cocoa for Seven and Kathryn.
Kathryn took hers into the den where she could check her messages from the small vid conn her mother kept there while Seven stepped out on the porch to take in the night air.
The cloud cover had finally cleared and the night sky was covered in a brilliant blanket of shimmering stars. She remembered something Naomi Wildman had said to her once, something about stars having the ability to make your wishes come true. She wondered idly what she should wish for now. She was here, with Kathryn and her family. She was loved; she felt warm, safe and complete. What more could anyone possibly want?
The voice startled her, even as the familiar tone was comfortable in an unfamiliar manner. The timber was there, as were the inflections, but there was also a gracefulness to it that came from many years of life experience that eclipsed Kathryn's own. She turned to look behind her, "Gretchen." She nodded slightly surprised that she had not heard the woman's footsteps. It wasn't often that someone caught her unaware.
"Am I disturbing you?" Gretchen asked. "I can go."
"You are not. Please, stay."
Gretchen nodded and came to stand beside her. "I used to catch Kathryn out here at all hours of the night, staring up at the constellations. When I asked her what she saw, she always said the same thing possibilities." She smiled softly. "Is that what you see too?"
"No." The Borg looked at the stars shimmering above her. "I see Kathryn"
"You really love her don't you?"
Seven knew the question was rhetorical but she answered it anyway. "When I was Borg, I had no concept of love. It, along with all other emotions, was considered insignificant next to the perfection of unity. Every thought was shared, every action planned, every response predicted and precise. Kathryn took all of that away from me and gave me one mind, one voice. I felt very small and alone. I did not understand how individuals could survive without a Collective. Then she shared herself with me and I began to appreciate things I never knew existed. The anticipation of seeing her each day, the manner in which her touch would take me by surprise and leave my skin feeling warm even after she had moved away. But more than anything it was her voice that affected me. The way her words seemed to convey feelings and emotions she would not allow herself to share. They left a resonance within me that took a great deal of time to identify."
"What was it?" Gretchen asked softly.
"Longing." The corners of Seven's lips curled into a smile. "My existence was complete only in the moments when she was with me. She became my Collective. And when I finally heard her say the words 'I love you', I truly understood perfection."
Gretchen wiped at the tears that had welled up in her eyes. "She won't stay grounded for long, you know. She's got stars in her blood. She will go back to them."
"I am aware of that eventuality. It is where she belongs."
"Where do you belong?"
"With her." Seven said simply.
"It takes a very special woman to love a Starfleet officer."
Seven turned and looked directly into Gretchen's eyes. "I agree."
Gretchen swallowed, deeply touched. "Come and sit with me for a while." She led Seven over to the porch swing. "Have you given any thought to what you want to do with your life?"
"I have an aptitude for all areas of science. I am positive I will be able to obtain a position that will allow me to stay with Kathryn, wherever Starfleet might send her."
"I'm sure you will. But there are other issues to consider as well."
"Such as?" Seven gave Gretchen her complete attention.
An hour later, Kathryn joined them on the porch. She smiled at them both but there was something sad in her eyes.
"Well," Gretchen stood. "I think I'll turn in. Goodnight."
Kathryn sat down beside Seven and took her hand.
"Something is distressing you." Seven whispered. "Tell me."
Janeway sighed deeply. "They're going to decommission Voyager."
The Borg's eyes widened. "But you informed me that they were performing a retrofit on the ship. What has altered?"
"When they began the work they realized what an incredible conglomeration of technology she had become. They intend to rededicate her as a National Monument and a museum. They'll also use her as a blueprint to incorporate similar technology into new ships, like the Astrometrics lab."
"But not the Borg Alcoves." Seven said softly, making Janeway laugh.
"No, I think those will just be an exhibit. At least until another Starfleet Officer gets as lucky as I did." She looked up at the stars.
"You will acquire another vessel, Kathryn."
"I know." She sighed. "But is it so wrong that I wanted Voyager back?"
"It is not wrong. Voyager was our home." She rubbed Kathryn soothingly on the back. "You were aware that this would happen."
"Yes, fifteen years from now!"
"Voyager will have a place of honor, Kathryn. She will be placed on the steps of the Presidio, so that all individuals may admire and learn from her and her Captain."
Janeway kissed her softly. "They want me to speak at dedication ceremony. It's at the end of the week."
"That should give you sufficient time to prepare a speech."
"Yes it will, but not tonight." She wrapped her arms around the Borg, kissing her tenderly. "Tonight I want nothing more than to curl up and fall asleep in your arms."
They headed upstairs, turning off the lights as they went. While Kathryn went to perform her nightly ablutions, Seven changed into a pair of silk pajamas and slid between the sheets of their small bed.
When Kathryn returned, she closed the door and climbed in next to her, lying on her side and sighing contentedly when the Borg spooned up close behind her, wrapping one long arm around her stomach and resting her chin on her shoulder.
"I love you Kathryn Janeway." She breathed into her ear.
"I love you too Annika Hansen." Smiling, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Chapter Three: Cold Hands
Kathryn woke the next morning with Seven still wrapped around her, one hand cupping her breast gently, long legs tangle up in her own. She stretched happily and kissed her lover awake, adoring the sleepy smile she received in return. "Good morning, you." She whispered.
"Every morning is good when I awake next to you." Seven replied.
The admiral kissed her on the nose. "Sweet talker."
"What is that smell?" The Borg sat up slightly and sniffed the air.
"French toast." Janeway smiled. "Mom's cooking breakfast. I'm going to jump in the shower." She got up and headed for the bathroom, only to stop in her tracks when she realized Seven was following closely behind her. "Where are you going?"
The Borg gave her an innocent look. "I thought you might require assistance washing your hair."
"I think I can manage." She said dryly, then kissed her softly on the lips. "You can go after me."
"If you insist."
Kathryn took a long hot shower, enjoying the feel of the spray against her skin even as she regretted the need to decline Seven's offer. Being home had its perks, but it came with disadvantages as well.
When she was finished, she threw on a t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants, and headed downstairs. She found her mother in the kitchen grilling thick slabs of batter covered bread next two other pans filled with hash browns and bacon.
"Smells wonderful, Mom." She kissed her on the cheek as she accepted the mug of coffee she was handed before claiming her customary stool.
"Did you sleep well, dear?" Gretchen smiled.
"Yes, very." She looked up as Phoebe staggered into the kitchen.
"Coffee." Her little sister croaked. "Before I die."
Kathryn laughed. "What are you doing up? It isn't noon yet you know."
"Trust me, I know." She groused. "I need to get the sketches I did last night back to the gallery in Paris in time for them to be included in the program." She took the mug her mother offered and drained half of it in one gulp. "I don't know what's wrong with you people. Getting up this early just isn't natural." She looked around. "Where's your betty? I could use some eye candy this morning."
Janeway rolled her eyes. "She's taking a shower. And what's with the comments? I thought you were a confirmed man-lover."
"I was, until I saw the kind of women a uniform can attract. Will you take me with you to your next Fleet party?"
"Do you honestly think I would turn you loose at a party full of people I have to work with? Find your own betty."
"What is a 'betty'?"
All three of them looked up to see Seven enter the kitchen. She was wearing her blue-grey biosuit and had her hair done up in a French twist.
"Whoa!" Phoebe walked around her in a circle, her lips pursed. "What's up, pussycat?"
"I beg your pardon?" The Borg looked at her quizzically.
"What's with the cat suit?"
"This is one of five biosuits that comprised my wardrobe on Voyager."
Phoebe's eyebrows climbed into her hairline. "You wore that on Voyager?" She glanced at her sister. "You're a bigger dork than I thought."
Kathryn shot her a disgusted look before turning her attention to her lover. "Why are you dressed in your biosuit?"
Seven took the cup of tea Gretchen offered her and sat down next to Kathryn, laying her hand on her thigh under the counter. "It is necessary that I regenerate today. I decided to transport to Starfleet Headquarters right after breakfast, that way I could return in time to assist Gretchen with the evening meal."
"You cook?" Kathryn's mother looked at her in surprise.
"I did attempt to do so for the senior staff while still on Voyager. They deemed my efforts sufficient."
"More than sufficient." The admiral beamed at her.
"I raised my daughters in a traditionalist home and they can't boil water, but a former Borg drone from the Delta Quadrant can cook." Gretchen sighed. "I would love to have you help."
Kathryn reached down and squeezed Seven's hand. "Let me get dressed and I'll take you to the transport station."
"That is not necessary, Kathryn. You should stay and visit with your family. I will be fine."
"I'm not comfortable with you going alone, Annika. Not after what we just went through."
"I'll take her." Phoebe offered. "I'm going out there anyway. I can drop her at the station and you can have one of your Fleet guys bring her back when she's done. I'd bring her back myself but I don't know how long I'm going to be tied up at the gallery. It could be a late night."
Janeway frowned but she couldn't think of a reason to decline her sister's offer. "You'll be careful? You won't stop for anyone and you won't let her out of your sight until she's already left the transport station?"
Phoebe looked at her mom questioningly but Gretchen just shrugged. "Sure. I'll make sure nothing happens to your one and only."
"Alright then," Kathryn nodded.
They ate breakfast quickly and Kathryn walked Seven to the front door, giving her a long, lingering kiss while Phoebe fidgeted behind them. When they wrapped their arms around each other and began to kiss in earnest she rolled her eyes and sighed. "Jeez, you guys. You're only going to be apart for a few hours. I'd hate to see how you'd say goodbye if Katie was going on a deep space mission." She considered that. "Well maybe I wouldn't hate to see it "
Kathryn considered her sisters words, a small frown creasing her features but Seven only smiled and laid her hand on her cheek. "I will see you soon."
When they had gone, Janeway sent a communiqué to Starfleet Headquarters requesting an escort for Seven back to the ranch house when she was done regenerating. Then she wandered back into the kitchen, so deep in thought that at first she didn't notice her mother staring at her expectantly.
"Are you going to tell me what is going on?"
The admiral looked up, seeing the concern on her mother's features "Mom, you know that Seven is unique."
"That's got to be the understatement of the millennium."
Kathryn poured herself another cup of coffee and sat down. "Her being unique is part of what makes her such a wonderful person But it also makes her a target. About two weeks ago, Seven was abducted by a military sect known as The Mark. They were planning to " She swallowed. "They were planning to take her apart, Mom. To cut out her implants and use them in some master plan to build the perfect soldier."
Gretchen reached across the counter and took her daughters hand, a horrified look on her face.
"That's where we went, B'Elanna, Tom, Tuvok, the Doctor, Chakotay and I. We tracked her from Mars to a moon named Lirnis Two where they were holding her in a medical facility. Luckily we got there in time but we had to do a lot of damage to get her out of there. I'm fairly certain The Mark are not the kind to forgive and forget. Not to mention the other factions out there that would love to get a hold of the Borg technology she still possesses. That's why I don't want her traveling alone. It's just too dangerous."
"Why wasn't Chakotay with her in the first place? I thought she was living with him."
Kathryn flushed. "She was but Seven and I had started trading vid messages back and forth and we realized that we had both left too many things unsaid. Things that were too important to hide from each other anymore. She was on her way to see me when they took her. I had planned to have some Fleet personnel escort her but she and Chakotay had words." Her gaze became hard. "And she left quicker than I expected. I should have been with her."
"Why, so they could have killed you and taken her anyway? Kathryn, as hard as it is for you to hear this, you can't control everything. It's because you weren't with her that you were able to pull the resources together to get her out of there."
Kathryn blinked and angled her head towards the ceiling, trying to hold off the tears that were threatening to overwhelm her. "I love her so much, Mom. I wasted so much time fighting with myself over how I felt about her. If I lost her now "
Gretchen came around the counter and wrapped her daughter up in her arms, holding her as she cried The emotional outburst was turbulent, but short-lived. Within moments Kathryn had collected herself, breaking away from her mother to grab a napkin and wipe her eyes. "I don't know that I have ever seen anyone affect you this way before, honey. I'm so happy for you and so scared for you at the same time."
"Do you like her, Mom?"
Gretchen reached out and took her by the shoulders, bending down slightly to look directly into her eyes. "That woman loves you, Kathryn with everything she has in her. How in the world could I not like her?"
Phoebe glanced over at the woman riding silently beside her, wondering what was going on behind those sky blue eyes. She was such a contradiction in terms; beautiful, intelligent, serious, arrogant, charming, sweet and childlike all at the same time. Everything anyone could ever want in a woman, and Katie found her with the Borg? She was startled when the subject of her musings finally spoke.
"May I ask you a question, Phoebe?"
"Sure can. What's on your mind?"
Seven studied her for a few moments. "Your relationship with Kathryn at times it appears to border on being acrimonious. I was curious as to why."
"I think acrimonious might be a little too harsh a description, but I can see how it could look that way to someone that isn't used to how we interact." She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "Kathryn has always been a control freak. Ever since she was a kid, she's taken herself way too seriously. I guess I just want to break through that shell and get a rise out of her. Prove to her that she doesn't have to be perfect all the time."
"Control is important to Kathryn. It is a part of who she is. You are both very different people. I find it fascinating that you were raised in the same family."
"You have no idea." She laughed. "Mom used to say that together we make a perfectly balanced person. We just fell at different ends of the spectrum. I got the artistic side of the gene pool, she got the responsible side. I actually have a lot of respect for her, of course, I'll deny it if you ever repeat that."
"Why do you not wish her to know that you respect her?"
"It isn't that I don't want her to know. I guess I always figured I shouldn't have to tell her.
"I believe it would mean a great deal to her if she were to hear it from you."
Phoebe glanced over at her. "You really do love her, don't you?"
"Yes I do. That surprises you?"
"It's just that all of her past relationships have been so matter of fact so passionless and dry. But when I see you two together it's like you switched her on or something. She looks at you and she gets this big goofy grin on her face and her eyes light up like a kid at Christmas. I never thought I'd see my sister find that kind of relationship." She reached over and squeezed the Borg's arm. "You are very welcome in this family."
"Thank you." Seven said quietly.
"Hey, no problem, gives me one more person to tease! Now, can I ask you a question?"
"Would you pose for me?"
Seven's eyes widened. "Would I have to be naked?"
Phoebe laughed so hard she almost swerved into a snow bank. "Not unless you want to be. I'm more interested in your features than your assets, Seven. You have a classic profile. I'd love to include a sketch of you in my showing in Paris."
The Borg thought it over carefully. "That would be acceptable."
"Great! We'll get started when I get back."
"What is a 'betty'?"
"You're a betty, Seven." She smiled. "Definitely a betty."
Kathryn and Gretchen spent the afternoon at a farmer's market, picking out vegetables grown organically off site as winter had choked all the farms into non-production. They had lunch at a charming little bistro in Bloomington, Kathryn regaling her mother with stories of Seven and Voyager.
On the way home, they made a delightful detour to a little vineyard that Kathryn had thought would have long since closed. The winery made her absolute favorite Merlot vintage and she purchased several bottles, both for their stay and for when they returned to San Francisco.
They finally got back to the house around 1600 hours and Gretchen went to make coffee while the admiral stood staring out the front window. She was there so long her mother brought her coffee to her.
"I'm sure she's fine, honey." She put a comforting hand on her daughter's shoulder.
Kathryn only nodded and kept up her vigil. The winds had picked up and the sky outside was a swirling mass of mist and snow. At 1645 she was getting ready to pull on her jacket and go looking for them herself. "Where are the keys to the SnoCat, Mom?"
"Kathryn, you can't go out in this. Especially not on the Snocat. You'll get lost before you hit the main road!"
Their conversation was cut short by a low whining sound from outside. Kathryn threw open the front door and watched as a hovercar came into view. She let out a long sigh of relief when a blue-grey blur stepped out, followed by two men in Starfleet uniforms. They escorted her all the way to the door.
"Admiral," The senior officer nodded to her. "I'm sorry it took so long, it was slow going with the weather and all."
"It's no problem, gentlemen." Kathryn said graciously. "Would you like to come in for something warm to drink? Take the chill off?"
"Thank you, Admiral, but we need to get back." He nodded and they climbed back into the hovercar, gliding out of sight.
She turned to Seven and wrapped the tall blonde up in her arms, a happy smile on her face. "I missed you, love."
"I missed you as well." The Borg kissed her gently. "Did you enjoy your time with your mother?"
"Yes, I did." Kathryn glanced behind her, noticing that her mother had quietly retreated to the kitchen. Alone with her lover, she wrapped her hands into her hair, freeing it from its confinement before pulling her head down for a long passionate kiss. "Why don't you go change," She whispered when she released her. "I'll make you some hot cocoa."
"Acceptable." Seven kissed her one last time and headed upstairs.
The admiral made her way to the kitchen, where she found a steaming mug of cocoa on the counter, her mother already having beaten her to the task. She picked up her own cup of coffee and slid onto her stool. "So what's for dinner?"
"Roast chicken and rice with fresh vegetables." Gretchen said idly. "I look forward to seeing just how many cooking skills your girlfriend picked up out in the Delta Quadrant."
My girlfriend. Kathryn smiled to herself. "I love you, Mom."
Gretchen looked up, a slight pink in her cheeks but a pleased smile on her face. "I love you too, honey."
They chatted quietly for a few minutes until Seven joined them. Kathryn thought she looked adorable in a grey pullover and heavy grey sweat pants, nothing on her feet except a pair of thick, comfy socks.
"Kathryn," Gretchen cut into her musings. "The workmen chopped up a cord of wood for me the last time they were here. It's stacked out by the barn. Could you go and get some of it? I feel like a nice big fire tonight."
The admiral looked confused. "Mom, there's a whole stack of firewood next to the hearth."
Her mother smiled. "Fine, then let's try this a different way Kathryn, go outside."
Seven would have smiled at Kathryn's confusion if she hadn't been so nervous. She watched as the admiral picked up her mug and, shooting her an alarmed look, walked out onto the porch.
"Have I done something wrong, Gretchen?" She asked quietly.
"What? Oh, no. Not at all. I just wanted to talk to you for a few minutes." Gretchen placed a hand on her arm. "Seven Annika?"
The Borg nodded slightly.
"Annika Kathryn told me what happened with The Mark." She immediately became concerned when Seven's eyes filled with tears.
"I apologize, Gretchen. I put Kathryn in a position where she was injured and that is inexcusable "
"Oh, no, honey!" She wrapped the tearful blonde up in her arms. "That wasn't your fault. None of that was your fault. You stop thinking that way!" Seven wiped at her eyes and the eldest Janeway thought how much she looked like a young child. "I just wanted to tell you that I know, that it isn't something you need to not discuss around me. I also wanted to tell you how happy I am that Kathryn found you. That you found each other. I have waited a long time for my eldest to find a love that meant more to her than her career. I'm glad it is someone I would be proud to welcome into this family."
Seven felt her heart swell as Gretchen spoke, wondering how the Borg could ever deem love to be irrelevant.
"Have you given any thought to the conversation we had yesterday?"
"Yes I have." She said seriously.
"And what did you decide?"
"There was never a decision to be made." The Borg smiled softly. "It is merely a matter of logistics."
"I think I can help with that. Wait right here."
Kathryn looked over her shoulder and saw her mother walk out of the kitchen, leaving Seven with a decidedly confused look on her face. She desperately wanted to know what they were talking about but knew better than to go back inside before she was invited. She took a long drink from her coffee, wrapping her fingers around the mug to keep her hands warm. The house blocked much of the wind from hitting the porch but it was still cold. A few moments later, Gretchen returned and handed Seven a small, black pouch. The Borg looked inside and the admiral felt her curiosity peak as a small flush crept into her alabaster cheeks. She was even more surprised when Seven reached out and hugged her mother.
Cold and perplexed, she was grumbling to herself when Gretchen came to the porch door. "Kathryn Elizabeth Janeway! What are you doing out there without a coat?" Her mother's eyes twinkled merrily. "You'll catch your death. Get in here."
The admiral sighed and followed her mother inside. She looked at Seven questioningly but the Borg merely raised one eyebrow before noting that her lover's hands were bright pink. She reached out and took them both within her own. "Your hands are very cold." She commented. Without missing a beat, she slid them up and under her own pullover, placing Kathryn's palms against the warm expanse of her stomach.
"Well, I think I'll get the fire going." Gretchen smiled as she left the kitchen.
Kathryn reveled in the soft warmth under her fingertips, taking a moment to rub them slightly over the skin above Seven's implant, earning a soft sigh from her partner. When she looked up, she saw that the Borg's eyes were closed and she had a look of intense pleasure on her face.
With a sly smile, Janeway slid her fingers further up until she just brushed the underside of Seven's breasts before pulling them away altogether, making Seven whimper in disappointment.
"Behave." She whispered.
"I am trying." The Borg looked at her fondly. "But you are making it difficult."
Kathryn leaned in and gave her a small kiss. "What did my mother give you?"
"It is none of your concern." Seven lifted her chin, arrogance sliding back into her features. "It is not necessary that you know everything, Kathryn."
The admiral was about to growl a response when her mother returned. "Later." She whispered. "I'll get it out of you later."
"You are welcome to try." The Borg teased.
The evening was extremely enjoyable and went by much too quickly. Seven helped Gretchen in all areas of the food preparation, learning how to make the Janeway family secret herb rub and the correct method for making tender rice from scratch.
When they sat down to dinner, Kathryn opened a bottle of the Merlot, surprised but pleased when Seven raised her own wine glass to be filled. The conversation was light, filled with stories about the crew of Voyager and some of the fun moments they had managed to have in between all of the red alerts. When Seven raised her glass to be filled a second time, Kathryn quirked one eyebrow in response, but obliged.
Then she sat back and watched the Borg, taking in her beautiful countenance and the ease with which she interacted with Gretchen. She had never seen her more animated and treasured the moments immensely.
When Gretchen rose to get dessert from the kitchen, Seven raised her glass to have it filled again and the admiral frowned. "Are you sure you want more? This vintage is pretty strong, Annika."
"I need it." Seven said hesitantly.
"Because I regenerated today, Kathryn. You cannot expect me to lay awake all night holding you while being forced to 'behave'."
Kathryn chuckled, filling her glass. "I didn't think it would be that hard."
"It shall be." Seven assured her. "And it will only be all the more difficult unless you cease to look at me the way you have been."
"I'm only looking, Annika." Janeway said seductively.
"Yes, but your looking is like touching." The Borg shifted in her seat as Gretchen rejoined them.
They had chocolate crème pie for desert, followed by coffee for Kathryn and more cocoa for Seven which they took to the living room to watch the fire crackling merrily in the hearth. As the hour grew late, the admiral became concerned. "Any word from Phoebe?"
"She called before dinner. She won't be home for a few hours yet. The showing has her pretty much frazzled at this point." Her mother replied.
"Glad to hear it!" Kathryn smiled. "The responsibility will do her good."
They sat in comfortable silence until Gretchen informed them that she was turning in. Seven and Kathryn followed her upstairs, where Kathryn firmly shut and locked her bedroom door.
Seven slipped into her silk pajama top and was about to pull on the bottoms when Kathryn took them from her, throwing them over a chair.
The admiral stepped closer to her, her fingers slowly working through the buttons one by one. "We may have to behave, love, but I for one cannot go another night without at least feeling your skin against mine. Do you mind?"
The Borg trembled as elegant fingers ran up her chest to slide the garment off her shoulders.
"I'll take that as a no." Kathryn laughed. She peeled off her own clothing and climbed into bed, holding the quilt up for Seven to slide in beside her. When she complied, she wrapped herself around the long, lanky frame and sighed in happiness as her hands began to roam across the expanse of Seven's stomach making her shiver and arch her back in response.
Laughing softly, Kathryn continued to touch her, sliding her fingertips from the edge of her ocular implant, down along her neck, before swirling in circles around Seven's hardened nipples. Bypassing them, she continued down across the metal bands of her implant, lightly brushing the pale thatch of hair between her legs to stroke her thighs possessively.
"Kathryn " The Borg whispered, her breath becoming shallow. "I will not tell you."
The older woman's laugh was husky. "I guess I'll have to try harder." She brought her lips up to taste Seven's mouth, moaning when their tongues met, losing herself in the heat of the kiss. Her fingers seemed to move of their own accord, seeking out and finding a pebbled nipple, closing on it with a gentle fierceness that took the Borg's breath away.
Seven brought her hands up to tangle in the auburn locks, her whole body focused on the feel of the hands against her. "Kathryn please.." She begged.
The admiral groaned and gave in, all thought of coercion gone as she felt one smooth thigh slip between her legs. She raised herself over Seven's body, settling the tender flesh between her legs more firmly onto the muscular thigh. She felt moisture flood the top of her knee where it rested at the apex of Seven's legs and groaned, forgetting why they weren't supposed to be doing this in the first place.
With wild abandon, she kissed her way down the leonine neck and across one elegant clavicle, trailing her lips down until they closed over a perfect nipple, sucking it into her mouth to graze her teeth over it roughly She shifted slightly, bringing one hand up to her other nipple while her other hand slid down Seven's stomach to tangle in the golden curls. The Borg whimpered as she parted her folds and her fingers slid over the swollen ridge of her sex.
"Shhhh." Kathryn whispered as her tongue and her fingers found a perfect rhythm and Seven began to grind her hips up and into her. After playing in the wetness for several minutes, she slid two, long elegant fingers inside her lover, sighing at the sheer pleasure of the muscles tightening around them.
Leaving the perfect breasts behind, she slid down Seven's body, slipping her tongue into the Borg's cleft to flick at the swollen bundle of nerves before closing her lips around it to suckle it in earnest. She could almost hear Seven biting her lip to keep from crying out, and the thought of her holding in her passion enflamed her even more. She sped up the motion of her fingers, thrusting more heavily as the Borg began to shake uncontrollably, her climax nearing.
When it hit, the entire length of the long beautiful body went rigid, her hands flat on the sheets, toes curled tightly and Kathryn glanced up, chuckling softly when she saw Seven biting down on the implant of her left hand. As the wave passed, she climbed back up to give her lover a passionate, tangy kiss, before resuming her position on Seven's raised thigh.
Reaching down, Seven slid her fingers inside Kathryn, using the leg as leverage as the older woman thrust against her. She studied Kathryn's face as the woman rode her, losing herself in look of ecstasy apparent in her features.
When Kathryn finally came, she buried her face in Seven's neck, biting down hard on the pulse point to keep from crying out before collapsing heavily on top of her.
"I never imagined that you could be so silent." Seven panted. "That was most enjoyable."
"Yes it was." The admiral laughed quietly.
"I now have the memory of being with you somewhere no one else has ever been." The Borg quipped, earning an adoring grin from her lover. "But I am not yet finished with you."
"Annika, I don't know that I can be quiet if you put your mouth on me."
"Try." Seven whispered as she flipped them over, sliding down the compact body to claim her with her lips. "Perhaps a pillow will help."
Kathryn laughed and grabbed one, placing it over her face.
Morning dawned with a bright ray of sunshine that spilled through the window to bathe their resting bodies in it's warmth They were tangled up together in the center of the bed, sheets and comforter wrapped snuggly around them as Kathryn played lazy fingers across Seven's stomach.
The Borg sighed happily. "What shall we do today?"
"Well, the day looks gorgeous outside the window. I thought I might take you tobogganing."
"Tobogganing?" Seven repeated. "Like in the picture?"
"Yes," Janeway smiled at the childlike delight in her lover's voice. "We have some excellent hills behind the house for it. It's something you've never done before. Are you up for it?"
"Of course." She stretched, her lithe form arching back to flex every muscle, something that Kathryn watched with great appreciation. "We will need to shower first."
"I think that's a good idea." Kathryn breathed in deeply, relishing the scent of their passion that still lingered in the room. "Let me go first, I'll be quick."
Seven lay in their bed after she was gone, understanding finally how being lazy could be enjoyable. She had just started to doze off when Kathryn poked her head in the door.
"It's all yours. I'm going to grab some coffee. See you in the kitchen in fifteen minutes."
Her heart caught at the loving grin the older woman threw her way as she rose from their bed. Grabbing up some clothes she thought appropriate for their endeavors that morning, she headed for the bathroom, her mouth watering at the scent of pancakes that emanated from the kitchen downstairs.
"Morning, Mom." Kathryn smiled broadly at her mother as she grabbed a mug of coffee. "How was your night?"
Gretchen Janeway took in her daughter's brilliant smile and grinned at her. "Not as good as yours."
Kathryn flushed. "What do you mean?"
Reaching up, Gretchen flipped at her collar. "You better take care of those hickies or your sister will never let you live it down."
Blanching, she ran to her mother's bathroom and stared at her reflection. "What hickies?"
The sound of her mother's laughter made her blush even harder. "Very funny, Mom." She groused, returning to her stool by the counter. She watched her mother ladle spoonfuls of golden liquid onto the griddle, her stomach rumbling in anticipation.
When Seven finally joined them, she was ready to eat the empty plates sitting on the counter in front of her.
"Good morning, Gretchen. That smells very good." Seven smiled as she entered the kitchen.
Kathryn looked up at her and felt her stomach do a little flip. The Borg was dressed in faded blue jeans and black snow boots. She had on a white button down shirt that was tucked in at the waist and had the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. She looked good enough to eat and Kathryn almost expressed that sentiment before remembering they were not alone. She bit the inside of her cheek instead.
Seven strolled up to her and dropped a kiss onto her head as she took her place next to her. Gretchen dished them up heaping platters of Pancakes, eggs and hash browns before joining them herself.
"Where's Phoebe?" Seven inquired.
"Right here." The youngest Janeway trudged into the kitchen, her eyes bleary and her shoulders slumped with tiredness.
"You all right, Pheebs?" Kathryn looked at her in alarm.
"I'm fine." Phoebe sighed. "It was just a really long night getting the gallery set up for the showing tomorrow. I'm sure the stewards hate me by now, with how many times I made them move the exhibit around. I was worn out when I got home and then of course I was too tired to sleep." She took a sip of coffee as her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "Hey, did I hear humming coming from your room last night?"
Kathryn choked on her coffee, sending a spray of it across her sister's chest as Seven turned bright red. Without a word, the Borg stood and pulled on her jacket, then exited through the porch door.
"Sorry, Pheebs." Kathryn mumbled quickly. Her laughter carried back to them as she chased after her lover calling out, "I told you so!"
The youngest Janeway looked down at her shirt before turning her questioning gaze on her mother. "What did I say?"
Gretchen only shrugged and smiled as she started to clear away the dishes.
Chapter Four - Warm Heart
Seven of Nine stared down the snow covered hill, anticipation and apprehension warring within her for superiority as she watched her lover clamber onto the flat conveyance joyfully. "How do you steer this device?"
"With your feet, see?" Kathryn placed both her appendages against the curved board on the front of the toboggan, shifting them from side to side, making the runners turn slightly.
"And that is sufficient to keep us from gliding to our deaths?"
The older woman held out her hand, beckoning Seven to get on behind her. "Don't worry, Annika. I won't crash us into a tree. If I can captain a starship I'm sure I can handle a toboggan."
"Tom Paris helmed Voyager." The Borg said dubiously.
"Just get on!" Kathryn laughed.
When Seven was settled snuggly against her back, Kathryn leaned forward, using their body weight to set the sled in motion. They flew down the hill quickly, their hair flying out in the breeze behind them and she heard a small sound of pleasure from the woman behind her.
"Like it?" She called out over the sound of the wind.
"It is exhilarating!" Seven responded.
As they neared the bottom of the hill, Kathryn pulled back on the rope threaded through the front of the sleigh. The toboggan groaned beneath them and she suddenly realized that she hadn't taken the extra body weight of Seven's implants into consideration. She tugged harder, causing the nose of the sled to lurch to one side.
The whole conveyance flipped over, sending the two of them cart-wheeling into the snow where they lay, Kathryn laughing uproariously and Seven looking at her with pointed disgust.
"You said you would not crash us." She accused.
"No, I said I would not crash us into a tree." Kathryn rolled over, sliding herself on top of Seven. Picking up a handful of snow, she gently rubbed it into her surprised features. "Tag, you're it!" She jumped up and ran.
Seven gracefully got to her feet. She reached down and formed a tight snowball with her hands and then watched the older woman's path intently. Finally, she pulled her arm back and let the snowball fly, satisfied when it thumped into the back of her lover's head, earning her a startled yelp.
"Hey!" Kathryn stuck her tongue out at her. "No fair! You can't use your Borg enhanced everything! That's cheating!"
"I fail to see how it could be cheating when my 'Borg enhanced everything' is a part of me. You are merely upset that I have met your challenge. You should pick your opponents more wisely."
She realized a moment too late that it was probably not a good idea to taunt a Starfleet Admiral.
Janeway went flying at her, impacting her midsection solidly, sending them both sprawling into the snow yet again. She then proceeded to rub more snow in her lover's face. "Give?"
Kathryn rolled her eyes. "Do you give up?"
"Never." Seven picked her up, using her Borg hand to slide her body across the snow.
"I'm not a bowling ball!" Kathryn protested, laughing.
They played for over an hour, each of them finding new ways to pelt each other with the soft fluffy snow until they collapsed onto a rock at the base of a tall tree. Kathryn brushed the remaining flakes from Seven's face and kissed her gently.
The Borg swallowed. "Take off your gloves."
The admiral gave her a curious look but did as she was asked.
"Hold out your hand." Seven requested.
Kathryn did, surprised when the Borg set a small ball of snow, approximately two inches in diameter in the center of her palm. Then she wrapped the admiral's fingers around it, surrounding her hand with her own.
"Annika!" Janeway laughed. "That's cold!"
"There is an old Earth saying, is there not," Seven whispered. "Cold hands, warm heart?"
"Yes, but I don't think-" Kathryn stopped speaking. The snow had finished melting in the heat of her hand and she felt something hard left behind. Seven pulled her hands away and Kathryn spread her fingers, her face registering shock even as her breath left her in a gasp.
There, in her palm, was a perfect gold circle. There was a large solitaire diamond set into it, with sprays of smaller diamonds on either side. She looked up at her lover in confusion. "Annika, where did you get this?"
"From your mother." Seven plucked the ring from her palm. "Gretchen informed me that this ring was originally her grandmothers and that your grandfather added the smaller diamonds to the setting before he used it to propose to your grandmother."
Kathryn swallowed, hard. "State your intentions."
"I intend to marry you, Kathryn Elizabeth Janeway." Seven gently held the ring with the fingertips of her left hand. "If you will have me."
The admiral felt tears threaten to overwhelm her again for the second time in as many days and tried to stop them, knowing they would freeze almost immediately. When she was unsuccessful, Seven reached up and wiped the crystals from her cheeks gently. "Will you marry me, Kathryn?" She whispered.
The older woman threw her arms around the startled blonde, knocking her backwards into a snowdrift where she kissed her senseless. "There is nothing that would make me happier, Annika."
Smiling, Seven slipped the ring onto her finger and then linked them with her own. They lay together, kissing in the snow, for several long minutes until they both felt the dampness seeping into their clothes.
"C'mon." Janeway stood and pulled the younger woman to her feet. "Let's go tell Mom she's got a daughter-in-law. Although I'm sure she's already well aware of it."
Hand in hand, they headed back to the house.
"Now that we are engaged "
Kathryn laughed. "We still need to be quiet, Annika."
Phoebe looked over at her older sister and rolled her eyes. For the last hour Kathryn had been alternating between staring at Seven and staring at the ring on her finger. It was enough to make anyone go into a diabetic coma.
What was worse, Seven took every opportunity to brush against Kathryn that she could find. It was sensual in a way that made Phoebe very uncomfortable. This was her sister's fiancé for god's sake!
But if she was honest with herself, it wasn't the sensual part that really bothered her. As happy as she was for her sister, the love that was apparent between them made her realize just how empty her own personal life was. Something she would have to fix immediately. No way was she going to Kathryn's wedding without a date!
Especially now that her eyes had been opened to all new avenues of possibility.
When Kathryn pulled Seven to her for another kiss, she finally couldn't hold her tongue any longer. "Jeez you two! Get a room!" Her eyes twinkled mischievously. "Preferably a sound proof one."
Seven looked over at the youngest Janeway, her eyes assessing her keenly. "Perhaps you should try a social engagement yourself, Phoebe." Her eyebrow arched when she saw her comment had struck its mark. "I know of several unattached females that I would be happy to introduce you to."
"Uh..oh.." Phoebe stammered and turned bright pink.
"Who did you have in mind, love?" Kathryn played along, enjoying the turnabout in the teasing.
"Tal Celes is quite attractive and, if the rumors are true, quite sympathetic to our cause."
"Tal Celes?" Janeway's mouth dropped. "She's so quiet."
"I was unaware that being loud was a requirement for same sex affiliation." She eyed her lover, one eyebrow raised. "Of course, if you are any indication "
Kathryn leaned up and smothered her lover's words with a kiss. "I think Mom could use your help in the kitchen, Annika." She said pointedly.
The Borg gave her a soft smile and headed for the other room as Phoebe finally exhaled.
"She's a handful."
Kathryn couldn't tell if Phoebe was paying Seven a compliment or not and decided to let it pass. "Yes, and she's my handful."
"I'm really happy for you." Phoebe took a deep breath. "I want you to know that I have always been proud of you, Katie. I know sometimes I act like a brat, but that doesn't mean I don't respect you, and everything you've done, both for your crew and for this family."
Kathryn looked at her in surprise, completely unprepared for the turn in the conversation. "Thank you." She said quietly.
Wordlessly, Phoebe walked over to her and wrapped her up in a hug. It was brief, but they both had tears in their eyes when it ended.
"That doesn't mean I'm going to let you get away with anything!" The youngest Janeway pointed out. "I'm still going to tell you when you're being a dork."
"Wouldn't have it any other way." Her big sister smiled.
Gretchen and Seven joined them at that moment, both of them carrying platters full of food for the evening meal. They gathered around the table and Kathryn filled all their wineglasses from a bottle of her prized merlot before raising her own in a toast. "To our family."
Gretchen raised her glass up and clinked it merrily against Kathryn's. "May it continue to grow." She said with a twinkle in her eye.
Seven stared at her lover, wondering why she suddenly looked like a small animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. She would have to ask her about it later. She raised her own glass. "Thank you for welcoming me into your home, Phoebe and Gretchen. There is no place in the galaxy that I would rather be."
"The name's Mom, Annika." The eldest Janeway smiled brilliantly. "Get used to it."
Admiral Kathryn Janeway sat in the command seat of Voyager, her heart heavy with the bittersweet feel of the moment. All around her, there were familiar faces. Tom was at the helm, B'Elanna was at the engineering station, Tuvok was at security, Harry was at communications and Seven was at the aft science console. The Doctor stood a few feet behind her and even Chakotay was there, sitting in his own chair, a faraway look on his face as he stared straight ahead.
This was to be Voyagers last flight and every one of her crew had shown up to witness it.
They flew low over the Golden Gate Bridge, fireworks exploding all around them. As they reached their destination, Tom brought the ship to a halt, hovering above the Presidio gracefully.
"Condition Blue, Mr. Paris."
"Aye, Captain." Tom smiled, knowing that was the title she would want used for this event. "Landing gear extended."
Janeway sighed. "Take us down."
Voyager floated effortlessly downwards until her struts impacted the hard earth, the ship settling finally onto its permanent home.
"All stop." Janeway said quietly. "Shut her down, Tom."
Every spine was straight and every eye tearful as the hum of Voyager's engines died away for the final time.
Standing, Admiral Janeway stepped forward, accepting a glass of champagne from Harry Kim.
"Almost eight years ago, I took command of Voyager. She was my first vessel, and I loved her from the minute I saw her, glimmering in dry dock at the Utopia Planetia ship yards. Our first mission well, it went a little longer than anyone anticipated." Everyone laughed. "During those long lost years, Voyager became more to us than just a ship. She became a living, breathing member of the crew. She was the skin that held our community together, she was the armor that protected us from our enemies, and she was the salvation that delivered us home to our families. I can think of no better tribute to her than to make her a piece of living history, so that every individual may admire and learn from her."
Seven smiled at her gently.
Kathryn raised her champagne flute, looking up. "You did us proud, my friend. You will always be a part of us." She took a drink quickly, trying to hide the catch in her voice. "We will never forget you."
Cheering began throughout the ship, all of which was broadcast around the world from the video stations on every deck.
Admiral Paris and Admiral Neyechev stepped forward, each of them shaking her hand before turning to congratulate the rest of her crew.
There was to be a huge reception at Fleet headquarters, one which Kathryn knew she would be required to attend, but all she really wanted at that moment was to curl up in Seven's arms and cry. Two months from now, Voyager would open its doors to the public and the whole world would be able to set foot onto her decks and imagine what it had been like, lost out there in the Delta Quadrant.
What they would never be able to imagine, was how much the ship meant to its crew, how much it represented a home to the one hundred and forty seven people who had been ready to live out their lives on her.
She watched as people began to disembark for the last time. Taking Admiral Paris by the arm, she whispered, "Give me minute here."
He nodded silently and followed the rest out, leaving only Kathryn and Seven behind.
The admiral moved slowly across the bridge before entering her ready room, followed by her fiancé. She ran her hands along the edge of the desk, before stepping up to the windows to stare out them one final time. "The view is different." She choked on the words. "But it feels the same."
Seven came up behind her and wrapped her arms around her. "It will always be our home."
Kathryn sighed heavily before turning in the embrace to kiss her gently. "You will always be my home." She took the Borg by the hand. "Come on let's go to the reception before they send out a search party."
As they headed for the turbo lift, Seven hung back and Janeway turned to look at her questioningly. She watched as the Borg climbed the steps to stand behind the command chairs.
Laying one hand on the console, she looked around the bridge and whispered, "Thank you."
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