DISCLAIMER: Yes, Paramount owns it all - I am just having some fun with their characters.
SERIES: This story is a sequel to Resistance
PAIRING: B'Elanna/Seven (eventually!)
FEEDBACK: Yes please, I wouldn't post otherwise.

By Rebelgirl

Part Two

Seven of Nine blinked as the chirp from her console drew her attention. Quickly, she flicked her cerulean blue eyes around Astrometrics and tried to ascertain whether any of her staff had noticed her lapse in concentration. She mentally berated herself for her lack of control and discipline. She had reprimanded a number of crew-members for their apparent inability to focus on a task without switching off and `day-dreaming' and yet for the third time this shift, the tall blonde ex-borg had caught herself doing the same thing.

Seven allowed herself to sigh, knowing that even that gesture would attract attention but the tall woman needed to vent her frustration in some way. Even as she considered the reasoning behind her action, she recalled being on the prison planet and wishing that she could release her frustration in an explosive burst of anger as B'Elanna often did.

The ex-drone allowed the pain of recent events to wash through her again. It didn't seem to matter how many times she spoke with the Doctor or Tuvok, Seven knew that she hadn't yet come to terms with what had happened.

The blonde woman knew that much of her failure in dealing with the situation stemmed from her deep-rooted feelings of guilt. She also knew that Captain Janeway was suffering in the same way. However, what they had endured paled into insignificance compared to what B'Elanna had gone through. What made things worse as far as Seven was concerned was that she had chosen to express her feelings for the half-Klingon engineer during their incarceration. Lieutenant Torres had not brushed the ex-drone away and had even admitted being unsure of the feelings she had for her husband Tom Paris. For a while, Seven had harboured a hope that B'Elanna would leave Tom, with a view to forming a more intimate relationship with her, but B'Elanna had returned to her shared quarters with the helmsman and gave all outward appearances of continuing as normal.

Seven had shared many discussions with the dark engineer but they had focused on the loss of B'Elanna's baby and Seven's guilt over not being able to assist the half-Klingon more whilst they were incarcerated. Both women had admitted that their feelings were irrational but understandable, however neither of them felt that they could move on. As much as Seven tried to steer the conversation round to B'Elanna's relationship with Tom, the raven-haired woman would skilfully dodge the issue and fall back on more comfortable topics. Seven found herself increasingly frustrated but was at an impasse as to how to continue. She was reluctant to discuss the problem with Tuvok or the EMH, knowing that the intensely private lieutenant would be horrified to find herself the topic of conversation.

Realising that she had already lapsed back into her own private thoughts, Seven forced herself to look up and straight at the other personnel in Astrometrics. Just as she suspected, she found two pairs of eyes staring straight back at her, both emulating concern.

"The tests have finished," she commented curtly. "I will complete the correlation of the results. You are dismissed for the day."

Delaney raised her eyebrows in surprise. "But there's still 20 minutes remaining of the shift," she protested.

"Then you are fortunate to finish early," Seven retorted neutrally, mentally berating herself for another mistake. She recovered quickly. "You both finished late on your last rostered shifts. Finishing early will go a small way to balancing your hours." She emphasised the statement with a sharp nod and then watched as the two ensigns left Astrometrics. She noticed their looks of concern and surmised that they would continue to attribute her behaviour to her recent ordeal.

In a way they were correct in their assumptions. But it was her own behaviour and what had happened to B'Elanna that bothered her most. Nothing that the Moderator or his lackeys inflicted on her came close to the pain of recalling his delight at torturing the half-Klingon. Sometimes, Seven wished that Voyager could return to the planet so she could complete her vow of vengeance and kill the Moderator. Despite her logic telling her that it would not change anything, her hatred and desire to inflict harm on him remained unabated.

Seven shook off her musings and concentrated on the results of the tests she had been performing. Since her return, work had been her only distraction from the ordeal of the away mission. The tall blonde knew that it was yet another way of avoiding the issues and hiding from dealing with her feelings, but she could see no other alternative until she could move on.

Concentrating on the mass of figures presented at her workstation, Seven did not hear the doors open again and was startled to hear a voice behind her.


"Captain," the ex-drone acknowledged, spinning round quickly to face her superior officer. She frowned slightly. "How can I be of assistance?"

Janeway sighed dramatically. "I think B'Elanna could use a shoulder to cry on," she began, pinching the bridge of her nose in an attempt to stem the build-up of tension that was forming across her forehead.

Seven instinctively stepped closer. "What has happened?" she asked quickly, concern flooding through her.

"I went to apologise to B'Elanna and Tom tonight," the red-haired woman explained. "I wanted to face up to the fact that I let both B'Elanna and Tom down by allowing her to be tortured."

Seven saw where the explanation was going and gasped in horror. "You told Mr Paris about the baby," she accused, her voice almost incredulous.

Janeway nodded solemnly. "I didn't know that B'Elanna hadn't told him. I assumed that it would have been one of the first things they had talked about," she continued, willing Seven to understand.

"If you had spoken to myself or the Doctor you would have realised that B'Elanna had not spoken about the baby." Seven shook her head in confusion. "Why now? Why wait for so long before talking to either of us? And why choose to talk in front of Mr Paris when he wasn't even there?" Seven knew she was being accusatory, but the ex- Borg could not understand Janeway's actions.

"I've ignored my duty for too long. What happened on the planet was my responsibility. It was my fault that B'Elanna lost the baby," Janeway justified, wondering sub-consciously why she was having to defend her actions to a sub-ordinate.

"That's ridiculous," Seven dismissed the older woman's argument with contempt. "It was the Moderator who was to blame for B'Elanna's miscarriage. I suspect that he would have tortured her even had you given into his demands."

Curiously, Seven felt better while sounding things out with Janeway. She didn't have to explain her feelings or `set the scene' as she did for Tuvok and the EMH. They had both been there and experienced the same thing. There was no need for them to put up defensive walls against each other. It was why she and B'Elanna had spoken so much and at great length. "You were experiencing irrational feelings of guilt and wanted to eradicate them," Seven surmised.

"Now hang on a minute," Janeway bristled at the lack of sympathy Seven displayed. She of all people should have understood the reasoning behind her decision. "Why shouldn't I have apologised to the pair of them? It was Tom's baby too and he had a right to know what happened to his wife." Janeway knew she was being hard, especially after hearing Seven talk about her feelings for the raven- haired engineer whilst they were in the prison, but she needed to defend her actions.

"You are correct Captain," Seven forced the words past the lump in her throat that had suddenly formed. "But I believe it should have been B'Elanna's choice as to how Mr Paris was informed."

Janeway noticed how comfortable the ex-borg was about using the chief engineer's first name and surmised that her feelings for the half- Klingon remained unchanged, if not stronger. "Well, what's done is done and I can't retract my words," the Captain admitted candidly. "Tom took the revelation quite badly."

Immediately, Seven pounced on Janeway's statement. "What has he done? Is B'Elanna alright?"

"He was not very understanding of the situation," Janeway stated delicately. "I think B'Elanna could do with a friend."

"If he has harmed her." Seven began, her voice deepening unconsciously as her anger grew at the situation.

"No, he over-reacted," Janeway explained hurriedly. "He'll be the one with a sore jaw in the morning," she continued, recalling B'Elanna's solid punch to his face.

"If he said enough to provoke B'Elanna to violence then describing him as `over-reacting' does not appear to be adequate," Seven stated firmly, her mind racing over all the possibilities and permutations that could have led B'Elanna to striking out.

Janeway ignored the ex-drone's comment. "I don't think he'll be back tonight. When I checked his location, the computer told me that he was in Harry's quarters. But B'Elanna's on her own now. I wondered if." She trailed off deliberately, leaving Seven to come to her own conclusion of the request.

"I will go and see if B'Elanna needs assistance," Seven supplied, knowing that after Janeway's faux pas, the older woman would not be welcome in the dark engineer's quarters.

The Captain sighed with relief. "Thank you," she breathed. "I think I've said too much as it is." Her words hardened as she berated herself and Seven realised that it didn't matter how much she voiced her disapproval at Janeway's blunder, the Captain would always judge herself more harshly over the matter.

"Captain, are you all right?" the younger woman asked suddenly.

Janeway was startled by the directness of the query. Tuvok and the EMH had both tactfully inquired after her health and only pursued the matter if she had indicated that she was receptive to their questions. To have someone ask such a mundane question so forcefully and so sincerely shocked the woman for a moment. "Not yet," she admitted finally. "But I will be soon."

Seven nodded, satisfied with the response for the time being. "I will visit B'Elanna after I have finished my calculations," she told the older woman.

Janeway frowned. "I really don't think she should be left on her own," she commented, confused as to why Seven would wait.

"She will suspect I have been sent there if I arrive too quickly," Seven explained. "And inevitably, she will ask about my work. Even should she not suspect an ulterior motive when I arrive, when she discovers that I have not completed my work here in Astrometrics, she will know that I have been sent to check on her."

The Captain could not fault the ex-borg's logic and nodded slowly. "Okay," she agreed. "Let me know if I can do anything to help." She turned on her heel and left quickly without waiting for a reply.

"I think you have already `helped' too much," Seven muttered as she turned back to her console. Her slender fingers flew over the controls swiftly as she worked to make sense of the readings she had collected. Her speed was fuelled by her worry for the Klingon hybrid and she found herself drumming her fingers on the console impatiently as she waited for the data to be stored into the computer. Despite her efforts to hurry up the correlation, it still took the tall blonde well over an hour to complete her work.

Striding down the corridor towards the Paris-Torres quarters, the last person Seven expected to see was Tom. She spared him only a cursory glance but registered the baleful stare he was directing at her, so she halted and looked back at the helmsman.

"Can I help you, Lieutenant?" she asked politely, keeping her tone deliberately neutral.

"You're going to see my wife," Tom stated rather than asked. His voice was slurred, a reflection of his drunken state.

"I am," Seven concurred, wondering what Tom would say next.

"I don't want you anywhere near her," Tom stood upright and tried to use his height advantage to intimidate the ex-drone.

"It is up to B'Elanna whether she wishes me to be `near her' or not," Seven replied firmly, not bothered in the least by his aggressive posture.

"I'm her husband," the helmsman retorted.

"Your point?"

Tom was taken aback by the complete disregard of his status or instruction. He tried again. "I don't want you anywhere near my *wife*. And that includes staying away from *my* quarters."

"Mr Paris, the quarters you currently reside in are *shared* by B'Elanna. If she does not wish for my company then I will withdraw. I will not however," she continued, "be dictated to by you on this matter." Seven stood up straighter and looked the sandy-haired man squarely in the eye.

Paris' head swam. He had hit the alcohol as soon as he had left their quarters, his excuse being that he needed something to numb the pain he felt in his jaw. The alcohol he had consumed had done nothing for the rage he felt over the injustice of losing his baby. It did even less for the anger he held against B'Elanna for failing to tell him that he had very nearly been a father. Seven had been on the planet with B'Elanna but had failed to stop her miscarrying. In his current state, that made her partially to blame too, and he convinced himself that they had conspired together to keep the information from him. "I suppose you whored yourself too."

Seven ground her teeth and stilled her fists as they clenched in anger at his slight. At least now she knew what it was that had provoked the half-Klingon into striking out. "As you are well aware, you know little of what happened while we were incarcerated. You would be wise not to jump to conclusions." Her voice shook slightly as she fought to control her reaction.

"No, I don't know what happened. No one will tell me. All I know is that she lost my baby and didn't have the guts to tell me. If she's hurting now, well at least she has a taste of how I'm feeling."

Seven was aghast at how selfishly Tom was behaving. However, she tried to attribute much of his behaviour to the amount of alcohol in his system. "Mr Paris, I think it would be better if you returned to Ensign Kim's quarters for tonight. Another confrontation with B'Elanna will just be counter-productive."

"Don't order me about, Borg," Tom spat back venomously.

"Mr Paris," Seven warned, her voice lowering.

"Tom!" Harry Kim's voice broke in on their conversation. He sounded breathless. "What are you doing?" he asked. He nodded acknowledgement at Seven's presence.

"I'm going to see my *wife*," Tom ground out, his voice still affected.

"Not now," Harry pleaded. "Wait till the morning," he advised, grabbing hold of the lieutenant's arm.

Tom shrugged his friend's grip away. "Don't tell me what to do."

"See her tomorrow," Harry tried again. "When you can think straight."

Somehow, Harry seemed to get through Tom's befuddled mind and the helmsman allowed himself to be lead away by the young Asian Ops officer. Harry glanced over his shoulder to smile apologetically at the tall blonde woman. "Sorry Seven. Whatever he said, he didn't mean it," he told her in a show of loyal friendship.

Seven seriously doubted the veracity of the man's words but nodded politely and observed Tom stagger away in the direction of Harry's quarters.

As soon as the two men disappeared around the corner, the ex-borg continued her own journey to B'Elanna's rooms. She paused outside the door, for the first time wondering if she would be welcome. Swallowing, she pressed the door chime.

Part Three

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