The captain requested my attendance in sickbay and as is required by protocol and the manners these humans seem to find so fascinating, I complied. I did not wish to. I knew full well what, or rather whom, would be waiting for me there but I didn't really have a choice. So much for free will.
"Seven, good," Janeway's tone is verging on the exasperated. I find myself pleased by that fact. I don't see why I should be the only one aggrieved by that woman. "The doctor has found a way to restore B'Elanna's memory but we'll need your help." Typically straight to the point and oblivious to my wishes. I do believe Kathryn practices that superior attitude. I'm impressed.
"What do you require captain?" She appears to relax at my acquiescence, as if she'd expected a different response. If she had then she really doesn't know me at all. An annoying, screaming and all together irritating B'Elanna Torres is still a vast improvement on the doleful and love struck creature that she has become. I'm sure Tom Paris would agree, even if not about the love struck part. B'Elanna's right cross when he attempted to hug her was a thing of beauty.
"Ah Seven, finally." The doctor strides his way between us, his face its usual mask of arrogance. Yet there is a certain twinkle in his eyes, a sure sign that he believes he's solved the problem and is expecting a copious amount of praise. I doubt he will receive that, at least not from me or B'Elanna. But the captain will probably bestow a smile and a 'well done' on him. It won't be enough of course but it will give him even more ammunition for his 'no-one appreciates me' speech. "If you will come with me we can begin."
"Begin?" That was far too short an introduction to the procedure, where is all the self praise and condescension?
His chest puffs up and I realise I've given just the enquiring type of look that he's been hoping for. "A very complex procedure that I have managed to adjust to the specifics of the case. You were fortunate really, if my database had been less inclusive there would be no way we could have reversed the lieutenant's condition. Your average chief medical officer would have no doubt given up days ago."
"What do you need me to do?" I interrupt. "I have duties I need to return to."
"Oh and there was me thinking you'd want to spend some quality time with your sweetheart," he sneers. "I realise B'Elanna's behaviour might be uncomfortable for you but I would have expected a little more concern for one of your fellow officers."
I've had the same spiel from Janeway and Neelix, even if the morale officer's tone had been far more friendly. None of them truly understands what it is like. How can they? None of them has had their main antagonist declare their undying love in front of practically the entire bridge crew. None of them has been attacked by a hormone driven half Klingon - well, kissed anyway. None of them have spent the night reliving the feel of soft, yet strong, hands caressing their face.
"Seven? Seven, are you listening to me?" The doctor hates to be ignored. "You'll need to monitor the sensor output for any sign of distress. If you see anything, anything at all, you have to stop the process immediately. Do you understand?"
"No." I can tell that answer has flummoxed him far more than anything else I could have said. "I am not telepathic doctor. You have yet to tell me what the procedure entails and the reason for my attendance."
He looks both annoyed and sheepish for a moment before going into a detailed description of the operation he is about to perform, the captain adding the odd comment when she feels it is necessary. It is relatively simple, if dangerous. I predict the chances of success to be approximately 84.65%. "Shall we begin?"
He nods and wanders off to prepare, the captain following him closely. It is then that I finally approach her. "Lieutenant."
She is lying there, looking beautiful and almost serene in her medicated state. Her eyes aren't sleepy though, they're alive with what I can only suppose is lust and they're riveted on me. It is a look that unnerves me in a way that my fiercest enemy never could. I hate to admit this, even to myself, but this tiny woman terrifies me.
"I thought I'd scared you off," B'Elanna purrs, he tone both seductive and tired, "or were you just waiting to make a grand, life saving, entrance?"
She is mocking me. It would almost be a familiar experience if it wasn't for the look in her eyes. A look that tells me she is still under the influence of her memory deficient delusion. I never knew before that people mocked those they loved. I thought romantic love was meant to be accompanied by hearts, flowers and deep, slow kisses. Not mockery.
Trust B'Elanna Torres to do things differently.
"Cat got your tongue?" Her eyes are fixed on my lips. "Because that would be a shame."
I know that if I were totally human I'd be blushing about now. "Are you ready Lieutenant?"
"For you? Always."
I try to recall the latest Astrometrics reports, anything to take my mind of this damn woman! Why me? Why did she have to pick on me? From the moment she woke up after the accident she has been pursuing me. First with her eyes and then with her words of devotion. I thought at first it was just her latest form of torture. A new way to make me feel uncomfortable and like an outsider. But then she'd kissed me. A simple, almost chaste, kiss that had been filled with emotions I didn't recognise but knew had nothing to do with causing me pain. Yet that kiss was agony. Soft, loving and full of promise. A promise I'd never wanted and now cannot stop thinking about. Damn this woman!
"Don't ignore me," B'Elanna pleads or at least it would be a plea from anyone else. From her it's almost a command, "I don't know how much time I have left, before they take all this away from me."
"Take what away from you?" I'm confused. What we're planning should restore B'Elanna's memories, not take anything from her.
"My freedom," I know my face must be a canvass of confusion. "The freedom to say what I really feel without worrying about my reputation. The freedom to imagine a future where I'll be happy. The freedom to love you without my past telling me I should not." She reaches for my hand and I don't resist when she pulls it into her lap. "The freedom to be the real me."
Her eyes are filled with tears and all I want to do is take her in my arms and promise her that everything will be all right. That she will never lose those things. That she could never lose me. I don't know where those thoughts come from, but they have a strength of feeling I've never experienced before. "B'Elanna, I.."
"Are we ready?" The doctor seems almost giddy with anticipation and totally oblivious to the moment he has ruined.
B'Elanna looks at me, her eyes begging for something I know I can't give her. "Are we ready?" Her voice is soft and resigned. Her memories may be gone but she still knows I don't have the strength to accept the love she was offering me.
"Yes, we're ready."
She closes her eyes and I know without being told that the next time I see them they will look at me with nothing but indifference.
What the hell have I done!
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