DISCLAIMER: This fan fiction story was written solely for the entertainment of the readers and is not for profit. All characters, including the Starship Voyager, are property of Paramount Pictures Corporation. The sole intent of this story is to enjoy the characters created by the Star Trek Franchise and to expand the program's fanbase. The producers have given me a great deal of enjoyment with their programs and I hope that my stories can add something back to the Star Trek universe. I write stories borrowing their characters for the enjoyment of the fans and in turn hope to offer them a larger viewing audience. No copyright infringement is intended and this is not for profit of any kind. Please read the Disclaimer before continuing to remain in the site or reading the stories.
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She Who Hesitates is Lost
By Lisa Countryman

 

Chapter 45: Getting into the routine

Day one: 11:06

B'Elanna was in her quarters, sitting on the edge of the bed holding Kayla. Seven was sleeping beside her, stretched out under the fur comforter.

"Shh, little one. Let your mama sleep," B'Elanna whispered and kissed her daughter's forehead. Kayla was kicking her feet and squirming, ready to eat again. Nara had walked B'Elanna through the first feeding, but now the Narian was gone and B'Elanna was trying it on her own.

Kayla frowned, sucked on her fist, and kicked her feet even harder.

"I'm trying," B'Elanna whispered as she fought to unbutton her blouse without putting the baby down. "Geeze, I'm leaking again and you're not even crying." B'Elanna watched as twin stains appeared on her blouse.

"Lana?" Seven sat up and moved behind her wife.

"Your daughter is an eating machine," B'Elanna said. Kayla began to whimper. "I fed her less than two hours ago."

"Should I call Nara?" Seven asked.

"No." B'Elanna moved Kayla to the side. "I'm Chief Engineer… I think I can feed my daughter. Nara showed me and it wasn't that difficult."

"I want to help." Seven scooted behind B'Elanna. She put one leg on each side of her wife and reached around her and helped support Kayla.

"Umm," B'Elanna moaned happily. "I like that," she said as Seven put her hand over B'Elanna's on Kayla's back.

"She has your fingers." Seven rested her chin on B'Elanna's shoulder and studied their daughter.

"And your nose." B'Elanna freed her breast from the nursing bra and then lifted Kayla to her. The baby nuzzled her breast, seeming to play with the hardening nipple more than trying to eat. "She learned that from you," B'Elanna added.

"Indeed?" Seven tipped the baby's head toward B'Elanna's nipple. She latched on and began suckling. "I never get distracted when I am near your breasts. You are the one who cannot pay attention."

"You are very distracting, my Be'nal." B'Elanna leaned back against Seven and sighed, then stared at Kayla. "Look." B'Elanna stared down, her voice full of wonder.

"Our love made her," Seven said as she kissed B'Elanna neck.

"Yeah," B'Elanna whispered. She watched a while longer and then sighed. "This is a piece of cake."

"I knew you could do it," Seven said. "I believe we have mastered parenting."

"Yeah, no problem," B'Elanna said and then inhaled sharply. "I'm sure I'll get used to having a vacuum attached to my chest."

"It will be simple," Seven promised her.


Day two: 11:58.

Seven opened her eyes, pausing before she stepped out of her regeneration chamber. The small unit took up one corner of their cramped quarters, and Seven had suggested that she go back to regenerating in the cargo bay. B'Elanna had refused.

"Welcome back," B'Elanna said from the rocking chair across the room. She was holding Kayla, and studying her wife.

"Thank you." Seven smiled and went toward her family. "Did you sleep?"

"Talk to your daughter," B'Elanna said. "Every time I try to doze off she decides to test those lungs of hers."

"Is she ill?" Seven knelt in front of B'Elanna.

"No, just Klingon."

Seven leaned down and kissed Kayla's cheek. "I thought Klingon children do not cry."

"Not according to what my mother told me." B'Elanna yawned. "They keep quiet right after they're born, but once they get to be a few hours old… look out."

"Try to sleep." Seven stood and took the baby. "I will hold her."

"I'm fine," B'Elanna said as she stood. "I'm sure she'll fall into a routine soon."


B'Elanna rolled over and looked at the clock. It was 02:06, and Kayla had been crying since before 01:00. Seven was walking around their quarters trying to soothe her, but nothing seemed to help.

"Maybe she's hungry again," B'Elanna offered when Seven made a lap through the bedroom. B'Elanna's Klingon instincts were driving her insane. Her breasts had filled three nursing pads and seemed to be leaking as much as if her daughter was eating.

"She just ate," Seven said as she stopped and looked at B'Elanna's wet nightgown. She went to the nightstand and opened the top drawer. "Here," she said as she shoved a breast pump at her wife.

B'Elanna grumbled. "No one told me I'd have to siphon off these squirting wells attached to my chest."

"It will get easier." Seven paced into the living room.


Day three: 04:02


B'Elanna rolled over and looked at her daughter. Kayla was next to the bed in a crib. She refused to nurse. She also refused to go to sleep. It was 04:02, almost morning, and the Klingon was exhausted. Every time she started to doze off, Kayla would scream at the top of her lungs. It seemed that since the tiny bundle was now outside of Seven's womb, she wanted her growling Klingon mother to entertain her. B'Elanna was not amused.

On the other side of the bed, Seven was sleeping soundly. Now that she had didn't have a kicking baby inside anymore, she was curled up on her side and was snoring quite loudly. Even when Kayla would sleep, B'Elanna couldn't seem to drift off with the Borg enhanced snooze that was rattling the entire bedroom. B'Elanna wondered if beaming her wife onto the couch was grounds for divorce.

The previous night Kayla had fallen asleep just after 03:00, but Seven had decided it was the perfect opportunity to make love to B'Elanna. At the time it seemed like a great idea to B'Elanna, but now, twenty some hours later... without any sleep... she decided it was a plot on Seven's part to kill her.

B'Elanna sighed happily when Seven's snoring finally stopped. A few moments later she watched as Kayla's eyes flickered shut. B'Elanna closed her own eyes just as she felt her wife's hand snake around her waist.

"She is asleep," Seven said as she nuzzled B'Elanna's earlobe. "Now we can find something else to do." Seven's hand moved up and cupped B'Elanna's breast.

"Be'nal, I need sleep," B'Elanna whined even as her body responded.

"It has been forever," Seven whispered huskily. She rolled B'Elanna onto her back. "I miss you." She nuzzled B'Elanna's temple and kissed her ear.

"I have baby spit in my hair," B'Elanna whined. "How can you possibly be aroused?"

"You always arouse me," Seven said as she tried to straddle her wife.

"I need sleep," B'Elanna repeated and she squirmed away from her wife. Seven seemed to have grown extra hands...hands that were everywhere at once. The Klingon suddenly realized that sleeping naked was not conducive to getting any sleep when Seven was involved.

"I need you," Seven said as her hand made its way back to B'Elanna's chest.

"Be'nal..." B'Elanna whined, drawing out the word. "For the love of Kahless...just let me sleep for one hour."

"I do not wish to force you into anything unpleasant," Seven said as she eased away.

"I know it would be very pleasant," B'Elanna said with a sigh. She rolled toward Seven and studied her in the dimly lit room. Seven's eyes were flickering with fire, a fire that burned only for B'Elanna. "Unfortunately...if I don't get some sleep... I'm not gonna' survive much longer."

"Are you ill?" Seven felt B'Elanna's forehead, leaning over to kiss her ridges for good measure.

"No, just exhausted." B'Elanna took Seven's hand and tucked it under her cheek. "My beloved... I didn't get to regenerate this morning and wake up freshly charged. That child of yours hasn't let me sleep all day...or night."

"I will comply," Seven said grouchily.

"I promise, it won't be too long," B'Elanna said as she snuggled closer, careful not to wake Kayla.

"It has already been too long," Seven said with a sigh.

"Darling, what's the hurry?" B'Elanna yawned and leaned over to check on Kayla before turning back to Seven.

"Opaca said that as of today… four hours and three minutes ago… I can now engage in all sexual activities," Seven said as she raised her eyebrows to make the point. "Since two weeks before Kayla's birth… you have been unable to… go inside. That restriction is now lifted."

"Oh," B'Elanna said as she watched her wife's eyes sparkle.

Seven leaned over and began kissing B'Elanna's ear. "I need to feel you inside me, B'Elanna… to feel my body wrap around your fingers," she whispered, her voice husky.

"Oh, god," B'Elanna moaned.

"It has been forever since I felt you inside my wetness," Seven continued as she nibbled on B'Elanna's ear.

"Seven, please… I am so tired," B'Elanna complained halfheartedly. She reached over and caressed her wife's breast. "I need to sleep," she whispered as she began kissing Seven.

"You do not appear to want sleep," she pointed out, and then B'Elanna pulled Seven on top of her. "I will do all of the work," Seven promised.

B'Elanna laughed. "When you do all the work…I end up feeling like an overcooked noodle. I don't think I could survive the ‘wow phenomenon' right now, love." She pulled Seven down to her lips and they shared a slow, lingering kiss.

"All you have to do is love me," Seven whispered as she straddled B'Elanna's hips.

"Oh, is that all?" B'Elanna asked between kisses.

"Yes," Seven promised. She kissed B'Elanna's neck and guided her wife's hand between her legs.

"Oh, god," B'Elanna moaned as she felt her wife's wetness cover her fingertips.

"I have missed you." Seven began kissing down B'Elanna's chest, gently biting her full breasts. "I need to feel you, Be'nal." She moved her lips down and nuzzled the hardening nipple.

"Oh… Sweet Kahless." B'Elanna sighed as she lifted her fingers inside of Seven. The welcoming heat sent a charge of electricity to B'Elanna's core.

"Yes," Seven said with a growl. She pressed down, making B'Elanna's finger move further inside her. "Yes, my Be'nal." She carefully bit down on the nipple in front of her, then jerked back as milk squirted out and hit her in the eye. "Ugh!"

"Oh geeze," B'Elanna said as Seven sat up. She felt milk running down her chest, getting instantly sticky as it cooled.

"Do not move," Seven ordered and she gripped B'Elanna's wrist. "Stay right where you are." Her eyes locked with B'Elanna's letting her know that taking her fingers out was not an option. Seven carefully leaned over to the nightstand and dug around the drawer. She moved back and kissed B'Elanna forcefully, making the Klingon forget about the milk between their bodies.

"Seven!" B'Elanna hissed as she heard and felt the breast pump latch onto her chest. "What are you doing?" She pushed Seven off of her chest, but her fingers were still pinned inside of her wife.

"Shh." Seven tried to kiss B'Elanna again.

"Oh no," B'Elanna said as she pulled out of Seven. "We are not mixing these two activities. No way."

"But…" Seven's eyes shot open as her body protested B'Elanna's absence.

"No buts," B'Elanna said. "This is definitely mommy time," she said pointing to the breast pump. "And that is definitely wife time," she added as she pointed between her wife's legs. "We are not mixing them. No… No way. This ship doesn't have a counselor, and I guarantee you if we mix these two things…I will need a counselor."

Seven moved off of her wife and rested on one elbow as she watched the pump sucking on the nipple she craved. She sighed as she held it in place, not quite understanding B'Elanna's protests, but preferring to honor the request. When the pump stopped, she moved it to the other side and waited impatiently for it to finish. After several minutes it stopped and she reached over and put the pump aside and tucked the milk into a stasis container beside the bed. She rolled over and kissed the back of B'Elanna neck.

B'Elanna sighed and then began snoring…loudly.

Seven frowned and tried kissing her wife's temple.

B'Elanna smacked her lips and whined, then rolled over toward Seven and cuddled onto her chest… sound asleep.

Seven was not amused.


Day four: 09:30

"She is asleep. I moved the crib into the living room so that your snoring will not wake her," Seven said as she crawled into bed.

"My snoring? Love, your snoring puts me to shame." B'Elanna rolled over and hugged Seven. "Ouch." She pulled back. "Damn breasts."

"Do you need the pump?" Seven asked.

"No, I am not a dairy cow," B'Elanna said as she settled onto her back.

"I did not say that you were a bovine." Seven moved over to B'Elanna.

"I feel like a cow," she whined.

"Go to sleep." Seven kissed her temple and began rubbing the ridges on her forehead.

"Sleep," B'Elanna whispered happily. She sighed and yawned just as the door chime sounded. "No. Sweet Kahless, she just went to sleep."

Seven jumped out of bed and ran to the door wearing only her floor length sapphire gown. She reached it before it rang again and opened the door and stared at the captain.

"Seven, how are you feeling?" Kathryn asked. She was holding a brightly colored package.

Seven stared at it.

"It's a baby gift," Kathryn said as she looked at the dark rings under Seven's eyes.

"Thank you." Seven took it. "However I do not believe Kayla can open it at her present level of motor development."

"It's really for you and B'Elanna," Kathryn said with a tolerant smile. She wasn't sure if Seven was joking or not.

"I am sure she will love it, Kathryn," Seven said with a smirk. "Would you like to come in?"

"Thank you." Kathryn followed Seven into her living room and looked into the crib at Kayla and smiled. "She's so beautiful. She really is a little angel."

"She is perfect." Seven stood next to Kathryn. "Although I do not think an angel would deprive my wife of sleep the way she has."

"Is B'Elanna asleep right now?" Kathryn looked toward the closed bedroom door.

"I hope she is…although it is doubtful." Seven smiled down at Kayla. "Our daughter seems to enjoy waking B'Elanna up every one point nine hours and then keeping her up for at least an hour at a time."

"Do you have any milk in bottles?" Kathryn asked as she studied the tiny sleeping form. It was hard to imagine the adorable bundle causing any problems. Kayla was sleeping with her fists tucked under her chin, her lips were pursed, and she breathed deep and regular.

"Yes," Seven said slowly. "B'Elanna produces more milk than Kayla can consume. We have saved the additional milk for future use."

"Well," Kathryn said with a half grin, "Why don't you wrap up your little darling…and take her out to mingle…and let B'Elanna sleep?"

"An excellent idea," Seven said. "However, I do think I should change."

"I think that's a very good idea." Kathryn sighed and tried not to look at Seven's cleavage straining to get out of the silky fabric. She really didn't want to notice that Seven's belly had returned almost to normal, her figure once again sure to turn heads. Her Borg nanoprobes had performed a miracle again.


Kayla was the hit of the mess hall. She had woken up as soon as Kathryn and Seven arrived at the crowded room and began nuzzling Seven's chest in time for lunch. She took the bottle without a peep and delighted the crew with her gentle disposition. She looked around the faces of the crowd, her eyes wide and curious, and never cried once. Seven couldn't convince anyone that Kayla spent most nights crying for B'Elanna to hold her. After visiting with everyone present, Kayla cuddled up on Neelix's chest and went to sleep. The furry Talaxian held her for almost an hour until he had to get ready for the next lunch crowd. He grumbled as he handed her over to Samantha Wildman who swore that Kayla was the most perfect child she had ever seen, after Naomi.


Naomi joined them after her studies just as Kayla woke up. Kayla opened her eyes and peered happily around without even a whine or grunt. She spent the next hour being carried around the room by Naomi who saw her as her personal doll. Kayla quietly allowed Naomi to oversee three changes of clothing. Naomi would pick out an outfit and ask Seven to put it on her. They finally decided on the dark green jumper that the captain had brought as a gift. It picked up the red highlights in Kayla's hair and showed off the dark, rich coloring she got from B'Elanna. It was a happy time for Seven, but she missed B'Elanna. She consoled herself with the thought that her wife was getting some much-needed rest.


After the long visit, Seven asked Kathryn to go with her and Kayla to the Tach's orchard. The captain accepted, happy to spend some of her off time with her dear friend. Seven enjoyed the walk in silence, staring down at her daughter in her arms. Once there, Seven revealed her reason for asking Kathryn along.

"How long were you involved with Mark?" Seven asked.

"What?" Kathryn asked, somewhat shocked. She stopped in front of a blossoming apple tree and turned. "Why?"

Seven carefully arranged a blanket on the sweet smelling grass and put Kayla down to enjoy the fresh air. She stood, and sighed before turning to face her friend.

"What is it, Seven?" Kathryn moved closer.

"I believe…that B'Elanna has lost interest in me…sexually." Seven studied the grass at her feet.

"I find that hard to believe," Kathryn said gently. "I've never seen anyone more in love than she is with you," Kathryn said honestly. "What would make you think that she's losing interest?"

"It has been…an eternity since we last… made love," Seven said. Her voice was full of sorrow. "For the first time in our relationship…she is not…we do not…" Seven sighed and turned away.

Kathryn stared at her lanky friend's back. Seven was incredibly sexy from any angle. She wondered exactly how long an "eternity" was to a Borg. "Seven, how...umm...long has it been?"

Seven took a shuddering breath before speaking. "We have not made love in thirty-one…" She took another breath and then bit her lip before continuing. "Thirty-one hours."

Kathryn stared at Seven, her mouth refusing to work as she thought of her own years of celibacy. Finally Kathryn found her voice. "Seven, call me when it's been thirty-one months," Kathryn said with a shake of her head.

"Months?" Seven asked, mortified. "Is it possible to survive that long?"

"I assure you, it is." Kathryn laughed and sat next to Kayla and studied the sleeping child. "You went for a long time before you and B'Elanna, umm, got together."

"As the saying goes, I did not know what I was missing," Seven said as she sat next to Kathryn. "It is not a physical matter of sexuality," Seven explained. "My love for B'Elanna…transcends everything. It is more than physical. My love for her is so…complete that it spills over into the physical plane. I cannot do anything other than love her. I literally hurt if I do not touch her."

"Well, it won't kill you. Although you may think it will," Kathryn said. "Besides, she's probably just adjusting to motherhood."

"Will our intimacy always be hindered?" Seven asked. Her face showed her fear and disgust. "Why didn't anyone tell me this?"

"Seven, calm down. Chances are, everything will return to normal as soon as she gets used to things," Kathryn said delicately. "Besides, you said that she hasn't been sleeping. That is bound to effect her…umm… appetite."

"We have gone without sleep in the past and it has never lessened her appetite for me," Seven whined.

"Give it time," Kathryn advised. She shook her head and tried not to laugh at her friend's misery, but the willowy blonde really needed a reality check. Kathryn hadn't been as sexually active with any of her partners as Seven and B'Elanna appeared to be with each other. Poor B'Elanna probably needed every bit of Klingon stamina to keep up with Seven's Borg…resilience.

Seven stretched out next to Kayla, smiling as she watched her child yawn. Kathryn looked on, amazed at the transformation. The former Borg looked as human as any member of the crew, her eyes were shining and the edges of her lips were curling up.

"It is worth it," Seven said as she touched Kayla's cheek. "As much as I will miss making love several times a day…she is worth any sacrifice."

"Seven, quit pouting. Let your wife get some rest and deal with it." Kathryn picked up one of the small towels from the diaper bag and tossed it as Seven. "You have a gorgeous wife, a wonderful daughter and a more active sex life than ninety-nine percent of this crew. So quit rubbing it in everyone's faces."

"I do not care what most people do or do not do," Seven stated as she pulled the towel off of her face. "I only care what has changed between my wife and I. Everything and everyone else is… irrelevant."

"That's a good answer," Kathryn said with a smirk. "I think it will be fine as soon as B'Elanna gets over the shock of being a mother."

"Really?" Seven asked hopefully.

"Yes, really." Kathryn stretched out on her back and laughed. "Thirty-one hours… my god, Seven… You really have no idea how lucky you are." She smiled as she closed her eyes and tried to picture B'Elanna's reaction to the conversation she was having with Seven. "Thirty-one hours," Kathryn whispered again as she covered her face with her arms. "Good lord."

 

Chapter 46: perfection

B'Elanna yawned and opened her eyes. She was on her back, in bed, and felt like her breasts were about to literally explode. She carefully rolled to the side at looked at the clock and was amazed to see that she had slept for almost six hours. No wonder her breasts were swelling like overripe melons. She sat up and smiled when she saw a data padd propped up next to the breast pump, knowing that Seven must have left them for her. She picked up the padd first, touching the screen as she read her wife's words.

Be'nal,

I have taken Kayla on a tour of the ship with Kathryn.
Sleep. That is an order. When you read this, use the pump
and go back to sleep. That is also an order.
When you are fully rested, you may take a long hot bath.
I left a bowl of apple blossoms next to the tub.
Do not worry about Kayla, I took enough milk for several feedings.
We will be home in nine hours. Enjoy your rest.
I love you.
Your Seven

"Kahless, I love that woman," B'Elanna said as she took the breast pump and began expressing her milk.

When she finished, she decided to go ahead and take her bath. She sank into the steaming water scented with fresh apple blossoms from Tach's orchard and knew that she was in heaven. "Oh, yeah," she whispered. She rested her head on the back of the tub and after several moments she drifted off to sleep.


Seven and Kayla walked Kathryn back to her quarters and stayed for quite a while. It gave Kathryn a chance to feel like she was still a part of her friend's life. They made plans to begin their Velocity matches again soon, but it had been several years since Seven had played so Kathryn promised to go easy on her.

From there Seven went to check in with Opaca. The hologram had asked her to stop by for a checkup the next day and Seven decided that going a day early was a great idea. When she arrived, Opaca and the Doctor were both activated. They were in his office having a heated argument. The Doctor saw Seven and stopped talking, then nodded toward her. Opaca came out to meet her.

"Seven, I didn't expect you until tomorrow," Opaca said with a smile.

"I was out with Kayla and decided that it made more sense to stop by now," Seven said as she studied the Doctor. He was sitting at his desk going over a data padd. "What were you fighting about?"

"A difference of opinion regarding policy," Opaca said. "Now, let's have a look at my first delivery." Opaca held out her hands and took Kayla. She was awake and snuggled into the hologram's chest and sighed, then let out a contented squeak. Opaca rubbed her back and laughed. "She's a little cuddler, isn't she?"

"She is most happy when being held," Seven agreed. She walked alongside Opaca as she took Kayla to the pediatric scale and carefully placed her on it.

"Hmm." Opaca kept her hands near Kayla in case she squirmed. "Seven pounds fourteen ounces…she's actually gained two ounces."

"She has only gained two ounces?" Seven asked as she stepped closer. "After all she has eaten? Is she sick?"

"No, Seven," Opaca said, picking up the baby. "I'm amazed she's gained any weight at all. Babies usually lose a bit of weight their first few days." She put Kayla on the exam table and began scanning her. "She is in excellent health."

"Good," Seven said and let out a sigh. "I should have brought B'Elanna. I had no idea this would be so… unnerving."

The Doctor stepped out of his office and cleared his throat. "How is Voyager's littlest patient?"

"Fine," Opaca said as she gave him an icy glare. "Now, if you don't mind, I need to finish my exam."

"Don't forget to take blood samples." He crossed his arms over his chest.

"I am a hologram…I don't forget things," Opaca said. She turned her back on him.

"Yes…well." He went back to his office. "I was just making a suggestion."

"What is going on?" Seven asked. She grabbed Opaca's arm. "Are you fighting about Kayla?"

"Calm down," Opaca said gently. "He wants to take over as her physician now that she's born." Opaca used a hypospray to draw a tiny amount of blood.

"No," Seven said as she moved closer to her child. "I forbid it."

"I kinda' thought you might." Opaca shook her head. "Don't worry. I'm not going anywhere. The Doctor needs to be kept in line."

"See that he is," Seven said. Her eyes were hard and cold like a blast of arctic wind against unprotected skin. "I will not tolerate any missteps on his part."

"There, all finished. She's doing great, Seven. I'll handle him," Opaca promised.

"Very well," Seven said as she picked up Kayla and left. Something about the exchange bothered her and she again wished that she had brought B'Elanna with her.

Opaca walked into the Doctor's office as soon as Seven left. She put the blood sample on his desk and crossed her arms. "You're a bastard," she said, her voice full of disgust.

"I am a hologram," he said. "And Chief Medical Officer." He took the sample and stood, then went to the console and put the sample into a scanning device.

"I'm talking to the captain," Opaca said to his back.

"I already have a call in to her." The console beeped and he shook his head and turned. "She'll be here in an hour."

"That's not soon enough." Opaca went back to the exam room. She tapped her comm badge. "Opaca to Janeway. Captain, I need you in sickbay as soon as possible."

*"I'm in my quarters. I'll be right there,"* Janeway said over the comm. *"Janeway out."*

"It won't matter," the Doctor said smugly.

"It will to me." Opaca turned and glared at him. "What happened to you? You used to care about the crew. You used to be compassionate and genuinely concerned about people."

"I am following Starfleet regulations." He sighed. "Besides, you have no idea what I was or wasn't like before you came along."

She walked away, preferring to stand on the opposite side of the room from him. "You're wrong," she whispered sadly as she fidgeted with a hypospray.


B'Elanna was wearing a thick, fluffy, dark blue robe and kept tugging it closed at the collar. She paced as she waited for Seven to get back.

"Calm down," Nara said from the couch. "She'll be home any minute."

"I've never been away from Kayla this long," B'Elanna whined. "How am I going to survive tonight?"

Nara laughed and stood. "I am quite certain your survival tonight will not be threatened by letting Kayla stay with Tach and I." She wrapped her arm around the nervous Klingon's waist. "However… that frisky wife of yours may kill you off."

"Yeah, but what a way to go." B'Elanna laughed and turned to her friend and smiled. "Thank you."

"No problem. I would have offered to take her before now, but new mothers are so fussy." Nara turned when the door hissed open and Seven entered. She was carrying Kayla and the diaper bag and didn't see the Narian at first.

"Nara, hello," Seven said happily. "Lana, did you rest?"

"Yes, your wife rested." Nara rolled her eyes.

"How are you, little one?" B'Elanna asked with a huge smile. She took Kayla from Seven. "Did you have an adventure? Did you meet any new friends?" She kissed Kayla's tiny ridges and rocked her in her arms. "Were you good for mama?"

"She was exceptionally well behaved," Seven said, then frowned. "She did not cry once. Perhaps she does not like our quarters?"

"No," B'Elanna said as she continued kissing the tiny ridges. "She was just showing off. Did you miss me? Did you miss your SoSoy?" she asked, using the Klingon word for mommy.

"I am sure she missed her SoSoy," Seven said as she put the diaper bag on the floor. "I know I did." She went to B'Elanna and hugged her from behind. "I missed you terribly, Be'nal."

"Okay," Nara said with a disgusted sigh. "Enough mushy stuff. Give me the kid and I'll be out of here." She held out her arms expectantly.

"What?" Seven asked as she squeezed B'Elanna tighter.

B'Elanna wiggled loose and turned to her wife. "I asked Nara to keep Kayla tonight. I hope that's all right." B'Elanna looked down at the baby, beginning to regret the decision herself. "I thought we could use a little…wife time," B'Elanna said when she looked up at Seven.

Seven looked down at Kayla, kissed her cheeks and then gave B'Elanna a heartbreaking pout. "Perhaps we could go get her later tonight?" she asked.

"Okay," B'Elanna agreed happily.

"Damn," Nara said and rolled her eyes.

"What?" B'Elanna asked.

"Tach bet me that you two wouldn't be able to stand being away from her the whole night. You just cost me two foot massages and a back rub." Nara held out her hands and took Kayla. "Your mommies are big pushovers. You're not even a week old and you've got them wrapped around your little finger."

"As is should be," B'Elanna said as she pushed her friend out the door. "Thanks, I'll call later before I come to get her."

"No hurry," Nara said with a knowing smile. B'Elanna waved to the Narian as the door shut, and then spun to face Seven.

"Now, my beloved," B'Elanna said with a growl. "You and I have some catching up to do." She eased the robe off of her shoulders, letting it drop to the floor revealing her blood-red nightgown. "Take off your clothes," B'Elanna ordered. Her eyes were fully dilated like the predator she had become.

"I will comply," Seven said with a smile and a raise of one eyebrow. She began slowly unbuttoning her pale blue blouse, letting her fingers trail across her own breasts on the way to the lower buttons. Her eyes were locked with B'Elanna's.

"Comply…faster," B'Elanna said as she stalked closer. She was leaning forward, looking like a panther that had the scent of blood, but she had a different meal in mind. Her movements were fluid and graceful and focused on Seven. The Klingon's lip curled up on one side and she growled. It was a rumbling, hungry growl that would have scared someone unfamiliar with Klingon lust.

Seven was very familiar with that particular growl and she reacted instantly. Her nipples hardened as her cobalt blue eyes dilated and she began backing toward the bedroom. She loved to prolong B'Elanna's hunt, to see her toned body grow tense with passion as her muscles flexed in anticipation and her eyes glowed with a dangerous flame.

B'Elanna licked her lips and smiled when Seven dropped her blouse to the floor near the bedroom door. She made her way to the garment as Seven neared the bed and began removing her bra. B'Elanna picked up the silky blouse, still warm from Seven's skin, and held it to her cheek and inhaled the scent. She moaned as the delicate fragrance of Seven's soap hit her nostrils.

Seven smirked and tossed her bra at B'Elanna. The Klingon caught it and smelled it as well. She watched as Seven kicked off her shoes and slowly lowered her slacks to the floor, now clad only in a pair of peach colored panties. She lowered the panties and kicked them across the room away from her wife. B'Elanna growled and tossed aside her wife's sweetly scented clothes and charged the willowy blonde. Seven stood her ground, returning B'Elanna's hungry gaze. B'Elanna stopped an inch before she reached Seven, then lifted her hands and cradled her wife's face with exquisite tenderness and drew her down for a slow, sensual kiss.

Seven whimpered into her beloved's mouth as their tongues met. She tried to wrap her arms around B'Elanna but suddenly she was shoved onto the bed. She laughed as she hit the mattress and looked up in time to see her wife in midair. The panther was pouncing on her prey.

"Mine," B'Elanna said as she landed straddling Seven. Her nightgown had a slit up one side almost to the hip and her legs were warm against Seven's bare skin. She rested a hand on either side of Seven's head and leaned down and kissed her with a passion that made the former drone see flashes of light beneath her closed eyes.

"Yours," Seven agreed when the kiss finally broke. She reached up to touch her wife's face, but her wrist was grabbed and pressed into the bedding behind her head.

"Mine," B'Elanna repeated as she pinned Seven in place and began kissing her neck, letting her lips linger on the velvet skin. Her kisses became gentle bites as she growled and snarled playfully.

"Always yours, Be'nal. I am yours to take as you wish." Seven knew this game very well, and she loved it. She loved the power she wielded when she chose to let her wife have complete control. They both knew that Seven could easily overpower the Klingon, but giving up that power to the one she loved gave Seven a sense of complete surrender she couldn't have anywhere else.

"Hold the headboard," B'Elanna whispered as she nibbled her wife's ear. She loved this game too. They took turns being the one in control, and she loved being on either end of the power-play. "Do not let go until I say you can," she said with a smile.

Seven wiggled as she scooted up to reach the headboard. She grabbed it with her hands and looked to B'Elanna expectantly. The Klingon laughed, deep and rich, and let her weight settle onto her wife's chest.

"Darling," B'Elanna said as she left fleeting kisses all over Seven's face. "You shouldn't look so…eager… for my attack."

Seven smiled coyly when B'Elanna pulled back. "If what you do to me is an attack…then the Borg are seriously misinformed."

"Hush," B'Elanna said playfully as she nipped Seven's collarbone.

"Oh… save me," Seven said in complete Borg monotone. "I am being attacked by a vicious Klingon warrior. Oh…no…won't someone save me," she droned on unemotionally.

"I'll show you a vicious warrior," B'Elanna said. She growled and moved her mouth over Seven's nipple and began a loving assault on the tender bud. Her mouth was hot and covered the stiffening nipple with gentle command.

"Oh, Lana," Seven cried out and began taking shuddering breaths.

"That's more like it," B'Elanna said smugly as she pulled back. She let her hands come to rest over Seven's breasts, kneading the firm mounds as her mouth nibbled on the satiny skin of Seven's throat. "Mine," she said once again.

"I am yours. Mark me," Seven pleaded, lifting her hips into B'Elanna.

B'Elanna's hot breath filled Seven's ear as she kissed and nibbled. "Where did a beautiful Borg like you pick up a nasty taste for hickeys?" she asked wickedly.

"From a nasty Klingon," Seven said. "Now, mark me," she ordered.

B'Elanna sat up, her hands still caressing Seven's breasts, and looked down at her wife with both eyebrows raised. "I am in charge," B'Elanna pointed out. She rolled Seven's nipples between her fingertips to make her point.

"Mark me…please?" Seven tried. She arched her back, wanting to get closer to her wife but her eyes never broke contact with B'Elanna's.

"Hmm?" B'Elanna considered the request. She looked down at the rock hard nipples between her fingers and lost all resolve. She dove onto one nipple and began sucking as much of the breast into her mouth as she could, moaning as her tongue flickered across its hard nub.

Seven forgot her request and rolled her head to side and let out her own growl. She squeezed the headboard, making it creak beneath her fists.

After a few delicious moments, B'Elanna's mouth migrated to the underside of Seven's breast. "Mine," she whispered and then drew the tender flesh into her mouth. She sucked, drawing the blood to the surface of the skin, sure to leave a very nice mark.

"Oh," Seven screamed, drawing the word out into a moan.

B'Elanna paused, opening her eyes and meeting Seven's deep blue gaze. "Did I hurt you?" she asked, concern filling her voice.

"No." Seven shook her head vigorously. "Do not stop."

B'Elanna smiled and moved her mouth down to Seven's ribs and began marking that tender spot as well.


Kathryn Janeway tugged at her uniform tunic as she neared sickbay. It was her day off, and she had been enjoying wearing her loose fitting black slacks and a tank top. Opaca's formal request meant whatever the issue was, it was ship's business, and that meant she had to be in uniform.

She walked into sickbay and saw Opaca examining a hypospray as if it were a new exotic lifeform. Across the room, the Doctor was equally interested in a gel pack.

"I didn't think holograms quarreled." Janeway put her hands on her hips.

"Only when we have a damn good reason," Opaca said as she turned to face the captain.

"Captain, this issue doesn't even involve …her." The Doctor waved his hand at Opaca. "As Chief Medical Officer…it is my duty to make sure all of the Federation laws are upheld."

"You're a pompous ass," Opaca said as she moved toward Janeway. "It is my business when he starts investigating my patients."

"What investigation?" Janeway asked. She studied Opaca's expression, the hologram seemed to be genuinely upset, more than that, she seemed… down right pissed off. Kathryn sighed, the last thing she needed was another sentient hologram, and the first step to that was emotional awareness.

"He forced me to take blood samples from Kayla Torres," Opaca said.

"It was necessary…" the Doctor began.

"What the hell are you up to?" Janeway demanded, her eyes flashing. She stalked over to the Doctor. Her voice was deep and menacing like a mother bear's growl.

"Captain, I assure you…it's completely above board." The Doctor took a step back. "There are certain… irregularities with the baby. I have to investigate."

"What kind of irregularities?" Janeway's voice reached its lowest register.

"Genetic…" he said as he bumped into a biobed behind him.

"Is she Borg?" Kathryn asked, concern filling her voice.

"No." Opaca moved next to Janeway. "And I told this pompous ass that unless Kayla was a risk to the ship…it wasn't any of his business."

"I think you'd better explain this from the beginning," Kathryn said, looking at Opaca.


B'Elanna's mouth was like a flame on Seven's belly as she moved down to the former drone's hip. She growled and sucked the tender flesh into her mouth, her hands still kneading Seven's breasts. B'Elanna sucked as Seven screamed out in agonizing pleasure, her arms shaking as she clung to the headboard.

"Lana, Lana, Lana," Seven moaned. It was her mantra, and far more sacred than any ancient chant. Her hips lifted as B'Elanna moved her mouth to the silken skin of her inner thigh. She drew in a ragged breath as she felt her beloved Klingon marking her there as well.

"Mine," B'Elanna breathed onto Seven's wet and heated flesh. Her breath sent shivers through Seven's body, and B'Elanna paused to watch the tiny bundle of nerves contract. She blew cool air over Seven's wetness, smiling when she gasped in pleasure. "You are mine," B'Elanna whispered and then traced the delicate pearl with her tongue.

"Lana…please…" Seven's arms strained against the headboard as she fought to keep her hands in place. "I need you inside."

"Here?" B'Elanna asked wickedly as she dipped one finger into the wetness. She teased her wife unmercifully, dipping in and then coming out.

"Yes," Seven said in shaking voice. "Please."

B'Elanna licked her finger and tasted the nectar, closing her eyes to savor the salty sweetness. "I forgot something," she said with an evil grin.

"You forgot to go inside," Seven yelled.

"No," B'Elanna said as she climbed back up her wife's sweat soaked body. "I forgot to mark…this side." She growled and took the underside of the breast between her teeth and quickly left a mark to match the opposite side.

Seven groaned in frustration and pleasure. She loved the feeling of her wife marking her body, but she knew that she would have to wait for what her lower region craved. By the time B'Elanna had properly marked that side of her body, Seven was hyperventilating.

"Oh, please, my Lana," Seven pleaded between gasps.

"Is this what you want?" B'Elanna asked as she slid two fingers into the molten liquid.

"Oh," Seven moaned as her body went rigid. "Yes, more."

B'Elanna happily added a third finger and then let her lips make love to the quivering bundle of nerves at Seven's center. She moaned as she felt Seven's muscles gripping her. She had missed this wonderful connection with her wife. Opaca had made them stop this type of lovemaking almost two weeks earlier, and B'Elanna had been craving it. She drew back her lips and let her tongue make a lazy pass up the front of her wife's wetness, her fingers still moving slowly in and out.

"Mine," B'Elanna said before sucking Seven's center back into her mouth.

"Yes…" Seven promised as her arms flexed against the artificial wood of the bedframe. She vaguely noticed a creaking sound, and then two loud pops as the headboard snapped lose from the frame under the boxsprings. Only Seven's Borg reflexes kept the headboard from hitting her in the face. She stopped the massive headboard a few centimeters from her nose and then the head of the bed fell to the floor with a loud thud.

B'Elanna screamed, and started to lift her mouth from Seven's wetness.

"Do not stop," Seven yelled. It was not a polite request. It was an order from one of the few people on board who B'Elanna would obey without question, so she obeyed. She went back to her delicious task, shifting her weight so that she wouldn't roll onto her wife. Seven's head was now pointing down at a forty-five degree angle, but she didn't seem to mind. She tossed the headboard across the room, not noticing when it hit the closet door hard enough to take a chunk out of the surface.

"There," Seven breathed when her wife found just the right spot inside.

"Mmm," B'Elanna mumbled as she felt the first quivers inside of Seven. Her fingers felt the contractions and her own body began to shake in response. "Oh, god," B'Elanna mumbled, not taking her mouth off of Seven.

The former drone arched her back and then let her body fall onto the tilted bed. The footboard creaked and fell away from the bed and the mattress hit the floor with a muffled thump.

B'Elanna smiled, and fought to keep from laughing, thinking that at least they were now mostly level. That thought fled her mind when she felt the rush of moisture as Seven's muscles spasmed around her fingers and the former Borg howled. B'Elanna rode out the waves of aftershocks inside, thinking that her wife howled better than most Klingons.

"Lana," Seven whispered. Her body continued to shake. She reached down for her wife and guided her up to her chest.

"I'm here." B'Elanna carefully settled next to her, making sure that her own sore breasts didn't press too hard against Seven's ribs as they snuggled together on what was left of their bed.

"Wow," Seven said with a sigh. Her face was flushed and she couldn't stop smiling. "Wow…"

"Now, you know how I felt," B'Elanna said smugly. She kissed Seven's breast, letting her fingers trace circles around the still hardened nipples.

"Wow…"

B'Elanna laughed and squeeze closer to her wife. "You are fixing the bed." B'Elanna moved her fingers down and caressed one of the marks on Seven's side.

"Do that to me again and I will fix anything you want," Seven said with a lazy grin.

"Again?" B'Elanna sat up and stared down at her wife.

"Again," Seven said. Her blue eyes burned with an inner spark and she took on the look of the panther right before B'Elanna's eyes.

"Don't expect me to stop if you beg for mercy half way through," B'Elanna said as she straddled Seven again. Her eyes darkened and she studied her wife's naked form.

Seven growled, lifting one corner of her lip into a predator's snarl.

"Mine," B'Elanna said with a laugh. She collapsed onto Seven and playfully mauled her neck, slowly becoming more serious as the tickling bites became lingering kisses.

"Yours…always," Seven said happily.

 

Chapter 47: Investigations

"Federation law is very clear on this matter," the Doctor said. He handed the captain a data padd. "There has been genetic tampering."

"Well, of course there was," Janeway said with a disgusted sigh. "They are two women. They had to tamper with the genetic material to even conceive."

"I am aware of that," the Doctor snapped. "These are not those kinds of irregularities. This child is perfect," he said as if that explained everything.

"And?" Janeway demanded.

"Genetically perfect," Opaca said. "It is a statistical impossibility. There isn't so much as one chromosome with any defect. Nothing."

"And this is a problem…why?" Janeway leaned against the wall and studied the readings on the padd. In the back of her mind her human genetics classes were coming back to her. "There should be minor mistakes…on the molecular level," she said quietly.

"Yes," the Doctor said. "And there should be traits that are recessive, undesirable traits that should show up. There aren't any."

"And this couldn't be random chance?" Kathryn tapped the padd changing the screen to a read out of Kayla Torres' chromosome map.

"No," Opaca said quietly. She moved next to Kathryn and leaned against her shoulder and pointed to a strand on the screen. "That's a common pair there. It determines eye color. With B'Elanna's brown eyes, Kayla should have brown as well. B'Elanna doesn't carry a blue eye gene."

"And Kayla's eyes are going to be blue?" Kathryn asked. She noticed that Opaca's matrix was very well designed; the hologram put off body heat.

"Yes," Opaca said. "Instead of using one chromosome from each parent…Kayla somehow ended up doubling Seven's on this gene. Her eyes will be exactly the color of Seven's."

"Why?" Kathryn asked.

"They obviously tampered with her genetic code," the Doctor said. "And that is illegal. From the looks of her chromosome map… every single trait has been altered to the most perfect possible combination. I guess Seven took Borg perfection a little too seriously. Lieutenant Torres should have known better."

"You can't honestly believe that B'Elanna and Seven did this intentionally?" Janeway put the padd on his desk and gave the Doctor her most lethal glare.

"I don't," Opaca said. "We know Seven used Borg technology to conceive. I think the nanoprobes just did what Borg nanoprobes do…they make perfection."

"Really?" the Doctor asked sarcastically. "And since when do the Borg care about eye color?"

Opaca rolled her eyes and stomped her foot. "You can be so stubborn," she said. "There has been research that suggests blue eyed space travelers have less space sickness. It's one of the reasons so many Klingons get space sick. Most of them have brown eyes."

"Pure speculation," the Doctor said.

"What difference could eye color possibly make?" Janeway asked. Opaca turned to her and smiled warmly. It was very disarming and reminded Kathryn of someone she knew but she couldn't place who it was.

"Captain, eye color can effect sensitivity to sunlight, so why not the effects of weightlessness?" Opaca asked. "Blue eyes are slightly more resilient and hold their shape a bit better in zero G. That would effect space sickness."

"You think the nanoprobes did all this… remapping?" Kathryn asked.

"Impossible," the Doctor said. "I can't believe that Seven and B'Elanna didn't have some control over this. It's just too… perfect."

"Exactly," Opaca said as she tossed her hands into the air. "When mankind tampers with genetics…they don't ever do it well. All of the eugenics wars showed us that. Any product of chromosomal tampering shows signs of genetic problems in other areas. Usually mental instability, and Kayla doesn't show any defective genes. Not one. If Seven and B'Elanna did do this, she wouldn't be so perfect."

"What did they say?" Janeway asked.

"Well, umm…." the Doctor looked away.

"You haven't asked them?" Kathryn sighed and rolled her head back and rubbed her neck. "Why not?"

"He wouldn't let me," Opaca said. "And as long as he wasn't endangering my patient…my program won't let me override him."

"Why don't we ask them?" Janeway suggested. She shook her head. "Doctor, why did you have to make this so difficult?"

"Protocol dictates that I speak with you so that we can prepare charges against them. I can't legally talk to them before I contact the authorities…and here in the Delta Quadrant…that's you."

"Lucky me," Kathryn said under her breath.


"It is my turn," Seven said as she climbed on top on B'Elanna. The former drone had rested for all of six minutes and was now fully recharged.

"And just what are you going to do to me?" B'Elanna asked. She could feel Seven's wetness seeping through the silk of her nightgown. She wiggled and looked up at Seven, her eyes sending a silent challenge.

"First, I must get this out of the way," Seven said as she hooked her finger on the top of B'Elanna's gown. She grabbed it with both hands and ripped it down the front. "That is better." She leaned down and kissed the newly exposed skin.

"Do you have any idea how many rations we waste when you do that?" B'Elanna wrapped her hands around Seven's waist.

"Do you care?" Seven moved her mouth to B'Elanna's throat and kissed her pulse point.

"Not at all." B'Elanna sighed happily.

Seven began nibbling on B'Elanna's earlobe. "Do we still have the dermal regenerator in the drawer?"

"Why? Did I hurt you?" B'Elanna pushed Seven up and tried to examine the marks on her breast and side.

"No, my Be'nal," Seven said as she pressed B'Elanna's hands above her head. "But I intend to mark you where you most enjoy it, and we cannot leave those marks or you will blush." She leaned down and bit the spot in question. B'Elanna loved the feel of Seven sucking on her throat, high on her neck, far too high to be hidden beneath a uniform.

"Oh," B'Elanna said. She turned head exposing her neck and laughed. "You know, you have a very large vampire streak in you, my love."

Seven moaned and sucked B'Elanna's neck, then eased back. "Indeed?" she asked, her voice taking on a perfect Transylvanian accent. "I intend to drink more than your blood, my beloved."

B'Elanna laughed and pulled Seven to her and kissed her nose. "How do you do that?" she asked. "That sounds just like those awful movies from old Earth."

"I want to be accurate," Seven said in her vampire accent. Her eyes were lidded and more seductive than any vampire. She kissed B'Elanna slowly, mapping every inch of her mouth until both women were breathless.

"Do the Klingon vampire," B'Elanna begged.

Seven raised an eyebrow and smiled. "JachchoHmeH 'Iwraj penaghtaH," she said in Klingonasse somehow managing to use perfect Klingon phrasing and grammar yet using a distinctly Transylvanian accent.

"Promise?" B'Elanna asked.

Seven nodded.

"Now, in English," the Klingon giggled.

"I will pleasure you until your blood screams," Seven said with her Transylvania accent. "Then I will drink you," she added.

"Right now." B'Elanna pulled Seven down to her. Seven's kisses were gentle, but commanding and always left B'Elanna feeling completely satisfied, yet always wanting more. The Klingon lost herself in the contact and felt the familiar flame burning deep in her belly.

Seven pulled away and moved to B'Elanna's neck and began marking her wife. Her lips wrapped around the sensitive flesh and she moaned as she sucked loudly. "Mine," Seven whispered. She moved further down B'Elanna's neck and bit her shoulder.

"Yes, I am," B'Elanna said happily.

After several minutes of enthusiastically marking both sides of B'Elanna's neck, Seven shifted her weight and settled next to her wife and caressed her cheek. "I never knew making love could be so pleasurable on so many levels," she said as she leaned over and kissed B'Elanna, biting her lower lip. "I had no idea there would be so much laughter."

B'Elanna hooked her leg over Seven's hip, urging her closer until their bodies molded together. "It's incredible with you…every time." She traced Seven's lips with her finger and then down her jaw to her implant. "All my life I never knew what was missing, and now I do. You. You are my soulmate." She leaned over and left a sweet, gentle kiss on Seven's lips, easing back so that she could look into her lapis blue eyes. "How could I have been so blind when we first met? I thought you were cold and unemotional."

"I was." Seven took B'Elanna's hand and kissed each knuckle. "I was hiding from my soul. The Borg had it so completely buried that only a stubborn Klingon could find it."

"You're wrong, my beloved," B'Elanna whispered as her hand caressed Seven's chest, stopping to play with her bonding necklace. "You gave me back my soul. I never laughed like this before. I was so serious in bed. I thought I had to be some…some… Klingon ideal. I missed the point completely. I was having sex. I never made love until I was with you."

"Perhaps…" Seven said as she leaned over and kissed B'Elanna on each side of her mouth, "We could only awaken this in each other." She moved her kisses closer and traced her wife's lips with the tip of her tongue. "We are a puzzle that can only be solved when we are joined." She nipped B'Elanna's lip, seeking entrance.

"My Borg poet." B'Elanna let Seven into her mouth.

They absorbed each other through their kisses, slowly, taking all the time in the universe. Gradually their hands began to explore. B'Elanna mirrored each touch of Seven's hand, each fleeting caress becoming gentler until it was almost a whisper on their skin. They both savored this type of lovemaking. It built a fire slowly, the heat smoldering as they focused completely on the other's fingers to register the sensual flickering like a warm breeze across bare skin.

Seven escalated the touches first, letting her hand trail over B'Elanna's belly and down to the wetness she longed to get lost in. Both women moaned at the first contact, and Seven entwined her legs with B'Elanna's so that her wife could have equal access. Their kiss broke and they rested their faces on the same pillow, inches apart, their eyes locked. Each twin caress escalated the trembling as the bundles of nerves burst into white-hot flame. Each touch sent both women closer to oblivion as they fell deeper into each other's eyes.

Seven whimpered and her eyes half closed as she reached the peak first. She fought against the fall, wanting to bring her wife with her into bliss. B'Elanna felt the telltale flutters under her fingers and knew that Seven was holding back, waiting for her.

"I love you, my Be'nal," B'Elanna whispered huskily as she slowed her touch.

"Lana… I love you." Seven fought to get the words out. Her body cried out for release but she needed to wait for her beloved. Her fingers slid lower, her longer arms allowing her a better reach, and she dipped inside of B'Elanna and the Klingon's eyes rolled back as she moaned.

"Yes," B'Elanna whispered. Her fingers went back to the place she knew Seven needed them and they both leaned their faces closer until their foreheads touched as they fell.

Seven wrapped her arms around B'Elanna and pulled her close as they rode out the aftershocks in a tender embrace. They took slow, ragged breaths as their hearts slowed. They were silent. There was no need for words. Their connection was so intense that it left them both with tears threatening to fall as they drifted off into peaceful sleep.

Ten minutes later B'Elanna's eyes shot open and she groaned. Seven opened her eyes and pulled away and looked between them at the growing pool of milk gathering on the sheets. Seven tried not to laugh, she really did, but it was too much for her.

"Moo?" Seven asked.

B'Elanna gave her wife an answer. She hit her with a pillow and straddled her, letting the leaking milk drip onto Seven's belly. "This is not funny."

"Yes…it…is," Seven said as she tried to worm her way out from under B'Elanna.

The Klingon tightened her knees, pinning the Borg in place.

Seven glanced over at the nightstand. "Are you certain that we could not use the pump for a little…wife time?"

"Woman! You are a sex machine," B'Elanna said as she hit Seven with the pillow again.

"Are you complaining?" Seven asked between hits.

"Hell, no." B'Elanna tossed the pillow off of the bed and leaned down to kiss Seven. She was going to ignore the wetness from her milk between them, but the chiming of the door made that a moot point.

"Send them away," Seven ordered when B'Elanna tried to sit up. Seven had her firmly pinned to her chest.

"Let me up and I will." B'Elanna leaned closer and bit her wife's lip.

"It is difficult to let you up when you are enticing me to keep you," Seven said between kisses. The door chime sounded again.

"Let me up," B'Elanna offered, "And I will kill them with my bat'tleth. It should only take two minutes."

Seven rolled B'Elanna over and climbed off of her. "It will only take me thirty seconds."

"Seven…darling…" B'Elanna jumped up and ran after her wife. "Sweet Kahless, you can't really kill them."

Seven turned and raised an eyebrow at her wife. She handed her a tee shirt and a pair of sweats since the Klingon's robe was still in the living room.

"Okay… I knew you weren't going to kill them," B'Elanna said as she pulled the shirt over her leaking breasts.

"Go deal with… those," Seven said, pointing to the growing milk stains on the tee shirt. "I will deal with whoever is at the door." Seven pulled on her own robe and yanked the belt tight around her waist.

"How come I had to be the damn milk cow?" B'Elanna went to the dresser, growling. She saw one of her shoes and kicked it across the room. "Stupid milk cow."

Seven opened the door and glared at the captain. She quickly changed her expression and stood up straight and linked her hands behind her back.

"Captain, how may I help you?" Seven asked formally.

"I need to talk to you and B'Elanna," Kathryn said. She looked at Seven and noticed that her hair was not in its braid. It was a mess. It looked like she had been sucked out of an airlock, and then Kathryn realized that whatever Seven and B'Elanna had been doing, it was obviously a lot more strenuous than any decompression. "I'm sorry to interrupt," she said as she cleared her throat.

"We were finished." Seven motioned for the captain to come in. "For the moment," she added.

"I see," Kathryn said, though she really wished she didn't understand the implications of the statement. It was a miracle poor B'Elanna had survived three years with Seven.

B'Elanna came out of the bedroom wearing a fresh tee shirt that didn't have milk stains ringing her breasts. "Captain?" she asked as she tried to casually settle the nursing pads into place in her bra.

"Perhaps we could sit down?" Kathryn asked. She tried not to notice the hickeys on both sides of B'Elanna's neck. ‘Seven is going to kill her,' Kathryn thought as she sat on the couch. ‘I'm going to get a call from sickbay and find B'Elanna dead…She'll have a huge smile on her face…but she'll be dead.'

"What is it?" Seven asked as she sat. B'Elanna sat beside her on the arm of the couch.

"Kathryn, you're scaring me. Is everything all right?" B'Elanna asked. Her hand seemed to migrate onto Seven's shoulder and she rubbed the tense muscles of her wife's neck.

"When Kayla was conceived, did you do anything unusual?" Kathryn asked.

B'Elanna's face turned bright red and her eyes widened.

"Why? Seven asked. She reached up and linked her fingers with B'Elanna's on her shoulder. "What is wrong?"

"There are genetic irregularities," Kathryn said quietly.

"What's wrong with her?" B'Elanna asked. "Why didn't Opaca tell us?"

Seven's face drained of color, the beautiful pink afterglow disappearing completely as her face turned a chalky white.

"Nothing is wrong with her," Kathryn assured them. "That's actually the problem."

"Is she ill?" Seven asked in a whisper.

"No." Kathryn moved closer and rested her hand on Seven's knee. "The problem is that she is genetically perfect. Almost as if there was genetic tampering."

"That's illegal," B'Elanna said, confusion filling her voice. "And stupid. Those scientists always screw something up when they mess with chromosomes."

"So… you two didn't?" Kathryn asked.

"No!" B'Elanna crinkled her face, showing her disgust. "Why would we do that?"

"The nanoprobes…" Seven said quietly as she stood and moved away from the couch. "It was my nanoprobes, wasn't it?" She stared down at her Borg hand, turning it as if studying a horrible disfigurement.

"That's what Opaca thinks," Janeway said. "She thinks your nanoprobes selected each genetic trait that was most beneficial and corrected any defects."

"I have made my child… a Borg?" Seven asked as she moved further away.

"She's not a Borg," B'Elanna insisted. She stood and went to Seven. "She's our child, and you didn't do anything wrong."

"There isn't anything wrong with her, Seven," Janeway said. "Opaca says the worst thing you'll have to face is that she'll be smarter and more coordinated than other children. That doesn't sound too bad, now does it?"

"We already knew she was going to be smart," B'Elanna said as she hugged Seven. "With us as her SoSoys how could she not be?"

"No one will know. I assure you." Kathryn moved over to the two women. "I just had to make sure you two didn't do this intentionally."

"Why would we?" Seven asked. "Why would anyone make their child…different? I know the pain of that. I would never make my child endure that…and yet…I have."

"Be'nal," B'Elanna said as she rubbed Seven's back. "It's going to be fine. We will get through this." She turned to Kathryn. "How smart are we talking?" B'Elanna asked.

"Opaca said that she can't be any smarter than the genetic material you two supplied. The nanoprobes just…stacked the deck in her favor." Kathryn gave B'Elanna a half grin and nodded toward Seven. "I'd say that means pretty damn smart."

"They did not… alter her genes?" Seven asked.

"No, they just gave her the best of what there was to work with," Kathryn said with a smile. "Of course, given who her moms are…I think that's still an unfair advantage."

"If they chose the best of the material," Seven said. "Kayla would look exactly like B'Elanna."

"Hey, I'm kinda' partial to your looks," B'Elanna said.

"Well, she will have Seven's blue eyes," Kathryn volunteered.

B'Elanna smiled. "I love your eyes," she said as she turned to Seven.

"Kathryn, are you sure Kayla will be normal?" Seven asked.

"She will not be any more intelligent or strong than either of you. She will have the advantage of having every gene being perfect." Kathryn moved closer. "All things considered, I think that is a pretty nice legacy."

"I still think Opaca should have told us." Seven pulled B'Elanna's arms around her waist.

"The Doctor wouldn't let her," Kathryn explained.

"What is wrong with him?" B'Elanna said with a growl.

"Calm down," Kathryn said. "I had a long talk with him today. And I'm meeting Opaca in my quarters when I finish here. I want her to be free to override the Doctor's decisions even when it isn't a matter of life and death."

"She must have been troubled by not being able to tell us," Seven said quietly. "She cares very much for us…and Kayla."

"Yes, she does," Kathryn said. "And that's something else that troubles me. She isn't supposed to have feelings at all."

"She acts as if she was programmed with emotions," B'Elanna said. "I just thought Harry did a really good job mimicking feelings…but she seems… like there's more to it."

"She is certainly better adjusted than the Doctor," Seven said.

"Adjusted or not," Kathryn said grimly. "She isn't supposed to feel anything. I may not be an expert with holographic matrixes, but that woman has feelings." Kathryn sighed and rubbed her forehead. "I'll leave you two alone. I have to go get to the bottom of this."

"Thank you, Kathryn. I am glad you told us," Seven said.

"Yes, thank you," B'Elanna added.

"You're welcome," Kathryn said.

Seven walked Kathryn to the door and waved as she left. She turned and looked into B'Elanna's eyes and then ran to her.

"Shh, love." B'Elanna held Seven to her. "It's gonna' be okay. Kayla is healthy. She's gonna' be fine."

"I am sorry," Seven whispered.

"Don't be sorry." B'Elanna squeezed her tighter. "Without your nanoprobes, we wouldn't even have our beautiful daughter. Don't ever apologize for that."

Seven nodded and sniffled as B'Elanna held her.

 

Chapter 48: Loose ends

Kathryn Janeway returned to her quarters and wondered what she was going to do about her two medical holograms. The Doctor seemed to be blowing a holographic fuse and Opaca seemed to be having genuine emotions. Kathryn was not a happy captain. She decided that if she had to have a ‘sensitive chat' with a hologram, she could at least be comfortable. She had just finished changing into a pair of charcoal grey slacks and creme colored blouse when the door chimed.

"Hello," Opaca said, smiling shyly when Kathryn opened the door. She seemed slightly uneasy roaming the decks using the Doctor's holo-emitter.

"Thank you for coming. Won't you come in?" Kathryn led the short hologram to the couch. "Would you like to sit? I'm sorry, I not even sure if you're…umm… programmed to socialize. What can I do to make you more comfortable?"

Opaca flopped down on the couch and shook her head. She had a half smile on her lips. "Kathryn, I am a hologram. I don't get uncomfortable… but thank you."

"You certainly seemed uncomfortable when I came to sickbay today." Kathryn sat next to her and curled one leg up under the other. "You seemed very upset."

"I am programmed to appear as if I am experiencing concern." Opaca shifted her weight and her eyes drifted as she looked around the room. Her eyes stopped on a sculpture near the window and for a moment she looked very sad. "I am just a tool, Kathryn, a piece of machinery like the transporter or your replicator."

"I've seen holograms expressing programmed emotions. Yours seemed more…genuine. Why do you think that is?" Kathryn could have said more didn't. She didn't ask if Seven had spoken to Opaca, because the hologram's reference to the replicator was just like a conversation the captain had once had with the former drone when they had quarreled about the Doctor's sentience. She also didn't point out how she knew so much about holograms and faked emotions. The Fairhaven disaster was still new in her mind. That was one can of Anterian footlong worms she didn't want to open.

Opaca paused before answering, then looked Kathryn in the eyes. Her deep brown holographic eyes flickered with intensity. "Perhaps I am just a well designed program. If you were to deactivate me… nothing would be lost except a projection of light and energy."

"We'd lose more than that." Kathryn studied Opaca's small hands. The hologram was nervously wringing one hand with the other in her lap. "Seven and B'Elanna care a great deal for you. They'd miss you, and so would the other patients you've taken on."

"I think the world of Seven and B'Elanna," Opaca said with a wistful smile. "As for the other patients…I don't think the Doctor is very pleased about that development."

"It's only natural that the women of the crew would want a female physician for their more…personal exams," Kathryn said as she cleared her throat. "I was going to ask you to do my yearly physical next month," she added with a rueful grin.

"You never volunteer for exams," Opaca said, looking honestly shocked. "Are you ill?" She edged closer and took Kathryn's wrist. Her touch was warm and gentle as she moved her finger to the pulse point.

"No, just getting a bit less stubborn in my old age." Kathryn studied the hand holding hers. "How do you know about my past aversion to physicals?"

Opaca looked up, for a moment her eyes were like a lamb looking at a lion, and then she relaxed. "I am familiar with all of the crew's medical records."

For the first time since she had met the feisty hologram, Kathryn didn't believe her. "Are you sentient?"

Opaca laughed and leaned back into the couch. "I am sentient enough to know that I am not sentient," she said as looked over at the captain. "Kathryn, the Doctor was activated for several months before he showed any signs of sentience. He also wanted to grow that way. Harry programmed me so that I don't even want to be sentient."

"Then he didn't do a very good job." Kathryn's eyes narrowed as she sent a silent challenge to the other woman. "Because you are more sentient than the Doctor, and you seem more human than he ever has."

"Don't you mean Bajorian?" Opaca asked with an impish grin, trying to change the subject.

"You know what I mean." Kathryn picked up Opaca's hand and squeezed it. "You have a pulse and body heat…and before you tell me that you were programmed to…I don't buy that answer. I've been…very close to a hologram, and they don't feel like this."

"I think this is about your experience with Sullivan. You are uncomfortable because you like another hologram. It's okay to have a holographic friend, Kathryn." Opaca smiled warmly.

"Neither Harry nor the Doctor call me Kathryn. They wouldn't have programmed you to take such liberties. Why do you feel so comfortable doing it? And why does it…feel right? I am very careful about whom I give permission to do that." Kathryn raised an eyebrow and shook her head. "I never gave you that permission."

"Maybe I'm just pushy," Opaca suggested.

"There are plenty of pushy people on this crew. None of them take that liberty." Kathryn leaned back and studied Opaca. "Even Neelix, who doesn't always have a firm grasp on Starfleet custom, doesn't call me by my first name."

Opaca smiled at the mention of Neelix and she closed her eyes and bent her head forward, as if remembering some private joke. "Neelix has rough edges but he is not pushy…just… persistent," she said when she looked up.

"How do you know?" Kathryn challenged. "I've never seen you really talk to him. In fact…when he is in the room…you avoid him." Kathryn's eyes widened as an idea formed in the back of her mind but she wasn't quite ready to believe it yet. Still, there were nagging clues. Opaca knew things that she shouldn't about the crew, especially Kathryn. Opaca had a gentle spirit that Kathryn recognized. "Who are you?" she asked, her voice thick with emotion.

"I am a holo-…"

"Don't lie to me," Kathryn said as she leaned closer and took Opaca's hand. "Who are you? You are not a hologram that only came into existence a few months ago."

"You're mistaken." Opaca pulled away and stood.

"You're not one of the Q, that's for sure," Kathryn said as she stood. "But you are more than a projection of light and energy." She moved up behind Opaca and rested a hand on her shoulder. "Who are you?" she asked in a whisper.

Opaca sighed and shook her head. "I am energy and light… just not all of it is holographic," she finally said. "I never wanted to disturb this ship…this crew." She turned and smiled warmly at the captain. "And I certainly never wanted to make your life more complicated, Kathryn."

"Kes?" Kathryn whispered as she touched the hologram's cheek. "My God, how could I have missed it?"

A single tear slipped out of the hologram's eye and fell from her cheek. It disappeared as soon as it left her matrix, unable to stay cohesive once separated from her holographic body.


Tach opened the door to his quarters and was startled when Seven barged in and rushed past him followed closely by B'Elanna.

"I didn't expect to see you two this soon," he said as he turned.

"Seven?" Nara asked, concerned by the fear in her friend's eyes. The former drone went to the portable sleeper next to the couch and gently scooped Kayla out of it. The baby was sleeping, but even deep in the arms of Morpheus, she knew her mama. She whimpered happily and snuggled into Seven's chest.

"We just needed to see her." B'Elanna went behind Seven and wrapped her arms around the willowy blonde. Seven seemed fragile, and B'Elanna felt almost as if she were holding her wife from falling to pieces.

Seven hummed quietly as she rubbed Kayla's back and inhaled her fresh, clean, baby scent. "We needed to make sure she was all right," Seven whispered as she turned to face Nara.

"She's fine," Nara said as she went to Seven. "She was absolutely perfect."

Seven's eyes darkened and shined with tears as she inhaled sharply.

B'Elanna's hugged Seven tighter and murmured in her ear. "It's just an expression, love."

"What's wrong?" Tach asked, quickly moving closer.

"Nothing…" Seven said. Her voice was pained and wounded. "There is nothing wrong with her all."

"Then I think you'd better explain why you look like that's a bad thing," Nara said as she squeezed Seven's arm.

After a brief explanation of the problem, Nara sat on the couch and shook her head. "Leave it to you two to beat the system." Nara smiled warmly at her friends. "It isn't enough that you name your child after that perfect Klingon of yours, you had to have her be perfect as well."

"We named her Kayla to honor her Klingon side and because we wanted to thank Kahless for the miracle of her birth." Seven gave Nara and indignant glare. "We would rather she be normal."

"Seven, she's not abnormal," Nara pointed out. "She just doesn't have any defects to worry about."

"I would think you'd be happy," Tach said. "From the way you described these nanoprobes, this is a minor problem considering all that could have gone wrong. You should be thankful that your child is healthy."

"We are," B'Elanna said. She rubbed Seven's back with her hand as she spoke. "We just didn't want Kayla to face anymore prejudice than she already will."

"It is bad enough that she has a Borg mother," Seven said quietly.

"Seven, my beloved," B'Elanna said with a sad smile. "I meant because she's one quarter Klingon."

"So?" Seven asked. "I wish she could be more like you."

"And I wish she could be more like you." B'Elanna laughed.

"Enough," Nara said as she stood. "If you two don't start being thankful for the glorious gift of the goddess that this darling little girl is, I will take her and raise her as mine. Tach and I won't whine about what she isn't. We will love her for who she is." Nara tried to take Kayla, but Seven backed away.

"We do love her," Seven said angrily.

"We wouldn't change her at all." B'Elanna stepped in front of Nara.

"Good," Nara said as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Now that we have that settled… maybe you two can quit complaining and just love my niece."

B'Elanna sighed and shook her head. "You really are good at getting to the heart of the matter, aren't you?"

"Don't even try to argue with her," Tach said. "This woman never loses."

"You are right," Seven said. "We are focusing on the wrong thing. Kayla is all that matters and we love her exactly the way she is."

"Now," Nara said as she moved past B'Elanna. "Let me hold my little sweetheart." She held her arms out.

"Very well," Seven said slowly. "But you had better give her back."

"Maybe." Nara smiled. "But I think she likes me," Nara added as she rocked the sleeping child. "I always have wanted a boy and a girl."

"Then I suggest you speak to Tach," B'Elanna said. She wrapped her hands around Seven's waist. "Because we aren't parting with ours. Tell Tach to toss some X chromosomes your way."

"Like he ever listens," Nara said with a smirk.

Tach opened his mouth to answer but a muted beep from a small device on the table cut him off. He jumped to his feet and headed toward the bedroom.

"Oh no you don't," Tach said as he activated the lights.

B'Elanna followed as Nara handed the baby to Seven and then went to turn off the beeping alarm. The lights came on and Ty turned toward them with a determined look on his face. He saw the newcomers and squealed happily.

"Evan! Ba!" He ran toward them, dropping a data padd onto the floor.

"What are you up to, my son?" Tach scooped Ty up before he could get to his aunts.

"Ty fixing." He squirmed to get down. "Ba," Ty said insistently as he reached out for his beloved Klingon.

"Give him to me." B'Elanna smiled. "How's my little tiger?" she asked as she took him. He hugged her with his legs squeezing as tight as he could.

"Ba, no go away," he said when he loosened his grip.

"I'm sorry, tiger." B'Elanna kissed his forehead. "We have been pretty busy with the baby."

"Evan's baby is out. Kay-ya out now." Ty pointed to the former drone.

"Yep," B'Elanna said. She went over to her wife. "Kayla is your cousin." She leaned against Seven's shoulder so that Ty could get a good look at Kayla.

"Kay-ya leeping," he whispered.

Seven leaned into B'Elanna and kissed Ty's head. "Yes, and you should be sleeping as well."

"Ty fix," he explained.

"My son," Tach said as he took Ty from B'Elanna. "You leave the fixing to your Fa, is that understood?"

"Ty fix." His sparkling brown eyes were determined and the stubborn expression on his face looked exactly like Nara.

"No," Tach said. "Ty sleep."

"Ty go to Evan," he suggested.

"Ty is going back to bed," Tach said as he went to the sleeper in the corner. B'Elanna followed, curiously looking over the small device that was circling Ty's sleeping area.

"Ty go to Ba." He squirmed as Tach put him under the covers.

"Tyranlanar, you are going to sleep," Tach said gently.

"What's that?" B'Elanna asked.

"Motion detector." Tach tucked in his son.

"Well, that'll at least let you know when he gets loose." B'Elanna laughed.

"Keep laughing, Just wait ‘til Kayla starts fixing things. I'm betting that those Borg nanoprobes valued engineering skills. Kayla is gonna' be fixing things in no time."

"Ty help Kay-ya fix." Ty sat up and looked at Kayla in Seven's arms.

"Oh, sweet Kahless." B'Elanna's face paled.

"Kayla will not fix anything," Seven said with complete certainty. "We will simply explain to her that she should not touch things unless she has our permission."

"Oh, yeah," Nara said as she began giggling. "That'll work."

Seven raised an eyebrow at Nara and shifted Kayla onto her shoulder.

Nara straightened her shoulders and gave Seven a half grin that looked just like Kathryn when she was being sarcastic. "Janeway to Torres…" Nara said in a very good impersonation of the captain's deadliest tone. "Your daughter just ejected the warp core…again."

"Oh, god." B'Elanna looked at her daughter. "We are in so much trouble."

"Yeah, you are," Tach agreed with a huge toothy grin.


Kathryn Janeway stared at the hologram that looked nothing like her dear friend Kes, and yet, when she looked into her brown eyes, eyes too dark to be Kes, she could see some spark that was the Ocampa. All of the questions about where Kes had been and how she had gotten into the hologram didn't matter. This was Kes. Kathryn grabbed her and pulled her into an embrace, squeezing the smaller woman.

"Kes," she whispered. "I've missed you so much." Kathryn's voice cracked.

"I know," the hologram whispered. "I never meant to hurt you." She held onto Kathryn, inhaling as she buried her face in the older woman's hair.

"How?" Kathryn asked as she eased back. "How are you even here?"

"I…I was existing as pure energy, but I could see this reality. I tried to contact you. Nothing I did worked." Opaca backed away and paced, hugging her arms to her chest like Kes used to always do. "Not even Tuvok could sense me. I saw all of the pain my leaving caused, and I wanted so much to help you."

"You've been watching us this whole time?" Kathryn asked. She moved closer, studying the hologram's movements.

"Not exactly." Opaca went to the couch and sat, waiting for Kathryn to join her. "When you exist as energy, thought and action merge…one becomes the other. If I wondered how my family and friends were doing on the homeworld, I was suddenly there. I would stay there for a while, but at some point…I would miss my home. Any thought of home transported me right back here…with you."

Kathryn nodded. "How much did you see?"

"Enough," she answered. "When I first changed, I watched you interact with Seven. I knew there was something there…and I chose to go see what was happening in the rest of the universe."

"You were uncomfortable seeing me with Seven?" Kathryn sighed and rubbed her temples. "When Seven and B'Elanna came back married, it hurt incredibly. Nothing had hit me that hard in years…not since…" her voice trailed off.

"Not since I left?" the hologram asked.

"Yes," Kathryn whispered. She looked down at the cushions of the couch.

"Kathryn, I didn't have a choice." The hologram reached out and lifted Kathryn's chin. "I didn't want to go."

"How did you come back?" Kathryn asked as she enjoyed the warmth of the hand cupping her chin.

Opaca laughed, and there was a lyric quality to the sound that was pure Kes. "I wasn't even sure I could merge with the hologram. It just occurred to me when I was watching the Doctor and Harry constructing the matrix…that a hologram was energy and light…just like me. Once they activated the program, I just bonded with the energy matrix."

"Why doesn't your energy disappear when the program deactivates?" Kathryn asked. Her scientist's mind was scrambling, trying to grab any hard facts that could explain the miracle.

"I have gotten pretty used to containing my energy, Kathryn." The hologram sighed. "When I first left, and I used my energy to send Voyager clear of Borg space…I was dazed for weeks. I was scattered across the entire distance that I had moved Voyager. I don't know that it was such a great idea." She smiled sadly.

"You saved us all." Kathryn took the hologram's hand in hers. "We would have been assimilated for sure. Thank you."

"You're welcome," Opaca smiled.

"But you seem different," Kathryn said. "You were swearing in sickbay…you never swore before."

"That's Opaca," she replied, rolling her eyes. "When I merged with the matrix, I picked up a lot from her personality subroutines. I like to think she added a bit of a spark to my own personality."

"So…are you Opaca…or Kes?" Kathryn asked.

"Both…neither…somewhere in the middle," the hologram said. "When I first merged with this matrix I couldn't even control the program. I was just sort of along for the ride. Then, as time passed, I became more comfortable with the matrix and started to be able to effect its…our…actions."

"What about now?" Kathryn asked. "Are you…Kes…in complete control?"

"Yes," the hologram said. "I am functioning within the matrix. Right now the Opaca program and I have completely merged. Her personality has become a part of me. Although…I sometimes think that isn't always for the best. I used to be a lot more forgiving of the Doctor."

"You do seem to have developed quite a temper," Kathryn said ruefully.

"Bajoran are known for that," Opaca said. "That temper has been the biggest adjustment."

"What about the Doctor?" Kathryn asked. "Do you know what's going on with him?"

"Kathryn, he's been through so much, and he doesn't have anyone to talk to." The hologram took Kathryn's hand. "You helped him over his breakdown when he remembered Ensign Jetty's death… you and the crew did everything they could, but he's lost so much."

"We want to help him, Ke…Opa… I'm not sure what to call you," Kathryn admitted.

"Call me Opaca. It will be best for everyone."

"Okay." Kathryn said warmly. "Opaca, we want to help him. But he has to let us in."

"Think of all he's lost." Opaca shook her head as she thought of the many years the Doctor had been activated. "All his attempts to forge a romantic or emotional bond have ended in heartbreak. He fell in love with a hologram from the Beowulf program…she was the one who called him Schweitzer. She was killed. He fell in love with Denara Pel, the doctor afflicted with the Phage, and he lost her. Then when he tried to create a holographic family…"

"His daughter," Kathryn said as she remembered. "She died."

"Yes," Opaca said. "From there…well, he had feelings for me…and I left him. And we can't forget the fact that he is in love with Seven."

"She tends to inspire that," Kathryn said ruefully.

"Yes, she does." Opaca smiled, her brown eyes twinkling. "She's an amazing young woman."

"B'Elanna's very lucky," Kathryn added.

"So is Seven," Opaca pointed out. "Those two are completely devoted to each other. Though I was amazed when I first saw them together."

"What do you mean?" Kathryn asked.

Opaca stood and walked to the window and looked out at the beautiful stars. "Do you remember when Seven left Voyager, convinced that there was a shipwide conspiracy against her?" She touched the cool transparent aluminum.

"Yes." Kathryn stood and went to the hologram's side.

"I thought that you had finally come to your senses," Opaca said wistfully. "I was there, with you when you bent down on one knee and asked her to stay." She turned to Kathryn. "I thought you were ready to explore the feelings that were growing between the two of you."

Kathryn shook her head. "I made a strategic retreat."

"You ran like a frightened child," Opaca corrected.

"I prefer my term," Kathryn said with a frown. "Why did you bring this up?"

"It was difficult for me to see you…with her." Opaca leaned against the cool glass, pressing her forehead against it, enjoying the sheer physicality of the action. She pulled back and looked into Kathryn's eyes. "I left. I didn't want to watch that. I came back expecting to see you and Seven in middle of a torrid affair. I was surprised when I saw you with a hologram, and completely stunned when Seven returned… married to B'Elanna."

"Imagine what a shock it was to me." Kathryn sighed.

Opaca laughed. "I can only imagine. I was so shocked to see you with…that…" She continued laughing. "I came back once while you were…with him."

"Oh, lord," Kathryn said as she covered her eyes. "Please tell me you didn't ‘see' me with that hologram."

"Of course not," Opaca said with a smirk. "I left as soon as I realized…"

"Oh, god, you did." Kathryn rubbed her temples as she felt herself blush.

"Anyway," Opaca said, trying to shift the conversation. "When I saw how much you were hurting…I wanted to be there for you. Then, when Seven almost lost the baby, I saw my chance with this," she said as she pointed to her holographic body. "By merging with the matrix I had the opportunity to help the crew without complicating things."

"Until I ruined your little party," Kathryn said with a half grin.

"I never could fool you," Opaca said. "Although, it sure took you long enough." She smiled warmly at her friend.

"I wasn't completely on my game," Kathryn said. "I was a little preoccupied with that Sullivan…thing…and then with getting used to Seven and B'Elanna."

"I'm sorry I had to deceive you." Opaca rested her hand on Kathryn's shoulder. "I just didn't want to hurt anyone…if the crew found out…it could be painful."

"You mean Neelix," Kathryn said.

"Yes. He and I came to an understanding that we were not on the same path… even before I…left, but he still cares for me a great deal." She smiled as she closed her eyes. "He talks to me all the time. Tells me about his days, discusses new recipes and even tells me goodnight." Opaca looked at Kathryn. "I think he would be very hurt if I suddenly reappeared and didn't want to be with him."

"What do you want?" Kathryn asked. She covered Opaca's hand with her own.

"I missed you all. I didn't like floating around the cosmos. It was so scattered. Being in this matrix has allowed me to be grounded and it feels wonderful." Opaca sighed and squeezed Kathryn's arm.

"But what do you want?" Kathryn asked again, her voice a low whisper.

"I want to be home," Opaca whispered. She tilted her head forward and holographic tears slid down her cheeks.

"Kes," Kathryn whispered. "Opaca, you are welcome here as long as you want to stay, and I will do everything I can to help keep your secret. Although, I think Neelix would be thrilled to have you back in any form. I know I am."

Opaca nodded, but didn't look up. Kathryn cupped her chin and lifted her face.

"I am so glad you are back," Kathryn said. She looked into Opaca's deep brown eyes and studied the grin that made her heart ache. She had missed Kes' smile. Before she realized what she was doing Kathryn leaned forward and brushed her lips across Opaca's. She was warm and welcoming and nothing like the Sullivan hologram. Opaca felt real and Kathryn could feel the emotion welling up in her partner. Opaca whimpered and moved closer to Kathryn. She wrapped her arms around Kathryn's waist but was shocked to feel the older woman pull away.

"I'm sorry," Kathryn said as she touched her lips. She could still feel the warmth of Opaca's kiss. "I shouldn't have done that."

"Why?" Opaca asked. "I've been waiting for that kiss for almost seven years."

Kathryn raised both eyebrows high onto her forehead and then chuckled nervously. "I certainly didn't expect to be kissing another hologram."

"How about if we…play it by ear?" Opaca asked as she tilted her head down and looked up coyly at Kathryn through her lashes.

Kathryn smiled, this time warmly. "Speaking of ears…I really miss yours."

Opaca tugged at her ear, smiling. "I like them. I can wear earrings now. Before…they didn't look right on me, and I think the ridges are quite becoming."

"They are," Kathryn agreed. "In any form, I am so glad you are here."

"So am I," Opaca said. She held out her arms and Kathryn welcomed the embrace. Both women held on tight, enjoying the warmth. They stayed that way for several minutes, neither knowing where their lives would take them, but both knowing that their futures had just gotten a great deal brighter.

When they broke apart, Kathryn got herself of cup of coffee and then sat next to Opaca on the couch.

"Now, tell me everything you saw," Kathryn said as she settled into the welcoming cushions. "What wonders of the universe did you see?"

"This could take a while." Opaca leaned back against the arm of the couch. She looked at her shoes, then flickered briefly and her feet morphed and the shoes were gone. She stretched her sock-covered toes and sighed. "Might as well get comfortable."

"By all means," Kathryn said. She held her cup in one hand and used the other to guide the hologram's feet onto her lap. "Now, tell me everything."

"Well, I got to see a forming gas giant hit by an interstellar string. It was beautiful," Opaca said. She enjoyed the feeling of Kathryn's hand resting on her feet.

"Fascinating," Kathryn said as she prepared for a very long night. "Can you describe it?"

Opaca nodded and began sharing all of the adventures she had witnessed on her travels around the universe.

Epilogue:

It was dark, but Kayla was warm and happy. It had taken her days to train her two mamas that she didn't want to sleep alone in the tiny, lonely bed in the other room. Kayla opened her eyes, and squeaked. She was in the mama-bed. It was warm, with the milk-mama on one side quietly snoring, and the singing-mama on the other side. The milk-mama was warm, almost hot, and she smelled of love, while the singing-mama was soft and sweet and her chest vibrated when she sang or hummed. Kayla loved being in the mama-bed with the two halves of her universe on either side. She would wake up, but she wouldn't cry. There wasn't any reason to be upset at all. Both her mamas were next to her and the singing-mama seemed to sense when Kayla would wake. The singing-mama would rest her hand on Kayla's belly, rubbing softly to soothe her loneliness in the night. Sometimes the singing-mama would move one finger up near Kayla's face so she could suck on it. It didn't yield milk like the other mama's breast, but it was soothing and she would drift off to sleep.

Kayla's eyes were bright and darted around the room as the light of the morning shift began coming up. Her mamas slept snuggled up close to her, each one carefully draping their arm over her so that they could touch each other. Kayla felt warm and safe and most of all she felt loved. She wiggled her tiny toes and squeaked as she felt the milk-mama lean over toward her.

"Shh, little one," B'Elanna whispered as she kissed her daughter's tiny ridges. "You stay quiet and don't wake your mama." She moved away, leaving the cooling sheets in her place.

Kayla did not like it when one of her mamas was gone. It felt like part of her world was missing, and the mamas didn't seem quite as happy when one of them was away. She kicked her feet in protest, not liking the way the bed seemed only half full.

Seven sighed and she moved her hand onto Kayla's belly. She rubbed slow, small circles and Kayla stopped kicking and grabbed her mama's fingers. Seven reacted instantly, letting Kayla tug her finger higher until she began sucking on Seven's pinky. That definitely comforted her and she sucked harder, her tiny lips smacking.

Seven opened her eyes and yawned. She smiled, looking over at Kayla. "Good morning," she whispered, and then looked over at the empty side of the bed. "Where is your So'Soy? Hmm?" Seven shifted her weight and she reached under Kayla to make sure that she was still dry. Seven had designed a moisture detector for her diapers, but the former drone liked to be thorough.

"Good morning, love," B'Elanna said from behind Seven.

The former Borg twisted her head so that she could see her wife. B'Elanna held out a steaming mug.

"Is that what I think it is?" Seven asked. Her eyes widened as she took the cup with one hand, twisting so she didn't have to disturb Kayla. She inhaled the steam, moaning when the faint scent of raspberry hit her nostrils. "I love you," Seven said, then began gulping her beverage.

B'Elanna moved around the bed and crawled back under the covers. She scooped up Kayla and cradled her in the crook of her elbow. "Your mama is a sucker for raspberry tea. If you ever fix anything you aren't supposed to, just bring her some tea."

"And what did you do that warranted bringing me tea?" Seven asked. She smiled as she watched B'Elanna rubbing noses with Kayla.

"Me?" B'Elanna asked. "Nothing. This is just me getting back into the swing. Now that you're not pregnant anymore…you can have all the tea you want. No caffeine restrictions, love." Kayla nuzzled B'Elanna's chest. "Hmm, looks like someone else is thirsty." B'Elanna balanced Kayla as she opened her nightgown and quickly helped her daughter begin breakfast.

Seven gulped down the last of her tea, then looked into the empty cup, her expression crestfallen.

"Oh, love," B'Elanna said with a smirk. "You always do that."

"Do what?" Seven asked without looking up from her depressingly empty mug.

"That…You always get so excited about your tea," B'Elanna said. "You just gulp it down and then you sit there and stare into the cup… pouting." B'Elanna cringed. "I think your daughter is getting her infant incisors." She had hoped that Kayla would not have the extra set of teeth that all Klingon infants got. It was another set of baby teeth that came in during the first month. They were small, but extremely sharp.

"I do not pout," Seven said. She tilted the cup and sighed.

"Uh huh." B'Elanna turned toward the nightstand and then spun back around holding out a small stasis teapot.

"I love you, my Be'nal," Seven said as her eyes sparkled. She took the pot and filled her cup, setting the extra tea on her own nightstand. "You seem to be getting the hang of that," Seven added when she turned back toward her wife. B'Elanna was managing to balance Kayla in place with one arm while she straightened the blanket.

"Yeah, well, Kayla has more suction than a blown out airlock. I don't think I could pry her loose with a hyper spanner."

"I cannot blame her. Your breasts are most…desirable." Seven sighed happily as she sipped her tea.

B'Elanna leaned against Seven and rested her head on her wife's shoulder. "I love you, Seven," she whispered.

"And I love you, my beloved Be'nal," Seven said as she tilted her head and kissed B'Elanna's temple. She looked at Kayla and smiled, then leaned down carefully and kissed the side of her face. Kayla smacked her lips, unwilling to unlatch. "Kayla, my greatest wish is that you will someday find a love like ours," she whispered.

"She will, my love," B'Elanna said. "Okay, little one, time to swap sides." She shifted Kayla, trying to move her to the other breast, but Kayla clamped down, unwilling to move just yet. "She doesn't even listen to us," B'Elanna said with a chuckle. "We are in so much trouble."

"She will listen. She is our daughter, and daughters listen to their mothers and do what they are told." Seven put her cup down and wrapped her arm around B'Elanna.

"Seven? Darling? How often do you or I do as we are told?" B'Elanna asked sweetly.

There was a long paused as Seven processed that fact.

"Trouble is not an adequate word to describe what we are going to experience," Seven said grimly.

"Nope," B'Elanna snuggled into Seven's embrace, letting Kayla stay where she was, firmly attached to her breast and not about to let go. Her tiny fists grabbed onto the silky fabric of B'Elanna's nightgown making certain that her milk-mama didn't escape. "We are so screwed," B'Elanna said, though she didn't seem upset by the idea.

"Well, we could be," Seven said as she smoothed Kayla's auburn curls. "But not in front of our daughter."

B'Elanna rolled her eyes.

The End

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