DISCLAIMER: All characters are owned and copyrighted by Paramount. No profit is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Although this is a short one, I feel it prudent to say, that this plays after the seventh season, without Voyager having been returned. Well, it's angsty again.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

What's Left Unsaid
By Skye

Captain Kathryn Janeway stood in front of the Torres-Paris-Quarters, a PADD clutched tight in her hands. It was one of those moments when she hated her job. In this case it was one of the worst scenarios she could think of. Delivering sadness into a happy houshold.

Hesitantly she raised her hand to touch the admittance chime. Almost without realizing it, she finally touched it and waited.

"Enter" came the muffled response.

With a final deep breath, she entered the quarters and was greeted by a typical family scene. Tom Paris was on all fours, crawling around and pretending to be a horse. On his back sat his daughter, little Miral. B'Elanna Torres was occupied with the preparation of the dinner. While she was smiling when she saw the Captain, Tom blushed and hurried to stand up. He felt slightly embarrassed about the position his Captain found him in.

"At ease, Lt., you're long off duty. And in your quarters you can play with your daughter in the most ridiculous ways you could come up with."

"Captain, to what do we owe this visit." B'Elanna joined her husband and took her daughter from him.

"Unfortunately I am still on duty. My visit is more or less official. B'Elanna, can we speak alone for a moment?"

"Of course." With that she sat her daughter down and motioned Kathryn into her bedroom. It was a far too private place for Kathryn's taste, but it wouldn't change anything.

"It's about Seven" she said without preamble.

B'Elanna couldn't help herself. Before her legs gave out she sat down. Kathryn joined her, not wishing to look down on the other woman. With another deep breath she explained,

"You know that almost everybody tapes a message for his or her beloved ones, before going on a possibly dangerous away mission. Obviously Seven did the same. She left a note for Naomi, for Icheb, for me and ... and for you."

Tears welled in the normally composed woman's eyes. Thinking of her surrogate daughter still let her heart constrict painfully. It was only two weeks ago that she'd died on that stupid mission. When the cave ceiling threatened to come down, Seven barely managed to save B'Elanna's life. But she herself was buried under tons of rocks. When they finally found her she was already dead.

"For me?" B'Elanna managed to ask in a hoarse whisper.

Kathryn nodded and gave her the PADD. Before B'Elanna could activate it, she said,

"I'll leave you alone and tell Tom to give you a few moments. You'll probably want to read that by yourself."

With that she stood and left her alone.

B'Elanna stared at the PADD. She couldn't imagine why Seven should have written a message to her, of all people. It has taken her almost four years before she was able to tolerate the ex-drone. And even then they couldn't be called friends. In the last few month they had been able to get along better and better. Their working relationship certainly had improved. But that wouldn't explain a personal message, some last few words.

"Well, she saved my life. The least she deserves is that I read what she had to say." B'Elanna spoke to no one in particular and activated the PADD.

The usual impassive face of the now dead ex-borg appeared on the screen and startled B'Elanna for a second.

"Hello B'Elanna," she said "the Doctor explained this custom to me. Although I hope that you will never read this message, I thought it prudent to prepare it nevertheless. Otherwise there would be some things left unsaid.

I regret that we never were able to become friends. I must admit, that I wished for us to become friends. But it does not seem possible. I can not explain why that was. You may be surprised, but I always admired you. Your skills as an engineer are extraordinary, although sometimes faulty. But more than that, you are a strong, honourable, respectable and passionate individual.

I appreciate that you never lied to me, that you treated me as an equal, that you yelled at me when I annoyed you, that you were there for me when I needed you. For that I am more grateful than I can tell you. You challenged me, you questioned me. With one look, one word or a smile you were sometimes able to help me more in the developement of my humanity than the Captain in an hour of a philosophical discussion or the Doctor with one of his lessons.

You are one of the reasons why I became what I am. Believe it or not. Maybe you were more succesful, because you never actually tried to help me. You did more than the others, without wanting or knowing it.

And it was you, who taught me how to feel. Of course you set a pretty good example by displaying your emotions, but you also provoked those feelings in me. Irritation, confusion, anger, pain, joy, fear, jealousy and..."

Here she stopped with tears in her eyes. B'Elanna looked stunned at the PADD and Seven's sad smile, breathlessly waiting for her next words.

"I probably should not tell you that, but I do not think that it matters anymore. If you are really going to read this I might as well tell you.

B'Elanna Torres, I love you."

Said B'Elanna Torres sat frozen in place, while the PADD had fallen to the ground. She couldn't believe what she had just heard. Seven had loved her. Seven of Nine, tertiary adjunct of Unimatrix 01, former borg drone, brilliant Astrometics officer, beautiful young woman, dead for two weeks now, had loved her.

B'Elanna couldn't stop the tears from falling, or her hands from shaking. Ever so slowly she managed to bend down to retrieve the PADD. The message wasn't over yet.

With tears still flowing down her face, she pressed the button to contiue the message.

"I can not recall how long I have loved you. Sometimes I think I always did. In the begining I did not recognized the nature of my feelings, and later there was Mr. Paris, who is now your husband and the father of your child. I could and would have never challenged that. So I was prepared to love you from afar. And maybe we could have managed one day to become friends. Though we will never know.

All I ever wished for you was to be happy. So please, be happy. That is all I ask of you."

An hour later Tom finally decided to look after his wife. She was on their bed, curled up in a fetal position. When he approached her, he could see her tear strained face and a still activated PADD, which showed a picture of a sad smiling Seven of Nine, tightly clutched in her hands.

He wrapped a blanket around her and kissed her on the temple.

"I could've told you, love."

The End

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