DISCLAIMER: This Star Trek Voyager story utilizes characters that are copyright © by Paramount Pictures. No infringement on their respective copyrights is intended by the author in any way, shape or form. This is an original story. The story and non-trek characters belong to the author.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: A very heartfelt thank you to Pam, Beta Extraordinaire. Your expert help and untiring dedication to this story is greatly appreciated. Also thanks to Victoria, for listening to me talk incessantly about the story and characters. Your support means a lot to me. And to WW for her continued encouragement and support.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a sequel to my Star Trek Voyager Story, Unexpected Arrival. It takes place approximately ten months after the end of Unexpected Arrival.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Into the Void
By RJ Nolan


Chapter Twenty-eight

Voyager – Prime

Del's eyes fluttered open and she groaned in pain. No, not again.

"Ah…I see you're wake," said a familiar voice.

Del turned her head to the side and spotted the doctor running a scanner over Seven's implanted hand. Seven smiled lovingly at her and seemed fine. The knot that had begun forming in her stomach eased somewhat at the sight of her wife. She glanced the other way to the biobed on the other side of her and sighed heavily.

Struggling to sit up, Del's head spun. "Where are we?" she asked. The 'other' Voyager had launched them into the nebula. Things had gone fine until they hit the void, then everything on the shuttle had gone off-line. Del remembered the console in front of her exploding then nothing else, which was what most likely accounted for the pounding headache she had.

The doctor immediately approached with a concerned look on his face. "Can you tell me your name?"

Del growled in exasperation. "I know who I am doctor. What I want to know is where the hell are we? Which Voyager?"

The Doctor reached out and patted Del's arm condescendingly. "No need to get upset, Commander. You hit your head so it would be best if you remained calm."

Del ground her teeth. She hated his patronizing manner under the best of circumstances.

Seven quickly slid off the biobed and made her way over to Del seeing the impending explosion.

"We are on our own Voyager," Seven assured.

"Are you sure?"

The door to sickbay slid open before she could answer and a bedraggled Captain Janeway stepped inside.

"Welcome home, ladies," she greeted with a warm smile. She was visibly relieved to see the women. They looked tired and a bit worse for wear, but she was sure the same thing could be said of her. The important part was that they were here safe and sound.

Del and Seven took in the short bob haircut and sighed in relief.

Del grinned at her captain. Now that she had the emotional emanations of the two Janeway's to compare, this was definitely their Janeway. That in and of itself went a long way in convincing her they were where they belonged.

"It's good to be home," she said.

Janeway expression turned sober. Harry had only picked up two lifesigns in the shuttle. She turned back toward Del.

"What happened to Lieutenant Jarvis?"

Del felt tears pool behind her eye and sent up a silent prayer for her friend. "She didn't make it."


Chapter Twenty-nine

Voyager – Alternate

"Captain Janeway."

Janeway tore her eyes away from the viewscreen and turned toward B'Elanna, worried by her slightly panicked tone of voice. She found her next to Annika, who was seated at the science station. Janeway quickly hurried toward them.

Janeway knelt down next to Annika. She was shocked to see tears flowing down one side of her face. "Are you injured?" Receiving no response, she looked up at B'Elanna. "What happened?"

"I don't know. She just slumped down into the chair and started to cry." B'Elanna was obviously confused and a bit upset. None of them had ever seen Annika display emotion like this before. B'Elanna wished Seven and Del were still onboard.

Janeway was so engrossed in trying to figure out what was wrong with Annika she didn't hear the turbo lift doors open. A startled gasp from Harry Kim drew her attention. Now what? She glanced back over her shoulder and cursed under her breath; she couldn't believe it.

On hearing the Captain's angry outburst, Annika looked up and spotted the bedraggled newcomer. Before anyone could react she was on her feet and racing across the bridge.

"Kara!" she cried and threw herself into the woman's arms.

Kara braced herself as well as she could. She wasn't too steady on her feet and her vision was blurred. Amazingly, she managed to keep them both upright. She wrapped her arms around Annika, holding the sobbing woman close.

"It's alright. Everything is going to be fine now," she soothed.

Annika couldn't believe that Kara was actually here. When the viewscreen came on and she realized the void was gone, a piercing pain of loss had seared through her. She pulled back a bit; she had to see Kara's face.

"You are injured," Annika gasped, feeling a surge a panic. She had just gotten her back. She couldn't stand to lose her now.

Kara was having a hard time seeing and it was getting harder to breath, but nothing mattered except being here, holding Annika in her arms again.

"It's nothing. I'm fi…"

"Computer, medical emergency. Two to transport directly to sickbay," Annika ordered.

"No, wait…" Kara managed before the transporter beam took her.

Janeway stared for several seconds at the space that had so recently been occupied by the two women. She glanced back at the field of stars displayed on the viewscreen and growled to herself. She was furious; the woman had actually defied her. Turning her attention back to the bridge, she found her crew staring open-mouthed at her. She glared and everyone suddenly found something extremely important to do.

"Mr. Kim, send out repair teams. Chakotay, you have the bridge. I'll be in sickbay," she snarled, before stalking to the turbolift.

As soon as the doors closed behind her the volume level on the bridge jumped. Everyone was eager to discuss what they had just witnessed.

Chakotay had to admit he was stunned by the stunt Jarvis had pulled. He grimaced; he wouldn't want to be in her shoes when Captain Janeway got hold of her.

"State the nature of the medical emergency."

As soon as they materialized Annika swept Kara up into her arms and deposited her on a biobed.

"Help her," Annika demanded.

The doctor quickly ran a tricorder over Kara. "You've been exposed to a partial vacuum. I thought you had gone back to your own universe. What happened?"

"I was in the hanger bay when it depressurized," Kara panted. It was getting more difficult to breathe. "I was trying to get into one of the shuttles. I must have passed out… when I woke up I was on the floor inside the shuttle."

Annika gasped and her hand tightened on Kara's.

"I'm fine… really," Kara insisted, trying to sit up despite her growing discomfort.

"Hardly," the doctor snorted. "You're lucky to be alive. You have ruptured blood vessels in your eyes, and your lungs are damaged. Lucky for you, I can repair the damage," the doctor said arrogantly, then set to work.

Kara groaned and lay back down. When her eyes cleared, she glanced up at Annika. She could see the worry on her face. She squeezed the hand in hers. Annika had not left her side and had a tight grip on her hand.

"I'll be alright." Kara growled at the doctor when he attempted to contradict her.

She tried to keep from squirming as the doctor worked. What ever he was doing to her lungs felt very strange. As she began to breathe easier, she suddenly realized she had not asked about her friends.

"Annika, what happened to Del and Seven… Did they," her heart clenched, "make it?"

"You need to be quiet, Lieutenant," the doctor insisted.

Kara glared at the doctor, then looked beseechingly at Annika. She needed to know what happened.

"We launched them into the nebula and they disappeared into the void." Annika looked uncomfortable. She wasn't sure how Kara would react to this next piece of news. "Then the nebula exploded."

"And the void?" Kara asked.

"Gone…everything is gone."

Kara nodded solemnly as the realization hit home. There was no going back. She squeezed Annika's hand and smiled at her trying to ease the concern she saw on her face.

The doctor completed his work and put away his instruments. "She's fine," he assured Annika. Her arrival in sickbay with the injured woman had been a surprise. She only came to sickbay when he absolutely insisted. He wasn't sure what was going on between the two women. She obviously cared for this woman; he had never seen such emotion on her face before.

He was drawn out of his thoughts when the doors to sickbay slid open. "How may I be of assistance?"

"Is Lieutenant Jarvis going to recover?"

"Yes, she's fine. I repaired…"

Captain Janeway cut him off, mid-sentence. "Computer, deactivate EMH." She wasn't in the mood to put up with the doctor. Her eyes blazed as she stalked toward the woman in the biobed. She didn't know how she managed to stay onboard; it was a moot point now. It didn't decrease her anger one bit at being disobeyed.

"Was there some part of no you didn't understand, Lieutenant?"

Kara flinched at Janeway's glare, then sat up and forced herself to meet Janeway's angry eyes. "I couldn't leave Annika."

Annika wrapped her arm around Kara's back in support, both mentally and physically. Kara smiled lovingly at her before once again turning her attention to the captain.

Captain Janeway's eyes flicked toward Annika and her eyebrows rose at her actions.

"Is that all you have to say for yourself?" Janeway demanded.

"Yes, Captain."

"I should bust you down to Ensign and throw you in the brig!"

"I'd have to be a member of your crew for that."

Kara cringed at the force ten glare Janeway leveled at her. I really need to learn when to keep my mouth shut. She was so happy to be here with Annika, she was having a hard time being repentant.

"I asked her to stay."

Janeway's gaze swiveled to Annika. "You what?" She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

Kara started to protest, but Annika's arm around her tightened in warning. She glanced at Annika and she shook her head subtlety. Kara leaned slightly against Annika and held her silence. She would let Annika handle this if she thought she could. After all, the truth was she had no defense; she had disobeyed a direct order.

Janeway's anger gave way to confusion. "Why would you do that, Annika? She doesn't belong here."

Annika met her captain's eyes. She had lain awake last night holding Kara as she slept and thought of all the things she had seen and experienced in the last week: the loving, gentle way Seven and Del were together and the obvious love the two women had for each other; all the things she and Kara had talked about; the way Kara treated her; how she touched her so lovingly and cared about her thoughts and feelings. All these things came to mind at the captain's question. And it all boiled down to one thing.

"Because I love her."

Kara felt her heart soar at Annika's declaration. She knew the former Borg cared for her, but to hear her profess her love — it was more than she could have ever hoped for. She had sacrificed everything for just the chance of deserving Annika's love. Kara felt a sense of resolve settle over her. It didn't matter now what Captain Janeway decided her punishment was to be. Annika loved her and she was here to stay. Uncaring that Janeway was watching, Kara lifted her hand and gently cupped Annika's face. She smiled into her eyes when she looked up.

"I love you too," she whispered softly.

A glowing smile lit Annika's face. She knew as long as she had breath in her body she would never tire of hearing those words.

Janeway stared at the two women incredulously. This wasn't possible. Annika was attracted to men. Not to mention the fact that up until a week ago, she had been involved in a long term relationship with Lieutenant Daniels. This wasn't right. Was it possible that this woman couldn't have Seven so decided to use Annika as a substitute? She felt her protective hackles rise.

Janeway glared at Kara, then looked beseechingly at Annika. "I know it must have been confusing for you to see your counterpart with a woman. That doesn't mean that you have to be with a woman. Our universes are different. You and Lieutenant Daniels have been happy together; you don't want to just throw that away."

Annika felt an unexpected surge of anger. She hadn't wanted to believe it, but Kara had been right about this too. If the captain claimed to be her mentor and care about her, how could she not have realized how unhappy she was?

Annika looked at the Captain defiantly. "I tried to make you proud, but it was all a lie. I was not 'happy' with Daniels, he…"

Annika proceeded to give Janeway a very detailed and blunt account of just what her supposed relationship with Daniels had really been like.

Kara moved closer to the edge of the biobed and wrapped her arms around Annika, urging her close to her chest. Her anger once again flared for all Annika had suffered trying to please the clueless woman in front of them. No matter how petty, she couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction at the growing look of horror on Janeway's face.

Annika leaned into Kara's loving embrace and held nothing back. With Kara's support, she could finally be honest about what she endured, knowing no matter what, Kara would be there for her. She wanted the captain to finally understand what she had been through in an effort to make her proud and be accepted.

Captain Janeway's face turned paler with each incident Annika recounted. Her stomach roiled and she fought to keep from vomiting. She knew every word Annika had uttered was the truth. She had never seen her display such emotion.

The captain thought back to the last time she had seen Annika and Daniels together. It had been at a birthday party for one of the crew. Daniels's arm had been draped casually over Annika's shoulders. Now that she let herself think about it, Annika's body language had been very stiff and she had hardly spoken.

She looked at the two women with their arms wrapped around each other. The difference was glaringly obvious. Annika had her head resting comfortably on Kara's shoulder and the woman was gently stroking her back. Janeway was struck by the easy intimacy between the two women.

How could I have failed her so badly? I only wanted the best for her. "Why didn't you tell me, Annika," Janeway asked with a hitch in her voice. She could feel the tears pooling behind her eyes.

"I tried. You would not listen."

Janeway looked at Annika sadly. What could she possibly do to make this right? There was nothing she could do about Daniels. Annika had technically been willing. She was blasted emotionally by the enormity of what she had allowed to happen to the woman she had made a vow to protect.

"I'm so sorry, Annika." The apology sounded pathetic even to Janeway's ears but she didn't know what else to say.

The captain looked at Kara. She felt a surge of resentment toward the woman, then berated herself. If it hadn't been for the lieutenant who knows how long Daniels' abuse of Annika would have gone on. She felt a renewed surge of nausea at the thought of just how long it had already gone on. She had a lot to atone for. Janeway realized there was something she could do. It wouldn't make up for what happened, but hopefully it would make Annika happy.

"Lieutenant, once the doctor releases you to full duty, report to Chakotay so he can add you to the duty roster. I'll let him know that I'm assigning you to Astrometrics on the Alpha shift."

Kara's mouth dropped open and she stared at Janeway in shock for several moments before regaining her wits.

"Thank you, Captain."

Janeway nodded. "I can't let you stay in the VIP quarters as a member of the crew. I'll see who has an open berth you can double up with."

"She will share my quarters."

Kara gulped a bit nervously. She loved Annika, but they were not yet lovers and she had no intention of pressuring her to become lovers. The thought of spending her nights in the same bed with the beautiful blond made her ache. She only hoped she had the will power to keep her hands to herself. She glanced at Annika's lovely face and the tension left her. She would do whatever it took to be with Annika.

Janeway looked pained, but agreed. Feeling extremely miserable and emotionally battered from all she had discovered, her shoulders slumped. She had to get away to think. She quickly made her excuses and retreated to her ready room. The subject of Kara's presence onboard was never mentioned again by the captain.


Chapter Thirty

Kara kept her arm firmly wrapped around Annika's waist as they made their way toward her quarters. She glared at several crewmembers who stopped to stare, resisting the urge to tell them to get used to it. Word of their involvement and her presence on Voyager would spread quickly enough she knew.

After Captain Janeway left sickbay, Kara had wanted to leave as well. Annika had refused and insisted they reactivate the doctor. He was furious when he rematerialized. Amazingly enough, Kara had been the one to sooth his ruffled feathers. After a quick examination he had agreed to allow Kara to leave, but would not release her to full duty until she returned for a follow-up exam. At that point, Kara would have agreed to almost anything to get out of sickbay. She was mentally and physically exhausted and wanted nothing more than to curl up with Annika and sleep.

She was pulled out of her thoughts by the sudden stiffening of Annika's body. Wondering what had upset her she followed her line of sight and groaned. Barash I'kha, why me? Haven't I been through enough today? She had suffered the prospect of losing Annika forever; then she had almost been asphyxiated in the hanger bay. If that wasn't enough, she'd had to face a furious Janeway and now this… There lurking outside Annika's quarters was Daniels.

Kara tightened her arm around Annika's waist. Annika had suffered just as much as she had today and she shouldn't have to deal with Daniels either. Knowing how Annika had reacted to their last confrontation with the man, she looked up at her worriedly. She was taken aback by the anger she saw blazing across Annika's face.

Daniels' mouth dropped open when he spotted them and his face immediately suffused with rage.

"What are you doing here?" he snarled at Kara. She didn't belong here. He had waited until he knew for sure the three women were gone before coming to Annika's quarters. He figured once her protector had returned to where she belonged he could manipulate Annika into getting what he wanted. He'd had done it once; he could do it again. He wasn't going to give up an easy fuck.

Kara was sick of this asshole and the sooner he knew the score the better. She met his eyes and smirked. "I live here."

Daniels' eyes bulged and his face turned brick red. He took a menacing step forward.

Before Kara could react, Annika reached out and grabbed the front of Daniels uniform and shoved him against the opposite bulkhead. She was on him before he could recover, pinning him against the wall with one arm. The implant in the upper arm of her more human limb provided her with extra strength.

"Leave us alone!"

Kara gasped; she was stunned by Annika's reaction, but didn't want to interfere. Annika needed to stand up for herself to Daniels.

Daniels sneered in her face. "I say when things are over between us, not you." He glanced at Kara with a leer. "Maybe I'll do your little girlfriend a favor and fuck her too. With a face like that, who'd want her?"

"You bastard," Kara growled. She moved up next to Annika, intent on stopping this right now. She had every intention of keeping her promise. She was going to rip his balls off and shove them down his throat.

Annika's vision tunneled down until all she could see was Daniels' leering face. The realization of how this man had used her and now wanted to use Kara crashed down on her. Something inside her snapped and she felt a rage unlike any she had ever experience before.

She brought her implanted hand up and made a fist. Her assimilation tubules shot out and waved in Daniels' face.

Daniels whimpered, too terrified to scream.

Kara gulped seeing the blinding rage on Annika's face. As much as she hated Daniels, she couldn't let her do this. She reached out and placed one hand on Annika's implanted hand, just inches from the writhing tubules. She reached up with the other to stroke Annika's face trying to get her to look at her.

"Don't do this. He's not worth it." Getting no response, Kara continued to talk to Annika, trying to bring her back to herself.

Annika hesitated and slowly the rage that had clouded her mind and reason retreated. She could feel Kara's hands on her, her voice calling softly to her.

Leaving her assimilation tubules out, just inches from his neck, Annika's gaze bore into Daniels eyes. "Stay away from us."

With that she retracted her tubules and released her hold on the panic-stricken man. Daniels never uttered a word and turned to flee down the corridor, but not before both women saw the large stain on the front of his uniform.

Now that it was over, Annika began to shake with the realization of what she had almost done. Realizing what was happening Kara wrapped her up in a warm embrace.

"It's okay. Everything is going to be okay. He won't bother us again."

"But I… I would have… If you had not stopped me…." Annika stammered as guilt overwhelmed her.

"No, love. You wouldn't have." Kara knew Annika would blame herself. She was determined that wasn't going to happen. As scared as she had been, she knew in her heart Annika would not have gone through with it.

Annika pulled away enough to look into Kara's eyes. "You saw. How can you say that?"

"Because I believe in you. I will always believe in you. You might have wanted to, and I don't blame you. But in the end…you wouldn't have."

Annika leaned down and took Kara's lips in a searing kiss, trying to pour everything she felt for her into one kiss.

Kara's knees buckled as the kiss ended. The only thing keeping her standing was Annika's arms wrapped around her.

She looked up at Annika and smiled. Hand in hand the two women walked into their cabin.


Chapter Thirty-one

Annika had lain awake all night. After the events of the previous day, she had not wanted to miss one nanosecond of being with Kara, even if the woman was sleeping. She still suffered some lingering fear over what Kara had done to stay with her. She could have easily been blown out of the hanger bay or asphyxiated if she had not been able to get into a shuttle.

She held perfectly still when Kara began to shift in her sleep. When she ended up on top of her, Annika wrapped her arms around Kara and held her tight. She felt an amazing sense of peace and contentment with her arms wrapped around the sleeping woman. She was more than happy to hold her until she awakened.

Kara moaned in her sleep, her unconscious mind taking over and doing what her waking mind wouldn't allow. Her hips undulated against the warm body beneath her.

Annika was overwhelmed by the sensations created by Kara's thrusting hips. Her arms instinctively tightened, pressing Kara closer. She felt a strange dampness between her legs and a deep throbbing sensation. An almost irresistible urge to press up into Kara came over her. She was confused by all the strange but wonderful things her body was feeling — the sense of needing something that she couldn't quite explain returned.

Kara gasped and her eyes flew open at the first warning tingle of orgasm. "Oh, Barash," she growled. She could feel the soaking wetness and insistent throbbing between her legs. Becoming more aware, she realized she was once again on top of Annika. Kara fought against what her body was demanding.

"Computer, lights, one half," Kara ordered. She lifted her head and met wide, dilated blue eyes. Guilt filled her when she realized what she had been doing, and she attempted to move off Annika.

Annika tightened her arms around Kara's back. "Don't go," she whimpered. She wasn't sure what was happening, but she didn't want it to stop.

"I'm not going anywhere. I just don't want to squish you. I'm not exactly light," Kara said, not wanting to do anything that Annika would see as rejecting her. The problem was she didn't know how long she could ignore her screaming libido while being pressed so intimately against Annika.

"You are not heavy and my abdominal implant provides reinforcement of my ribcage and abdomen," Annika said, hoping to convince Kara not to move.

She couldn't quite read the expression on Kara's face, but she could feel the tension in her body now that she was awake. Her expression turned blank when she realized that Kara was probably uncomfortable with the reminder of her implants. Kara had accepted the ones on her face and hand, but her other implants were much more invasive and extensive. Feeling the bite of rejection, Annika quickly removed her arms and started to pull away.

Kara was confused by Annika's sudden withdrawal, and then it hit her. She tightened her arms around Annika to keep her from moving away.

"Where are you going? I thought you said you could hold my weight?" No matter how hard this was for her, she was not going to do anything to hurt Annika. She had already been hurt too much.

Annika looked down and refused to meet Kara's eyes.

"Tell me what you're thinking. Why did you try to move away?"

Kara pulled one arm from underneath Annika and reached out to stroke her face gently, her fingers lingering on the implant above Annika's eye.

Annika couldn't help it; she leaned into Kara's touch and looked up to meet her eyes.

Kara could easily see the discomfort in them. "Okay, how about I tell you the whole truth of why I started to move away? I was concerned I was too heavy, but the main reason was being pressed against you like this…um…I'm," Kara blushed hard, but forged on, "…very aroused."

Annika's implant over her eye shot up in surprise. "You are? What does it feel like?"

Kara blinked at the question. "What does what feel like?"

"Being aroused."

Kara was very confused. It didn't make any sense. She was sure Annika had been aroused when they kissed. She knew Annika hadn't enjoyed sex with Daniels, but never having been aroused! If that was the case, was it possible Annika had never had an orgasm?

"But when we've kissed and I've touched you… you were aroused then, right?"

"I experienced many amazingly pleasurable sensations I have never felt before when we kissed and touched. Is that arousal?

Kara was having a hard time wrapping her mind around the fact that Annika didn't seem to know what arousal felt like. Maybe she just didn't have a name for what she had experienced.

"But you umm, you've had these pleasurable sensations and had an orgasm when you um…" Damn, this is hard! "when you pleasure yourself…right?" Kara mentally shook her head in disbelief at the situation she had gotten herself into. She was lying on top of the woman she was in love with and desired desperately and was asking her about masturbation.

Annika looked even more confused. "Pleasure myself…how?"

Kill me….just kill me now. Why didn't I just keep my big mouth shut? "I umm…you are…" Kara cleared her throat, trying to make her voice work. "Do you know what masturbation is?"

Annika shook her head.

Kara gazed down at Annika, totally amazed, not to mention feeling a bit sorry for her. That, however, did nothing to increase her comfort level with the current topic. Maybe she could point her to the appropriate computer files. One look into Annika's eyes and Kara couldn't do it.

Kara took a deep breath trying to prepare herself. It might help if she wasn't so aware of the press of their breasts together and the fact that not only were their legs entwined but her leg was pressing against Annika's center. She couldn't for the life of her figure out how to unobtrusively move that leg. She was trapped literally and figuratively.

Determined to forge on despite her discomfort with the topic, Kara explained as succinctly as she could. "Masturbation refers to a person touching their own genitals for the purpose of sexual release or an orgasm."

"I read about an orgasm in my research of human sexuality. I have never experienced it… Have you?"

"Umm… yes. I have."

All this talk of masturbation and orgasm was too much for Kara. She felt her hips begin to move again and fought against it. She had to move off Annika, now! Before she did something stupid.

She glanced at the chronometer and cursed. It was 1124 hours. She had been asleep for twelve hours. "You are very late for duty," Kara said. She was unhappy Annika would be in trouble, but pleased she had a plausible excuse to put some distance between them.

"But I…" Annika started to protest. She had contacted Chakotay while Kara slept and been excused from duty.

Kara never gave her a chance to finish the sentence. She quickly pulled away and attempted to move off Annika. She bit back a moan when her already throbbing center slid against Annika's firm thigh.

Annika gasped as Kara moved off her.

"Are you alright? Did I hurt you?" Kara turned onto her side and propped herself up on her elbow. Annika looked very flustered. "What's wrong?"

"I am unsure… My body feels strange; it tingles," Annika struggled to explain. "When you moved off me, your knee pressed between my legs and it felt… it felt…" Annika's voice trailed off. The resulting sensation had been intensely pleasurable and caused an increase in the strange wet feeling between her legs. Unable to explain what she was feeling, she decided to show Kara.

Kara's eyes bulged when Annika pushed back the covers and slid her hand down into her own pajama bottoms. She withdrew her hand and held up her fingers to Kara.

Kara groaned and felt a flood of wetness between her own legs at the sight of Annika's fingers glistening with her arousal. Kara fought to remember her promise to herself, despite her screaming libido. She loved Annika too much to push her into something she wasn't ready for.

Kara struggled for control. It was a tough battle, but her conscience won out — much to the disappointment of her baser side. It still took her several tries to get her voice to work.

"The tingling and wetness you feel are signs of arousal. It's your body's way of telling you that you're ready to make love."

"Do you have this…wetness too?" Annika asked innocently.

Kara wished for a nice, freezing hydroshower about now. "Barash, Annika, I'm trying to do the right thing, but you're not making this easy."

"I do not understand."

"I want you so much, but I don't want to pressure you into making love before you're ready."

Annika rolled onto her side to face Kara. Her face brightened and her heart rate picked up. "You wish to copu…" she caught herself, "make love?" she asked eagerly.

"You have no idea how much…" Kara whimpered, trying hard to control herself. Annika was only inches away and she could feel the heat coming off her body.

Annika looked deep into Kara's eyes. "I love you."

The outside world ceased to exist as Kara lost herself in the depths of Annika's vivid blue eyes. All that mattered was the two of them, here and now. Kara's heart fluttered, and she lost the battle completely when Annika leaned over and initiated a kiss. Their bodies surged together and the kiss quickly turned passionate. Kara groaned when Annika licked at her lips. She opened her mouth and thought for sure she would climax when Annika's tongue slipped inside and began to explore tentatively.

Annika moaned and pressed closer to Kara. The feel of Kara's hot mouth surrounding her tongue made the throbbing between her legs reach a fevered pitch. She pulled away from the kiss, gasping for breath. Her senses were whirling; it had never been like this before.

Kara's eyes met Annika's and she knew the waiting was over. One look into Annika's love-filled eyes and all the rationalizations, all the arguments why they should wait disappeared. She loved this woman with all her heart and it was time to show her.

"I love you," Kara whispered, leaning in to kiss Annika again. As the kiss escalated, she gently urged Annika onto her back.

Kara broke the kiss to follow Annika. She lifted up and moved over to straddle Annika's body, rising up on all fours above her.

Annika's eyes widened not sure what to expect.

Kara smiled as she brushed Annika's hair back from her face. She leaned down and began to lightly kiss Annika's face, making sure to include the implants as well. Annika gasped when she flicked her tongue against the implant at her jaw line. She made her way over to whisper in Annika's ear.

"Let me love you."

Annika shivered at the sensation of Kara's hot breath against her ear. Nodding her head eagerly, she was willing to follow Kara's lead. She knew in her heart that Kara would never hurt her.

Kara continued to rain light kisses all over Annika's face. She tried hard to hold herself in check, though the urge to take Annika was strong. It was a dream come true to be here touching her; she wanted to caress every inch of her. That was the reason she had chosen to hover over Annika. She knew if their bodies touched she would be lost. It had been a very long time since she had been with Maria.

Annika's mind was whirling as Kara continued to kiss her. Her whole body was tingling and the pulse she felt between her legs earlier had become a pounding throb.

Kara finally made it back to Annika's lips and immediately pressed for entry. Her tongue plunged deep into Annika's mouth as her ardor soared. Annika's moan urged her on. Holding her weight on her knees and one hand she allowed the other to explore. She had not forgotten the feel of Annika's breast in her palm.

Annika began to pant and her back arched when Kara's hand closed gently over her breast. It was nothing like being touched through her thick biosuit. She whimpered as her nipple hardened.

Kara was beside herself. She had to touch bare skin, now! She continued to kiss Annika as she fumbled for the buttons of her pajamas. She got the first three buttons undone before she realized Annika had stopped responding and lay stiffly under her.

She broke the kiss and looked up into Annika's wide, frightened eyes. "What's wrong?"

"You wish to remove my clothing?" Annika stammered. She had felt a flash of fear when Kara began to unbutton her top. The possibility had never even occurred to her.

Kara stared at Annika in shock, then silently berated herself. She knew what Annika previous sexual encounters had been. She needed to keep reminding herself that Annika had never made love before.

Smiling reassuringly, she reached out and cupped Annika's face in her palm. "When two people who love each other make love, they remove their clothing," Kara explained gently.

Kara could see the panic on Annika's face. She had a very good idea what the problem was but needed Annika to trust her enough to admit it. "Would you rather we wait and not make love now?"

"No!" Annika declared without hesitation. She had been experiencing the most wonderful feelings, but she was afraid that once Kara saw all of her she would be revolted.

Kara smiled in relief at Annika's adamant response. "Why don't you want to remove your pajamas? Would it make you feel better if I took mine off first?"

Annika's eyes widened and a glazed look covered her face. The thought of Kara without her clothes was something she had never even imagined, but now that she did the idea of her removing her clothes intrigued her. Annika sobered, because then Kara would want her to remove her clothes and that was not possible.

Kara sighed in disappointment. She thought Annika was going to agree, but all of the sudden her face became blank with her Borg look as Kara thought of it.

She gently stroked Annika's face. "Please tell me what's wrong?"

Annika leaned into Kara's touch; she couldn't help it, but then she looked down refusing to meet Kara's eyes.

"I have other…much more invasive implants," Annika admitted.

Kara moved over and sat down next to Annika. Knowing what Annika had had drummed into her for the last year, she should have seen this coming. She knew there was no way she could rid Annika of all her insecurities. That would take time, but she could help her see her implants in a totally different way and hopefully that would be a start.

"Come sit here beside me," she urged Annika. She fluffed up the pillows and propped them against the headboard. She tried hard not to ogle Annika when her open top provided a prime view of her cleavage when she moved. Behave! she demanded of her libido. Kara knew how important this moment was; it could make or break their relationship.


Chapter Thirty-two

Annika's heart sank as she moved to sit next to Kara. She had been right. Now that Kara knew the truth she did not want to make love. Annika couldn't blame her. Her implants were repulsive. She started in surprise when Kara wrapped her arm around her shoulders.

Kara could almost see what Annika was thinking. She squeezed her shoulder and leaned over to place a soft kiss on Annika's lips. She smiled at Annika's shocked expression.

"I want to ask you something very important, Annika. I want you to be totally honest…Okay?"

Annika nodded, though she was obviously confused about what was going on.

Kara reached up and ran her finger over the large scar on her face. "See this? Are you sure you want to make love with me? It's very ugly."

"That is not true," Annika insisted.

"Sure it is. Everyone stares at it, and I can't tell you the number of times I've been told how good looking I would be…if I got rid of this horrible scar. You must find it revolting."

"That is not true… It is…part of you," Annika said, struggling to explain. She had never really thought about the scar until Kara pointed it out. It was just a part of her that she had accepted.

Kara fought to keep a neutral expression on her face. She wanted to jump for joy. She couldn't have said it better herself.

"And your implants are a part of you," Kara countered.

She could see Annika's struggle to believe. Kara was asking a lot of her. Not only did she have quite a few remaining implants, but she had been repeatedly told that she wasn't normal and that her implants were not acceptable — first, by Janeway, who encouraged her to hide them, and then by Daniels for his own gratification. She was asking Annika to bare the most vulnerable part of herself. It struck Kara that the least she could do was the same thing. Her scars for the most part were more emotional than physical but no less significant. It would require revealing a part of her past that she had never shared anyone, not even Maria, but Annika was worth it.

"I need to tell you about how I got this. You might feel differently about me once you know."

Annika's brow furrowed at the seeming change of subject, but she was eager to learn everything she could about the woman she had fallen in love with. Nothing Kara could say would ever change how she felt about her.

"Remember I told you I had to leave my home planet at thirteen?" At Annika's nod she continued. "The emperor of my planet had the power of life and death over his subjects. When my sister, Adara was only fourteen he took her to serve his pleasure." Kara felt tears form behind her eyes as the memories of that time flooded her. "She was never the same when she came back. She used to wake up screaming with nightmares, but she would never tell us what happened. One night she woke up and was wild; nothing would calm her down. She just kept ranting unintelligible things to herself. Before I even realized what was happening, Adara grabbed a glass off the bedside table and broke it." Kara's voice hitched. "I thought she was going to kill herself."

Kara shivered and pressed into Annika's warmth as those dark memories took over. "I took a step toward her intent on stopping her. Her eyes cleared for just a moment and we stood staring at each other. Then her face hardened and she said. 'Not you! Not you!' She jerked up the broken glass and slashed it across my face."

Annika stared at Kara, her heart aching for what she had suffered. Tears began to track down one side of her face. She pressed close to her side trying to offer what comfort she could. She couldn't believe Kara's sister had done that to her!

Kara looked up at Annika with tear-filled eyes. "She thought she was protecting me, that if I was ugly the emperor wouldn't want me."

Annika reached out and gently stroked the scar on Kara's face. "You are not ugly. You are beautiful."

Kara smiled lovingly at Annika; she was well aware of what she looked like. But at least in her case, it was by her choice. "In the end it didn't matter. The emperor ordered me to his bed anyway, after his Bashar reminded him that my face wasn't the part of my body he was interested in. Adara went crazy when she found out, vowing to kill the emperor. My father had become friends with a merchant trader from another world. We traded with other races, but it was forbidden for any Bacaraianian to leave the planet. Adara begged him to send me away. He convinced the trader to smuggle me off-world that same day. I lost everyone I loved that night, because I agreed to run. I have no idea what happened to my family when the emperor found out what my father had done. For all I know, they were all executed."

Kara looked at Annika expecting to see condemnation in her eyes at what she had done. She had abandoned her family to save herself. At the time, she had been so young she had not even thought of defying her father, but as she had grown older the guilt had grown with her. It was one of the things that motivated her to do what she had done in the hanger bay. She was not going to desert someone she loved again.

"But I promise you. I will never leave you, no matter what," Kara vowed fervently.

"I believe you." Annika gazed down at Kara, her eyes filled with love. Kara was a survivor. It gave her a whole new insight into the strength of this amazing woman.

At Annika's heartfelt words, Kara lost her heart all over again. "That's why I've never had this scar removed. It reminds me every day of the sacrifice my family made and honors my sister's memory."

Annika leaned over and gently kissed the scar, starting at the top and working her way down until she reached Kara's lips. She tried to pour everything she felt for her into the kiss.

"You are beautiful to me," Annika breathed against her lips as the kiss broke.

Kara reached up and cupped Annika's cheek, her fingers gently stroking the implant at her jaw line.

"And you are beautiful to me." Kara brought her hand up and slipped it just inside the top of Annika's pajamas. She stiffened for a moment, but didn't pull away. Kara gently stroked the implant imbedded in Annika's clavicle. "All of you is beautiful to me."

Kara shifted until she was kneeling facing Annika. She kept her hand in place inside Annika's shirt.

"It's something we have in common. My scar and your implants mark us as survivors. You should wear your implants proudly. The Borg tried to take everything from you, but you triumphed over them. Every time I see your implants I thank Barash you survived. The 'all powerful' Borg failed and you are living proof of that!"

Kara's words reached Annika's heart in a way no one else's ever had. Tears poured anew down her face.

Kara leaned forward and wrapped both arms around Annika, holding her tight in a loving embrace.

"I love you. Never be ashamed of who you are."

Annika pulled back from the embrace and stared deep into Kara's hazel eyes seeing the truth in her words.

"Love me," she begged.

"Always," Kara vowed.


Chapter Thirty-three

Kara slid down in the bed and urged Annika to her. They lay face to face, their arms around each other. Kara stroked Annika's back and whispered loving words of devotion into her ear. She was stiff at first as Kara's hand slid over her abdominal implant where it wrapped around her back, but eventually relaxed into the loving touch.

Surprisingly it was Annika who initiated the first kiss. Kara willingly opened her mouth and invited Annika in. Her arms tightened around Annika's back urging her into closer contact. Their bodies cleaved together as their passions rose.

When the kiss broke, Annika pulled away. Kara tried not to groan in disappointment. Kara's eyes widened when Annika rolled onto her back then tugged on her pajamas, pulling her toward her. Kara didn't need much urging and quickly rose up to hover over Annika as she had before. This time she slid down a bit and settled on Annika's thighs. She leaned forward and gently kissed Annika's lips.

"Are you sure?"

Annika nodded. She was nervous, but confident that Kara wouldn't reject her.

Determined to take her time, Kara spent long minutes kissing Annika's face and neck. When she felt her hips start to rise under her she moved a bit lower. Not attempting to open any more buttons she took advantage of the ones that were already open. She lavished open mouth kisses on Annika's upper chest, using her chin to push the shirt aside. She softly caressed Annika's breasts through the thin top. Annika was becoming frantic with arousal by the time her mouth reached the upper swell of her breast.

Kara stopped and made eye contact with Annika before she went any further. She reached for the buttons of Annika's top but made no attempt to open them.

"Are you sure?" she questioned again.

"Please," Annika whimpered in need.

Kara slowly undid the buttons. Annika stiffened for just a second as she started to spread the shirt open. At the loving look in Kara's eyes she relaxed.

Kara knew her mouth was hanging open but she couldn't help herself. "Oh Annika, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are stunning," she breathed. Annika's breasts were large, their weight causing them to rest on her chest. They were topped by beautiful pink nipples already hard from excitement. Her eyes slipped lower to the alternating bands of metal and flesh that started just below Annika's breasts. She reached out to gently stroke one of the metal bands.

Annika gasped and her back arched.

"Did I hurt you?" Kara asked worriedly.

"No, it felt…good," Annika said, her amazement apparent. The only person who had ever touched her implants was the doctor and it certainly hadn't felt like that.

Kara smiled and helped Annika sit up for a second so she could completely remove her shirt. When she laid back down Kara reached out again to touch her implant; this time she stroked a band of flesh and one of metal. Annika's back arched and a moan was torn from her throat. Kara laughed in pleasure, her heart soaring.

Her eyes locked back on Annika's breasts. "You think that feels good, try this," she murmured huskily. Leaning down quickly she laved her tongue over one of Annika's taut nipples.

Annika almost launched Kara off the bed when her body bucked. The pleasure was indescribable. It shot a flame of pure heat right down between her legs.

Kara grabbed Annika's shoulder and tightened her legs around her thighs to keep from being thrown from the bed, but never let go of her prize. She sucked the hard nipple into her mouth and began to suckle.

Annika's head thrashed back and forth. She clutched at the bedding, trying to anchor herself as her world was turned upside down. The throbbing between her legs returned with a vengeance and seemed to pulse with every tug of Kara's mouth on her breast. She grumbled in protest when Kara released her nipple only to moan in pleasure when she moved to the other breast.

Kara released Annika's nipple with a pop. She couldn't wait any longer. Her hands slid down to the top of Annika's pants.

"These have to go," Kara said, tugging on the material.

There was no hesitation this time. At Kara's instruction, Annika lifted her hips and allowed Kara to remove her pajama pants.

Kara lost herself in the beauty that was Annika in all her glory. She was gorgeous.

Kara looked down into Annika's passion glazed eyes. "You are so incredibly beautiful."

She took her lips in a searing kiss, leaving Annika breathless. Knowing what Annika had been through previously Kara wanted this to be a totally different experience for her. With that in mind, she began to kiss her way down Annika's body.

Annika panted for breath and her head snapped back as her arousal soared to new heights. Kara's tongue was tracing each alternating band of metal and flesh as she worked her way lower. Each swipe of her tongue seemed to ratchet Annika's arousal up another notch.

Annika felt her legs being gently urged open. She could feel the soaking wetness between her thighs. Her eyes flew open at the feel of hot breath against her sex. She looked down to find Kara on her stomach between her spread legs. Her shock was readily apparent as was an unmistakable hint of trepidation.

Kara immediately stopped when she felt Annika tense. She gazed up lovingly into her eyes. "It's alright. I won't hurt you. I promise," she murmured soothingly as she reached out to gently stroked the inside of Annika's thigh. "Just relax and let me love you."

Annika shivered at the gently touch. She stared into Kara's warm, loving eyes and her body relaxed.

Kara's breath caught in her throat at the look of love and trust on Annika's face. After everything Annika had suffered, Kara was overwhelmed by the incredible gift she was being offered. "I love you," she whispered huskily. Keeping their gazes locked, she leaned in for her first taste. Kara's eyes closed and she moaned at the taste that was uniquely Annika.

Annika's body jerked and her head and back arched at the exquisite feeling of Kara's tongue between her legs. Her senses spun and her hips began to instinctively pump. She tried to catalogue every incredible sensation Kara's tongue was creating, but for the first time her rational mind retreated and all she could do was feel.

Kara wrapped her arms around Annika's thighs trying to hold her in place. She was in heaven. She wanted so badly to be inside Annika, but didn't want to take the chance that she might still be sore. Unable to resist completely, she moved down a bit and pressed her tongue inside as deeply as she could.

Annika cried out and lifted both of them off the bed as her climax struck. Kara held on for dear life, her tongue working frantically, trying to prolong the pleasure.

She lightened her touch, licking gently as Annika settled back to the bed. Reluctant to give up her place but wanting to hold Annika, Kara slid up and lay on top of Annika's still trembling body. Her own arousal was raging, but this was about Annika.

Annika's eyes were tightly closed and tears leaked out from between the lids of her human eye.

Kara's heart thumped in fear. "Are you alright? Did I hurt you?" she questioned frantically. "Please tell me what's wrong."

Annika opened glazed eyes and stared up at Kara. "I never realized…that it could be like that…never." She started to cry in earnest when it sunk in that Daniels truly had lied. She had always believed it was her fault. "I am normal."

Kara wrapped her arms around Annika. "Of course you are."

Annika's brow furrowed when she tried to bring up her arms to embrace Kara. Her right arm moved but her left didn't.

"Something is wrong," she said, a bit of panic in her voice.

"What is it?"

"I can't move my arm."

Kara quickly moved off Annika and called for the lights. Her mouth dropped open and she stared at the sight before her. Annika's left arm, up to her elbow, was embedded in the mattress. She had torn right through the sheet, mattress cover and the fibers in the mattress, breaking thru to the base of the bed. Her fingers were partially embedded in the bed's base.

Kara worked quickly to free Annika. By the time she had her arm out, there was a gaping hole in the mattress.

Annika stared at the hole, wondering what happened. Then realization hit, when the waves of pleasure had crashed over her she had grabbed the bed. Her eyes widened as the significance of what she was seeing struck home. What if her implant had been in contact with Kara? She could have seriously injured her.

Kara shook her head in amazement. How the heck did that happen? She chuckled to herself…Now how are we were going to explain this when we requisitioned a new mattress? She glanced over at Annika to find her looking extremely scared and distressed.

"Hey, it's okay. It's just a mattress. We can requisition a new one."

Annika's eye filled with tears. "No, it is not. I lost control of my implant. What if I had been touching you?"

Kara looked down at the mattress and gulped. Suddenly, she flashed on something she had seen in Del and Seven's quarters. She had been standing at the breakfast bar unconsciously running her fingers in four parallel grooves impressed deeply into the counter as she waited for Seven. She had looked up to find Seven staring at her hand; when their eyes met Seven had blushed fiercely. At the time, she had wondered about it, but Del had come in and she had forgotten all about it. Now those indentations took on a whole new meaning.

She moved over next to Annika and pulled her into her arms. "It'll be okay. I promise. Now that we know what can happen we just have to be careful."

Annika was at a loss for words. Not only had Kara given her the most incredible experience of her life, but also she was not afraid of her, even after seeing what she was capable of. Annika's heart filled with joy.

"I love you," she whispered in an emotion choked voice.

"I love you too," Kara said. She tightened her arms around Annika, then unable to resist began to stroke the bare skin under her hands.

Annika kissed Kara, tasting something she never had before on the woman's lips. When she realized what it was, she groaned and pressed closer, shocked to feel the rapid rise of what she now knew was arousal. She wanted so badly to touch Kara as intimately as Kara had touched her, but was not sure if it was allowed. She brought her hands up to touch, then pulled away.

Kara sensed Annika's uncertainty. "Please touch me," she pleaded.

Annika pulled back and looked into Kara's eyes. At the loving acceptance she saw there she slowly brought up a hand and stroked down Kara's back. Kara groaned in pleasure and pressed closer to Annika. Encouraged by her response, Annika let her hands start to roam over Kara's body. When her hand slipped between their bodies and gently squeezed Kara's breast she cried out. Annika jerked away as if burned.

Kara grabbed Annika's hand and pressed it back to her breast. "Please, it feels so good. Don't stop."

She moaned in pleasure when Annika resumed her careful explorations. Kara's arousal was reaching a frenzied peak and she didn't know how much longer she could hold out. She had to feel Annika's hands on her bare skin. She pulled away drawing a mutter of protest from Annika.

Her protest turned to a whimper as Kara quickly stripped off her pajamas. Annika's eyes locked on Kara's naked body, trying to take in every detail. She had never seen anyone nude. Annika felt a gush of renewed wetness between her legs. She clenched her thighs together against the unexpected surge of arousal. Before she was even aware of what she was doing, she reached out and touched Kara's bare breast.

Kara whimpered and pulled Annika into her body. Their passion flared brightly as their bare bodies touched for the first time. Annika tightened her arms when Kara tried to pull away.

"No, please."

"We need to lie down," Kara insisted. She moved down in the bed, drawing Annika down with her.

At Kara's gentle urging, she moved over her and carefully settled on top her, ready to move in an instant. Annika knew she was much heavier than Kara and feared injuring her. She held most of her weight on her arms. Her hips ground down when they came in contact with Kara's.

Kara's hips surged up into Annika seeking contact. Their sweat-slicked skin slid together; she couldn't take any more. Kara gently guided Annika to straddle her leg. She moaned and struggled for control as Annika's hot wet heat slid against her thigh. She shifted under her until Annika's thigh came to rest against her engorged sex. She lost it and began to thrust, whimpering Annika's name as she got closer. She forced her hands up and grasp Annika's butt, pulling her hard down into her thigh. Annika quickly got the idea and began to thrust back. They cried out almost simultaneously as their climaxes struck.

Kara's breath whooshed out as Annika's full weight dropped onto her. She held on tight as the aftershocks rippled through her body. As she came back to herself she pressed against Annika to get her to move; she couldn't breath.

Annika grumbled in protest. Her limbs felt like lead. She felt Kara push against her again and realized she was crushing the smaller woman. Annika quickly rolled over taking Kara with her so she ended up on top.

Kara squirmed and managed to grab the cover and pull it up over them. She lifted up and looked into Annika's eyes.

Her eyes filled with tears of joy. "I love you so much."

A tear slipped down Annika's cheek as the enormity of her love for Kara washed over her.

"I love you. I always will."

Kara leaned down and gently kissed away Annika's tears.

Time ceased to exist for the two entwined lovers as they bask in the warmth of their love.


Chapter Thirty-four

Voyager – Prime

Things had been a whirlwind since arriving back on the correct Voyager. Last night after being released by the doctor, they had been so exhausted they had pleaded fatigue and gone straight to their cabin and bed. The day had been emotionally wrenching for both of them and neither wanted to face it.

Today, they had spent time writing up what turned out to be very brief reports of their time on the alternate Voyager. They had met with Captain Janeway privately. She decided the less details of the alternate universe circulated among the crew the better. Seven had been relieved that the captain had not asked more questions concerning Kara's fate. She had not mentioned Kara except to announce a memorial service for her to be held in a few days. It was almost as if the captain herself didn't want any information about what had taken place on the other ship. She supposed it made sense, the void was gone. Nothing she could do would change anything now.

Tonight they attended a welcome home party thrown by B'Elanna, Janice, and Carrie. Everyone was curious about their adventure, but after repeated refusals by both of them to talk about it, it had for the most part been dropped. All their friends were just happy to have them back. Seven was pleased when several people approached her to express their condolences about Kara. She wished her friend could have realized other people on Voyager would have gladly been her friend, if she had only allowed it. The party had still been going strong when they finally manage to sneak away. They needed some down time, alone.

Seven tightened her arms around Del, who was resting on her chest. They had returned to their cabin and made love. It felt wonderful to connect to each other and not have to worry about being overheard.

It was good to be home, but Seven couldn't help wondering about the fate of her friend. It had only been a day and she already missed her terribly.

"What's wrong?" Del asked feeling the sudden tension in the body under her.

"Do you really believe she made it?"

Del didn't have to ask who Seven was talking about. She thought a lot about Kara since their return.

"Yes, I'm convinced she did. I saw her run toward one of the shuttles in the bay. She had a lot to live for."

"Did we do the right thing, leaving Kara there?"

Del shifted position until she could see Seven's face. "It was what she wanted Seven, and I understand that. I wouldn't have left you in the same situation. It's not like she left us a lot of choice. We could have tried to turn the shuttle around, but it would've meant all of us remaining on the other Voyager. Is that what you wanted?"

"No, I'm happy to be home. I just…miss her."

"I know you do, love. But we both know Kara wasn't happy here. This way she had a chance to make a life with Annika. They both deserve to be happy."

Seven cuddled against Del. "I know you are right, but I still miss her."

"Just keep reminding yourself of how happy they are together."

Seven smiled thinking about the two women. She did understand Kara's motivation. She would not have left Del, no matter what the risk. She knew in her heart that the two women belonged together just like she and Del did.


Epilogue – Voyager Alternate

Kara glanced around the room and mentally shook her head. It was hard to believe it had been barely two months since she had defied Captain Janeway and faced possible death to remain aboard this Voyager. She thought often of Seven and Del, and prayed they had made it safely back to their Voyager. This Voyager was where she belonged.

So much had changed in such a short period of time. If someone had told her two months ago that she would in the holodeck with Annika sharing a piece of birthday cake, she would have laughed in their face. Yet here she was, doing exactly that. Tonight was Harry Kim's birthday. Kara had surprised herself when she offered to help Tom plan this party. The two men were some of the first people onboard to befriend them. She looked around the room trying to spot their host. She grinned when she spotted Tom wrapped around Harry on the dance floor. It was obvious how much the two men loved each other. Once word had gotten out that she had remained onboard the two men had made it their mission it seemed to make Kara feel welcome and in the process ended up befriending Annika as well.

Kara sighed at just the thought of her lover. She never dared imagine she could be so happy. She still vividly remembered that first morning she and Annika made love. When she awoke wrapped in Annika's arms she had vowed then and there that she would not waste the incredible second chance at life she'd been given. She had gone out of her way to be friendly with the crew, welcoming overtures of friendship she would have once scorned. She did it for Annika's sake and her own. Kara was determined to build a life with Annika and make a home for both of them onboard Voyager.

"Hi, B'Elanna."

Kara was drawn out of her thoughts by Annika's greeting. That had been the biggest surprise of all. B'Elanna Torres was well on her way to becoming a good friend to both of them. Kara had been floored when she began to show up in the mess hall most afternoons and casually invite herself to lunch. She had gotten to know and respect the feisty engineer and regretted that she had never taken the time to get to know her counterpart. It reinforced her commitment to learning to let people in.

Even more shocking than her overtures of friendship was the fact that B'Elanna had become Annika's staunch advocate. She had personally heard her several times berating her crewmembers for their attitude toward the former Borg.

"Hey, B'Elanna. All done with the plasma flow inducers?" Kara asked. The ship had been suffering unexplained power fluctuations all week.

B'Elanna growled. "I would be if Daniels hadn't screwed up the final calibration. That patak could screw up anything. I reassigned him to clean the Jeffries tubes…with a toothbrush!"

As B'Elanna got to know Annika a bit better she had slowly learned just what the real situation between her and Daniels had been. Her rage had been impressive and done much to make up for some of her previous behavior.

Kara grinned maliciously at the thought of Daniels. She had only seen him a few times at a distance since that night in the corridor outside Annika's quarters. Every time he saw Annika he paled and quickly headed in the opposite direction.

B'Elanna ranted for several minutes about having to redo the whole power system calibration.

She stopped suddenly and grinned. "How would you two like a nice change of pace from Astrometrics?" At Kara and Annika's skeptical looks, B'Elanna turned serious. "I really could use a hand."

Kara glanced over at Annika questioningly. A slight smile crossed her face and she nodded.

Kara turned back to B'Elanna. "You ask Captain Janeway."

B'Elanna snorted. She didn't know why, but she knew Kara didn't care for the captain.

"It's a deal. I'll contact her tonight. I just came by to wish Harry, happy birthday. I have to get back to engineering."

"Do you require our assistance tonight," Annika asked.

B'Elanna smiled at the stunning blond. Her transformation was nothing short of amazing. Gone was the flesh colored glove and oversized coverall. Annika had taken to wearing a dark blue tailored jumpsuit. It brought out the color of her already vivid blue eyes. The silver of what B'Elanna now knew was her biosuit, showed at the open collar of the jumpsuit. Her hair no longer hid her face, but was brushed back boldly displaying her implants. It didn't lessen her beauty one bit. If anything they enhanced it, B'Elanna acknowledged to herself.

"Na. First thing in the morning is fine," B'Elanna said before heading off to extend her good wishes to Harry.

Annika turned to stare at her lover. She still found it hard to believe sometimes that this amazing woman loved her, but she knew in her heart she did. Annika had tried hard to accept her life onboard Voyager; she had never known anything else, except the Borg. Now she knew she had not been living but barely existing, one lonely day running into the next. All that had changed. She found herself looking forward to each new day, knowing she would spend it at Kara's side. She loved her more deeply with each passing day.

Annika gazed deeply into Kara's warm hazel eyes. "I love you," she whispered.

Kara wrapped her arm around Annika's shoulders and drew her close. Uncaring who might be watching, she brushed her lips softly against Annika's. "I love you too."

Kara sighed in contentment. Annika fulfilled an empty place in her heart and soul she had never acknowledged existed. Since being forced to leave her family behind, she had unknowingly yearned for a place to belong. She had finally found that place, at Annika's side.

Kara smiled up into her lover's brilliant blue eyes. "Let's go home."

The End

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