DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns Voyager and her crew, I don't. I'm just playing.
WARNINGS: Angst, bad words and f/f interaction.
FEEDBACK: I would crawl across broken glass for a simple 'I liked it'. Constructive criticism is also v. much appreciated.
NOTES: Takes place after Seven has been aboard Voyager only a short time. Other than that, it could be anywhere in that part of Voyagers' time line.
The first time it happened, B'Elanna was watching half-curious, half-idle as the ex-drone weaved her way through the lower area of engineering. Leaning on the upper railing, the half-Klingon noted with something approaching interest how Seven did not touch any of the people she passed even casually, nor would she allow them to touch her arm in greeting or apology for being in her way. It was like the ex-drone had some sort of…personality field, generating a no touch zone around her body. B'Elanna jolted slightly as an unexpected surge of rage took her by surprise, making her hiss with its intensity. She watched the efficient working manner of Seven for a few more seconds, her eyes narrowed, and then went back to her station.
The second time was in the mess hall. It was only Seven's third or forth appearance, and as always she sat on her own, her back ramrod straight, her demeanor un-social and her expression masked. B'Elanna watched her out of the corner of her eye, feeling the bitter taste in her mouth she always felt when the ex-drone was in her proximity. The anger came quickly and she welcomed it, stabbing her food with vicious satisfaction.
'Damn Borg,' She muttered under her breath as anger boiled beneath her surface. 'Commits mass murder and then comes over here and acts superior to us.'
'Give her a break, B'Elanna, she's not a murderer - she couldn't help what she was made to do,' Harry murmured, sitting opposite her. 'She's human now, remember?'
B'Elanna snorted. 'Physiologically, perhaps. Mentally she's a stone cold machine and you know it.'
'B'Elanna!' Harry said, his voice resonating with dismay. 'When will you give her a chance?'
'When she dances the tango with a rose between her teeth!' B'Elanna snapped. 'Get over your little crush and start seeing the real Seven, Harry.'
'I am,' the young ensign replied quietly and firmly. 'Are you?'
B'Elanna stared at him for a long moment, and then rose from her chair with her tray. 'See you later, Harry.' She said, and left without a backward glance, her whole bearing transmitting disgust to the entire room…even Seven.
The third time, B'Elanna wasn't so lucky as to be able to leave. She was in the turbo-lift, the doors opened, and Seven walked in, hands clasped behind her back and her gaze touching on the Lieutenant for only a split second.
'Deck ten,' She said, her voice perfectly flat and monotone.
They rode in silence for a few seconds. B'Elanna glanced at the blonde and then ducked her head as the anger rose as it always seemed to do when the ex-drone was near. Before she could act on it, something happened to take her mind away from the tall women riding the lift with her: with a bone-jarring jolt, the turbo-lift ground to a halt.
'Kahless!' B'Elanna swore. 'What the…?'
'We appeared to have stopped, Lieutenant.'
'No shit, Sherlock!' B'Elanna snapped, feeling the bitter taste grow in her mouth. 'Tell me something I don't know!' She stepped forward and began working the panel by the door, trying to re-route power, over-ride the emergency system or just get the damn thing moving again.
'Very well. The electronic relays at port three-zero-five have experienced a fatal power fluctuation, rendering this lift, and as a consequence, us, unable to proceed to our destination.'
'How did you know that?' B'Elanna snarled, her hands on her hips. She was angry - angry that someone, especially Seven, would know her ship better than she did at a glance.
'My optical implant picked up fluctuations in the port approximately zero point two three seconds before it ceased to function.'
'And you didn't warn me?'
'Do you know how long zero point two three seconds is, Lieutenant Torres? I would not have been able to.'
B'Elanna shook her head, wanting to believe that deep down the Borg just hadn't wanted to warn her, but she knew that the other woman had not had time.
'Whatever.' She turned away from Seven and eyed the emergency hatch in the ceiling. 'Are you gonna help me get up there or not?'
'I do not think that would be advisable,' Seven stated. 'We have not even informed the Captain what has happened.'
B'Elanna snorted. 'They know by now. We don't need to go crying to mother with the skinned knee - wait until you break your leg, then go moan.'
Seven tipped her head to the side. 'Interesting. For someone who appears to be comfortable with the ideals and practices of a matriarchal society, you flaunt the rules a surprising amount of the time.'
'This isn't a matriarchy, Seven - she's the Captain, we follow her orders. That's the hierarchy. We'd follow her orders if she were six foot, bald, fat and tattooed with a penchant for oral sex in public and an addiction to coffee, as long as she was a good Captain. And anyway, I only break the rules that don't really matter.'
'By their very nature all rules should matter, or they would not be created. Your logic is flawed,' Seven said, placing her hands behind her back and raising her eyebrow.
'Of course it is! I'm not the most logical person, okay Miss Perfect?' B'Elanna snarled, losing her temper. 'But how's this for logic? You don't help me repair the 'lift. I get angry. You get hit. How's that for logical progression?!'
'Very clear and concise,' Seven said, showing no emotion. 'What do I have to do?'
'Help me up,' B'Elanna said as she pointed at the hatch, mollified only slightly.
'Very well. But you have no tools. How will you work?'
B'Elanna shrugged. 'I'll just rig it to get us to the nearest deck and fix it properly later. Now, are you going to help me up or not?'
After a few seconds where B'Elanna had to show Seven the best posture to take to give B'Elanna a leg up, the engineer was soon level with the hatch. She keyed it open and heaved herself through.
'I can see the problem!' She called, eyeing the EPS conduits that lined the turbo shaft.
When no answer was forthcoming, she turned only to find Seven pulling herself easily through the hatch.
'What are you doing?'
'I thought I would see if you required my assistance.'
'Well I don't. If I required it, I'd ask.'
'No, you would not.'
'You're right. Get down.'
'I only wish to help.'
'Yeah, right,' B'Elanna said, turning back to the broken relay.
'Lieutenant…' B'Elanna's eyes unfocused on the work and she felt her expression freeze - had Sevens' voice been…pleading?
'Get down,' She ordered, gruffer than usual.
'I do not believe that would be in my…in our best interests.'
'Oh, I don't know,' B'Elanna said, pretending to be fascinated by the circuits in front of her. 'I'm very interested in you leaving.'
There was a cold, stony silence behind her. B'Elanna was almost tempted to expect an attack on her unprotected back. She heard Seven start to lower herself back down into the body of the 'lift, when suddenly the whole thing jerked under her feet. She froze, barely daring to breath, waiting to see if it happened again. Very slowly, she turned to see Seven crouched by the hatch, frozen like a statue. Seven, sensing B'Elanna's eyes on her, turned her head as slowly as she could until she was just able to catch the half-Klingons' eye. For the first time that B'Elanna could remember, Seven looked….scared. She hid it well, but the little tremble at the edge of her lip gave her away.
'Liuetenant…what is happening?'
'I…I don't know,' B'Elanna whispered, edging toward the hatch. 'Start climbing down.'
'You can! I'm not babysitting a frightened Borg through this! Get your narrow butt through that hole!'
Seven visibly unfroze, lowering herself carefully through the hole and landing as lightly as she could. B'Elanna waited a few seconds and then began moving once more. When she was still three steps away from the turbo-lift, she felt the structure lurch once more. Her stomach disappeared into her feet and her heart-beat felt like it was thundering through her body as she paused, one foot raised. The 'lift moved again, shuddering down another few inches. She desperately tried not to remember how far down the turbo-lift could free fall through the ship if the security measures did not kick in, and failed. Sweat appeared on her ridged brow as, with a screech that made her grind her teeth the turbo-lift began to move slowly down the shaft. She could tell by the rough fits and starts by which it moved that it was not moving by way of its given mechanics - no, it was working its way up to a freefall.
Gasping, she dived for the hatch, meaning to go through headfirst if she had to, when she met a blonde blur coming up the other way. Seven practically flew out of the turbo-lift, pausing only to grab B'Elanna and push off again from the lifts' roof. As she latched onto a piece of Voyagers mechanisms, the turbo-lift parted from its magnetic field and disappeared from view, the wind whistling around it as it dropped.
B'Elanna watched it go, shocked. There were so many safeguards in place that it made something like this practically impossible.
'Lieutenant Torres…' Seven said through clenched teeth. 'I cannot hold on much longer.'
Hanging from Sevens' grasp as she was, B'Elanna was in serious danger of falling. It was only Seven's quick actions that had stopped her from dropping with the turbo lift itself. Snapped out of her shock, B'Elanna began looking for a hand or foothold around her. Finally, she wedged her fingers behind two EPS conduits and very gingerly placed part of her weight on some others below her. As good as they were as parts of the ship, she did not think that the conduits were well suited for climbing purposes. Both she and Seven were stronger than ordinary humans, and had they had relatively secure positions they could have stayed there longer than either of them realized, but they had neither secure positions nor secure handholds. She also realised with a sinking feeling that as precariously balanced as they were, neither of them could reach their com-badges.
'Computer, hail Captain Janeway!' She called.
'Unable to comply,' came the computers' calm response. 'Communications in this area have been disabled.'
'What?' B'Elanna cried. Seven opened her mouth to speak but the other woman got there first. 'Computer, initiate site to site transport, two to the bridge.'
'Unable to comply.'
'Site to site transporters have been disabled in this area.'
'So we're stuck here?' B'Elanna yelled.
'I believe we have a bigger problem, Lieutenant,' Seven said, her voice only hinting at the tension she felt. B'Elanna looked up as the ex-drone looked down and horror tinged her features as Seven said slowly, 'I have heard another turbo-lift heading towards our present position,' Slowly, inexorably, B'Elanna lifted her gaze to the darkness above them, 'We are in serious danger.'
'Please tell me you are joking,' B'Elanna breathed, straining her own hearing.
'The Borg are not known for their sense of humour,' Seven said, her porcelain features showing the first hint of worry.
'Shit, shit,' B'Elanna swore as her ears picked up the far off hum of a 'lift car heading their way. Looking around, she spied the emergency ladder…on the other side of the wide shaft. 'Couldn't you have jumped the other way?' She mumbled, trying to work out how they were going to make it in time.
'I am sorry, Lieutenant,' Seven said, her voice sharper than B'Elanna had ever heard it. 'Next time I will stop and ask you which side you'd prefer before I save your life.'
'There won't be a next time,' B'Elanna growled, realizing with a sinking heart that she now owed the ex-drone big, and her Klingon honour would not allow her to ignore that debt.
Still, she reasoned, she had more important things to worry about right then than her honour - her life, for example. She and Seven began to carefully climb around to the ladder, going as quickly as they could whilst still making sure their handholds and footholds were secure.
'We gonna be fine,' B'Elanna said, her breath starting to come in pants as she shifted her grip. 'The turbo-lifts have proximity sensors all around them - once the ones on the floor pick us up, the lift'll stop.'
'And you think these will be…' Seven paused, climbing another half-foot to her right. 'Operational?'
'You don't?' B'Elanna said, glancing at her climbing partner and grimacing as the turbo-lift noise became louder still.
'We have approximately thirty seconds until we find out, Lieutenant,' Seven said, her voice tight and her face hard.
'Shit,' B'Elanna said again, feeling the strength try and leave her muscles. Forcing herself onwards, their climb became ever more desperate in an effort to out run the 'lift.
'We're not going to make it,' B'Elanna said through gritted teeth, feeling the first stirrings of displaced air on her face. 'We gotta think of something else…' Her mind raced as the running lights on the bottom of the 'lift came into view far above them. 'Quickly, Seven, how fast do those things go?!'
The ex-drone told her, and B'Elanna grinned as a rush of adrenalin gave her a burst of strength. Looking up, she measured the distance between them and the rapidly approaching turbo-lift. She had less than ten seconds to make her move, and deciding that it was the only chance they had, she grabbed Sevens' ankle and wrenched the ex-drone away from the wall in one wild movement. For a moment, Sevens expression plainly showed her absolute horror, and then she was gone, tumbling down into the darkness. B'Elanna glanced up nano-seconds before the lift smashed into her and, taking a deep breath, pushed herself away from the wall backwards.
For one horrible moment, she thought the lift would catch her up, its floor only inches from her paling face. Her eyes widened and she placed her hands up, gritting her teeth and preparing to brace herself against the floor, but then the ships gravity caught her in its grasp and she began to tumble away.
Her luck turned for the worse again seconds later when she had the breath knocked out of her, a heavy weight hitting her back with punishing force. She realized that she had fallen into Sevens' longer, less aerodynamic body, and the knock had forced them closer to the floor of the turbo-lift. She felt the air resistance pushing them closer still, threatening to flatten them against the floor of the machine, and she did brace herself this time, her fingertips shaking with muscle tension as they held them away from the machine. Taking a chance, she allowed them to get a little closer and then pushed away as hard as she could. The trick worked, and they began falling just ahead of the lift.
She tried to angle them downward, but Seven had frozen, gripping B'Elanna in a hold so hard the half-Klingons' bones complained as they were compacted. B'Elanna's eyes widened as the turbo-lift approached once again, seeming to slow as it did so. At the last moment, seconds before the lift touched them, she managed to streamline the pair of them somewhat and they held their own, free-falling at such speeds that the breath was drawn out of their lungs.
They seemed to have been falling for hours but it could not have been more than a few seconds. The walls were blurred, passing so quickly that had they rebounded from them, serious injuries would be a risk.
With a feeling of rising panic, B'Elanna looked down - the bottom of the shaft was approaching fast, too fast. She fought against the wind resistance and tried desperately to reach her com-badge, her arm shaking as she tried to touch the little metallic object. Suddenly, Seven reached around, grabbing the Lieutenants hand and adding her formidable strength to B'Elannas'. Together, they hit the badge and although they could not hear the distinctive chirp against the raging wind, the half-Klingon assumed it was working and screamed,
'Computer! Site to site transport to sickbay!'
The command seemed to take eons to process, and B'Elanna watched in fear as the shaft bottom approached. She tensed her body in horrified anticipation, feeling Sevens grip on her get tighter still. Just as they reached the bottom and B'Elanna started to let out a defiant scream, blue sparkles overtook their vision and she closed her eyes in relief.
They materialised inches from the sickbay floor, their kinetic energy not quite dissipated despite the transporters best efforts. B'Elanna had the floor on one side, and Seven falling into her on the other, and she felt every single ounce of breath she possessed forced out of her with a desperate wheezing sound.
She gasped for breath as Seven moaned against her, rolling to the side after a few seconds to pant on the floor. Once she felt significantly recovered, B'Elanna stood and checked herself for injuries. Apart from a few minor bumps and bruises, both she and Seven were remarkably unscathed.
When she had finished with herself, she looked up to see the Doc staring at them wide-eyed. 'What on Earth have you two been doing now?!' He asked, pulling a face and fussing around them.
Helping Seven to her feet, he insisted that she sit down and gave her a thorough check while B'Elanna put her hands on her hips and scowled.
'This is unbelievable,' she said eventually to the Doc's back as he bustled around his favourite patient.
A preoccupied 'Hmmm?' was the only response she could illicit from the hologram, and she threw her hands in the air and growled. Seven watched her, the blondes' hair dishevelled and her breathing still uneven.
'Fine,' B'Elanna snapped in response to the ex-drones unwavering gaze. 'You stay here and play happy families, I'll go talk to Janeway!' And with that she whirled on her heel, almost running out of sickbay as Seven watched her and the doctor continued his pampering.
B'Elanna reached the ready-room in record time, and while the bridge crew watched she overrode the door code with a few engineering tricks and stormed inside before Tuvok or Chakotay could stop her, her face a clear indicator of her mood.
'I ought to rip you limb from limb!' She yelled, thumping a clenched fist down on the Captains desk. 'How dare you!'
'B'Elanna!' Janeway looked angered and appalled. 'You will not speak to your commanding officer that way!'
'I'll speak to you any damn way that I like after you tried to kill us! That was your idea of a "bonding exercise"?! Have you lost your mind?!'
The Captain rose from her chair very slowly, her every mannerism advertising what could be in store next for her volatile chief engineer. 'Lieutenant Torres,' She said softly, her each word like a verbal ice block. 'You will not speak to your Captain in that fashion. I admit the holo-programme was a bit far fetched, but I will not have animosity rife among my crew.'
B'Elanna, beyond caring about her immediate fate, placed her knuckles on the desk and leant forward, narrowing her eyes and expelling her words with angry hisses. 'We had no idea. We thought we were going to be playing Velocity or something, and then we walked into a simulation of Voyager. We got into a turbo-lift, and since we thought we had better play along with this dumb-fuck plan of yours, when it broke down I…we tried to repair it. What happened next is something I hope I never have to do again. It was stupid, immature and potentially life threatening! What if we hadn't reacted in time and the safeties had failed? Don't you dare tell me that was for our own good! That was your own private power trip - you made that happen because you could you selfish b-'
'B'Elanna Torres!' Sevens' voice rang out, stopping the brunette mid-word. 'I believe there is a more succinct and efficient manner with which express your displeasure.'
She strode forward, coming to a halt shoulder to shoulder with the half-Klingon. 'Observe,' she commanded softly, and as Janeway was in the process of transferring her angry gaze from B'Elanna to Seven, the blonde drew one hand back and slapped the Captain so hard across the cheek that the woman's head snapped to the side, jerking with the force of the blow.
'I believe she knows I am angry now,' Seven said.
'I can't believe it,' B'Elanna said, some hours later. She was pacing back and forth, grinding her teeth and waving her arms as she spoke. 'I cannot believe it! You slapped the Captain! You're just as bad as she is! Are you nuts? Perhaps we could plead temporary insanity!'
Seven watched her intently, leaning against the wall and relaxing out of her customary stance somewhat. 'I do not believe my mental functions were impaired. I was simply…angry.'
'So was I! But I didn't give the Captain a black eye!' B'Elanna snarled, coming to stop inches away from the taller woman and getting into her face. 'Now look at us!' She waved an arm that encompassed the cell, the cots and the force field.
'I did not mean to get us incarcerated,' Seven defended, standing tall and clasping her hands behind her back in the face of B'Elannas' anger.
B'Elanna sneered and turned her back on the woman. 'Whatever, Seven! You're so fucking superior, you're her favourite anyway. You'll be out of here before me and I didn't even assault anyone! Geez, you superior, cold-hearted-'
The blow took the half-Klingon by surprise, making her stumble. She turned when she regained her balance, her mouth hanging open and one hand rubbing the shoulder blade that had been struck.
Seven stood motionless, looking more surpised by her behaiviour than the engineer did with one hand still upraised and a snarl fading on her features. 'I…I…' She managed, before B'Elanna launched herself at the blonde with a shriek of rage.
For a moment neither had the upper hand, Seven trying to protect herself and B'Elanna swinging wildly, trying to land a blow anywhere at all. Seven appeared to get over her shock, a low snarl escaping from her own throat to match the one that B'Elanna was producing as she attacked. With several meaty thuds, hits were landed, but neither participant noticed them, as angry as they were.
They vaguely heard the guard shouting as they tussled, overbalancing and rolling onto one of the small beds, and from there onto the floor with a loud thump. The force field came down quickly, and while their fists flew, the guard took aim on a low phaser setting…
'Urrgghhh,' B'Elanna said, coming back to consciousness slowly and unwillingly. Her face ached and her ribs felt sore, and she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out as she opened her eyes and tried to sit up.
She was in sickbay, dressed only in a medical gown and a perplexed expression. She looked to her right and jumped as the Doc's disapproving face floated into focus.
'You do realize what you did?' He asked severely, and for a moment B'Elanna panicked…Had she seriously injured Seven of Nine?
'You behaved like a child!' The Doc continued, and B'Elanna relaxed before her brain caught up with her ears.
'What? I didn't start the fight, Doc!' B'Elanna protested, feeling her rage seep into her voice once again.
He snorted. 'Miss Torres…do you expect me to believe that Seven of Nine, known for her rather…monotone emotional state, started this free-for-all?'
'Yes!' B'Elanna snarled. 'Where the hell is she? I'll break her scrawny-'
'Exactly,' The Doc said smugly. 'You're not famous for your reasonable approach to arguments, B'Elanna, and for good reason.'
B'Elanna sat back and steamed slowly, her teeth gritted and her throat tight with anger. She started to rub her injured side and then stopped. 'Doc, why am I still so bust up?'
'The Captain ordered all non-lethal injuries to remain, as a lesson to you both. I'm afraid that neither of you are your usually picturesque selves.' As he spoke, B'Elanna caught movement in the corner of her eye, and she turned to find Seven of Nine sitting on the edge the bio-bed by sickbays' doors.
The ex-drone looked awful, her hair loose and tangled and her lower lip swollen, while a purple bruise had blossomed on her left cheek. B'Elanna realized that she must look very similar, if her aches and pains were anything to go by.
The Doc, having been surly and argumentative with the engineer, was nothing but sweetness and light toward Seven.
'Can you believe it, Seven?' He asked, a smile on his face. 'B'Elanna says you started the fight!' And he laughed smugly.
The blonde gave him a long, slow look. 'I did.' She said curtly. 'It was under extreme provocation, but she is telling the truth. I did start the physical altercation.'
'Oh,' He said, and he looked like someone had just kicked his puppy. 'Seven.'
B'Elanna couldn't help it - she started to laugh. She watched his expression fall as his angel fell from grace, and she giggled. Strangely, it took something of the bitter taste out of her mouth, realizing that the 'machine' could be just as fallible, just as easily provoked, as anyone else. She wasn't perfect, and it seemed that B'Elanna had been the only one to openly acknowledge that fact before. She liked watching the Doc realize it as she had.
Seven shot her a look and allowed a small smile to cross her features. 'Lieutenant Torres,' she called. 'You find me irritating, aggravating and now… humorous?'
'Sure Seven!' B'Elanna called expansively, 'you're a regular comedienne!'
The ex-drones' smile grew. 'I also feel some humour toward the situation. Why is that?'
B'Elanna eyed her, obviously deciding whether or not to carry a civil conversation with the blonde. 'Well…' she said at last, hopping carefully from her bio-bed and making her way slowly over. She pushed the Doc out of her way without preamble and he looked from one to the other and then disappeared into his office. 'In the last twelve hours, we've had to leap from a moving turbo-lift, climb around in a turbo-shaft, nearly get flattened by the next 'lift, and even if it was all holographic, our bodies still respond with adrenalin. Then we confronted the Captain and lost our respective tempers, and so basically we were exhausted.'
'And why is there humour to be derived from what has happened to us?' Seven persisted.
B'Elanna shrugged. 'I guess there isn't. But if you don't laugh, what can you do?' She grinned and raised a hand as Seven moved to speak. 'It was a rhetorical question.'
'Oh. So what happens now?'
'I suggest we…' B'Elanna paused. 'I don't know. Sleep sounds pretty good.'
'Regeneration would aid my injuries,' Seven concurred, and the pair stood. Ignoring the Doc's objections, they left sickbay. They walked together silently, each unsure of what she should say. Finally, Seven broke the silence.
'You do not like me.' It was softly said but undisputable.
'You're right,' B'Elanna said finally, wondering why she had an almost painfully dry mouth, instead of the bitter taste she associated with Seven.
'Would you tell me why if I inquired?'
'Why would you want to know?' B'Elanna asked, folding her arms as they walked.
Seven sighed almost imperceptibly. 'You are…one of the few people on Voyager who does not seem afraid of my past. Resentful, but not afraid.' B'Elanna kept her eyes on their feet. 'Also, you are a brilliant engineer, and I feel that you could teach me much about my humanity.'
B'Elanna looked up in shock. 'Are you serious? Me teach you? What on Earth do I know?'
'That is just it, Lieutenant; you do not pretend that you know what you do not, and you are honest to a fault. You would not mislead me.'
Feeling an unaccountable surge of anger encompass her, B'Elanna loosened her self-control and let the words tumble from her mouth. 'Would you really like to know why I don't like you Seven? You want to know why?' The ex-drone, taken aback by B'Elannas' intensity, merely nodded. 'Because why should you swan aboard and get everything you want! Why should you get things that I had to work for without even asking! You're the officers pet and the ships sweetheart!'
'Is that truly what you think?' Seven said, her eyes hard. 'You have no idea what my existence is like!' It was B'Elanna's turn to be taken-aback as Seven advanced a step. 'It is true that I have had some privileges, but they have not come without a cost. At least you are not hated…at least you are not feared!'
The last was said painfully, and the half-Klingon, surprising herself more than anyone else, gently touched Seven's arm. 'Okay.'
''Okay'?' Seven parroted, looking confused.
'I'll help you out. For a price.'
Seven looked suspicious, her bruised face plainly showing her trepidation. 'What kind of 'price'?'
'I'll help you, you help me,' B'Elanna said, motioning that they should start walking again. 'Simple.'
'You mean much like the events this morning?' Seven asked. When B'Elanna looked at her quizzically, Seven clarified, 'I pulled you from the turbo-lift, you pulled me from the turbo-shaft.'
'Yes, yes, like that,' B'Elanna nodded. 'You help me in engineering, I'll help you socially.'
'Accep- Okay,' Seven said, practicing her new phrase.
B'Elanna smiled. 'Okay.'
They walked in silence for a while, then Seven said, 'Lieutenant Torres, are you aware that our physical appearence is causing quite a stir among the crew?'
B'Elanna nodded, watching another crewmember walk past with his eyebrows in his hairline. 'Yup. In my defence, you do look pretty bad.'
'I look 'pretty bad'?' Seven said, raising her implanted brow. 'At least I do not look like I have had a painful encounter with a shuttle.'
B'Elanna chuckled slightly. 'Point taken. Look Seven…I realize that perhaps I was a little hard on you. I was never frightened of you - I thought you were a pain in the ass, but I was never frightened of you for what you had done. I was just…jealous.'
'You said thought,' Seven said softly, as afraid to broach the subject so openly. 'Does this mean you no longer think the same way?'
'For the most part,' B'Elanna said, smiling slightly.
They had reached Cargo bay Two, and they halted reluctantly. 'Do you think that Captain Janeway will punish us for our altercation in the brig?' Seven asked.
'Probably. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.'
There was a moment of awkward silence before B'Elanna stopped shuffling her feet and grinned slightly. 'You know Seven, perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on Janeway…Her holo-programme did work, just not the way she expected.'
'I believe you are correct,' Seven said, nodding. She paused, and then added, 'It was a strange experience to feel anger for the first time.'
At that, B'Elanna grinned fully. 'Ah, you'll get used to it. It's all part of being human.'
'Human? You mean you think I am ready to dance the tango with a rose between my teeth?' Seven asked. B'Elanna went pale and her mouth worked soundlessly, until she managed to say,
'I'm sorry, Seven - if you heard that, you heard what else I said. I… apologise.' It felt so strange sincerely apologizing to someone she had thought she hated for so long, but B'Elanna managed it admirably.
'It is…'Okay', B'Elanna,' Seven said, smiling softly and opening the Cargo Bay doors. They watched each other for a long moment, eyes roaming over injuries and expressions. 'I look forward to my first dancing lesson,' she concluded, holding B'Elanna's gaze until the doors closed.
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