One True Thing
B'Elanna slid into the chair, taking her place next to Harry at the table as Tom plopped down across from her and next to Seven.
"I take it from the smile on your face that you beat him" Harry said, addressing B'Elanna.
"You sir, are correct," B'Elanna replied. She held up her mug of beer in a mocking salute to Tom before she took a sip.
"Okay, okay," Tom pouted. "So, you beat me at pool."
"Clobbered you," B'Elanna corrected him and winked at Seven, who smiled back at her. B'Elanna was happy that Harry had been able to convince Seven to join them for an evening at Sandrine's. She and Seven had broken through and begun to move past their hostility toward one another when the former drone's cortical node had malfunctioned. Seven had sought her out and the deep and personal conversation they had had that day proved to be the first of many. In addition to the dinners and other activities they did alone, the four had begun to spend time together on occasion, now that she and Tom had worked out a post-break up friendship.
"I say we play something we can all join in this time," Tom responded.
"Like what?" Harry asked.
"Let's play `One True Thing'," Tom suggested.
"If you intend to have a chance at winning the game, Mr. Paris, I suggest you choose something else," Seven quipped, pleased at the smirk her comment elicited from B'Elanna.
"Very funny," Tom shot back. "Here's how it works. Each of us must say two false things and one true thing about ourselves and the others have to guess which is true."
"I do not see the point of this game," Seven countered.
"Well, it helps to get to know people better," Harry explained.
"And, if you guess wrong, you have to drink a shot," Tom added.
"That does not strike me as particularly appealing," Seven muttered.
"Come on, Seven. Loosen up," Tom nagged. "I'll get us a bottle and some shot glasses."
Seven listened to Harry and B'Elanna chat while Tom was at the bar getting the necessary paraphernalia for the game. She thought about why the game did not appeal to her – aside from the obvious goal of getting drunk – and realized that it was not fear that she would not be able to discern fact from fiction in her friends' lives. Her own life, however, held little intrigue. The majority of her life, up to this point, had been spent as a drone for the Borg. She remembered little of her childhood and Tom, Harry, and B'Elanna had all read the Hansens' logs, which meant that they knew everything she knew about those times. And, she had been a member of this crew since having been severed from the Collective. There was little she felt she could offer in this setting and almost nothing to B'Elanna in particular, from whom she had grown to want so much more.
Tom returned, setting the bottle down in the center of the table and giving each participant a shot glass. "Okay," he announced, "I'll go first. 1. I once programmed the replicator in the Captain's ready room to produce brewed Leola root when she asked for coffee; 2. When I was ten, I wanted to be a librarian; 3. Chakotay and I had dress as women on an away mission gone awry in order to escape."
Tom sat back in his seat and watched his friends consider his statements and size him up.
"I'm going to go for reprogramming the Captain's replicator," Harry said.
"I agree with Harry," Seven added.
B'Elanna narrowed her eyes and regarded Tom. "I am going to have say that, as awful a sight as it must have been, you and Chakotay in dresses sounds like the one to me."
"Arghh," Tom said, banging his hand on the table and then pointing at B'Elanna. "She's right!"
"I don't know what makes you think you can beat me, Paris," B'Elanna said, taking the top off the bottle and pouring shots for Harry and Seven. "Drink up now," she added with a smile that grew larger at the look of distaste on Seven's face when she drank the alcohol.
"I'm next," Harry insisted. "Okay, 1. I once won third prize in a beauty pageant; 2. I didn't speak until I was 4 years old; 3. I once broke my father's foot by dropping a box on it."
"That is the lamest list of fact and fiction I've ever heard," B'Elanna joked, poking Harry in the ribs with her elbow. "Lame."
"So which is it?" Harry asked, trying to get out of the spotlight as quickly as possible.
"I choose number 3," Seven said, fairly certain that Harry's habitual clumsiness while in her presence had to have some precedent.
"Too easy," Tom responded. "I'll have to go with mute until the age of 4. I think he's been trying to make up for it ever since."
"Very funny," Harry muttered.
B'Elanna leaned back and crossed her arms. "Beauty pageant," she said.
"How did you know?" Harry questioned loudly, drowning out Tom's and Seven's moans of defeat. "How could you possibly get both of those right?"
B'Elanna poured shots for Tom and Seven and smiled. "You've each got a `tell' – a gesture or mannerism that gives you away. I know you well enough to recognize them by now."
"What's my tell?" Tom demanded to know.
B'Elanna laughed. "I'm not going to give away my secret."
Tom rolled his eyes. "Okay, Seven. Your turn."
Seven swallowed, the alcohol making her unsure of herself and profoundly aware of everyone's observing eye, especially B'Elanna's. She opened her mouth to speak, but could not think of any falsehood to say and did not dare say the truth. She looked into B'Elanna's eyes and saw humor and friendship there and desperately wanted to see more. "I . . . ," she began finally, standing up abruptly. "I cannot participate in this game," she tried to explain to her friends. Looking at B'Elanna again, she sighed, "there is only one true thing about me that you do not know." With that, she rushed out of Sandrine's.
A short while later, B'Elanna entered Cargo Bay 2 to find Seven working at her console. She could see Seven's body become tense at the sound of the doors closing behind her. "Wow, you're back to work fast," B'Elanna quipped, trying to put her friend at ease.
"I am sorry that I ruined the evening," Seven apologized, her back still to B'Elanna.
"You didn't ruin anything," B'Elanna assured her. "I just wanted to make sure you're okay," she continued, coming up behind Seven and placing her hand on the taller woman's arm.
"I am fine," Seven responded, trying to keep her emotions in check.
"So, what is it?" B'Elanna asked.
"What is what?"
"The one true thing. I want to know," B'Elanna said, pulling Seven around to face her. "I want to know everything about you," she finished softly.
Seven swallowed nervously, but found herself buoyed by the look of affection in B'Elanna's eyes. "I love you," Seven announced. "Sometimes I feel as if this is the only truth I know," she whispered.
B'Elanna cupped Seven's cheek and stroked it with her thumb. "Well, that's a lucky thing for me. That's the one thing I've wanted to hear you say for a long time now."
Seven smiled and leaned in to kiss B'Elanna gently.
"And, an amazing coincidence," B'Elanna murmured when the kiss broke, "that my one true thing is that I love you."
"I believe I like this game after all," Seven smiled and pulled B'Elanna into an embrace.
"Next time we can do without Tom and Harry," B'Elanna added.
"Indeed," Seven concurred, kissing her love again.
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