DISCLAIMER: Not my characters, not my 'verse…just playing there for a bit. No money made…etc..etc… This is just a quick story I wrote to distract me from a writer's block on another story I'm working on. Set an undetermined amount of time after Endgame…just some mush…nothing graphic. Sorry. <grin>
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

When Did You Know?
By Gin


"Naomi Wildman."

The young woman on the threshold practically lit up with a smile. "Hello Seven!" She stepped through the door at the tall blonde's gesture, pausing in front of her friend to give her a hug. "How are you?"

Seven captured her standard response behind pursed lips and smiled. Barely having to lean down as she kissed the tall young woman on the cheek she replied. "I am fine." She gestured to the living room couch and inquired. "You?"

With a chuckle, Naomi winked. "I am functioning within normal parameters." Then she sighed. "I think."

Settling on the couch next to her young friend, Seven tilted her head. "You are troubled."

"More like…confused."

Seven studied her young friend closely. "In regards to what?"

"Um…" Naomi nervously plucked at the fabric of her Starfleet uniform. "I... uh…" Suddenly she looked around. "Where's uh…?"

Smiling, Seven's eyes momentarily landed on the staircase. "Upstairs. Resting."

With a deep breath, Naomi nodded and continued. "I'm confused in regards to…my feelings…um…" She dared to look directly at Seven, wondering if the ex-borg would see her dilemma there. I think she will, Naomi thought. One raised eyebrow confirmed her suspicion.

"You are confused about, feelings, about… love?" Seven tilted her head. "Is this not a subject you should be discussing with your Mother?"

"I have." Naomi nodded and ran her fingers through her hair. "Kind of." She rolled her eyes and laughed nervously. "It's not really something you can discuss with your Mother…at least... I can't… I'd rather discuss it with, a friend."

"Very well." Seven shifted to face the younger woman more fully. "Proceed."

Naomi smiled brightly, relieved. "I um… really just have one question." She was grateful that Seven remained silent, patiently waiting for the question to be asked. "When did you first know you were in love?" She was proud of herself for managing to ask the question and her eyes widened as a voice from the staircase filled the room.

"Naomi! How wonderful to see you." Kathryn Janeway took the final step down and approached the seated figures. "I thought I heard voices. What brings you to Indiana?"

"I… uh…" Naomi's eyes began searching the room for something, anything, to look at besides her former captain's kind eyes.

Seven shifted slightly as Kathryn settled comfortably next to her on the couch. "She had a question for me."

"Oh?" The auburn haired woman smiled as the young woman looked up from examining the fabric pattern. "Ah." Nodding, Kathryn grinned. "So who is he?"

"Kathryn." Seven's tone was gentle. "You should not assume the object of Naomi Wildman's question is male." A full throaty laugh from the woman next to her pulled the ex-borg's lips into a smile.

"Seven." Kathryn wrapped her arms around the tall blonde. "You are absolutely correct, I shouldn't assume… but I didn't hear the question. I just know 'the look'." She winked at Naomi. "And that look to me says 'boy trouble'." Shifting, she placed a quick kiss on Seven's cheek and rose from the couch. "Would you like something to drink Naomi?"

Swallowing against the sudden dryness in her mouth, Naomi nodded. "Water would be great." She watched as Kathryn left the room, feeling somehow like she should be following her, helping her. An odd sound pulled her from her thoughts. Seven… chuckling?

"Kathryn does not require assistance in replicating water." She raised her voice slightly. "Boiling it perhaps." Ice blue eyes twinkled as Kathryn's short laugh sounded from the other room.

"I heard that!"

Seven's lips twitched then she focused on her young friend. "You had a question." She unfolded her six foot frame from the couch and extended her hand for the young woman to join her. "I have an answer."

Naomi followed Seven to the computer panel. She was mesmerized as Seven's fingers flew over the controls.

"Seven?" Kathryn returned to the room and handed Naomi the cool drink. "What are you doing?"

"I am accessing Voyager's internal sensor logs." Seven continued to manipulate the computer controls for a moment then turned to face the other two women, asking Naomi. "May Kathryn know your question?" At Naomi's nod, Seven turned her, rather intense, gaze to her former Captain. "She asked me, 'When did you first know you were in love?' I could tell her the precise moment, but since that moment was captured in the logs, I decided to show her."

Kathryn's eyes went wide. "Uh… Seven?"

Seven reached out to trace the concerned woman's cheek. "Perhaps it is time you knew as well." Turning back to the display, she began the replay, watching it for a brief moment before touching the panel to freeze the image at a certain point. "You asked me when." Tapping the time/date stamp in the corner of the picture, Seven turned to Naomi. "This is when."

Naomi just stared at the screen barely hearing the gravely voice next to her. "Seven?" Kathryn also couldn't tear her eyes away from the seemingly normal scene. "This is a staff meeting."

"Yes." Seven used one long tapered finger to point to herself, just entering the room. "I'd just arrived." Her finger traced an imaginary line from the image of herself, from her eyes, to the already seated image of Kathryn. "You looked up and, almost, smiled." The tapered finger covered the seated Captain's lips, then to her eyes. "Our eyes locked…for an instant." Now Seven's voice took on a note of reverence. "…and in that instant I was lost, and found."

"Oh, Seven." Kathryn leaned against the taller woman, trying to remember to breathe. It didn't help when one long arm wound around her, and the familiar weight of Seven's head pressed against the top of hers.

"Wow." Naomi couldn't decide if she wanted to look at the display on the screen, or the frozen tableau of the women next to her.

With her cheek still pressed against the top of Kathryn's head, Seven asked. "Does that answer your question Naomi Wildman?"

"Well… yes." She had to admit, that did, precisely, answer the question she had asked.

Kathryn chuckled. "Lieutenant Wildman is now considering that she asked the wrong question."

Naomi grinned sheepishly. "I.. yeah, I guess I did." She sighed. "It's just, I've been dating this guy for a while, and he's asked me to marry him. I need to know, I mean…how can I be sure that what I feel for him is... love?"

Opening her mouth to speak, Kathryn found herself beaten to the punch by her tall partner. "Emotions, feelings, are different for everyone. The individuality human's pride themselves on is not conducive to the uniform definition of any emotion they may experience."

Kathryn nodded and disengaging slightly from Seven's embrace led them back to the couch. "Feelings and emotions are subjective, for sure." She settled on the couch, leaning back into Seven's arms.

"Don't tell me I'll 'just know'…" Naomi sighed. "That's what Mom said, that's what everyone says. What if I just like him a lot? What if what he feels for me isn't really 'love' either? How do I know if what I feel is like… what you two have?"

It distressed Seven to see her friend in such emotional turbulence. "Should I speak with him face to face?" She saw Naomi's eyes widen considerably and Kathryn stilled perceptibly in her arms. "Perhaps I should make him aware of the repercussions were he to harm you in any way."

"No!" Kathryn and Naomi both protested at the same time.

Naomi continued. "It's a nice gesture Seven, but I don't want him scared out of his mind." She laughed nervously. "Dad does a good enough job at that already."

Seven turned to the woman in her arms. "Explain."

"You are quite intimidating, darling." She smiled up at the indignant expression and patted the arms around her. "That's not always a bad thing, but probably not the best idea in this instance."

"He's already a little freaked out that I was on Voyager." Naomi sighed. "We're all kind of famous. Not to the degree you two are…" She shrugged. "…and that freaks him out a little too. If he knew I was here, talking to you two about…this…him…" She rolled her eyes.

"Besides being 'freaked out' at your fame…" Kathryn asked gently. "Does he make you happy Lieutenant?"

"Usually," Naomi admitted. "We have fun when we're together."

"When you are on duty, does your efficiency suffer due to thoughts of him?" Seven watched their young guest respond.

"No." Naomi took a deep breath. "Not usually."

Kathryn's turn. "When you've had a bad day, does he make you smile?"


The older woman asked another question. "Do you feel safe with him?"

"Most of the time."

Then the pair were asking her so many questions in rapid fire succession she could never have kept track of who was speaking, much less answer, except that they were taking turns.

"Can you speak with him about any subject?"


"Do you like the same music?"


"Are your food preferences compatible?"

"Not really."

"Does he want children?"


"Do you want children with him?"

"not as many as he does."

Naomi was almost overwhelmed at the strain of answering the questions being thrown at her so quickly. But, not giving her time to think had caused her to answer them honestly, to the women and to herself.

Seven's blue eyes pinned her. "Would you risk your life for him?"

Kathryn followed quickly. "Would he for you?"

"I…" She looked at the couple in front of her. "We all risked our lives for each other on Voyager. As Starfleet officers we know that is always a possibility." Even as young as she was then, she knew that was part of the reason the crew were so close. Then Kathryn whispered a very quiet question.

"Would you risk other people's lives for him?" It was something she had done several times for Seven, risked the entire ship's crew to save Seven from one situation or another. She had even risked the life of this young woman sitting in front of them. It was why she'd taken the desk job when they'd returned. Any ship she commanded would have included Seven, and that was a risk to Seven, and to the other people, she just couldn't take.

And now Naomi knew the answer to her question. "Thank you." She took a deep breath and stood. "You have been very helpful. I don't want to take up any more of your time."

"We are friends Naomi Wildman, your company is welcome at any time." Seven squeezed the woman in her arms and disengaged from Kathryn in order to walk their young visitor to the door. "If you need to talk again, or have other questions, we are here."

"Thank you, Seven." She hugged the woman briefly and placed a gentle kiss on the ex-borg's cheek. "I'll be back for a visit soon."

"We will look forward to it." Seven closed the door and turned to find Kathryn mere inches from her. Eyebrows rose above widened eyes and full lips twitched in amusement. "Yes?"

"That staff meeting." Kathryn shook her head. "That was…"

"Yes." Seven smiled and brushed the deep auburn hair from Kathryn's forehead before placing a kiss there. "It was."


"There were many times prior to that instant that I should have known." She gathered the smaller woman in her arms. "And there were many times after that when my love for you grew exponentially." She kissed the top of Kathryn's head. "But that was the first time I knew."

"Which was what Naomi asked but you should have told her the rest too. It might be relevant to her decision."

"I will tell her later." Seven was now completely absorbed in the feel of the smaller woman in her arms.

"Please do." Now Kathryn chuckled, knowing what the sound did to Seven when they were this close.

"Kathryn?" Seven pulled away slightly to gaze down into the eyes of her love. "I believe you should go back to bed."

"But I have that meeting later and… I just got up…" Her breath hitched as she saw the look in Seven's darkening eyes, and she whispered. "…I'm totally rested."

Seven managed to mumble, "Indeed." Before she leaned down, touching their lips together and she smiled against them as Kathryn gave no more protests in regards to returning to bed.

The half K'tarian girl spent the rest of the afternoon in her shared quarters, thinking about her discussion with her mentors. Only the commotion of her friend's returning brought her out of her musings.

"So?" Naomi's friends had finished their last class and gathered around her. They were all in awe that their roommate had the nerve to ask one of the most famous people on Earth advice for on her love life. "What did she say?"

"Seven." Naomi laughed. "You can say her name." The girl shoved some PADD's out of the way and flopped down on the sofa. "They were very helpful."

"They?!" The other girls squeaked. "Are you telling us Admiral Janeway was there too!?"

Naomi rolled her eyes. "Of course she was there, they're married… it's her house too."

"So what's the verdict?" "Yeah… what did they say?" "Did you decide?" "Are you in love?" "Are you going to say yes??"

Naomi had opened her mouth to respond when the door chime rang. They all turned to look at the screen displaying the waiting person and all but Naomi gasped. The K'tarian went to the door and opened it quickly. "Seven! This is a surprise. Twice in one day." She gestured the tall blonde to enter, only slightly aware of the jealous eyes on her as the ex-borg, almost automatically, hugged her.

"Naomi Wildman, I would like to amend my answer to your question earlier today."

"Really?" Naomi waved her hands frantically at her friends to clean a spot on the couch for Seven to sit.

Seven waited for the girls to tidy the room a bit and then settled on the spot Naomi indicated. "Kathryn informs me that my answer to you, although precise, was incomplete."

"Oh." Naomi's eyes widened. "Um… how so?"

Seven was fully aware of several sets of eyes riveted on her. She asked her young friend. "Are you comfortable discussing this with an… audience?"

"They are my friends Seven, but if they make you uncomfortable…" Naomi glared at her roommates and they began to shift, hesitating to leave Seven's considerably magnetic presence.

"No." Seven eyed the girls in question. "I will adapt." She focused on the row of spikes protruding from Naomi's forehead. "As I was saying, my answer to you was incomplete and Kathryn insisted that I rectify that."

"Insisted?" Naomi wondered if that was the right word.

With a glance at the, audience, Seven admitted, "She said, please."

Now Naomi dared to tease her dearest childhood friend. "And when she says please…"

Seven bowed her head reverently. "I comply."

She pretended not to hear the dreamy sighs of the other girls and Seven now looked into Naomi's eyes, getting back to the subject at hand. "The answer I gave you, the instant I showed you… there were many times prior to that instant that I should have known. And there were many times after that when my love for Kathryn grew exponentially. But that was the first time I knew." Seven tilted her head. "Kathryn said you should know that as it may influence your decision." The ex-borg found logic in that. "You should not base your decision on the fact that, that instant, has not yet happened for you and your… young man." Now a brilliant smile crossed Seven's face and she turned toward the door just before it chimed.

Naomi had no doubt whatsoever who was at the door, before the display even activated. Seven's smile said it all. She opened the door and smiled. "Welcome, Admiral."

"Hello, Naomi." Kathryn hugged the girl briefly then stepped into the room. "Wow… student quarters… Standard issue couch… This certainly brings back some memories." She spared a glance at the other wide-eyed girls in the room before settling next to Seven on the couch.

"How did you know?" One of the breathless girls asked Seven. "You looked at the door before it chimed."

"I heard her." Seven smiled as the girl's eyes widened but didn't elaborate on what she 'heard'. She refocused her attention on Kathryn as the Admiral cleared her throat.

"Did you complete your mission?"

"Yes. I have informed Naomi Wildman of all the pertinent information." Seven wrapped her arm around Kathryn. "Did you complete yours?"

Kathryn nodded. "The meeting went as well as could be expected; at least I got dinner out of it." She rolled her eyes at the memory of the yelling several of the Admiral's in attendance had deemed necessary.

Seven nodded, knowing the session had been tense for Kathryn, the older woman hated meetings. "Then we can leave as soon as you have finished your journey down memory lane."

One of the girls found her voice. "Did you really live in student quarters Admiral?" The other girls threw pillows at her.

"Of course." Kathryn smiled. "When I was a student." She added. "A long time ago."

Seven's warning growl cut through the room. "Kathryn…"

The older woman's throaty laugh captivated the girls almost as much as Seven's growl. "I know you don't like comments about my age, darling, but this time it's true. I was a student a long time ago." It was less an argument now as it was a topic that they agreed to disagree on and they both knew neither would give in on their point of view.

"Age is irrelevant. You are extremely physically fit, more so than many women half your age." Seven stated and raked her eyes across the small woman's frame, making it perfectly clear that she knew exactly what she was talking about when it came to the Admiral's level of fitness.

"I pretty much have to be, don't I?" A wicked grin accompanied the twinkle in Kathryn's eye. "Never the less, the years since I was a student are long gone."

"I'll bet you have a lot of great stories…to…tell…uh…" The girls words tapered off as ice blue eyes pinned her.

"Seven." Kathryn bumped the shoulder next to her. "She didn't mean that because of my age…" She laughed. "Jean Luc has more stories than I do, but I do have a few."

Now the girl's eyes widened even more. "Captain Picard?"

Seven snorted. "Locu... Captain Picard's stories are not nearly as interesting as yours."

Kathryn shook her head. "You're biased, love." She sighed. "And I am tired." She gave the girls a smile as Seven stood immediately and offered her hand to assist the woman up from the sofa. "Good night, girls." She nodded toward her former crewman. "Naomi."

"Good night Cap..uh.. Admiral." Naomi blushed at the mistake.

Laughing, Kathryn brushed her fingers over the girl's reddened cheeks and winked. "S'okay. You can call me Captain if you want... it's the name you grew up calling me."

"Thank you, Ma'am." Naomi took a deep breath, glad the Admiral wasn't offended. She watched as Seven leaned down and whispered something in the Admiral's ear, causing a tremor to travel through her small frame and a blush to tinge her cheeks.

Composing herself, Kathryn leaned against her tall partner. "Good luck with your decision…" She allowed herself to be led to the door. "And if you do decide to marry the boy, I expect to be invited to the wedding."

Naomi nodded. "Of course!" She held on to the door frame as they exited the apartment. "Thank you again. Your information has helped me a great deal."

"You are very welcome Naomi Wildman." Seven smiled at her young friend. "I too wish you the best in your decision."

"Thanks, Seven." Naomi watched the pair walk down the hall then allowed the door to close.

"Wow." The girls in the room sighed. "They make a great couple." "They are so in love…"

"Did you hear what she whispered to make the Admiral blush?"

The other girls' eyes turned to their friend. "Did you!?"

She grinned and nodded. "I was closer, and I could see Seven's lips when she leaned down. She said, "You will always be my Captain.""

All the girls swooned dramatically with hands over their hearts or the back of their hands pressed to their forehead and one asked Naomi. "Do you love Jamie?"

"Do I love Jamie?" Naomi considered that. "Yes, I do." She continued that thought. "Do I think Jamie and I love each other as much as they love each other?" She indicated the closed door with her thumb as she crossed over to her workstation and shook her head. "Not even close."

"You aren't going to marry him, are you?" The girls were a bit deflated at that thought.

Naomi, manipulated the controls and looked up the scene she wanted, glad that most of Voyager's logs were declassified. She had the feeling from the start that she wouldn't marry Jamie, but felt much better about her decision now as she stared at the display screen. The frozen image of an apparently monotonous moment aboard the ship she grew up on, one staff meeting among hundreds, but she knew its significance and now the scene nearly brought tears to her eyes. She answered her friend's question. "No, I'm not going to marry him. Not right now."

She looked at the screen and thought. Not until I get my instant…not until I know.

The End

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