Seven rested back against the edge of the small table in her quarters nursing the glass of water in her hand. Her Borg components negated the need for as much sleep as most and as a result it gifted her moments such as these where she could observe Raffi as she lay peacefully asleep.

As she took in the sight before her – Raffi's nude form laying half beneath the sheet, a leg which had been previously draped across her own, her head tilted slightly upwards where it had been nestled into her own neck - Seven became aware of a new sensations arising withing herself. Warmth emitting from he abdomen, slowly, gradually, creeping upwards towards her chest. She could feel her throat tightening. Her heart, normally oh so perfectly regulated, began to quicken and pound. Palms began to sweat.

Oddly however, she wasn't frightened by these feelings.

Glancing down she placed the glass upon the table which she was leaning against and wiped her palms against her thighs. Lifting her gaze back up towards the blissfully unaware woman upon her bed Seven felt her eyes sting as moisture filled them. A rogue tear crept its way through lashes and tumbled its way down her cheek.

Lifting herself from the table's edge she slowly made her way to the bedside and slid herself back inside, gently easing herself beside the warm sleeping figure, carefully resting a hand upon an exposed shoulder.

"Raffi" she breathed, voice quietly trembling.

With no response she gently moved to stroke the hair which had softly fallen across a cheek during the night.

"Raffi" she tried again. "Wake up babe". The term of endearment hadn't been something which Seven had used towards lovers before, but somehow with Raffi it felt natural.

Raffi stirred, "Hmmph. Whaa? …. Whaisit?" she slurred, sleep attempting to reclaim her.

"Nothing is up, I…. I just need to talk to you". Seven smiled down at the sight of Raffi battling to keep her eyes open.

"Mmhh, babe, whatisit? Whaswrong?" the words tumbling as one as she, suddenly awake by the sight of the tear's track, reached her hand to cradle Seven's cheek. A thumb gently wiping it away.

"Nothing is wrong" she shook her head in an attempt to reinforce her words, feeling her heart pounding in apprehension inside.

"I just need to tell you something".

She paused, turquoise blue eyes fixed upon the soft brown ones of Raffi, holding the gaze as she sucked in a steadying breath.

"I… uhmmm, I want …. I need to tell you.. that….."

Raffi's mind instantly filled with a thousand dreadful thoughts of what could possibly be wrong, what she could be so awful that Seven would feel the need to wake her in the middle of the night to tell her. She was dying. She was seeing someone else. She was returning to the Rangers.

What?

"Raffi….."

Oh God.

"…. I love you…."

A tear fell, softly landing upon Raffi' s jaw.

"I… I've never…. Never told anyone that before." She stumbled over her confession.

And with that, the dam broke. One tear falling, silently following another.

Raffi reached round to gently guide the blond head down to cradle her, cheek to cheek. Snaking arms round her shoulders in a tender embrace.

"Oh babe," she whispered into hair.

Suddenly aware of just how much this moment, these words, must have meant to this woman. This woman who gave off such an air of confidence, whose presence could be fiercely intimidating, whose reputation went so strongly before her. This Seven Of Nine, the Ex-Borg Fenris Ranger from The Delta Quadrant.

Yet this woman lay gently weeping in her arms having made such a heartfelt declaration, which took all of her soul to do.

"Baby" she whispered, "Thank you" as she sealed it with a kiss against hair, as he own tears began to fall.