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The swirling particles of light and atoms shimmered, struggling to take shape. After a long moment they settled and coalesced into the form of Kathryn Janeway, Captain of the Federation Starship Voyager. As she fully materialized into the confines of her quarters, the Captain glanced around the room, trying to gain her bearings. "Computer," she requested, "state the date and time." The computer promptly responded in its remote, feminine voice with the appropriate information. Janeway listened attentively, then whispered to herself, "Sixteen hours�" Aloud she said, "Computer, locate Seven of Nine."
"Seven of Nine is in Cargo Bay 2, regenerating."
"End her regeneration cycle," she commanded. She waited a beat, then tapped her comm badge. "Janeway to Seven of Nine."
"Seven, please report to my quarters as soon as possible."
"On my way," she responded, and was gone.
As she waited, the Captain strode to the replicator and keyed in a command. A mug of coffee appeared, which Janeway lifted to her lips with trembling hands. Closing her eyes she took a long sip of the steaming liquid, then pressed the mug to her cheek, luxuriating in the warmth against her skin. "Computer," she said, lifting her head in the vague direction of the ceiling. "Alert me when the time is 0500 hours."
"And lower lights one quarter," she added. The illumination dimmed as requested. Janeway turned, and immediately had to steady herself on the counter as a wave of dizziness swept over her. A frown marred her elegant features until the sense of disorientation passed. The Captain then began to prowl the room while taking long gulps from her coffee, her petite form emanating an air of command that seemed to fill the space with her presence. When the chirp of the door alerted her to Seven�s arrival, Janeway clutched the mug to her chest and raked a steadying hand through her auburn hair. "Come," she said, her voice sounding a little too anxious to her own ears.
Seven of Nine, Voyager�s Astrometrics officer, stepped into the Captain�s quarters and allowed the doors to swish shut behind her. The Borg took a formal, almost militaristic stance, with legs evenly splayed and hands clasped behind her back as she surveyed the room.
For eighteen years of her life, Seven had served in the Borg Collective, a cybernetically enhanced race of beings who exist for the sole purpose of advancing their own "perfection" through assimilation of all cultures and technologies that might add to that perfection. Seven herself had been forcibly assimilated into the Collective, along with her parents, when she was only six years old.
Assimilation stripped the young girl known as Annika Hansen of almost all vestiges of humanity � her name was changed to a numerical designation, and she lost all individual thought when her mind was linked to the Collective through a cortical implant that expanded her brain�s capabilities. Externally, cybernetic implants replaced some of her appendages in order to increase her endurance and strength, and exoskeletal plating was added over time until her body seemed to be more machine than human. Once she reached maturation she served the Borg as a drone in the Hive hierarchy dedicated to the progression of the Collective as the dominant force in the universe.
All that had changed three years ago, however, when she met Captain Kathryn Janeway. While trying to defend itself against Species 8472, the Collective agreed to form a mutually beneficial alliance with the USS Voyager � a lone Starfleet vessel lost in the Delta Quadrant some 60,000 light years from its home. According to the demands of the ship�s captain, a single drone � Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 01 � was chosen from trillions of other possibilities and designated to speak for the Borg during their collaboration.
When negotiations turned sour, a series of events resulted in Seven of Nine being disconnected from the Hive mind and abandoned on Voyager. Captain Janeway then ordered, despite Seven�s initial protestations, that her implants be removed and she be returned to an approximation of what her natural human appearance should have been. Although Seven�s internal physiology would forever be altered by her time in the Collective, the resulting operations left few external reminders that she was Borg. On her face an optical implant adorned her left eyebrow, and a starburst-shaped implant was discernable above her jawline near her right ear. An implant on her left lower arm displayed metal-encased fingertips and a web-like mesh that extended up the back of her hand before disappearing into her sleeve. Ridges visible along her abdomen hinted at other more invasive implants, but the overall result was the regression of machine and the emergence of a lovely young woman.
Unfortunately, the implants were a lot easier to remove than the Borg mentality. In Seven�s mind, she had been torn unwillingly from the only world that she had ever known and had been forced into dealing with a society of people that was irrational, illogical, and inefficient. It took several long months of patient mentoring by Captain Janeway for her to even begin to want to be human. Nevertheless, Seven still maintained the same haughty air of superiority and arrogance that she had as a Borg drone, marking a decided contrast to her new physical appearance. Her operations had revealed a remarkably beautiful woman, with a sensuous, feminine body that was quite openly exhibited by a bio-suit that acted as a second skin. Seven�s relentless quest for perfection and efficiency, however, as well as her cold disdain for anyone who did not strive towards those same ideals was enough to label her as an "ice queen" by the rest of the Voyager crew.
But Captain Janeway always managed somehow to reach beneath Seven�s facade to find the passionate young woman underneath, understanding in some instinctive way that Seven was simply reacting to the conflicting and confusing new world of human emotion in the only way that she knew how. She also understood that the young Borg was fiercely loyal, and that after two years on Voyager Seven was completely dedicated to her new "Collective" � the Voyager crew � and to the head of that Collective in particular. Seven turned to that person now, tilting her head slightly so her optical implant faced the Captain. "Captain Janeway, how may I assist you?" Her tone of voice was cool, emotionless, but Janeway was so well attuned to her subtle vocal emanations that she could hear a slight eagerness as well. She responded to that eagerness with an enthusiasm of her own.
"Seven," Janeway breathed, leaving the forgotten coffee on a nearby shelf to quickly cross the room to her Astrometrics officer.
A decidedly surprised Seven of Nine suddenly found herself wrapped in the tight embrace of her Captain. It was not unusual for the Captain to touch her � a light hand on the shoulder to gain her attention, a squeeze of her arm to emphasize a point � but she had never touched her like this. The feel of warm, womanly curves pressing firmly into her own was a new sensation to the young Borg, but not an unpleasant one. Quite the opposite, in fact. Intrigued, she brought her arms from behind her back to return the embrace, but hesitated, unsure if she should be so presumptuous. Seven determined that she should ask for clarification before acting. "Captain? What are you doing?"
"I�m sorry." Janeway misinterpreted Seven�s request for information and pulled away, although she didn�t break physical contact. Her hands slid down Seven�s shoulders to rest lightly on her upper arms. "It�s just so good to see you. I� missed you."
"You �missed� me�" Seven repeated, mulling over the words. She decided that this answer was insufficient, since Captain Janeway had only been gone on her away mission for three days, certainly not enough time to elicit this response. The Captain had been on far longer away missions, and had never once told Seven that she missed her, nor had she embraced her when she returned. The young Borg wondered what could have happened to make the Captain cling to her in such a manner. And she also wondered what had caused the dark circles under her Captain�s eyes that could not be hidden from her Borg vision by dim lighting. She could only surmise that something must be terribly wrong. "Captain Janeway, why did you call me to your quarters?" she asked, her voice betraying her concern.
"Perhaps I just wanted to see you," Janeway hedged, but relented at Seven�s skeptical look. "Okay. You�re right. I do have something I want to talk to you about�" She paused, regarding the taller woman intently, then slowly shook her head. "But it can wait for the moment. Are you hungry? Personally, I�m starving."
"I consumed a nutritional supplement 10.6 hours ago."
"I suppose I can take that as a �yes,�" she said dryly. "Tell me, have you ever had sushi before?"
Seven considered for a moment, using her eidetic memory to mentally check off the short list of meals she had had since her removal from the Collective. "No, Captain. I have not."
"Kathryn," Janeway said, and reached up to touch Seven�s temple, just above her optical implant. Her eyes took on a distant look, as her hand absently stroked Seven�s forehead. "Please, call me Kathryn."
"As you wish� Kathryn." Seven said the name hesitantly, finding that she rather liked the way it rolled off her tongue. She was also finding that she rather liked the touch of the Captain�s � Kathryn�s � fingertips on her skin. She found her touch to be quite� stimulating.
Janeway seemed to shake herself out of her reverie and abruptly pulled away to take Seven by the hand. "Come with me." Seven barely had time to register the feeling of the Captain�s human fingers entwined with her own meshed hand before she was being released and directed towards the couch. "Please sit. Allow me to make you dinner." Obligingly, she sat down � posture perfect, hands clasped in her lap � while the Captain took a moment to request a musical composition from the computer. "Computer, play Janeway selection Alpha three five seven."
The soft sounds of light jazz began to fill the air, and the young Borg watched with interest as the Captain moved across the room. "Are we going to have a �philosophical discussion?�" she asked curiously. Seven noted to herself that on the rare occasions that she had actually been asked to the Captain�s quarters � not counting the times she had simply barged in � it had been to debate ideas on the nature of humanity and individuality. She assumed that was what they were going to do now.
"I don�t really have any specific plans for tonight," Janeway answered. "I just want to spend some time with you." She paused by the replicator. "What would you like to drink? Are you up for some wine?"
"Alcoholic beverages have an adverse effect on my cortical implant," came the automatic response.
"Then that�s just what the doctor ordered." Janeway said, keying in a command, and picking up the bottle and two glasses that materialized.
The young woman stared at the Captain dubiously. "I find it highly unlikely that the Doctor ordered this for me, considering the last unfortunate incident I had with champagne."
"A figure of speech, Seven." Kathryn turned the bottle over to contemplate the label. "You know, this is one of my favorite wines, but I hardly ever drink it. It costs nearly double the replicator rations, and I can never seem to justify the extra expenditure of energy." She set the bottle down and began to open it with a corkscrew. "But I�ve determined that life is simply too short to drink anything less than good wine." She filled the two glasses and moved to Seven, thrusting one towards her purposefully. "Of course there�s one thing that makes a good bottle of wine even better, and that�s having someone to share it with you."
"Uh-uh. Kathryn, remember?" Janeway said. "Now never mind why I want you to drink it � just do it, alright? Captain�s orders," she added, her voice teasing.
Seven frowned, but lifted the glass anyway. "Then I believe it is customary to make a toast."
Janeway smiled, delighted that Seven�s research into human social interaction had covered this activity. "You are absolutely right. May I?" The young woman nodded, and the Captain lifted her glass as well. "To second chances," she said, clinking her glass to Seven�s. If Seven wondered at the Captain�s choice of toast, she didn�t question it. Instead she took a small sip of the wine and rolled the liquid around in her mouth for a moment before swallowing. "Well, how is it?" Janeway asked.
"Better than champagne," Seven responded, and took another small sip.
"I�m glad you like it." Janeway returned to the replicator and finished keying in the dinner menu as Seven watched contemplatively. After a few moments and a few more sips of wine, the Captain came back carrying a silver tray, which she lay down on the coffee table in front of Seven.
"There is no silverware," Seven noted, as the Captain sat down beside her.
"Actually, this is the �silverware� � chopsticks." Janeway proceeded to use them to dab a small amount of wasabe into a bowl of soy sauce � not too much, she explained, because the spiciness might overwhelm the young Borg�s untrained palate. "I don�t expect you to use the chopsticks, it�s an acquired skill�" Seven lifted a haughty eyebrow at that, and Janeway hastily added, "�and one which I�m sure you�ll be an expert at someday, but it�s perfectly acceptable to eat with your hands as well. And for now that�s what I�d prefer to do. Would you like me to demonstrate?"
"As you wish."
Janeway picked up a karashi tekka-maki, explaining how the spicy tuna roll was composed as she dipped it into the soy sauce. She took a bite, and licked her lips in appreciation. "I love sushi, but I�ve never been very fond of the replicated version. It seems like such an oxymoron to eat �raw fish� that�s been created by a replicator. But this really isn�t half bad." She finished the roll and selected a second, nodding to Seven. "Go ahead, try one."
Seven�s brows knit as she studied the tray filled with assorted slices of fish and various colorful rolls. She decided on what seemed to be a fairly innocuous piece, which Kathryn identified as "hamachi" when she reached for it. But when she picked up the sushi it immediately disintegrated � rice crumbling in her grasp as the sliver of yellow tail slid through her fingers. She looked down in dismay at the bits of rice clinging to her meshed hand as the Captain barely controlled her laughter.
"Oh Seven, that�s my fault! I should have told you that the replicator doesn�t always get the cohesiveness right. You have to hold it very carefully, or the rice may break apart." She gave Seven a napkin to wipe her hand, then picked up a salmon skin roll. "Here, like this." She dunked the sushi in soy sauce and lifted it up, as if to show how the roll should be handled, then brought her hand towards Seven�s face. "Open up." The young woman looked back at her inquiringly. "Your mouth, Seven. Open it." Seven complied, and Janeway slipped the sushi between her lips.
Seven�s mouth closed around the morsel, biting it in half, and she chewed slowly. "Well?" Janeway prompted.
"I believe I need more data to form a proper conclusion."
Janeway smiled, and repeated the ritual, dunking the rest of the roll first, then offering it to Seven. "So what do you think?"
Seven pondered the Captain�s question for a moment. She thought that the Captain was acting very peculiar. She thought that eating in this manner was extremely inefficient. And she also thought, with some surprise, that she was rather enjoying herself. Especially since on the last feeding attempt her lips had closed a little too soon and she had brushed the tips of the Cap�Kathryn�s � fingers before they were gently pulled away. But Seven simply responded, "I think I like it."
"I want you to like it," Janeway said, swirling another roll around in soy sauce. This time she used a little too much sauce, however, and a bit dribbled onto the corner of Seven�s mouth as she fed her. "Oops�" Janeway reached up to wipe it away with her thumb at the same moment that Seven�s pink tongue appeared to collect the sauce, and inadvertently licked the Captain�s finger instead.
Seven�s eyes flew to Janeway�s, and her breath caught. Suddenly she felt a strange sensation in her belly, as if the replicated fish she had just consumed had miraculously come to life and was starting to flop about inside her belly. "Captain, I�"
"Kathryn," Janeway corrected softly. And while maintaining Seven�s gaze, she deliberately brought her thumb to her own mouth and closed her lips over the same spot that Seven�s tongue had touched, gently sucking on her finger for a long moment before slowly pulling it away.
Seven was certain that the wine must be affecting her cortical implant more than she had anticipated. Because if she did not know any better, she would swear�"Captain Janeway, you are trying to seduce me!" she blurted. The Captain stared at her a moment, then started to laugh � a full, throaty laugh that sent tingles down Seven�s spine. "Aren�t you?" she asked, with somewhat less certainty.
"What makes you think that?" the Captain asked, her voice light.
"I� I am sorry, Captain." Seven fumbled for words, aghast at her mistake. Apparently the research she had studied on human sexual mating techniques had been flawed. "I have erred. I apologize for insulting you." She started to stand. "I will leave immediately."
"Don�t go," Janeway said, and reached out to encircle Seven�s wrist with her fingers and tug her back down towards the couch. Seven hesitated a moment, until Janeway smiled reassuringly. "Please. I want you to stay." The young woman gingerly resumed her seat, and the Captain released her arm. "I�d like you to understand, Seven. I�m not insulted. Far from it. But why would you think I�m trying to seduce you?"
"This could be construed as a romantic setting, could it not?" Seven asked uncertainly. "The lowered lighting, the music that is playing, the wine � these are all elements of a �dinner date.�"
"I suppose it could seem that way," Janeway replied as she dipped her fingers in a bowl of lemon water, then wiped them clean on a towel. "Or it could just as easily be seen as a dinner between friends."
Seven frowned at the thought. "Then that is unfortunate."
"Because I had decided that I was enjoying myself. And that if this was indeed a date, it was already more successful than my previous attempt."
Janeway smiled sympathetically. "I had heard that your first one didn�t go very well."
"I believe that would be called an �understatement,�" Seven remarked dryly. "Lieutenant Chapman and I did not have as much in common as his personnel file seemed to indicate. But according to the files I had to choose from, he did seem the most likely candidate for a compatible mate. It was only later that I realized that my choices had been limited by 52.4 percent because the Doctor had failed to inform me that it was also acceptable for me to choose a companion from the female members of the crew."
"Of course it is," Kathryn said. "But perhaps he didn�t want to confuse you with too many options." She chose not to voice her own suspicions as to why the Doctor had limited Seven�s choices � that he may have had hopes of increasing his own chances of romancing the young Borg. With deliberate intent Kathryn reached across her lap and took Seven�s human hand in hers, pulling it onto the cushion between them. "So may I assume that you�re not averse to the idea of dating a woman?"
"No, I am not," she replied, eyeing their clasped hands. "If I had known that I could choose from the entire crew manifest, there may have been a much more logical candidate for my attention."
"Indeed?" Kathryn prompted, looking intrigued.
"There are a total of four women on board who share my interests in quantum mechanics, astrophysics, music, and playing Velocity. Of these women, I consider two to be aesthetically pleasing. But there is only one woman with whom I most enjoy spending my time." She ducked her head, and disclosed shyly, "I have always preferred being in your presence, Kathryn."
Janeway had to force herself to stifle the curiosity � and the sharp twinge of jealousy � that arose about who the other woman was that Seven considered "aesthetically pleasing." Instead she concentrated on the young woman�s revealing admission. "�Always,� Seven?" The Captain smiled indulgently, but couldn�t help but wonder when the Borg had learned to exaggerate. "Even when we�re arguing with each other?"
"Sometimes I enjoy being in your presence precisely because we are arguing with each other," Seven replied, making Janeway laugh out loud. "Still," her optical implant rose contemplatively, "you are the Captain of this vessel, and my research shows that Starfleet captains rarely embark on romantic relationships with members of their crew. You yourself have never done so, although I do not know if this is due to an adherence to protocol or a lack of desirable companions on this ship."
"So you�ve researched me�" Kathryn pondered aloud. She realized that the young Borg would do nothing less than thoroughly investigate a subject that interested her, and she found the thought of that pleased her very much. "Tell you what," she said, as her thumb began to rub small circles on the back of Seven�s hand, "let�s both put aside the fact that I�m Captain for now."
"Being Captain of Voyager is an integral part of who you are � I cannot imagine you any other way," Seven said absently, as her attention focused on their clasped hands. Although she was immensely enjoying the sensation emanating from the contact point between Captain Janeway�s thumb and her skin, she was confused by the action. "Why are you doing that?"
Seven nodded towards their hands. "What is the purpose of you doing that rubbing motion with your thumb?"
Janeway avoided answering directly by posing a question of her own. "Why do you think I�m doing it?"
"I assume it is because you are trying to elicit a physiological response from me," Seven said. "Because that has been the result."
"Please, tell me more about this �physiological response,�" Kathryn requested huskily.
Seven began to describe her feelings in precise, analytical terms. "My skin beneath your thumb is tingling, as if a minor electrical charge is passing over it. My palms have begun to perspire. My heart rate and respiration have increased by 12.5 and 11.6 percent respectively. And there is an odd sensation in my stomach, as if the ship�s inertial dampeners were not functioning properly." She regarded her Captain evenly. "Is this the response you were seeking?"
Janeway released the breath she hadn�t consciously known she�d been holding. "It�s certainly one I can live with," she replied. "If it makes you feel any better, I�m having the same reactions."
Seven tilted her head, thinking. "Then in light of this information, I believe it is appropriate to repeat my earlier question: Captain Janeway, are you trying to seduce me?" she asked, and waited expectantly.
Kathryn knew there were other things she should say instead, but found that she was unable to resist the hint of hopefulness in Seven�s voice. "Maybe I am," she murmured. "What would you say to that?"
Her response was immediate. "I would say that seduction is an inefficient use of your time."
"You think so?" The Captain asked, lowering her eyes.
The young woman nodded. "I believe that you will find a direct approach to be much more effective."
Janeway�s expression warmed perceptibly, and she angled her body closer to Seven�s. "Then I�ll just say what�s on my mind. There is something I�ve often wondered about � what it would be like�" Kathryn trailed off as her eyes focused on Seven�s full lips. "What it would be like to kiss you," she continued softly, tremulously. She looked up into Seven�s unwavering gaze. "May I?"
"You may," Seven said, her tone imperious. She sat perfectly straight, face turned expectantly towards the Captain. Janeway leaned forward and cupped Seven�s face in both hands, her touch a caress. Then Seven�s eyes widened as the Captain�s hands moved around to the back of her head, and carefully withdrew the pins from her hair until it fell around her shoulders in a golden wave.
"Much better," Kathryn said, tangling her fingers in the blonde tresses, and slowly drawing the young Borg�s head forward until their lips brushed together. She was careful not to deepen the kiss however, but simply continued to lightly brush her lips over Seven�s, teasing her. At last it was the younger woman who reached out and grabbed Janeway, pulling her closer with a soft growl of frustration.
Kathryn moaned and obligingly pressed her mouth hard against Seven�s, nibbling and sucking on the Borg�s lips until they parted for her. She slipped her tongue inside, searching out and teasing Seven�s own tongue to tangle with it, suck on it, until a startled cry erupted from the younger woman�s throat. Kathryn pulled back slightly. "Seven? Are you alright?"
"No," Seven exclaimed. "I am not �alright.� I am having trouble processing�" she waved her hand in an uncharacteristically vague manner, "�this."
"I�m sorry � this is all so new to you, and I�m pushing you too fast." Kathryn started to move away. "We should stop now before�"
Seven grabbed the Captain by the shoulders, clasping them in her stronger Borg grip so hard that it almost hurt. "No!" she said forcefully. "I do not wish to stop!" Her voice gentled. "Please." And this time it was Seven who leaned forward, touching her lips to Kathryn�s � hesitantly at first, then quickly giving in to her newfound desire. Kathryn responded in kind � her mouth hungry, devouring � as Seven wrapped her arms around the smaller woman, pushing her back against the sofa cushions and pulling the Captain�s legs across her lap. She kissed Janeway deeply, holding Kathryn firmly to her with her Borg-enhanced hand, while shyly caressing the side of her face and neck with the other.
The Captain was more bold, however, and allowed her hands to wander down Seven�s shoulders and chest, to lightly steeple her fingers over the young woman�s voluptuous breasts. Slowly she brought her fingers together, caressing from the outside to the innermost point until her fingers came together at Seven�s hardened nipples. These she gave a gentle tweak, making the young woman cry out and tear her mouth away from Kathryn�s. She pulled back to watch, her face flushed and eyes heavy lidded as the Captain continued to caress her breasts, alternating between soft caresses and harder and harder pinches until Seven cried out. "Kathryn! I want�" she paused, momentarily at a loss. "I do not know what I want," she admitted helplessly.
"I think I do," Janeway said. She started to sit up. "Maybe we should go to my bedroom�" Seven answered by gathering the Captain into her arms and standing in one swift movement. "Seven!" Kathryn exclaimed, as the Borg strode purposefully towards the other room. "I can walk on my own!" She feigned protest only for a moment, however. Secretly she had longed for this � the feeling of being physically overpowered by this woman who had already overwhelmed her mind and soul.
Seven laid the Captain down gently on the bed and carefully covered Kathryn with her own nearly six-foot body. She kissed her Captain again, but this time the kisses were different � softer, deeper, more languorous � as if once they had begun this journey they had all the time in the universe to reach their destination.
After several long moments Seven murmured into Kathryn�s ear, "Kathryn� I have studied all the information available on human sexuality in Voyager�s data banks, but I lack practical experience. I do not�" She paused, then continued with some shame, "I do not know if I can please you."
"Oh Seven, you already please me, so much. So very much," Kathryn said huskily. "But I will show you how to make love, if that�s what you�re asking." She gently rolled Seven over on the bed, and slowly rose up over the younger woman. "Are you sure this is what you want?" she asked. Seven nodded mutely, but Kathryn hesitated, scrutinizing her clear blue eyes. She must have been satisfied with what she saw there, because after a moment she lowered herself down onto inviting curves, stopping just shy of the full lips that were already parting for her. "You have no idea how long I�ve wanted to do this," Kathryn murmured, and tenderly pressed her lips to Seven�s chin, dipping the tip of her tongue into the cleft that had so often jutted out in defiance against her.
From Seven�s chin Kathryn trailed tender kisses downwards, following the line of her jaw. "Making love is a process of mutual discovery," she explained, speaking in terms she knew the Borg would understand. "Exploring someone � finding out what gives them pleasure�" She paused to trace the star-shaped implant with her tongue. "Learning how your touch can affect someone, how touching them affects you�" The sound of that low voice rasping in her ear and the feel of lips brushing her earlobe elicited an involuntary moan from Seven, making Kathryn chuckle softly. "See, I�ve already learned that we have something common � I like this area too," she said, and deliberately licked Seven�s ear, running her tongue along shell-like contours to make the young woman moan once more.
Kathryn carefully drew Seven�s earlobe between her teeth, and tugged on it playfully before abandoning it to nibble a path down her throat. "You�ve haunted my thoughts, my dreams, for so long," she whispered against warm skin. "I�ve wished that I could make love to you like this � to kiss you, caress you�." Her hands roamed familiarly over the body beneath her to tug at the collar of the skin-tight bio-suit. "I need to see you, to touch you�" Seven obligingly manipulated the neckline, and a hidden seam opened up before Kathryn�s eyes. "Well that�s convenient," she breathed. The Captain leaned back, mesmerized, watching Seven open the suit and casually peel it down over her shoulders, revealing impossibly full breasts and rose-tinted nipples before bunching the material at her waist. "Oh God�"
Instinctively Seven�s hands flew to the finger-like ridges of her abdominal implant, trying to hide her imperfection from the Captain�s eyes. "Oh no, darling, please don�t," Janeway exclaimed. "That�s not what I meant."
"But I am not like you," she said, ashamed. "I am Borg."
"You are beautiful," Janeway corrected. She gently pulled Seven�s hands away. "Don�t hide yourself from me. You are so lovely. Every millimeter of you." She deliberately trailed her fingertips over Seven�s abdomen, her touch soothing. "You are perfection to me." She tenderly caressed the smooth interlacing of steel and flesh extending from beneath Seven�s breasts to her hips until she saw the wariness leave the young woman�s eyes. Then her roaming hands moved down to the material of her bio-suit, and Seven helpfully lifted her hips to allow Kathryn to remove the suit completely, slowly sliding it over her thighs, knees, calves and feet.
Kathryn gazed in wonder at the body before her � a body that had known unspeakable atrocities, but that now wore the remnants of her time with the Borg proudly. If anything those remnants seemed to enhance her beauty. The Captain had seen other Borg who had been severed from the Collective and whose implants had been removed � the remaining members of Seven�s original Unimatrix, in fact. The extraction of their implants had left ugly, gaping holes that seemed to erupt in metallic fissures and white, fleshy scars where the technology had been removed. But Seven was different. Perhaps it was because of the higher skill of the doctor who had removed the implants, or perhaps it was the juxtaposition of her delicate beauty against the harsh Borg technology, but Seven�s creamy skin and the silver implants flowed together, complemented each other, as if she were the perfect combination of science and beauty. And to Kathryn, she was. "You are a work of art," she breathed.
Seven smiled softly, thinking that the Captain�s description was incorrect, but feeling tremendously warmed by the statement just the same. "Now let me see you," she demanded.
"Of course," Kathryn said, but suddenly found herself feeling modest as she unfastened her uniform. What would Seven think of her 46 year-old body when compared with the beauty of her own? She prided herself on keeping healthy and fit, but no amount of exercise could erase the twenty year difference in their ages. She pushed away such thoughts from her mind, however, deeming them unproductive, and quickly pulled off the rest of her clothes. But when she felt the younger woman�s eyes on her, studying her, she had to fight the urge to hide her own body just as Seven had done.
"You are wrong," Seven finally said, her voice husky. "It is you who are a work of art." And she lay back, pulling Kathryn down onto her so her senses were flooded with the intoxicating sensation of bare skin sliding against her own.
Kathryn began to make love to Seven reverently, loving every inch of the young woman with her mouth and hands, moving from Seven�s throat to her ears, then back again to those full lips for several long kisses. Then she traveled down Seven�s chest, hesitating briefly over one ripened nipple until an encouraging whimper urged her on. She gently kissed it, then slowly drew it into her mouth and softly began to suck. Not wanting to seem biased, her right hand moved to caress Seven�s other breast, making sure it didn�t feel left out by mimicking her mouth�s movement with her fingers. After long moments attending to the one breast Kathryn kissed her way over to the other, and as she began to suck on it, her left hand took over the ministrations of the deserted nipple so that both breasts were equally loved. Seven groaned, entwining her human fingers in the Captain�s hair while clutching at the sheets with her Borg-enhanced hand. "Kathryn�"
Emboldened by the knowledge that she was giving her young lover pleasure, Kathryn wondered if there wasn�t another way that she could make this more enjoyable for Seven. She took both breasts firmly in hand and pushed them together, manipulating them until the nipples were almost touching. Kathryn then rewarded Seven�s abundant gifts by flicking her tongue over both nipples at once, back and forth, until Seven was writhing beneath her, hips thrusting upwards involuntarily. Kathryn was gratified to note that her young lover held no preconceived notions of impropriety regarding noise during lovemaking, as Seven loudly vocalized her appreciation.
After lavishing her breasts with an appropriate amount of attention, Janeway relented to the demanding motion of Seven�s hips and began to move downward, kissing the Borg implants as much as the flesh they entwined. When she reached the golden curls, she slipped her arms under Seven�s legs and encircled them so that those glorious thighs rested on her shoulders. Kathryn�s hands tugged at the skin of Seven�s abdomen, pulling the flesh taught to reveal folds that were glistening, dripping, opening up to her.
Seven�s chest rose and fell in shallow, pained gasps as she felt the Captain�s breath tickling the blonde hair and cooling her heated flesh. "Please, Kathryn�!" she begged, only vaguely aware of what exactly she was asking for.
But Kathryn knew. She settled herself down between trembling thighs, and took one long swipe at Seven�s crease with her tongue. Seven�s response was a low, shuddering moan. The Captain took another equally long swipe, but this time more slowly as she tasted her love. She relished in it, stroking Seven slowly, lapping at her with almost tortuous deliberateness, taking her time to get to know the younger woman, to allow the wetness to flow into her mouth. Seven began to move against her urgently, and Kathryn quickened her pace � dipping into the entrance of her wetness, then licking upwards to the tiny bundle of nerves that jerked with every touch.
Finally Kathryn took the little nub of flesh into her mouth, sucking on it as one hand reached up, searching for and finding Seven�s human hand, clasping it as the young woman cried out her name.
The connection of their hands held them together as the fury of Seven�s first orgasm burst through her � lifting her to the ceiling and threatening to tear her apart, then gently tossing her back down onto the bed, into her Captain�s waiting arms.
As Seven�s breathing slowed, Kathryn kissed the slick folds softly, patiently, until she felt Seven start to stir against her again. Then she began the lapping once more, this time flicking her tongue harder, faster, and more insistent � relentless in her quest to impart pleasure.
She bowed her head in supplication, praying to this beautiful creature that held her soul, begging her forgiveness for all her sins, all her crimes. And as Seven�s cries echoed again and again, Kathryn let the waters of absolution wash over her face, to mingle with her tears. Tears that fell hot and unchecked, as she thanked whatever deity that had allowed her this one perfect moment in time.
For Seven, perfection had been her quest, her goal. And for a few brief seconds it was within her grasp, and she understood. She felt her intellect and emotion � usually in such conflict with one another � briefly fuse into one, burnished into a bright burning flame by this simple physical act. The flame coalesced and began to burn in her chest, and Seven finally understood what it meant to love. And when it was over and her body shuddered its final release, as Kathryn trailed kisses up her torso with utmost tenderness, Seven knew that she understood as well. "I love you, Kathryn," she whispered, and kissed away the taste of her own arousal from the Captain�s face. After a moment she recognized another taste mingling with their lips � the salty flavor of tears. "What is wrong?" she asked, pulling away to look at her Captain. "Why do you cry?"
"Because I am so happy, darling," Kathryn smiled, her eyes shimmering.
Seven thought about this a moment. "I believe you can be happier."
"I don�t deserve to be any happier than I am right now," she said quietly, laying her head on Seven�s shoulder.
"Nevertheless, you will be," she decreed.
Kathryn lifted her head again, amused at her young Borg�s arrogance. "Oh, I will?"
"Yes." Seven deftly turned the smaller woman over and pressed her into the mattress. "Shall I show you how?"
"Oh yes," Kathryn responded throatily. "By all means. Please do."
Seven kissed her long and lingeringly, then pulled back into a sitting position. At Kathryn�s questioning gaze, Seven smiled. "I am going to learn you." She reached out with her Borg hand, and brushed a stray lock of hair from Janeway�s eyes. Then she opened her palm so the metallic ridged fingers spread wide. Slowly she brought her hand down over Kathryn�s face, hovering a centimeter or so over her skin � almost, but not quite touching her. Down over her neck, to her collarbone and over her chest the hand glided � so close to Kathryn�s skin that the warmth radiating off it was almost a caress.
When the open palm reached her breast Kathryn felt the heat on her nipple and instinctively arched towards it, but Seven retreated from her. "Please, " she moaned. "Please touch me."
"I will," Seven promised. "But you must be patient." She waited until Kathryn relaxed, then Seven began her journey again, using her Borg enhancements to slowly map the body before her. She analyzed the changing temperature of Kathryn�s skin, the beat of her heart, the widening of her pupils � all the while calculating in her own unique way the perfect method for pleasing her lover.
Kathryn�s body was becoming so hypersensitive to the heat radiating from Seven�s hand that she began to question whether she wasn�t actually being touched after all. She could almost swear she felt the most delicate caress of skin on hers as the hand moved over her feet and back up her legs. Then she felt Seven�s palm lightly brush over the tops of her thighs, just barely disturbing the dark curls between her legs, but it was enough to shoot a bolt of electricity through Kathryn that made her arch off the bed. "Oh Seven, please hurry�"
"Shhh," Seven whispered, lying down beside the Captain to kiss her tenderly. "I want to make you feel everything I feel. I want to make love to you, as you did to me." Seven then leaned back on her elbow and smiled at her, the warmest, most glorious smile Kathryn had ever seen � made all the more precious because it was quite possibly the first full, truly happy smile of Seven�s adult life. It was a smile filled with the confidence of being in love and knowing that her love was returned. Kathryn stared at the young woman, transfixed, wishing fervently that there was something she could do to make that expression last forever.
"Kathryn," Seven said, her low voice wrapping around each syllable, caressing it. She lifted her mesh-covered hand to the side of Janeway�s neck and stroked it gently, unconsciously mimicking the same position she would use to assimilate someone. She leaned in closer so her lips hovered over her Captain�s. "Do you trust me?" she asked.
"Yes, completely. I am yours," Kathryn answered, and meant it.
Seven absorbed these words, pausing to think a moment as she assessed the prone body before her. Then she reached around and gently rolled Kathryn forward onto her side, placing a pillow against her back to prop her up. "This will give me greater access to your body," she explained.
"You sweet talker, you," Kathryn teased with a chuckle, but stopped laughing as Seven proceeded to take her leg and pull it up to hook over her own hip. "Oh. I see what you mean," she said, feeling cool air caress the exposed flesh between her legs.
Seven ran her hand up and down the length of the Captain�s thigh, leaving goose bumps in her wake. "You are so beautiful," she whispered. "So� human." As she spoke she began to touch Kathryn�s breasts with both hands, treating the Captain to an entirely new sensation of being caressed by both skin and metal at the same time. After a moment Seven closed the metal-encased fingertips of her left hand over Kathryn�s right nipple. She stared into Kathryn�s eyes, gauging her reaction as she gently pulled up on the fragile bud, as if to present it to her Captain, to allow her to get used to the idea of her tender flesh being held captive by inhuman steel.
It was the other hand, however, the more human one, that began to torture Kathryn � to tease, titillate � deliberately pulling up on her left nipple and rolling the firm bud in her fingers, pinching it, squeezing it intermittently until the Captain�s hips began to writhe to the same rhythm.
Janeway didn�t know when Seven abandoned her other breast, but she slowly became aware of fingers brushing the curls between her legs, as if asking permission for entry. Kathryn looked into Seven�s questioning gaze, and she realized that was exactly what they were doing. She hesitated only briefly, then nodded her assent. A moment later she felt the warm metal of Borg fingers slip between her legs, and she gasped, expecting� what? Pain? But Seven�s Borg-enhanced touch remained gentle as she began to deliberately stroke up and down the length of Kathryn�s clitoris, spreading copious amounts of moisture throughout her slick folds. The Captain instinctively thrust against the hand that was giving her so much pleasure � and suddenly Seven�s finger slid through the wetness and slipped inside her. "Oh," Kathryn cried, closing her eyes convulsively.
"No," Seven said huskily. "Let me see your eyes." Janeway complied, allowing Seven to see in them the need, the desire, the love that this young woman inspired.
Another "oh" escaped Kathryn�s lips as she felt Seven easily slide a second finger inside. Their eyes locked, and Seven stilled her fingers � not moving either hand at all. She took a moment to enjoy the incredible intimacy of feeling Kathryn accept this hand inside her � the way the flesh clutched around the metallic fingers, so warm and wet and inviting. Her heart became full with the realization of how much this woman really did trust her.
Kathryn struggled to breathe as her inner walls tightened convulsively around Seven�s fingers, trying to urge her on. Then she became aware of the other hand moving on her breast again, and this time she could feel each touch on her nipple shoot a thrill of pleasure directly through her body to her clitoris, as if the pleasure from one had become fused to the other.
Seven�s Borg hand began to move slowly inside her, stroking deeply and then pulling out almost completely, over and over again until Kathryn began to use the leg she had hooked over Seven�s hip as leverage to rock against her, trying to quicken her pace. But Seven refused to be hurried, taking her time to lift the Captain higher and higher, until Kathryn felt almost consumed by pleasure. From the kneading at her breast to the motion of Seven�s thrusting fingers, everywhere the young woman touched felt suffused with energy and Kathryn knew she was on the verge, waiting for the slightest push to send her over. But rather than pushing her into her release, Seven�s movements slowed to a stop. "Oh God�" Kathryn struggled for breath, shuddering on the precipice until the moment passed. "What are you doing to me?"
"Loving you," Seven replied, and covered Janeway�s mouth with her own. Then she began her slow, deliberate caresses again, thrusting her tongue into Kathryn�s mouth in simultaneous rhythm with her fingers. Kathryn encircled Seven�s shoulders with her arms, pulling her closer and tangling her fingers in her golden locks. When Seven finally tore her mouth away, the Captain was left gasping for breath � her face contorted and lips agape feeling herself pushed to the edge again. But once more Seven slowed her movements to a stop, and Kathryn was rudely yanked back from the precipice, her body left quivering, sweating, aching from desire for the orgasm that Seven refused to grant her.
"Please, Seven," she sobbed. "I can�t take any more�"
"Annika," Seven corrected with a whisper, referring to the human designation given her by her parents. "My name is Annika."
"Annika," Kathryn repeated. She looked into the face of the young woman who so completely dominated her body, and finally surrendered her heart as well. "I love you, Annika. I love you so much. Please love me," she cried.
In answer, Seven bent her head down and drew Kathryn�s breast into her mouth, sucking on the nipple with searing intensity. And suddenly Kathryn felt a completely new sensation, bringing all her body�s attention to the fingers that were moving inside her � an exquisite "fluttering" feeling that set off a series of small shudders that seemed to reach up through her body all the way to her chest. Then she realized that the fluttering in her chest was actually her heart, beating so hard and fast it almost threatened to leap from its cage, and for a second Kathryn hoped it would so she could die in this moment.
But instead she let out a long, keening cry as her body arched up into Seven, and she held onto her with all her strength as the small shudders quickly grew into a crescendo of waves that ripped through her body. Wave after wave rolled endlessly through her, continuing long moments after Kathryn was sure she should have lost consciousness. When finally the shudders began to subside and she became aware of herself again, she collapsed onto the bed and looked up into her young lover�s watchful eyes. "That was incredible," she breathed.
"I am glad you are pleased," Seven said, a hint of smugness in her voice, and slowly freed her fingers from the warm walls that were still intermittently convulsing around her. Kathryn immediately captured her hand and brought it to her lips.
"I�ve never felt anything quite like that before," she said, licking her own juices from the meshed fingers. "How did you do that?" Seven pulled her hand back so Kathryn could see, then she began to wiggle two fingers back and forth in opposite directions. The movement became so fast, faster than any mere human hand could move, that the fingers almost seemed to merge into one. "Well, three cheers for Borg ingenuity," Kathryn said with a smile.
An answering smile lifted the corners of Seven�s mouth. "I have several more techniques that I wish to try." She bent her head and began to kiss her way down over the Captain�s chest and stomach. "This one will involve the use of my tongue," she decreed, and proceeded to demonstrate as Kathryn moaned her acquiescence.
* * * * * *
Hours later, after they had continued to make love until both were exhausted, Seven lay sleeping in her Captain�s arms, her head nestled on Kathryn�s chest. Kathryn was half sitting against several pillows at the bed�s headboard, content to hold her young lover as she slept the first natural sleep she had had since age 6. Ever since her assimilation Seven had "rested" using the Borg mode of regeneration � in an alcove designed to give its user energy and sustenance. But it could not begin to impart the sense of peace that was now evident on Seven�s reposed features.
Abruptly the computer�s voice sounded above their heads. "The time is now 0500 hours." Kathryn sighed, and began to brush the tousled hair back from Seven�s brow, gently waking her. "Annika? Darling, it�s time to wake up."
Seven�s eyes opened, and she looked up, trying to focus on her Captain. "Was I asleep?"
"Yes, darling." Kathryn smiled at the look of wonder on the young woman�s face, as Seven realized she had reclaimed yet another aspect of her humanity. One of many she had reclaimed in the past few hours. "I�m so glad I was able to see it," Kathryn said.
"You did not sleep yourself?" Seven asked with a slight frown. She reached up to briefly rub her thumb over the dark circles under Kathryn�s eyes. "You do not appear rested."
"I didn�t want to miss a moment of this." Kathryn pressed her lips to Seven�s forehead. "I want to savor every nano-second I have with you, Annika."
"You know, Kathryn," Seven said with a mischievous glint coming into her eye, "I have never liked the sound of my human designation before now."
"And now?" The Captain grinned, thinking she knew very well what Seven was getting at.
"I like to hear you say it," Seven said, and lifted up to kiss her. "But I like it even better when you scream it." She ran her hand up Kathryn�s side to her breast. "Perhaps you would let me hear you scream it again?"
Janeway returned the kiss for a moment, then pulled away from her regretfully. "Oh my darling, I wish I could. But we don�t have any more time."
"What do you mean?" Seven frowned. "We have sufficient time before our duty shift begins to make love approximately 2.75 more times. I assumed that was your intention when you awakened me."
"Believe me, there is nothing I�d rather do right now than make love with you again," she quirked an eyebrow at Seven, "although I�m not really sure what that �point-seven-five� would entail."
"I could show you," Seven offered helpfully.
"I�m sure you could," Kathryn laughed, but disentangled herself from Seven and swung her legs over the side of the bed anyway. "But we need to get dressed. Computer, state the time."
The computer responded immediately. "The time is 0506."
Kathryn�s movements quickened as she stood and went to her closet to pull out two robes � one she put on and the other she thrust at Seven, who had sat up and was watching her curiously. "Put this on. Now." Kathryn unconsciously inflected her voice with the tone of command, then immediately regretted it when she saw the look of insult that crossed Seven�s face. "I�m sorry, I didn�t mean it like that. Would you please put this on for me?"
Seven complied and stood up from the bed, pulling the robe on over her shoulders as she did. "I do not understand, Kathryn. What is the hurry?"
"We�re about to have some company." She interrupted Seven�s movements to close the robe herself and tie the sash tight. "Remember when I first called you to my quarters, and told you I needed to discuss something with you?"
"Yes. But you said that it could wait. And then�"
"And then we made love," Kathryn completed the thought with an affectionate smile. "Well, I�ve waited too long to go into it all right now. But I want you to know this: I love you. I love you with all my heart, all my soul." She reached up to touch the spot on Seven�s forehead just above her optical implant, as she had when they first embraced earlier that evening. "I never want to see you hurt. I will do anything in my power to keep you safe. Please believe me."
"Only if you believe me when I say how much I love you," Seven replied, and pulled her lover into a passionate kiss.
"Just what in the hell is going on here?!" an angry voice demanded from the other side of the room. Seven broke away from the woman in her arms to stare towards the doorway, and into the furious face of Captain Kathryn Janeway.
* * * * * *