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By Ohyjo

Part 3

B'Elanna entered her quarters feeling better than she had in months. After her disastrous dates with Harry and her equally disastrous attempt at setting Seven and Harry up together she'd felt guilty every time she was around those two. She had grabbed every excuse imaginable so she would not have to hang out with them. In her case this meant she had thrown herself into her work.

If she avoided them there was no chance she would hurt them, and there was no chance she would have to berate herself for her careless behaviour again.

The ex-marquise knew Harry had long since forgiven her, and that Seven would get over her crush soon enough. However she knew as well that it would be a while before she would get over her own guilt and feel comfortable around them again.

Why could things never work out the way you intended it anyhow? It had seemed so perfect. Though as it turned out, only to her. Seven and Harry hadn't even attempted a single date together, and again it was because of her.

She had already known Harry had strong feelings for her, but to find out Seven did too had been the shock of the decade. Damn but she wished she hadn't overheard Tom and Seven talking.

All she had been doing was doing Neelix a favour by modifying some of his cooking appliances in the galley. Things had proven more tricky than she'd counted on, and she was still hidden behind the counter when the Alpha shift lunch rush was nearly upon them.

Even though her own stomach was calling out to be fed, at Neelix's beseeching look she continued with repairs. Unaware of the hungry half Klingon lying half under the counter Alpha shift enjoyed the large quantities of replicated food.

Lunch was nearly over when she was finally able to finish up the work. She was about the get up when she heard someone call her name. It was Tom and what he said quickly made her decide not to make her presence known.

"But why don't you tell B'Elanna you're in love with her?"

Under the impression Tom was talking to his best friend Harry, B'Elanna uttered a small prayer to Kahless that they wouldn't notice her.

Only complete shock kept her silent when she realised it was Seven who answered Tom instead of the Asian Ensign.

"I do not believe I can tell her that Tom, she..." Seven stopped what ever she was going to say next, as another crewmember joined them at the counter. Tom smoothly changed the subject and the two of them left.

Leaving a stunned disbelieving half Klingon Engineer behind.

From that moment on B'Elanna truly started to avoid her friends. She didn't understand what they possibly saw in her. Didn't they understand she would just end up hurting them. She had to stay away.

So the Lieutenant had thrown herself into her work. As always it took her mind of her personal problems, though she did miss the company of her friends.

Today, however, had brought good news; according to the ships rumour mill Seven had been dating Tal Celes. Maybe not the first choice she would have thought suitable for Seven but it had to mean Seven had gotten over her crush on her.

Which meant it was now safe to resume her friendship with Voyager's Astrometrics officer. Having thoroughly missed her friendship with both Harry and Seven these past few months, maybe the moment was right to test the waters again.

B'Elanna had always been an early riser. She got up long before the rest of the Alpha shift regulars. So when she arrived in the mess hall the next morning she was surprised to see a few others already there.

She barely had a change to register their presence before Tom Paris was at her side, and determined that B'Elanna wasn't going to bolt on them, guided the young woman to their table.

In spite of her resolve of the prior evening B'Elanna didn't quite run a way, but she was a bit hesitant as Tom nearly pushed her into a seat next to Seven.

From the friendly but determined look of her friends B'Elanna didn't need long to figure out her friends had taken matters into their own hands.

"Hey Marquise," Harry greeted his friend warmly, "we thought it would be nice if we all shared breakfast together."

"Indeed," Seven concurred, "it has been a while."

She concluded with a warm, "good morning B'Elanna."

"Morning guys," B'Elanna said in turn, while deciding to simply give in and see what would come of this surprise breakfast. "Let me just grab some breakfast from the…"

"All taken care of," Tom said cheerfully as he slid into the last empty table seat. Right on cue Neelix approached them with a tray laden with what had to be the largest stack of pancakes B'Elanna had ever seen in her life.

Placing it right in front of B'Elanna who half amused half alarmed asked, "I'm not supposed to eat this mountain on my own am I?"

The others laughed and Seven answered with her trademark smirk, "no B'Elanna we will assist you."

Grabbing the tray with her right hand Seven steered it to the centre of the table. She wondered if B'Elanna could see how nervous she was. There was nothing Seven would rather do that moment then directly ask the shorter woman why she had been avoiding them so long.

Patience was not always a quality she possessed in large quantities where her social interactions where concerned. She preferred a more direct approach.

However both Harry and Tom had counselled patience, and she trusted their judgement. Both men had reasoned B'Elanna simply didn't feel comfortable around them since her "break up" with Harry.

They figured if they gave B'Elanna some time she would come around sooner or later. However when later came and went without the engineer initiating any contact with her friends, Seven had voiced her frustration to the two senior officers.

Sharing her sentiments they had come up with a few ideas to lure the half Klingon out of her self imposed isolation.

The pancakes must have been replicated because they tasted to good to be of Neelix's hands. Because she frequently skipped lunch B'Elanna usually ate a large breakfast, but in spite of the delicious smelling food she wasn't hungry.

She decided to simply ask the question that was for most on her mind. "So what's up? Why the breakfast?"

She saw the others exchange looks as Tom answered her. "Since you've been working so much these past few months we figured this was the only way we would be able to spent more time with you."

B'Elanna stared at her pancakes. It was obvious her friends had missed her. Had she hurt their feelings by shutting them out?

Great, now she felt guilty because she had kept her friends at bay because she'd felt guilty in the first place. This was nuts.

She was about to apologise and give a weak excuse, but Harry, who had a vague idea about what was going on in the Engineer's head, prevented this.

"Since I personally concluded that Voyager is in its best shape ever thanks to your personal attention we felt it safe to tell you that are part of our Volleyball team."

Grateful to her friends that she didn't need to explain herself it took a few moments before she realised what Harry had said.

"Volleyball team? What's Volleyball?"

"It is a sport where several teams play against each other to get a ball over a net," Tom explained, "Tuvok and Chakotay have organised a tournament. We were in need of a sixth player, you aren't teamed up yet. Perfect choice"

"Of course is doesn't hurt to have a player with your strength and agility." Seven stated with a friendly smile.

"I see..," B'Elanna started but Seven hadn't finished yet.

"Training begins at 19.00 hours. Will you be there?"

The way Seven asked this, it wasn't quite a question. To B'Elanna it sounded more like, 'if you do not show up on your own we will transport you there.' Or like 'decline and you will have an argument on your hands.'

"Yes," Harry enthused, "We converted, with the Captain's permission, cargo-bay two into a temporary Volleyball court."

B'Elanna started to laugh, "All right count me in."

Since Seven had gotten her own quarters cargo bay had been more or less empty. It was used for storage but there was plenty of room for a practise field. The actual tournament would be held in one of the holo-decks but this way everyone would have the chance to get some practise without having to rely on the holo decks which where always occupied.

So it wasn't strange to see six sweat covered crewmembers gathering their gear after a training session. Seven was the first to leave wanting to finish an assignment before next morning's senior staff meeting.

B'Elanna was listening amused to Harry and Tom exchanging jokes. It was remarkable how quickly they had all picked up their old relationships, and it was as if her disaster dates with Harry had never happened.

She was just about to join in the banter when she saw Tal Celes throw her arms around William Telfer, the sixth member of their team. The kiss they shared wasn't of the kind shared between just friends.

B'Elanna's temper took over as she confronted Tal. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Never in her life had Tal faced an angry Klingon. It was an experience that quite frankly she could have lived without. However now it was happening and she would have to deal with it, but she simply did not have a clue what she had done to earn B'Elanna's wrath.

Taking a couple of steps backwards the only thing she managed to say was, "Lieu… Lieutenant?"

B'Elanna did her best to keep calm but it seemed as if a gate had opened in herself and not even Tuvok's lessons seemed to help. Through gritted teeth she said, "Your dating Seven so why are you kissing him?"

"D..da..ting Seven?" Celes stuttered. "I'm not dating Seven?"

William was uncharacteristically brave and inserted himself between his girlfriend and the angry engineer. "Tal is my fiancé Liuetenant."

He figured that if Torres would hit him at least he would have a legitimate excuse to visit sick bay.

"Calm down B'Elanna," Tom admonished his friend as both he and Harry came to the rescue of the frightened couple.

"Seven and I are only friends Lieutenant." Tal piped in, sending a silent prayer to the Prophets that she got out of this situation without a broken nose.

"That's not what I heard." B'Elanna nearly growled.

"It is true B'Elanna. Seven and I went out a few times, that all. We're friends."

"She is telling the truth B'Elanna," Harry who was getting angry himself said, "and if you had kept in touch with your friends instead of listening to the rumour mill you would have known."

Tal cast him a grateful look as the anger visibly left the half-Klingon, she looked positively uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry," she said and the Bajoran crewmember knew it was meant as much for Ensign Kim as for herself. Still she nodded and relieved she said, "I understand Lt. I would react exactly the same if I thought someone was cheating on Seven like that."

B'Elanna looked the woman in the eye and than nodded, "I believe you would."

In the heat of the moment no-one had seen Seven walk back in. So when a contrite B'Elanna looked away from Tal she looked straight into the former drone's eyes. Seven was looking at her with a very peculiar expression on her face.

"I thank you for defending my honour B'Elanna. Though as you have determined it was quite unnecessary.

"I know Seven." What else could she say?

Ignoring B'Elanna's remark Seven continued. "I appreciate the gesture."

While talking she took a step closer to the engineer coming very close to invading the shorter woman's personal space.

"It is gratifying to know you would defend me so."

Seven's eyes slowly travelled over B'Elanna's sweat covered body before settling on her face.

There was something about Seven's behaviour that reminded B'Elanna of a tigre sneaking up on its pray and it made her rather nervous.

"No problem Seven, if you'll excuse me…"

The half-human nearly jumped away from Seven and rushed out off the cargo bay.

The other, though aware of Seven's feelings for the engineer, were puzzled by Seven's behaviour. Questioning looks were directed at her.

Only Tom had an inkling. "Tired of being patient Seven?"

Seven nodded her confirmation. "Indeed Tom."

By her tone of voice her friends knew better than to query her further, but to a one they were curious to find out what she would do next.

"Seven look there." Harry pointed.

Seeing what Harry was pointing at Seven nodded her understanding. It seemed the Lieutenant had forgotten to take her gear with her. "I will return this to B'Elanna."

"Go for it Seven," an enthusiastic Celes cheered her on.

B'Elanna paced her quarters, waiting for the door chime to sound. She knew she would hear it any moment now. She nearly chuckled at herself as she realised what she was thinking.

In her own way Seven was a predictable person. She usually had an answer to every problem. She always went directly to her goal and did not waste time on frivol pleasantries. Yet for all this Seven was full off surprises, and it was amazing to witness her make new discoveries. Not to mention the tall woman was damn right cute when she played with Naomi Wildman, and when she directed that rare smile of her on you…. it made your heart skip a beat.

'It makes my heart skip a beat,' B'Elanna whispered in her quiet quarters.

"Kahles!" B'Elanna exclaimed, "what the hell am I thinking? I cannot possibly be…"

'Can't you?" a little voice whispered in her mind.

The door chime was activated.

Why delay the inevitable?

"Come in." B'Elanna called and her hart fluttered as the door slid open and Seven was standing there with a confident smirk on her face.

From the corner of her eyes B'Elanna saw Seven throw something on the floor of her quarters but her attention was solely on the tall woman.

"B'Elanna Torres I am here to claim my mate." Stating this she entered B'Elanna's quarters and she neared the other woman's personal space again.

Amusement was evident on her face as she witnessed how B'Elanna grappled to comprehend what she'd just heard.

"Yo... you what?"

"I am here to claim my mate." Seven repeated while wondering how many times she would have to repeat this particular line. Though for once willing to repeat it a 100.000 if it would help her reach her objective.

Even though she knew why Seven was here and she knew how direct the former drone could be B'Elanna was nonetheless taken aback by Seven's behaviour.

Several reasons of why Seven shouldn't be doing this crossed her mind, but only one question crossed her lips. "Why?"

Seven saw B'Elanna's confusion clearly and her smirk became a full fledged smile as she said. "Because you are you."

"..but Seven I'm.."

That was all the half-Klingon got out.

"B'Elanna Torres I wish to kiss you."

"You… wish…?"

B'Elanna stopped talking though she wanted to give Seven all the reasons why she shouldn't continue this… whatever. The only problem was she didn't really want to.

Seven was still inching closer to B'Elanna, and suddenly the engineer was looking at two perfect lips, tantalisingly close… just screaming to be kissed.

"I wish to kiss you and than claim you as my mate."

Resistance fled from B'Elanna as if it had never been there. The simple truth was she could no longer say no to Seven.

They kissed and even though it wasn't the magic you read about in romance stories and no bells were ringing, B'Elanna's barriers had come down.

Why hadn't she realised before that where Seven was concerned resistance was futile. That evening Seven did not claim her mate in the traditional Klingon way as she had intended.

However she and B'Elanna had set their first steps on the path that would lead them to a happy life together.

Two years into their relationship, back in the Alpha Quadrant they sealed their love for each other with a wedding. In honour of their absent friend Neelix and the celebration that had brought them closer in the first place, they exchanged vows at the Telaxana celebration Captain Janeway had organised at their first Alpha Quadrant reunion.

They lived happily ever after.

The End

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