DISCLAIMER: Not mine - Paramount's. No profit from it etc etc etc.
NOTE: Well, this is a reply to Rachel's challenge and is also another streaming challenge.
It took me an hour and a half admittedly - but I just sat down and wrote out an idea so it sort of does both challenges! It's not beta'd or even read through - so apologies for any horrible mistakes!
Rules of the challenge:
1 Seven and B'Elanna go on holiday (vacation) somewhere other than the holodeck (alone or with others)
2 One of them has to try something they've never done before - I don't mean anything sexual
3 They also have to end up in trouble with the cops/security
4 Lastly funny would be good but simply sappy is fine *g* think fluff people
"Come on Seven, why don't you live a little?" B'Elanna teased.
"Lieutenant Torres, I have no wish to participate in shore leave. I have assignments to work on in Astrometrics."
"All of which have a completion date of at least a week. It won't do you any harm to take a couple of days off. Besides, if I can take a few days leave then so can you."
"I fail to see the relevance of shore leave," Seven protested, knowing that her argument was weakening.
"That's because you've never done it. Besides, what can go wrong?"
"I could be kidnapped and made to fight to the death, you could be forced to undergo memory alteration, we could crash land the shuttle, we could inadvertently awaken a race of warriors, need I continue?" Seven arched an eyebrow as B'Elanna crossed her arms.
"Or we could have fun. Or do you really need to assimilate an amusement part to find out what fun is?" The Klingon couldn't help but bite back.
Seven however had only concentrated on the first part of her rejoinder. "We? Are you intending to spend your shore leave with me, Lieutenant?"
B'Elanna sighed heavily. "If that's what it takes to prise you off this ship then yes. You need a break. I don't give a damn how `efficient' your alcove is; a change of atmosphere will do you good. And God knows I could do with a change of scenery."
Seven did not need to probe any deeper on that comment. B'Elanna and Tom's break-up had been the mainstay of the gossip circuit for some weeks now, particularly as there had been nothing much else going on in the Quadrant. "I will go with you," she conceded, sounding reluctant but secretly thrilled that the Engineer had sought out her company.
"Good." B'Elanna nodded approvingly. "I'll see you in Transporter Room One tomorrow morning. It'll give you time to pack."
The next day, Seven was wondering if she had made the right choice. They had beamed down to the planet's surface only to be told that, due to limited space, they would have to share a room at the hotel that had been allocated to the holidaying Voyagers. B'Elanna hadn't seemed all that concerned at first but when they reached their room to discover that it contained one king-size bed and not the twin beds they were expecting, even the engineer looked a bit nervous.
"Are you okay with this?"
"I am unaccustomed to sleeping, lieutenant. I suspect that you will have a more difficult time. I will probably disturb you while I practise."
"You still addicted to that alcove? I thought the Doc was going to wean you off it?"
"I prefer to regenerate," was Seven's only reply.
B'Elanna shrugged. "Okay. You might change your mind later. We've got some exploring to do."
The two women did not get very far though. The bright lights and incessant din of gambling machines pervaded every pore and Seven found herself fascinated by the behaviour of those around her. "Do these people not realise that the odds of winning on these machines are unacceptable?"
"That's what the lure is about. People go around putting money in the machines thinking that the last person on it has primed it for a big win." B'Elanna grinned as she led Seven through the casino. "I'm not a huge fan of fruit machines though. I prefer Roulette."
"I have never gambled lieutenant. Trying to guess which is the next number in the sequence seems a futile pastime." Seven was dismissive.
"Don't knock it till you've tried it. And there are a load of different permutations and ways of betting to make it more exciting." B'Elanna looked at Seven's doubting face for a few moments. "Well, at least sit with me while I play."
Seven nodded her agreement and the women selected a table that was currently unoccupied.
"Good afternoon ladies," the croupier greeted them cordially as she casually kept the large roulette wheel spinning. "Care to try your luck?"
"There is no such thing as luck," Seven retorted but made no further comment as B'Elanna yanked her down to take a seat.
B'Elanna changed up some money for chips and also purchased some different coloured chips for Seven.
The drone looked at her enquiringly. "I told you that I would not be playing," she reminded her.
"Maybe not yet. But if you sit here, you need chips in front of you. And besides, you might want to have a go," B'Elanna grinned back at her mischievously.
B'Elanna took a long time deciding where to place the first of her counters but then decided to place 5 chips in the `odd' box and five on the row that included the figures 7 and 9. "You never know Seven, you might just be my lucky number."
Seven refused to rise to the comment but merely raised an eyebrow in bemusement.
When the small white ball was whipped round the lip of the wheel, B'Elanna could feel her excitement begin to rise. She knew as well as Seven that there was no skill involved, but there was something thrilling about trying to win money.
The croupier waited politely for a few moments as the ball began to lose momentum, giving Seven time to change her mind and place a bet if she so desired, but eventually she waved her hand over the green baize. "No more bets please," she instructed and allowed the ball to continue it's descent into the jaws of one of the numbers of the wheel.
B'Elanna looked excitedly at Seven, but seeing no reaction, turned her attention to the wheel.
The ball bounced a few times, pinging round the pins that decorated the wheel before finally settling.
"Seven," the croupier announced disinterestedly. B'Elanna squealed with delight.
"But your chips are not on any particular number," Seven pointed out.
"They don't have to be. I bet a line bet. Eleven to One odds. I've just won 55 chips on that, plus 10 chips on my `Odd' bet. Looks like you really are my lucky number."
Seven shook her head slightly at the gleeful exuberance B'Elanna displayed but realised that she was also feeling happy that the engineer had won. "I see your ability at `hunches' extends beyond Main Engineering."
"Seven, did you just make a joke?" B'Elanna was incredulous and was then delighted to see a small smile twitch on the ex-drone's face. She smiled back toothily. "So are you just going to watch, or are you going to place a bet?"
"I think I will continue to watch for the moment," Seven told her, wondering why B'Elanna's smile had made her heart begin to race.
B'Elanna nodded, accepting Seven's reluctance to participate easily. "Fair enough. But it's a lot more fun if you bet yourself," she commented.
Several spins later saw B'Elanna with a mountainous pile of chips in front of her. She had kept betting on or near the number 7 and barring two spins, low numbers had come up every time. In a fit of exuberant extravagance, the half-Klingon had placed 100 chips on the single number 7. Seven had been horrified at the gamble, wondering if B'Elanna had simply gone mad. When the ball settled on the number 7 though, B'Elanna had leapt up with delight and turned round to hug her companion before kissing her on the lips.
Both women sprang back from the embrace in wide-eyed shock.
"Sorry, Seven. I didn't mean.. Er I didn't mean.Hell, I didn't mean to do that. Sorry if I embarrassed you." B'Elanna stumbled over her words, even as her lips tingled at the sensation she had experience.
Seven stared at B'Elanna, barely hearing her words. All she was aware of was the sound of her own pulse pounding in her ears.
B'Elanna looked away suddenly and watched as a huge pile of chips were pushed her way. Mentally she calculated how much she'd won: 3500 chips. She noticed that Seven hadn't placed a bet at all and motioned for the croupier to cash in all the chips. "Perhaps this isn't your game, Seven. Would you like to look at another table?"
Seven nodded, unsure if she could speak while she relished the feelings B'Elanna's lips had released in her.
B'Elanna looked at the tall blonde curiously before taking her money and walking away from the roulette table. She flipped a chip back at the croupier as a thanks and then headed to another area of the casino.
Once again she managed to find an unoccupied table and gestured for Seven to sit down. "This is Blackjack, Seven," she explained. "Also known as 21. The simple explanation is that you start off with two cards, as does the dealer. You can then either twist for another card or buy another card. The idea is to get as close to 21 without going over or you bust. When you stick, the dealer then plays his cards. If the cards in his hand have a higher value than yours, without going over 21, then he wins. There are a few more bits that go along with it, but that's basically it. Want a go?"
Seven looked at the large shoe of cards on the table in front of the dealer. She weighed up her options. She had played this game before with Tom Paris and Harry Kim. It was simply a question of looking at the cards and calculating the odds for the next numbers to come up. There was less luck involved here, particularly if one paid attention to the cards being played. "I will attempt this game," she acquiesced, holding her hand out for some of B'Elanna's chips.
B'Elanna sat next to her and sighed with relief. She had been starting to wonder if it had been a good idea to take Seven to a gambling metropolis, but at least she was attempting to get into the spirit of it.
Two hours later, and both women were sitting in a dingy grey-walled cell. "You're not supposed to count the fucking cards Seven." B'Elanna berated the blonde. It was the third time she had tried to explain gambling etiquette.
"How else am I supposed to calculate the odds and make the correct decision on my bet?" Seven was not being deliberately obtuse; she merely failed to see why her actions had landed them both in trouble.
B'Elanna growled in frustration and banged the back of her head on the cell wall. "Well, hopefully we can explain this little mix up and then be released. I wonder if there's anything else to do other than gamble in this place."
"They'll ban us from participating?" Seven was horrified. "But that is unreasonable. We are on shore leave. I want to play again," protested, realising with horror that her voice had begin to whine.
"Oh, my. You've been bitten by the gambling bug haven't you?" B'Elanna couldn't help but grin at Seven's outburst.
"I have not been bitten by anything. At least, not until I entered this filthy holding area," demurred the Astrometrics officer.
"Yes you have. You enjoy gambling. You want to take a risk and make a bet don't you?" B'Elanna was beginning to enjoy the other woman's discomfort.
"Well it is your fault if I have, lieutenant. I would never have come here if you hadn't insisted," the ex-drone pointed out acerbically.
B'Elanna sobered immediately. "Yeah. Well, sorry about that. I guess it was my fault. I just wanted a break."
Seven was instantly contrite. "No. Don't apologise. You were right. I was having fun. Right up until we were arrested in fact."
The Klingon bit back a snort of laughter before smiling warmly at her cellmate. "Yeah, me too."
Their talk was interrupted by the cell door opening. A small bald- headed humanoid with bulbous green eyes entered holding what appeared to be a clipboard in front of him. "B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine?" he questioned imperiously, his nasal twang adding to his officiousness.
"Yep, it's still us, we're still here and we haven't gone for any legal name changes," B'Elanna shot back in a bored tone. The humanoid had already checked their identities on a number of occasions but seemed to take delight in declaring them on every visit.
"You have been sentenced."
"What? We haven't even had a trial." B'Elanna instantly exploded up from the bench, but was held back by Seven's arm on her elbow.
"I have already liased with your Captain and come up with a suitable punishment. You are to remain incarcerated for the remainder of your `shore leave'. Apparently, counting cards is also illegal in your Quadrant so there is no excuse for ignorance. Considering the circumstances, we have been lenient, but Captain Janeway is. persuasive in her arguments." The little man seemed to shiver at a memory and then returned his gaze on the two women. "Don't worry, you won't be staying here. That would be too barbaric. There is a prison cell down the block that has toilet facilities and a bed. You will be fed but that is all. Enjoy your stay." Somehow the weasly man pulled his face into an approximation of a malicious smile. B'Elanna was tempted to wipe it off him permanently but Seven had not yet removed her hand from the crook of her arm, and the Klingon found it strangely comforting.
They were removed without preamble to the other cell. It was barely bigger than their first residence, but there were better facilities. However, there were no windows to the cell at all, and the only lighting came from a strip that went round the edges of the ceiling.
The only place to sit was the one bed that lined one side of the cell. B'Elanna looked at it cautiously. "Well, that looks comfortable," she remarked with a bitter tinge to her voice.
"On the contrary, it would appear to be very narrow with little or no padding and there would appear to be no extra covers for warmth," Seven pointed out blandly.
"Yeah, that's what I meant." B'Elanna ran a hand through her hair and sat on the edge of the bed. "I think I might just go mad in here," she commented to no one in particular.
"It is only for three days lieutenant. It cannot be that bad," Seven reasoned.
"Seven, I'm the only other person in this cell. Is it really necessary to call me lieutenant?"
Seven looked slightly taken aback. "I apologise lieutenant. I was under the impression that only your friends could call you by your name."
"Seven, you *are* my friend. Why the hell would I invite someone who wasn't my friend on holiday with me?"
The tall blonde cocked her head to one side while she considered the question. "Thank you," she replied eventually.
"Why are you thanking me?" B'Elanna's brow creased in confusion.
"Thank you for considering me your friend."
B'Elanna swallowed down the lump that had formed in her throat. "You're welcome," she muttered back, trying not to blush. She knew that she had treated Seven badly in the past. The trip had been a first step in trying to atone for her behaviour. The Klingon felt as if she were making baby-steps of progress, but realised that the process would take time. She was just glad that she had woken up to herself when she had. Seven had been surprisingly good company for the few hours they had spent together so far. B'Elanna just hoped that the new constraints that had been put on their shore leave wouldn't undo all the good work that had occurred.
"Okay, so what do we do from keeping mad then?" she asked, trying to get the conversation back into more comfortable territory.
"We are vacationing in a gambling location. Perhaps we should continue to wager," Seven suggested blandly.
"Wager what exactly?" B'Elanna was intrigued but mildly horrified at the same time. What the hell was Seven getting at?
"I bet you." Seven began slowly before pausing to think. "I bet you can't stand on your hands for 10 minutes," she concluded.
B'Elanna grinned. "You're on. What do I win?"
"We still have chips on us. Well, some at least. Perhaps we could wager them?"
"Okay. How much?"
"Ten chips," Seven stated decisively.
The engineer nodded her head and then went to the other side of the cell in order to perform the handstand.
Immediately, Seven realised what she was going to do. "No leaning against anything," she instructed.
B'Elanna looked at her slowly. "Okay, I'll still attempt this, but next time I want all the rules out in the open."
Seven nodded her head in agreement.
B'Elanna then went to the middle of the room and flipped onto her hands. She had been in the gymnastics squad at the Academy but that had been a few years ago. She walked around on her hands to keep her circulation going but after eight minutes she fell out of the handstand, her head dizzy with so much blood racing round.
Seven clapped her hands in glee. "You owe me 10 chips," she told her companion without preamble.
"Okay, okay. My turn. I bet you can't name the entire crew compliment in alphabetical order in under five minutes."
"I'll take that bet."
And so it went on. Each woman came up with both physical and mental challenges. Chips exchanged hands frequently and even their meals were wagered to make things more interesting. Eventually, they ran out of ideas and were both too tired to continue. B'Elanna stretched out on the low bunk while Seven sat next to it, leaning against the wall.
"I didn't realise gambling could be so exhausting," B'Elanna commented dryly.
"I never realised that there isn't a challenge you won't refuse," Seven replied. She had come up with some outlandish and downright impossible bets, but B'Elanna had good-naturedly attempted them all, losing all of her chips in the process.
"I didn't realise that you could come up with such evil suggestions," the Klingon retorted with a smile. "We'll have to think of something else to do for the next couple of days though."
"B'Elanna, may I ask you a question?"
"You just did. But you can ask another," the brunette allowed.
"Why did you kiss me earlier?"
B'Elanna sat bolt upright. "Look Seven. I'm sorry about that. I just got carried away after winning so much money. I didn't mean to hurt you or anything."
Seven smiled slightly. B'Elanna was actually more concerned about any negative effect she might have had on her. She looked at the engineer steadily. "I bet you every chip I have that you enjoyed that kiss." Her heart was hammering and a voice in her head was continually repeating hopes that she had read the situation right.
B'Elanna stared back at Seven while her body remained totally still. She took in the dark blue eyes of the younger woman and noticed that they had dilated. She could see the flutter of Seven's heartbeat at the pulse point on her neck, and the rapid rise and fall of her chest indicated how quickly she was breathing.
The tension within the cell was building exponentially. Seven remained focused on B'Elanna; determined to say no more until the smaller woman came to her own conclusions.
B'Elanna was on the brink of a potentially life-changing decision. The break up with Tom had hurt her badly and she had resolved never to have another relationship. But if she was reading Seven correctly, she might just have found the one person who could tolerate her moods, understand her passion for work and who was drop- dead gorgeous. It was at that point that B'Elanna berated herself for hesitating at all.
"No bet," she growled suddenly, before pulling Seven into her arms so that she could deliver another scorching kiss. But this time it was reciprocated and deepened.
Somewhere in the back of her emotion-befuddled mind, B'Elanna came to the conclusion that she probably wouldn't have to come up with anything else now to occupy their time in the cell. She had enough exploration to do in the short time that was left.
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