DISCLAIMER: Voyager not mine, it belongs to you-know-who, and I'm just trying to get back into writing about the girls.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Truth Delivers
By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson

Seven of Nine was late. To B'Elanna's knowledge, Seven of Nine was never ever late for anything, in fact the tall ex-Drone was so compulsive about being punctual that B'Elanna just wanted to... shake her sometimes, for being so, well, perfect. Everything about Seven was always so very... perfect. And it grated B'Elanna Torres, who to her own eyes was the eternally flawed halfling, to no end.

So of course the one time Seven was actually late, it was for an assignment where she was supposed to work with none other than B'Elanna herself. And no word from the irritating woman on why she was late, either. It didn't anger B'Elanna quite as much as it made her feel vaguely disappointed.

B'Elanna left it as long as she could, not wanting to admit to the younger woman that she needed her, but the work they were supposed to perform was important to the ship, and as much as B'Elanna didn't want to acknowledge it even to herself, she really needed Seven's input on the Borg signals they were receiving. Finally she had enough and snapped a summons over the combadge.

She had intended to tear into the younger woman once she finally showed up, out of principle, but one look was all it took for B'Elanna's anger to diffuse completely. Something really did not look right with Seven.

'You look tired, Seven, and pale.' B'Elanna wanted to say. 'What troubles you? Tell me so I can make it better.'

"No offence Seven, but you look terrible." Was what left her lips instead. Silently B'Elanna cursed herself.

Seven looked at her for a brief moment, and B'Elanna suddenly felt evaluated, as if Seven was deciding on whether or not to speak. It would have made her angry, if she couldn't so clearly see the worry and fear in Seven's pale blue eyes, and instead it rattled her that she felt a curious need to... comfort the other woman.

Looking away, only hesitantly glancing at B'Elanna once or twice as she spoke, Seven began a halting explanation that she was ill, that there was something wrong with her, and she seemed to be missing large pieces of time.

B'Elanna surprised herself by feeling an intense worry for Seven. 'Don't worry, we'll make things right.' She wanted to say. 'We'll go see the doctor right now, and I'll make sure he makes you better. Don't be afraid, you're not alone.'

Instead she flippantly told Seven that she should go to Sickbay. Mentally she kicked herself, wondering why she had such a hard time being humane when it came to Seven. Would it really kill her to show a little pity for someone who, while not a friend, at least was a valued associate onboard her ship?

Seven began to speak, but whatever she had intended to say was lost as her voice faded abruptly. B'Elanna turned, again worried for her tall co-worker but unable to show it. What she saw when Seven turned back towards her had her gasping for air and leaning against the console.

Seven turned towards her, eyes raking across B'Elanna's form, burning with passion and lust. There was no mistaking the expression on that face, nor the desire in those intense eyes.

B'Elanna grasped at the edge of the console slightly, heart pounding in her chest, as Seven growled at her in Klingon. B'Elanna didn't even try to discern the words at first, feeling her knees go weak and an answering growl begin in her own chest.

Suddenly petrified of her own reaction, and confused, B'Elanna straightened, intending to turn away as Seven stalked closer, still speaking. Watching the blonde move towards her like a predator on the hunt made B'Elanna's blood pressure skyrocket and her uniform feel as if it was burning against her skin. Confused and a little afraid, B'Elanna fell back on the things she knew best.

The stance was defiant and a bit scornful, and as Seven continued to praise B'Elanna's beauty and strength in her mother's language and making B'Elanna's heart thunder in response, B'Elanna mockingly asked if Tom had put Seven up to this.

Because Tom knew. He alone knew that there had been nights when B'Elanna woke up in a sweat, haunted by visions of Seven of Nine, her nemesis, in strange dreams that confused B'Elanna. Tom knew how B'Elanna could spend an entire evening ranting about the woman, still agitated by an encounter that had happened much earlier that day. And Tom probably knew that B'Elanna longed for a partner strong enough to claim the Klingon in her.

But she knew that whatever else this was, it wasn't the work of Tom Paris. Not only was Seven just to honourable to play such a cruel joke, and would never listen to Tom to that extent, but... why would Tom even connect the two?

B'Elanna walked away, needing distance between herself and the woman who suddenly looked as if she was about to kiss her. Because if Seven did try to kiss her... B'Elanna wasn't sure how she would respond to that, and that was unnerving.

Seven followed, scenting B'Elanna. The small act sent a shiver down B'Elanna's spine and she froze in place, suddenly afraid of what she was feeling. She had the urge to throw Seven up against the wall and sink her teeth into that smooth, flawless cheek... shaking herself from her thoughts, B'Elanna intended to talk to Seven, hurl words at the other as if her words alone could keep the younger woman away, and her confusing thoughts locked up where they belonged.

When Seven's teeth sank into her own cheek, a gasping moan was torn out of B'Elanna's chest involuntarily. In a split second she saw an image in her mind, of herself tearing the bio-suit off Seven's voluptuous body, throwing her to the floor, and ravishing her until the deafening roar of blood in her ears subsided. It was just a split second, but it changed everything.

B'Elanna panicked. Throwing Seven away from her, she called security.

Grinning like B'Elanna had never seen her do before, Seven proclaimed confidently that B'Elanna was strong and would make an excellent mate. B'Elanna's mind may have been whirling in confusion, but her heart sang out to Seven. 'Yes! Make me your mate!'

She actually felt a brief flash of irritation and regret when security interrupted them, causing Seven to distractedly bowl them over as she made her escape.

B'Elanna didn't pursue Seven, as she would have had it been anyone else that had been rampaging uncontrollably through the ship. No, the stunned and shocked engineer instead quietly made her way to Sickbay to heal her bite, then spent a long time in her office in Engineering, staring at the wall unblinkingly, trying to both think and avoid thinking at the same time.

She had just started working again, coming to the conclusion that concentrating on the problem at hand and locking away the confusing feelings for later was much preferable, when Seven of Nine once again strode into B'Elanna's realm. B'Elanna's steps faltered for a moment, as the mere sight of the tall blonde assaulted B'Elanna with a keen sense of attraction, and an urge to run over, slam Seven against the nearest wall, and... no, B'Elanna cut that thought off right there, not wanting to follow it to the obvious conclusion and afraid it would end her up doing something really foolish.

Seven faced her and assured her that 'the son of K'vok' would not be joining them, and while B'Elanna wasn't entirely sure what the significance of that would be, she did notice that Seven's calm demeanour was shattered. The pale blue eyes darted around, unwilling to fasten on B'Elanna for more than the briefest of moments, Seven somehow managing to look very embarrassed although it was really very small changes in her usual expression. Was that the palest brushing of a blush that graced her cheeks? Suddenly B'Elanna's nervousness and confusion stepped aside for a new emotion, one that was easier to handle – amusement.

B'Elanna swaggered up to Seven, enjoying the fact that she could feel Seven watching even though the taller woman tried to look at everything but her. She couldn't resist teasing, but the flirtatious remarks about dating, and the brazen way she spoke, surprised even B'Elanna. Wide, stunned blue eyes darted between her and the doctor in confusion, as the doctor added to B'Elanna's joke with his usual flair, unaware of the currents that flowed between the women next to him.

A part of B'Elanna's mind suggested she find a way to ditch the 'chaperone' to be alone with her 'date', while another was busy noticing Seven's scent and the way blue-covered curves seemed to be calling for B'Elanna's hands to explore them. Idly the thought that she had always felt Seven looked particularly delectable in blue crossed her mind, before B'Elanna bit down on her lip and forced her unruly mind into focus on the task ahead.

After that there was no time for frivolous thoughts about attraction, as B'Elanna was told the outline of what was happening to Seven... and the creators of the viral agent that had infected the vinculum were contacted.

B'Elanna threw herself into the work with her usual intensity, but if she had the time to examine her feelings closer, she would have realised it carried a more personal meaning for her than it usually did. Yet it seemed she couldn't save Seven on her own.

The creators of the weapon designed to lay low the Borg came onboard Voyager, and B'Elanna herself was present when their representative spoke with the Captain in Engineering. When it was obvious that the aliens would not aid them, B'Elanna wanted to hurl herself across the floor and rip out every vital organ they might possess in wild, savage fury. How dare they hurt her Seven like this! It was only her Captain's presence and Janeway's own calm, controlled anger, that stopped B'Elanna.

What followed was a flurry of activity, where B'Elanna herself fought with every ounce of her engineering skill to deactivate the device that was causing Seven so much harm, while Tuvok tried to help Seven hold on and the ship around them all was under attack. In the end, B'Elanna could count another technological triumph to her list of merits, but it wasn't followed by the usual sense of satisfaction at having cleared another challenge. No, instead she was mostly just... tired.

Seven was saved, and the doctor assured B'Elanna personally, several times, that she would recover and be allright, if she was allowed to regenerate for as long as she needed to. B'Elanna silently vowed Seven would be undisturbed for as long as it took, regardless what happened on Voyager, and worked even harder and longer shifts than usual to make sure of this. She even put in hours in Astrometrics, partly to ensure that nothing threatening in Voyager's path ahead was overlooked, but also partly because... well, she didn't want to look more closely at her reasons. It was bad enough that she so often felt compelled to go and personally inspect Seven in her alcove, making sure all the readings were as they should, and that the woman's rest was undisturbed.

It was quite unsettling for the young half-Klingon to stand guard, watching the sculpted features of the one person for whom her feelings ran strongest, to whom her relationship was the most passionate she'd ever had... surpassing her feelings and connection to her supposed lover with so much it was frightening. Just watching Seven's calm features made her stomach churn and her heart beat stronger, and she had to leave, run away from the confusion before she did something unthinkable, like... reach out and trace full lips with her fingers.

B'Elanna's relationship with Voyager's helmsman had been limping from the beginning, and they were both aware of it. They rarely spent much free time together to start with, but lately even that had been reduced to nothing, although Tom occasionally tried to talk B'Elanna into some holodeck adventure or other, or just to let him spend the night. After the incidents with the vinculum, B'Elanna was even more evasive than before, but she couldn't keep rejecting his overtures forever.

Tom spent the night, sleeping next to B'Elanna who claimed fatigue to avoid his advances, not aware of B'Elanna's inner turmoil. How was she to tell him that her dreams were filled with the image of a tall blue-eyed blonde _woman_, and that they left her trembling and aching like nothing ever had before? Even though their relationship was more of a thing of convenience - they could, on a good day, stand one another and get along, so in lieu of better pickings, they had an arrangement that they called a relationship – how was B'Elanna to explain how she wrapped herself around her pillow at night, longing to wrap herself around the inviting form of Seven of Nine instead? Longed for it so badly that it had brought her to tears more than once, because it was a futile wish... even if B'Elanna was free, Seven would never return her feelings.

Because B'Elanna had finally heard the whole story from the doctor, about the vinculum pulling the assimilated personalities stored inside Seven to the forefront, allowing them to take over her body. In other words, the desire B'Elanna had seen in Seven's eyes, the initiated mating ritual... it was not Seven of Nine. It had just been the trace of someone else, a Klingon male whose name she didn't even know, temporarily in control at the time. Seven herself would not be interested in B'Elanna.

B'Elanna lay awake for a long time into the night, worrying about what to do, what to say, before she finally was so exhausted that she fell asleep. The exhaustion caused B'Elanna to do something she rarely did, and in fact was not aware that she had a tendency to do... she spoke in her sleep.

Tom woke up when B'Elanna began to move agitatedly next to him. Automatically he reached for her to calm her down, but stopped when he heard her moan.

B'Elanna moaned into her pillow, moaning Seven's name, pleading with Seven to love her. Assuring Seven that she loved her, that she needed her, longed for her, that she wanted to be Seven's mate. Sobbing quietly into her pillow as she continued to plead with Seven to love her.

Tom sat up and stared for a long moment, taking his time to realize what he was hearing. Then finally, as B'Elanna grew quiet again, drawn deeper into sleep, Tom gently disentangled himself from the sheets and got out of the bed. He looked at B'Elanna's sleeping form for another long moment before walking over to the couch and leaving B'Elanna alone with her dreams of another. Tom would spend most of the remaining night awake on B'Elanna's couch, thinking about what he had heard, what he knew of B'Elanna, and what to do when the morning came.

The following morning the image of Seven that B'Elanna sleepily clung to as she got out of bed was quickly replaced by a very ruffled Tom Paris with squinty, slightly bloodshot eyes, peering at her wordlessly from the couch. B'Elanna had forgotten he was even there, and wondered with a start why he was sitting on her couch... and how to tell him that she just didn't want him to come around anymore.

Tom beat her to it. He sat B'Elanna down and told her without preamble that he had heard her talking in her sleep, and that it was time they broke things up. While B'Elanna was speechless from the shock of hearing that she had pleaded, actually pleaded, for Seven's love while sleeping, much less had been overheard by the man she was supposed to be in a relationship with, Tom got everything off his chest uninterrupted.

It had never been love between them and they both knew it, he said, rather it had simply been convenient. They cared for one another as friends, and they had settled for that. But it was better for both of them if they broke things up now, he would move on to his own things, and B'Elanna would be free to pursue Seven if she wanted to. Finally running out of things to say, Tom grinned widely and joked with B'Elanna as he made it to the door, telling her that if she didn't go about wooing Seven soon, he might take a shot at her himself.

Then he was gone, and B'Elanna was sitting on her couch, open-mouthed and stunned, only slowly realizing that she was now a free woman. Then, after a while, it registered with her that Tom had threatened to put the moves on _her_ girl.


Later that day, Seven was taken out of regeneration by the doctor. The doctor and the Captain were the only ones present for the examination and to welcome Seven back after her ordeal, but B'Elanna kept discreet tags on things, and knew when Seven had stepped out of her alcove.

B'Elanna waited in Engineering for some time, thinking that Seven would first go through some examinations, then undoubtedly need to talk to both the doctor and the Captain about events. But after that B'Elanna fully expected to see the former Borg in Engineering, to work off what she would feel was a debt of gratitude, or, which was what B'Elanna was hoping for, to confront B'Elanna about what had happened and clear the air. B'Elanna wasn't sure she would dare go through with actually coming onto Seven in any manner of speaking, because besides the fact that she was not good at that sort of thing, she wasn't sure she could take being shot down. B'Elanna waited some more.

After a good long while had passed, B'Elanna realized to her disappointment that Seven wasn't coming to Engineering after all. Well, if the darn woman would not come to her, then B'Elanna would have to go to wherever Seven was... which probably meant Astrometrics. B'Elanna was halfway there, deciding on the way that she worked better when improvising anyway, so the fact that she couldn't come up with what to say to Seven shouldn't keep her from seeking the other woman out, when it hit her that she should ask the computer for Seven's location. To her surprise, and further disappointment, Seven was not in Astrometrics at all. No, Seven was in the Wildman quarters.

B'Elanna couldn't quite figure out what reason Seven would have to visit Sam Wildman, and felt a brief pang of irrational jealousy towards the somewhat matronal but still youthful woman that was mother to Voyager's first child. Then B'Elanna felt ashamed of herself, knowing full well that Sam Wildman was a sweet and friendly woman who were faithful to her far away husband despite the many years of their journey, and a number of smitten suitors that she had turned down so far.

Feeling foolish for not checking before she left Engineering, B'Elanna changed directions and headed for the Messhall instead, reasoning that she might as well take her long overdue lunch break anyway.

She was still there, unenthusiastically poking at her food and sighing, when the woman who had been at the centre of her thoughts lately walked into the room. B'Elanna was still despondently chasing her food around her plate, building little formations of the indefinable matter, not realizing that Seven had walked up to her until the other woman spoke.

"May I sit down, Lieutenant?" Seven's voice startled B'Elanna so badly that she knocked over her glass, spilling the remains of her drink across the table.

"Kahless!" B'Elanna yelped and tried to contain the mess with her napkin, then belatedly looked up with wide brown eyes at the woman standing quite close to her with a nutritional supplement in hand, and a slightly raised ocular implant at the sight of B'Elanna bent over the table vainly trying to mop up the fluid with an already soaked napkin. Their eyes met, and both of them froze.

Neelix came hurrying over, quickly wiping the table down and settling both Seven and B'Elanna into their chairs before either woman had reacted, then cheerfully vanished to his kitchen, secretly keeping an eye on his friends so that no-one would disturb them. Gossip always reached Neelix ears sooner or later, so he had heard of the interrupted mating ritual in Engineering and hoped it would serve to open their eyes to what he had been aware of for some time now.

Seven recovered first. "It was not my intention to startle you, Lieutenant. If you prefer to have solitude I can..."

"NO! Ah, I mean, no Seven, it's fine, I'm fine, please stay and keep me company." B'Elanna once again wanted to kick herself for not being able to speak properly around Seven, but at least these days she had finally realized why. Not that it improved the situation any that she could notice.

An awkward silence fell as B'Elanna furiously tried to come up with what to say. Unfortunately all she could come up with was pathetic things that Tom might have thought funny, and in fact she could hear his voice in her head, saying things like 'What's a nice ex-Drone like you doing in a place like this?', and B'Elanna decided she would kick him in the shins next time she saw him.

Seven's eyes fell upon B'Elanna's forgotten dinner, and the implant arched back up. "Do you not find your nutritional supplement edible, Lieutenant?" A brief pause while Seven looked more closely, and the implant inched higher. "That formation on your plate, is that the numerical seven, Lieutenant?"

Blushing, B'Elanna quickly grabbed her fork and shovelled the entire little digit into her mouth, fighting a slight gagging reflex as the cold but still spicy food slid down her throat. "Mmmfff. No, no I'm just not all that hungry, but see, I'm eating. And you can call me B'Elanna, you know?" A handful of forkfuls joined the first, while B'Elanna, still blushing, wondered whatever had possessed her to build a little heart out of her food and decorate it with a seven.

She also wondered if Seven had noticed. Which lead to the question if she wanted Seven to have noticed.

"Allright... B'Elanna." Seven enunciated slowly, looking at B'Elanna somewhat strangely. The fact that B'Elanna broke into a wide and besotted grin when she heard Seven say her name, despite still having a mouthful of food, could have been the reason for Seven's odd look however.

Realizing this caused the mortally embarrassed B'Elanna to attempt to hastily swallow, and ended her up choking slightly on food going down the wrong way. Alarmed and coughing to get things back down the right pipe, B'Elanna flung her arms around in search for her drink, but the glass was empty.

A glass was thrust in front of her, and B'Elanna gratefully took a long swig before considering what was in it. Then as her breathing returned to normal, B'Elanna looked from the nutritional supplement in her hand, to the concerned eyes of Seven of Nine.

"Umm, thanks Seven." B'Elanna mumbled, embarrassed. "Sorry about that... let me get you a new dinner."

"That is not necessary Lieu... B'Elanna." Seven interjected calmly, taking the remaining supplement from B'Elanna and proceeded to sip from it.

"Ah, allright." B'Elanna said, looking a bit hypnotized as Seven drank. "Hey, I noticed it didn't taste so bad and it's warm. Somehow I had gotten the idea that your supplements would be cold and tasteless, though I have no idea where I got that from."

"It is a common misconception. Though at first the supplements the doctor prescribed for me were indeed cold and rather unpleasant in taste, I later changed it to better suit my palate." Seven finished her supplement. "While taste is irrelevant I have found that my sense of taste is stronger and more sensitive than that of an ordinary human, and have adjusted my nutritional intake to suit that." She looked at B'Elanna hesitantly. "Although there are times that I... harbour a wish to try more solid foods."

"Can you handle solid food now?" B'Elanna said with some surprise, to which Seven nodded. "Well, why don't you try some instead of eating you supplements, then?"

"I..." Seven hesitated again. "...the nutritional supplements are more effective, and I... do not know where to start."

B'Elanna smiled. "Why don't we try some out together, sometime? I could introduce you to some pretty good food that's not so harsh on your stomach."

Seven looked at her strangely again, and B'Elanna wondered briefly if she had anything stuck to her teeth.

"Lieutenant... B'Elanna, I..." Seven began seriously, struggling with her words.

"Yeah?" B'Elanna urged gently, leaning forward. Seven blinked.

"During my convalescence you spent hours in Astrometrics, yet you were not especially assigned to that duty." Seven looked at B'Elanna, who couldn't help but to feel just slightly disappointed that the conversation was not about what she had hoped it would be. "Why?"

"Oh, I wanted to keep an eye out for you on how the others handled things. I know you're the only one who can really work all of Astrometrics, and just thought I'd help make sure things were kept floating until you came back." B'Elanna answered lightly, having told Janeway nearly the exact same thing already. "You would have done the same for me."

"...yes, I believe I would have." Seven answered softly. "Thank you."

B'Elanna smiled, and they sat in silence for a long moment, merely looking at one another.

"B'Elanna, I..." Seven began, then faltered, frowning slightly as she looked around. B'Elanna followed her gaze and realized that Seven felt uncomfortable with bringing up whatever it was she wanted to say in such a public place.

"You... want to go someplace more private to talk?" She asked, just to make sure. Seven's grateful nod was all the confirmation she needed, and B'Elanna immediately took the remains of her cold and ruined dinner to the recyclers. Seven did the same with her glass, then the two of them hesitantly stepped out of the Messhall.

"Did you have someplace in mind?" B'Elanna asked Seven as she realized they were just walking down the corridor aimlessly. The taller woman shook her head slightly.

"Engineering and Astrometrics are both out, because we'd get roped back into work before we'd have the chance to talk..." B'Elanna mused out loud. "Cargo Bay 2 is also out, which kind of leaves my place." Deciding to try and lighten things up a little, B'Elanna joked. "Or that jeffries tube over there..." Pointing casually to her left as they walked by.

"Acceptable." Seven stopped, turned around, and was halfway through the opening to the jeffries tube before B'Elanna realized what she was doing.

"You realize that I was just kidding, don't you?" B'Elanna asked as she crawled in after Seven, closing the hatch after herself.

Seven blinked. "I... it seemed expedient."

"Yeah, well, at least it's cosy." B'Elanna grinned, making herself comfortable leaning against the wall. She was charmed to see another faint blush gracing Seven's features and inched a little bit closer. "Seven?"

Seven sighed. "I wish to apologize, B'Elanna. While I am certain that you have been informed of what caused my... lapses, I still feel I need to apologize for subjecting you to my unwanted advances. Is there any fashion in which I can compensate you for the undue..."

"Wait, wait." B'Elanna interrupted Seven. "First off, you don't need to apologize. I wasn't hurt, and I wasn't offended, so don't worry about it. I'll admit that I was surprised and a bit confused, but that turned out to be good for me as it made me think about things that I had been ignoring until now. Secondly..." B'Elanna faltered.

"Secondly?" Seven inquired, leaning forward slightly.

"I'll get to it in a moment, Seven, bear with me, OK?" B'Elanna said somewhat embarrassed, looking away. "How are you holding up after all this?"

"I have recovered and will return to full duty within a day or two, depending on the doctor's cooperation."

"No, I didn't mean physically, Seven... how are you holding up from having had other people taking over your body?" B'Elanna clarified with a compassionate expression. "How are you feeling?"

"I am... recovering." Seven said haltingly. "It was... frightening, but not entirely unfamiliar. The doctor has informed me that the 'voices' will always be a part of me, that they in fact always were, but I will no longer be aware of them."

B'Elanna nodded slightly, she had figured as much after talking to the doctor, herself. "I am sorry that you keep having to suffer like this, Seven. No-one should have to go through the things you have done, least of all an honest, good person like you."

Seven's eyes went as wide as saucers.

"You are, you know..." B'Elanna said gently, patting Seven lightly on the knee. "And you know I don't say that lightly."

Seven just looked away, tilting her head downwards slightly, but B'Elanna knew it was because she didn't know how to respond to what B'Elanna had said. It hurt to think that Seven has such a low opinion of herself, and so seldom heard anyone speak about her person in a positive way, that she was so utterly lost when a kind word was directed her way. The same woman who took mortal insults and deadly threats without blinking felt vulnerable because B'Elanna had called her a good person.

Inwardly B'Elanna shook her head, wondering just what the Captain and the doctor were doing in their supposed humanity lessons.

"I was, uhh, wondering though, Seven... do you remember what those other selves were up to, now?" B'Elanna asked awkwardly, getting a bit frustrated with herself for her roundabout way of getting to the point. "I hear you spent hours playing with Naomi, and that you tried to buy Astrometrics from the Captain."

Seven looked at her somewhat strangely, then the corners of her mouth twitched upwards in a small, unconscious smile. "I do have access to those memories now. And I... quite enjoy playing with Naomi Wildman." The smile twitched a little wider at the mention of the little girl. "Also, Astrometrics is a source of pride for me, undoubtedly the attempt to purchase it was sprung from that."

"Are you saying..." B'Elanna asked slowly. "...that these other personalities were all spurred by something you were feeling?" As soon as the words left B'Elanna's lips she felt like banging her head against the wall. What if Seven...


The word was quietly spoken, and B'Elanna wasn't sure she heard Seven correctly. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"I said 'yes'. I believe that the actions of the suppressed personalities were enacted within their respective characters but derived from various parts of my emotions." Seven clarified, looking a bit embarrassed again, but keeping her head held high this time.



"Lieutenant? Lieutenant, are you ill?" Seven asked with concern, leaning forward to grab B'Elanna's arms to support her. "Should I have you transported to Sickbay?"

"No, no I'm fine Seven, I just felt faint for a moment there." B'Elanna croaked out weakly, then cleared her throat. "Umm, so... when that Klingon personality initiated a mating ritual with me, that was really... I mean, it was..." B'Elanna made the mistake to look at Seven, and with Seven sitting much closer to her, B'Elanna just lost her train of thought into the blue of Seven's eyes. "Oh wow."

The ocular implant went up. "It was oh wow?"

"Oh yeah, it's wow allright." B'Elanna murmured distractedly. "Very wow."

"Indeed?" Seven was amused, but quickly got taken in by B'Elanna's dreamy expression. "B'Elanna, I have to confess that..."

"Seven, I..."

They looked at one another for a moment, deciding who would get to speak first. B'Elanna smiled slightly. "Let me, please? I'm coming to that 'secondly' I mentioned before."

B'Elanna took a deep breath. "I don't know how I can have been so blind for so long, I just know that I somehow failed to realize what has been in front of me all along... and then I've been confused, fought it and denied it, but all that is over now. I can't fight this, this is to big, to strong, and far to incredibly right for me to even want to try." She inched a little closer to Seven, looking deeply into her eyes. "The words aren't nearly enough, but... I love you, Seven."

With a tiny whimper the last shred of Seven's composure fell aside, leaving a very vulnerable young woman, trembling slightly as she looked into the eyes of her loved one. Tentatively she leaned in to kiss B'Elanna, but stopped herself just before their lips met. "What about... ?" She whispered barely audibly.

B'Elanna moaned slightly, senses intoxicated by having Seven so close. "We broke up." She wet her lips.


B'Elanna leaned forward slightly to kiss Seven, but Seven drew back the tiniest distance, keeping them apart.


B'Elanna groaned. "Yes?"

"I love you."

Half-lidded brown eyes turned wide and luminous at the words, and B'Elanna was about to speak... but then Seven closed the minute distance and proceeded to kiss B'Elanna senseless.

When B'Elanna felt herself being leaned up against the hatch, she came to her senses long enough to lean her forehead against Seven's and speak breathlessly. "You had better be sure about this, Seven, because I don't think I have the strength to ever let you go."

"I am sure, and I do not wish to be 'let go'." Was her determined, if equally breathless, reply. Then they resumed kissing, and neither woman paid attention to anything else.

Only Seven's reflexes and Borg-enhanced limbs kept them from falling out when a team from Engineering suddenly opened the hatch to carry on with their assigned maintenance. As it were, Seven and B'Elanna hung out of the opening at an awkward angle in front of the goggle-eyed engineers, and a few people who had stopped to chat with them on their way out from the Messhall.

B'Elanna turned nearly command red and even Seven blushed quite visibly, as they scrambled out of the jeffries tube. B'Elanna realized she was no longer wearing her uniform jacket as Seven suddenly handed it to her. "When did you..." Remembering their audience, B'Elanna threw a dangerous glare at them. "Never mind Seven, come on."

Taking Seven's hand, B'Elanna hurried them down the hall to the turbolift, trying to ignore her own furious blush as well as the comments she could hear being whispered behind them.

"Did you see that? Were they..."
"Yeah, they were! Wow, who would have thought the Chief and Seven..."

"Did you see where Seven's hands were when you opened the hatch? Whoa, Paris has been dumped for a better model for sure!"

"Guess that scene in Engineering wasn't caused by the vinculum after all, it was just Seven propositioning the Chief."

"I can't wait to tell Tabor..."

The turbolift closed behind them, cutting off the sound of the excited whispering and giggling going on down the corridor. B'Elanna exhaled noisily.

"Well..." She told the still form of Seven of Nine whimsically. "...by this time tomorrow the entire ship will know you're mine."

"Is that... acceptable to you?" Seven asked shyly, allowing B'Elanna to pull her close.

B'Elanna grinned mischievously. "Do I mind? Naw, it saves me the trouble to go around in person to tell everyone to back off 'cause you're mine." She stole a quick peck to Seven's lips. "Though I could request the Captain's permission to make an announcement over the speakers if you want..."

"You are being facetious." Seven playfully accused, reaching up to play with a lock of B'Elanna's hair.

"Mm, maybe a little." B'Elanna confessed, grinning. "I would make that announcement though, and I know just what to say, too." She winked at Seven, then barked at an imaginary audience. "Listen up! I hereby claim Seven of Nine as mine, and for any petaQ that tries to mess with my girl, remember that I have a bat'leth and I know how to use it!"

Seven grinned as well, then leaned in to kiss B'Elanna some more. "We have not yet told the computer where we are headed." She reminded B'Elanna after a moment.

"How about my place?" B'Elanna grinned, raking her hands up and down Seven's sides.

Seven bit her lip. "We... cannot, regrettably. You are due in Engineering for the remainder of your shift, and I need to report to the Captain."

B'Elanna groaned. "Will they even notice if I call in sick...? Ah no, you're right, we have to get going." She sighed, then added hopefully. "But after, can I see you after?"

"Yes." Seven smiled. "I will wait for you in your quarters. Now kiss me before you go."

"Heh." B'Elanna grinned and complied, then reluctantly stepped out of the lift.

"Wait, your jacket!" Seven handed the item over for a second time.

B'Elanna stole another kiss as she took her uniform jacket from Seven's hand, then watched as the turbolift closed, sending Seven off to see the Captain. She grinned widely, then practically skipped all the way over to Engineering, pausing only briefly to give Vorik a friendly slap on the back that accidentally had the young Vulcan doubling over.

"Oops, sorry about that!" B'Elanna called, still grinning, and whistled as she strode over to her office. She had quite a bit of work ahead of her, and this was one day she was not going to stay behind after the end of her duty shift for certain. In fact... a nice, candlelit dinner, some music, maybe a flower for Seven, not to mention dressing a bit more alluringly than her uniform... yes, B'Elanna would have to get off work a bit early.

Grabbing a padd, B'Elanna called out for Vorik to come join her. It was time to delegate.

The End

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