DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is the property of Paramount, this story depicts a loving/sexual relationship between women.
ARCHIVE: Only with the permission of the author.
Iranic Prime was a dump. The air was too hot; the people too cold. Litter covered the streets, and the politicians spouted nothing but garbage. So naturally, Janeway, chose it as the idea location for shore leave. I believe the woman has a problem with enjoying herself, and instead of keeping it to herself, has included the rest of the ship in her misery.
Being the Chief Engineer, I wrongly supposed I'd be exempt from the week long vacation, especially considering the mountain of repairs that need to be performed after our latest run in with the Borg. But no. In her demented wisdom our great leader has decided that I need to relax and enjoy myself more. I can't argue with that, but what I can, and did, argue over was her assumption that I could get any rest on this godforsaken planet.
She being the captain, and me a lowly lieutenant, she won. Or rather, she'd pulled rank and ordered me planet side. Kahless! Sometimes I truly despise that woman.
"Come on, Lanna, cheer up." Tom was smiling far too much, and his pearly white teeth provided a perfect target for my fist. But I controlled myself; if for no other reason than the fear of being confined to one this planet's gaols, and having to spend even more time here.
"Go away Paris." Having to listen to his annoying prattle was bad enough when we were dating, now that stupidity has been put to an end I've no intention of allowing his auditory bombardment to continue.
Tom just shrugged, his interest in me only peripheral to the thought of getting some woman to bed down with him for the night. As I watched I could tell he'd rated his chances with me as non-existent and was surveying the other holiday makers for an easier target. First his gaze came to rest on a plain looking ensign from Earth sciences, who I happen to know is a tiger in bed; although not from personal experience, I hasten to add. It would seem Tom hadn't caught on to that bit of gossip, as his eyes soon continued their trawl of the available talent to rest on the shy but attractive form of Tal Celes. Here he paused, a smile tugging at his lips, until his view of the young crewman was obscured by another figure.
Like me, Seven, had been ordered by the captain to attend shore leave, and like me, she was loathed to be here. The tall blonde had taken one look at the surrounding area and given the command to beam her back aboard Voyager. Unfortunately for her, Janeway, had been in the transporter room and belayed her order. I couldn't help but smile at that; if I had to suffer I didn't see any reason why she shouldn't. Determined to make the most of a bad situation, Seven, had obviously decided to continue her work while planet side; which brought her into contact with Tal Celes, and to the attention of Tom Paris's libido.
The grin that had been barely evident on Tom's face blossomed into a smile of almost demented glee. I couldn't believe it. The idiot was actually contemplating trying to bed the Ice Queen. He was either stupider than I'd thought possible, or he truly believed the gods were shining down on him. Not that I didn't understand the attraction; you'd have to be blind not to. But I was realistic enough to know that Seven would never succumb to his, or anyone else's, lusty overtures.
"You don't stand a chance, helm boy."
His smile dimmed, but his eyes never left Seven. "I wouldn't bet on that, Lanna."
"Oh, please," my outburst drew the eyes of nearly all those around us, including the statuesque blonde. Her disdainful regard was just more proof to me that Seven would never let her hair down enough to bed anyone; least of all a philandering space jockey, like Paris. "Even I'd have more of a chance with her than you would."
"You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
"What are you talking about?" Sometimes Tom can be annoying, but most of the time he's a lot worse.
He turned his back on the others, making sure the rest of our conversation couldn't be overheard. "You'd love to get your hands on her; admit it, you've had a thing for the borg ever since she joined the ship."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Ridiculous? Fine, if you say so." He began to turn, but I knew he wasn't finished. "You wouldn't stand a chance anyway, not against me."
I'm not a stupid woman. Sure, I've done stupid things, and rushed headlong into situations without thinking them through, but I'm not stupid. Tom was playing me; reverse psychology for the under five's, no less. I could see right through it. He knew I could see right through it, but I still went headlong into it like a targ in a china shop. "I'll bet you anything you like I can get to Seven before you."
"A wager?" He is smugness personified. "I'd hate to take your money."
"Okay, then how about two months worth of replicator rations to the first person who gets the Ice Queen in the sack?"
I think I might have told a lie when I said I wasn't stupid. I'm sure if you look the word up in the Federation database one of the definitions would be: To try and woo an emotionless former Borg, who thinks you're incompetent. It doesn't help that I've been in a foul mood for months, and can't even seem to remember how to be nice to people. Shit!
Our happy little group of vacationers begin to separate, presumably with the intention of exploring this dump of a city we've been forced into. I could save them all the trouble and summarise the place's attractions; namely the piece of dirt we were standing on, that would eventually be the site of our return to Voyager, but it's best they find out for themselves.
I notice that Seven seems uninterested in searching for local colour, and is instead concentrating on a data padd she has smuggled to the surface. It's what I would have expected from her. Poor Tom, he's standing by her side, desperate to gain her attention and suggest a romantic little walk through the enchanting back streets. It'll never happen. For one thing, Seven, would think wandering empty streets illogical and a waste of her time; secondly, the streets here aren't enchanting, they're dusty and smelly. I wonder what I'll do with all those extra rations?
Just as my imagination gets carried away with the possibilities of extra hours spent in my favourite holo-fantasy, I remember the bet isn't just about Tom striking out. Damn! I have absolutely no interest in sleeping with Seven; she's cold, emotionless, arrogant and more annoying than the captain and Paris rolled into one. So what if she's droolably good looking; I'm not that shallow.
"What!" Oh God, the Ice Queen cometh. "What is it Seven?"
"Do you plan to try and seduce me with as much ineptitude as Mr Paris?"
"What?" Oh God, I want to die.
"His attempt was both unoriginal and overly confident. While at the same time he was vague and extremely indirect." She paused, and I could tell she was searching that Borg memory of hers for the proper procedure, or something equally as machinelike. "If you wish to win your bet, I would suggest you try harder."
"He told you about the bet?" Maybe his atoms got cooked in the transport, or he's suffering from early senility.
"I overheard you make the wager." She looks down at me with ever ounce of her supposed superiority. "Borg hearing, remember?"
"It's rude to listen in on other people's conversations."
"It is far ruder to wager about tricking someone else into bed."
She has a point; a very good point. "What do you plan to do about it?" If she takes this to Janeway we'll probably end up in the brig for a year.
She doesn't answer for a minute, and I begin to feel even more uncomfortable than before; something I'd thought impossible. "Nothing." With a nod she turns to leave, but before my mind can start going over the ramifications of this latest disaster, she turns to look directly at me. "I do hope your attempts to win the bet are better thought out than Mr Paris's."
Huh? She still expects me to try and win? That's crazy. Perhaps she's suffering from sun stroke. "Seven?"
In two quick strides she is standing in front of me, her head cocked slightly to the side, as if awaiting an order. "Yes Lieutenant. Do you wish to begin your attempt at seduction now?"
"Then why did you call me back?"
"I just wanted to make sure you were all right. No headaches, or nausea?" She looked okay, but then she always looks good.
"I am fine, Lieutenant."
"How can you be fine? You've just stood there and told me you overheard Tom and I betting about who would be the first one to get you in bed, and instead of calling security you're acting as if nothing's wrong." She is so damn infuriating. "You should be calling me names, and threatening to end my career. What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Nothing is wrong with me Lieutenant." She looks over at Tom, then back at me, and I can tell she's reviewing her options. "The bet you made with Mr Paris was juvenile and reprehensible, but I have long wished to experience the sexual act, so have decided to 'go along' with your wager."
"Go along with? You can't do that." The woman is worse than emotionless, she's demented too. "I won't even bother to mention the moral implications of letting yourself be the object of the bet, as we're both on shaky ground there; but how the hell are either of us supposed to seduce you if you know what we're doing?"
"I would suggest you use your imagination, Lieutenant." With that, she walked away.
Use my imagination? This situation is so twisted I can't help but smile. The Ice Queen has practically laid down a challenge, and whereas losing the bet to Tom would be beyond aggravating, failing to meet Seven's challenge would be utterly unthinkable. My God, I've got to get her into bed. Help!
"B'Elanna?" Tom's voice is hushed, a prelude to more secrets. "Are you okay? What did Seven say to you?"
"She knows about the bet."
"What!" It's weird to find out our reactions are the same. "You told her?"
"No!" I punch him lightly in the stomach. "She overheard."
"Shit! The captain will kill us."
"No she won't."
"Oh, come off it," his voice is raised and sweat has begun to bead on his forehead, "you know Janeway practically worships at her feet. She'll skin us alive for daring to suggest we get in Seven's panties before her."
I can't help but laugh. He's right, Kathryn, is so besotted with our Borg she'll probably court-martial whoever wins the bet. "Seven's not going to tell her."
"It's true. Apparently our little Borg is just as interested in finding out who'll win this wager as we are."
"She does understand what we're betting about, right?"
"Yes." He looks as bewildered as I feel. "She's more than willing to be seduced, but only if we do it well."
"Is this some kind of joke?"
"If it is, she's pulling it on both of us."
"Damn." Tom's smiling now, and I know he thinks Seven's as good as his. "I think I'm going to enjoy shore leave."
As he walks off I can't help but feel a smidgen of pity for the man; no matter how willing Seven is to be seduced, there's no way she'd fall for any of Tom's lines; the woman has too much self respect. The only reason I'd succumbed to his charms all those years ago was through a raging case of Klingon hormones and zero opportunities aboard Voyager; even then I'd known I was selling myself short. Not that Tom's a bad guy; immature, vain, and self centred, maybe, but not bad.
Having rated my competitions chances at nil, I then turn my attention to my own, which I will admit aren't looking any better. In the past I've tended to be the one who was seduced, albeit willingly, not the one doing the seducing. Chat up lines and romantic prologues to a roll in the hay are just not my forte; even if they were, I doubt Seven would fall for the normal type of routine.
Hadn't that been one of her complaints about Tom's approach, that it was unoriginal? So I guess I can rule out any proven technique, not that I could think of any off hand. What else did she say? Oh, yeah, over confident, vague and indirect. Well at least I'm not over confident, actually I'm getting the strong feeling that I don't stand a chance in hell. So to sum up, I have to find a way that is original, precise, and direct. Piece of cake.
'Hey Seven, lets commandeer that vehicle, park over by the brown pool of water masquerading as a lake, take all our clothes off and set the Iranic Prime record for most orgasms in an hour?'
Argh! This is a damn stupid bet, and I refuse to have anything more to do with it.
"Do you wish to ask me to dinner as well, Lieutenant?"
"Shit!" Oh, God, please tell me I only said that bit about the orgasms and lake inside my head. "Don't sneak up on me like that, Seven."
"I apologise Lieutenant, I didn't realise you had turned off your auditory functions, and were thus incapable of hearing me approach." Forget sleeping with her, I'd much prefer wiping that look off her face with my fist. "Lieutenant?"
"Did I ever tell you you're extremely annoying, and I'd love to put you over my knee and whoop that Borg stuffiness right out of you?"
"Not in so many words." Why the hell is she smiling, I didn't even know she could smile. "Although your approach gains weight for originality, I must inform you that I've never been aroused by the idea of sadomasochism. So perhaps you should try another angle."
"Wha'? I didn't mean, I don't. I..." God, now I'm blushing. "Go away, Seven."
"Very well, Lieutenant, but do I take that to mean you do not wish to have dinner with me?"
"Yes!" It would suit me just fine if I never had to look at her porcelain complexion ever again, the bet be damned.
"Very well, in that case I will accept Mr Paris's invitation, even though it was rather annoyingly put."
"What?" I'm saying that word far too frequently. I know I said the bet be damned, but I can't let helm boy just run off with my rations. "I'll have dinner with you."
"I did not ask you to dinner, Lieutenant, I merely tried to ascertain whether you intended to ask me."
Bury me in semantics and call me Ethel, she's doing this on purpose, I know it. "Fine, Seven, I'm asking you to dinner."
"That is it? No promises of candlelight, or romantic music?" I can see she's amused, and it just makes me angrier.
"No. You, me, food. That's it." I don't know if it's my Klingon side, or not, but right now I just want to throw her on the floor and ravish her senseless; I so cannot stand all this game playing. "If you're real lucky, I'll deign to sleep with you afterwards." Take that, Ms Perfect!
She still looks amused. "I must say, Lieutenant, your method is strikingly dissimilar from Mr Paris's. I find that I cannot decide which of you has made the most valid request; both being equally dismal. Therefore I think it fair that the three of us dine together."
"You have to be joking."
"I do not joke."
"Fine." It'll be worth it just to witness Tom crash and burn.
"Seven o'clock, the Mezzanine."
The Mezzanine turns out to be a crappy little restaurant in the heart of the city. I swear the only reason, Ms Anal-Retentive, chose the place is because it has the number nine in it. That, and insisting we meet at seven, is the sort of analytical mind teaser her sort enjoy. She probably brought along a week's worth of nutritional supplements, and will happily sip those while Tom and I have to risk God knows what kind of intestinal disease by tasting the local dishes.
"You are late Lieutenant."
"Ah!" I know she does that on purpose, I don't care what she says. "Yeah, well, we haven't all got a Timex shoved up our arse!"
"A Timex?" I don't know whether it's a good thing, or not, that she chose to ignore the more colourful part of my language. I seem to be wallowing in gutter mouth recently, and she only brings it out more.
"An old brand of time piece," Tom supplies helpfully, his smile set on its charming best, "I have one in my collection. Perhaps when we get back to Voyager I can show it to you?"
"Not if it is worn inside your rectum." I can't help but smile, I recognise that as a joke, even if Tom doesn't; and she said she didn't joke, the liar.
Helm boy eventually catches on that she's kidding and produces the perfect little laugh, before ushering us all towards a table. It's small, intimate, and surrounded by half dead fauna I know will make me sneeze. So far, this date is as enjoyable as I thought it would be.
The waiter arrives, and through some cosmic regulation that states all waitpersons must tell you their name and then ignore you when you need a refill, tells us he's called T'ralic and wanders off to get us some water. For a moment I am too captivated by the way his third arm swishes out from behind his back, like a tail, to notice he hasn't left us any menus.
"How are we supposed to know what to order, telepathy?" Even I'm a little embarrassed by my snippiness, but I'd rather date Paris again than apologise for it.
"It is Mo'darine, people on Iranic Prime only eat one set menu on that day." Of course, Seven, did her homework.
"Is that like a holy day?" Tom's trying to suck up, but it is a valid question.
"No. I believe it is equivalent to Earth's Tuesday."
"Huh?" That makes no sense. "So they only ever eat one particular meal on a Tuesday? That's ridiculous."
"Actually they have a set meal for each of the nine days in their week." I think she actually finds that acceptable; it probably fits in with her Borg sense of order.
"Kinda lacking in variety," Tom's voice is aiming for questioning, without contradiction; he almost pulls it off.
"Not in the least." She's smiling that barely there smile again; she knows something.
Before either of us can question her further on the menu, and you can just tell what a great date this is by the fact we've spent the first ten minutes discussing some cruddy planet's eating habits, by the arrival of T'ralic with the first of seven covered dishes. Another seven; I'm positive she's got some weird thing about her name.
Given the size of our table, T'ralic is forced to balance the trays on anti-grav holders that hover just out of reach until, with a gesture, they come straight to your hand; it's kind of neat. The food is sharply coloured and pungent, but in an appetising way that Neelix would do well to emulate. Still a little apprehensive, I take just a small amount from each dish, a system mirrored by Tom. Conversely, it is Seven who is ladling her plate to overflowing, and is even looking anxious to get started.
"What? Not sticking with your nutritional supplements?" Eating anything at all is very un-Seven like, but this show of eager anticipation is almost worthy of doppelganger status.
She finishes chewing on a red, squirming, morsel, and after carefully wiping her mouth presents me with one of her officious looks. "Considering the length of time we will be here, I took the time to analyse the planet's food supply to ascertain whether it was compatible with my systems. While doing so I was encouraged," a sour look passes her face momentarily, and I can just imagine the persuading necessary for her to take her first bite, "to taste the available dishes and found them to be pleasant on the palate."
"So, no chance of food poisoning, then?" Tom's words tell me I wasn't the only one worried about being rushed to sickbay.
"None at all." She pops a green something in her mouth, but somehow manages to look poised doing it. If I did the same think I'd look like a hog.
The dinner passes in relative silence; Seven is too occupied with her new favourite hobby of eating to pay any attention to us, and I know Tom is saving up his charm until it will help him win the bet. Thankfully the food turns out to be delicious; so maybe this isn't a total waste of time after all.
As we finish with our main course music begins to play, and a small group of musicians cluster around our table. From the look on Seven's face I can tell it wasn't something she'd planned on for the evening. That meant it was Tom's idea. The music is pleasant enough, but it lacks the delicacy of the meal and I can tell Seven is irritated by it.
Sitting back I smile at Tom, letting him know that for the moment Seven is all his; watching him trying to charm her will be fun.
He leans towards her across the table and his voice lowers to create a sense of intimacy. It is a good move, but he loses points for staring at her breasts for too long. "It was a lovely meal, Seven. How did you find this place?" Oops, too direct a question; Seven's bound to give him the literal answer.
"I contacted the Iranic Prime central computer and relayed my requirements for this evening, and a geographical limit on the search parameters. It produced forty-three results, which I then narrowed down to eight using the 'Food Critic's Review' back issues, also available on the central database. From those I picked one."
I knew it.
"Oh, well, a lovely choice."
"It was the name, wasn't it?" I'd meant to keep quiet, but I wanted to find out if I was right about her seven and nine obsession.
She simply nods, but I can see Tom wracking his brains trying to remember the meaning of the name and why it would be important. He'll probably assume she has a thing for balconies, and try to woo her like Juliet.
A few of the locals have decided the music is too nice to waste and have formed couples on a, previously unseen, dance floor. Watching three armed humanoids dance is a new experience for me; some of the areas those extra hands traverse would be scandalous in the Federation; kind of makes me wish one of them would ask me to dance.
"Would you care to dance, Seven?" I'll say one thing for Tom, he's a braver man than me. I know for a fact he was the one to patch up, Chapman, after the last time Seven tried dancing, but he's still willing to give it a try. God, he must really want those rations.
Or really want to get her in bed, a small voice reminds me. It's strange how the exact details of this little wager keep slipping my mind, as if thinking about having sex with Seven for too long might short-circuit my brain. But thinking of it now, I can see why he'd make this much effort, even without the prospect of beating me. Personally I wouldn't bother.
Decidedly uncomfortable at the suggestion, Seven, nether the less agrees and the two of them make their way onto the dance floor. They are not a good match. His sandy hair and her blonde locks are far too similar to prove appealing to the eye, and even though separately they are attractive people, together they lack the contrast of a truly mesmerising couple.
Tom's hand begins to slide down the back of Seven's biosuit and comes exceedingly close to cupping her behind before he snatches it back. Despite his lothario ways I'm willing to bet that was an accident; those damn suits of hers are deceptively silky, and it's easy for your hand to slip; it happened to me once while I was examining one of her Borg systems, I don't think I stopped blushing all day. Mind you, considering the wager I think I'd have allowed my hand to travel a bit farther; she does have a very tempting arse.
The song ends and they return to the table, Tom's face shows a smugness that indicates he thinks he's winning our little bet. Seven just seems anxious for the waiter.
When T'ralic arrives I see the reason for her looks, he's bringing dessert. Watching Seven eat the five layered blue cake, that tastes just like chocolate, is a strangely erotic experience. Her concentration, eagerness and obvious enjoyment send a little tingle to the pit of my stomach, but it is the way her tongue flicks out to capture the last of the cream that has me truly mesmerised. I may have to change my mind about the added bonuses of getting her into bed.
Tom somehow managed to miss the display, probably too caught up in planning a way to dump me so he can make his final move of the night. If he thinks he has a chance on tonight's performance, he's delusional.
The bill arrives and Tom sweeps it up from the table before either of us can even glance at it. I suppose it's meant to be chivalrous, but we've all been issued with identical credit chits, which will bill Voyager for all expenses incurred during our stay; apparently Janeway has made some deal where they get a bunch of junk we were going to throw out, in exchange for near limitless credit - the woman may be a pain, but she's not stupid.
While Tom handles the bill, Seven, and I make our way outside. I've never really noticed before how Seven sashays her hips as she walks; for an emotionless drone, she sure knows how to work that body of hers to its full erotic potential. Once outside I slip my arm through hers, and the look she gives me is almost startled confusion. Of course, I only did it to wind Tom up, and seeing his expression, I know I've succeeded.
Although quite a bit taller than me, in those damn heels, our steps are in sync and we avoid all the unnecessary bumps that usually occur the first time you walk with someone this way. I doubt Tom would have managed so well.
"Would you care to finish the evening with some dancing, or maybe a walk by the... the lake?" He really should have thought that one out a bit more, the lake is as romantic as a Ferengi's bathtub. The fact I'm still holding Seven's arm also makes the invitation appear to be directed at the both of us, despite his intentions to the contrary. I have absolutely no desire to go dancing or walk by the smelly lake, but if they go, so will I.
"No." Short and sweet, just like... well, none of us, actually. After a second I think she remembers she's meant to be playing along with the seduction and throws Tom a bone. "I had a very enjoyable evening, but require slumber. Perhaps on another occasion?"
"Sure, maybe tomorrow?"
"That would be acceptable."
Their chit-chat is rather boring, but it does prompt a question I should have thought of earlier. "Are you really intending to sleep? No alcove, or portable unit?"
"Yes." Her arm disengages from mine, and I know she's displeased.
"Have you ever done it before?" I'd worked on some of her Borg schematics with the doctor and knew that it was theoretically okay for her to survive for extended periods of time by replacing sleep and nutrition for regeneration, but I didn't think anyone had actually managed to convince her of that yet.
"Twice, under medical supervision." She definitely doesn't like the sleep idea; no wonder she'd rather spend her time engaging in the erotic Olympics with one of us.
"If there's anything I can do to help?" Tom's offer is the first direct suggestion I've heard him make about getting her in bed, even if he didn't actually mention sex.
"Yeah, Seven, we can always drop by your place and take turns wearing you out until you fall into a sex induced coma." What? She wanted direct. Poor Tom, he doesn't know whether to act shocked or agree. Seven settles for raising that eyebrow of hers and otherwise ignoring the comment.
"Thank you for the offer," I'm not sure if that's directed at me or Tom, "but I am sure I will be able to master the art of sleep sufficiently on my own."
The words 'Resistance is Futile' sing away inside my brain.
It's crunch time. We've arrived back at the quarters we were assigned and the only thing left is the good night; as I'm sure even Tom realises she's not going to put out tonight. I stand back slightly, letting him make the first move, a decided tactical advantage.
Stepping in close, he takes her hand within his own and very slowly raises it to his lips. I remember how that feels, the soft touch of lips against the back of my hand, gentle, but with the promise of more to come. It is a good move, made a hundred times better by the intimacy of his stare. If he'd performed that on any other woman, I'd say he was in with a chance; Seven just looked bored.
It's my turn.
As Tom steps back I smile at them both. "Goodnight." The smile on his face is just beginning, when I step up to her. Her lips are slightly parted, no doubt in preparation for returning my farewell, but no word can form, as I cover them with my own. It is a light kiss, my hands gently pulling her face to me as my lips flicker against hers. She is so soft, and for a moment I'm tempted to prolong the contact, but I pull away. Her disappointed groan is more than ample reward, and without looking back I turn to find my room.
That round belongs to me, I think.
Waking up on this dump of a planet, I actually found my mood less than dire for once. Rolling out of bed without cursing is something I haven't been able to do for months, but today, as I made my way to the bathroom, I actually had a smile on my face. Before anyone thinks I've gone soft and gooey eyed from kissing the Borg, I must state that my mood has absolutely nothing to do with that. On the contrary, it was her looks of bewilderment after a few of my more colourful comments, and Tom's inevitable failure that were making me so happy. I kind of like this 'don't give a damn, say whatever you want' attitude I seem to have recaptured. I don't know why I ever let Janeway and her regulations take it away from me.
Inevitably my good mood wasn't to last. Walking out the door I was once again reminded that I had to spend the day in this social backwater, with nothing to pass the time but watching the dust collect on the roadside.
"Hey, Marquis, are you off to the lake?" I decide to forgive Harry his chirpyness as he's got his arm around the plain looking ensign from Earth sciences and obviously spent the night being introduced to the wonders of carnal pleasure. The boy's grin is practically decapitating him.
"Why would I want to go to that sludge hole?" Sex has obviously rattled his brain, I'm envious.
"Actually, despite its colour, the water is very clean," pipes up the ensign, in a voice made for talking dirty.
"Tom even managed to persuade Seven to try sunbathing," it's good to see that even though he's just spent a night of untold bliss, he can still get dreamy eyed at the thought of Seven in a bikini.
Shit! Seven, in a bikini. There is no way I can leave Tom alone with her.
"I have to change, I'll meet you all there as soon as possible."
Harry looks a bit confused, but wanders off happily enough, a fine boned hand cupping his rear as his partner whispers something delicious in his ear.
Having squeezed into my black bikini, I take a moment to admire myself in the mirror; the extra hours I've spent practising with the bat'leth have honed my figure, without distorting my womanly curves with over pumped muscle. I haven't looked this good in years, although I'm not sure even the prettiest of bodies would have any effect of Seven. Aesthetics never seem to register with her, which is probably why she doesn't realise how God damn attractive she is.
The lake is looking as brown and unappealing as ever, the only difference from the day before is the string of Starfleet bodies sprawled out under the blazing sun. I can see Harry and his paramour snuggled up under the shade of a tree, exchanging kisses and generally oblivious to everyone else. A couple of my engineers appear to be engaged in a game of volleyball with some of Tuvok's security detail; I hope we cream them.
I would have thought locating Seven would have been easy, just a matter of following the lascivious stares; but no one's tripping over their tongue or calling for artificial respiration, so I presume she's not here yet. It's then that I spot Tom and discover why the general population isn't in Borg drool mode; Seven's covered from head to toe in a giant robe, even less of her flesh on show than in her damn biosuits.
I believe Tom is actually relieved to see me, which is a bad sign.
"My temperature is within acceptable limits." She's either angry or scared, but whichever it is the tension around these two is palpable.
"I've been trying to explain to Seven that it's okay for her to just wear her swimsuit, but she won't listen," he sounds far too exasperated, it can't be doing his chances any good, "I even offered to put suntan lotion on for her, but she won't budge." He smiles at the idea, but gets no reaction from Seven.
Looking around the shore I see that nearly everyone is decked out in swimsuit or bikini, and it is Seven's refusal to follow suit that marks her out from the crowd. Perhaps that's it? Perhaps she's just afraid that the sight of her implants will reinforce her isolation from the rest of the ship.
Standing directly in front of her, I reach out my hand. "Come on."
I wiggle my hand in an impatient gesture. "Stand up."
She clasps my hand and stands to face me. Without her heels she is only a couple of inches taller than me, and I find my gaze resting comfortably on her full lips. My look isn't blatant but it is noticeable, and she wets her lips in what I think is anticipation. Ignoring the unconscious invitation, I release her hand and pull at the cord which is keeping my own, much smaller, robe closed. Her eyes seem enraptured by the barest sight of my body, and with deliberate slowness I ease the rest of the gown from my shoulders to pool on the floor. Her gaze appears to take in every nuance of my form, but whether in appreciation or Borg curiosity I'm uncertain. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the meaning behind Tom's leer, so I do my best to ignore him.
When I feel she's stared long enough I reach out to clasp the end of the cord which is holding her mountain of a robe together. In an instant her hand is by mine, trying to wrestle the fabric from my grasp. I don't let go.
"Relax, Seven." For a split second she looks terrified, and I want to reassure her everything will be fine. Somehow this moment has gone beyond the scope of our bet, and what I want more than anything is to show her she can be one of us, and needn't fear rejection.
"B'Elanna," she whispers my name, as her eyes plead with mine, but eventually she relents and drops her hold; finally trusting that I don't mean her any harm.
I pull on the cord and it soon comes free, to fall forgotten to the floor. Her body is still covered, the depths of the robe proving a valid shield against all on lookers. I step closer still, my body brushing up against the fabric of the gown. Slowly I ease my hands into the robe's opening and begin to unveil the treasure within. Her skin is milky white, and flawless; the tiny implants which are made visible to me appear as decorations more than intrusions. She's beautiful.
The rapid movement of her chest tells me she's near to hyperventilating with distress. So far I am the only one who can see past her robe, as my body provides a shield for hers. I raise my eyes to hers and can see the fear she has tried so hard to mask.
My eyes then leave hers for a moment to trail appreciatively across her exposed body, conveying without words the joy I receive just looking at her. When my eyes once again find hers, they are calmer; and I realise for the first time that she really does trust me, despite everything.
My hands move further under the robe, to encircle her shoulders, then ever so gradually I begin to lower the gown from her body. She is still. No longer afraid, she seems to be enjoying our closeness. As the gown finally falls to the ground I am left holding her in a near embrace; my fingertips just millimetres from her skin.
We stay like that for an endless moment, my eyes never leaving hers, as my body sings out to take her in my arms. Finally I step back, and for the first time I see the full glory of her. The burgundy suit that adorns her body is conservative in style, but does nothing to hide her generous curves. Breathtaking.
"Looking good, Seven." Tom's words are accompanied by a wolf whistle and I suddenly remember we aren't the only people on the planet. Turning slightly I notice that every eye on the shore is on us, and the drool I'd expected when I first arrived has arrived in abundance, but it is accompanied by a stunned embarrassment I hadn't expected. It was as if they were ashamed for spying on a private moment.
"Thank you, Tom." She quickly sits, hoping to dispel the lingering looks. I wonder when she started calling him Tom?
"Do you want me to put some lotion on your back?"
She looks at me, but it isn't my decision to make.
"You don't want to burn," he adds, reaching into a bag for an old fashioned bottle of lotion. Trust Tom to go for the hands on variety, rather than the more effective spray.
"Yes, thank you."
She turns over on her front and he begins to attentively apply the liquid. It is a scene that should, by rights, carry strong sexual overtones, but it doesn't. His hands might have been soothing her skin, but her look was for me alone; and it was a look that rose my temperature far higher than the burning sun.
The rest of the morning was spent either lazing about by the shore, or splashing around in the water. I don't think Seven and I exchanged more than a couple of words in all that time, but she was never far from my thoughts. I'd deluded myself with the idea that being intimate with her was a minor consideration, in comparison to the wager I had with Tom. That wasn't true. Being allowed to share something so personal with Seven was a monumental gift, and not something to be thrown away on the chance outcome of two fools' wager. I had to make her see she was worth more than that. Not because she had the body of a goddess, but because she looked in my eyes with the hope, fear and gratitude of an innocent young woman.
Her eyes met with mine and I could tell she knew that what I was about to say was serious; her gaze wavered for a second, but when she looked at me again a decision had been made. "I think it's time we changed for lunch."
She chose to ignore it.
I made my excuses and managed to avoid having lunch with them. I had some thinking to do and I didn't expect it to be pretty.
Laying down on my bed I couldn't stop thinking about the look Seven got in her eyes as I removed her robe. It was such a human look, full of insecurity but covered with trust. How could I justify what I was doing in the face of that? Playing games with the emotionless Borg was one thing, but betting on a young woman's virginity was another. I couldn't go through with it.
My decision made, I realised my departure from the game would guarantee Tom's success. The pain that came with the thought of him winning one over on me was secondary to the ache in my chest at the thought of him taking her to his bed. It wasn't that he was a bad lover; I knew that when the time came he'd be gentle when needed, and whisper tender words in her ear to take away any doubt. But they'd be false words, false promises, and when it was over he'd think no more of it than a pleasant interlude. She deserves better.
Deserves better? One unguarded moment on the shore and suddenly I'm putting myself forward as the champion of her virtue. I need to put this in perspective. Seven knows what's going on, no one is pulling the wool over her eyes, and she wants it to happen. A person's first time is hardly ever filled with soft music and love, I know mine wasn't, but it doesn't mean we stay locked in our ivory towers until the 'right person' comes along. Seven knows that; she's not a fool; she's made her decision and I have no right to question it.
I cannot picture then together, but I know if I did, I'd want to rip his head from its socket. But is the alternative any better? What is so special about me that I'd be a preferable choice to Tom? I'm not a romantic. I have no experience in lying to the people I take to my bed. I couldn't look her in the face and tell her I loved her, if I didn't. How is that an improvement?
She trusts me. I saw it in her eyes, and what's more, I know I wouldn't do anything to jeopardise that trust. I'd hold her in my arms and treasure the moments we had together, cherishing the gift she was offering.
I'd also make damn sure she had the time of her life.
God, just thinking about it is making me hot. That's another thing, all noble sentiments and philosophising aside, she makes me wet. I knew I was attracted to her after the kiss last night, but this morning's interlude has left me burning for her. In lust with the Ice Queen, I think this God forsaken planet has affected my mind.
There is only one thing to do. Win the bet.
By the time I've finished my navel gazing most of the crew had retired to their rooms to change for dinner. Knowing that Tom would have already issued an invitation to join him, I just hoped I could persuade Seven to include me in the party.
When she came to the door, Seven, was dressed in the same overgrown robe she'd worn to the beach and I couldn't help hoping she'd again require assistance getting out of it.
"Seven." Lust is a definite liability when it comes to forming coherent speech. Less than twenty-four hours ago I could have stood before her spouted inanities or insults to my hearts content. Now I'm just standing here like a damn fool, waiting for her robe to drop.
"Is there something you want, Lieutenant?" Oh, yeah.
"May I come in?" If in doubt, fall back on politeness.
Her room is the mirror image of mine, its bare walls and comfortable bed the only things in view, except for the sliding doorways leading to the bathroom, closet, and balcony. I wonder if Tom's tried serenading her from beneath it yet?
"Lieutenant?" I'm sure that is one of her favourite words, she says it enough.
"Is there something you require? Only I need to change for dinner."
"No, I'm fine. You go right ahead." I sit down on the bed and look at her expectantly. It is then that I remembered she'd already changed out of her bathing suit for lunch; which means I've probably caught her fresh from the sonic shower. I can feel myself getting tongue tied again, but push it away with a resurgence of my 'don't give a damn, say whatever you want' attitude. "I'm sure I'll enjoy the show."
She doesn't look happy; I've probably interrupted her schedule and will force her to be a minute late for dinner.
"Do I take it that this is your attempt at seduction?" She's definitely not happy, but I can't help but be a little hurt. I may not know what the hell I'm doing, but if I was trying to seduce her I'd be doing a lot better than this.
"No." Twenty minutes ago I was dreaming of holding her in my arms and treating her like a princess. After two minutes in her company I'm back to wanting the wipe the superior look off her face. She just has a way of getting under my skin.
"Then what exactly are you doing?"
"I've no idea." Honesty can occasionally make you sound like a right idiot. "How did your lunch with Paris go?"
"The food was adequate, but not as good as dinner last night."
"Maybe you just had better company last night."
"I fail to see how that could effect the taste of my meal." I notice she didn't disagree about the better company.
"So, will you be dining with Tom again tonight?"
"Am I also invited?"
"I don't recall Tom saying the invitation included you." She is definitely, one hundred per cent, pissed off at me now.
"Well, can't you invite me?"
"Why should I?"
Standing from the bed I walk towards her, I can tell my unflinching gaze is making her uncomfortable but like a true warrior she refuses to retreat. "Because," I take hold of the lapels of her robe and bring her face to within an inch of my own, "you like," my breath feathers against her lips, and she parts them willingly, "to watch," her hands lay tentatively against my waist, "us fight," before slipping down to cup my bottom and pull our bodies into even closer contact, "over you."
I go as if to kiss her, but instead loosen my hold on her robe and step out of her reach. "That's why."
She's stunned. I know she's dying to call me all the names under the sun, but she won't let herself descend to that level. It would show I really got to her. "Fine, you are invited. Now go!"
I know I'm going to pay for that, but I don't know how. Not being a total fool I leave before she blows a gasket.
Tom isn't happy with me being here; Seven isn't happy with me, full stop; I can't stop grinning. We don't make the most harmonious of dinner companions.
"So, what's on the menu for tonight, Seven?" I'm far too cheery, but I don't care, it makes a nice change from my usual bear with a soar head routine.
"Another selection of local dishes," her tone is clipped, and I know she'd rather not speak to me at all if possible.
"Seven dishes, by any chance?" I love getting under her skin; it's only fair.
We'd returned to the Mezzanine, and were once again being waited on by T'ralic. He seemed to sense the tension that surrounded our party and was doing his best to hurry our food along.
"So, how are we doing so far?"
My question seems to have stumped them both, even though it was only directed at Seven.
"Any clear favourite?"
"What are you talking about?"
She's kind of sweet when she's confused. "The seduction. I was just wondering how we were fairing."
Tom looks at me as if I've lost my mind, but Seven isn't so easily shocked. "Not very well, Lieutenant."
Ouch! "Really?" Somehow that scene in her room tells me differently, even if her responses had been unplanned, she'd still wanted me.
"Really." She's just itching to say more. "In fact, if other Klingons' seduction skills are as limited as yours, I'm surprised the Empire hasn't dissolve through lack of propagation."
Tom laughs, and I give her a big smile; sure in the knowledge that it will piss her off further. I don't know why I'm trying to annoy her so much, but it is fun.
"So, Lanna, struck out." In your dreams, helm boy. "I guess you've either got it, or you haven't."
For the first time since sitting down to the meal, Seven and I exchange a look of total agreement. He hasn't. It makes me wonder why she's even letting him try and seduce her; it's obvious she's not interested.
"If you're so keen to find out about sex, how comes you didn't just ask the captain to oblige?"
Tom looks mortified by my question, but it's a valid point. She could have almost anyone on the ship she desires, but instead she waits until she overhears our bet before making an attempt. That just doesn't sound like the forward thinking Borg I know and... have started to lust after.
"I do not find Captain Janeway physically appealing."
"Really? I always thought she was relatively attractive, myself." Not that I had the slightest interest in the woman, she was far too authoritative for my liking.
"I did not say I found her unattractive, only that she did not appeal to me on a physical level."
"But we do?" Trust Tom to get to the part that flatters his ego.
"I wouldn't contemplate having intercourse with someone I found unappealing." The way she says intercourse makes it sound like a science experiment; I'll have to do something about that.
"Wouldn't you rather wait until you are in love?" Oh Kahless! I've gone all romantic, shoot me now!
"I believe our food has arrived." Ignoring my question she turns a full wattage smile on an unsure T'ralic and begins to help herself to the various dishes.
Our meal is again consumed in near silence, which gives me a good opportunity to question exactly what it is I hope to accomplish by aggravating her. I know it's enjoyable, but it's hardly likely to tempt her back to my room for a night of sweaty sex, let alone show her I'm actually rather attracted to her. I should have just kissed her in her room, at least that way I'd know for sure if she wanted me. But is wanting me enough? From what she's said she finds both Tom and I equally appealing, but that's hardly a reason to start a relationship with someone.
Whoa! Relationship? Who the hell mentioned anything about a relationship? This is a purely physical, one time deal. My lust may be playing havoc with some of my higher cerebral activities, but even that's not enough to make me think Seven and I could ever have a relationship without killing each other. It would never work.
But it would be nirvana while it lasted.
"B'Elanna?" Seven looks at me in concern, although Tom is again oblivious.
"Are you, okay?" She's concerned about me; I feel a big grin coming on.
She isn't convinced but goes back to her food anyway.
Someone else has obviously requested the musicians for tonight, as they've already started to play for a couple to our right. I wonder if this time I should ask Seven to dance? Tom managed to come out of it unscathed and it would be a good opportunity to hold her close and maybe re-spark the desire that was in her eyes earlier. I'll have to time it well. Tom's already looked over to the dance floor a couple of times and is just waiting for Seven to finish her meal before popping the question.
Now we're both watching her, although I think I manage to be a little more circumspect about it than Paris; he's sitting there, feet tapping to the music, and eyes glued to her fork. I nonchalantly pick up another of the orange coloured sweet rolls and pop a chunk in my mouth.
Just then Seven pushes her plate away and gives the sign we've both been waiting for. I desperately try to swallow the lump of food in my mouth, but before I can do more than gulp he is escorting her towards the dance floor.
At least they don't look any more compatible than they did last night; although looking good together has never been a prerequisite for jumping into bed. As they move to the music I can almost see Seven's mind working out the variables in the beat and rhythm, in an attempt to master the art. Someone should tell her that dancing is something you feel, not calculate.
They are back after the one song and both look relieved.
"Don't I get a dance?" Seven looks up and I know she's wishing I'd addressed that remark to Paris. No chance.
"Please." Please isn't a word I say often, which is probably why she consented so quickly, shock.
The dance floor is only tiny, which forces us to move in close, something I'm more than happy to do. She's stiff in my arms, her posture more rigid than usual. "Relax, you can't dance while standing to attention."
I can tell she's trying, but it still feels as if I'm holding a piece of steel. I pull her in closer, our position more an embrace than anything else. The heat of my body eventually begins to soak into hers, and she moulds herself to me. We're hardly moving, just a sway of the hips as the song floats around us. I wish I could think of something to say to her; something poignant and maybe just a little romantic, but I can't think of anything except the feel of her in my arms. It feels so good.
"Do you really want to win the bet?" Her lips are by my ear and it takes me a moment to regain my composure after the feel of her breath against my skin. Her question isn't as simple as it sounds.
"Yes and no."
She looks at me expecting more, and I know that now is the time.
"I... I want to make love to you, but I couldn't care less about the stupid holodeck rations." When did it become making love? I thought we were meant to be talking about sex? If she refuses me now, I don't think I'll recover.
The song ends and we stand there, looking at each other. I don't think she knows what to say; I know for certain I don't.
"I think. I think our dessert has arrived." As she moves away from me I think I've blown it, but her hand soon entwines with mine and I know I said the right thing.
As we sit down to our dessert only Tom seems capable of speech, his anecdote chosen to impress, but receiving only scant attention; both our minds are on something else.
Soon our meal is complete and we begin the walk back to our quarters. This time Tom has managed to snag Seven's arm, but she is unaware of it or him. For both of us the game is over and it just waits to be seen how we handle victory.
"I guess this is where we say goodnight." Tom looks very anxious, probably envisioning delivering a farewell like my own the night before. I don't want him touching her.
Seven must have realised the same thing, because before either of us knew it she had kissed us on the cheek and bade her farewell. The look she threw me as she closed her door told me I wouldn't be turned away if I come back later. I just had to get rid of Tom.
"Night, Tom, see you in the morning."
As I walk away I look back and see he hasn't moved from his place in front of Seven's door. "Your room's that way, Paris." I remind him, jerking my head to the left. He gives me a condescending smile but doesn't budge. I'm immediately by his side, staring at Seven's closed door.
"Look, Lanna, I didn't want to rub your nose in it, but it's obvious Seven and I are gonna get it on. I suggest you go back to your room, there might be an interested vid on the player."
The little shit.
"And what exactly makes you think you've got a chance in hell with Seven?"
"A man knows these things." Tom Paris wouldn't know a brick if it hit him on the head.
"You self important little..."
"Will you two please keep the noise down! I refuse to have my personal life broadcast to the entire away team." Seven's back and not looking too happy. I give her an apologetic smile and hope I haven't just ruined my chances of a memorable night.
"Sorry, Sev," Tom gives her one of his best smiles but I think we're both still caught up on the weird shortening of her name to notice it. It's strange enough that since our separation he's started calling me Lanna, when I don't think he used it more than once during the time we were together, but Sev? That is so not gonna fly.
"My name is Seven. Not Sev, or Annika, or even the Ice Queen," I blanche at that one, "do you understand me?"
"Sure, Seven." I nod too, even though her anger isn't directed towards me.
"As for your suggestion that you and I are about to become intimate. Wrong!"
She's working up a real head of steam, and I don't think I've ever seen her this enraged. I make the mistake of smiling to myself and her laser sight is immediately set on me.
"Lieutenant." She grabs my arm and pulls me in the door, banging it shut in Tom's surprised face. Oh my.
There are moments in life so filled with awkwardness that you just want to retreat into yourself until they're over. This was turning into one of those times. We both stood there, just inside the door, frozen. We both knew why we were there, but neither of us seemed able to make that first move.
"Should I go?" I didn't want to leave but I didn't know how to go forward.
"Do you want to?"
"If you need more time?" I no longer know what I'm saying. What happened to that oh so appealing 'don't give a damn' attitude I'd just recovered?
"I don't, but I do need to tell you something," her voice is uncertain, so I know whatever it is she's not sure I'll like it.
She takes my hand and leads me towards the bed, but despite our new location her actions aren't sexual, only nervous.
"I believe you... No. I allowed you to misunderstand my willingness to be seduced."
Kahless! She doesn't really want me.
"When I said I had long wished to experience the sexual act I wasn't telling the whole truth. What I meant was that I had long wished to experience it with you. I used the wager as a chance to get closer to you. I never had any intention of responding to Tom, only you." She looks down and I think it's shame I see on her face. "I tricked you into liking me."
I let out a little chuckle. I can't help it, right now I'm on cloud nine, which is a damn fine number to be and no mistake. "You didn't trick me into feeling about you the way I do. Nothing could."
"You have feelings for me?" I think we all forget just how innocent she can really be.
"Yes, Seven, I have feelings for you." I brush my hand against her cheek and am rewarded with her beautiful smile. "I can't tell you exactly what they are right now, because I don't even know myself, but I do know that I care for you; am attracted to you beyond rational thought."
She smiles again, perhaps at the idea of me being rational. If I were Tom I'd have told her I loved her, but I refuse to lie. My heart has been open to her for too short a time for such a mammoth emotion, but I can say one thing with absolute certainty. "I'm falling in love with you Seven, and it's kind of scary."
"Yes, it is." She doesn't look scared at that moment. Leaning forward, to capture my lips with her own, she looks sure of everything and capable of miracles. "But we'll get through it together."
Her body is pressed against mine, and I run my hands through her golden hair, marvelling not only in its texture, but my freedom to touch its silky strands at will. It is like being given the keys to a magical kingdom, only better, because I get to take her with me. We sink into the bed, our caresses light but telling. We are memorising each other; sensitive areas remembered for the years to come. It is a joining of lovers who expect a future, not just a heated exchange, and it is all the more passionate because of it.
Slowly our clothes disappear and we can feel the delicate touch of skin on skin. I am amazed by the warmth of her; her Nordic beauty contains an inferno of passion I never imagined. I can't stop touching her; her arms, her legs, the soft skin behind her ear that is guaranteed to make her smile. I just want to lie with her forever.
She isn't a silent lover, ever caress receives a moan of applause, and with it my need for her grows. My hands, fingers, lips, are all engulfed in her; our heat consumes us both and we are soon laying exhausted in each others embrace. But our rest is only temporary, my need soon rises and I must have her; again and again and again.
I think I'm in love with Iranic Prime. It is a backwater of a planet with not a single descent research facility in the whole of the southern hemisphere, but at this moment I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Waking up to Seven is almost as intoxicating as going to sleep with her wrapped in your arms. Then she stretches and her head snuggles deeper into my neck and I know I was wrong; this is the most intoxicating feeling in the Quadrant. I would wake her, to share our first morning kiss, but I cannot bring myself to disturb perfection. I will just lay here for as long as I'm able and watch my love sleep.
I've finally woken up to heaven.
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