Getting Past It
Seven of Nine looked up from the bouquet of flowers in her hands as a voice called out, requesting a hold on the turbolift. Seconds later, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres darted through the door--and came to a screeching halt in front of the young woman already occupying the car.
"Oh, Seven," she said, pulling absently at the collar of her dress uniform. "Hi."
"Hello, Lieutenant," replied Seven, her blue eyes lifting to acknowledge the Chief Engineer and then falling again, as if unwilling to maintain eye contact. The door to the turbolift swished shut but the mechanism did not move. Neither occupant had yet given it a destination.
B'Elanna cursed quietly to herself. She'd been alternately drawn to and avoiding the young ex-Borg all night, hovering just on the edge of the party, watching as she mingled or danced or timidly nibbled tiny portions of the grand feast marking the enormity of the event. Now she was alone with Seven, in close quarters. And she'd had too much to drink. B'Elanna cursed again but this time Seven heard it.
She looked up sharply. "Lieutenant, are you all right?"
"What? Oh, yeah, Seven. Sorry. I just realized that I'm probably going to have a killer headache tomorrow. Not looking forward to it, ya know?" She gave the blonde a lopsided half-grin.
"I saw you and several of your staff partaking of the Saurian ale and the Talaxian champagne. Perhaps I can convince the Doctor to make an exception to his rule about treating the hangovers of the senior staff. I would be happy to make the attempt if you would wish it."
B'Elanna was shocked and a little stunned by the offer. "Uh, thanks, Seven, really. But I knew what I was doing. I'll take the lumps." She smiled again. "But thanks for caring."
"You're welcome." Seven nervously played with one of the blooms in the bouquet as silence fell between the two.
B'Elanna pulled at the collar of her uniform again and wondered if the temperature was unnaturally high in the lift or if it was just her. She looked at Seven again, letting her coppery eyes follow the line of Seven's dress as it hugged the young woman's sweet curves. Feeling her hearts begin to beat in triple time, the Klingon wrenched her eyes away from the sight.
"So," she said, breaking the uncomfortable silence, "did you have a good time, Seven? I mean, it was your first wedding and you were the maid of honor and everything..."
"I found it...enjoyable if a little unsettling. I have not experienced 'stage fright' before and yet I found myself plagued by it immediately before the ceremony began. I believe my fear of disappointing the captain contributed to the sensation."
"You did a great job, Seven, and I don't think anyone could tell you were nervous. I know the captain was thrilled to have you by her side."
"She expressed as much at the reception," replied Seven, smiling slightly. "I was glad to hear it. It...pleased me to be present on such an important occasion."
Before B'Elanna could reply, the door to the turbolift swished open, admitting Tal Celes and Megan Delaney, both giggling shamelessly and holding each other upright. They stopped dead when they saw B'Elanna and Seven.
"Oooops," said Tal sloppily. "Um..."
"Yeah, wrong lift," agreed the equally unsteady Delaney. "Sorry to...ummm...interrupt?"
Meghan pushed Tal backwards out of the turbolift and Seven and B'Elanna both could hear their laughter as the door slid shut.
"I guess we are taking up a perfectly good lift," said B'Elanna as she watched the door. She turned back to Seven and began to ask "Do you want--?" before noticing Seven had slid down the wall of the lift and was now sitting on the carpeted deck.
Kneeling quickly by the young woman's side, B'Elanna asked, "Seven? Are you all right?"
"I am...fine, Lieutenant. Merely fatigued."
"Call me B'Elanna. And I've never seen you sit on the floor before. Are you sure you're all right?"
Seven nodded. "I am. I am merely tired and yet I do not wish to return to the cargo bay at this time. I would prefer to..."
B'Elanna frowned, her brow crumpling over her darkening eyes. "Prefer to what?" When she received no immediate answer, the young engineer looked up at the ceiling.
"Computer, divert this turbolift car to maintenance bay alpha two and seal it with my lockout code, authorization Torres Alpha Gamma three."
"Working," responded the computer. The lift powered up and began to move. Within minutes it was safely ensconced in the empty maintenance bay. "Maintenance request complete."
B'Elanna turned back to Seven, sighed, then sat cross-legged near her.
"Do you mind if I take off this ridiculous dress tunic?" she asked. "It's hot as Grethor in here."
"Not at all, Lieu--B'Elanna."
B'Elanna unbuttoned the tunic, folded it neatly, and set it beside her, relishing the fresh air cooling her bare arms and shoulders. She stretched her arms over her head for a minute, then folded them in her lap. She looked at Seven again, wondering what to say.
"So...what do you think about this marriage, Seven? It's pretty unusual, don't you think?"
Seven turned her pale eyes to B'Elanna, her optical implant rising slightly over her left eye.
"It is true that Captain Janeway's first priority is returning her ship and crew to the Alpha quadrant but I do not feel that necessitates refraining from fulfilling interpersonal relationships. She is a strong, capable woman who requires emotional support and physical comfort just as anyone else does. Mr. Neelix respects the captain and holds her in high esteem. They seem to genuinely care for one another and I believe the dichotomous nature of their personalities will actually cement their relationship. Though I would not have necessarily predicted this pairing, I find myself approving of it. Of course, my approval is not necessary nor was it sought. All that matters is the happiness of the couple."
B'Elanna blinked. "Wow, Seven. That was great! I don't know that anyone could have put that so... You should have given a speech at the reception."
"I was asked to do so. I declined."
"I did not feel that I would be able to function well enough in front of so many people to give a speech. I felt the emotional factors would compromise my normally calm demeanor."
"Oh," said B'Elanna. "You really care for the captain, don't you?"
"She rescued me from the Borg, has given me shelter and a means of contributing to the welfare of my new Collective...is it not proper that I care for her? She has been a great friend to me, has taught me much about the Humanity I lost to the Borg, has forgiven my mistakes and has praised my accomplishments. I am happy for her and glad to be considered her friend."
B'Elanna gaped at Seven, amazed by the candor and openness of her statement. She felt a twinge in her belly and an ache over her hearts and took a deep breath to calm herself. She had known for some time that she was attracted to Seven, both physically and intellectually, but the revelation of these sweet, pure emotions nearly completely undid her.
"Seven, I don't know what--"
"B'Elanna, why did you not ask me to dance at the reception? According to three different crewmen, you were 'practically salivating' at the sight of me. Does that not usually indicate interest of an intimate nature?"
B'Elanna gulped. She hoped her eyes weren't too wide or her jaw too slack. She felt her mouth go dry and her palms begin to sweat. There was some sort of short in her brain.
"I waited for you all evening," added Seven quietly, her eyes dipping away from the young engineer.
That did it for B'Elanna. Whatever fear or hesitancy she felt melted under the soft heat of Seven's admission. She stood.
"Computer, play Pachelbel's Canon in D for strings, adagio."
The gentle strains of the traditional piece filled the car of the turbolift and B'Elanna reached down a hand to the young woman now staring at her with a mixture of disbelief and hope.
"Seven, may I have this dance?"
Seven of Nine, former Tertiary Adjunct to the Unimatrix 01, placed her left hand in B'Elanna's and allowed herself to be helped up off the floor and into the Klingon's arms. B'Elanna led the dance and the two of them moved gracefully around the confines of the small car to the sweet and haunting music.
Seven gazed into B'Elanna's mahogany eyes for a long moment before an incandescent smile slowly overtook her features. B'Elanna's own features couldn't help but mirror the joy she saw.
Still swaying slowly to the music, the young engineer reached up and brushed something out of Seven's long, untamed tresses.
"You had some confetti in your hair," she whispered by way of explanation. She did not mention the added benefit of finally knowing how soft and silky Seven's hair felt.
Seven only nodded, her moonlight eyes becoming half-lidded as she lowered her mouth to B'Elanna's, kissing her slowly and with such tenderness that B'Elanna felt her hearts would burst through her chest wall all on their own. When Seven deepened the kiss, shyly touching her tongue to B'Elanna's cranberry painted lips, the brunette gasped and felt her knees buckle before she answered the silent request by opening her mouth.
The kiss rocketed through both women like an imploding star. They all but stopped their gentle swaying as one kiss became many, each deeper and more earnest than the last. Finally, desperate for oxygen, they parted, resting their foreheads together as they struggled to breathe.
"Oh, god, Seven." B'Elanna's hands were unstillable, her fingers running through the young woman's hair, down her back, over her hips.
"Indeed," breathed Seven.
B'Elanna looked up into Seven's eyes. "You really waited for me to ask you to dance all night?"
"Why didn't you ask me to dance, then? I would have jumped at the chance..." Her assertion faded into silence as she watched Seven's features go from flushed with arousal to flushed with embarassment. "What is it, Seven?"
"It did not...occur to me...to ask you to dance. It is a logical alternative to waiting but I did not even think of it. Why is that?" Seven looked so honestly flummoxed, B'Elanna couldn't help but laugh.
"Because you're human?"
Seven blinked once and then laughed herself. "Apparently I have assimilated humanity more completely than I realized."
"Oh yeah," agreed B'Elanna, snaking one hand up to the nape of Seven's neck and pulling her down for a long, slow, wet kiss that raced through them both like wildfire.
When they parted for the second time, Seven linked her arms around B'Elanna's waist. "There is one aspect of humanity I have not had the opportunity to assimilate," she whispered, a shy smile tinting her cherry pink lips.
"And what would that be?" breathed B'Elanna as her blood began to pound through her veins.
Seven leaned in close to the brunette, finding the tender shell of her ear, and whispered, "Take me to bed, bang'wi."
Breathing unsteadily, B'Elanna Torres said, "Computer, reinstate this turbolift car to active service, destination deck nine. Authorization Alpha Gamma three."
B'Elanna Torres gazed down at Seven of Nine, her bare skin bathed in candlelight, her egg-blue eyes wide with wonder and love. She watched the young woman's belly rise and fall with every desperate breath, watched as she arched her perfect back into every caress.
Pachelbel's Canon in D filled the room around them and B'Elanna leaned forward to kiss Seven, tears spilling over her lashes as she felt the beginnings of her lover's first angelic release beneath and around her fingers, gently enclosed in the sweetest space.
"Yes, baby, let it go," she whispered against a mouth elegantly shaped by a soft gasp.
"I waited my whole life for you, Lani," breathed Seven. "My whole life."
"I know, baby, I know. I'm here now. I've got you." She wound strands of blonde silk around her dark fingers. "I've got you."
Seven's breathing heightened into a quiet keening and then faded into earnest moans. She felt the tightening inside her body, felt her blood and breath quicken, felt the heat of her skin rising. She was a storm of sensation, the impossible cacaphony of every emotion, every thought, every dream in the Universe.
And then....and then....and then....
She was the light and heat of fire in the night, the speed and depth of wind over water, the reverberation of every bell that ever pealed along the mountainside.
"Lani!" she cried, arching her alabaster body up into B'Elanna's embrace as she came for the first time.
"Oh god, oh god, yes, baby..." B'Elanna stayed with Seven, caress for caress, as she rode the waves of a second and third release until finally they both collapsed, B'Elanna's fingers still exquisitely enclosed within Seven.
Breathless, her face wet with the remnants of tears, B'Elanna wrapped herself around Seven's shuddering body, drawing a quilt around them both and whispering sweetnothings to calm and soothe her.
Seven wound her arms around the smaller woman, pulling her as close as she could, irrationally wishing she could crawl inside B'Elanna forever.
"I love you, Lani," she murmurred against B'Elanna's caramel skin. "I always have."
The young Klingon pressed a kiss to Seven's forehead and settled the young woman against her chest where she could hear the twin beatings of her smitten hearts.
"I love you, too, Seven, baby." She closed her eyes and buried her face in Seven's sweet-smelling hair. "Now sleep, bang'wi. Sleep. I've got you." She took a deep breath and smiled. "I've got you. Forever."
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