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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By H.W.



{We are the Borg. Lower your shields, and surrender your ship. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours. Do not resist. Resistance is futile.}

"Damn! We need to get out of here, strap in!"

"Mamma? Papa? What's happening?"

"Honey, go back to bed. We are busy here."

It happened so fast, the woman had barely told her daughter to go back to bed before Borg drones started to beam onto the ship. She felt herself being grabbed from behind and a sharp pain in her neck. The last thing she saw, before nothing but the Hive became of interest to her, was her daughter being assimilated. And her last free thought was that she had damned her daughter to a fate worse than death.

The young six year old girl walked through the cube just like one of the many other drones. She had just received her first assignment. While she was walking to the part of the cube where she needed to be to do her task, the voices were talking to her; giving her more information in mere moments than she had ever learned while being an individual.

{The energy wave must at all times stay between 6.4 and...}

{New drone, your designation is now 3 of 3, tactical drone 8,778. You will...}

{Species 6,372. Unremarkable. Their assimilation will not enhance our Collective. They will be destroyed before...}

{Sector 543 will need more attention. Two cubes have just been destroyed by an unknown species.}

{...8.2. When the energy wave is no longer needed drone 3 of 3 will need to adjust the...}

{Engaging the main force of species 6,372. Their ships are...}

{Drone 3 of 3. report to sector...}

--bleep. Regeneration cycle complete.

Seven stepped out of the alcove and held out a hand to steady herself against the console in front of her. Memories. She had remembered things before, memories from certain drones; specific actions and occasions that had been deemed so important by the Hive that the whole situation was stored instead of just the bare information. Never before had she relived her own actions so clearly though. Sure, she knew what had happened to her during her time as a drone, her eidetic memory ensured that; but she had never literally 'felt' the memories before.

Seven turned back to her alcove and ran a diagnostic cycle, waiting impatiently, and then frowning when the diagnostic cycle resulted in an 'all systems working within acceptable parameters.'

For a moment she thought about reporting the fact that she had seemingly dreamed to the Doctor, but then decided not to. She really didn't need yet another round of extensive testing that always occurred every time she reported some sort of problem with the Borg systems.

Instead she decided to just 'forget about it,' like Lieutenant Torres liked to say, and walked out of the cargo bay to start another day on Voyager.


Chapter 1

"This is all your damn fault!"

"Mine?" Seven asked, arching her eyebrow. "I am not the one who resorted to throwing tools around, nor am I the one who threw said tool into the Captain's face; literally."

B'Elanna cringed, her mind going back to seeing the Captain lying unconscious on the floor with blood running from a slight, but prominent cut to her forehead. She had thrown her spanner away in frustration without really looking at where she was throwing it. In doing so, she had nailed the captain, who just happened to come into Engineering, right between the eyes.

B'Elanna cringed a second time at the memory of standing in front of the Captain in her ready-room and having the compact woman rip into her as if she had been using a bat'leth to do so.

B'Elanna turned and looked at the slightly blue haze of the force-field that held her and Seven in the cell. She turned away from the barrier in front of her and looked at the blonde that was sitting on one of the two beds, and was looking at the Klingon with a slightly tilted head.

"I still don't know what the hell Janeway was thinking by putting us in the same cell," B'Elanna said in frustration.

"As the captain told me when she informed me that I had to spend the next two weeks with you in this cell; either we will find a way to get along, or we will kill each other. Either way, her problem will be solved in two weeks time. Though I do not fully understand why I have to spend time in the brig. I was not the one throwing equipment around."

B'Elanna turned to look at the force-field once more. "Yeah, well, this is still your fault. If you hadn't begun altering the deflector settings without telling me, I wouldn't have gotten pissed."

"Lieutenant, I was following a direct order of the Captain. She outranks you; therefore I do not have to report to you."

B'Elanna turned around and stalked closer to the blonde. "Damn it, that's not right, and you know it! True, if the captain gives you an order like that, it would override my objections to you working on that at that moment. The point is that you still have to let me know, if nothing else so that I can reroute power away from the deflector."

"I am very capable of re-routing power."

"That is not the point," B'Elanna argued hotly. "Damn it, I need to know what's going on in engineering!"

"The deflector is not in Engineering," Seven reminded coolly. "Therefore, according to what you just said, there was no need to inform you."

B'Elanna was now standing face to face with the blonde. She had her hands balled into fists at her side and her nostrils were flaring. "You know exactly what I mean, Blondie."

"Lieutenant, are you about to strike out at me?" Seven asked with a raised eyebrow.


"Do you want to hit me?"

"I'm sorely tempted," B'Elanna growled.

"In that case, let me remind you that my bones have been reinforced with a layer of Duranium. If you were to hit me, it is more likely that you would break your hand instead of damaging me."

"You have a damn answer for everything, don't you?" B'Elanna asked, realizing just how correct the blonde's statement was, and also realizing that no matter how frustrated she was with the Borg, she really didn't want to hit her.


B'Elanna turned away from Seven and walked back to the force-field. "Just shut up and leave me alone. That way we might actually survive this."

"Very well, Lieutenant. I will now 'shut up.'"

Day two.

11:00 am.

"Do you really think that changing the settings on the deflector will make that much of a difference?"

Silence answered B'Elanna's question.

"Carey told me that the antimatter regulator was a little off. I wanted to work on that yesterday, but, um you know what happened."


"You know that you are acting like a damn child!"


"Argh! You stupid bitch! You think that you are sooo superior, you don't know shit."


"Alright, fine. Two can play that game. See who can stand the silence longer, you or me."

Day two.

8:00 pm.

"Alright, fine. You win. Could you just stop not speaking to me?"

Seven looked at B'Elanna, and the Klingon could clearly see from the amusement in those brilliant blue eyes that it wouldn't be that easy.

"Alright. Seven, I apologize for telling you to shut up. Will you please talk to me?"

"You are so easy," The blonde finally said.

"Yeah? Well, you are a cold-hearted stupid bitch with a severe case of frostbite shoved so far up your ass that it shows with every word you speak. So I guess we're even."

"Lieutenant, I must object to that statement... I am not stupid."

B'Elanna looked at Seven perplexed for a moment before she grinned and sat down beside Seven. "I don't hear you objecting to any of the other things I said though."

"You bring out the best in me, Lieutenant."

"You know, one of these days you won't be the one with the last word."

"More than likely," Seven agreed. "But I am certain that day will not arrive for a long time to come."

B'Elanna was just about to react when she heard someone coming into the brig area. "Doc!"

B'Elanna was glad to finally see another person. The captain had ordered that there should be no guards in the brig area, wanting to make sure that the two women had nobody to talk to except for themselves. "Are you here to check if we haven't killed each other yet?"

"No, Lieutenant. As you know, the sensors in the brig as set to detect any amount of blood more than what you would get from your average bloody nose. So we would know if you had killed each other..." He interrupted himself when a thought occurred to him. "...Unless you strangled each other, I guess. Anyway, I am here to chaperone Seven."

"Hey! How come she is allowed to get out while I have to stay here?"

"She only gets out for nine hours, and I don't think that you would like to trade with her Lieutenant. I am to take Seven to sickbay for her weekly checkup, and after that I am to take her to Cargo Bay two so that she can regenerate for eight hours. After that, she will be brought back here so that you two can continue to enjoy your vacation."


They had spent two nights in the brig now, and B'Elanna had to admit that she had totally forgotten that Seven needed facilities that others didn't.

"Right, well see you tomorrow, Seven. Have pleasant dreams."

B'Elanna and the Doctor didn't see Seven flinch slightly at the Klingon's last words.

"Drones do not dream," Seven said after a moment of hesitation. B'Elanna couldn't know.

"Just a figure of speech, Seven," The Doctor explained. "It is a way of wishing a person a good night's rest."

"Ah, well I will not notice the rest since I am unconscious when I regenerate. I only remember stepping into the alcove, and stepping back out a second later. Or better said, it seems like a second. In reality the programmed regeneration cycle has ended."

"Well, that sure is one way of shortening the time in the brig," B'Elanna said before adding brightly, "Hey Doc, couldn't I regenerate some as well? You could set my cycle for two weeks."

"Sure, no problem. Would you like to come to sickbay now?"


"Of course. That way we are in a controlled environment when we have Seven assimilate you so that you form the implants needed to regenerate like she does."

"Well, gee, I would love to, but I'm on a low iron diet. Maybe next year."

The Doctor deactivated the force field and took a step aside. "Come on, Seven, we must go now."

"Yes Doctor. See you tomorrow, Lieutenant."

{Drone 3 of 3, report to sector 542. You will assist in assessing the information gathered from species 3,034. All relevant information will be absorbed into the Hive; all irrelevant information will be deleted. You will...}

{The feedback wave resulted in...}

{Sector 464 needs reevaluation. An unknown species has settled there. They...}

{The Omega molecule experiment has failed. Cube 37,443 has been destroyed...}

{Scanning compete. The magnetic pulses coming from the planet are beyond acceptable levels. We must stay clear of this planetary system...}

--Bleep. Regeneration cycle complete.

Day three.

6:00 am.

"Doctor, you were here the entire time?" Seven asked when she saw the Doctor working at one of the consoles.

"Order of the Captain, Seven. I was not allowed to leave you alone for one minute, and now I have to take you back to the brig."

Seven was getting annoyed at how far the captain was taking this. "Were you also to accompany me to the lavatory if I had to go?"

"Um, well you don't have to go to the lavatory," The Doctor said weakly, suddenly becoming uncomfortable with the situation that he thought funny at first.

"The Captain does not know that, unless she has read my medical file; has she?"

"Well, um, not that I know. I mean, I always inform her of the big things. I have to; those are still Borg implants. But the things that aren't really important are only mentioned in your private file and as far as I know, and I would know, that hasn't been read by anybody but me."

"Therefore she does not know if I need to use the lavatory," Seven persisted.

"Well, let's get you back to the brig before the captain comes to check if you have really gone back or used that time to stroll around some."

They moved out of the cargo bay before the Doctor spoke up again. "You have to see the Captain's side as well. B'Elanna really did go too far, she endangered someone of the crew. The Captain isn't even letting it weigh in that this person was the Captain herself. Nor is she letting it weigh in that she actually had a skull fracture."

"That still does not explain why I have to be in the brig as well."

"Because she knows that you are just as much to blame for the incident as B'Elanna. How often has she told you not to react to B'Elanna's antics and simply come to the captain if there was a problem?"

"The Captain does not seem to understand that this makes the problem worse. You do not resolve problems by running to the Captain for help every time. That will only result in B'Elanna starting to despise me."

"And that would be different... how?" The doctor asked as they left the cargo bay and headed for the turbolift.

"At the moment B'Elanna does not despise me. In fact, I do not even think she really hates me. B'Elanna and I merely have different opinions of different subjects, and both of us are too stubborn to simply agree with the other."

"Then you better work on that, because I get the feeling that the captain is at the end of her patience. If you two don't find a way to get along, it might very well be that soon an alcove will be put in the brig so that you can regenerate there the next time you are imprisoned, and the next time, and the next time."

Once they entered the turbolift Seven looked at the Doctor. "Do you think that will change at some time in the future?"

"Well, it really is up to you. Just stop annoying B'Elanna and you will,"

"I am not talking about that," Seven interrupted. "I will decide how I act towards Lieutenant Torres. Not the Captain, not you, nor anyone else for that matter. I was talking about me not having to use the lavatory. There is still the chance that my implants will stop working; the removal of my abdominal implant is scheduled for the week after I am released from the brig. The state of my implants change on a regular basis. Will there ever be a time where I have to deal with normal human bodily functions?"

The Doctor was slightly stung by Seven's cool words, but he knew that she had a point. Since the first fight between the women, several of the crew had been pushing them in one way or another. It had begun as mere suggestions when the two women only had a fight every month or so, but lately the fights had greatly increased, and so had the pushing. The Doctor decided that the time had come to stay out of it and just let them deal with it themselves. Maybe the Captain had a point after all by putting them in the brig together. As the Captain had said, they would find a way to get along, or end up killing each other. Which of course, as the doctor knew, was only theoretical talking since the safety sensors in the brig would automatically kick in if there truly was any kind of violence going on in any of the cells.

"I'm sorry, Seven, that will never happen. As you know, the Borg removed your entire digestive system, right after the stomach. The digestive implant they put in its place turns everything you eat or drink into energy, kinda like the replicators do when you put something in it to dematerialize. But if it ever stops working, I can't simply remove it like I'm going to do with your abdominal implant in a few weeks. If your food processing implants ever stop working, I will have to replace it with the Federation equivalent; an internal dematerialize catheter. It won't turn things into energy anywhere near as efficiently as your implants do, but it will make sure that you can live your life like everyone else."

"Do not apologize, I merely asked so that I would know what to expect. I think that having to use the lavatory will be a human experience that I will not miss."

"Seven, having to use the lavatory is not solely a human thing," The doctor reminded as the door of the turbolift opened and they stepped into the corridor.

"I know, Doctor. Remember, I know the biological functions of more than ten thousand species. I also know that having normal biological functions embarrasses a lot of people. For instance, in the beginning Lieutenant Torres was hesitant to use the lavatory that is attached to the cell we are in."

"Probably because there is no door that can be closed," The doctor ventured to guess.

"I do not see how that makes a difference."

The doctor sighed and was glad that they had reached the brig. "I'll download some information into a PADD for you to read once your two weeks are up."

"Very well, Doctor. Good morning, Lieutenant Torres."

B'Elanna came up to the force field, glad that finally there was something else to do than just sit and watch the wall. "Morning. Hi doc."

"Lieutenant," The Doctor greeted. "Please step away from the force field."

"Oh, come on, do you really think that I'm going to rush you and escape from the brig? Where the hell would I go?" B'Elanna asked annoyed while she backed up a little.

"Sorry Lieutenant, I'm just following procedure." The Doctor raised the force field again once Seven was in the cell. "Well, see you again in three days."

"Hey Doc, come on, surely you can stay a moment and talk a little."

"Sorry Lieutenant, I have clear orders from the captain." The doctor walked to the door and was gone after a last; "Ladies."

"Were you playing with the Doctor again?" B'Elanna asked as soon as Seven had sat down on her bed.


"I saw how glad he was to be here, as if you asked him a question he didn't want to answer. I know you, you do that if he is talking about something you don't want to talk about. You then change the subject to something he will either go on and on about, or something that will make him shut up."

Seven decided not to react to the 'I know you' remark. "Yes, I was 'playing' with him. He was once again pushing me on how I should deal with you, so I asked him about the bodily functions which results in having to use the lavatory, and why some people seem to be embarrassed by having to use said lavatory."

"That'll make him change the subject alright," B'Elanna agreed with a grin. "For a doctor he can be a real prude sometimes. So you didn't like his advice on how to deal with me? Why not?"

"Lieutenant, I do not need people to tell me how to deal with you. Nor do I need them to tell me that if I stop annoying you, you and I will not have as many altercations."

"That almost sounds as if you like picking fights with me," B'Elanna accused.

Seven tilted her head slightly and looked at the Klingon for a long moment. "Maybe I do."

"Why?" B'Elanna merely asked.

"I... enjoy them. Your reactions are amusing, your profanities are entertaining. The emotions you depict are raw and powerful. You... amuse me, Lieutenant."

B'Elanna grinned. "Call me B'Elanna."

"Why?" Now it was Seven who had asked the question.

"Because I want you to. Because I got to admit that I also like our fights. You are the only one who doesn't fear me when I blow a fuse. I mean, sure, the captain and Chakotay will stand up to me, but only long enough to order me to stand down. They don't actually do things to provoke me some more."

"Lieutenant... B'Elanna, there is nothing I should fear about you." Seven could see that the Klingon was about to react and she could guess why. She lifted her hand slightly to stop the woman from speaking. "I did not say that to insult you. It is a fact; you do not possess the physical strength to harm me. I am stronger, faster, and more resilient than you. My implants make me far superior to any Human considering those traits, and if not far superior, still considerably superior to Klingons. You could not hurt me seriously without weapons unless I would not at all defend myself."

"I could use a phaser," B'Elanna objected.

"You could," Seven agreed, "but anyone could use a phaser to kill me. That does not mean that I should fear you while you are unarmed."

B'Elanna grinned. "You know, I've never really wanted to hurt you, oh, I sure wanted to wring that long neck of yours on more than one occasion, if you know what I mean. But I've never really wanted to hurt you. I like that I can sometimes let go with you. I can't do that with any of the others on the ship. Even when I was dating Tom, he always lifted his hands in mock surrender whenever we had a fight. If anyone should know that they don't have to fear my temper, it should be my lover, right?"

"That depends. Did you tell him that he didn't need to fear it?" Seven asked reasonably.

"Well, um, no. But that doesn't matter. He should have trusted me. He should have trusted me enough to know that I wouldn't have killed him if he disagreed with me."

"That explains why you terminated your relationship, but it doesn't explain why he still wants to rekindle that relationship."

"Because," B'Elanna stopped herself just before the words she wanted to say had left her lips. "Just forget about it, alright?"

"Very well, B'Elanna." Seven merely waited. She knew that she didn't have to wait long; she was right.

B'Elanna sighed. "What would you like to hear? The blunt truth, or the truth I would tell the Captain?"

"Both," Seven said, smiling at the Klingon.

"The answer I would give the Captain would be that Tom wants me back because he doesn't want to be alone, which is part of the truth."

"And what is the blunt truth?"

Now B'Elanna turned to look at Seven, giving her a grin. "The blunt truth is that he wants me back because I'm damn good in bed."

Seven looked at the Klingon with wide eyes. She had never expected B'Elanna to be that blunt.

"Didn't expect that answer, did you Blondie?" B'Elanna asked with a grin.

"No," Seven was forced to admit. "But if you knew that this was the only reason for him, why did you start a relationship with him to begin with?"

"I didn't say I knew that to begin with, nor that this was the only reason for him. After all, he only found out how I am in bed the first time we had sex," B'Elanna disagreed.

"No, I said that this was the reason why he wants me back. Look, Tom and I were good friends who liked to be with each other. We both thought that this would be enough to make it into a workable relationship. Well, it didn't turn out that way, so I broke it off. That is the part where Tom and I differ, he doesn't mind being friends that share a bed at times; I do."

"You object to having sex with a person that is your friend? Would you prefer to have sex with someone you hate?" Seven asked confused.

"Still trying to figure out mating behavior?" B'Elanna asked, not really sure if she should be amused or not.

"No, I am just trying to make sense of your statement."

"Well, it's just that I want more. I want to feel a connection with my lover, a connection that is more than a 'drinking buddy' friendship."

"I believe I understand. Because this was enough for Mister Paris he wants it, you, back to continue in the same manner. But because you now know it is not enough for you, you will not take Mister Paris back. Do you also consider your friendship with him over?"

B'Elanna thought about that for a moment. "No, but at the moment I also don't consider him as close a friend as he was before we became involved. Once he stops trying to get back into my pants I might try to tighten our friendship again. But if I do that now, he will get the wrong message."

"I see. Thank you for explaining."

"No problem." B'Elanna looked at Seven for a moment before asking, "Say, Seven, you aren't in a relationship at the moment, right?"

"That is correct," Seven agreed, wondering where B'Elanna was going.

B'Elanna nodded her head slightly. "Then tell me, do you masturbate?"

"What?!" Seven asked, her voice louder and higher than normal.

"I asked if you masturbated. You are human, have human urges, surely you sometimes need some good old fashioned sexual release."

"I, I, I... That is none of your business."

B'Elanna grinned at the blonde, having expected that answer. "Can't have it both ways, Seven. You can't ask me personal questions and then say it is none of my business if I do the same to you."

"I did not ask you personal questions," Seven defended.

"You asking me about Tom isn't personal? You asking who I would have sex with isn't personal? Get real! It only isn't personal because it suits you. Ever heard of the saying 'tit for tat'? You don't want me to ask you personal questions? Fine, I can live with that, but then you better not expect any answers to any question directed at me that I find personal."

They were both quiet for a moment; B'Elanna thinking that she had made her point, and Seven thinking about if B'Elanna actually had a point.

A few minutes later it was Seven who broke the silence. "Yes."

"Yes?" B'Elanna asked, not knowing what the blonde meant.

"I answered your question. Yes, I do masturbate."

B'Elanna grinned, she couldn't believe she was having this kind of conversation with Seven, but then, it was bound to make time pass quickly. "Figured that if you answered my personal question, you can go on asking me personal questions?"

"Yes. Was I wrong in that assumption?"

"Nooo, I'm game if you are. As long as you remember that I give as good as I get, if not better. You should always expect a question from me on the same level that you have asked."

"Very well. B'Elanna. Do you masturbate?"

B'Elanna grinned and patted the mattress beside her. "Come on, if we are having this kind of talk, we might as well get a little more comfy and not shout across the cell."

Seven moved to B'Elanna's side and B'Elanna leaned a little closer, not really whispering, but still talking a lot more quietly than she had until then.

"Seven, I am a half Klingon with a sex drive of a full Klingon, and I don't have a sexual partner. What the hell do you think I do?"

"Meditate?" Seven asked in an amused voice.

"Not likely, I like the other option way too much. Now tell me, where, how?"

"The cargo bay of course. As for how... I think that is a little too personal."

B'Elanna's eyes got wide when she realized how her question could be understood. "Oh Kahless, that is not what I meant. I didn't mean to ask you how you... you know. I mean, you don't have a private corner to hide in. How can you... you know? And especially in the Cargo bay, like you just said? Someone can walk in there at any moment!"

"I though that such a heightened level of risk would appeal to your Klingon side." Seven was silent for a second before admitting, "I know how you meant the question."

"Funny, and risk is fun, but that would be a little too much for me."

"It is too much of a risk for me as well," Seven admitted with a smile. "I have set up a small program that I can activate if I want. It shuts down all sensors in the cargo bay, and ties into the sensors in the corridor. If someone walks past the crew cabins and continues to the cargo bay, a signal will warn me with enough time to put my biosuit in order."

"Doesn't the Captain wonder about the sensors failing in the cargo bay on a regular basis... I assume that it is a regular basis?"

"Yes, very regular," Seven agreed. Somehow it was easier to talk about 'it' if one simply didn't mention 'it.' "And the Captain does not suspect anything. I actually told her that I would take the sensors off-line from time to time."

"What did you tell her as to why you would do that?"

"I told her that sometimes I need some time totally alone." Seven hesitated for a moment. "I sincerely doubt that the captain even assumes that I would need time for... that."

"So you never have time to truly enjoy? Only a rushed release?"

Seven hesitated for a moment. "It is sufficient."

"It shouldn't just be sufficient. It should be fun, and you should have a choice. Maybe today you want to have some fun in the shower. Or maybe on the couch in the living room."

B'Elanna shook her head slightly. "And it isn't even only about, that. You should have quarters for yourself."

"There is no room," Seven sighed.

B'Elanna had never before heard the blonde sigh like that. It sounded... real.

"I asked the Captain. But she told me that no more crew quarters are free. The only quarters that are free are the VIP quarters, and giving me one of those will send the wrong message to the crew."

"But... but what about the quarters Kes lived in?"

"Taken up when someone of the crew wanted to live alone."

"What a load of bull. It is normal for the lower crew to double up."

"True," Seven agreed, "but even before I came on board, the Captain changed the rule, on a suggestion by Commander Chakotay. Since it might take so long to get back to the Alpha Quadrant, they thought it made no sense to let the unused crew quarters lie empty."

B'Elanna closed her eyes for a moment. "You are right. Sorry, I forgot that they did that." A thought hit B'Elanna and she decided to ask. "You slept the last two nights, where do you normally sleep when you don't have to regenerate?"

"Normally I do not sleep; I consider it an unnecessary waste of time. I only slept when I was in sickbay for removal of my implants, and when I visited Harry and did not leave again before I had to be on duty the next day."

B'Elanna raised her eyebrows at the implication. She knew that Seven and Harry had enjoyed a brief relationship, but just how close that relationship had been was a subject of many a gossip flow on Voyager; spurred on by the very annoying fact that Harry was actually one of the very few guys that didn't boast about... activities. "So you slept at night for a few weeks all added up by now," B'Elanna finally asked.

"Correct. But otherwise I do not sleep. I need to regenerate for a minimum of eight hours out of every seventy-two hours. But I can regenerate more. I simply regenerate on those nights where there are no task left that I can perform."

"Well, I still think that's not right. But... anyway, you got anymore embarrassing questions for me?"

"Of course."

Day 5

"Ice Princess."

"Ice Princess? But I called you things much worse than that."

"True," Seven agreed. "But you asked me which insult I liked the best, not which one I found the worst."

"I still can't believe that doesn't bother you at all."

"Why should it bother me? If you say something it still does not mean that it is the truth. Besides, I sincerely doubt that someone who calls me a 'mindless bitch who will get us all killed' one moment, and asks me to check the warp drive the next moment, actually means those words. When you say things to me, you at least do it to my face. As I said yesterday; I find it very amusing to see your reaction."

"Hmm, so, Princess, why is it better if I call you things to your face, instead of calling you a bitch behind your back?"

"Because I know that I do not have to take your words seriously. But when I hear someone whisper about me, I know that they think that I can not hear them and therefore their words are genuine. Having you call me a 'clueless drone' is amusing, hearing one of the crew ask another one if they think that 'those' are implants as well, that I do not find amusing."

B'Elanna couldn't help herself, a laugh escaped before she could clamp down on it. "Oh, I'm sorry Seven; I really shouldn't laugh at that."

"You find that amusing, Lieutenant?"

"Lieutenant?" B'Elanna repeated. "Oh ho, am I in trouble?"

Seven gave the Klingon a long and cold look before offering a small smile, more a mere turning of the corners of her mouth than an actual smile.

"No, you are not in trouble. I can actually understand the amusement value of such a remark, and that proves my point. Had you, or anyone else for that matter, made that remark while talking to me, then I would have found it amusing. But when two crew members are talking about me as if I am a piece of meat, then it is not amusing."

"Because they are making fun of you, and not with you."


B'Elanna smirked, she just had to ask. "So, are they implants?"

"I can assure you, those parts of my body are that way fully thanks to my human genes," Seven said in her superior voice.

"So you really don't mind if I shout insults at you?"

"Not at all. In fact, I think I would miss it if you stopped."

"That's good to know... You stupid bitch."

Seven merely smiled.

Day 6

"What do you find the most annoying thing, B'Elanna?"

"You mean besides you?"

Seven merely lifted an eyebrow.

"Alright, let's see. The most annoying thing... that would be if someone questions my Engineering skills."

"Which I do almost on a daily basis."

"No, no, no," B'Elanna disagreed. "That is kinda the same thing as when I call you stupid and then ask you to do something important the next moment. Besides..."

"Besides... what?" Seven asked when B'Elanna stopped talking.

"Well. Alright, look, I never said this, and I won't even admit to it under torture, but a lot of times when you question something I'm doing, you do have a point. When you tell me that there is a more efficient way, there more than likely is. I'm not blind to that fact, Seven. More often than not you do have a point; it is just that you bring that point in such a damn annoying superior way that I'm almost always tempted to tell you to mind your own business. I don't know if you have ever noticed, but normally I always end up at least looking at your suggestion... once I've yelled at you to get out."

"I noticed," Seven affirmed.

"Right, well, what I meant was if people question my Engineering skills because they don't know better, but think they do. For instance, when I tell the captain some repair will last about ten hours and she tells me to have it fixed in five hours. She thinks it's possible because she read somewhere once that 'this' engineer 'there' did it in five hours. But she forgets the small fact that they were docked at a Federation Starbase and that the Engineering team of that Starbase was helping out. I mean, damn it, if I could fix it in five hours than I would have said that it would be ready in five hours, right? But nooo, she just tells me to have it fixed in five hours and then when I can't do it in five hours she gets that little 'you let me down' look in her eyes. Or when Tom asked me to help him with building the Delta Flyer, and then when I do things how they should be done, he gets upset because it doesn't look like he wants it too. As if I deliberately changed things just to annoy him. He doesn't seem to be able to understand that I'm not allowed to use old-fashioned dials and buttons. Hell, those lever switches he wanted to use would break right off in your hands if you used them a little too rough."

"Which would more than likely be at a time when you can use it the least, like in a battle," Seven added.

"Right," B'Elanna agreed, then she asked, "So tell me, what do you find the most annoying thing? Me messing up those orderly work schedules you always come up with?"

"No, the thing that annoys me the most is when people talk to my chest instead to my face."

"What do you mean?"

Seven gestured for B'Elanna to get up while she did the same. She went to stand in front of B'Elanna, keeping her eyes firmly glued to the Klingons breasts.

"So tell me, Seven," Seven started, her eyes never wavering from their target for a second, "when do you think the sensors will be back online? That's great. Do you think that there will be anything of interest in the next sector?"

The chest in front of her started to shake slightly when B'Elanna started to laugh.

"Alright, I get the message; get your face out of my chest already."

Seven sat back down and gave the Klingon a smile. "That is exactly what I wanted to say on more than one occasion."

"So why don't you?"

"Because it is not worth the effort. The only result would be that they would stay fully away from me. That... is not something I like."

"Don't like to be ignored?" B'Elanna guessed.

"I do not like to be prevented from being a part of the Collective that is Voyager," Seven corrected.

"So instead you put up with all the bullshit you get from people?"

"B'Elanna, the fact that it annoys me, does not mean that I do not fully understand that it is a Humanoid trait. Full breasts, round hips, a trim body, those are nature's signs of advocating a suitable Mate that is well suited for baring healthy and strong children,"

"That's bull," B'Elanna interrupted.

"It is not. If you wish I can recite 16,524 medical studies on the subject. Only in 2,973 of those studies did the races consider other bodily signs indications of fertility. Either way, I can live with the fact that some of the crew can not suppress their basic instincts as well as others. However, if they were to ignore me like they did when I first came onboard... I do not know if I could handle that."

"Yeah? Well you should just try it my way. First growl at them and then ask them while snarling, 'what the hell are you looking at?"'

"Maybe I will try that next time."

"You do that. Alright, next thing. Let me see..." B'Elanna pondered for a moment what she was going to ask next. "What is your favorite food?"

"Created by the replicator, or created by Mister Neelix?"

"Yes," B'Elanna merely said.

"My favorite food created by a replicator is..."

Day 10.

Seven's eyes followed B'Elanna as the Klingon paced back and forth as far as she could in their small cell. B'Elanna had assured her that she did that to get rid of some energy. Which had led Seven to conclude that the woman must have a lot of energy to expend since the Klingon started pacing at least once every hour, unless she was sleeping of course. But despite her pacing B'Elanna continued with her story.

"So Harry walked up to the guy to ask him the way, right? Then all of a sudden the earth drops from under his feet and poor Harry lands in a pile of fertilizer."

"How is that possible?"

"Seems that they keep the fertilizer in basins under the ground so that it is stimulated more by the bacteria that can be found in the ground, or something like that," B'Elanna explained as she sat down beside the blonde.

"We never really asked. Anyway, so here we were on our way to a meeting with the First Minister. The transporters weren't working, and we really couldn't send Harry back to the shuttle because, well, we can't just send someone off by themselves on a planet where we don't even know if the people are really that friendly."

"What did you do?" Seven leaned a little closer. She was fully engrossed in the story B'Elanna was telling.

"What could we do? Nothing. There wasn't a river or lake in sight, and we were already expected at the First Minister's residence an half hour before. So we went on. We found the First Minister's residence and announced our presence. Harry was literally black from the fertilizer and he stank an hour against the wind."

"That must not have been a pleasant meeting, from what you told me about the 'name' the First Minister had."

"That's what I thought," B'Elanna agreed with a grin. "Here we were going to meet this minister who has a well-known hatred against 'off-worlders'. But he came waltzing into the room, stopped, sniffed the air, looked at Harry, and started laughing. He nearly laughed his damn head off. That ended up to be one of the best away missions I have ever had. It took a week before Voyager found us and during that time we were spoiled as if we were some kind of Royalty. Though I think that Harry didn't like his stay anywhere as much as I did. Whenever the minister saw Harry that week, he started laughing again."

"That reminds me of the away mission I was on with Commander Chakotay and Commander Tuvok."

"Tuvok and Chakotay? That doesn't happen often, one of them must always stay on the ship... preferably."

"I had only been on board Voyager for five months at that time and I assume that they were sent along to help me with my mission just as much as to guard me; to make sure I would not use the opportunity to return to the Collective."

"Was there ever a chance of that?" B'Elanna asked. "I mean, in the beginning you did pretty much anything to get back to the Collective. But once you had gotten used to being an individual there weren't signs of you wanting to go back... at least not that I know of."

"There was a risk of me returning," Seven had to admit. "For several months I would compare situations to how I would have dealt with them if I had still been part of the Collective, and there were several times where going back to the Collective was more tempting than staying on Voyager was."

"So, why did you stay?"

Seven stayed quiet for a moment, a moment that seemed to stretch into minutes. Finally it was B'Elanna who spoke up again.

"Never mind, anyway, you were telling me about this away mission."

"Because of you," Seven said softly.

"Because of me... what?"

"It is because of you that I stayed. True, the call of the Collective was sometimes very tempting, but then I would think of the fact that if I went back, I would no longer be able to interact with you. Our altercations, they, they make me feel alive. They did so even back then. If I were to go back, I would no longer feel that. That, was unacceptable."

"Bu... Wha..." B'Elanna shook her head slightly. "I... I don't know what to say to that Seven."

"You could tell me that you do not think that we will ever stop having altercations."

"Not likely," B'Elanna snorted. "What ever gave you that idea?"

"Because we are now on our tenth day of being in this cell, and we did not have an altercation in the last six days."

"Well, yeah, but... Look, the reason for that is very simple; we stopped talking about ship's business then. Or better said, we stopped talking about actual projects that are going on in Engineering. I'm sure that once we are out of here we will be right back to disagreeing on everything that goes on in Engineering."

"In that case, you might want to try to no longer throw your tools around during our altercations; otherwise I think we could be spending a lot of time in this cell."

B'Elanna grinned. "I will try, but that is all I can promise you."

"Then it will have to suffice."

"Anyway, back to that away mission, what happened that was so funny?"


Day 14

"What's wrong, Seven? You are so quiet."

"I am contemplating what will happen next. We will be released from this cell in six hours."

"Well, I don't know about you, but the first thing I will do is go home and take a long aqua shower. I have had all I can stand from that sonic shower here."

"No, I mean what will happen to us."

"What do you mean? I'm afraid I'm not following."

"I liked the conversations we had here. Even though we were forced to spend time together, I ended up liking that time. I am sorry to see that this will be over once we step out of this cell."

"Who said it was going to be over? You know where my quarters are, don't you? You are welcome to drop by whenever you want... Wait, let me rephrase that; whenever you want, as long as it is at a reasonable time and not in the middle of the night."

"Would you mind if I came to the mess hall when you have your lunch break and sat down at your table?"

"Why would I mind that? You would be more than welcome."

"If people see us spending time together, they might actually assume that were are friends."

"I... see," B'Elanna said thoughtfully. Then she decided to jump and simply not care where she landed. "Well, I don't see anything wrong with that. I mean, we are friends, aren't we?" B'Elanna was rewarded with the biggest smile she had ever seen the blonde make.

"Indeed, I believe we are."

"But that doesn't mean that I will all of a sudden agree to everything you suggest," B'Elanna said with a fake growl.

"Of course not. Nor does it mean that I will now stop pointing out the many mistakes you make."

"We will see about that, Princess, we will see."


Chapter 2

"I hope you both have learned a lesson," Janeway said while pacing in front of the two women who were standing in her ready room. "I have had enough of having to wonder when one of your fights will get us all killed. B'Elanna, can you imagine what would have happened if that spanner had hit the magnetic constrictor instead of me?!"

"The magnetic constrictor 'could' have initiated an emergency shutdown, which would have meant that we would have dropped out of warp, and that we would have lost a certain amount of antimatter that would have been jettisoned into space."

"Where it could have been retrieved quite easily," Seven added. She didn't see why the Ccaptain was making such a fuss about what 'could' have happened. She could understand the Captain being upset about what happened to her, but to come up with scenarios that 'might' have happened made no sense at all. "In fact, as you certainly know, Captain, Starfleet has designed Engineering in such a way that accidents, if they happened, would still not endanger the ship. The Lieutenant would have had to deliberately set out to sabotage the ship before she could have caused any real damage."

"Seven, shut up," Janeway walked back to her chair to sit down. "I've really had enough of having to worry about one of your fights destroying my ship. I know that I can't order you both to not fight, so instead I'm going to tell you both this; from now on, whenever something is destroyed in one of your fights, both of you will once again spend a week in the brig. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Captain," B'Elanna said, knowing that it was the only right answer she could give at that point. She saw Seven take a breath to continue her train of thought about damaging the ship, so she softly bumped against the blonde when the Captain wasn't looking.

"I... Yes Captain."

"Alright, now the two of you get out of here. You are to report for duty on your normal shift tomorrow. Dismissed."

As soon as they were in the turbolift, B'Elanna spoke up. "You need to learn when to just shut up with the Captain. By trying to make your point in a situation like just now, you only make it worse."

Seven turned to look at the Klingon. "I do not see why the Captain insisted on your altercation being dangerous. Nothing could have happened."

"It's a normal thing, Seven. If something happens that you don't like, you come up with the worst possible outcome you can think of so that you can say 'this could have happened' in order to hopefully scare the person into never doing that again." B'Elanna ordered the turbolift to her deck before asking, "So what are you planning to do now?"

Seven put her hands behind her back and stood a little straighter. "I am planning to start a regeneration cycle and start working again tomorrow."

"But you already regenerated this morning."

"I did," Seven merely agreed.

"Gee Seven, you are a real bundle of fun, aren't you? Look, it's early yet and I don't feel like doing the rounds, tomorrow is early enough to answer all those questions about how I managed to survive two weeks with you. Why don't you come to my place and we can put those ideas to PADD that we came up with in the first couple of days of our forced vacation?"

"That would be acceptable."

"See, like I said, a real bundle of fun."

"Make yourself comfortable while I change into something other than this damn uniform."

"I do not understand why we were not allowed to wear different clothing while we were in the brig."

"Because the Captain went all the way with following procedure on this," B'Elanna answered loudly from her bedroom. "Regulations state that Federation officers will only have one uniform to wear while in the brig, and nothing else. And the replicators have to be set to merely recycle the uniform to clean it."

"I do not see the logic of this."

"Well, I can only guess since I never looked in to it, but I would say that this is done so that no items are smuggled into a cell by hiding them in the new clothing. I mean, what better way to hide a weapon than by putting it between some clothing?"

"It would be too obvious. Clothing will be checked."

B'Elanna came back into the living-room wearing a pair of gray exercise slacks and a white tank top that was short enough to leave enough of her middle bare to show off her bellybutton. "Sometimes the best way to hide something is in plain sight. I mean, if someone you know comes in with a pile of clothing, you might just decide not to check it because you just know that this person would never do something as obvious as hiding something in the clothing."

B'Elanna looked at Seven and lifted her hands slightly in mock irritation. "For goodness sake, I told you to make yourself comfortable. Sit your ass down."

"Yes ma'am," Seven said amused while she sat down.

"Don't go there, Miss Princess. You want something to drink before we begin?"

"N... Yes, some ice water please."

"Oh, she actually said please. I'm swooning," B'Elanna joked, putting the back of her hand against her forehead in an exaggerated gesture.

Seven used the opportunity to let her eyes follow B'Elanna around the room. Another reason why Seven really couldn't blame the people who looked at her body was because she had done the very same on several occasions with the Klingon. The lithe compact body that nevertheless held so much strength fascinated Seven to no end.

But it was more than just the body, it was the person. B'Elanna had a personality that appealed very much to Seven. She felt alive when she was around the Klingon. Seven had told B'Elanna the truth in the cell; it had been because of the Klingon that Seven had decided to stay on Voyager. She loved every minute she could spend with the volatile woman. She just wished that she could spend more time with her.

B'Elanna sat back down beside Seven on the couch where they had sat side by side going over ideas for the last couple of hours. "Alright, that's pretty much all that we can do for now. Mind you, we still have to test those different options in the holodeck; I still don't agree with some of your projections."

"The holodeck simulation will prove that I am correct," Seven said totally self-assured.

"It will prove that you are totally wrong, you mean," B'Elanna grinned.


"Well, be that as it may, I really want to take that shower that I was talking about earlier."

"Certainly, B'Elanna. I will see you tomorrow."

Seven had already reached the door when B'Elanna's voice stopped her.

"Hey Seven. So you are going to regenerate now?"


"It is still fourteen hours before our shift begins tomorrow."

"I know."

B'Elanna sighed. "Will you get back here already?"

"Yes?" Seven asked when she was standing in front of B'Elanna.

"The fact that I need a really long shower doesn't mean that I'm going to sleep after that. Why don't you stick around for a while longer?"

"Thank you, I would like that."

"Wow, first a 'please' and now a 'thank you'? What's wrong with you?" B'Elanna teased.

"Nothing. I have merely decided to cease annoying you on purpose, for the moment. There is time enough for that once we are both on duty and you are coming up with totally illogical repair schedules."

"I'm not going to react to that," B'Elanna said, thus still reacting. "When you sleep in sickbay, what do your wear?"

"The doctor created some 'nightwear' for me. It is made of the same material as my bio suits, to keep my body temperature at the correct level, but the material is thinner and does not contain the electronics that my normal biosuits do."

"Yeah? Replicate it, I want to see this."

Seven lifted her eyebrow but did walk to the replicator and replicated the clothing.

B'Elanna took the clothing out of Seven's hands. "Hey, these are two parts!"

"Yes, the doctor thought that one full piece would be too uncomfortable when I move in my sleep. Therefore he created a pair of pants and a shirt."

B'Elanna nodded while she handed the blue silk-like material back to Seven. "Well, now that you replicated them, you might as well use them. Why don't you change into them while I take my shower? You're sleeping on the couch tonight."

"I am?" Seven asked bewildered.

"You are," B'Elanna stated firmly. "That couch is really comfy; I spent many a night on it. Don't you think that you would have a little more privacy here than in the Cargo bay?"

"I would," Seven agreed, "but I do not want to intrude on your privacy."

"You aren't intruding. I'm inviting you. I wouldn't do that if I had a problem with you being here. So either you say 'thank you,' or you come up with some BS like you 'needing' to regenerate now."

"Thank you."

B'Elanna felt like she had made the right choice when she saw the smile the blonde was giving her. "Don't you go thanking me too fast, Princess; I'm not doing this for free. You can sleep on the couch, but in return you're the one making breakfast tomorrow morning."

"I do not know how to make breakfast."

"No? Well, then I suggest that the first thing you do after changing into your hi-tech jammies, is to dive into the computer and research how to make the universe's best banana pancakes. My comp unit is over there, feel free to use it. I'll be gone for at least fifteen minutes. I'am in the mood for a long, hot shower."

"Very well. Enjoy your shower."

"Thanks, I will."

B'Elanna slipped out of her clothing and put it on the small bathroom closet. She had worn the clothes for two hours, and it wasn't as if she had been dirty when putting them on, so she didn't see any use in wasting replicator rations for replicating a new set of clothing again. After all, only the uniforms could be replicated for free. She looked up into the mirror, taking a moment to look at herself. She grinned at the whole situation. Who would have thought just a few weeks ago that she would invite the Ice Princess into her quarters, even invite her to sleep on the couch?

She was glad for the time that she had spent with Seven. She had gotten to know the woman better than she could have in years of dancing around each other on normal shifts. She had found out that Seven had a dry sense of humor that appealed to her very much. One just needed to take the time to actually talk to the woman. Who would have thought? She actually liked the Borg; she actually wanted to spend more time with her.

But she knew that the next night Seven would probably go back to regenerating every night. Which was a good thing, right? Surely B'Elanna didn't want to have her around too much. One night was alright, but longer than that and the blonde would really begin to intrude on her privacy. Right? Right. So why then didn't she want Seven to leave?

B'Elanna sighed and turned to the shower. No, she knew that she would end up asking Seven if she wanted to stay more often. Shrugging her shoulders mentally, she turned the shower on and quickly slipped out of her underwear. She stepped under the water and made quick work of scrubbing herself down with her favorite kind of soap; surrounding herself with the sweet scent of the Bajoran nectar flower.

For a moment she just stood under the water to rinse the soap off, but soon her hands started to move slowly over her body. She cupped her breasts and squeezed them softly before tugging playfully on her nipples. She sighed happily, she needed this badly.

She moved one of her hands lower, playing for a moment with the neatly trimmed triangle of dark curls before she moved her hand a little lower still until she brushed over her hypersensitive clit.

"Oh, yeah. I really need this. Going two weeks without is too damn long."

"... Two weeks without is too damn long."

Seven's head shot up when she heard those words. She wasn't trying to listen, but she did have Borg enhanced hearing and there was nothing she could do against that.

Seven didn't know what she should do. There was no doubt about what B'Elanna was doing under that shower, and she knew that she really should give the woman her privacy. But Seven couldn't shut down her hearing, and she knew that now that she had agreed to stay, B'Elanna would be hurt if she suddenly left. So Seven did the only thing she could do; she covered her ears with her hands and started humming. It helped... a little, but she could still clearly hear the sweet noises that were coming from the bathroom.

When B'Elanna stepped back into her living room she was feeling a lot better. She faltered in her steps when she saw Seven sitting on the couch. The blonde was still in her biosuit and she was looking straight in front of her while her face had a very nice pink shade to it.

"Hey Seven, what's wrong?"

"Nothing," Seven said, her voice higher than normal. B'Elanna had heard that tone before; when she asked Seven in the cell if she masturbated. B'Elanna looked to the bathroom and then back to Seven, putting two and two together. "Oh shit! You heard me!"

"B'Elanna I..." Seven stopped, not really knowing what she should say, what she could say.

"Get out!" B'Elanna shouted, her human modesty asserting itself.

Seven reacted immediately. She bolted for the door and was through it within a second.

B'Elanna only needed a second to realize how stupidly she had reacted. "Shit!" She ran to the door and saw that Seven was already at the end of the corridor waiting for the turbolift.

"Seven, get back here!" B'Elanna shouted, but Seven didn't react. B'Elanna sighed before speaking on a volume level that she would have used if Seven had been standing in front of her. "Seven, please come back here."

Seven turned around and looked at B'Elanna while behind her the doors of the turbolift opened.

"Come on; let's talk before we confuse matters to the point where it sure isn't funny." B'Elanna knew that a normal human could never hear her words since they were spoken on a normal level while Seven was standing a full corridor length away, yet she saw the blonde slowly coming closer.

B'Elanna walked back into her quarters and sat down on the couch. A moment later she saw Seven hesitantly poking her head around the corner. "Come in Seven."

B'Elanna waited until the door had closed behind the blonde before giving her a small smile. "Please sit down."

Seven did so, sitting down on the second, much shorter, couch.

"Sorry for telling you to get out. I didn't really mean that, that was just a knee-jerk reaction. I should have remembered the fact that you can hear Neelix's soup boiling from here."

"My hearing is not that advanced," Seven disagreed, still not looking at the Klingon. "In fact, normally I cannot hear what people say... or do... in other rooms when the door is closed. I... I do not know why now was different."

"Probably because this is a set of quarters designed for one person. Why would you have to insulate the walls in the quarters when there is only one person in them? Can you hear my neighbors?"

"No, I cannot."

"Seven, look at me."

"I am sorry."

"Don't be, you are who you are, I should have remembered that you could hear me."

"Maybe it is better if I do not stay here. It is clear that you need your privacy."

B'Elanna sighed again and leaned back. "Look, as I told you in that cell, I am a half Klingon with the sex drive of a full Klingon. If I'm not prevented by sitting in a cell, I do enjoy some quality time on almost a daily basis. So, I'll make you a deal."

"A deal?"

"Yes, a deal. Seven, as surprising as it may sound coming from me, I actually like you. I'm going to offer you this couch to sleep on, on a regular basis; namely every two out of three days, since you need to regenerate once every three days."

"I... Thank you."

"No problem. But I reserve the right to end this whenever I want. When it turns out that we shouldn't spend that much time together I want to be able to end that without having my honor prevent me from telling you to get out."

"Of course. That is your deal?"

"No, that is just an explanation for the deal I'm going to make you now. By the way, one condition to this is that whenever you sleep here, you're the one that makes breakfast. So I suggest that you research more than just how to make banana pancakes. Now, the deal is this. I will try to stem my... explorations of my body to the days that you are regenerating anyway."

"I can not ask you to give up so much of your privacy for me."

"You are not asking, I'm offering. There is a difference there, Seven. But that still isn't the deal. There are bound to be times where I don't want to wait a day. On those occasions I'll do what I want while I enjoy my shower. The deal part is that next time this happens, and I'm certain that there will be a next time, next time I just pretend that I don't know that you can actually hear me, and you just ignore that you did hear me. Sound like a deal to you?"

"Yes. I do not want to leave. The deal seems acceptable."

B'Elanna stood up and walked to the replicator. "I need a drink, you want another ice water? Or something else?"

"I think I will try the soda that you are so fond of drinking."

B'Elanna replicated the two drinks and offered one to Seven. While Seven was reaching for the drink a thought hit B'Elanna, and this time it was clear to her that this thought was fully driven by her Klingon side.

She had come to really like the blonde, and she was hoping that Seven was open to a little playing. The kind of playing one didn't do with many people.

B'Elanna sat back down across from the blonde and after a moment of silence finally asked, "Seven may I ask you a personal question?"

"You have asked me several personal questions while we were in the brig, why do you start asking now if you may ask me such a question?"

"Because this question will be more personal than any of the ones I asked before."

"I... See. You may ask."

"What is your sexual preference, male or female?"

"You mean with what gender would I prefer to have sexual intercourse?"

"Yes. I mean, I know you dated Harry for a while, but do you solely prefer men?"

"I see. Dating Harry did show me that I could have a fulfilling sexual relationship with a man. But if I had to choose between a man and a woman, I would choose a woman. I felt something... missing while dating Harry."

"Is the fact that you prefer women why you were blushing so hard before? I mean, the fact that you heard me must have affected you in some way. If it hadn't you would have just sat here and not mentioned it, or would have actually teased me about not being quiet enough."


"You know what I think," B'Elanna interrupted, "I think that you were blushing so hard because you were getting aroused by listening to me."


"You don't have to tell me if you were," B'Elanna interrupted once more, giving the blonde a mischievous grin. "But let me tell you, I personally find hearing the soft moans of a woman while she is enjoying her body one of the most erotic things there is to hear."

"You would know this... how?" Seven finally asked.

"At the Academy I shared rooms with another woman. I must admit that I lay listening on more than one occasion while she thought that I was asleep. Or better said, I thought that this was the case. On the last day I saw her, she told me that she had always known that I was awake and listening."


"Because she got a thrill out of it. But she never wanted more from me because she was in a relationship with someone else."

"Why are you telling me this?" Seven finally asked.

"Because, I don't want to come in here and see you blushing whenever I... you know. Enjoy the sound show. Just as long as you keep to the deal and pretend you didn't hear a thing."

Seven nodded her head slightly. She looked at B'Elanna and saw that little grin. She knew that B'Elanna was challenging her, seeing how she would react. Seven decided that she liked the feeling that she got from meeting B'Elanna's challenge, and she wanted it to continue.

"Yes, hearing you was very... stimulating for me," She finally admitted. "Next time, I will enjoy the 'sound show.' But, it does seem a little unfair that I can enjoy this, while you get nothing in return."

B'Elanna got up and moved to stand beside Seven. She patted her softly on the shoulder before asking, "Seven, do you really think that while I... you know, that I can really fully forget that you can hear everything I'm doing?"

"I cannot hear everything, I could not hear your breathing while you were breathing normally, for instance," Seven disagreed. She wanted B'Elanna to know that while Seven's hearing was superior to others, she could still not hear every sound that was made.

Then the meaning of B'Elanna's words fully sank in. "Are you saying that you would get a 'thrill' out of knowing that I can hear you?"

"I 'am' part Klingon, Seven. And just so that I know, just what can you hear?"

"As I said, I cannot hear your breathing, until it rises to a certain level. When you breathe normally, I do not hear it. You have to remember that the sound of the water in the shower actually drowns out every sound that is quieter than the sound of the water itself. It is just that the aqua showers on starships do not use as much water as the ones on planets do and therefore do not make the same amount of noise. I think that I would not have heard you at all had you used a non-starship shower," Seven said. She was quiet for a moment before adding, "But I could hear you saying that two weeks without was too long."

"I didn't say that that loud."

"I know, and it is a good guideline for you. I do not think that I can hear anything that is quieter than that."

"So I must make sure that I moan loud enough, you mean?"

Seven's eyes got wide at the question and B'Elanna started to laugh.

"A joke Seven. Come on, if we don't get comfortable with this, it will never work."

"Ah, I see," Seven said, smiling up at the Klingon. "In that case, may I ask that you do not forget to moan deeply? That moan sounded very... nice."

B'Elanna laughed, blushing slightly even though she was willing herself not to. "I'll try. You know, I think I'll enjoy having you around."

B'Elanna patted Seven's shoulder once more before squeezing it softly. "Are we okay here?" She asked gently. "I mean, Seven, I got to admit that I'm playing games with you that I didn't even play with Tom. He never got to hear me, except for when we were having sex, yet here I am encouraging you to actually listen in. There is just something about you that makes me want to do things I would never do... Which reminds me, this stays totally between us. You won't tell anyone about this, not even to someone like the Doctor or the Captain as some kind of example when explaining something to them."

Seven put her own hand on B'Elanna's and nodded her head softly. "Yes, we are 'okay.' Maybe the fact that I am a woman does calculate into the fact that you want to do things you normally do not do?"

"What do you mean?"

"In general, women are more open to teasing without expecting the teasing to lead to something more. However, men do expect more. For instance, if Lieutenant Paris had heard you, it is more than likely that he would have joined you in the shower for sexual intercourse."

"Seven, if it was simply a gender issue, I would have... well, let's just say that you aren't the only woman on this ship."

"True, but that would mean that you would have had to actively search that person out and approach her to see if she was willing to 'go along.' With me that is not the case. That I heard you was an accident, and this entire agreement is the result of us trying to deal with the situation."

"And just maybe, you are analyzing things too much. Just maybe we are simply both women that happen to like a little excitement. I for one am glad that I can have this kind of fun with my friend."

"B'Elanna, may I ask you something without you becoming... volatile?"

B'Elanna laughed at the question before moving back to sit on the couch. "I can't promise you that I won't explode, that depends on the question. But I can promise that I won't tell you to get out again."

"Very well. I am curious. In the brig you told me that you do not want to return to being in a relationship with Lieutenant Paris because you do not want to have sex with a friend, you want more from a sexual partner. Yet here we are talking about an agreement that could be seen by many as a sexual game. Where is the difference?"

"Do you want the BS explanation, or the simple fact explanation?"

"You have a fondness for asking me what answer, or what truth, I want to hear," Seven pointed out, having heard similar questions several times in the last two weeks.


"So, you should know that my answer will always be; both."

B'Elanna grinned. "Maybe it is simply the fact that a question can have more than one answer, and that I have discovered that you can actually appreciate more than one answer. Anyway, to answer your question, the BS answer is that this isn't a sexual game; this is simply us becoming comfortable with a situation which we have to deal with, or move you back to the cargo bay to regenerate every day. I'm sorry that I'm making decisions for you Seven, but you should not have to spend your time in the cargo bay as if you were a tool, only to be taken out when needed."

"You are not making decisions for me," Seven disagreed. "You are the first person to offer me an alternative, and I am more than happy to take that alternative. You did not give me the 'simple fact' answer yet."

"The simple fact is that I can talk until I'm blue about what I want, what I feel decides just as much. The simple fact? The simple fact is that I feel alright doing this, and so I do it. I know, no clear cut explanation, in fact it is an explanation that goes against what I told you before, but it's still a fact Seven."

"I... See." Seven put her now empty glass down. "I have come to understand that feelings are not always simple to explain. I think I understand what you mean, despite the fact that the explanation is lacking in clarity."

"Glad to hear it. Hey Seven, there is one thing I forgot to mention."


"While my hearing is better than that of the average human, it is not anywhere as good as yours. If you are taking a shower, I sincerely doubt that I would hear whatever it is you are doing unless you start shouting. There is no need for you to, um, you know, do a rush job like in the cargo bay. You can shower as long as you like, and I certainly won't be asking you what took you so long."

"Are you saying that you would not be interested in hearing me?" Seven asked, giving the Klingon a small smile, showing her that ex-Borg drones could be just as bold and teasing as half Klingons.

"Um, no, I, um, didn't say that. All I said was that I won't be able to hear you."

"Maybe if I left the door open?" Seven asked while lifting an eyebrow.

B'Elanna's eyes got noticeably larger and her heartbeat doubled in an instance. "I, I,"

"I was teasing, B'Elanna. I would not be comfortable enough to enjoy knowing that you can hear me."

B'Elanna drained the last of her drink in one big gulp. The Borg was getting way too good at this game. B'Elanna found out how good when in the middle of her big gulp, the blonde added a word to her statement.


The mouthful of soda went flying over the coffee table. Just the idea that at some point the blonde would actually leave the door open sent B'Elanna's mind reeling. "You, my dear, are getting way too good at this."

"What can I say," Seven said while smiling at B'Elanna, "I am learning from the best."

B'Elanna laughed at that. "Alright, now why don't you finally change into those hi-tech jammies of yours while I go into the bedroom for a few minutes?"

"Will you give it a rest?" Harry asked when he saw how Tom kept looking over at the table where B'Elanna and Seven were sitting.

"What? I'm just wondering what's going on there. I mean, look at them. Joking around, laughing. I didn't even know that Seven could laugh."

"It's rare for her to actually laugh in public like she did just now, but you would be amazed to learn how often Seven laughs and smiles. It's just normally a lot more subtle than what we are used to," Harry explained.

Tom focused on Harry once more. "That's right, you should know, considering that you dated her. I still wonder how you were able to get Seven to go out with you in the first place."

"Simple, I asked her. Of course, it might have helped that I was the first to ask her out without hoping that it was a prelude to getting her in bed. I know that you have a hard time believing this, Tom, but I really simply wanted to get to know her better. It was exactly because of this, that I wanted nothing more than just getting to know her, that we started to interact more."

"That, and the fact that you didn't mind being an experiment," Tom noted.

Harry shrugged before reasoning, "Does it make any difference? She told me honestly that she was interested in experiencing a relationship and that she might end it once she had enough data. At least she was honest. I'll take that any time over some woman pretending to like me, taking me to bed, and then kicking me out with an 'it was fun' as soon as we're done. I for one got a good relationship out of it for as long as it lasted, and an even closer friend in the end."

"So how is she, in bed I mean?" Tom asked. "She's always so cold and distanced. Is she the same in bed? Just lying there, not making any noise, just another task to perform?"

Harry sighed. "Tom, I know that you will keep bugging me forever if I don't at least answer some of your curiosity. Know this though, this is the first and last time I'll tell you any of this. I value Seven's friendship, and my privacy. Let me assure you, she is far from cold in bed. She is a wonderful, caring, and believe it or not, sensitive, person that makes you feel special just by looking at you. Or to say it in words you understand; she rocked my world, in and out of the bed."

Tom was smarter than many people gave him credit for, and he knew that he had pushed his friend as far as he would allow. So he changed the subject slightly. Looking back at the table where B'Elanna and Seven were sitting he said thoughtfully, "In a perfect world things could be so easy. You could get back together with Seven and I could get back together with B'Elanna. All of us could be happy."

Harry laughed. "Tom, you could still have B'Elanna's friendship if you stop trying to get into her pants so hard. I still have Seven's friendship, which is far more important to me than the sex ever was. We don't live in a perfect world, so why don't you just concentrate more on getting back to being that good friend to B'Elanna that you once were. Face it, you can't have it both. So what's more important? You can always use the holodeck to screw around, but can you also make friends there? Real friends I mean?"

Tom looked at him in surprise for a moment before grinning. "Harry, don't start talking crude words now, it's not in your character."

Then he shrugged. "Maybe you are right. God knows I love having B'Elanna as my friend; she is fun to be around. I just don't get why we can't be more than that. She's single, so am I, so why not have some extra fun to go along with that friendship?"

"Because sometimes that extra fun can complicate the rest of the friendship." Harry thought about it for a moment before admitting, "I loved having sex with Seven. I admit, I sure wouldn't mind experiencing more of that. But I have to tell you, I think that our friendship benefited from us stopping our relationship. Now when Seven asks me if I want to do something with her I know that we will have some fun and don't have to worry about other things that come in by being in a relationship. There is something to be said for having a friendship where you know for sure that you really like the person, you will love your time together, and don't have to worry with silly things like what the both of you should do with the rest of your time once you are home."

Tom knew that Harry was right, but he simply couldn't see why those friends couldn't also share a bed as some of that fun activity from time to time. If one or both of them were in a relationship, alright. But single people... why not? Then, knowing that Harry would change the subject instead of answering, which was what Tom wanted to do anyway, he asked, "So is she also that hot nude, or is it just that biosuit strapping her in in all the right places?"

"Seven is damn hot, and seeing her nude never stopped affecting me," Harry answered.

Tom was surprised with the open answer, that is until he noticed that Harry was not looking at him. Looking at the table where Seven and B'Elanna were sitting, he noticed that Seven was looking at them and had just favored Harry with a small smile.

Tom frowned. "What? Did she become a telepath over night or what?"

Harry laughed. "Tom, her favorite saying is, 'I am Borg.' You don't need to be a telepath if you have enhanced hearing. I'm certain she heard every word we said here."

Tom looked at the blonde again. "Really?" Then he groaned when he saw Seven mouth the words, 'I am Borg.'

"Wonderful. So, are you done? Let's get out of here... to a place where she can't hear us."

Harry merely laughed while he continued to eat his food.


Chapter 3

"I don't give a damn!"

"Maybe that is your problem, Lieutenant. If you were to give a damn then you would understand that you are going to overstress the integrity field."

"Look, Borg, I have been doing this procedure like this for as long as I have been on this ship, which, in case you have forgotten, is four years longer than you. So I know damn well what I'm doing!"

Seven took a step away from the console. "If you truly want to die that badly, you may proceed. Once you have died, I will let the captain know that you died because you had forgotten to take the Borg changes into account."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" B'Elanna asked while also turning away from the console so that she could look at the blonde.

"It means that you were correct," Seven started.

B'Elanna pounced on the admission with glee. "Ha! You just admitted it, I'm right!"

"I said that you 'were' correct. Past tense. The settings that you want to use would have been... adequate... if we had not enhanced the integrity field with Borg enhancements last month. The Borg design would not cope too well with those settings."

B'Elanna turned back to the console and took another look, her interest roused by Seven's confident voice. "Yeah, that actually makes sense. The Borg design focuses more on keeping the thing working under stress, instead of having the readings be perfect when there is no stress on the integrity field."

"You do realize that you just basically said that I was correct. Is this the moment where I am supposed to say 'ha'?" Seven asked while lifting her eyebrow slightly.

"Oh, shut up, you damn bitch. Why don't you go assimilate those reports while I take another look at this?"

"Very well, I will go read the reports while you stand here and be humbled by your mistakes."

Seven had only taken two steps away from the console before B'Elanna's voice stopped her.

"Hey Seven?"


"You sure that you're alright? You seem to move... a little different now."

Seven gave B'Elanna a reassuring smile, having heard the soft tone of concern in the Klingon's voice. "I am merely still getting acquainted with the lack of my abdominal implant. Its removal has changed my center of gravity and I sometimes overcompensate my movements. There is nothing to worry about, B'Elanna."

"Alright. I'll have another look at this, and then we can go have some lunch. Sound good to you?"

"Very well."

"And?" Janeway asked as soon as Chakotay walked into her ready room.

"You do realize just how strange it feels for me to be spying on two crew members?"

"Of course," Janeway said with a smile. "That's why I'm having you do this instead of doing it myself."

Chakotay returned the smile before sitting down. "Well, they still fight, a lot."

"I know," Janeway sighed. "I would say that they almost fight daily now. But I was hoping... It just changed, Chakotay. Their fights... they... well... they were not good for the ship. They would break things, and frankly, they would scare a lot of people too. But now, they don't break things anymore. They fight, loudly, but mere minutes later you can see them working side by side, as if they were one. And where I used to get complaints from the crew about being scared about bodily harm, now the crew seems to be amused by their fights. I haven't had a complaint yet."

"And your hopes might be right, because there is a lot more."

The way he had said that indicated to Janeway that Chakotay had a bomb to drop. "Go on."

"I checked the sensor logs. Do you know where Seven spends most of her nights?"

"Unfortunately, I do. She regenerates. I really wish that we could give her some quarters, but I'm not about to throw some other crew member out just so that Seven can have their quarters. Can you imagine the resentment for Seven that this would create?"

"Well, I don't think that you have to worry about that any longer. Sensors show that nowadays Seven is only in the Cargo bay long enough to regenerate her eight hours every three days. The rest of the time she now spends somewhere else, with someone else."

"Really?" Janeway asked surprised. "Where? Who?"


"Chakotay," Janeway said slowly and the man lifted his hands slightly with a smile.

"That's alright, I'll just tell you. You would never have guessed right anyway. Seven spends the rest of her time living in B'Elanna's quarters."

After a minute of total silence, Chakotay finally started laughing at Janeway's shocked expression.

"I think that they've become friends, just as you wanted Kathryn."

"But... Why the fighting?"

"I think it's simply that they both like it," Chakotay stated with a shrug.

"Like fighting? Why would they like that? You know that fights eventually lead to someone getting hurt. If not physically, than emotionally."

Chakotay shrugged his shoulders again slightly. "Personally, I think that you are thinking too much like a 24th century human. 'Can't agree? Let's go see a counselor.' But you have to remember that neither B'Elanna nor Seven are normal humans."

"Go on," Janeway merely said, wanting to know where he was going with his way of thinking.

"You have to remember that B'Elanna is half Klingon. Klingons always fight. Heck, even their courtship consists of almost nothing but fighting. Do you know that with Klingons, the first time they have sex even that is a fight and can be very rough?"

"Every one knows that Klingon sex is rough," Janeway merely said.

"That is a common misconception," Chakotay disagreed. "I mean, sure Klingon partners can 'play' rough sometimes, which leaves them with some prominent bruises. But the stories you hear about broken bones and stuff, that only happens the first time a couple has sex. The reason being that during that first time they establish who the dominant partner is. They fight to see who will be in control of the sex life, so to speak."

He frowned for a moment before continuing. "Anyway, I got sidetracked. The point is that Klingons fight all the time, and even though B'Elanna is half human, she is just as much half Klingon and therefore she too needs to fight from time to time. Just not as all out like full Klingons do. But the thing is; who can she fight with? Who can she really let go with without that person being scared to hell of her?"

Janeway thought about that for a moment. "Physically I would say only one of the Vulcans, or maybe one of the Bajorans. But the thing is that B'Elanna doesn't really fight physically. So the Vulcans would be out since they would not respond and the Bajorans are out as well since they prefer to end a fight, not prolong it."

"Right," Chakotay agreed. "But even though B'Elanna doesn't fight physically... normally... she still has the physical power. If she stands in front of you blowing steam out of her ears, she can be very frightening. You just know she is going to kill you in the next minute."

"But Seven," Janeway said, finally seeing where Chakotay was going, "Seven can overpower B'Elanna at any moment, if she wants to, and also is more than a match to her verbally."

"Right. And I think that it is even simpler for Seven. I think she loves to have a fight with someone who doesn't fear her being part Borg. Like it or not, most people still have it in the back of their mind that Seven still has her assimilation tubes, that Seven can turn anyone of us into a mindless drone in a few seconds flat. While most people no longer actually fear her, nobody except for B'Elanna would actually dare to deliberately enrage her."

"You have some very valid points," Janeway had to agree. "So, how do you think I should handle this?"

"I think you've been doing a good job until now. I would say, go on like you have been. As long as their fights don't interrupt the running of the ship, let them have their fights. But if it does interrupt the running of the ship, discipline them. I think that is the best way to... steer their fights to where they can have them, and yet not have the rest of the ship suffer."

"Well, I must admit that I'm glad that they are getting along. It's so damn hard being tough on them." Janeway was quiet for a moment before adding, "This stays between us, but you know, sometimes I see those two as daughters of mine."

Chakotay merely lifted his eyebrows a little.

"Well, I don't mean daughters, daughters, but sometimes I see them as mine. I want to make sure that they are alright, that they 'grow up' right." Janeway got up from behind her desk and started to pace a little. Seeing the look that had settled on Chakotay's face after her last statement, Janeway assured, "Don't worry, I'm not about to develop a maternal streak, but I feel like I want them to be alright, more than I want the average crewmen to be alright. It's more like a mother wants their children to be alright. God, this is so hard to explain."

Chakotay laughed. "Actually, I think I kinda understand what you mean." He was quiet for a moment before continuing. "Seeing that they're your daughters, you might also want to hear the other rumor going around about them."

"Why do I have the feeling that I'm not going to like this one?" Janeway asked when she saw the look on his face.

"Probably because it is the obvious one, and you can guess it already. Two single women who live together, who seem to get along very well lately, both very good looking... it's not a hard guess. Rumor has it that they're sleeping together."

Janeway sucked in a breath of air and let it out slowly. "Do you think there's any truth behind those rumors?"

Chakotay merely shrugged his shoulders.

"If they are, then they sure are doing a good job of letting their private life not interfere with ship's business," Janeway said after a moment of silence. She knew that even though Chakotay was reporting the rumors he heard, he would never start speculating himself.

"I must admit that I'm a little surprised that you don't worry about Seven, about her having to 'deal' with the 'Klingon sex' we just talked about," Chakotay said.

Now it was Janeway's turn to shrug her shoulders. "As you said, it's a blown up story to begin with. But even if it was true, we just agreed that Seven is far stronger than B'Elanna. Beside the fact that I just don't see B'Elanna 'taking' Seven if she doesn't want to, I know for sure that if they ever had a 'fight' for control over the relationship, B'Elanna would never stand a chance."

Chakotay had to agree to that. Beside everything else, he too simply could not see B'Elanna ever participating in anything that wasn't fully consensual.

"You do realize," He started slowly after yet again a moment of silence between them, "That since they are both on the senior staff, you do have the right to order them to not have a relationship."

"Yeah, right," Janeway snorted, "And just when is the last time that rule was ever enforced in Starfleet?"

"I'm just..."

"I know, Chakotay, I know. You are just mentioning it because it is your job, not because you actually want me to do anything. But no. Let's forget for a moment that I would never interfere with their love life, that I would never hold them back from trying to find happiness, I could never enforce that rule. First off, knowing how stubborn both B'Elanna and Seven can be, it would only result in them starting or staying in a relationship, even if they both feel that it would be best for themselves just to end it. Second, if I started on the course of controlling the private life of my crew, where would it end? Forget about B'Elanna and Seven, 'I' don't want to go down that road. Third, I would lose all the respect I have with the crew if I started pulling stunts like that. Fourth, I didn't step in when B'Elanna dated Tom, nor did I step in when Seven dated Harry, so I can't in all reality step in now. And let's not forget the big one. Telling them that they can't date someone else on the senior crew would be damn hypocritical of me. Somehow I think that the chief Engineer dating the chief science officer is not as 'bad' as the captain being in an ongoing relationship with her first officer."

Chakotay smiled. "True. As I said, I had to mention it. Truthfully, I sincerely doubt that you could ever stop them from trying to be happy. Besides, B'Elanna and Tom broke up, Seven and Harry broke up, yet they manage to function together just fine. I don't think that it would be any different with B'Elanna and Seven. I think that both of them are smart enough to end a relationship while they are still friends."

Janeway played with her empty lucky coffee cup for a moment before saying thoughtfully, "Which brings us back to the essence of this whole conversation; we don't even know if they're in a relationship. All we know is that they're sharing quarters together when Seven is not regenerating, and even that is not official. I do wonder how the rest of the crew will handle them being in a relationship, if they are of course."

"I think that most will be disappointed at worst, happy for them at best."

"Disappointed?" Janeway asked surprised.

Chakotay gave her a smile before speaking. "Yes, disappointed about the fact that two of the most desired women on Voyager are 'off the market.'"

"Hey," Janeway said with a fake growl. "Are you looking at other women?"

"Kathryn, you know I love you," Chakotay said softly and warmly before adding amused, "But if you've never seen that B'Elanna and Seven are very good looking women, then I think it's time you finally have that exam that the doctor is bugging you about all the time. Especially time to let him check your eyesight."

Janeway 'humffed' before giving him a small grin. If there was one thing she had to agree to, then it was that both Seven and B'Elanna were very attractive women.

"Alright, so you've got a point. Anyway, I think it's time I got some work done. The thing is, I really do hope for them that they are happy, be it as just friends or as lovers, but the ship does come first. If their way of fighting changes again, or if people become uncomfortable with them fighting... let me know."

"Yes, Captain," Chakotay said while he got up. He knew a dismissal when he heard one.

"So what are we going to do the rest of the evening?" B'Elanna asked.

Though normally B'Elanna was a person who needed her space, recently she'd spent almost every free minute she had with Seven. But then, the three weeks the blonde had shared her quarters now had taught both her and Seven that 'having space' wasn't really about physical room, it was about simply being left in peace. To simply be able to sit and read, or do something else, for hours on end without the person you are with wanting to do something else. Or asking you to go do something you find boring, or letting you know that the person was bored, or...

No, she and Seven could simply sit on the same couch for hours reading and not speak a single word. In a way it was weird, and if she didn't like it so much it might have actually freaked the very private Klingon out, but she and Seven were just... 'in tune' with each other. They could sit and say nothing, then one of them would get up to get something to drink, or eat, and give the other something too, and it was just... right. It was that drink that they wanted, or it was that food that they felt like eating.

Even weirder was, since Seven ate less often than B'Elanna, that B'Elanna still somehow knew when to get something for Seven as well, and when to only get something for herself. Weird.

Seven, being Seven, had simply brushed it off as subconscious training. She had told B'Elanna that she had learned around what times Seven was hungry, and would get her something as well at those times, and not at the others.

B'Elanna found that explanation a little lacking. Actually, she found it a lot lacking. But then Seven, being Seven, had simply told her that it was irrelevant and that she should stop trying to analyze it.

Which had then of course led to a full-blown discussion about just who of them was the one analyzing things the most.

"I was thinking about finishing the 'book' tonight." Seven said after thinking about the question for a moment.

B'Elanna grinned and walked to where Seven's 'book' and B'Elanna's own 'book' were lying. Which really were simply two PADD's that held files that once, in centuries gone by, had been published in books. "You never told me if I was right."

Seven sighed before dipping her head slightly. "Yes you were right. I still find it very inefficient to read a book word for word, instead of simply taking in the text and analyzing it after that. I must admit that there is a certain appeal about reading a text and wondering for days how the story will evolve, and if there will be a satisfying ending."

Now B'Elanna actually laughed. "Yes, who would have ever thought that the Ice Princess is a sucker for stories with a happy ending? But I saw you cheat yesterday, don't you deny it."

"I have no idea what you are talking about," Seven said in her cool Borg voice.

"I'm talking about you first reading the last page of the story to see if the couple ends up happy together. Don't you know that you spoil the entire story like that for yourself?"

"Oh, that," Seven said flatly before giving B'Elanna a small smile. "That is one of the advantages of being Borg. I do not spoil the story for myself. I read the last page, and once I know for sure if the story has a happy ending, I erase all knowledge of it from my memory. Except, of course, for knowing if there was a happy ending."

B'Elanna returned the smile with a grin before sitting down on the couch. "Why don't you take a shower first, and once you're done, you can select our dinner for tonight while I have my shower. Today is after all, an uneven star date which means it's your turn to pick dinner."

"You can take your shower, I will shower in sickbay tomorrow morning," Seven disagreed while starting to walk to the replicator.

When she passed B'Elanna however, the Klingon softly took hold of her arm. "Seven, you can't ignore it for the rest of your life. Sooner or later you'll have to deal with it. The longer you wait, the harder it will become."

Seven looked at B'Elanna with her well-trained Borg coolness, and B'Elanna knew that had she been anyone else, Seven would have told her to mind her own business. But now Seven merely held B'Elanna's stare for a moment before dropping her own eyes.

"I do not want to. In sickbay I always use a sonic shower and am done in thirty seconds. I hurry because of the Doctor's presence in sickbay. But here I look at... them... even though I do not want to."

"I can understand that. But how long do you want to run Seven? Do you really think that it'll become easier over time? You of all people should know that it won't. How long has it been since you assimilated someone? Is knowing that you did that easier for you now than it was years ago?"


"What is it that you fear so much?" B'Elanna interrupted.

"You do not understand. I have... I have scars."

"So?" B'Elanna asked, knowing full well how blunt she sounded.

Seven turned away. She was furious at the Klingon, but did not want to fight with her. The way she was feeling it would be a real fight, and that would not be fun. "As I said, you do not understand. You are part Klingon, to Klingons scars are something to be proud of. For me it is a disfigurement I do not want."

"You are wrong," B'Elanna disagreed forcefully, trying to get through to the stubborn blonde. "To Klingons scars are only something to be proud of if they are scars you got while fighting an honorable fight, which you won, or which you lost against tremendous odds. I wouldn't be any more proud of having scars from removed implants than you are now. The thing that I'm trying to make you understand is that you don't really have a choice. Seven, like it or not, those scars are now a part of your body just like the abdominal implant was. Accept them, it is your body, and you have to live with them."

"It is not that easy!" Seven shouted while turning her back to the Klingon, realizing only after she had done so just how much she had come to trust and rely on B'Elanna. She would never have let her control go like that in front of anyone else.

"I never said it was easy," B'Elanna said softly, while putting her hand on Seven's shoulder. "Look, Seven. I'm not a counselor; I don't have degrees like they do. Maybe what I'm telling you here is the worst advice one person ever gave to another. All I'm doing is talking to you as a friend. I see you hurting over this, and I'm honored to be the only person that you actually show that hurt to. Maybe because of that I should actually just shut up and simply give you a shoulder to cry on. But that's not me. I'm an Engineer at heart. If I see a problem, I want to fix it. I see a problem, you hurt. The only way I know from my own experience to fix hurt is to confront it. And that's the only advice I can give you; confront your hurt. Deal with your scars Seven."

Seven looked over her shoulder into the eyes of the Klingon. Eyes that showed a softness that many people would never suspect the Klingon of being capable of. After a long moment, Seven finally dropped her eyes. "I will take my shower now, here. Thank you for being here for me, B'Elanna. Thank you for understanding me."

"Any time Seven. Any time."

B'Elanna watched Seven walk to the bathroom. There was a slump to those shoulders that B'Elanna had never seen before, and she hoped on everything that was dear to her that she had done the right thing in convincing Seven to deal with her problems now.

Seven stepped into the bathroom and leaned for a long moment on the cabinet that stood under the mirror. She had looked at herself often in that mirror. The days before her surgery she had spent long times just standing nude in front of the mirror and looking at the abdominal implant that soon would be gone forever.

She knew that B'Elanna was right, she had to face this... but that didn't make it any easier. She sighed and turned her back to the mirror. She started to open her biosuit with hands that were shaking slightly despite her best efforts to keep them still.

Too soon for her own taste, Seven was naked and ready to take her shower. She knew that she should do just that; simply take her shower. Yet a mere moment later she found herself staring into the mirror, looking at her body. Her eyes drifted immediately to her middle, where her implant had been.

Her logical mind told Seven that it really could not be that bad. Medical knowledge was far removed from the 'cut and patch' approach used centuries before. Now there were bone knitters, dermal regenerators, healing gel-packs. And if all of that wasn't enough, there were ways to reproduce every single part of the humanoid body, up to big parts of the brain. So even if she had been totally disfigured and the doctor had to patch her up, she would still not have marks that would make her stand out amongst other humans.

In fact, her clearly visible Borg implants made her easily stand out, yet that had never bothered her that much... once she had grown accustomed to actually looking like a human again.

Seven knew all that, yet for some reason the scars where the implant had been removed were clearly visible to her in cruel, grotesque lines. She moved her hands over the scars and she could feel them like they were mountains that had grown out of her body. Seven was sure she was totally disfigured, a monster, a thing, a modern day Frankenstein.

She was ugly.

She didn't want to be ugly, no matter how much that thought contradicted with her knowledge that aesthetics were irrelevant.

She felt like crying.

But just as the first tears started to form, there was a knock on the wall right beside the door.

B'Elanna had asked the time five times already. That was why she knew that Seven had been in the bathroom for more than ten minutes now, yet the water hadn't started to run yet. Concerned about Seven, B'Elanna got up and knocked on the wall beside the door to the bathroom, making sure not to touch the actual door.

Since it had become clear that Seven was going to be more than just a guest for a few days, they had changed the settings on the doors in the quarters to where they wouldn't simply open if the sensors detected a living being within a certain range of the door, which could result in the door opening accidentally, but to where the door would open as soon as there was a small pressure against is. This meant that now the doors opened as soon as someone simply put a hand against it. But this also meant that B'Elanna couldn't knock on the door, since that would actually open it.

"Seven, are you alright?" B'Elanna didn't raise her voice, knowing that even without her enhanced hearing, Seven would have heard her through the still not insulated door.

Seven heard the question and knew that B'Elanna was worried for two reasons. First simply because she cared, and second because the only reason that Seven was now in the bathroom was because the Klingon convinced her to go there. She looked at her scars once more and closed her eyes. Her rational and emotional mind were in total conflict and neither side seemed to be winning. Then a thought struck her. Maybe it was time to get the opinion of someone else.

"B'Elanna, I would like to ask you for a favor."

"Sure, anything," B'Elanna said right away without even having to think about it. "But can I open this door now? It feels kinda strange talking to a door."

"You can open it, but you can not yet come in, or look in. I need to explain something first."

"Fair enough, I'll just stand against the wall for now." Only moments after B'Elanna had said the sentence, the door opened.

"What is it, Seven?" B'Elanna asked, even though talking like this was still kinda strange, standing in the living room and talking to someone in the bathroom; it wasn't as strange as talking through a closed door.

"As I said, I have a favor to ask of you, but I want to make sure that you do not misunderstand the situation. Please understand that when you come in here that I want nothing more from you than an honest opinion."

"Alright," B'Elanna said slowly, not sure what Seven was getting at, but more than willing to do what ever it took to help the blonde.

"Very well, you may come in now."

B'Elanna did so, and a second later her proverbial jaw hit the floor. "Kahless, Seven! You are naked!" B'Elanna shouted before turning around quickly.

"I know," Seven said softly, totally misunderstanding the reason why B'Elanna turned around. "You just answered my question. I am sorry that seeing me naked repulsed you, rest assured, it will not happen again."

"Whoa, wait a minute, Seven," B'Elanna said while turning around once more, but she still tried to keep her eyes off Seven. "You didn't repulse me at all. I have a feeling that I know why you think I turned around, you think that it is about your scars, don't you? Well let me tell you, I didn't have time to see those scars. The only reason I turned around is something called decency. I wouldn't want someone to leer at me, so I won't leer at someone else either."

"I... see. I apologize for the confusion. Maybe it would be better if,"

"Seven' let's just forget it alright?" B'Elanna interrupted. She really wasn't in the mood for a round of apologies on apologies. "Why don't you simply ask me the favor you wanted to ask?"

"I... Very well. B'Elanna, my problem is indeed with my scars. My rational mind tells me that with the present day medical knowledge, there cannot be that much visible evidence that I ever had surgery, and certainly not that I ever had an abdominal implant. Yet, despite knowing that, I still see vicious scars; my fingers feel the scars as if they were prominent lines protruding from my body. I need an honest, independent view. I would like for you to take a look and tell me honestly what you think."

"Um, Seven, I would be more than willing to do that, but, um, you do realize that I will have to look at you for more than a second; I will have to look at you close up too."

"Ah," Seven merely said, understanding what B'Elanna said. "Well, I would really like to hear what you think, so I now give you my permission to look at my naked body for as long as you want."

'You really don't want to go there,' B'Elanna thought, 'Scars or not, if I could look at you as long as I wanted, we wouldn't be leaving these quarters for months to come.'

Taking a deep breath, B'Elanna finally looked straight at Seven, seeing her standing as she so often did, back straight and hands behind her back, just for the small fact that now the only thing the blonde was wearing was her hair. For a moment B'Elanna wondered if Seven knew that this particular stance made her ample chest appear even more ample. Then she decided that Seven probably didn't, but B'Elanna wasn't about to point out to Seven that she might want to change her stance. She liked the way it made Seven look while clothed, and she sure as hell liked it while Seven was naked.

Seeing the blonde standing there, there was only one word that came to B'Elanna's mind; Perfection.

Despite the fact that B'Elanna had promised to give an honest and clear review of Seven's body, she could not help but be affected. She noticed that even the speed of her breathing and her pulse had picked up. Seeing how that blonde eyebrow lifted ever so slightly, Seven sure as hell had picked up those signs too.

Looking at Seven's breasts, B'Elanna decided that even though Seven's chest was very ample, she still had perfectly shaped breasts. Or at least shaped in the way that B'Elanna liked them the most, with proudly erect nipples pointing horizontally at B'Elanna; making it very clear that the blonde's breasts were not about to start drooping for quite some years yet.

B'Elanna's eyes drifted lower until she reached the apex of Seven's legs, slightly surprised to find that the blonde was totally bald there, which B'Elanna had always found a total turn on, and did so once more.

Seven could see where B'Elanna was looking, and she answered the question that she was sure had to be on the Klingon's mind. "Borg drones are always bald; all hair growth is halted because it might interfere with implants. The growth of my hair had to be stimulated by the Doctor. He apparently never thought about stimulating my hair growth there. Since I first found it convenient, and then actually liked it this way, I never corrected him."

Seven didn't need her enhanced senses to hear and see the increased breathing that B'Elanna was doing. She liked that she had this effect on the Klingon since it clearly meant that her scars could not be as repulsive as Seven had assumed. "Do you like it?" Seven asked a little too innocently, her tone bringing B'Elanna back to reality.

B'Elanna tore her eyes away and looked at safer, and more polite, things; Seven's eyes. "Kahless Seven, I'm sorry for staring at you like that. It is just that..." B'Elanna gave up, and decided to simply state the honest truth, "Damn, you are one hot woman."

Seven gave B'Elanna one of her most genuine smiles, the one not many people got to see. "Thank you. I appreciate your candor. However, you were going to look at my scars."

"Right, scars," B'Elanna agreed while coming closer. "Do you mind if I kneel in front of you and have a closer look, or is me telling you that I sure don't see any scars from here good enough for you?"

"You may come closer. I have them, I can see them, I can feel them."

B'Elanna tried to take a calming breath and knelt in front of the naked blonde. The breath hadn't been calming at all though and she let it out in a big gush of air; surprised to see the belly in front of her pull together slightly and hear a sincerely un-Borg like giggle coming from above her.

"I apologize; that tickled."

"Who would have thought, a ticklish Borg," B'Elanna mumbled, knowing that Seven had heard her only too well. "Now..." B'Elanna focused on the perfect belly in front of her and examined the smooth surface. "Tell me, Seven, your abdominal implant, did it also cover your bellybutton? Did the doctor have to repair that as well, or is that all yours?"

"That is mine, as you like to call it. Why?"

"Because if the doctor had made it, I would have had to give him a compliment... in his absence of course. But now, let me tell you, you have a very beautiful bellybutton. It fits the rest of your gorgeous body."


"That is just an honest statement," B'Elanna interrupted, not really sure what Seven was going to say. "Now, back to your scars. I'm sure that you aren't imagining them, but I don't see them, and I'm so close now that my nose is almost touching you."

"Do you not see them?" Seven asked surprised. "They are right here..." Seven drew several lines across her belly with her fingers, "...you can clearly feel them."

B'Elanna lifted her hand until she was almost touching the blonde. "May I?" She asked, trying very hard to forget that she was about to touch the most beautiful person she had ever seen.

"You may," Seven permitted while she took hold of B'Elanna's hand and put her fingers against one of the scars.

B'Elanna could indeed feel the finest of irregularities under her fingers, and now that she knew where one of the faint scars was, she could also see it, kinda.

B'Elanna removed her fingers from Seven's belly and leaned back a little and looked up through the valley between the blonde's breasts to see her face looking down. "I told you I would be honest with you, Seven, so I will. Yes you have scars, yes you can see them, yes you can feel them. But Seven, really, your 'scars' are fainter than most people's normal body markings."

B'Elanna pulled up her sleeve a little and showed her arm to Seven. "See that line here?"

"Yes," Seven replied, looking down at B'Elanna's arm and seeing a faint five centimeter long line starting just above the wrist. The line was really nothing more than a little lighter tan than the rest of B'Elanna's light caramel colored skin. If B'Elanna hadn't pointed it out, Seven might not have noticed it. In fact, she had never noticed it, even though B'Elanna wore short sleeved, or non sleeved, shirts most of the time she wasn't wearing a uniform.

"Well, that is nothing more than a scratch that I got in Engineering once. But since it was just a scratch that stopped bleeding before I had stopped swearing about it, I didn't use the dermal regenerator to heal it properly, not realizing that the metal had been covered in oil and therefore the scratch would actually leave a faint scar. Feel it."

Seven did as she was told and felt the line. She could just feel the faintest of lines, so faint that Seven wasn't sure if she would have been able to feel it if her sense of touch hadn't been more sensitive than Humans without Borg enhancements.

"I was honest with you, Seven, now I want you to be honest with yourself. Does this look hideous or repulsive to you? Does it look ugly?"

"No, it does not," Seven was forced to admit.

"Now once again be honest with yourself," B'Elanna pushed on, "What is, or looks, worse? This scratch, or your scars?"

Seven closed her eyes for a moment, trying to be totally honest. She liked the fact that B'Elanna wasn't simply telling her that her scars were nothing. The Klingon acknowledged the fact that Seven had scars. But B'Elanna had also shown Seven just how insignificant her scars were. In fact, now the blonde realized that the only way someone could ever see her scars was if Seven deliberately pointed them out, and if the person looking had eyes as good or better than those of a half Klingon.

Seven smiled down and softly put her hand on B'Elanna's head. "Thank you, B'Elanna."

Hearing those words, and feeling a woman's hand on her head forced B'Elanna to close her eyes. While she was having her discussion with Seven, she had been able to force down the fact that a very naked and beautiful woman was standing right in front of her. But now B'Elanna's mind flashed back for only a moment to the last time she had been in such a position, and to the fact of what the woman had been thanking her for.

B'Elanna knew that all she had to do was lean in a little closer, bent down a little more, and she would be able to taste a woman once more, able to taste this woman, taste Seven. B'Elanna's breathing, which had calmed down during their discussion, picked up once more and actually rose to the point where she was panting softly but clearly. This only made B'Elanna's ordeal worse since she could smell Seven with every breath she took. No matter how pristinely clean the blonde was, there was no mistaking the scent of a woman when your nose was only a hand length away from the source of the sweet smell.

"Seven," B'Elanna finally managed to choke out, she knew that she had to stop this right there. "Please leave, I really need to take a shower right now."

Seven had been fascinated by the effect her presence was having on the Klingon, and only realized what B'Elanna had said when the Klingon added another 'please.' Without a word Seven walked out of the bathroom, taking her biosuit off the commode on her way out.

B'Elanna didn't bother with getting up and turning the water on. She knew that as turned on as she was now, there was no way that Seven wouldn't hear what she was going to do. She was only glad that the soundproofing to the other quarters was more than enough so that others wouldn't be able to hear her. She was even gladder that she and Seven had taken some time once to actually test out just how much sound was needed to get through the soundproofing in the walls between quarters. No matter how loud B'Elanna would be, there was no way that she could ever be that loud.

B'Elanna decided that the only thing that would work for her right now was a quick but powerful release. Without moving from the spot, she simply moved her hand into her pants and started to work on taking away the ache that was almost killing her.


Chapter 4

Both of Seven's eyebrows shot up when she actually, for the first time ever, heard a howl coming from the bathroom. It wasn't loud, in fact, it wasn't louder than a loud moan would be, but it was a howl never the less.

A moment later she could finally hear the water being turned on. This time, for the first time ever, she had been able to hear every single sound B'Elanna had made, every breath, even the sound of B'Elanna's fingers touching her own wetness. Everything. And Seven had been amazed. Amazed about the fact that she could have such an effect on someone. She had been worried that her scars had disfigured her. B'Elanna had shown her how wrong she was; twice. First by talking to her, and then a second time by having to take care of the tension that had built inside of her from simply kneeling in front of the blonde's naked body.

Seven smiled at that. Somehow that told her more than any word ever could.

Half an hour later B'Elanna finally came out of the bathroom. Seven noticed that the Klingon had her eyes firmly glued to the ground and didn't look at Seven at all.

"Did you enjoy your shower?" Seven finally asked, more to start a conversation than anything else. But when she saw the crestfallen look coming over B'Elanna's face she realized that she had said possibly the worst thing she could have. She sighed before apologizing. "I am sorry; I should not have said that, not now."

"Seven... I..." B'Elanna started, only to fall quiet again, she had no idea what she could even possible say to the blonde to make things right between them. Therefore she was totally shocked by Seven's next words.

"I wish to thank you, B'Elanna."

"Thank me?!" B'Elanna asked while her eyes shot up to meet Seven's. "Seven, what I just did... I'm even worse than those people making crude comments about your looks. Kahless, all they did was talk about your body; I got off on your body, while you were in the next room listening to me doing it. I... I don't understand how you can even be in the same room with me now."

"You are not being fair towards yourself," Seven said softly while moving from the short couch she had been sitting on to the long couch B'Elanna was sitting on. "If I had not been so obsessed with what I thought were my horrible scars, I would have realized that asking a Klingon, who I know likes women, to go kneel in front of me while I am naked, was an extremely unfair thing to ask of you."

"Don't make excuses for me, alright? No matter what you say, I didn't control myself, and used you as nothing more than an aid to get off. I..."

"Please do not call it that. Saying that all I provoked in you was an urge to 'get off,' that I consider an insult. I would much rather think that it was the person Seven of Nine that provoked that reaction, not just some naked woman standing in front of you. Now, as I said, I wish to thank you. First you eased my fears with words, and after that you, your body, showed me that those were not just empty or polite words. You showed me that just my naked presence is enough to excite you."

Seven hesitated for a moment and let her eyes drift over her own body before admitting, "Since I have started to appreciate the value of aesthetics, I have come to realize that I can be considered a beautiful woman. I am not blind to that fact, and I actually like that fact. I do not consider myself vain, but I still like the fact that I look 'good.' I thought that the scars that I have as a result of my surgery had taken away my looks; that I would now only ever be able to 'look good' when wearing tight fitting clothing that would reveal my bodily shapes, but not my actual body. You proved me wrong in a way that you would never have been able to do with words. As the saying goes, 'actions speak louder than words.'"

"But still, I,"

"You," Seven interrupted, "just gave me the best 'sound show' I have ever had. You seem to forget that part. If I had been upset with the fact that I knew that you were... pleasuring yourself while clearly thinking of me, then I certainly would not have stayed here and listened to it, would I?"

B'Elanna shook her head a little as if reluctantly agreeing to the point. "I,"

"You," Seven once again interrupted, "Did not turn on the shower this time until afterwards. In case you are wondering, that means that I heard everything. I could not have heard more even if I had been in the same room with you. Do you mind me hearing you so clearly?"

B'Elanna rubbed her hands over her face. She knew how Seven could turn conversations around. That the blonde sometimes planned conversations ahead like a game of chess, knowing up front what an answer would be, what the reaction to that answer would be, and what the reaction to that reaction had to be. So she also pretty much knew where Seven was heading. "I don't mind. I actually kinda like it, but wouldn't have done it deliberately any time soon. This basically comes back to the same as the first time you overheard me. I certainly didn't plan it like that, but now that it happened, I'm not sorry about it."

She saw that Seven was going to speak again and lifted her hand to stop her.

"Which is exactly the same for you. I don't mind that you heard me, so I have to accept it when you say that you don't mind that seeing you naked makes me hotter than a star going nova."

"Indeed," Seven agreed with a smile. "Truthfully, B'Elanna, I am not sure if I would not have done the exact same thing had I been in your position."

"Really?" B'Elanna asked surprised, but now finally a smile started to tug at her lips. She knew that once more they were alright. She was just glad that when ever there was a problem between them at least one of them had always been stubborn enough to bite into the subject and hold on until they had talked it through.

"Certainly," Seven agreed. "In fact, I just told you that I had listened to the best 'sound show' I have ever heard. Do you really think that left me unaffected? No. As soon as we are done talking, but only then, I will go take the shower that started all this, and I can guarantee you that it will be a very long shower."

"Is there more to discuss then?" B'Elanna asked a little surprised. "I though we were okay here now."

"We are," Seven was quick to agree. "I just wonder about what we are doing, what we are."

"What do you mean?"

"We play sexually tinted games," Seven said hesitantly. "As a matter of fact, listening to you masturbate is a lot more than an innocent sexually tinted game. It is almost certainly a prelude to more. To maybe one day actually seeing you masturbate, and maybe more than that. Yet I do not think we have the emotional relationship that lovers normally do. So I was wondering what we are towards each other, and where what we are doing will eventually end up."

"Well," B'Elanna said thoughtfully while slouching a little on the couch. "I could once more tell you that I don't really know what we are doing but that I like it. But I can see that this answer is no longer good enough for you, and rightfully so, I must admit. See Seven, what I gather from what you just told me, you seem to think that things should happen in a certain line. People meet, they like each other, they become friends, they fall in love, they make love. True, that is the line you see the most, but it certainly isn't the only one possible. There's so much more. Did you ever hear of the saying 'a one night stand?' That's two people that only just met having sex. They don't know each other, they don't love each other, hell, maybe they don't even really like each other and both simply want to get off, and I use that phrase here deliberately. Another option is that two people meet, and they become the closest of friends possible, more close than needed for a successful long term romantic relationship, yet they never go down that road and simply stay best friends for life. Or you have what Tom wanted with me, being friends that don't mind sharing a bed every now and again, but certainly aren't in a real romantic relationship. Or take you and Harry, you were in a relationship, yet you broke it off after a while. So clearly you couldn't have truly been in love with him, yet you still dated him."

"I dated Harry because I wanted to experience what it was like to be in a relationship. To have someone to share interests with, to have someone I have to keep in mind when making my own plans. I wanted to see why people would choose a relationship when clearly it extremely limits someone. I never had feelings of love for him. I did, and do, have feelings of friendship for him. This did not change, or more to the point, it did change to where our friendship grew. Either way, the point is, Harry and I both knew that our relationship would only last a certain amount of time. Yet we both entered that relationship because we both benefited from it. I experienced what having a relationship was like, and Harry,"

"Harry got you," B'Elanna interrupted.

"Basically," Seven had to agree. "Harry 'got me' the way he wanted me. Harry is not someone to simply take mindless sex even if you were to offer it to him. There has to be a meaning to it for him. The woman should not get out of bed and be gone; she should be around and also smile at him when she sees him the next day."

"Well, the point is, both of you wanted something else from your relationship. It just so happened that what you both wanted resulted in you having that relationship for some time. Tom and I also wanted different things from a relationship. But unlike you and Harry, what we wanted didn't fit together. I told you that what Tom wants is something I don't want from a partner, because of that I couldn't play these kind of games with him. You're different. Because you and I didn't want anything from each other, we both found along the way what we did want to give to each other. Not what we want to get, but what we want to give. I'm playing sexual games with you because that's what I want... you just didn't mind and went along for the ride."

B'Elanna nodded her head slightly, more to herself then to Seven. "Yeah, let's call them by the real name; what we are doing is playing sexual games. They aren't sexually tinted games, they are real sex games. Yet we aren't romantically involved. While I now consider you a better friend than Tom was when he and I got romantically involved, I don't think that you and I have a romantic relationship... yet. You could say that as many people as there are, as many different kinds of relationships exist. Not really true, but it gives you an indication of just how many different relationships there are."

"And all of this means?" Seven wondered.

"All of this means that you shouldn't try to compare what we have to what others have. Instead you should simply ask yourself what we have, and if you're alright with it."

"And what do we have, B'Elanna?"

"What we have? I think that we are in the middle, we don't have sex without a relationship, yet we also don't first build the romantic relationship before becoming intimate. I think that we're building them at the same time. Answer me this honestly Seven, are we friends?"

"Yes," Seven replied at once.

"Best friends?"

"Yes," Seven once more replied, though this time she took her time to compare the friendship she had with B'Elanna to her other friendships.

"Do you think that even though we're already best friends now, our friendship will only continue to grow and get stronger?"

"Yes." This time once again an immediate answer.

"I feel the same way. And even though I never wanted this with Tom, I do feel that even if we never become lovers, in good time I will be more than willing to play sex games with you that make the ones we've been playing until now seem mild, maybe even have sex when our bodies and souls need that despite not being lovers as well."

"I think that I too would not mind having such a friendship with you."

B'Elanna grinned. "Good, but, as far as I can see, that is a worst case scenario, something that tells us that it is alright to play even at this stage. But I have to tell you Seven, I think that there can be a lot more between us. I don't know about you, but I do have feelings for you that are more than just a friendship. There is also more in me than just lust for that perfect body of yours. Feelings that make me want to use words like 'make love' instead of 'having sex.' I think... I think it was there from the beginning. The... energy, the fire. We fight, tension. Hell you once told me that you stayed on Voyager because your interactions with me made you feel alive. From that very first day there was 'something' between us. That something is still there, it's just changing. Once I felt great pleasure from knowing that I pissed you off, now I feel great pleasure from knowing that you hear me reach my peak."

B'Elanna hesitated for a moment before admitting, "I want you to know that, before today, and most definitely after today, when I masturbated while you could hear me... when I came, I was thinking of you. Not as in fantasies, but as in knowing that you could hear me. It makes it... better some how."

"I think that I have to agree with all you just said. I do think that we can, and will be lovers at one point, when that point is... that is the question," Seven stated firmly. "But until that time, we should definitely be friends, have fun and... play."

"Couldn't agree more," B'Elanna said with a grin. "You know, we're sitting here talking as friends, but it could be that we'll be lovers next year."

"Could be," Seven agreed. "It could also be that we are lovers next month."

Now it was B'Elanna that agreed with a, "Could be. Who knows, it might actually happen next week."

"Indeed. I have a feeling that what I really need is for something to... fall into place. Because, let me assure you, B'Elanna, I do really like you."

"Rest assured, Seven, the feeling is totally mutual."

They looked at each other for a few moments with smiles on their faces. Even though neither of them really knew what was going on between them they both sure liked it.

"So..." B'Elanna finally said to mostly just break the silence, no matter how comfortable it had been. "You really heard everything I did in there, huh?"


"Then tell me, what did you like the most?"

Seven lifted her eyebrow slightly. This clearly was a new stage in their 'games.' Seven definitely liked it. "There is the obvious, the way your breathing changed. How it increases, how it falters ever so slightly just before you achieve release."

"You can call it an orgasm, Seven. Or if you prefer, and which I think actually fits better in sentences like the one you just said, you can use the word come, or the word cum. Though personally I prefer the word come. It sounds better in conversations. Cum, I think, is more for when you are actually making love, to tell your partner that you are about to cum, or ask them to cum for you, things like that."

"Ah," Seven said, letting the words run through her mind for a moment before deciding that she too liked the word 'come' the best for this kind of conversation. "Well, as I said, normally I like that the most since it is the thing I can hear the best over the running water. But today I heard sounds that are normally drowned out by the water, and I must say that I liked those just as much."

"Go on," B'Elanna urged.

"Today I could, for instance, also hear the sounds that your fingers make when you touch your wet... womanhood."

"I personally like to call mine my pussy," B'Elanna stated simply, "But I can understand if you find that too vulgar. I just find it better sounding than womanhood or vagina. I think it sounds more personal that way, and not so official."

"Pussy," Seven repeated slowly, which made B'Elanna laugh.

"We'll be having you talk 'dirty' in no time."

"Do you also call your breasts 'tits?'" Seven wondered.

B'Elanna thought about that for a moment. "No, not really. I actually like the way 'breasts' sounds just fine, though I'm also fine with boobs and use that sometimes. But breast definitely has my preference. I actually only use 'tits' if I'm talking deliberately vulgar, which I don't do that often. It's just that there really isn't a nice comfy word like that for down south, so I use the cleanest vulgar word I know. Breasts sounds good, private and fits into a conversation like we are having now, but in that same conversation I only find pussy fitting for down south. Use it a couple of times to get used to it, I'm sure you'll be fine with it. But anyway, back to the point. You like...?"

"Well, as I said I could hear you when you touched your... pussy. Combined with your breathing it sounded very arousing."

"I can imagine," B'Elanna said with a grin. It felt weird, but good, that only an hour before she had felt ashamed that she had thought of Seven while masturbating, and now Seven was telling her how much she enjoyed the sounds that B'Elanna made when she was touching herself.

While before she had thought about the fact that Seven could hear her, and had let this get her aroused even more, this time she had actually fantasized about Seven doing things to her and had felt ashamed for it. But now... now that things were once more alright between them, and she knew that Seven sure didn't mind, B'Elanna was sure that it had not been the last time that she would allow the blonde into her fantasies.

"Damn, Seven, I just realized that we've been sitting here for over an hour talking. That's not fair to you. Go take your shower. Once you come back we can go back to doing what we were going to do before this all came up. You wanted to finish that book, right? And we really should eat something."

"That is correct." Seven agreed while she got up. She too realized that sex games might be fun, but they had to ease into them. Besides, after hearing B'Elanna before while she was... busy, and hearing her now talk about it, Seven really needed to have a good release herself. When she was halfway to the bathroom, she was stopped by B'Elanna's voice.

"Hey Seven, I thought you might want to know, those times you could so clearly hear me touching my pussy, that must have been when I finger fucked myself. I like to do that sometimes. Move my fingers in and out a couple of times to have a different feeling than just rubbing my clit, before I take them out and lick them clean. I thought you might want to know that while you take your shower."

Seven turned back to B'Elanna with a look of outrage on her face, a look that was quite ruined by the flush that was covering her face as well. "Are you trying to drive me insane?"

"Nooo," B'Elanna said in a drawn out way. "I just decided that since you had such a good sound show earlier, I might as well share other interesting things with you. Do you mind? If you really do mind, I can tone it down. I just want to have fun with you, Seven."

"I was going to say that, yes I do mind. But hearing what you just said, you might actually think I am serious. So, no, I do not mind. Play with me all you want B'Elanna. I do not object at all."

"Good to know," B'Elanna grinned. "Knowing that, I'll now every once in a while have some fun before I turn the water on. But to drive you wild, I won't tell you if I'm about to do that, or if I'm about to have some fun under the shower, or if I truly am only going to take that shower. Guess you just have to listen in to find out."

"You... are a cruel person," Seven said in an amused voice while entering the bathroom. She loved every minute of B'Elanna playing with her. She was just about to step away from the door and let it close when she decided that now that B'Elanna had taken so many steps to make sure they both could have some fun that they really wanted, it was now her turn to do something back. Something that she had wanted to do for some time now, but the removal of her implant had interfered with that.

B'Elanna shook her head with a smile. Who would ever have guessed that Seven would be so willing to go along in her games, games that in all reality could be called childish... well, eighteenish, since it did involve very adult themes? But it turned out that Seven was a more than willing culprit. Oh, B'Elanna knew that they really wouldn't be acting like this every free minute of the day, not even every evening, but that was alright. Games like that were best played only one or two evenings a week anyway.

B'Elanna thought about it for a moment and had to admit that Seven's reasoning had probably been right when she had said that it did matter that Seven wasn't Tom. B'Elanna didn't hate Tom; she still liked him and hoped that one day they could again be as close as they had once been. But Seven had been right. If B'Elanna had done with Tom only one tenth of what she had already done with Seven, they would have had sex several times. It just felt good to tease and play simply for the fun of teasing and playing. With Tom, everything had been a prelude to sex. Hell, Tom would have been insulted if he had found out that B'Elanna had masturbated instead of having sex with him. But somehow B'Elanna just knew; if she and Seven were lovers, and she told Seven that she had just masturbated, the only thing that the blonde would have said would have been to ask if she had enjoyed herself.

Yes she really liked what she had with Seven, and she liked even more where it might end up if they were a little lucky.

B'Elanna was just about to get up and get a drink when she realized that she could hear the water of the shower louder than she normally could. She looked to the bathroom and was totally surprised to see the door still open. Surely Seven couldn't have forgotten that, could she? While B'Elanna was wondering about that, she got her answer in Seven's voice, speaking to the computer. "Computer, change bathroom door setting. The door will now stay open unless specifically closed by an individual."

{New programming accepted.}

B'Elanna groaned softly. Seven had easily turned the tables on her. There was no doubt about what Seven was going to do under that shower, and there was also no doubt that now B'Elanna would be able to hear anything that was louder than the relatively soft sound of the water.

B'Elanna could hear a soft humming coming from the shower. The bitch was humming! There was no way that B'Elanna could listen to Seven under the shower and not be affected to where she herself would need release again. B'Elanna was already wondering how she was going to do that, what she was going to say as to why she needed another shower.

B'Elanna thought about that for a moment while she heard the humming stop and a mix between a sigh and a moan coming from the shower. Probably the easiest way to do it would be to simply state that she needed a shower, again.

She heard a soft gasp and felt herself getting wet again in response, just thinking about what Seven might be doing to herself that would produce such a sweet gasp.

Oh, yeah, B'Elanna was enjoying every second of this, and wondered how she had ever been able to have fun at home without Seven living with her.

"So what you're telling us is that we're going to have a very boring month in front of us?" Janeway asked at the weekly department update meeting.

"Not necessarily," Seven disagreed. "What I said is that we are entering what the Borg called sector 34,786. They found no life-form worthy of assimilation. There are several species in this sector. However, they did not have any technology that was of interest to the Borg, nor did those species stand out biologically to warrant assimilation just for that. There might even be several species that have developed warp capability by now."

"I thought that the Borg assimilated pretty much all life-forms that can walk on two legs," B'Elanna asked from her chair on the other side of the table.

"Monkeys are capable of walking on two legs, yet the Borg do not assimilate them," Seven explained.

"Could've fooled me," B'Elanna said, looking pointedly at the blonde, a grin tugging on her lips.

"Lieutenant Torres, I don't find comments like that amusing," Janeway warned.

"Aye Captain, sorry," B'Elanna said. She and Seven had been in a playful mood the entire day. Exchanging jabs one moment while just joking around the next. It had surprised many a person in Engineering to actually hear Seven joke around with the Klingon.

"To answer the Lieutenant's question," Seven continued, "The Borg do assimilate entire species simply for the number of drones on occasion, but the Borg do not assimilate mindlessly. The technology comes first, and they adapt the number of drones in accordance. They assimilate to keep the number of drones at a level needed to run the technology at peak efficiency, and they only expand the Borg Collective in an orderly and efficient way."

"So if they had enough drones, they would have skipped 'unremarkable' species instead of assimilating them?" Janeway asked to clarify.

"If the Borg had enough drones at the time they passed through this sector, which they had," Seven agreed. "They would not assimilate species, unless one of the species is shown to have a distinctiveness that is of interest to the Borg. However, all species will have a trace of the Borg in their history. The Borg will have assimilated several thousand individuals of every species to 'sample' the race."

"But aren't a few thousand people a little, well, little, seen on a Borg scale?" B'Elanna asked. "I mean, there is a big chance that those thousands don't have knowledge the Borg are interested in, but others might. You could assimilate about five thousand people on Earth, but the chance that you find someone between them who can fix a warp drive would be pretty damn slim."

"True," Seven agreed. "But the point is that most, probably all, of those people, would know that warp drive exists. The Borg assimilate a sample of drones, and from the information those assimilations produce a decision is made about assimilating the rest of the race."

"But lucky for us, the species proved 'unremarkable," Janeway spoke up. "I for one hope that we'll find a species that is willing to engage in some good old fashion trading with us. That means we have to get our information in the old-fashioned Starfleet way, by scanning the planets that could be of interest to us. Serves us right, we shouldn't rely on Borg knowledge as much as we've been doing lately."

"Which I've been telling you for almost two years now," B'Elanna piped up.

Janeway gave her a look but didn't comment on B'Elanna's remark. "Alright people, we really do need to stock up on pretty much all we have; food, Dilithium, antimatter, you name it. It's all at acceptable, but low levels. I don't know about you, but I really don't want to go back to using replicator rations even for the basic stuff like food. Seven, go to Astrometrics and start scanning. Harry, give her a hand."

"Captain, the scanners have been affected by the dark matter cloud we passed through yesterday. I was planning on repairing the damage today," Seven pointed out.

"You mean we can't use the scanners?" Janeway asked. "I don't like that idea at all. That should have been reported before."

"No, Captain. We can use the scanners. What I meant is that I cannot work on the data the scanners gather, and enhance their performance at the same time. I would require Lieutenant Torres' assistance."

"Can't go even one day without my help, Blondie?"

"That's enough Lieutenant," Janeway interrupted. She really didn't know what was going on with B'Elanna today. It was common knowledge on the ship that the two women were friends. Rumor had it that they were a lot more than just friends, yet she continued to snap at Seven. Maybe they had a fight, a real one. What ever it was, it had no place in a senior staff meeting.

"B'Elanna, you will help Seven and Harry, and I don't want to hear about any 'problems.' Do you understand me, Lieutenant?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Alright, we all know what to do; dismissed."

As soon as Seven, B'Elanna, and Harry had stepped into the turbolift, Seven turned towards the Klingon. "B'Elanna, please watch what you say in front of the Captain. I do not want you to be in trouble because of me."

"Well, it really is your fault, you know."

"Hey, can you two stow it until I'm out of this lift?" Harry interrupted.

"What's the matter? Worried you'll get caught in the crossfire?" B'Elanna asked amused.

"Something like that," Harry agreed with a grin.

Unfortunately for Harry, B'Elanna's playful mood now shifted to him. She stepped closer and said seductively, "You know, there are a lot of people here on Voyager that would actually love to be caught in the crossfire. Seven on one side, me on the other, and them in the middle. How about it Starfleet? You could have some fun with Seven for old times sake, and then even boast that you fucked the Klingon on top of that... well not on top; I would be on top."

"No thanks," Harry said right away. "I know my limits. Seven was enough to handle; the both of you together would kill me."

B'Elanna laughed and put her arm over Harry's shoulder while saying to Seven, "See, if Tom would be as smart as Harry here, I would love to hang around with him again."

Seven nodded her head in agreement and understanding, before leaning in and treating Harry to a passionate kiss. Harry was surprised for a moment, but quickly recovered and fully enjoyed the unexpected treat.

"Hey break it up you two," B'Elanna finally said, not wanting to admit that seeing Seven kiss someone lit a small fire of jealousy in her stomach. Yet at the same time another part of her, slightly more lower than her stomach, showed it's appreciation of the visual by getting slightly wet. She could only imagine what it would do to her to have Seven kiss her like that.

After Seven and Harry broke apart, the blonde smiled at B'Elanna. "It is your own fault. You should not tease Harry by promising him he could have some fun with me for old times sake. I merely fulfilled the promise you gave him."

B'Elanna lifted her hands in surrender and said with a grin, "Fine. Harry, as of now I can assure you that you are totally safe from me teasing you in any kind of way... that involves hinting to what you and Seven shared at least."

"Oh, I don't mind; you can tease me like that all you want," Harry grinned, making the women laugh. "Though talking about teasing, I really would suggest that you keep the teasing down in the meetings for the time being."

"Well, it really is Seven's fault," B'Elanna replied. "She keeps giving me those great opportunities to react. And the Captain is just as bad. 'We shouldn't rely on the Borg knowledge as much as we have been doing lately.' How can you expect me to not react to that?"

"Then maybe it is time that one of us had a conversation with the Captain," Seven suggested. "She does take our altercations much too seriously. I had assumed that she would have known by now that we have become friends, but maybe I am mistaken with that assumption."

"Yeah, well, whatever it is, we aren't going to do it now. Come on, let's get those scanners working."


Chapter 5

B'Elanna and Seven were relaxing at home and reading some books when B'Elanna looked up just in time to see Seven frown.

"What's the matter?"

"This does not make any sense."

"What doesn't?" B'Elanna asked.

As an answer Seven started to read out loud. "'Sounds like a plan. See you in a bit.' She hung up the phone and let out the breath she hadn't realized she was holding."

"So? Please don't tell me that you don't know what a phone is."

"Phone is an abbreviation for telephone. A telephone is an old-fashioned communication device. When I start reading an old book I also first scan a dictionary from that time to see if there are words in there that I do not know. I do not want to be interrupted in my reading by words I have to look up at that time. No, it is the second part. She is talking on the phone and then ends the communication after which she let out a breath that she did not realize she was holding. That is impossible. Talking is the act of air passing by the vocal cords which produces the sounds. So it is impossible to hold your breath and talk at the same time. Furthermore, even beside that it is still impossible. Holding your breath is a conscious act. It requires you deliberately taking a breath and then holding it. At best the only thing you can do without realizing it yourself is to stop reading. It is not the first time I read a comment like that."

B'Elanna chuckled. "Seven, things like that you shouldn't take literally. At moments like that you shouldn't look at what the writer has written, but at what the writer was trying to say. Now, take that line again and without being allowed to say what the line actually says, tell me what you think that the writer was trying to convey."

Seven thought about that for a moment. "Since this is a story about Humans, Humans often hold their breath when they are anticipating something. A reaction, an answer, or even the outcome of a test. So in this situation I would say that what the writer is trying to convey is that the person is having said anticipation, but does not want the other person to know this, and therefore the first person is acting casual even though in reality she is nervously anticipating the answer."

"So even though she is in fact acting casually and talking, in her mind she is figuratively speaking holding her breath," B'Elanna surmised. "The thing is that often writers forget about that middle step and say things like '"I'm glad you agree," she said, before letting out a breath she didn't realize she was holding.' Get it?"

"I see, thank you for the explanation."

"No problem," B'Elanna assured with a grin. Then she thought of something. "Hey, um, listen. As you know I'll be leaving on that away mission tomorrow. Um, I just wanted to say, we made this deal about you living here. I just want to say that this doesn't change just because I'm away. This is your home, so you just do your thing while I'm gone."

"Thank you," Seven replied with a smile.

"Excuse me, did you just say, 'Amazons?'" Janeway asked.

"Well, that's what I call them, but that's not what they call themselves. They call themselves something that the universal translator translates to Zamonan, which coincidentally enough has the exact same letters in our language as the word 'Amazon,' just in a different order," B'Elanna said while handing her away mission report to the captain.

"The Zamonan are a race in which the warriors are the center of the society. There are only women, not one man to be found on the planet. And despite the fact that they are space faring the ones that live on the planet wear leather clothing like the warriors of ancient earth did. They look very human too. The only difference I could see was that their legs are a little more prominent proportion wise than Humans. I know that I would have to spend months in the gym to get the thigh circumference that these women have, and that's just for normal and not the ones that actually train. Their warriors have thighs like those of a horse. Well, not really, it still fits the body and they could easily pass for humans, just that they have more muscles in that area than we have."

B'Elanna shrugged her shoulders slightly. "Sorry Captain, I was reading a book the other day that had Amazons in it; they just reminded me of them. With the ones you meet on the ships you wouldn't notice right away, except for the no men part of course. They wear clothing more like ours, uniforms, and they have a chain of command that you really need on space ships. But as soon as you are on the planet it is as if you stepped back in time. There aren't any big cities, just villages. The planet is full of forests, no clear cutting to make room for wheat fields. They still live in log huts, and the sensors showed that there are only half a billion people on the entire planet. I've found out that this number is never allowed to get bigger than that. The way they do this is by colonizing the other planets in their, and close by, solar systems. Mind you, even though they still live in huts, they don't really shun technology. They've found a good way to blend village social life and advanced technology."

"You and Ayala were sent on this away mission because we need Dilithium crystals, we sure didn't expect to find a whole society. I'm surprised that our sensors didn't pick any of that up."

"It's in the report, Captain. But to put it simply, they figured out long ago that the best way to not get bothered by some of the hostile species we ourselves encountered here in the Delta Quadrant, is to have an excellent dampening field around their planet and any other planet they live on. It's very advanced, Captain. It lets you scan the planets, but filters out all Humanoid life on them. That way species don't get suspicious by the fact that the sensors don't pick up anything at all."

"Hmm, well, I'll read the report for now; I want to see you again tomorrow two hours before we meet with them. Go home and rest B'Elanna. You're off duty until tomorrow, you deserve it."

"Yes Captain. Thank you."

B'Elanna had already turned to leave when she remembered something else. "Oh, though they didn't say it, I got the feeling that they would be more comfortable if they didn't have to deal with any male members of the crew. It also showed in the way they reacted to Ayala, nothing too obvious, but it was as if they weren't really comfortable with him. Since the meeting is on their planet, I thought you might want to know that."

"Do you think they would really be upset if we brought a man or two along?"

B'Elanna lifted her hands a little. "I don't know really. But the thing is that we will be meeting 'the' Queen. Seems that their governmental system is set up to where their Queen is the supreme ruler over all; the entire planet, the colonies, the space program, the space ships, all. If we offend her in some way... it's all over. There's no other country or power we could turn to. Hell, as far as I could find out, there isn't even a black market. And I've got to tell you Captain, the Dilithium on that planet is so easy to mine we could almost do it with bare hands. Best thing is, to them Dilithium is nothing more than nice rocks. Their warp engines don't need the stuff. We could end up leaving there with so much Dilithium that we won't have to search for it in the next ten years."

"That might be worth swallowing our 'all Humanoids are equal' pride over for once," Janeway agreed. "I will tell Chakotay to put together an all female away team. Dismissed."

B'Elanna left the ready room, and knowing that Seven was on duty headed to the mess hall for lunch instead of home. But as soon as she had her food and sat down, she saw Tom Paris walking into the mess room. As she had known it would happen, he was soon putting his tray down opposite from B'Elanna.

"Hey, how are you doing? I haven't seen you much in the last weeks."

"I haven't been here much lately," B'Elanna had to admit. "Now that Seven is basically living with me we can pool our rations and eat from the replicator almost every day, and still save some rations for personal stuff."

"So how..." Tom stopped talking and B'Elanna got the distinct feeling that he had just made a very wise choice. "B'Elanna, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"That depends; does the question result in me punching you in the face?" B'Elanna asked with a grin.

"Um, actually... I don't know."

"Tom, just ask already."

"Alright. Is it really true that Seven isn't just living with you but actually moved in with you?"

B'Elanna thought about that for a moment. Well, that question wasn't too bad. "Yes and no. No, officially Seven has not moved in with me. Officially I'm still the only resident in my quarters, and Seven still lives in the cargo bay. But unofficially, yes. Every night that Seven doesn't have to regenerate she spends in my quarters, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. In fact, I think that in a couple of months, if we both are sure that we like the arrangement, we'll make it official. But for now, the answer is yes and no."

"Are you two lovers?" Tom asked quickly, prepared to duck if needed.

"Ah, so that's the real question, the one that you were afraid could get you a visit to the Doctor. Well, let me answer that for you. It's none of your damn business. Do you really think that I of all people would add to the rumors that are going around about Seven and me? Get real!"

"That's not why I asked," Tom assured. "I asked because... Because, well, you know only too well that I've been running after you, hoping that I could get you to, um,"

"Hoping that you could get laid," B'Elanna stated bluntly.

"Well, I don't really like the way that sounds, but yeah."

"You didn't have a chance of getting that from me again while I was single, do you really think that you have a chance if I really am involved with Seven?"

"No! Not at all. Look, just forget about it. Maybe this was a bad idea."

"Tom, just cough up what you want to say and move on."

Tom leaned back in his chair a little. "That's just the point I was trying to bring up. If you and Seven really are lovers, I just wanted you to know that I won't be making any trouble for you. I mean that B'Elanna. I really wanted you back. Back as a friend, and yes, back for the other thing too. But I don't want you back if you can have something better. That is why I asked about Seven. You, I, we both know that what we had, it was settling for something that was okay and waiting until something better came along. If you really found something better, then I want you to have it."

"I know that you can play games really well, what game are you playing now?" B'Elanna knew Tom, and it wasn't like him to just stand back and be happy about it.

"No game, I swear on my life. Look, I was in the holodeck yesterday, alright? And I was playing this simulation in which I was a 1920 earth gangster, a guy who really had it all, including the girl that adored him. I do know that the holodeck is just simulation, but it got me thinking. What I want is to have it all. So could I really begrudge you if you had just that, it all? Should I really try to compete with Seven so that 'if' I could win I would have some nice sex, while you and Seven might already have more than I can ever hope for from you? Can I begrudge you for having what I hope to have? No, I can't. All I can do is be jealous of you and Seven for having the good thing, and hope that one day I'll be lucky enough to have the same."

"That's very profound of you, Tom. I'm amazed," B'Elanna said after a moment. She had seen the sincerity in his eyes while he spoke, and she felt that he had actually meant his words.

"Pssst, don't let it get around that I can do the profound thing. It'll ruin my reputation." Now Tom leaned a little closer, a twinkle in his eyes. "Besides, don't worry, I do have a deeper, darker, and evil plan."

"Oh really?" B'Elanna asked amused.

Tom nodded his head. "Why yes, my secret plan is to become the best of friends to you and Seven. So close that you tell me all your little secrets of your love life so that I can enjoy through you. Hey, who knows, maybe I'll even get you two to go so far as to give me a little show; you know, let me watch."

Tom had wiggled his eyebrows at his last words, making B'Elanna shoot into a hard laugh.

"Only in your dreams fly boy."

"Well, a man can dream, can't he?" Tom laughed. "But you never answered me, are you two lovers?"

B'Elanna hesitated for a moment before deciding to trust him. Besides, it was a good way to test him. If her trust was misplaced, all that would happen was that yet more rumors would start about her and Seven; and they wouldn't be new rumors either.

"Well, no, we aren't lovers. We really do only share quarters. But there is something between us... something good. Something that makes me feel alive, something that makes me do things that I never thought that I'd do."

"Like?" Tom asked, hoping that B'Elanna would tell him. He was a guy, and just like all guys one of his fantasies was to be with two women at once. And the next best thing to being with two women, was to hear about the love life of two women. Even if there apparently wasn't an actual love life, yet.

B'Elanna looked around herself to make sure others couldn't hear her before leaning a little closer to him and whispering. "You know Seven and all that enhanced hearing thing? Well, what I really like to do these days is masturbate in the shower, knowing that she's sitting in the next room and knowing that she can hear every sound I make that is louder than the water."

Tom's eyes got wider. "B'Elanna, you do know that you can be very loud sometimes?"

"I know," B'Elanna agreed. "And now, Seven knows too."

"So, is there more?" Tom asked eager.

"Not right now," B'Elanna said, knowing that it was one thing to tell him what she did, but that she would never tell him what Seven did. Unless things changed in the future to where both she and Seven didn't mind him knowing very private things about their private life.

"But, tell you what, if you continue to be a good boy, I might, just might tell you some more interesting things if there are any to tell, but that's not a promise."

"Even though it isn't a promise, I'll take it," Tom said eagerly before finally taking the first bite of his by now cold food.

"Hey," B'Elanna said when Seven entered the quarters at the end of her shift. They hadn't crossed paths all day since B'Elanna had figured that with her being off duty for the day, she would stay out of Engineering and let Seven and Carey finish the day like they had been working for the last three days.

"B'Elanna Torres, you are back early, you were supposed to come back tomorrow," Seven said surprised.

"Gee thanks for the warm welcome," B'Elanna said slightly peeved by the cold reaction.

Getting over her initial shock of seeing B'Elanna a day early, Seven smiled and came over to welcome her friend with a hug. "You are correct, I apologize. I am glad that you are back; I missed you."

"Thanks, it's good to be back," B'Elanna admitted as she returned the hug.

"Are you planning to leave the quarters again before going to bed?" Seven asked.

"No, I want to stay in and relax some. Hey, you never guess what we found on our away mission."

"B'Elanna, I have a confession to make," Seven interrupted softly while lowering her eyes.

"Hey, what's wrong?" B'Elanna wondered.

"I used your bed to sleep in while you were gone. I will replace the bed sheets before you go to bed so that you have a fresh set."

B'Elanna smiled at the admission. "That's alright, that's nothing to be ashamed of. I would have probably done the same thing if I was you. Come to think of it, you deserve more than just sleeping on the couch every night. These are your quarters now as well, you deserve a bed just as much as me. Maybe we can replace my bed with two smaller single ones."

"That is not why I slept in your bed," Seven admitted. "As you said that first night, the couch is very comfortable to sleep on. No, I... I slept in your bed because, because the sheets smell like you. I missed you, and there I could smell you."

For a moment B'Elanna didn't know what to do. As much of a friend as Seven had become, B'Elanna had never expected that she'd become to mean so much to the blonde as well. Finally she stepped closer and tenderly caressed Seven's face.

"You are a wonderful person, Seven, and you can sleep in my bed anytime you want. In fact, if you want you can sleep there every night from now on. As I said before, we can get two smaller single beds, or you can sleep in my bed."

Seven was surprised, to say the least. "Will that not be a very big intrusion into your private life? And," now Seven smiled, "will the temptation not be too big for you?"

B'Elanna laughed. "Seven, we both know that we are going... somewhere. If you sleeping beside me is too much of a temptation and both of us agree to what happens because of that, then I don't see any problem with that, do you? And as for an intrusion in my private life? Not really. Ever since you've been living here I only go to bed to sleep. Before I also did some reading there, now I do that out here. So no, you being in the bedroom is not an intrusion because all I do there is sleep."

"You do not also... indulge there?" Seven asked.

B'Elanna smirked before sitting down on the couch, quickly followed by Seven. "Sure, but only on those days that you're regenerating anyway. So that doesn't change anything. Come on, it might actually be fun. You know how we sometimes stay up late when we really shouldn't. Talking about small stuff, and staying up simply because neither of us wants to end the conversation. If you sleep in my bed, well, then our bed, we could take the conversation to bed with us and talk there until one of us falls asleep. I have a feeling that with us already lying down on the comfy bed we'll fall asleep earlier than if we stayed up to talk. Yet at the same time it'll make for a nicer end to the day then me leaving you in the living room. I missed you too, Seven, and this away mission showed me that if I have to opportunity to have you close, I should take it. So how about it? Will you sleep in the bed from now on? One condition though. I like sleeping on the left, so the left side is mine."

"Your condition is acceptable," Seven said, thereby agreeing to B'Elanna's proposal. "Now, tell me about what you found on the away mission."

"Well, remember the book I was reading last week about those Amazons? I swear, if you take that story and throw in something about them knowing about modern technology than you have exactly what we found. You see..."

The shuttle door opened and Janeway, B'Elanna, Seven, and two female security members, stepped out to be greeted by a group of almost twenty women. Looking at them, Janeway decided that B'Elanna's description of Amazons really wasn't that far off. They even had an assortment of crude weapons like sword, staffs, and bows. The only thing that showed that they were clearly fully in tune with modern technology was the fact that their shuttle had been scanned by a spaceship before being allowed to enter the atmosphere, and that they had gotten the 'label' safe, meaning that they didn't have any diseases or parasites that were harmful to the Zamonan.

When the whole team was out of the shuttle one of the women came closer. "Welcome to our planet. I am Dasia, Regent of the Erdania Village, and Supreme Regent of the Erda province."

Janeway stepped forward and gripped the woman's lower arm in their equivalent of a handshake, as B'Elanna had showed her. "Good to meet you Dasia, I am Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager. B'Elanna told me that it is custom here to talk on a first name basis, so please do call me Kathryn."

"Very well, Kathryn. Will you accompany me to my village? You can rest there and eat. There you can also ask me many of the questions you are bound to have for us. That way the unimportant questions are already dealt with when you will meet our Queen tomorrow. Please understand that our Queen doesn't think that your visit is unimportant to us. It is just that she is a very busy person, and her time is limited."

"I certainly understand," Janeway said while she started walking beside Dasia in the direction that the woman had picked. A quick look behind her told her that her away team was following.

B'Elanna had told Janeway that it was custom with these people that with meetings, only the people that were going to do the talking would introduce themselves. If at a later point someone that had not been introduced had something to add, she would simply introduce herself to all at that point and say what needed to be said.

Janeway had decided to go by these women's customs as much as possible on this mission, even though she would have liked to know who the other women were.

"I find it interesting that you have a Queen, yet she rules the entire planet and all your colonies. Normally the Queens we know of only rule one, or at most a few, countries," Janeway said after a few long minutes of silence.

"That's how it once started out," Dasia agreed. "In fact, almost three millennia ago every village had its own Queen. But then a great Queen, Queen Riella, came to power. She was a woman that could convince almost everyone with the simple weapon of words and reason, but wasn't afraid to let her Mate, weapon master Raxa, a very talented tactician and tremendous warrior, take her Zamonan into battle if needed. She reigned over the same village that I am now a Regent of. In the fifth year of her reign the Zamonan of this province had to face a male army so large that they could never hope to beat them. The only way they could stand a chance was if all the Zamonan in the entire province united to fight this army. The Queen succeeded in uniting them, and her Mate commanded the combined Zamonan force to a tremendous victory."

Dasia favored Janeway with a grin before continuing, "Of course, now that they'd found out just what they were capable of if they united, the Zamonan didn't want to simply split up again and merely go back to their village. They wanted to be part of a united Zamonan nation. And so the Zamonan nation was formed with Queen Riella ruling them, and Regents ruling the villages once ruled by individual Queens. Over the centuries, long after the death of Queen Riella, the nation continued to grow. Slowly but surely more and more Zamonan villages at the border of the nation wanted to join. And when they did other Zamonan villages bordered the nation since the nation had expanded. Over time they joined as well. Eventually one Zamonan Queen ruled the entire world while Regents ruled the individual villages. One regent in every province, or what you call countries, also has the task of ruling the province. This regent gets the added title of Supreme Regent of that province. They also advise the Queen on issues, and take the Queen's orders to the people."

"That sounds like a lot of work for someone with your position," Janeway couldn't help but notice.

"It can be, or it can not be," Dasia said. "It really depends on how much you let other people help you. While we have rules, of course, they're open to interpretation to a certain degree. I could be the only one to make decisions in the province, but that's really an impossible task. I let other people help me. For instance, as I said, in every village there is a Regent. So I don't have to worry about any village but mine. The tasks of being Regent of the province is mostly just letting villages make their own deals, and then reading and approving, or not of course, the deal they made. And as for advising the Queen, that is not a task; that is an honor."

"Regent Dasia," Seven spoke up, "I am Seven of Nine, Chief Science Officer on Voyager. May I ask why there are no men at all on this planet? You just spoke about a male army; therefore there have been men here in the past."

"Please... Seven... call me Dasia," Dasia said, indicating that Seven could drop the Regent part. She slowed her pace a little so that she would come even with Seven before speaking again.

"The fact that we don't have any men at all is simply because science made them obsolete, and eventually they just... died out. We had men on the planet until, about five centuries ago. Until that time we reproduced in the way nature had vented, a woman and a man mating and having a child as a result. However, we had strict rules about no men being allowed inside a Zamonan village. Can you imagine how hard it was for most women when they had to give up male babies? And for the ones that didn't form an emotional connection to their male child, how hard it was for them to have to go through twelve months of pregnancy, and then two weeks of labor, only to have a boy child that they did not want? Add to that the fact that because we were, and are, living in villages filled with only women, the choice of a life Mate was limited to only other women."

"They would prefer to know from the beginning that a girl is the only possible outcome for their pregnancy," Seven said in understanding.

"Right," Dasia agreed. "You must also not forget that we Zamonan ruled the world then. Over time, and generations of social upbringing, we evolved to the point where almost all women had a sexual preference for other women, and the men were basically only used for conception. Then came the scientific breakthrough that truly made men obsolete. We found a way to impregnate a woman with the DNA of another woman. It was exactly what we were looking for. Women didn't have to sleep with men anymore just to get pregnant. And if you were pregnant you knew upfront that it could only be a girl since the merging of the DNA of two women can only result in a female baby. So over time less and less male babies were born. The only male babies that were born were from the women that still had a preference for men and became pregnant the old way. Then at one point just one century ago we reached the point where there were only half a million men left on the entire planet. We realized that it was't fair to them to let them truly go extinct since they did not choose to have women mostly have a preference for other women, nor did they choose the fact that we didn't need them anymore to reproduce. So, we gave them a choice."

"A choice?" Seven repeated.

"At that time we had just found another planet to colonize, much like this one," Dasia explained. "We offered them that planet to colonize. Them, and the women that still lived in our society that preferred men. To make sure that on that planet the same thing did not happen that happened here, we created the first two rules of the constitution they have to live by. Women and men are considered equal and have the same rights. And all children must be born out of a combination of female and male. If there happen to be two women that find each other on that planet and want a child that is purely them, then they must petition the Queen with their case, and if they get permission from the Queen to have a child that's just them, they have to come here to our Homeworld where the procedure will be done."

"But what about women that are born now, that were born after the men left? Surely there must be women amongst you who prefer men, but since there are no men here they do not know just what they want," Seven asked.

"We don't hide the fact that there are other... options than women. In fact, we make it very clear to girls that there's the chance that they might be interested in men, and that there's nothing wrong with that. So girls and women that feel... different than most, they don't fear to bring that into the open. If they want they can join an exchange program we have with that planet. Women born there come here to see if they feel more at ease here, and women born here can go there to see if they feel better there. After a year they have to decide if they want to live here or on that planet. If they decide to stay and change their mind later in life, they have to petition the Queen and see if they are allowed back."

"How do the men find their new home?"

"They like it just fine. The colony is a loyal subject of the Queen and there have never been any problems coming from there. Of course, they do know that if they ever did cause the Queen trouble, she has the power and the forces to deal with them; one way or the other."

"Dasia," Janeway said, noticing that the woman was finished with her story. "Are there any places on your planet where men can freely move around? If our negotiations go well, I was hoping that we could arrange something where I can give the entire crew shore leave, including the men."

"I am sure that something can be worked out," Dasia said confidently. "It's only in the villages where they are absolutely not allowed. If you were to set up camp away from any villages there should be no problem. In fact, if you appreciate a combination of forests, the ocean, and white sands, then I have just the place for you. It is on the very south end of my province, and there isn't a village to be found in a ten day walk radius."

"Sounds perfect," Janeway said, suddenly hoping even more than before that the negotiation would go well.

B'Elanna moved to the captain and softly whispered, "Captain, maybe we could actually land Voyager for that, if we have enough room. As you know, we have some external damage that we have been putting off because it is mostly just cosmetic, yet it needs access to either a space dock, or a safe place to land the ship."

"You might want to know," Dasia interrupted, "that we find it very impolite to whisper while in the presence of other people. It's alright to do so if you two are Mates and are talking about private issues, but otherwise, it is considered rude. More so since you didn't yet introduce yourself so that the rest of my group knows who you are. I may know you, but they don't."

"I apologize, I didn't know," B'Elanna said while cringing slightly inside. She sure hoped that she hadn't messed up her chance to get her beloved ship into perfect condition again. "I am B'Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer on Voyager."

B'Elanna found it kinda strange to introduce herself to a woman that already knew her, but if that was what it took, she would do it. "I didn't mean to be rude; I was merely trying to give my opinion to my captain without interrupting your conversations too much."

"I assumed that you didn't know, B'Elanna," Dasia said. "That's why I pointed it out to you. It is not a behavior you want to do in front of our Queen when you get to meet her."

"I won't," B'Elanna assured.

"Furthermore," Dasia continued, "It seems that our hearing is a lot better than you assume it to be. I am sure there isn't a single one of us who didn't hear what you just whispered. You might want to keep that in mind for the next time you lower your voice. Basically it won't do you any good since we can still hear you."

"I'll keep it in mind," B'Elanna assured once more.

"Dasia, tell me, are there any specific rituals or something like that involved with meeting your Queen?" Janeway asked to get the focus off B'Elanna.

"Not rituals as such, just a few things you might want to keep in mind," Dasia said before starting to list the things Janeway would need to be aware of.

The meeting in the village, B'Elanna decided, had gone very well. If the meeting with the Queen the next day went anything like it had, then this planet could just be that little part of heaven Voyager had been searching for the last couple of months. B'Elanna finally saw the person she was looking for, Seven, standing a little further away talking to one of the Zamonan. The blonde had said that she would explore the village a little while B'Elanna had gone to the shuttle to send Voyager an update on their situation. And now B'Elanna wanted to know what kind of interesting things Seven had found out.

B'Elanna stopped walking when she saw the other woman putting her hand on Seven's back in a way that was way too friendly. Apparently Seven seemed to think so as well and moved a little so that the woman had to move her hand from the blonde's back. B'Elanna was glad to see that Seven had resolved what could be a tricky situation so easily.

But unfortunately the other woman didn't get the hint because she used the opportunity to lower her hand and place it on Seven's behind.

B'Elanna suddenly saw red. She never remembered running, she never remembered body-slamming the other woman to the ground. All she remembered was sitting on the women and punching her so hard in the face that she could clearly hear the sound of a jaw breaking. She pulled her arm back for another blow, but suddenly found it held firmly in place.

B'Elanna looked back in outrage to see who had dared to stop her, and found blue eyes looking back at her. The Klingon was about to say something when she saw Seven's eyes go to the left and right, clearly trying to tell her something. B'Elanna looked at where Seven had been looking and only now saw that she was surrounded by women, all of whom had their swords out and pointing at her.

"Damn." B'Elanna slowly moved off the woman that apparently was unconscious. "I just blew it, didn't I?" She asked Seven while she saw Janeway and Dasia coming in their direction.

"That is a very likely statement," Seven agreed while Janeway and Dasia reached them. But even though B'Elanna had probably just blown the entire away mission, Seven could not begrudge her. To Seven it had felt damn good that B'Elanna had come to her defense, even though Seven was more than capable of handling the situation.

"What happened?" Janeway and Dasia asked at the same time, but before Seven or B'Elanna could answer the question from their captain, one of the other women answered the question of her Regent.

"Katzi couldn't keep her hands to herself, again. She copped a feel of the blonde's behind, and got a broken jaw as a reward when the dark one didn't react too kindly to that."

"Are you two Mates?" Dasia asked.

"Does it matter?" B'Elanna replied.

But before Dasia could answer, Seven spoke up. "Yes, we are." Seven had the feeling that it indeed mattered.

Dasia shook her head slightly while looking at the woman still lying in the dirt, and listening to Seven's continuing explanation.

"We are Mates, and my Mate came to my defense when someone touched me in a way I did not appreciate."

"Very well." Dasia looked at some of the other women, clearly singling them out. "Get Katzi to the infirmary. I will decide her punishment later."

Once the woman was taken away, Dasia turned to Janeway. "I apologize for this matter. I can certainly understand if you wish to leave my village now. I can contact another Regent and have you stay there. But whether you stay or decide to go, rest assured that we have strict rules to what is, or is not, allowed in courtship. Katzi just broke a big one, starting courtship while not knowing if the other woman had a Mate or not. She will get her rightful punishment for this as soon as Seven makes her formal complaint."

"What will happen if I do not bring forth such a complaint?" Seven asked, not looking at the captain. Seven knew that the right thing to do was to use this to Voyager's advantage. But this concerned her, not Voyager.

"If you don't bring forth a formal complaint, then I can't punish her for what she just did. However, I would certainly not forget it. For instance, guard duty at the northern border is coming up for rotation and she is slotted for it. I'm sure that Katzi would find a six month stretch of guard duty on the northern border a lot more boring than the normal two month stretch."

"Very well. In that case I will not put forth a formal complaint. But I do want it to be known that if anyone ever tries something like that again, I will be the one to react. And I will not be as gentle about it as my Mate was."

Dasia actually smiled at that. "Thank you, I'm sure that the word is being spread as we speak."

Dasia looked at Janeway and asked, "Kathryn do you want for me to contact one of the other Regents so that you can stay in their village?"

"I, as captain of a starship with almost 150 people, know that even though we are responsible for every single person under our command, we cannot govern every move they make, we can only deal with their mistakes afterwards. You dealt with this... mistake very promptly. I will not, and cannot, hold the behavior of one individual in your village against you. We would be more than happy to continue to stay here. Now if you excuse me, I need to speak to my crew members for a moment."

As soon as Dasia and the other women had left, Janeway turned to B'Elanna. "Just what the hell did you think you were doing!?"

"She touched Seven," Was all the defense B'Elanna could bring up, and to her it was more than enough.

"Seven is very capable of defending herself. You can't go flying off like a harpy on high heels whenever someone touches her."

"She was not just touching Seven. She had her hand all over Seven's... rear.

"As I said, Seven could've dealt with that. Isn't this really about the fact that you were jealous because someone was touching your woman?"

"Seven is nobody's woman, save her own," B'Elanna disagreed. "If Seven wanted someone to touch her, then I would not stop that. I might be jealous about it, yes, but I wouldn't do anything about it if it was what Seven wanted. But Seven didn't want this. I saw a friend being molested, so I reacted."

"Captain, if I may," Seven interrupted. "I think it is a good thing that B'Elanna reacted in the way she did, for I was about to react. I had already told that woman to remove her hand from my behind; she did not listen. I was about to rip her arm off her body. I do not know if I would have succeeded in doing so with the leverage I would have in the position we were standing in, but the resulting damage would certainly have been more permanent than a broken jaw."

"Damn it. This is not the way to behave on the ship, and it is certainly not the way to behave on an away mission."

"Probably not," B'Elanna agreed. "But I won't have anyone touching Seven like that."

"Lover's feelings have no place on an away mission, Lieutenant," Janeway warned.

B'Elanna let the fact that apparently even the captain thought that she and Seven were lovers slide for the moment. "This has nothing to do with 'lover's feelings' Captain. I would have reacted the same way if someone had touched you like that, or even Harry or Tom for that matter. I won't stand by and let that happen to the people I care about. You can't ask this of me, Captain."

Even though she didn't show it, Janeway was glad to be on that list of people B'Elanna cared about. "I sincerely doubt that we'll agree any time soon on this matter, so let me simplify this. If something like that happens again, you both will go on report; at least. Do you understand me?"

"Yes Captain," Seven and B'Elanna said together.

"Very well, dismissed."

Seven and B'Elanna both turned and moved down the same path. "Would you like to go for a walk?" B'Elanna asked after a moment.

"I would like that," Seven replied as she continued to stroll beside B'Elanna.

"So, I'm your Mate, huh?" B'Elanna asked, grinning.

"From Dasia's question, I deduced that it would make a big difference to them. Do you object to the fact that I said yes before consulting with you?"

"Neh, I actually kinda like it. I liked the way it sounded when you said I was your Mate."

"So are you my Mate?" Seven asked while they took a left turn, making sure to stay on the well traveled path.

"Am I?" B'Elanna asked on her turn, wanting Seven to answer the question first.

Seven stopped walking and looked at the Klingon. "I now know for sure that I love you, B'Elanna Torres, but I still am not sure if I am fully 'in' love with you. Having said that, I do love you, we live together, we share all our free time together. I like being in your presence, and when I am working in Astrometrics I look forward to the end of the day because then I can go home and once more be in your presence. I think that this is more than a lot of married couples actually share. Therefore I think that we have passed the stage of being mere friends. I think I would like it very much if you were my Mate, B'Elanna."

"You just said it better than I could have, Seven. All of the above, so, yes, I am your Mate, and you are mine."

Seven smiled at B'Elanna before pointing down the road. "I think we should make a right turn there, my Mate."

"I think you are right, my Mate," B'Elanna agreed. Both of them knew that they wouldn't suddenly go calling each other 'my Mate' all the time; it simply wasn't them to do so. But it did feel good to say it at that moment.

"Tell me," Seven asked once they had gone to the right. "Was the Captain correct? Did you get jealous about the fact that someone was touching my behind?"

"Seven, you heard what I told the Captain, I meant that."

"I did hear that," Seven agreed. "And I do believe that. But that was not the question I asked you. My question was if you had been jealous about the fact that someone else was touching my behind?"

Now B'Elanna laughed, "Hell yes! That is one fine ass you got there. And I'll be damned before I let someone but me touch it."

"First, you have never touched my... ass. Second, you sound very possessive, you do realize that it is my 'ass' and it is mine to do with what I please?"

B'Elanna tilted her head slightly and gave Seven a bemused grin. "Well, I sincerely hope that the never touching it will change one of these days. And as for being possessive; that's the Klingon in me. We can become very possessive. Do you mind?"

Seven had heard the certain tone of voice in the 'do you mind' and knew that B'Elanna would react to her answer. It wasn't the first time B'Elanna asked a question in such a way. Seven really liked that a lot. B'Elanna didn't try to convince her, persuade her, or push her. She would simply do something or say something and then ask 'do you mind' in that tone of voice. And if Seven's answer was yes, B'Elanna wouldn't do or say it again.

"No, I do not mind. As of now, my 'ass' is yours."

"Really now?" B'Elanna asked delighted while she came closer until her body was touching that of the blonde while they walked.

"Then I can do this, right?" B'Elanna asked while she circled Seven with her arm. Taking the blonde into a loose one armed hug that ended with B'Elanna's hand firmly placed halfway on Seven's other hip, and halfway on her behind.

Seven liked the feeling of B'Elanna so close very much. She put her own hand on B'Elanna's hip in response. "You may do that as often as you like, if I can do the same in response."

"You got a deal," B'Elanna said while she snuggled a little closer to the blonde. Oh yeah, this felt right alright. Being close to someone had never felt so right before. When she was making love to Tom, it had felt good, very good, but simply being close to someone had never felt so right. Not with Tom, not with anyone. Not even with the two women she had slept with during her time as a Maquis.

Thinking of 'sleeping' reminded B'Elanna of something else she had been wondering about. "Say, Seven, I was wondering, and if you don't want to answer since this concerns Harry too, then that's fine. But I've been wondering, when you and Harry dated you also had sex; he was your first, right? I mean. There was this famous incident when you had just joined Voyager where you told him to strip so that you could have sex; you didn't make that offer to anyone else and have that person take you up on it, did you?"

"I did not. Until now Harry was my first, and only, lover. Besides, Harry basically ran away then," Seven reminded. "So I figured that it was an approach that was not acceptable to the people on the ship."

"He didn't run away the second time you suggested it," B'Elanna noted.

"True," Seven agreed. "But by then I had learned that the way you make an offer has a lot to do with whether it is accepted."

"True enough," B'Elanna agreed. "So what did you do different the second time you made him the offer?"

"Besides the fact that I made clear that I was not merely offering to find out what copulating was about, but actually wanted to experience all of the aspects of a relationship?" Seven asked.

"Yes, besides that."

"I went to his quarters and initiated a discussion. After a few minutes I straddled his legs and made him my offer. In other words; I made sure that he could not run away this time."

B'Elanna laughed, trying to picture the scene.

After an amused moment, Seven noted, "You do not seem troubled about the fact that I have been in a relationship before, that someone else beat you to me, as some of the crew of Voyager would say."

B'Elanna hesitated before answering. "I'm not. Mind you, I would get very pissed if someone else would touch you now,"

"You would actually break her jaw," Seven interrupted amused.

"Well, yeah," B'Elanna agreed with a rueful smile. "But I don't mind that you have a past. Hell I have a past that puts your past to shame. I don't mind that Harry was your first instead of me. In fact, I'm glad that your first time was with someone who is such a caring person. My first time was basically a bet. I won, I slept with someone first, oh wow."

"I am sorry to hear that. Harry put a lot of effort into making my first time something I will never forget."

"Oh, I also won't forget my first time," B'Elanna assured. "Just that it's not a fond memory. Not bad mind you, just... a stupid thing done at the wrong time with the wrong person for the wrong reason. Harry, he was, nice?"

Seven smiled. "B'Elanna Torres, are you trying to find out the dirt about Harry and me?"

B'Elanna shrugged. "As I said, I don't mind that you have a past. And if it's a nice story to hear, then why not? I can tell you things about me if you want, but somehow I don't really think that you want details about Tom and me, and the others were people you don't know."

"Well, let me assure you, Harry was very nice. Harry is a very talented lover. He was considerate and he timed the breaking of my hymen with an orgasm so that I hardly felt it. He, he cares I think is the best description."

Seven hesitated before asking, "But why did you start asking about Harry, or was finding out 'the dirt' truly the only reason?"

"Oh right, I forgot. No, the reason I asked was because I am curious about how you like having sex with a man. I mean, yes, I know that Harry was your only experience, but in general, do you like feeling a tongue down south, if Harry did that of course, did you like the feeling of being filled by, um, him?"

"Ah, I see. Yes I did, to both. Though as nice as the sex was, it was also lacking in a way, not that Harry could have done anything about that."

"Why not?" B'Elanna asked. "I'm sure that he could've learned what you wanted if you had told him how you wanted it."

"B'Elanna, I did not find the sex itself lacking, but the fact that I also wanted to touch a woman's breasts, to taste her. No matter how much Harry was willing to learn, he could not be a woman. I told you, I do think that I can have a fulfilling relationship with a man. I know this since I did like what Harry did, and do know that a relationship is more than sex. But I prefer women over men."

"Lucky me," B'Elanna smiled.

"Lucky you, indeed," Seven agreed. "Now, since you asked me, let me ask you. How did you like your experience with men?"

"Well," B'Elanna said while thinking about it for a moment. "I think I'm straight down the middle. If I'm with a man I really like it. Though just as you, I sometimes would really like to be able to touch a woman's body then as well. But when I'm with a woman I do sometimes really miss that one thing that men do have. I really like the feeling of something long and hard sliding into me. And the size and shape of a man, it just feels so much different then a woman's fingers."

"You could use 'toys,'" Seven suggested.

"I could," B'Elanna agreed. "And I actually do have some, designed for women that are alone. But the thing is that I personally feel that science has entered the field of toys too much. You see, I have tried the toys that are designed to act and feel like a real man, you know those 'strap-on' kind of things that just feel as if they are real. But those are too real for me. When I'm with a woman, I want to be with that woman. I want to know that the toy that we are using is just that; a toy. I don't want to be able to close my eyes and then have it just feel as if it's a man that's fucking me."

"So you would like to have a toy so that a woman can enter you like a man would, yet you do not want that toy to feel too real," Seven summed up. "But if you had a toy that was not as real as a man, would you then not end up still missing a man?"

"No, not at all," B'Elanna said confidently. "You see, it is the size and shape I want. That's the 'feel' that I want, and I want for it to slide in and out of me in that wonderful age old rhythm and yet feel two hands holding on to me."

Seven nodded her head in agreement, "Hmm, I think I understand. I too think that I would like the feel of a toy like that."

B'Elanna grinned at the blonde while they took yet another turn that would bring them back to the village. "You know, I really do hope that we end up making love at some point. Because I sure would like to take you and be taken by you with such a toy. Maybe when the time is right, we can dive into the replicator patterns and find something we both like."

"I like that idea," Seven agreed.

Part 6

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