DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. I'm just borrowing them for a bit. When I'm done I'll put them back right where I found them, honest. No ex-drones or human/klingon hybrids were harmed in the writing of this fan fic.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Sparx

Stardate: 5368.4

Personal log: Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres

It's been months since my last entry. Four months since I'd been imprisoned on the holodeck. I guess calling it a prison isn't entirely accurate, but sometimes it sure felt like a prison to me. I know there are some people onboard who'd think of this as heaven. Problem is, I never did like the holodeck much and being stranded in here, with her of all people, can sure get on a persons nerves.

I suppose I should start at the beginning.

The away mission itself was a very routine thing. Beam down, collect some dilithium samples, beam back up. The detail consisted of myself, ensigns Adams and Srek and Seven of Nine. As missions go, it had the excitement rating of say, trimming your toenails. The only reason any of us volunteered was because we had nothing better to do and it was a quick way to kill a couple of hours. Sounds simple enough. And it was simple. The dilithium was laying on the open ground just waiting to be picked up, which was exactly what we did. It was when we beamed back up that the trouble started.

I can just imagine how it went in the transporter room.

"Hey Joe, the biofilters have picked up something."

"Well scan and remove it"

"That's the thing. The biofilters can't seem to touch this."

"Oh. Then contact the doctor, we'll send them to sickbay and let him take care of it."


No muss, no fuss. Just a minor annoyance to pass on to someone else.

After a few extra minutes stuck in the transporter buffer, we materialized inside a containment field in sickbay. Ten minutes later Adams and Srek were dead. Seven and I didn't really notice at the time, because we both became violently ill ourselves. Seems we'd picked up a nasty little alien bug that activated when it came into contact with some of the rarer Earth gases. The doctor couldn't do much, except to give us antinauseants and let the thing run it's course. After a few days we both recovered fully. The problem was that we both still carried whatever this thing was. Anyone coming into direct contact with either of us would be dead in minutes. We'd been stuck inside the containment field for three days already and now the doctor had to tell us that we were going to be stuck there for the foreseeable future until he could find a way to get this out of our systems.

So how did we end up in the holodeck?

Well, we'd been getting along better recently, for a change. That's why we both ended up on the same away mission. We could spend a few hours working together, without giving in to the urge to inflict bodily harm. Thing is that the mission was only supposed to be a few hours. By the time we'd been cooped up in sickbay for eleven days, we were ready to declare open war on each other.

We'd spent the day hurling vague, and not so vague, insults and contemplating ways to alter various pieces of medical equipment into usable weapons when the captain interrupted our fun, glared at us until we agreed to a truce, and told us what she had in mind.

Since the doctor hadn't even been able to isolate the virus, let alone find a way to remove it, we were going to be stuck with each other for a while. When she told us it could be weeks or even months before he could find a cure, Seven and I both glared at each other. After only eleven days we were already on the verge of violence. Any more and someone was going to get hurt, seriously hurt. Then the captain told us her plan. We were to be transported to holodeck one. There we could set up whatever 'world' we wanted and have a little space. The way she emphasized 'space', I think she was hoping we'd each program our own island with a thousand miles of sea to separate us. She had wanted to put us into separate holodecks but the doctor had told her that he couldn't guarantee that a containment field large enough to cover both holodecks would be effective. Considering the risk to the crew, she decided to put us together in one and hope we didn't turn off the safeties and kill each other.

Twenty minutes, and one stern lecture about getting along later, we materialized in the holodeck. The first thing we did was stare around dumbly trying to figure out what program to run. Neither Seven nor I had ever had much use for the holodeck and it showed. She only used it for her social lessons with the doctor and velocity games with the captain. Since she could do neither at the moment, she had no idea what to do. I wasn't much better. I only used it to run exercise programs. Since Tom and I had broken up, the only time I came was to have a beer with Harry at Sandrines, and even that was a rare thing for me. Even when I had dated Tom, I had only come to humor him. I never could see the fun in interacting with fake people when there were real ones just outside the holodeck doors.

Seven was the one who solved the problem first. Of course it led to a huge fight, but that had become the standard for both of us over the last few days so it was to be expected.

"Computer, generate Voyager astrometrics lab." she had ordered. Immediately the lab appeared and she began to access the controls.

"Just what the hell do you think your doing?" I'd shouted.

She then told me what she was doing and I told her what she could do with her lab. After about a half hour of me yelling and her giving it right back, if not so loud, I finally yelled, "I am not going to spend the next few weeks, maybe months looking at star charts."

She'd turned and with that superior look on her face, the one that seems like a personal challenge every time I see it, and answered, "I intend to use this to interface with astrometrics. I can still perform many of my usual duties from here."

I knew she had a good idea, but I was pissed that she'd thought of it first, after all I could do the same thing with engineering. We could both actually get some work done, even if we had to do it from the holodeck. Muttering curses, I stomped out of 'astrometrics' and opened an engineering hologram.

By the end of the day we'd pretty much built our own version of Voyager. Seven created the lab and her cargo bay. A regeneration unit had been sent to the holodeck with us and I guess she felt most comfortable putting it in the same place as the original. It even looked like the one in cargo bay 2 even though we both knew this one was the small secondary unit the doctor had in sickbay.

I had my engine room and my quarters. My quarters looked just like the original. So did the engine room for that matter. I guess that's the first thing I noticed that we had in common. Neither one of us were big on change.

For the next month Seven and I didn't see each other at all. We each stayed in our respective areas of the 'ship'. We kept ourselves busy working on various projects that we'd never found the time to do before now,. In some ways this confinement was actually benefitting the ship and crew. Though isolated, we were still in contact with the rest of the crew. Relaying the information back and forth between the various departments, we managed to get a lot done. It wasn't anything major, just those little things that had been needing done for a long time. While Seven improved the long range sensors, I set up a new power relay. While I was getting more range from the communications grid, she developed a more efficient replicator.

All in all, it was a very productive time, for both of us. It also became a very frustrating time. Though neither of us are what you could really call a people person, the lack of contact with the rest of the crew was starting to really get on my nerves. The only person either of us saw face to face was the doctor.

By shifting his matrix directly to the holodeck he was the only one who could safely come into contact with either of us. But even he had to do it through the holodeck. He couldn't even risk using his emitter because of the danger of carrying any contaminants out with him. He'd stop by every few days to give us a check up and to take samples. We were both in perfect health, but still a deadly danger to the rest of the crew. The only thing he'd been able to discover was the why of how we'd managed to survive. Seven's nanoprobes had saved her life. After the initial illness they'd done their work, repaired everything and rendered the virus harmless to her, but unfortunately not to anyone else. For myself, the doc wasn't too sure. Since there aren't any other Klingons onboard to compare against, the doctor decided that either the Klingon DNA protected me or it was the mix of human and Klingon that confused the virus and made it possible for me fight it off. Since both ensigns who died were of full blood, Adams human and Srek Terelian, he decided to go with the mixed heritage theory. For myself, I didn't really care which theory he went with, as long as he just found a way to get this out of my system so I could go on with my life.

When there isn't any time to spare, all those little projects seem to really pile up. When you finally have the time to do all those projects you suddenly find that they didn't take as long as you thought they would. I still did the engineering diagnostics and routine scans, but that only took about an hour a day. Sure, there were still things that I wanted to work on, but working all alone with no one to talk to was getting on my nerves and I needed a break from it. The silence was beginning to bother me. The lack of company was starting to drive me insane. Not wanting to talk to someone is very different from not being able to talk to anyone. Visiting though a combadge is nowhere near the same as having a living breathing person to talk to. We'd set up video displays early on but that wasn't very effective. Sure you could see the person you were talking to, but it only served to emphasize my isolation. Besides, I couldn't use them to contact anyone unless they were off duty. It interfered with their work otherwise. There was suddenly no such thing as spontaneous conversation in my world. But the only person who I could safely have any contact with was Seven of Nine. I couldn't think of anything to do, I had nowhere to go and the only person I could visit was the last person I wanted to see. I stubbornly determined to do something, anything rather than submit myself to that. After brooding in my quarters for a few days, I programmed a dojo in the 'room' next door and started exercising like a demon. I'd work out until I was ready to drop, figuring I'd be too exhausted to care that I was so alone. I was wrong, but I stubbornly kept at it. I ended up being in the best shape of my life, but I was still lonely.

Surprisingly, it was Seven who broke first. That cold impersonal ex-drone who could care less about people in general and me in particular, actually sought me out.

By this time, we'd both added several 'rooms' to our Voyager. I'd assumed she'd been busy building a better borg mousetrap or something and I guess she'd assumed the same about me. For some reason neither of us had bothered, or maybe had the imagination to bother, changing the layout of our little prison away from home. When we wanted something we'd just add a 'room'. Our Voyager had become one long corridor with a series of doors leading into various simulations. Open a door and you could find anything from engineering to a sandy beach to a Klingon battle simulation. I'd noticed new doors from time to time and I'm sure she knew when I added a 'room'. But, so far, neither of us had entered the others.

We'd seen each other in the halls and had studiously ignored the other. We never talked and more than once, I'd ducked into the nearest room just to avoid her, and I think she did the same thing to avoid me too. I'd just gone to my 'beach' for a swim after running a particularly difficult calisthenics program, when she just walked right in. The surprising thing is, that I didn't get mad. I was confused and didn't have any idea why she was there or what to say, but the idea of getting angry with her simply didn't occur to me. See what can happen if you spend enough time alone?

She looked around for a moment, then asked, "Am I disturbing you?"

"No." I answered, "I'm just going for a swim."

"I did not know that Klingons swim." she answered almost absently as she seemed to notice the lake for the first time. Then she put her hands behind her back in that ramrod straight pose of hers. This time though, that stance didn't make her look haughty, it just made her look awkward. It was like being hit by lightning. I suddenly realized that she was feeling awkward at that moment. Each and every time she put her hands behind her back in that manner, was probably her reaction to feeling uncomfortable about something. Not that I'd ever tell her, but she suddenly looked a lot more human in my eyes.

A lot of possible responses came to mind, none of them nice. I looked and her and the way she was standing and didn't say any of the things I could have, and I think she expected me to say. Instead, I said, "Well, this Klingon does swim. Would you like to join me?"

I don't know who was more surprised by the invitation, me or her. Her eyes got real wide, just for a split second and if possible, she stood even straighter. A seconds pause and she replied, "NO. No, thank you. I must be going." and with that she was gone.

Ok, so it was a moment of weirdness. I hovered between angry and confused for a while before I finally figured it out. I may have had a sudden new insight into Seven, but I was still half Klingon temper and all. When I did figure it out, I went looking for her. I found her in astrometrics. She was going over some readouts and trying very hard not to notice that I'd entered the room. I watched her for a few minutes before speaking.

"You can't swim, can you?" I asked gently.

She stiffened a little, but didn't turn around. "No, I cannot." she told the console.

For some reason, not being able to swim bothered her. "I can teach you if you want." I offered.

For the second time in one day I surprised us both.

"Perhaps another time. I have to examine these readings." she answered cooly.

I was beginning to see through her, just a little, so I moved up to stand beside her. Looking over her shoulder, I could see what she was analyzing. It was sensor data taken from a star we had passed weeks ago. Again she stiffened, but all I said was, "OK. If you change your mind, you know where to find me."

She merely nodded, and with that I left.

The next day began what I like to call our casual stalking phase. We both, but Seven especially , would arrange to 'bump into' the other in the halls. Instead of ignoring each other like we had been, casual greetings would be exchanged. We went from nods in passing to actually talking to each other. By the end of the second month, we'd formed a friendship of sorts. I'd built on my first glimpse of Sevens true self all those weeks ago and had finally learned to see past the cold exterior she projected to the world. For her part, I have no idea what it was she saw when she looked at me now. All I knew was, for the first time since she came aboard Voyager, we were actually getting along.

Finally one day, Seven (and I was later amazed to realize just how many of the first moves had been hers) invited me to one of her 'rooms'. She'd set up, of all things, a copy of the mess hall. It seems that part of Neelix's plan to get Seven to eat more had included cooking lessons. So here she was, asking me if I'd care to have dinner with her. I was tempted to say no. With Neelix as her teacher, how edible would the food be? But, two months of solitude had taken their toll. I would have suffered through cooking a hundred time worse that Neelix's just to have a little company for a change. After all, if worse came to worst, I could always rely on my redundant stomach to survive the meal. I needn't have worried though.

When I arrived, Seven was dressed casually in a light midlength dress. It was blue, hugged every curve just right and accented her eyes perfectly. Her hair was down and tied loosely at her back. She'd let it grow and now it hung almost to the middle of her back. She looked stunning. But then, she always looked stunning.

"Nice dress." I said, somewhat lamely. Not much in the way of compliments, but I never was any good at that sort of thing and this was Seven of Nine. Until recently, I could barely remember to be civil to her let alone actually nice

"Thank you. I have been experimenting with various styles of clothing." she looked like she was going to add more but she stopped herself there. Then she clasped her hands behind her back, standing so stiffly with her chest jutting out. And what a chest. In that dress, her breasts were perfectly outlined and looked absolutely delicious. For a moment I simply stared, until I remembered that, that rigid stance meant she was trying to hide some discomfort.

"Well you look very good tonight Seven. It's a good color for you and the style suits you. I like what you've done with your hair too." I said.

She blushed. If I had blinked I would have missed it, but she actually blushed. She then relaxed and led me into the room. She also never wore a biosuit unless on duty again, but that was something I wouldn't notice until later.

Dinner was better than I expected. Delicious actually. She'd chosen a light chicken and rice dish that she'd found in the database. It was wonderful. Over dinner, she admitted to me that her stomach was still sensitive to heavy, spicy foods (the mainstay of Neelix's cooking). The only reason she'd agreed to his cooking lessons, was to learn the basics so she could prepare foods that she could eat. The improvements to Neelix's cooking prior to this suddenly made sense. While she'd been learning from him, she'd also been teaching him. When I called her on it, she shyly admitted that she'd encouraged him to make some changes.

And she was shy about it. There was no doubt. Seven of Nine, the most arrogant woman I have ever met, was shy about something as simple as cooking. Then I had another of the revelations that were becoming a part of my interactions with her. She wasn't arrogant at all. She never had been. She simply didn't know how to act any other way. She carried the accumulated knowledge of thousands of races and was brilliant in her own right. Yet in many ways, she was as naive as a child. She had knowledge in abundance and the skills to back it up, but she'd never learned how to deal with the day to day realities of life. No wonder she hid behind that cool facade. It was a coping mechanism, the same as my frequent angry outbursts were my coping mechanism.

We talked about everything and nothing. For two people who didn't know the first thing about small talk, we did pretty well. I learned a lot about her in that one evening, and I think she learned a lot about me too. Dinner was long gone and it was late before either of us were willing to say goodnight.

The next day I invited her to my beach for a walk around the lake. She accepted and we spent the day there. The lake was from a place I'd once been on Kryus3 and the trails around it gave a perfect view of either the lake or the surrounding mountains. At first, I wasn't too sure if Seven would like it. She'd spent all of her life on Borg cubes and starships. I'd decided on the lake to give her something different to experience. I only hoped that she'd find something to like about it and not find it dirty and inefficient. Five minutes later, I knew I'd chosen well. We were just walking quietly. Seven was taking everything in and I was trying hard not to let her know how nervous I was about whether she liked the program. Suddenly, a small rabbit hopped onto the path ahead of us. Seven just about jumped out of her skin.

"What is that?" she demanded. She looked like she was thinking of various ways to eliminate the 'threat'.

Laughing, I paused the program and retrieved the little terror. A few quick commands and the program resumed with the now tame animal resting peacefully in my hands.

"It's just a rabbit. This little guy is nothing to worry about." I told her as I stroked the fine fur.

"I see. I am unfamiliar with this lifeform. Is it dangerous? Is that why you halted the program before approaching it?" she asked. I guess she'd heard my order to the computer to make this one tame too, because she looked distinctly nervous as she carefully watched the small animal.

With a chuckle, I answered. "No, they're completely harmless. They're also very skittish. If I hadn't halted the program he would have run off before I could get close." Stepping closer I invited, "You can pet him if you want."

She still didn't look too sure but before she could protest, I grabbed her hand and laid it on the rabbits back. She got a strange look on her face then suddenly, she smiled. Not just one of those little smirks, but a full blown smile. I decided right then to make sure I got to see those smiles as often as possible.

"He's so soft." she murmured, bringing me back to reality.

"Yeah he is." I answered just as quietly.

After a minute or two, she stepped back and I let the rabbit go. I got to see a lot of her smiles that day. This was something totally new for her and she loved every minute of it. We went around the lake twice and when it was time for lunch, neither of us could bear to leave so we replicated a picnic. She asked me about everything we saw and I dutifully altered the program each and every time she saw an animal she wanted to examine, or simply pet.

She was like a different person. There was no hint of arrogance, only intense curiosity. At one point I asked her, "I'm surprised you know so little about animals and nature."

"The Borg consider these things to be irrelevant." she replied a little defensively.

"Didn't you ever assimilate a zookeeper or anything?" I asked jokingly to break the tension.

"What is a zookeeper?" she asked in return. I knew what I'd be programming next.

Seven smiled often and once even laughed out loud at the antics of a pair of squirrels. I didn't lose my temper once and patiently answered all her questions.

All in all it was a perfect day.

After that things quickly reached the point where we were pretty much inseparable. We had both taken over various duties using our simulated departments to run scans and deal with minor matters. That took only a couple of hours a day at most, leaving us the rest of the day for our own pursuits. We quickly developed a routine of taking care of our respective duties and personal projects in the mornings and spending the afternoons together. From there it progressed to working on our projects together and spending the rest of the day enjoying each others company.

Of course we still disagreed, often. This time though it was different. I learned to see past the Borg facade and deal with the real Seven. Seven learned to see past my temper and deal with the real me. We still fought over just about anything. And the fights were just as loud as they ever were. I think that saying we fought isn't the right word anymore. Now it was arguing, disagreeing whatever you want to call it. But, you couldn't call it fighting. The animosity between us was gone. Now it was just two friends debating an issue, loudly. Now, we would have a good laugh about it later over dinner or one of our frequent walks. Sometimes we would just look at each other in the middle of a shouting match and burst into laughter, our anger forgotten.

As the weeks passed we learned many things. I found out that Seven was a wonderful cook, and an even better singer. She was curious about all things human and with no prying eyes to watch and judge, she questioned me about anything and everything. Seven learned to relax. She also learned to swim and found out what a zookeeper was. She smiled often and laughed when the mood struck her.

Me. Well, I learned to see the world through her innocent eyes. I was still half Klingon and had the temper to match, but it was different now. She made me see everything in a new way, without the cynicism and anger that had seemed like a permanent part of me. Looking back, I'd have to say it was one of the happiest times of my life.

During this time we also learned to work together, really work together. We discovered that we made a good, make that great, team. Her analytical mind and logical thinking combined with my unorthodox methods and intuition in a way that made anything seem possible. The first project we worked on together resulted in a power increase of 21% to the warp engines. The next almost doubled the range of the ships sensors.

Outside our little world the ship sailed on and nothing much changed. The doctor still came to give us checkups and the news was still the same. No cure. No way out for us. He was still trying and I knew he wouldn't give up, but hearing the same news over and over again was more than a little depressing. I started using the video relay to 'visit' my friends less and less. Seven did the same. It was just too hard to hear about what was happening on the ship, knowing there was nothing either of us could do to be a part of it.

It was right after one of the doctors visits that everything changed. He'd done my checkup and taken his samples, like he always did. Like it was starting to feel he always would. Then he told me about his latest ideas for wiping out this thing. He lost me after the first sentence. I knew he meant well and was trying to be reassuring but I rarely felt reassured. Sometimes I was ok after he left and sometimes I just felt the need to go and hit something. This was one of the hit something times.

Seven found me in a particularly violent program. I'd already been there for about an hour, using a bat'leth to kick the shit out of holographic Klingons. I was dirty, sweaty, bumped and bruised and all in all feeling a lot better. Seven had seen me like this a few times by now, so she just took a seat on a little hill nearby and waited for me to wear myself out. She'd gotten used to seeing my Klingon side and it didn't bother her anymore. Now, she just found it amusing. For my part, I was in a good mood now, with her presence making it even better, so I decided to show off a little, well a lot.

That was one of the things we'd both discovered. Each of us had been blessed, or cursed depending on how you look at it, with very acute senses. We always knew when the other was nearby, either by sight, sound or smell. I'd picked up her unique scent the minute she came into the simulation. I still had energy to burn, so I figured I'd show her what a Klingon warrior could do.

For the next hour I put on a show for her. And it was a good show. She watched the whole time, never taking her eyes off me.

It was when I was winding down the exercise that it happened. One of the things I had discovered about Seven was that she had a wicked sense of humor. My grand finale was two Klingons coming at me from opposite directions. I intended to swing my bat'leth into the one in front then spin and take out the one behind me. When I went for the first strike I hit, not a huge hulking Klingon warrior, but a huge hulking Klingon shaped water balloon. I was using enough force, having expected some resistance, that I ended up spinning in a complete circle and taking out Klingon water balloon number two in the same move.

I was soaked head to toe and there was Seven, sitting in the hill, holding her stomach and laughing like a maniac. I stomped over to her and stood there dripping all over the place as I growled, "You think this is funny do you?"

She couldn't even answer me she was laughing so hard. She just nodded and started to laugh even harder. I started laughing too. I hadn't really been angry in the first place, and she knew it. But I had to get some revenge. So I pushed her back and straddled her stomach, she was too busy laughing to push me off. "Let's see how you like this." I growled playfully.

So with both of us laughing like kids, I proceeded to practically lay on her so the water that was still running off me in sheets would soak her too. She tried to get away from me then, but she was still laughing too much to be able to put up much of a fight. Lifting up a little I shook my head, letting the water dripping from my hair fly everywhere.

"Stop, stop." she finally managed between giggles and gasping for breath.

"Not until you apologize." I told her.

She looked at my dripping face and started laughing all over again. So I leaned down and rubbed my face and hair all over hers. The feeling was electric. Suddenly, I realized the position we were in and I stopped. She had stopped moving too. I think she'd also realized the position we were in. I lifted back up and tried not to think of how this must look, or how good it felt.

"Are you going to apologize now?" I asked her, trying to bring some levity back into this. She had a strange expression on her face.

Reaching up, she cupped each side of my face in her hands. Holding my face softly, carefully, she replied, "No."

That's when I kissed her. Our faces were so close, almost touching already. It was a slow gentle kiss. It could have lasted for seconds or years. All I know is that it was pure bliss to be tasting her lips. When it ended, I pulled back to see her face and she smiled. She slid her hands from my cheeks to my hair and gently pulled me in for another. This one started the same as the last but slowly became more heated. It was when she moaned under me that reality came crashing down.

She was an innocent. She'd never even been kissed before. I was getting lost in the moment and had managed to totally forget that Seven had no experience at all in this. I moved off her and sat stiffly beside her. She sat up too, looking lost and confused.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that." I told her, staring at the ground. I just didn't have the guts to look her in the eye. I was sure that she would be angry and disappointed that I would do something like that to her.

"I understand." she answered stiffly.

Before I could say anything, she rose and left.

That day Seven learned to cry.

I wandered around for the rest of the day doing a lot of thinking and a little crying of my own. It didn't take long for me to think things through and find the courage to tell Seven the truth. I found her the next day, sitting on the little beach by the lake. She didn't greet me when I entered, just continued to stare out over the water.

I couldn't think of anything to make this right. I can't remember a time when I didn't want her. These few months I'd gotten to know her, really know her. It made me want her even more. She'd become my best friend and the last thing I wanted was to take advantage of her, to hurt her. And I did feel that it would be taking advantage. She had never had an intimate relationship and the last thing she needed was me asking for more than she could give. I knew that the truth would probably cost me her friendship, but I had gone too far and she deserved to know.

I moved closer and could see her stiffen as I neared. Sucking up my courage and hoping she wouldn't completely hate me for it, I spoke. "Seven, I'm sorry about yesterday. I never meant to do that to you."

"I understand. This confinement must be particularly hard on you for you to lower yourself to kissing a drone." she answered bitterly.

I answered with a bitter laugh of my own, "Not exactly. You aren't a drone anymore Seven and it has nothing to do with any of this. The truth is that kissing you is one of the things I've wanted to do for a long time now."

She spun around then to look at me and I could see the tear stains on her face. It almost broke my heart to see her like this. I knew she must hate me now. She was already upset because I'd kissed her and now she had to hear that it was something that I'd wanted to do.

"Explain." she demanded. Her look was cold and impersonal, so was the tone. If it weren't for those streaks marring her perfect face, I'd think I was dealing with the old Seven.

"I've been attracted to you for a long time now Seven. I'm just sorry that I lost control of myself with you yesterday. Your friendship has come to mean a lot to me and I'm sorry I took advantage of that, of you." I told her.

She got a strange look on her face, one I'd never seen before. Angrily, she asked, "How can you say you are attracted to me, but that kissing me is taking advantage? How is it taking advantage when I wanted you to kiss me? I don't understand. Tell me. Tell me how this is a mistake."

Now, I was getting angry. Didn't she see that I was trying to do the right thing here? I knew she had a right to be angry, but I really didn't know how to deal with it. I let my own anger build, like I always did and blurted, "I'm in love with you dammit. I want you more than you can imagine. More than you're ready for."

I hadn't meant to tell her that much, but now it was out. I spun around, looking into the woods. I couldn't bear to see the look of disgust that I was sure would be on her face now.

She was silent for a long time. Finally, I heard her move up behind me. When she did speak it was so softly that it was almost a whisper, but she was so close I could hear her clearly.

"When I first saw you, I wanted to assimilate you. Then, I was severed from the collective. I still remained fascinated by you. You were strong and intelligent, always acting with pride and honor. You also hated all things Borg and me in particular You were impulsive and often emotional. That should have repulsed me, but it didn't. I didn't know why and it confused me. As I learned more about humanity, about myself, I came to realize that what I felt was attraction. It was a long time before I could accept it. I thought that emotions were inefficient. That feeling like this was weak. When we became imprisoned here, those feelings grew. As we grew closer to each other and I learned more about you, I began to care more." Here she stopped and stepped around in front of me.

Reaching out, she cupped my cheeks in her hands and gently lifted my head up. The tears were flowing freely down my face and I did nothing to hide them. I was trying to process what she'd just said. It felt good and scary at the same time to find out that she didn't hate me. That just maybe, she returned a little of what I was feeling for her. She took a long moment to look into my eyes. Wiping the tears away with her thumbs, she said, "B'Elanna, I love you." then she kissed me.

It was slow and tentative, meant to reassure more than anything. When we finally pulled back she was smiling and her eyes were shining with tears too. Slowly, I took her hands and after kissing each palm, said, "Seven, I never hated you for being Borg. I hated what they did to you and I think I will always hate the Borg for that. You are beautiful and strong. You have will and determination and the intelligence and power to back it up. There were times when you could have crooked your little finger and I would have gladly worshiped at your feet. I have been in turns fascinated and frustrated by you and I hid it all behind a wall of animosity. I was so sure that you could never return my feelings that I tried to protect myself in the only way I knew. I'm so sorry that I let you think I hated you. Can you ever forgive me for that?"

"I already have. Now kiss me again." she demanded with a smile.

I was only too happy to comply.

Three weeks later the doctor finally found a cure for us and we were able to go back to our lives. The day we were released from the holodeck we gathered all of Sevens things and we've shared my quarters ever since. We set up the secondary regeneration unit in a corner of the bedroom, but she rarely uses it. That was one of the other things Seven learned, she learned to sleep. She says that falling asleep in my arms after making love is one of the joys of her life. I think she's exaggerating when she says that but, I know having her fall asleep in my arms after making love is one of the greatest joys of my life.

Now there's only one thing left to do. I just hope Seven

B'Elanna stopped writing and looked up as Seven of Nine came into the room. The blond was still yawning and had that sleepy look of one just awoken. Seeing B'Elanna sitting comfortably on the couch, she immediately laid down and rested her head in the convenient lap provided.

"I didn't realize we'd had a fight." she said with a yawn.

"We didn't." B'Elanna chuckled. "I couldn't sleep, so I decided to update my personal logs."

"I didn't know you kept a personal log." Seven said as she stifled another yawn.

"I do. I just don't get around to updating it very often. I just finished setting down everything that happened after that away mission." she mumbled as she shifted to accommodate her restless lover.

"Why didn't you update it while we were on the holodeck? Or during the month since we've been released. Then you would not have felt the need to stay up all night and could be in bed, keeping me warm." Seven asked with another sleepy yawn.

"How do you know I've been up all night?" B'Elanna asked after shifting to get a better look at her lover.

"I always know when you aren't beside me." Seven stated with a raised brow. "Are you done now? Can we go back to bed?"

"I'm almost finished." B'Elanna answered. "You can read it if you want." she offered, tilting the Padd so Seven could get a better view.

Curiosity overcame tiredness and Seven began to read. B'Elanna watched with an amused expression, as Seven quickly read what she had taken so many hours to write. There were definite advantages to being able to process things at Borg speed. As Seven had read she had moved into a sitting position.

Now seated beside B'Elanna, she tilted the Padd and with her finger on the last, unfinished sentence. "What is left to do and you hope Seven what?" she asked.

Sliding off the couch, B'Elanna knelt in front of Seven. "I hope Seven says yes." she said. At Seven's confused look, she added. "Marry me Seven."

Seven was suddenly very awake and very still as she processed the question. Taking the Padd from suddenly slack fingers, B'Elanna tossed it aside.

Looking steadily into Seven's eyes, she repeated, "Seven, will you marry me? Please, say yes."

Seven could only nod as she felt tears of joy sliding down her cheeks. With a laugh, B'Elanna reached up and cupping that beautiful face ever so gently, kissed first her forehead then her cheeks and lastly, Seven's full lips.

Pulling back slightly, but still close enough for lips to brush when she spoke, B'Elanna whispered. "Say it Seven. Say yes. I need to hear you say it, so I know it's not just a dream."

Reaching up to cup B'Elanna's cheeks, Seven began to lay quick, soft kisses all over her face, whispering 'yes' after each fleeting kiss. She finally came back to B'Elanna's lips and with a final yes, poured everything she felt for this strong, passionate woman into one earth shattering kiss.

When they finally broke for air, B'Elanna looked deeply into passion drugged eyes and asked with a grin, "Yes?"

"Yes." Seven affirmed with a grin of her own.

With a whoop of joy, B'Elanna stood and pulling Seven to her feet, led her to their bedroom, where they spent what remained of the night passionately affirming their love again and again.

The End

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