DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is the property of Paramount, this story depicts a loving relationship between women...okay disclaimer done.

Rose Petal Dream
By ralst

B'Elanna rolled over in bed and reached out her hand to snuggle closer to her husband, but instead of a snoring Tom Paris the dozing woman's hand met nothing but empty and cold sheets. It was then that the truth once again hit her, Tom her lover of three years and husband of barely two months had been killed over six months ago when the Delta Flyer mysteriously exploded while on a routine scouting mission. Tom hadn't been the only one lost on the flight, both Vorik and Samantha Wildman had also been killed. It was a time of deep sadness for all aboard Voyager, Sam's death more than the others, had affected everyone deeply, or rather the reaction of the only child now left on the ship, Naomi Wildman, had brought the pain of loss home to even the most jaded of crew member. For weeks the mourning engineer had spent all her spare time scouring the wreckage of Tom's ship searching for any clue as to why the accident had occurred, her only companion at those times had been Seven, the ex-borg's presence had at first fuelled B'Elanna with indignation, but when a glassy eyed Seven had explained she was doing this at the behest of Naomi, her friend, B'Elanna stopped her complaints. Still it had been a futile search, test after test was run but nothing untoward showed up, which in itself was strange, but neither federation or borg technology could come up with anything. So finally having exhausted every option the two women gave up the search.

Over the months B'Elanna had managed to come to terms with Tom's death, and through a shared grief had even formed a strong bond with young Naomi, which in turn brought her into more social contact with Seven, but still at night when her mind was only half awake she yearned to wake up to him lying beside her, his strong arms holding her close. Allowing her eyes to once again close B'Elanna tried to recreate the dream of her dead lover, a hand trailing down her arm, lips gently caressing her neck, the barely discernible smell of roses.

Eyes opening wide the half Klingon jumped up in bed, her mind trying to decipher the dream sensations, Tom, even on his best days, had never managed to quite get the smell of motor oil from his body, it was only barely noticeable to her heightened Klingon senses and not unpleasant, but roses it was not. Infact the only person she knew of who carried that scent was Seven, but why would she be dreaming of Tom smelling like Seven? It made no sense, for the last two weeks she had been visited be intense dreams of being held and made love to, but why would remembrances of her husband suddenly change to incorporate Seven's scent?

Unwilling to go back to sleep B'Elanna quickly dressed and headed for the mess-hall, hoping that at this time of night it would be mostly deserted. On entering the room she notice a couple of ensigns sitting quietly in one corner, while the rest of the room appeared empty, relieved she headed towards the kitchen to see if Neelix had left out any snacks. Coming round the corner B'Elanna almost fell over a body kneeling on the floor, its head obscured inside the refrigerator, but even without seeing the persons face it was obvious from the blue biosuit and shapely curves that the body belonged to Seven.

"What are you doing?" B'Elanna grumbled.

Seven peered up from the fridge, her normally composed features showing signs of embarrassment, "I was hungry, and I remember Naomi telling me that Neelix keeps snacks in the refrigerator."

"Hungry?" The Klingon looked at her sceptically. "I didn't think you got hungry or thirsty or any of that weak human stuff."

"Normally no, but the Doctor has been trying to realign my borg systems to rely more heavily on my human energy resources." Brushing off her knees as she rose Seven stared at the other woman. "It is in my opinion a less than efficient method."

B'Elanna smiled, "It may not be as efficient but it can be fun."

"Fun?" Seven managed to make the one small word sound questioning, derogatory and highly unlikely all at once.

"Sure, food can be fun, drink liberating and sleep that's, well that's amazing, or at least it can be." B'Elanna realised she was babbling and tried to stop, but the talk of sleep reminded her of the dreams she'd been having and Seven's sudden connection with them. "You do sleep now right? I mean when Icheb cut back on his regeneration the Doctor made him sleep, but I suppose your case is slightly different, on the other hand.."

"I am meant to sleep." Seven cut in, she had never heard the lieutenant talk in such a free flowing and superfluous manner and she wasn't sure she liked it.

"Meant to? Does that mean you're not actually doing it?" B'Elanna got herself under control, she was fully capable of discussing sleep with the other woman, it wasn't as if she'd dreamt anything truly untoward, or at least that's what she tried to convince herself.

"I, I am not sure how." Seven looked at the floor, she didn't like talking about her inability to assimilate the simplest of human behaviour, it only reinforced the difference between her and the rest of the crew.

"Oh," B'Elanna wasn't quite sure what to say to that, sleep was such a natural thing for most people, but then she remembered the nights when she'd been unable, for one reason or another, to fall asleep, and how at that time she'd tried everything in her power to recreate her normal sleep routine but nothing had worked. So if someone who had a lifetime of experience of sleeping couldn't force themselves to do it against their minds or bodies will what chance did Seven have, the poor woman hadn't slept in over twenty years. "Did the Doctor not give you something to help?"

"No, he thought it better if I could achieve the state unassisted." The look on Seven's face clearly showed her view on that idea, and B'Elanna wondered that she hadn't simply rearranged the Doctor's holomatrix.

"Well I'll leave you to your food hunt, I'd best get back to bed." The Klingon thought a quick retreat was in order, the desire to wrap Seven in a blanket and sing her to sleep was strangely compelling, and she didn't want to make a fool of herself infront of the ex-borg.

"Can I watch?" Seven asked innocently.

"What?" B'Elanna was beginning to feel slightly confused.

"Can I watch you sleep?"

At this point B'Elanna decided to do an impersonation of a fish, or at least that's what it looked like as her mouth hung open and she appeared to temporarily loose the ability to speak. "What!"

"It is often beneficial to observe others engaged in an activity when one is trying to master it." Seven explained, although that was only part of the reason she asked, the other being that she longed for the chance to observe the other woman without restraint, a longing that had grown increasingly hard to fight over the last few months that their friendship had grown.

"I. I'm not sure that's such a good idea Seven." Her bodies instant arousal at the thought of Seven watching her sleep had made B'Elanna nervous. Then as she stood there watching the other woman, and breathing in her scent the Klingon started to remember other things from her dreams, dreams that she had always assumed were of Tom, but now she wasn't so sure. "Look Seven maybe you should talk to Tuvok, he could show you some meditation techniques that could help."

"Yes." Seven lowered her head and in a voice barely audible whispered, "I just want to sleep."

Watching the former drone B'Elanna was reminded of the child she never had the chance of being and before her brain could formulate a protest she'd taken Seven's hand in her own and was pulling her towards the mess-hall doors. "Okay Seven, but if you start moaning about me snoring I'm throwing you out."

"Do you snore?" Seven never got an answer.

Entering her quarters B'Elanna wasn't sure what exactly to do with the tall blonde attached to her arm. Agreeing to let someone watch you sleep was fine in principle, if a little strange, but trying to actually sleep while being peered at like a rat in a maze was probably not conducive with a restful night. "So Seven, how exactly do you want to do this?"

"I am uncertain," Seven poked her head into the bedroom but quickly pulled her gaze back to the other room as a blush spread across her face, "if you get into bed, I can just observe you until you reach REM sleep."

"Right, okay, well you wait her a moment and I'll get changed and into bed." This is getting weirder by the second B'Elanna thought to herself.

Five minutes twenty three seconds later B'Elanna informed the now rather nervous ex-borg that she was ready. Entering the room Seven took up a standing position on the right hand side of the bed, her legs just grazing the edge of the mattress, and began watching the half Klingon woman.

Nine minutes and fifty two seconds later B'Elanna sat up straight in bed and crossing her arms glared accusingly at the motionless former borg. "Stop staring. How am I supposed to get to sleep with you staring at me all the time?"

Even in the dark B'Elanna could see the implant rise on Seven's brow, "How can I watch you sleep if I do not look at you?"

"Look but just don't stare, all right?"

There was a tiny pause as Seven tried to work out how to look continuously without staring, but rather than give voice to this concern she chose to simply go along with the idea "Acceptable."

"Good." B'Elanna lay back down, but even with her eyes closed she could feel Seven looming over her, "Seven try sitting down." After a moments pause the bed tipped slightly as Seven rested on the edge, it hadn't been quite what B'Elanna meant, but at least the tall woman was no-longer looming over her. Taking her own advice the tired half Klingon used one of Tuvok's Vulcan meditation technique to help relax, and lead her softly into sleep.

Perching on the edge of the bed Seven tried desperately to quieten her breathing, and refrain from anything that could disturb the sleep of the other woman. She watched transfixed as B'Elanna's chest gently rose and fell with each successive breath, her mouth slightly parted in what seemed to the ex-borg an invitation, although an invitation to what she wasn't sure. The half Klingon's face was transformed in sleep, the lines of worry and pain that had settled onto the beautiful features since the death of her husband were gone, and in their place was a look of peace. It was a look that compelled the blonde woman to reach out and touch the soft face, to allow her fingers to trace the ridges that characterised B'Elanna's Klingon heritage, but with more will power than she knew she possessed, Seven kept her hands at her side, knowing she didn't have the right to touch the other woman, but wishing she did.

Feeling suddenly awkward about invading the other woman's privacy Seven stood and prepared to leave, but B'Elanna's subconscious must have registered the change and she reached out in an attempt to snag Seven's arm. The wild grab missed, but it did cause the younger woman to move in close as she checked to make sure the other woman was still sleeping peacefully. Then as Seven bent down to pull up the blanket and more fully cover the sleeping form, B'Elanna's eyes fluttered open, her hand reaching back out from the blanket to cover Seven's own.

"Don't go." She murmured, and pulled back the blanket in invitation.

Seven's eyes widened, and her heart started to hammer inside her chest, the thought of lying down next to this woman was so tempting, the chance to touch her and be touched by her something she had thought about constantly over the last few months, but she was unsure what the invitation really meant, or even whether it was really directed to her or some remnant from B'Elanna's dream.

"B'Elanna, what do you mean?" Seven asked nervously.

"Stay with me," B'Elanna purred, and caressed the hand under hers, "I'll teach you how to sleep Seven."

Hearing her name Seven slipped off her shoes and lay down, still nervous but with a growing sense of excitement. B'Elanna reached over and pulled the cover over the two of them, leaving her arm draped over the rigid body beside her.

"Relax," B'Elanna moved her lips until they were almost grazing Seven's ear, "the secret to falling asleep is to relax and let your body soak up the warmth of the person lying next to you."

"But.." Seven was about to point out that she would normally be sleeping alone, but the arm that was slowly travelling down to encircle her waist stole her ability to speak, and so she allowed her body to relax and soak up the feel of the other woman.

B'Elanna felt Seven relax and snuggled up closer, breathing in her faint scent of roses and warmth. The feel was like that from her dream, only better, so much better, and it just confirmed her decision to open up to the beautiful blonde, a decision made in a heart beat when she felt Seven was about to leave her. If loosing Tom had taught her one thing it was that you had to cherish people while they were there, and never to be afraid of showing how much you cared. Now lying there with Seven in her arms the proud Klingon could finally admit just how much she had grown to care about the former borg. Even from before Tom died there had been something about the apparently emotionless woman that had attracted her, but as time passed and Seven began to share with her the emotions she normally kept hidden, B'Elanna had slowly begun to fall in love.

"Do you feel sleepy?" A now fully awake B'Elanna whispered, while trying to fight the urge to press tiny kisses to Seven's ear.

"No." Seven answered honestly, her body having woken up in places she'd never even realised she had.

"Oh, do you want to leave then?" The disappointment in B'Elanna's voice was evident for anyone to hear.

"Never." The word escaped Seven's lips before she could think of how it would be interpreted, fear that she had given away the extent of her longing for the other woman, propelled her to turn and search B'Elanna's eyes for any sign of rejection, or worse still revoltion, but all she saw was a warmth and tenderness that eased her fears and bolstered her courage, "I want to be with you always."

Unable to form the words B'Elanna reached forward and captured Seven's lips with her own, the kiss soft and slow, meant to convey love not lust. Pulling back from the kiss B'Elanna used her hand to trace the contours of Seven's face, marvelling in the beauty before her, she then looked into the eyes that were staring at her with such love and apprehension, and it was that look that helped her to form the words, "I love you Seven."

"And I love you, B'Elanna."

And so began a night Seven would never forget, the night she first made love, and the first of many nights she fell asleep in the arms of the woman she loved.

The End

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