A/N: Everything belongs to Paramount. I own nothing. Please don't sue me.

"You are ashamed of me." Seven sat up in bed, not bothering to catch the covers as the slide down her chest to pool at her waist.

"Seven, that's not what I said at all." Kathryn carefully positioned herself so that she was facing the other woman while she held the covers close to her chest to cover herself as best she could with one hand while she gestured with the other. "I said I didn't think it would be a good idea to advertise that you and I are involved just yet."

The blonde raised an eyebrow and, despite being nude and hair in disarray, the motion gave no doubt she believed not a word being fed to her. "Because you don't want the crew to know that you have been sharing a bed with me."

"No," the older woman let out a heavy sigh as she ran her free hand over her face and then through her own mop of currently unruly auburn hair. "Because I'm not sure how the crew will react, and I think it's imperative that we introduce the idea of the two of us as being in a romantic relationship in a more," she searched for the words knowing that, if she misspoke now, it could mean the end of their relationship before it even fully began, "progressive way than it actually happened."

"More progressive?" Seven's tone was flat. "And how, exactly, do you perceive our relationship as having formed?"

Janeway chuckled in spite of herself. "Explosively." Letting her shoulders relax, she waved dismissively with her free hand, pushing aside whatever argument was forming on the pink lips of her counterpart. "Seven," her voice sounded bemused and slightly tired, "I would hope that you know by now how much I care for you if not by my words then by my actions. I've," a quick, disapproving frown pulled at the corners of her mouth, "well, I've put this crew at risk to save you far more times than I have for anyone else."

"That represented poor judgement on your behalf," the younger woman replied dryly. "The needs of the many should always…"

"Yes, out weight the needs of the few. Thank you, Ambassador Spock, I'm fully aware of the phrase and the meaning behind it, but sometimes the needs of the one are important to protect the needs of the many." Kathryn sighed again. "I need you, Seven."

"And the crew needs you," the blonde replied with a nod, seeming to put the pieces together. "If that is the case, then wouldn't they understand this new development? If you need me, as I do you, then would they not be happy that you and I are closer? Our new bond should reaffirm our connection and assure the crew that your needs are much more fully met."

Janeway snorted, "Yes, I'm sure that's part of what they'll think." Grunting, she let the covers drop and turned to push herself out of bed. "What I'm saying, Seven, is that it may take time for some members of the crew to adjust to this 'new bond,' and, as captain, I must be aware of everyone's disposition, especially in our current situation. I'm not ashamed of you," she said as she walked around the bed to offer her hand to help the other woman up, "I'm simply aware that jealousy can cause unnecessary drama, and I want to minimize that as much as possible, so," she pulled the younger woman toward the bathroom, "instead of dropping the bomb on the crew that we're now suddenly, and whether you want to believe it or not, it is sudden, in a relationship, we're going to have to court each other a bit in front of them first."

"You don't believe all the free time we're known to spend together isn't already enough 'courting'?" Seven followed, nonplused by being directed without explanation.

"No, it's not the same. We've always appeared on the outside to be in a mentor/mentee relationship. Some would even argue a mother/daughter relationship given our age difference." Kathryn winced at the thought but chose to brush it aside rather than dwell on it. "These things take time, and all I'm asking is that you be patient with me and the crew." She released Seven's hand to lean over and begin running water for a bath. "Can you do that for me, Nika?"

"Yes, Katie," Seven's eyes ran over the exposed body before her, hands flexing tensely at her sides. "I believe I can."

Kathryn turned her head to look back, giving her best smirk. "Good, now come join me?"

The blonde's lips twitched up. "Gladly."

A/N: I'll be honest; these days it's really a challenge for me to find time to write. I'm writing this story for a friend, but, in truth, reviews keep me motivated. I know, it's a horrible thing to admit, but there it is. I really do appreciate feedback on the story, so your comments are very much welcomed and needed.

Thank you for reading this.