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B'Elanna looked up from the console to find Seven of Nine standing besides her. "Yeaow! Don't do that!"
"Do not do what, Lieutenant Torres."
"Don't sneak up on me like that."
Seven looked puzzled. "I approached you as I normally do. There was no sneaking."
B'Elanna started to reply, then counted to three. "Why are you here, Seven?"
The half-Klingon counted to five. "Research about what?"
"Communication. I have selected a series of words and am doing a survey."
"Well, that would explain the PADD in your hand. But why do a survey on communication? We have Universal Translators for a reason."
"In the collective communication was exact. A message was sent and then it was received. Action was taken. There was no cringing. There was no blushing. There was no running away."
B'Elanna turned to look more fully at the ex-drone. "Seven, what kind of words are we talking about here?"
"Do you wish to take the survey?"
"No. But I'm curious about the words."
The buxom blonde hesitated, then handed the PADD to the Klingon. "I request that you do not reveal the substance of the survey to others, as it will skew the results."
The Klingon took the PADD and just nodded. "Right. Okay."
She began reading.
Her expression narrowed. Her lips pursed and twitched. She was inhaling and exhaling a bit raggedly.
"Have you... actually been using these words?" B'Elanna's voices pitched a little higher.
Once more Seven of Nine looked puzzled. "I have."
"Mmh..." The Klingon was still breathing strangely. She wouldn't look up from the PADD. " Uhm... well, hmmm." The snicker started, and then the laugh. Then the outright guffaw. "Oh Kahless."
B'Elanna somehow brought herself under control. She asked the next question on her mind. "Have you showed this survey to anyone else?"
There was a pause. "You were the first."
Now the Klingon was intrigued. "Why me first?"
"I ... wanted... your input."
"As you are not taking the survey, I suppose it doesn't matter."
"No. No. I'm curious now. What kind of input do you want from me."
"I was most interested in your response to question number five."
B'Elanna looked down at the PADD and read the question. She looked back up. "I'm afraid I'd have to say none of the above, Seven. Not one of those words ... appeal to me."
"I see." The Borg reached for the PADD. "Thank you for your honesty. I won't bother you with this again."
"Wait. Why did you want me, specifically, to answer that question?"
Seven struggled. "I can not answer your question effectively."
B'Elanna, whose nature did make her observant, suddenly clued. "You want me."
"You desire me."
Seven blinked and looked surprised and a bit relieved. "That would be ... the word. That word is acceptable? I can say that I desire you?"
B'Elanna was temporarily speechless. Then she smiled. "Yes. You can say it."
"May I ask if you desire me?"
"Do you desire me, Lieutenant Torres?"
B'Elanna Torres took a moment to look at the PADD again and then looked back at Seven of Nine. "Yes. Actually. I do. Call me B'Elanna."
"B'Elanna." Seven tasted the name like a fine wine. She gazed intently at the half-Klingon. "B'Elanna, I wish to..." She started and then paused. "... I..."
"You know, Seven, I think we need to increase your vocabulary. But... not like this." B'Elanna pressed a button on the PADD and the contents deleted. "Let's go talk some more and I'll tell you what words I personally like to hear when it comes to aspects of... desire."
Seven of Nine nodded. "Acceptable."
B'Elanna grinned a toothy grin and took the other woman's hand to lead her out of Engineering. "Good."
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