DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.
VIOLENCE WARNING: This story deals with captivity, please be advised that punishments are described that deal with technically induced physical pain.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Nine Months
By Kudara

Part 4: Changes


Chapter 11


Stardate 52518.84 (July 9, 2375 09:01am)

B'Elanna's mind raced frantically, trying to figure out why Seven was accompanying her, and whether or not the robots meant to harm her again. Though there was little, she bleakly acknowledged to herself, that she could do without making the situation worse, and getting Seven hurt even more. From the sound of Seven's uneven breathing behind her, she knew the blonde was probably wondering the same.

The robot leading the way turned and entered a room she had not been in before. It was square, and approximately ten foot by ten foot. In it was a single bio bed in the center, a chair placed beside it, and a sink in the corner with a washcloth and glass upon it. The walls were unmarked metal, no sign of whatever technology existed behind them given.

"B'Elanna Torres, you will place yourself upon the bio bed, you will not attempt to leave the bio bed until given instructions to do so. Your hostage will see to your needs between treatments. Today's treatment will be two hours in duration."

'Today's?' she thought, 'that implies there will be more tomorrow and maybe even longer, and treatments for what?' Uneasily she sat upon the bio bed, and lay down. Looking up into Seven's concerned face, she tried to give the blonde a reassuring smile.

"Torres Hostage, you will remain seated, in the chair provided, at all times during the treatment phases. You will not attempt to touch B'Elanna Torres during the treatment phases. After the each treatment phase is completed, you may leave the chair and provide for B'Elanna Torres's needs. There will be three treatment phases today, they will be announced 15 seconds before beginning."

Seven nodded jerkily, never taking her eyes from the half-Klingon, and B'Elanna found the obvious concern for her in them warming. Ever since the robot's attack on Seven, and her nursing the blonde through her recovery, the relationship between them had changed, first into a tentative friendship, and lately into a solid friendship. Their discussions during the evenings now ranged from the technical, to the personal.

What bemused B'Elanna most was how rewarding she was finding helping Seven; whether it was helping her understand why she was feeling a particular emotion, or discussions concerning her time aboard Voyager. What surprised and dismayed B'Elanna the most about the latter, was how well Seven had hidden how uncertain and lost she had felt, from the very beginning of her separation from the Collective, all the way up to the time they were captured.

B'Elanna suspected that not even Janeway had fully understood how alone and separate Seven had felt, or if she did, she hadn't done much about it that B'Elanna could remember, except to force the blonde to attend social events. Though in all fairness to Janeway, she suspected it would have taken a good psychologist, or a very sympathetic and patient person, and certainly not a hologram who was still figuring out how to interact with people, to have guided Seven successfully through those first months.

She had also started wondering about what impact things, such as Seven essentially living in the cargo bay instead of quarters like everyone else, had played in Seven's less than successful integration. B'Elanna knew that Seven simply saw it as the most efficient placement of her alcove, but upon thinking about it further, she wondered whether or not it had played a part in her, and other people's views, of the woman. After all things, not people, were generally put in cargo bays, and where she would consider it rude and unacceptable to walk into someone's quarters and stare at them while working or sleeping, she had never thought it wrong to do the same to Seven. After all everyone else, including the Captain, was doing the same thing.

"The first treatment phase will begin in fifteen seconds." A mechanical voice broke into her thoughts.

Brought out of her thoughts, she watched as Seven sat down quickly in the chair beside the bio bed, never taking her eyes off her as she did so. There was enough time left for her to note that both of them had gotten pretty good at expressing their emotions to each other without saying anything, as such sentiments were frequently taken as disagreement with their captor's actions.

The hum of some type of energy field caught her attention first, then she felt a sensation like something, or more accurately some things, were crawling around inside her. The sensation increased into an annoying itch, then to a painful burning sensation that escalated steadily into pure pain. Then noise filled her ears and the next thing she knew the robot was announcing the end of the first treatment period.

The room was spinning around, and her stomach was threatening a revolt, in short it felt like she was extremely drunk. Feeling the nausea rise, she struggled to sit up hoping that would help, only to find out once she achieved an upright position, that while it helped the nausea, it seemed to increase her dizziness.

An arm wrapped around her shoulders steadied her as Seven asked, "B'Elanna what is your condition?" in a distressed tone.

"Dizzy, nauseated," she explained and wondered why her voice sounded hoarse, and why Seven sounded so upset. "And my throat is sore."

"You screamed during the last part of the treatment phase," Seven explained, her voice flat in tone.

B'Elanna turned her head enough to look at the blonde, and realized how upset she was, her face was taunt and pale and her eyes were oddly bright. The dizziness had abated enough for her to feel steadier, "Water?" she requested.

Seven paused long enough to make sure she could remain sitting on her own, then went and filled the glass by the sink and brought it back to her. B'Elanna was ashamed to note how her hands still shook as she took the glass. It was a measure of how far their relationship had improved that she was thankful, instead of indignant, when Seven reached out and helped her steady the glass so she could drink without spilling it upon herself. When she had enough Seven took it back to the sink, and B'Elanna watched curiously as the blonde took the washcloth and wetted it after emptying the glass.

Returning Seven made a slight gesture with the hand holding the washcloth, "Your application of a damp cloth such as this one," she hesitated, "made me feel better, when I was injured."

B'Elanna gave her a weak smile for correctly using 'casual grammar' as the blonde was calling it. It was something she had been trying to teach Seven for the past few months, so the woman wouldn't talk as painfully correct all the time.

As Seven held the cold damp cloth to her forehead B'Elanna admitted, "I think it's as much that the coldness feels good when your sick, as it is that someone cares enough for you to do it." She was watching Seven when she said this and smiled at what looked suspiciously like embarrassed pleasure on the blonde's face.

After the third treatment phase, once some of the nausea had passed, B'Elanna was finally allowed to get up off the bio bed. Seven helped steady her and she just had time to notice that something seemed off, before the blonde gave her a startled wide eyed look.

"You are taller," Seven's said, shocked, "by approximately two inches." she finished.


Chapter 12


Stardate 52524.6 (July 11, 2375 11:31am)

"B'Elanna Torres remove yourself from the bio bed and remain standing near it."

B'Elanna frowned slightly at the order to remain, that was the second difference today, the first one being the fourth treatment. She hadn't lost consciousness during it, it hadn't even felt the same as the others, there had just been the hum of the device, but none of the usual pain.

As she stood unsteadily, she glanced down at Seven who had slipped a supportive arm around her waist to help steady her. 'She's shorter,' B'Elanna thought in shock, it wasn't as if she hadn't been expecting it, yesterday after the treatments she had been just slightly taller than Seven, and she had known that she would be taller today. It was just that the reality of being able to see the top of Seven's head was…weird, as was knowing that she should be five foot eleven inches tall now, if she had indeed gained another two inches like the days before. She wasn't quite certain what she thought of all these changes, one the one hand she had always wanted to be taller, but everything looked off. It was really surprising to her how six inches made such a noticeable difference in how everything appeared.

"Torres Hostage, place yourself upon the bio bed."

B'Elanna reflexively clenched her teeth together, reminding herself that she could not protest as she wanted to. The only thing she could do was to give Seven what she hoped was a reassuring look, and quick hug, before the blonde released her supportive hold to obey the order.

As the treatment progressed B'Elanna relaxed somewhat, Seven was tense, but she wasn't showing any signs of pain, causing her to believe that Seven's treatment was like her last one. The question was what type of treatment was it? It obviously was not like the ones that had increased her height and mass, so just what was it doing? She knew it had to be doing something, for if there was anything she had become certain of about their captor, it was that she was sure that nothing was done to them without a reason behind it.


Chapter 13


Stardate 52527.89 (July 12, 2375 04:22pm)

"Maintenance of your hostage's cybernetic systems is required."

B'Elanna looked over in surprise at the robot that was essentially a fixture in their quarters, as it seldom communicated with them these days. There was, as she had expected from what it said, an opening in its body. She glanced inquiringly at Seven who was kneeling on the floor in front of the stove. Seven had stopped cleaning the interior of the oven at the first word from the robot and now looked up at her, seeing B'Elanna staring at her Seven raised one metallic brow and nodded.

Slightly irritated that Seven hadn't mentioned that anything was wrong with her implants to her, she dropped the cloth she had been using to help Seven clean on the countertop. B'Elanna approached the machine and took the proffered tools, an engineering tricorder, and a general purpose recalibration tool, whatever was wrong with Seven couldn't be too difficult if this was all she needed to fix it, B'Elanna thought.

"Kitchen table alright?" she asked Seven.

"Yes, B'Elanna," Seven pulled out a chair and sat down. "I believe it is my optical implant that needs maintenance." Her eyes flickered toward the robot and she frowned slightly. "I have not mentioned it, because I have been able to satisfactorily compensate for the misalignment."

B'Elanna raised an eyebrow at the irritated tone, then grinned, she thought to herself silently, 'translation, I don't know why this is such a big deal, it isn't really bothering me yet.' "I guess you like going in for check ups about as much as I do." She commented aloud, her irritation at the blonde forgotten as she remembered that Seven was a fellow Sickbay hater.

Seven regarded her considering, "You are most likely correct." she allowed.

B'Elanna ran the tricorder carefully over Seven's body, "Only thing is I'm not sure exactly what measurements I should be seeing…oh never mind, the baselines for your implants are already in here." She commented looking at the readout. "Your right, everything looks good except for your optical implant."

She laid the tricorder on the table and picked up the recalibration tool. Turning to Seven she raised the instrument to the exposed exterior of her optical implant, her eyes picking out the three places on it's surface that she needed to make the proper adjustments. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Seven clench her hand into a fist and heard the blonde take in a deep breath and hold herself rigidly still.

Leaning back she took a look at Seven's face. Controlled and impassive, were the adjectives that came to her mind to describe the blonde's expression. "Hey I'm not the dentist," she jested uncertainly, not sure why Seven was acting as if she were afraid.

"Dentist?" asked Seven, first glancing out of the corner of her eye, then looking directly at her when she saw B'Elanna had moved away from the implant.

"Your acting like I'm about to do something unpleasant to you," B'Elanna commented.

Seven looked forward again, presenting the implant to B'Elanna, "It is not pleasant, but there is no other way to maintain the implant, please proceed."

"I wasn't aware that your implants were sensitive?" B'Elanna asked surprised, she had assumed that Seven would have no sensation in her implants as they were completely mechanical.

Seven turned and looked at the half-Klingon, "My implants contain pressure and temperature sensors, the sensations are not the same as those from my skin, but they are similar. My implant is actually slightly more sensitive than the skin around it." she commented.

B'Elanna absorbed this information silently, looking at the silvery implant in a new light, acknowledging that it wasn't just a mechanical attachment; it was an integral part of Seven's body. "There isn't anything else that I can use to recalibrate it properly." she admitted reluctantly after a few moments.

"No B'Elanna, there is not. It is not a painful sensation, merely unpleasant," Seven turned her head back around presenting the implant once again.

B'Elanna was not quite ready to proceed until she had a better understanding of exactly what Seven would experience if she did. She examined the sonic setting of the device that she would be using to reset the implant, and determining that it would not damage her, experimentally ran it over the inside of her forearm.

Seven had moved to see what she was doing and now looked at her wide eyed. "B'Elanna?" she frowned, confused at the half-Klingon's actions.

B'Elanna rubbed the skin of her arm, trying to wipe away the odd sensation that the device had caused. Seven was right, it wasn't exactly painful, but it certainly wasn't pleasant either. "Just wanted to see what you were talking about, your right that doesn't feel too good."

Seven stared at her for a moment then she smiled slightly in amusement, "No it does not." The smile faded, and she glanced at the robot in the other corner of the room, "Please proceed, there is no other choice."

B'Elanna glanced over at the robot; divining Seven's meaning and nodded. Seven tilted her head presenting the implant at precisely the correct angle for B'Elanna to work on it the easiest. B'Elanna made the first adjustment as quickly as possible, then impulsively gently stroked her finger over the adjustment point, reasoning that since it had helped her, maybe it would help Seven.

"B'Elanna?" Seven asked uncertainly.

She stopped, "I'm sorry, did that hurt?"

"No," Seven replied hesitantly.

"Did it make the other sensation go away?" B'Elanna asked uncertainly.

There was a moment of silence, then a surprised, "Yes, the motion of your finger across the surface replaced the data in the pressure sensors from the instrument." Seven turned and looked at B'Elanna admiringly, "An efficient solution, B'Elanna. Thank you."

B'Elanna completed the last adjustment and gently rubbed her finger across the area to reset the sensors, "There all done." She was feeling rather proud of herself, for coming up with a way of making the experience less unpleasant for Seven, and rather annoyed that the Doctor hadn't considered a similar one, as he was the one who had known the most about Seven's implants.

She was already thinking of several ways that the tool could be modified so that it wouldn't trigger the pressure sensors in the implant, but would still calibrate properly. How much trouble would it have been for the Doctor to have mentioned this to someone so it could have been done for Seven along time ago.

"Thank you, B'Elanna," gratitude was readily apparent in the blondes tone.

Slightly embarrassed by it, B'Elanna commented, "Hey, that's what friends are for."

"Yes," agreed Seven softly. "I believe I will no longer dislike this procedure if you are the one performing it."


Chapter 14


Stardate 52539 (July 16, 2375 05:41pm)

B'Elanna tore her eyes from their perusal of Seven's naked back and rear, completely taken by surprise by the rush of desire she had experienced at the sight. She had been staring at her reflection, noting the subtle changes in her face, more Klingon looking, and skin tone, a shade darker; when she had noticed the blonde woman bend, then gracefully step out of her underwear in preparation for their bath. It wasn't that she hadn't noticed that the blonde had a nice body, but she was absolutely certain that she hadn't ever responded to Seven's nakedness in the way she just had. Her eyes had focused on the narrow waist and curves of Seven's hips, and her thoughts had dwelled on how it would feel to run her hands over that waist and test the firmness of that very shapely rear.

Maybe it was just that because she was never alone, and it had already been a few months without being able to take care of certain physical urges that being part Klingon dealt her even more than the average human, and Seven was the only one around? Perhaps her slight genetic tendency toward homosexuality that she had been informed of during her medical exam for the Academy entrance, was letting itself be felt for the first time since another woman was her only choice for a sexual partner?

B'Elanna's eyes narrowed in thought, or maybe their captors thought friendship wasn't quite enough to guarantee her obedience. Maybe that was the reason she had been searching for behind those odd treatments she … she and Seven, her mind reminded her.

Straightening and turning she looked at Seven, and even though she had half been expecting it, she found the wide eyed, slightly flushed look, as Seven jerked her eyes away from where they had been focused, both startling and amusing. Seven was obviously a bit more unnerved by this than she was, not particular surprising since B'Elanna would bet that this was the first time the blonde woman had ever felt physical attraction toward someone.

Keeping her eyes strictly off Seven, B'Elanna absently entered the tub and began washing while considering what if anything to do about the situation. She had figured out a few months ago that every thing that had happened to them had been planned so that she and Seven would become friends. It made sense really, their entire hold on her obedience and willingness to do what they wanted was Seven's wellbeing. The closer, and more protective, she felt of the blonde, the more of a hold they had over her.

Her anger over being manipulated, once she had recognized what had been going on, had resulted in some quiet nights where a confused Seven had kept what distance she could from the moody half-Klingon. But B'Elanna had never been angry at the blonde woman, only their captor or captors. Seven had certainly not been given any more choice than she, and had definitely gotten the short end of the deal. On those nights B'Elanna had always forced herself to put aside her anger long enough to give Seven a reassuring look and/or squeeze to the arm, and let the blonde know that it wasn't her that she was angry at.

Currently, her initial reaction was to fight against these new feelings for as long as possible, to rebel against the wishes of their captors for as long as she could. But the more she considered that idea, the more she had to acknowledge that the only thing she would accomplish by her stubbornness, would probably be getting Seven punished. She had given up the hope of rescue over a month ago, knowing that Janeway would have had to move on by now. So she was expecting no reprieve from their captor's plans, if she was right about what they wanted, sooner or later she would have to give in.

Which simply left the timing of her capitulation, would she wait until she was given a directive to have sex or intercourse or whatever term was used, with her hostage? She frowned as she considered that possible situation; did she really want to Seven's first experience to be like that? One where there was the threat of Seven's pain inducers being activated if the robots decided it was a failure? Kahless that would be a situation where she knew she probably wouldn't be feeling too aroused, much less how un-aroused and frightened Seven was likely to be if she was placed in such a situation.

'So where does that leave me?' she asked herself. 'That I'm going to have sex with Seven and I'd rather it be before I get ordered to.' she answered herself honestly. Of course there were a few other questions, such as how did she feel about it and how did Seven feel. And, of course, was Seven even willing.

With surprise she realized that she was industriously washing her arms, for the second, or maybe it was even the third time. Slightly embarrassed she glanced over at Seven only to realize that the blonde seemed to be lost in her own thoughts and wasn't really paying any attention to her. Taking advantage of the inattention, she allowed her eyes to wander over Seven, just how did she feel about the prospect of touching those full breasts, caressing the woman intimately, feeling and seeing her come for the first time.

'Ok, so I know the answer to that question,' B'Elanna thought looking away from the blonde moments later and hoping that Seven wouldn't notice her obvious arousal. Thinking about introducing the blonde to sex was a definite turn on. Ducking underneath the water she began to wash her hair and try to get herself under control.

Once she was finished bathing, she stepped out of the tub and quickly grabbed up a towel. Wrapping it quickly around her, she said to Seven on her way out, "I'll set the table for dinner."

The robot standing motionless in the bedroom caused her to halt in surprise and dismay, wondering what was about to happen now.

"New sleep wear has been provided; you will wear the provided clothing after bathing each night." It communicated and then began moving toward the door, causing her move out of its path.

She looked across the room to the now open doors of their closet and went to investigate what clothing it had referred to placing there. The closet was divided into two areas, the left most one was B'Elanna's, and the rightmost Seven's. Hanging on her side were three robes in plush, velvet looking fabric, and stacked under them on the shelves below she spotted what looked like tank tops and shorts. The top set was a deep wine red color, and matched one of the robes, looking closer she could see that there were three sets and they matched the three robes. Robes also hung on Seven's side, but they were in softer colors and looked like they were made of thick silk. The clothing stacked underneath was also different and B'Elanna's eyes widened as she took in what was undoubtedly a camisole and the very brief panties that went with it.

'Well, I haven't been given an order yet, but this is a pretty clear hint.' she thought. Hearing a sound behind her she turned and looked at Seven who had just entered the room. Indicating the new clothing she relayed, "New clothes we're supposed to wear at night."

Seven raised one brow and walked over to stand beside B'Elanna who was trying very, very, hard not to notice how sexy the blonde looked in just a towel.

Seven held up the camisole by its spaghetti straps and stared at it, "This does not appear to be very warm," she finally commented.

B'Elanna choked back a laugh and pointed out, "I believe that's what the robe is for Seven."

"Indeed," was the careful reply.

"I think you'll look very beautiful in it," B'Elanna commented, and then froze for a moment, shocked that she had actually said the thought aloud. Regrouping, she turned and casually dropped the towel wrapped around her, and started dressing, trying to hide the slight tremble in her hands. Oddly, the sharply indrawn breath of the woman behind her was calming, reassuring her that she was right; she was not alone in experiencing these new thoughts and feelings.

Pulling the robe around her she brushed a hand over the sleeve, admiring the soft plush fabric. Finally she turned around and looked at Seven, allowing her eyes to wander over the blonde's shapely figure and admire how it looked in the pale blue camisole that covered her to just above mid thigh. "I was right," she noted, meeting Sevens eyes frankly, "You do look beautiful in that." Ignoring the surprised look on the blonde's face she strode out of the room.

'Ok what am I doing?' she asked herself as she set out the tableware for dinner. 'Trying to let Seven know I'm interested in her.' was the rather simple answer.

"You look beautiful as well, B'Elanna," Seven's voice came from behind her. She turned and looked at the blonde who continued, "That color is pleasing against your skin tone."

The two of them stared at one another for a moment, "Thanks." B'Elanna replied. Taking a calming breath so she wouldn't embarrass herself by sounding like a breathless teenager, "I like that color blue on you, it really brings out your eyes." Seven did look particularly nice in the matching pale blue silk robe that clung to her breasts and hips, and then fell gracefully to just above her ankles.

Seven looked startled for a moment, then color bloomed in her cheeks and a smile grew upon her lips. "Thank you."

They both started at each other for a few more seconds in silence, and Seven's gaze seemed to ask B'Elanna what it was they were doing. "Foods getting cold, we should sit down and eat." B'Elanna broke the silence. She wanted to tell Seven that she wasn't really sure what they were doing either; it wasn't like she had done this before, at least not with another woman. B'Elanna did have her share of lovers in her life, but all five of them had been men. Seven wasn't anything like B'Elanna's former lovers, B'Elanna liked confident and sure. Not that Seven wasn't usually confident and sure, she was, but the blonde had absolutely no experience in this area, and B'Elanna was finding it more intimidating to be the leader in this than she had anticipated.

She was casting around for a suitable topic of conversation to carry them through dinner when Seven sat a familiar dish in front of her. "Tamale Casserole?" she asked, memories of the past assailing her.

"Correct, you are familiar with this dish?" asked Seven curiously.

B'Elanna's first impulse was to nod and change the subject quickly, but then she reconsidered. She had gotten to know Seven quite well, but she hadn't shared much about her past with her new friend.

'Maybe I should,' she thought, "The last time I had this was the week before my father left us." finally looking up she realized from Seven's face that she had surprised the woman, obviously Seven hadn't expected this. "He usually made this for us every other week or so," she continued. "I haven't had it since that day." she finished quietly.

"I am sorry, I will prepare another dish," Seven rose and reached for the dish.

"Don't," B'Elanna requested, and Seven paused mid motion. B'Elanna took the opportunity to serve herself a helping as Seven sat back down, clearly confused. Taking her first bite, she expected it to remind her even more strongly of those times, only to quickly realize that her father's casserole had never tasted quite like this.

She couldn't help the wry smile that covered her face as she commented, "Seven, you're a better cook than my father ever was, this is ….much better than his."


Chapter 15


Stardate 52539.1 (July 16, 2375 06:31pm)

Dinner became much easier from that point, and B'Elanna found it less difficult than she had thought it would be to talk to the quiet, intent woman across from her. Seven didn't interrupt her with platitudes or advice, she simply listened, and if she did not offer sympathy beyond the acceptance in her eyes, B'Elanna didn't feel judged by her either.

She was helping Seven clean up from dinner when it happened, Seven turned with a clean plate in her hands intending to store it, and stepped into B'Elanna who had turned at the same time. She reached out and helped steady the now smaller woman, only to be caught by the vulnerability, and nascent desire in Seven's blue eyes, as she looked up at her.

She couldn't resist anymore, bending down she brushed her lips against the blonde's. So soft and lush, it really wasn't anything like kissing a man, she realized. As she explored Seven's lips she became confused, Seven wasn't moving away, but she wasn't kissing her back either.

Lifting her head she looked into Seven's face and all thought ceased for a moment as she took in the now very blue dilated eyes, the flushed face, and definite look of passion on the blondes face. "Kahless," she whispered unsteadily as her own passion increased suddenly in response. 'But,' her mind whispered confused at the difference between Seven's lack of response and her obvious actual arousal, then she realized, 'she doesn't know how to respond, how would she, she's never done this before.'

"Like this Seven, just follow my lead, and move your lips against mine, like I am against yours." she instructed. She lowered her head again, intent on demonstrating to Seven how to properly kiss. She had thought the blonde's inexperience would lessen her enjoyment, but instead the feel of Seven's first tentative response against her lips was incredibly arousing, at the same time as it evoked soft, tender, and possessive feelings.

"That's it, that's right," she whispered encouragement as she took the plate from Seven's hands and placed it blindly upon the nearest counter then wrapped her hands around the blonde's waist and pulled her closer. As Seven's body made full contact with hers, B'Elanna could not suppress a moan of pleasure at the feel. Moving her hands slowly up and down Seven's silk covered back, she enjoyed the feel of the muscles underneath her hands.

Seven's tentative kisses were getting bolder and more confident, so B'Elanna decided to introduce an advanced technique. Slowly she ran the tip of her tongue over the blonde's lower lip, eliciting a gasping moan from her. Unable to resist she deepened the kiss, entering Seven's mouth and stroking the blonde's tongue with her own before pulling away. Seven was breathing deeply and unsteadily, her eyes glazed with arousal.

Looking around B'Elanna realized they needed to finish cleaning up before continuing this any further, she didn't want to risk incurring a punishment. "Seven," she said gently, "we need to finish cleaning." The look of disappointment and then the following pout that followed was unmistakable; B'Elanna stared surprised, then began to smile, "Afterwards." she promised.

"I will comply," Seven stated. The nature of the reply, combined with Seven looking around blankly, then almost shaking herself before starting to clean again, concerned B'Elanna. Was she going to fast for Seven?

A few minutes later they were finished and B'Elanna turned toward Seven, looking into those expressive blue eyes to try and figure out whether or not to continue where they had left off. Clear windows on Seven's feelings, they revealed that the blonde was confused, and maybe a bit frightened, "Seven we don't have to do anything if you're not sure," B'Elanna stated quietly.

Disappointment, "You do not want to continue?" Seven asked uncertainly and her gaze dropped from the half-Klingon to the floor.

B'Elanna took a step closer, and cupping a hand under the blonde's chin, raised Seven's face. "You looked frightened; I don't want you to feel like you have to do this." There was silence from Seven, and she looked more torn and confused than ever. "What are you thinking Seven." B'Elanna requested.

Seven's eyes met hers, "That I am experiencing some distress due to the number and strength of the emotions I feel when you touch me, yet I do not wish for this to stop."

A slow smile crept across B'Elanna's face, "I remember feeling the same way my first time, its normal Seven."

As she had hoped, this seemed to immediately reassure the blonde woman, "It is normal to experience uncertainty and anticipation when engaging in…" Seven trailed off frowning. "B'Elanna I am not certain which of the possible terms for non-reproductive copulation I should use."

B'Elanna's eyebrows raised, she had not been expecting this question. "Well… I guess having sex…" she trailed of frowning, it didn't sound quite right. She had thought of it that way earlier but now… Looking down into Seven's eyes she acknowledged that it would be a bit more than that, she wasn't in love with Seven, but she did care for the blonde deeply.

"But that's not quite right either." She trailed off, "Seven, you know the term making love?"

Seven's eyes widened and she nodded.

'Oh no, she thinks I'm about to tell her that I love her,' B'Elanna thought and hurried to finish her statement before something happened that would probably embarrass them both, and completely break the mood.

"Well there are really two different levels, one where two people care for one another and are having more than just sex, and then there is the other type. That one I don't know how it feels, because I've never been in love with anyone." she admitted. "The first type though, that's what we will be doing if it happens tonight, I'll be making love to you Seven, and I hope you will make love to me." she finished in a slightly lower tone.

Seven frowned slightly and got a far away look, B'Elanna smiled, recognizing that Seven was fitting in the new piece of information she had received with the rest of what she already knew. The half-Klingon waited patiently, knowing that it would only take Seven a few seconds to get past this point. Seven's eyes refocusing on her let her know that an answer was most likely forthcoming.

"I wish to continue this activity." Seven announced, then in a more hesitant tone, "I want you to make love to me and I want to learn how to make love to you."

It shouldn't have been the most erotic thing she had ever heard, but her libido wasn't paying much attention to how poetic the declaration was, it was paying attention to the trust and desire shining from Seven's blue eyes.

Holding out her hand B'Elanna waited, Seven gave her a puzzled look, but she placed her hand in the half-Klingon's without hesitation. Walking backward she led the blonde from the kitchen area back to their bedroom. Once there she stopped and let go of Seven's hand, reached for the tie to the blondes robe, and untied it. Pulling the front open she allowed herself to feast her eyes upon Seven's body, ending her perusal by meeting the blondes gaze, knowing that Seven would see the desire for her in them.

She wasn't surprised when Seven mimicked her actions after a moment, undoing B'Elanna's robe and opening it. She watched as Seven's eyes drifted over her body, the color of them deepening, and when Seven looked back up into her eyes she could see how aroused by the simple action Seven was.

Stepping forward she stopped close enough to almost, but not quite, come into contact with the blonde's silk clad body. Never dropping her gaze from Seven's, she reached up, slowly slid the robe from the woman's shoulders, and let it glide down the blonde's body to the floor. Seven hadn't spoken since her declaration, and now she stood unmoving, except for her quickening breath, watching B'Elanna intently.

B'Elanna stopped and waited, a quickly indrawn breath and then Seven finally moved, duplicating her action, and sliding her robe from her shoulders. B'Elanna allowed it to slip down her arms and pool at her feet, watching the blonde intently. Seven's eyes followed the robe in its descent then returned slowly to the half-Klingon's face. There was no fear remaining now that B'Elanna could see, only the clear signs of arousal.

'Yes,' she thought to herself with satisfaction. Finally she stepped the remainder of the distance and placed her hands on Seven's waist and pulled the smaller woman firmly against her, lowering her head and kissing the blonde at the same time. 'Intoxicating,' was the word that ran through her mind as Seven's lips parted immediately underneath her own, allowing her entry if she so desired. A growl rumbled up from the depths of her chest, as she accepted the invitation, and stroked the inside of the blonde's mouth with her tongue.

An aroused moan rewarded her and then suddenly she was wrapping her arms around Seven to keep her from falling and supporting most of the blonde's weight. Surprised she pulled away and looked at Seven, only to see her eyes slowly open. She had never seen Seven's eyes so dark or so beautiful. "What happened?" she asked huskily.

"I am unsure," Seven said, sounding rather dazed, "My legs malfunctioned."

B'Elanna eased up her hold as Seven straightened, she was puzzled by the reply until she thought disbelievingly, 'Her knees buckled?' She almost chuckled, but the impulse faded away as arousal, and her own awareness of her own sensual power, sharply increased.

'I'd love to pick her up in my arms and lay her down on the bed.' she thought, then, 'Why not? I'm certain I can.' Without any more ado B'Elanna bent down, slid one arm under Seven's thighs and lifted her, startling the blonde who cried out and grabbed onto her.

Seven stared up at her in wide eyed surprise, as she laid her down on their bed. The surprise in her eyes, faded and was overtaken once again by desire as B'Elanna climbed up on the bed and stretched out beside her. B'Elanna leaned over the blonde, just before their lips touched she whispered, "Malfunctioning leg problem taken care of."

If Seven intended to reply it was lost in the kiss that followed. Reluctantly leaving the blonde's lips B'Elanna traced a path along one jaw line, then kissed, and lightly nipped her way down the smooth, elegant neck. B'Elanna found herself fascinated with the combination of sounds Seven was making, the different pitches of soft cries, moans, and irregular breaths. None of them were very loud, indeed they were all rather quiet, but combined with the restless, constant small movements of Seven's body they were driving her wild with the desire to roll on top of the woman and …Kahless, what was Seven trying to do to her, arching her breasts against her, and rubbing her legs against B'Elanna's.

B'Elanna pulled back and looked at the woman beneath her, Seven's long blonde hair was spread out over the pillow, her eyes were dark and glazed with arousal, her lips full and red, and B'Elanna sucked in a sudden breath at how rawly sensual she looked at this moment. Seven's desire was so boldly, openly shown that it shocked her until she realized that Seven didn't know what it felt like to be hurt by a sexual partner, she didn't know that she should hide how aroused she was, she had never absorbed as she grew up around humans that proper girls hid their sexual desires. The only concern Seven had was being overwhelmed by the emotions she was feeling.

'Slow it down Torres,' she thought to herself, 'ramp it up slowly, let her get a chance to get used to things so she doesn't get scared.' Following on those thoughts, 'and don't teach her any hang-ups, Kahless, but she looks amazing like this and I never want her to feel like she has to hide it.'

She focused on Seven's eyes which were just starting to clear and grow puzzled, "You are so beautiful, so very, very beautiful Seven." she said in a low intent tone. Moving slowly she sat up and swung one leg over the blonde, ending up on her knees, straddling Seven over her hips. She began exploring with her hands, running them up the blonde's arms, and gently stroking over the implant embedded in the right bicep. Seven's eyes closed and she moaned lightly, it was enough to let B'Elanna know what she had wanted to know. Placing one hand for balance near Seven's head, she leaned down and started exploring the arch of the silvery implant around Seven's eye with her lips and tongue, while still gently stroking the one in her arm.

"B'Elanna," gasped Seven, then an incoherent moan.

It was the first time Seven had spoken her name in passion, and something inside B'Elanna whispered, 'Mine,' a low growl rumbled up from her chest, and she held onto the feeling that hearing her name had evoked.

Finally, reluctantly she pulled away once again from Seven and waited until the blonde opened her eyes to look up at her. Shifting backward she moved further down Seven's legs, "Sit up for a moment," she requested. The optical implant rose slightly at this request but Seven didn't ask why, she just looked at her curiously as she obeyed.

Sliding her hands up the gentle curves of the blonde's hips, B'Elanna gathered the edge of the camisole and lifted it, even as she raised it past Seven's waist, she had to be amused at how much she wanted to see those full breasts. It wasn't as if she hadn't seen them at least once a day for the past four months after all, but right now, it was different, special. So beautiful, full, and tipped with the loveliest shade of rose, she thought, as she pulled the camisole over Seven's helpfully raised arms, and dropped it beside them.

A gasp from Seven brought her eyes from where they had been, up to Seven's face. The blonde had a surprised or maybe even astonished, look on her face, as she examined the half-Klingon. It confused B'Elanna, until she realized what Seven was seeing; she almost tried to cover the extent of how aroused she was until she remembered that she didn't want to teach Seven to hide her passion. Instead, she let her eyes drift back down to those rose tipped breasts, let the desire and passion she was feeling roll through her, and watched as they responded in an unmistakable physical reaction to her gaze.

B'Elanna responded to the sight with an almost inaudible possessive growl, and then met Seven's eyes once again. They were wider than before, but less surprise now and more matching desire, and the blonde was breathing rapidly through her slightly open mouth. "Slow deep breaths Seven," she instructed, not wanting the blonde to hyperventilate. Seven nodded and brought her breathing back under control, all the while watching her intently.

B'Elanna raised her arms over her head; her gaze never leaving Seven's and waited. It didn't take long for the blonde to understand the invitation; B'Elanna let her eyes close as she focused on the feel of the hands touching her as they slid the tank top upwards. An indrawn breath and her breasts were exposed to Seven's gaze. Knowing that the other woman wouldn't be able to lift the top much higher, she quickly stripped it off and dropped it on the bed beside the camisole Seven had been wearing.

Watching Seven, B'Elanna could tell that the blonde was intently examining her naked form, and her gaze was not fixed upon her breasts but wandered all over. She wondered at the entranced, fascinated look on Seven's face until she considered that perhaps Seven, like herself, was looking at her with an entirely new perspective. And of course, there was the fact that her body had changed quite rapidly as a result of the treatments she had undergone last week. Taller, heavier, slightly more muscular, and her skin was just barely darker than it had been.

Finally Seven met her gaze again, "Lovers are permitted to look at one another."

It seemed both a statement and a question, and B'Elanna belatedly remembered her long ago instruction to the blonde that she wasn't supposed to look at people while they were bathing, and then shortly there after the instruction was expanded to you weren't supposed to look at people when they were nude. 'Not,' she thought to herself in amusement, thinking of when she had caught Seven staring in the bathroom earlier, 'that she's been following those instructions too well. Of course neither have I.' she admitted to herself honestly.

"Yes, lovers look at one another," B'Elanna agreed, "And touch one another," she added huskily.

By now they had shifted around until they were kneeling in front of one another, and when Seven realized the statement was an invitation she immediately acted upon it. B'Elanna was surprised when Seven began by touching her shoulders and arms, instead of where she had expected. She was contented to let the blonde take her time until she realized that Seven was only touching her with her fully human hand.

Raising one hand palm up in front of her, B'Elanna asked, "May I have your hand?"

Seven immediately placed the hand she had been using to explore B'Elanna in the half-Klingon's. "Your other hand," B'Elanna specified, as if she hadn't known that Seven would choose that hand. Seven hesitated; looking at her with a slight frown then reluctantly removed her right hand and replaced it with her left one.

Curious, B'Elanna stroked the ridged metal on the back of Seven's hand, surprised to find that the metal was much smoother than it looked. As with Seven's other implants, the metallic material was not cool, but the same temperature as her skin. "Do you feel things with your exoskeleton like you do in your other implants?" she asked curiously, suspecting that the answer had to be no, as Seven used this hand every day, and hadn't shown any signs that touching things with it pained her.

"My exoskeleton contains sensors for pressure and temperature like those in my other implants, and also sensors for light, humidity, and strain." Seven looked at her hand in B'Elanna's, "The sensitivity of its temperature and pressure sensors is comparable to the sensitivity of those in the skin around it, but my exoskeleton contains one point five times as many of these types of sensors per area, thus the sensitivity in it is more…detailed than what I can feel in this hand." Seven held up her human hand.

"Really," B'Elanna purred and slowly smiled. She knew the conversation had cooled the blonde's desire, now she intended to regain that lost ground.

The comment had definitely caught Seven's attention; she could tell from the curious look Seven was currently giving her. Before Seven could react, B'Elanna lifted the hand she was holding and ran the tip of her tongue along the metal capped index finger of Seven's left hand. At any other time the stunned look on Seven's face would have sent her into gales of laughter. "So that feels different than," she took Seven's other hand and repeated the experiment, "that?"

Seven blinked slowly once, "yes?" she answered hesitatingly.

"You don't sound too sure," B'Elanna noted with a knowing grin. This time she slowly drew the metal capped finger into her mouth, watching Seven intently. Seven's gaze was locked onto watching her mouth, and as B'Elanna teased the metal capped tip of her finger, the half-Klingon watched as Seven's eyes dilated and darkened. Deciding that the blonde wasn't yet aroused enough, B'Elanna drew the finger deeper into her mouth, and let her tongue play with the edges of the banding where metal and flesh met, noting that Seven had stopped breathing as soon as she did so. Slowly releasing the finger she advised, "Breathe Seven."

The blonde took in a startled gasp, obviously not having realized that she had stopped sometime during the experiment. Before Seven could fully recover she gave the same treatment to the same finger of the right hand.

"So," B'Elanna looked into darkened blue eyes with satisfaction, "if I were to do that again, with which hand would you get the most pleasure."

Seven stared at her for a moment, and B'Elanna saw her eyes flicker from her left hand to the half-Klingon's mouth before she admitted, "My left hand."

Slowly, her eyes never leaving Seven's, B'Elanna caressed and teased the metal tipped fingers with her tongue and mouth, and watched Seven watch her. When the blonde closed her eyes and whispered her name in a pleading tone, she gave them one last kiss and reluctantly let them go.

Seven's eyes fluttered open just as B'Elanna said, "Lay down, I want to feel you against me." her need plain within her tones.

B'Elanna moaned in pleasure as she lay down beside, and partially on top of the blonde. Seven's skin was just slightly cooler than hers due to the difference in their body temperatures, but the difference was not at all unpleasant. Looking down into Seven's face she lifted her torso and requested, "Put your right arm around me." A moment of hesitation, while Seven figured out what she wanted, then the blonde eased her arm under B'Elanna and wrapped it around the half-Klingon's back, and then lifted so B'Elanna could put her right arm under the blonde's back.

"Good," B'Elanna commented. Then she leaned down and began kissing Seven once again. As before the blonde's lips immediately softened under hers and she took the invitation and deepened the kiss. As she stroked and caressed the blonde's mouth and tongue with her own her hand drifted down and she caressed the soft fullness of Seven's breasts for the first time.

Seven whimpering into her mouth in response to her touch inflamed her, and during the time span that followed it was all B'Elanna could do to keep forefront in her mind that this time was for Seven. That Seven's first time was going to be as good as she could possibly make it. There were moments she struggled with that resolve, such as when she covered Seven's breast with her mouth for the first time, and the feel of the blonde crying out and bucking underneath her was intensely provocative.

Then suddenly it became very easy. The last remaining pieces of clothing had been removed, and as B'Elanna touched another woman intimately for the first time, her own desire was completely eclipsed by wonder. Wonder as she watched Seven's face as the blonde felt an intimate touch for the first time, she could see the moment Seven's focus became entirely inward, concentrating on the sensations the half-Klingon's fingers were producing as they touched her. Wonder, surprise, awe and finally such a look of pleasure, that B'Elanna felt her own need drop away, and she was left in a place of calm as she watched the expressions on Seven's face and in her eyes.

Finally the moment seemed right, B'Elanna inhaled sharply and focused for a moment on the sensations she was feeling as she slowly entered Seven. The blonde was tight; one finger was all B'Elanna was sure would be comfortable for her. Tight, soft, so smooth, B'Elanna was pressing in gently when Seven surged against her hand, burying B'Elanna's finger deeply inside.

"Ahh," Seven cried out, then in an almost sobbing voice, "B'Elanna."

"I'm here, I'm right here," B'Elanna answered, seeing from Seven's face that the blonde was feeling overwhelmed and confused. "Shhh, shhh, its alright, I've got you. Just go with it Seven, your body knows what it wants, just let your body show you what to do next."

Seven looked up at her, and what she saw there must have been all the reassurance she needed, for she simply nodded and seemed to immediately calm. Slowly she rocked her hips forward and B'Elanna instinctually met them with a slow thrust. "Ohh," Seven cried out and there was both wonder and deep pleasure in the tone, a softer "Oh," followed on the next thrust. Then Seven turned her head and buried her face in B'Elanna's chest, "B'Elanna," she cried softly.

B'Elanna had automatically shifted slightly to accommodate Seven's new position, and now as she thrust slowly into the blonde, and gently stroked her clit with her thumb, she looked down into Seven's face where it nestled against her. A possessive growl rumbled softly from her mouth, and 'Mine,' rang strongly through her mind, as she looked down into Seven's passion flushed face.

'Soon,' she thought as Seven's counter-thrusts quickened, the blonde's breath dissolved into panting soft cries, and B'Elanna could feel the rising tension in Seven's body. "Beautiful, so beautiful," she crooned soft encouragement. "That's right just let it flow, let it build my beautiful one."

Seven whimpered and held onto her more tightly in response. Then finally, after a minute or so, it happened, unmistakably B'Elanna felt the muscles around her finger tighten, Seven let out a surprised moan and her eyes opened wide for a moment. Then another moan, this time louder and the blue eyes closed and Seven threw her head back.

"That's right my darling, soar for me," B'Elanna whispered, completely caught up in the moment, almost wishing that she had Seven's cortical node so she could remember how Seven looked at this precise moment, her head thrown back, her mouth just slightly open, and the open, naked look of pleasure on her face as the muscles of her channel tightened around B'Elanna's finger, and the muscles further in fluttered against her finger tip.

Slowly the beautiful look of pleasure faded, and Seven's face smoothed into a peaceful expression as her entire body relaxed. Gently B'Elanna withdrew her finger and shifted, throwing one leg over Seven's and cradling her protectively her arms.

B'Elanna waited patiently, watching Seven and wondering if she had fallen asleep. Finally Seven's eyes opened slowly and looked up at her, Seven didn't speak and there was such a look of wonder and awe in the blue eyes that B'Elanna felt both cocky and humble for her part in putting it there.

"Pleasure is not irrelevant," Seven finally stated solemnly.

B'Elanna almost chuckled, but forced it down, not wanting to hurt Seven's feelings. For the former Borg it was a profound statement of how much their lovemaking had affected her. An upwelling of tenderness chased away the mirth and B'Elanna smiled gently as she responded, "No it's not."


Chapter 16


Stardate 52539.1 (July 16, 2375 11:05pm)

B'Elanna stared into space, arms wrapped around the woman so sweetly nestled against her. It wasn't that she had any regrets, she didn't. It was just so strange to think that only five months ago she hated Seven, or more accurately she hated the person she had though Seven was, and tonight… tonight, she had been Seven's first lover, and Seven had become her lover.

It was just… where did they go from here, how should she treat Seven in the morning, how did Seven want her to act? What did she feel for Seven? What did Seven feel for her?

Their lovemaking had been so intense, so open, and it was not only the intimacy of watching and feeling Seven orgasm for the blonde's very first time, but afterward, when Seven had asked B'Elanna to teach her how to make love so that B'Elanna could experience what Seven had. And she had, influenced by Seven's innocent sensual openness, she had been more frank and open with the blonde than any other lover, letting Seven know what pleased her, what felt good, how she liked to be touched with a certain level of firmness, a certain intensity, but never roughly.

She had never told anyone so explicitly what to do to arouse her. From admitting that she liked having her shoulders bitten, to asking Seven to gently bite her nipples, and when Seven had asked how much pressure constituted 'gently,' she had candidly replied "gradually bite harder until I tell you it's enough."

Seven had been a quick learner, and before B'Elanna knew it she had found herself at the mercy of a lover who suddenly seemed to have an almost innate sense of exactly how to touch her to give her the most pleasure. Seven's eyes had locked on hers as they made love, giving her the level of contact she craved. Seven's touch became confidently firm, demanding her responses, and giving B'Elanna the security she needed in Seven's desire for her.

At the end, Seven had been crouched over her, most of her left hand buried inside B'Elanna, meeting the slow thrusting of her hips unhesitatingly, while with the other she stroked her clitoris with a firm, constant, maddeningly perfect, pressure. It hadn't taken long under such attentions that she had loudly cried out her release, and surrendered to the waves of pleasure that Seven's touch had aroused.

Afterward, Seven had stretched out beside her, and just as B'Elanna had done for her, cradled the half-Klingon in her arms. After a brief moment of surprise, B'Elanna had relaxed into the blonde's body, allowing herself to enjoy the tender way Seven was stroking her back and pressing slow, light kisses into her hair. It was, of course, the same as she had done while Seven rested, she hadn't thought much of it at the time, except that it was what she felt like doing as the blonde cuddled against her.

She had looked up into Seven's eyes, they had been so blue still, and held such an expression of tenderness and caring that it had taken her breath away for a moment. She could count on one hand the number of people she could recall that had looked at her as if they truly cherished her. Her father when she was young, her mother before they had begun arguing constantly, Tom sometimes especially after they made love, and now Seven.

Shortly afterward they had curled up together and Seven had fallen asleep, leaving B'Elanna to contemplate the woman sleeping in her arms and wonder at the direction their relationship had just taken. It didn't really matter right now to B'Elanna that it was what their captors wanted, it didn't even really matter much that she hadn't desired Seven before the treatments last week. She wasn't really thinking about the why's of what had happened, she was thinking about her own emotions, and Seven's.

Now she was wondering about her past assumption that Seven had only been taking care of a member of her Collective, one that had become a friend. Now she was wondering if friendship had changed into something else before last week for Seven, because the look in Seven's eye… She would swear that it had been somewhat more than just affection for a friend.

Only, she wasn't sure what she felt for Seven. Before tonight she would have unhesitatingly said friendship, but that had been before. Before she had touched…before she had watched…before she had listened…before she had realized how enthralling making love to Seven could be, and certainly before she knew what it was like for Seven to make love to her.

Now she didn't know what she felt for Seven. Love? No, she thought not, at least not yet, but she had the uneasy feeling that Seven would be all too easy for her to fall in love with. Lust? Oh definitely, she was certainly feeling that for the blonde beauty. The mere memory of Seven lying beneath her with her hair spread out, lips reddened from her kisses, and those eyes, so dark, so alive with desire, B'Elanna shuddered; just the memory of how Seven had looked was enough to wake her desire.

B'Elanna raised herself up on her elbow and examined the sleeping face of the woman next to her. Ruefully she acknowledged that she hadn't felt this level of physical attraction for anyone, not even Tom Paris. Easing back down, she allowed herself to wonder how Tom was doing, if he had gotten out of solitary alright, if Harry had helped him, and wondered if he had gone back to Megan Delaney yet.

Memories of Tom had once made her angry and despondent at the thought of never seeing him again, now though she only felt mildly sad at the thought of what might have been, but now wouldn't. Nuzzling her face into Seven's blonde hair, she inhaled deeply, absorbing the scent of her new lover. 'Goodbye Tom, I hope you find someone to love you.' She wished silently.

"B'Elanna," a husky whisper drew her attention.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," B'Elanna apologized. She loosened her hold as Seven shifted, rolled over onto her back and looked up at her, still sleepy eyed.

Seven reached up with one silver banded hand and gently traced the ridges in her forehead tenderly. Seven's eyes were focused upon her hand, but then shifted to meet B'Elanna's, and there it was again, that gentle, caring look, the same one from earlier, the one that said to B'Elanna that she meant something to Seven.

Lips so soft, full and inviting, B'Elanna did not really remember initiating the kiss, only that Seven's arms were winding around her back and not so subtly letting her know that Seven wanted B'Elanna on top of her. The half-Klingon gave into the gentle pressure and rolled on top of the smaller woman, being careful to support most of her weight on one knee and arm.

"B'Elanna," Seven cried pleadingly against her lips and arched into her.

B'Elanna inhaled through her mouth and nose, taking in the mingling of woman and machine that was Seven's unique scent, along with the heavier musk of her arousal. "Yes," B'Elanna growled softly in reply.


Chapter 17


Stardate 52547.62 (July 19, 2375 09:11pm)

"You are so beautiful," whispered B'Elanna reverently as she stroked Seven's arm. She frowned as Seven's eyes shifted uneasily from hers at the words. "Seven?" she questioned concerned. Seven remained silent, and would not look at her. B'Elanna could feel the sudden tension in the formerly very relaxed body lying so closely against her. The half-Klingon searched the averted features of the blonde, trying to figure out why the statement had bothered her so, and why she didn't want to admit that it had.

"Don't you think your beautiful?" she hazarded a guess as to what the issue was after thinking about the way Seven hadn't wanted to touch her with her left hand the first day they had made love, until she had made it clear by making love to the metal banded fingers with her mouth, that she certainly didn't mind them touching her.

Seven's eyes met hers' for a moment then flickered away again. "I am aware that my physical appearance is considered appealing, B'Elanna." the blonde paused, "Thank you."

'What the hell? Where did that come from,' B'Elanna thought. "Seven?" she said uncertainly, "What are you talking about, your beautiful in so many more ways than just physically."

Seven's eyes met hers once again and B'Elanna was dismayed at the amount of hurt and confusion revealed in them. "B'Elanna I am…" Seven trailed off.

B'Elanna pulled Seven into a tight embrace, responding to the pleading look in her blue eyes. She didn't know exactly what was wrong but she recognized that look, Seven got it sometimes when she was trying to figure something out, but found whatever it was too painful and confusing. "What's wrong," she whispered into blonde hair.

"I am…" Seven's muffled voice trailed off again for a moment, "I find that I am remembering events from Voyager, and I do not understand why." The blonde's tone betrayed her sadness.

She frowned, "What events?" Seven just buried her head against her chest in reply and squirmed closer. B'Elanna shifted so she could hold the blonde more securely against her; deeply concerned that Seven was hiding from her and not responding. She was somewhat amused that the blonde was hiding from her by apparently trying to hiding under her, and pleased that whatever was bothering Seven, the blonde wasn't responding by pulling away from her, but was silently asking for reassurance.

Reassurance, her mind latched on to the word, suddenly a bit less pleased with the fact than she had been. Why did Seven need reassurance from her, did she think B'Elanna would be displeased or angry by whatever these events were? A memory surfaced, and suddenly B'Elanna suspected she knew what Seven was remembering, and why her statement would have triggered the response it had gotten.

Harry had been staring at the Borg, longing apparent in his eyes when B'Elanna had come up beside him and started harassing him. "Yea, well physically she might be beautiful, but it's only on the outside, inside she's just a machine, emotionless and cold. Don't be taken in by the packaging, Starfleet, you'll just get hurt." Seven had looked up then, and she had thought the drone had heard, but Seven simply walked past them, remote and distant, as always. It had been the first time she had said something like that, but it certainly hadn't been the last. Variations of it had become her stock answer to anyone commenting favorably about Seven's looks.

B'Elanna closed her eyes, feeling the all too familiar stirrings of remorse. 'I'm so tired of feeling this, haven't I apologized enough?' she thought. Then her eyes snapped open and her body stilled as she thought intently. 'When have I apologized to her?' she asked herself bluntly. Her mind came up with a few answers, but they were all for specific incidents. She had been feeling remorseful for quite awhile, and had apologized in her mind frequently. But actually telling Seven that she was sorry for the things she had said and the way she had treated her…No, she hadn't actually done that.

She looked down at the woman buried against her chest, once her enemy, now her lover, and her friend. She had probably been one of the nastiest people on Voyager to Seven, and yet, the blonde forgave her enough, to let her get this close. But B'Elanna's past actions and words, the one's she had somehow, against all rational expectations, hoped Seven had forgotten, could not, and obviously were not, forgotten. B'Elanna suspected their current closeness was what triggered Seven's memories of the past, evoking comparisons between B'Elanna's past actions and her present behavior.

If she was right, it would also explain why Seven wouldn't particularly want to bring the subject up. She knew that Seven enjoyed the recent change in their relationship, and having decided that pleasure was relevant, had become quite interested in both experiencing and giving it. B'Elanna suspected she didn't want to do, or bring up anything, that might result in a disruption of the new physical intimacy in their relationship. And then of course there was the other consideration, namely Seven's emotions for her, even though the half-Klingon only had suspicions about what they might be. She couldn't imagine that if she was right, and Seven cared for her as much as she thought she did, that Seven would want to hurt her by bringing up those incidents.

"Seven," she whispered sorrowfully, "are you remembering the things I used to say about you." Seven's body jerked slightly, then stilled completely, "It's alright, Seven. Shhh, shhh," she murmured, "please look at me, Seven." She entreated but Seven shook her head silently and pressed her head against B'Elanna more tightly.

"Seven," she requested, "I'd like for you to look at me when I beg you for forgiveness."

Seven slowly pulled away, "B'Elanna?" she questioned, confused.

B'Elanna stared for a moment at the blonde, eyes tracing the silvery implant around what she knew was an artificial eye, the real one taken from a young Annika Hansen while still a child. She stared into blue eyes that, just as the cliché claimed, were windows into Seven's soul, once a child, once a Borg, now a woman trying to discover who and what she was.

B'Elanna did not notice when the nervousness left, and surety took its place, but without thought, without considering whether they were the proper words, she spoke, "They say the eyes are the windows of the soul, in yours I see the child you were, the remains of the drone the Borg forced you to be, and the wonderful, caring, nurturing, funny, startlingly intelligent person that you have, and continue, to become. I was such a fool; I don't even understand now why I was so mean to you, why I had to see you as just a drone."

She paused, noting with amusement the clearly astonished look Seven was giving her, "I didn't see you Seven, I saw only what I wanted to see. I didn't see who you were until a few days after we came here. I was wrong Seven, so very wrong." Gently she reached over and cupped Seven's face, "You are beautiful, both inside and out, never doubt that." Their eyes met for a long moment, Seven's searching, questioning, and B'Elanna trying to show how much she meant the words she had just spoken.

"Can you forgive me for the things I've said to you, the way I treated you?" B'Elanna asked humbly.

Seven nodded, "Yes," she whispered her eyes soft and bright.

B'Elanna gently trailed her hand down the blonde's face, reached for Seven's left hand. Seven did not resist as she brought it to her chest, and pressed it against the skin above her dual hearts, feeling the exoskeleton banding pressing against her skin. "Seven of Nine, Annika Hansen," she said in a somewhat more formal tone, allowing herself to experience all of the guilt and remorse she felt over her actions. "I beg you to forgive me for the things I said, the way I treated you."

She would have gone on, but Seven levered herself up from where she had been lying and placed her lips over B'Elanna's. Their lips moved against one another for a long moment until Seven pulled back, "Do not beg B'Elanna. I forgive you." she said gently.

Part 5

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